The processing plant front-end crushing circuit commissioning has been completed at TSX-V-listed Alphamin Resources’ flagship Bisie tin project, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with full commissioning and ramp-up scheduled for the second quarter of 2019.
The Bisie project is now running at nameplate capacity of 60 t/h, with production at planned throughput expected to start in the third quarter of the year.
To date, about 6 500 t of ore has been crushed and stockpiled for feeding into the gravity separation circuit.
Cold commissioning on the gravity concentration section has also started and is progressing well, the company said on Friday.
In connection with the change of mining method to a cut and fill method, Alphamin confirmed that a detailed mine schedule for 2019 and 2020 has been received, with production of ore from the cut and fill stoping operation having started.
A life-of-mine schedule is expected during the second quarter of 2019 following which Alphamin plans to update its National Instrument 43-101 report and announce updated project economics.
However, initial analysis indicates that the unit costs per ton will be higher in 2019 and 2020 than what had been anticipated in the company’s most recent feasibility study.
Additionally, the company said it has reviewed the working capital requirements to achieve planned production volumes and that the current cashflow projections indicate a likely short-term working capital shortfall.
Factors impacting on the projected working capital shortfall include a delayed response to a request to partially export concentrates by airfreight, requiring the company to truck all export material, which has impacted on delivery times and related revenue receipts; a delay in value-added tax refunds and the delayed manufacture and delivery of certain components to finalise plant commissioning.
In addition to this, the change in the mining method has resulted in a slower ramp up of material to the run-of-mine stockpile.
Alphamin estimates that up to $9-million may be required to bridge this expected working capital deficit and enable the company to acquire certain sustaining capital and critical spares.
On Friday, the company said its management considers it prudent to seek a working capital facility of up to $12-million, which exceeds the projected shortfall of $9-million, but provides a buffer for any additional unforeseen events or challenges.
Alphamin is in discussion with its lenders to provide this facility.