MAURITIUS – Alphamin Resources, a producer of 4% of the world’s mined tin from its high grade operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has provided the following operational update for the quarter ended December 2020:
- Record tin production of 2,898 tons, up 13% from the previous quarter
- Commencement of drilling campaign at the adjacent Mpama South deposit
- Fine tin recovery plant construction 70% complete
- Abnormal seasonal rains resulted in logistical constraints which negatively impacted quarterly sales volumes (down 14% from the previous quarter)
Tin production increased 13% to a quarterly record of 2,898 tons and was higher than our previous market guidance of 2,600 to 2,800 tons. This outperformance was due to better than expected tin feed grades and plant recoveries. The processing plant performed at an average recovery of 74% for the quarter, including a record recovery of 77% achieved in December 2020.
Quarterly sales decreased by 14% due to extreme seasonal rains impacting export road conditions. Weather stations across the export route reported rainfall above 159% of the long- term mean.
The short dry-season (Jan-March) allows road maintenance to be done and already road conditions are improving, and we expect to recoup the majority of the quarter’s sales shortfall during Q1 2021.
The LME tin price has increased from approximately US$18,500/t during Q4 2020 to a current level of ~US$21,000/t, which bodes well for the Company’s 2021 earnings.
PRODUCTION GUIDANCE FOR THE YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 20213
Alphamin’s short-term objective is to increase annualised contained tin production from the current level of 11,000t to 13,000t. This increase is expected from July 2021 following the commissioning of the previously announced fine tin recovery plant and a planned increase of 5%-10% in processed ore volumes.
On this basis, the company expects contained tin production of 5,500t in H1 2021 increasing to 6,500t in H2 2021, which would achieve its annualised production goal of 13,000t thereafter.
The fine tin recovery plant is 70% complete and progressing on schedule for commissioning commencing April 2021. Estimated expenditure at completion is in line with the budget of US$4.6 million.
Drilling at the Mpama South deposit, located only 750m south of the current processing facility, commenced in December 2020. Two drilling campaigns are scheduled on Mpama South for 2021.
While Mpama South could provide an opportunity to increase the production rate and life of operations at Bisie, an extension of the life of mine at Mpama North (current producing orebody) can be confirmed by drilling down-dip and along strike beyond the northernmost holes drilled in the 2014 drilling campaign.