AfriTin Mining has announced that tin concentrate production during the first quarter of the 2022 Financial Year exceeded expectations.

The Uis mine, in Namibia, has been in operation for more than a year now. Production began in November 2019, ramping up slowly to nameplate capacity a year later.

Quarterly production has been steady since reaching the target output, averaging more than 100 tonnes tin-in-concentrate. The most recent results indicate that AfriTin produced some 183 tonnes of tin concentrate, exceeding the 180 target set in the previous quarter.

However, quarter-on-quarter, output fell due to unforeseen power supply and equipment issues. But according to the company, these problems are unlikely to occur again. The dense medium separation circuit, which separates cassiterite from waste rock, also had planned downtime. On top of the mechanical issues, natural variation in the tin grade also lowered production.

Despite the slight issues, the mine is now steadily operating at nameplate capacity of around 60 tonnes of tin concentrate per month. Over the next quarter, there could be some further improvement as grades are forecast to exceed life-of-mine averages of 0.14% Sn this year, according to AfriTin‘s mine plan.

As well as managing the now-routine mining operations at Uis, the company is looking ahead.

Although currently just extracting tin from the Uis pegmatites, the mine also holds a variety of by-products. Metallurgical test work has begun in order to separate high-value niobium and tantalum minerals. An investigation into the suitability of petalite for ceramic- and battery-grade lithium products is also underway.

As well as expanding the variety of products, AfriTin is looking to increase volumes. Following the results of the Definitive Feasibility study for the Phase 1 Stage II expansion in May, AfriTin has begun acquiring long-lead items for the work. The company expects the project to be completed within 8 months – a conservative estimate according to CEO Anthony Viljoen at the company’s Exploration Upside webinar on 14 June.

Our view: Stable tin production during a time of rising tin prices is extremely positive for AfriTin. With unexpected delays and issues unlikely to be repeated during Q2 of FY2022, we would expect output to rise further. Tin recovery has also been steadily improving at Uis, adding further positivity to the mine’s outlook. With that in mind, the company appears to have a strong base to build on in the coming year.

AfriTin Mining is a member of ITA’s Explorers and Developers Group.