AfriTin to proceed with study of $440m transformation of Uis into lithium, tantalite producer

Uis Mine, Namibia

AFRITIN is to proceed to a bank-ready feasibility study of its Uis tin mine expansion which will also see the company mine significant by-products of lithium and tantalum.

A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) which was conducted in-house found that the phase two expansion of Uis would require $440m in capital. This would be funded from cash generated by Uis as well as debt and an equity component.

The Uis deposit is located in Namibia and was previously mined by Iscor in the Seventies and Eighties. Afritin reopened the mine focusing on a first phase pilot tin concentrate operation which it said last year it would expand to 2,800 tons from 850,000 tons annually.

This expansion of the first phase pilot plant would also see production of about 60,000 tons annually of lithium concentrate and 45,000 tons of tantalum concentrate a year.

A phase two expansion anticipates production of 10 million tons a year run-of-mine of tin, lithium (petalite) and tantalum for a period of 14 years. There was potential for a mine life expansion depending on the outcome of exploration work.

Afritin said in in its PEA that it could achieve a payback on the $440m in capital outlay in about one-and-a-half years. The firm’s base case assumption for the tin price was $40,500/t which compares to a recent record high of $43,949/t.

“The fact we have successfully brought phase 1 into production allows us to significantly de- risk phase 2 from the considerable learnings in building a new mine,” said Anthony Viljoen, CEO of AfriTin in a statement.

“Phase 2 will see AfriTin produce globally significant volumes of tin, lithium and tantalum which are vital in meeting the demands of the transition to a new efficient greener technology future,” he added.

Earlier this month, AfriTin outlined a five-year expansion strategy in which it said it intended to add tungsten to its product suite through the development of the Brandberg West prospect, situated about 107 kilometres from Uis.

Viljoen said the aim was to transform AfriTin into a “… multi-tech metal producer. “AfriTin has proven it is already part of a small and unique group of global tin producers,” he said.

Shares in the company on the London Stock Exchange have increased nearly 41% this year. AfriTin is currently capitalised at £94.7m.