Alphamin has continued its ramp-up of the Bisie tin mine, producing nearly 2,500 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate during the third quarter. This is up 269% on the previous quarter according to the company.
All three factors affecting tin production increased during the third quarter, with higher tin grades and plant recoveries seeing more tin metal recovered from the processed ore. Tin grades increased from an average of 4.7% in Q2 to 5.6% in Q3 – a 21% increase. Plant recovery increased by 50% quarter-on-quarter, from 37% to 56%. The resulting tin-in-concentrate production almost tripled, from 636 tonnes in Q2 to 2,345 tonnes in Q3.
For Q4, Alphamin expects contained tin production to fall slightly, to between 2,000 and 2,200 tonnes, due to slightly lower tin grades. According to the company, the grade “is expected to taper off to between 4% and 5% Sn”, although the reason for this was not given in the announcement.
Our view: Although Q3 represents a significant improvement over Q2, Bisie has still not yet reached nameplate capacity. Despite significant improvements to plant recoveries during the period, the average recovery still remains below the design levels of ~72%. Should production in Q4 meet the company’s forecast, Bisie will have produced around 5,000 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate during 2019. This is expected to double in 2020 as the mine reaches nameplate capacity and has a full year to operate.