09 Feb Pioneering tin project to spur regional development
Tin exploration and mining company Alphamin Resources is aspiring to unleash the full profit and socioeconomic development potential of the company’s Bisie tin project, in North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The project is expected to launch Alphamin as a respected player in the international tin sector, unlocking one of the richest tin deposits in the world, while consequently uplifting the economy of the North Kivu region.
Alphamin Resources CEO Boris Kamstra tells Mining Weekly that this project, currently under development, presents a “very rare opportunity”, in that it poses an “extraordinary” financial return on investment, and developmental returns in the surrounding region and in the DRC.
Therefore, Alphamin is not only party to the potential development of one of the highest known tin grade deposits in the world, but will also be the catalyst to promote economic growth and stability in North Kivu, and in the DRC.
While the project may still be in the development phase, it has already been considerably beneficial to the region. The project is currently the largest local employer in North Kivu and is continuing to add value through job creation, construction, connectivity and development of economic infrastructure, extols Kamstra.
Moreover, through its exploration and development phase, the company has created 350 new jobs, invested in road and telecommunications infrastructure to unlock the isolated Walikale territory, developed 25 participatory local development plans representing the long-term needs of the 14 000 households living closest to the mine and, in February 2017, completed the construction of a primary school with solar-powered lighting, Kamstra elaborates. Bisie is located 60 km from the town of Walikale and 32 km from the national route linking Walikale to the city of Kisangani.
“The Bisie tin project has been a catalyst for regional economic growth and holds more positive promise for years to come.”
The outlook of Bisie is strong, as tin is a commodity with solid future prospects, and the project is managed by an experienced team, supported by well capitalised investors who are astute industry specialists.
Kamstra explains that, once the Bisie tin mine starts generating cash, Alphamin will retain some funds for further exploration of the region. This will galvanise the region, which is expected to produce tin for well over 30 years.
At Bisie, Alphamin is starting to develop the Mpama North deposit, a portion of an orebody that has been earmarked as prospective through positive exploration results. The company believes that North Kivu will be a tin province and, in the near future, the area, particularly Walikale, will be one of the premier tin-producing areas in the world.
“Tin is a great commodity. Alphamin will be written in the mining and development annals by bringing Bisie into production,” enthuses Kamstra.
Profit and Potential
Alphamin is happy with the progress made on the project, with the company well on track to deliver on its projected first production target of 2019 and reach steady-state production towards the end of 2019.
Kamstra notes that considerable progress on the construction of Bisie has been made, with the boxcut for the underground portal of the mine having been completed and the decline having progressed about 150 m underground into hard rock.
The mine, once operational, is expected to produce on average 9 642 t/y of tin, at a cash cost of $8 837/t tin produced and $10 359/t tin sold after duties, royalties, levies and marketing, generating average earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $11-million a year.
Alphamin is using free cash flows to develop Mpama South – an offshoot of Mpama North – and the rest of an entirely new tin province.
Kamstra says, through a well-designed and carefully executed exploration programme, including 40 000 m of diamond core drilling at Mpama North, Alphamin has 210 000 t of contained tin in the measured and indicated categories, with an additional 23 000 t in the inferred category.
These resources will support a 12.5-year life-of-mine producing about 9 642 t/y contained tin. Mpama South and other exploration targets will be explored further in the near future. Recent front-end engineering design was carried out by multidisciplinary global engineering group DRA Engineering to finalise the project’s control budget estimate at $151.4-million.
Kamstra notes that the financial metrics and budgeted costs are exclusively for the development of Mpama North. “The return metrics for future tin projects are likely to be enhanced by the fact that the capital costs will be significantly lower, as a result of the infrastructure and processing capacity that will have been developed for Mpama North.”
Moreover, Alphamin also has the potential to extend its operational life span well beyond the current 12.5-year plan. In addition to Mpama South, it has numerous exploration licences in the region, including an area further to the south known as Marouge, where Alphamin has identified tin anomalies.
Alphamin Resources is headquartered in Mauritius and is listed on the TSX-V with a secondary listing on the JSE AltX, as of December 15, 2017.
Publication: Mining Weekly
Written by: Tasneem Bulbulia