Australian tin explorer, Victory Mines (ASX:VIC), has announced that it has been granted permission by Bolivian state mining company, Comibol, to carry out feasibility study work on eight tin tailings sites in Bolivia.
The sites include four existing tailings projects that the company was working to develop in 2015 with local mining cooperatives under the joint venture, South American Tin. These four tailings sites (El Kenko Lamas, Catavi, Sink & Float Descartes and Rio Andavillque) are located near to the historical Siglo Viente (Siglo XX) tin mine in the country’s Potosi department. New sites being considered for development include three tailings projects related to the state-run Huanuni Mine including river sediments as well as tailings from the Santa Elena and Machacamarca processing plants. Tailings at the privately run Japo tin mine is the final site which will be considered in the study. An exploration target based on historical exploration suggests a total of some 55 – 60 Mt of ore containing some 0.4% Sn, or 220 – 240kt contained tin across the eight projects.
The company intends to carry out a drilling programme across the sites and to complete an initial feasibility study within the next six months. This will be followed by further studies with the aim of entering into a production contract with Comibol within eighteen months from the completion of drilling.
ITRI View: The tin price has recovered significantly since company ceased its previous tin project development work in Bolivia in 2015, which has no doubt been an important factor in its return. A key difference from the previous arrangement is that the company is now working directly with Comibol, rather than with local mining cooperatives, and it will create a new legal entity in Bolivia to reflect this. Attracting finance is likely to remain a challenge for the development of any of these projects, as the country remains high-risk for investment due to the high-profile nationalisation of the Vinto tin smelter in 2007 and 2010 and the Colquiri tin-zinc mine in 2012, both subject to an ongoing arbitration claim by the original owner, Glencore.