Alphamin Resources Corp. [AFM-TSXV; AFMJF-OTC] has provided the following operational update for the quarter ended December, 2020 for its 80.75%-owned Bisie tin mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Industrial Development Corp. holds 14.24% and the government of DRC owns 5%.
Tin production was a record 2,898 tons, up 13% from the previous quarter;. Drilling has commenced at the adjacent Mpama South deposit. Fine tin recovery plant construction is 70% complete. Abnormal seasonal rains resulted in logistical constraints which negatively impacted quarterly sales volumes (down 14% from the previous quarter).
The 13% tin production was higher than the company’s 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 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 (January to March) allows road maintenance to be done and already road conditions are improving, and the company expects to recoup the majority of the quarter’s sales shortfall during Q1 2021.
The LME tin price has increased from approximately US$18,500/ton during Q4 2020 to a current level of about US$21,000/ton, which bodes well for the company’s 2021 earnings.
Alphamin’s short-term objective is to increase annualized contained tin production from the current level of 11,000 to 13,000 tons. This increase is expected from July, 2021, following the commissioning of the previously announced fine tin recovery plant (FTP) and a planned increase of 5% to 10% in processed ore volumes.
On this basis, the company expects contained tin production of 5,500 tons in the first half of 2021 increasing to 6,500 tons in the second half of 2021, which would achieve the company’s annualized production goal of 13,000 tons thereafter.