NAMIBIA (miningweekly.com) – Tin mining company AfriTin on Wednesday moved the first ore to plant at its Uis tin mine, in Namibia, setting the company on its way to reaching its goal of re-establishing the country as a major player in the tin mining industry.
The company also undertook a large-scale blast of ore at the mine.
Namibia’s Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo had the honour of supplying the first ore feed to the plant and detonating the explosives.
AfriTin CEO Anthony Viljoen said this was a “momentous” occasion, with the company delivering on investment and operational targets promised to Namibian entities and the company’s stakeholders.
“We want to establish the region as one of the prolific tin mining areas in the world,” he stated.
In the past, Namibia had been the fourth-largest tin exporter, but its industrial-scale tin mines have since closed down.
The Uis mine was previously owned by former South African State-owned company Iscor, which closed the mine in 1989.
AfriTin expects to extract cassiterite from Iscor’s old mine workings.
Iscor had mined over 12 different pits, and AfriTin is mining in a pegmatite field that runs for many kilometres, with room for more development, the company noted.
Wednesday marked the start of ore preparation and stockpiling in anticipation of the completion of the Phase 1 pilot plant.
Since civil construction works began in June, the company has been preparing and rehabilitating the Uis mine site for the start of Phase 1 Pilot plant commissioning and production of tin concentrate.
For Phase 1, the pilot processing plant is designed to process about 500 000 t/y, producing about 60 t tin concentrate monthly.
The plant is in close proximity to the V1/V2 pegmatite bodies on the mine.
The company has invested considerably into executing Phase 1.
It views Uis as a definite and valuable asset, with a long projected life-of-mine and high levels of mineralisation.
Alweendo expressed his pleasure at AfriTin's investment in Namibia.
“Namibia’s economy is [driven by] mining. We hope that when we see investors coming in, it is because of the favourable mining environment.”
Namibia has had a consistent mining law since 1992, presenting it as an attractive option for companies, he said.