AIM-listed AfriTin Mining, which is working to restart the Uis tin mine in Namibia, says that a decision has been taken to modify the Phase 1 plant to add production capacity and also produce a tantalum concentrate which will add to revenues. Maiden tin and tantalum concentrate production from Phase 1 is expected in Q2-2019.
Following the start of the civil construction works in June 2018, AfriTin has been preparing and rehabilitating the Uis mine site for the commencement of the Phase 1 Pilot Plant commissioning and production of tin concentrate. As previously announced, during December 2018 the company undertook the first large-scale blast of mining material. The primary crushing circuit was commissioned and first material was crushed and stockpiled.
AfriTin is now well advanced with the procurement of mining contractor services for drilling, blasting, loading and hauling and mobilisation is expected once the contract has been finalised.
In consultation with its engineering consultants, the company has decided to implement two additional components to the Phase 1 Pilot Plant. To increase plant throughput capacity and flexibility, a third dense medium separation (DMS) section has been procured. In addition, a magnetic separation circuit will be installed in the plant. This addition will allow the plant to produce tantalum concentrate alongside the primary tin concentrate.
AfriTin says it has made significant progress in addressing the infrastructure requirements for the Pilot Plant and Phase 1 of production. A geohydrological study, water drilling and test pumping programme have been completed. The results of the programme have confirmed the viability of using groundwater sources to supply the Phase 1 Pilot Plant with the required process water.
Electrical power to the operation will be provided from the existing high-voltage supply line that currently terminates approximately 1 km from the plant processing site. AfriTin is now in the process of concluding a supply agreement with the relevant authorities that will allow the plant to be connected to the power grid. Backup power, in the form of diesel generating sets, is also being installed at site.
Phase 1 exploration commenced at the start of November 2018 with the primary goal of validating the existing historic SRK resource over the V1 and V2 pegmatites. To date, 18 of the required 26 drill holes have been completed with all finished holes being geotechnically and geologically logged directly onto a new cloud-based geodatabase system. The core will be assayed and prepared for the declaration of an initial JORC resource on the project.