By Hilary Mare
A friTin Mining looks forward to achieving its target of processing the first material through the pilot plant at its Uis mine, by the end of this year, after having achieved a number of important milestones in the six-month period ended August 31.
Construction of the pilot plant has progressed well and should be concluded in the next six months, while verification drilling and a Joint Ore Reserves Committee- (Jorc) compliant resource at the mine are expected to be completed by early 2019.
Once AfriTin has started to produce tin concentrate from the pilot plant, it is anticipated that it will continue to expand its footprint in the region through acquisitions and conducting further work that will be done on the other mining licence areas that form part of the AfriTin portfolio, which comprises tin assets in Namibia and South Africa.
The first step in the development of the project involved verification, through local and regional geological mapping, which was then translated into a preliminary mine design plan for the first phase of the pilot production plant.
A key result of the mapping programme, the company said on Wednesday, was the delineation of more than 80 new pegmatite bodies, which all display visible tin mineralisation, and which bodes well for future exploration initiatives.
The purpose of Phase 1 is to provide early cash flow to AfriTin and to provide a platform to transition the project into a bankable feasibility study (BFS) and, ultimately, a Phase 2 plant capable of producing 5 000 t/y of tin concentrate.
As a result of the accelerated development of the flagship project, the board of directors believed it opportune to raise a further £6-million to advance the construction of the plant, as well as initiate work on the BFS and undertake a drilling programme to bring the historic resources into Jorc compliance.
Construction of the Phase 1 plant has progressed well with the appointment of local contractors, construction is on schedule and the first run-of-mine material to the plant is expected by year-end.
The results from the regional mapping programme have also assisted AfriTin in identifying further licence areas of interest and acquisition.
The company entered into an agreement with trading company MRI, to establish a buying station for local artisanal workers. The purpose of this is to establish economic activity on the ground as part of a community upliftment programme.
The project is going well and the company has already noted an increase in the amount of concentrate coming through the buying station, AfriTin commented.
The Uis tin project was once one of the largest opencast tin mines worldwide, before former owner, then South African State-owned metals company Iscor, stopped mining in the 1980s as a result of declining tin prices.
The upgrade of the gravity separation-based pilot plant to commercial scale cost about £2 million. The cash flow generated from the operations will be applied to maintain/sustain the operations at a steady state.
Concurrently, Afritin aims to use the basis of a detailed mine works plan, supplied by consulting firm SRK to Iscor in 1985, for the bankable feasibility study.
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