The TiTan project sits in the Manono “pegmatite corridor”, some 30km southwest of Manono, a mining site that was exploited for cassiterite and columbite-tantalite between 1913 and the 1980s. Recent work suggests that the mineralisation extends southwest of the mine; Tantalex plans to work on this previously untapped potential.
The company has been working to progress the project quickly. Already, the concentration plant has been tested in Manono and is ready for assembly on site. Production is scheduled to commence in March 2023, with output forecast at 120tpm tin concentrate and 20tpm tantalum concentrate.
Tantalex is also developing the Manono Tailings project, which plans to rework the waste from the historic mine to recover lithium and tin.
Our view: TiTan is likely to be a small-scale, low cost, highly mobile operation – well suited to the challenges of the modern mining space. Although this project itself won’t help tip the balance of the tin market, according to Tantalex Chairman Hadley Natus, “this is likely only the first of many more that we will install”. TiTan could be the pilot plant of a series of operations, which could help to reduce the forecast shortfall in the tin market this decade.