Alphamin pushes ahead with $152m tin mine in the DRC

The proposed review of the existing 2002 mining code in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is not a concern at this stage for prospective tin miner Alphamin Resources which announced this week it had started construction of the box cut at the Bisie mine in North Kivu province.

That’s according to Alphamin chairman Charles Needham who told Miningmx that, “I don’t think there will be a change to the mining code in the near future because there is still too much re-organisation and political settling-down taking place in the country.”

Needham has extensive experience of operating in the DRC having been involved there since 2004. He was previously CEO – and then MD – of the former JSE-listed Metorex which developed the Ruashi copper mine in the DRC but was delisted in 2011 after being taken over by Chinese group Jinchuan.

Needham tells Miningmx he remains a consultant to Metorex and was appointed chairman of Alphamin in 2014 on the recommendation of mining entrepreneur – and former Metorex chairman – Rob Still who is an advisor to one of the major backers of Alphamin.

Two other well-known South African mining executives have just been appointed to the Alphamin board – former Harmony Gold CEO Bernard Swanepoel and Paul Baloyi who is the IDC’s representative on the board and has served previously as CEO of the Development Bank of South Africa and MD of Nedbank Africa.

Alphamin – which is listed in Canada – is hoping to finalise the funding package for the Bisie project within the next month. Needham said the company is looking to raise US$152m to be split approximately 50/50 between debt and equity.

Alphamin CEO Boris Kamstra commented “it is very encouraging that work has commenced and, subject to finalization of the full funding solution, the project is expected to be completed on time and within budget by the end of the first quarter of 2019.”

Needham said a key attraction of the Bisie project was the high grade of the orebody. He commented, “tin orebodies around the world are mainly low grade. Bisie is very high grade. It is a magnificent deposit and we are unaware of any other tin producers with similar grades.”

Alphamin is forecasting the Bisie mine will produce an average of 9,642t of tin annually at a cash cost of US$8.837/t of tin produced and $10,359/t of tin sold after duties, royalties, levies and marketing fees.
EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) are expected to average $110m annually with the project having a payback period of less than two years. The mine is expected to be in the lowest cost quartile of all tin producers.