Alphamin progresses DRC exploration, identifies cassiterite intercepts at Mpama North

9th November 2021 By: Simone Liedtke - Writer

Dual-listed Alphamin Resources, which produces about 4% of the world’s mined tin from its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has identified a strike extension at its Mpama North mine, from visual cassiterite drilling intercepts.

Additionally, the Mpama South high-grade assay results were received and now include drilling intercepts within 200 m of the Mpama North orebody.

Indications following these results note that Mpama South and Mpama North are zones of high-grade mineralisation offset and displaced by a fault, and that the areas now have the potential for synergies and fast-tracking of underground access to Mpama South.

In terms of the drilling programme at Mpama North, by the end of October, 12 drill holes (about 6 167 m of drilling) had been completed, uncovering the existence of a crosscutting fault causing a downward and westward offset of the deeper mineralisation.

By refocussing drilling closer to the final drill line from previous exploration, holes drilled at 75 m further along strike succeeded in intercepting significant zones of cassiterite mineralisation.

Alphamin on November 8 said drilling would continue to refine the company’s understanding of these mineralised areas with the objective of adding significantly to the current life-of-mine.

Mpama South, meanwhile, has completed 18 047 m of drilling (across 69 additional drillholes), of which assays for 57 drill holes have been received to date.

The first three phases of drilling will form the basis of a mineral resource estimation exercise, the results of which are expected to be announced in January 2022.

An updated estimate will be announced later in the first quarter of 2022 from the ongoing Phase 4 drilling, the miner said.

Alphamin on November 9 also reported on its operational and financial results for the quarter ended September 30. Tin production increased by 17% quarter-on-quarter to 2 832 t.

Underground mining practices relating to stope planning, delineation and blasting were significantly improved from mid-July. This resulted in an average tin grade of 3.8% processed during August and September, with an average of 3.5% for the quarter.

In addition to improved grade control, run-of-mine volumes and waste development increased by 5% quarter-on-quarter. The benefit of the newly commissioned Fine Tin Plant increased overall processing recoveries by 5% to 75%.

Alphamin achieved record earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $53.7-million - a 58% quarter-on-quarter improvement - as a result of higher tin production, sales volumes and a higher tin price of $33 704/t.

The company plans to undertake a strategic review to explore alternatives with a view to maximising shareholder value.

"Such strategic alternatives may include, but are not limited to, fast-tracking the company’s expansion and life-of-mine extension potential; balance sheet restructuring, including revenue prepayments and streaming; shareholder distributions or a corporate merger or sale transaction," Alphamin said. 

The company has appointed a financial adviser to provide advisory services in relation to the overall strategic review, but has not yet established a definitive timeline to complete the strategic review.