A STUDY into the expansion of the Uis tin mine in Namibia had been proven feasible, said the project’s backer, AfriTin.
Based on the findings of a definitive feasibility study today, the company said it would spend $5.7m (R83m) taking tin production to 1,200 tons a year from the current output in a pilot plant of 720 tons annually.
The expansion of the mine “… will lead to the completion of the first phase of development of what could potentially be the biggest open cast tin and technology metal deposits in the world,” said Anthony Viljoen, CEO of AfriTin.
The study excluded the possibility of extracting by-product minerals tantalum and lithium concentrate which remain the focus of metallurgical testwork. Uis was previously operated in the Seventies by South African steelmaker Iscor.
The expanded mine would have real cash costs of $16,200 per ton of contained tin metal. Assuming a long-term average market price of $20,000/t for tin, the study estimated a 2.4 year payback and a net present value of $12.1m.
Viljoen said the Uis expansion could be implemented in about eight months. “The study findings also coincide with AfriTin achieving its first full quarter of steady state production at the Phase 1 plant as global tin prices reach a 10-year high,” he said.
The tin price broke through $23,000/t in the first quarter representing its highest price since 2014.
In February, AfriTin said it had renewed an offtake agreement to supply tin to Thailand Smelting and Refining Corporation (Thaisarco), and had signed an offtake deal for tantalum with a new customer, AfriMet.