Following the achievement of nameplate tin concentrate production in November 2020, the Uis tin mine in Namibia has exceeded production forecasts.
Now, even more good news is that the mine’s owner, AIM-listed AfriTin Mining, is advancing a metallurgical test work programme aimed at developing the process flow to efficiently produce Tantalum (Ta) and Lithium Oxide (Li2O) by-products.
In October 2019, AfriTin announced a maiden JORC resource at Uis of 71.54 Mt of ore at a grade of 0.134 % tin for 95 539 t of contained tin. This alone puts Uis on the list of the top 10 tin mines in the world.
Last week, the company announced an update on its metallurgical test work programme for potential by-products to its current tin concentrate product. The highlights include:
- The JORC (2012) compliant mineral resource estimate includes ancillary metals with an inventory of 6 091 tonnes of contained Ta and 450 265 tonnes of contained Li2O, grading at 85ppm Ta and 0.63% Li2O respectively.
- Major Li2O intersections include 86.51 m grading at 1.22% Li2O (drill hole V1V2017) and 109.32 m with an average grade of 0.97% (drill hole V1V2010).
- AfriTin is advancing a metallurgical test work programme to investigate the by-product potential of the ancillary metals. Test work for a Ta concentrate is at an advanced stage; Li2O concentrate test work is progressing to a second stage.
A step closer to realising company’s goal
The presence of significant Tantalum and Lithium Oxide mineralisation creates an opportunity for the development of additional revenue streams. CEO Anthony Viljoen added: Successful implementation of by-product streams may significantly increase our profit margin and allow us to realise the goal of positioning the company in the lowest quartile of the world tin producer cost curve.”
According to a report by the International Tin Association, demand for tin could triple by 2050. This bodes well for Uis. Now, with the possibility of monetising on by-products, the future of AfriTin’s flagship mine looks even brighter.