Progress is continuing at a rapid pace at Alphamin’s -based Bisie mine. Last month, Alphamin reported that a US$ 12 million loan had been secured to ease the change in mining method as the site ramps up towards production. This month, Alphamin have reported that wet commissioning, where the processing plant in run on water to test sub-systems within the plant, was completed in the week commencing 22 April.

Following wet commissioning, the processing plant is now undergoing hot commissioning, which began on 25 April. A more rigorous process than wet commissioning, hot commissioning uses mined material to test instrument calibration and flows. This process will build up to the design throughput of 50 tph through the jigging section of the plant and 8 tph in the gravity concentration section, and is due to be completed by 5 May. Alphamin have not yet announced the results of the commissioning.

The Uis mine project, , is also advancing steadily. On 8 May, AfriTin Mining, who own the project, announced that an agreement for power supply at the mine had been finalized with the state-owned utility company Namibia Power Corporation. This is a crucial step in the development of the mine, and allows the company to move forward with the commissioning of the pilot plant at the site. Diesel generators will provide power to the processing plant during commissioning and until the site is connected to the Namibian power grid.

AfriTin CEO Anthony Viljoen commented that the agreement was “an important step in the progression of the Uis tin mine” and noted that it would “improve the planned cost structure and further support the economic viability of [the Uis] project”.

Our view: With the long-term degradation of ore grades at established mines and the push toward increased mining costs, projects such as Bisie and Uis are important to the global supply of tin concentrate. Furthermore, with supply from Myanmar continuing to decline, new supply is required in the short-term. With a final design capacity of 9,600 and 5,000 tpa, respectively, Bisie and Uis represent a significant boost to the tin concentrate market. Both projects are on course to be completed in 2019.