The definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the expansion of the Phase 1 mining and processing facility and the accompanying ore reserve estimate for the V1 and V2 pegmatites at Aim-listed AfriTin’s Uis tin mine, in Namibia, has confirmed the feasibility of expanding the current Phase 1 processing plant.
The expansion would result in a 67% increase in tin concentrate production from 720 t/y to 1 200 t/y.
For the project scope, the DFS includes only two of the 16 historically mined pegmatites, which means significant exploration upside remains.
Moreover, the DFS is on a tin only basis and currently excludes tantalum and lithium concentrate as potential by-products – these commodities are being investigated in the company’s metallurgical test-work programme.
The DFS is also based on robust economics (subject to sensitivities).
These include the capital cost of the proposed expansion and total future cash flows over the life-of-mine; a long-term real tin price of $20 000 /t; a long-term real exchange rate of N$16 to $1; and a real weighted average cost of capital of 6.95%.
Project capital is estimated at $5.7-million, with a payback period of 2.4 years, a net present value of $12.1-million, an internal rate of return of 54% and fully allocated real cash costs of $16 200/t of contained tin metal.
It is also based on low project risk.
This includes the modular expansion of the existing crushing circuit to increase ore throughput by 50% and the upgrade of the existing concentrator circuit to increase projected tin recovery from 60% to 64%; and an implementation time of eight months including a two-week full plant shutdown.
Lastly, it is based on long-term mine life.
This entails an initial proved and probable ore reserve estimate over the V1 and V2 pegmatites of Uis totalling 15.6-million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 0.138% tin, containing 21 536 t of tin metal and an 18-year mine life.
“Publication of AfriTin’s inaugural DFS marks another significant milestone for the company and will lead to the completion of the first phase of development of what could potentially be the biggest opencast tin and technology metal deposit in the world.
“The DFS confirms the highly attractive economics from a low-cost modular expansion of the current Phase 1 at Uis which can be implemented in eight months. The DFS also coincides with the company achieving its first full quarter of steady state production at the Phase 1 plant as global tin prices reach a ten-year high,” acclaims CEO Anthony Viljoen.
“The initial Joint Ore Reserves Committee- (Jorc-) compliant ore reserve estimate over the V1 and V2 pegmatites, validates the long-term feasibility of our flagship operation at the Uis tin mine and emphasises the benefits that the deposit derives from the scalability of the project.
“Importantly, the reserve only forms a portion of the historically declared reserve, that the company is in the process of converting into modern Jorc compliance standards,” he adds.
He highlights the robust economics of the study, which provide AfriTin with an opportunity to substantially increase the revenue and profit margin of the current operation, while de-risking the expansion of the project into the much larger Phase 2 operation that is intended to be six to ten times bigger than the Phase 1 operation.
“While the current estimate only considers tin mineralisation, the company intends to add the potential by-product minerals of tantalum and lithium oxide in due course.
“Coupled with the exploration upside of both historically mined and unexploited proximal pegmatites, AfriTin has laid a solid foundation for advancing the project towards our long-term goal of becoming a leader in the tin and technology metals mining sector,” says Viljoen.