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Alphamin’s Bisie in DRC is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week

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Alphamin Resources’ Bisie complex in the DRC boasts exceptionally high tin grades. At Mpama North, which is currently been mined, the grades are in the region of 4% to 4.7%. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica.

Alphamin’s Bisie in DRC is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week 

On the back of a just energy transition, Alphamin Resources’ Bisie Complex in the DRC is gearing up for increased tin demand over the next five years. 

By Leon Louw founder of WhyAfrica             

Alphamin’s Mpama South project at the Bisie Complex in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), will produce about 7,200 tonnes (t) of contained tin per year from 2024, thereby increasing Alphamin’s annual tin production to more than 20,000t. Mpama South is adjacent to Mpama North, the ore body that Alphamin is currently mining.

Alphamin’s recent announcement that the company has improved the geological confidence at Mpama South comes at a time when the tin sector finds itself in a volatile, yet healthy space.

This is despite unfounded fears that the market has entered a tin crunch. Although tin has dropped off from its peak in January 2023, it is not stuck in a downward spiral as some analysts have predicted. In fact, the tin price remains at historic highs, despite a substantial decline since the start of a new year. These declines happened across the mining sector though, with most metals and minerals recording losses since the start of 2023.

Bisie’s current production is already nearing the 5% mark of global tin production, and with more exploration results showing early signs of even better upside, Bisie is now reckoned as one of the top tin mines in the world.

Despite geopolitical tension and the global economic quagmire in the aftermath of Covid-19, Alphamin stuck to its guns and realised its vision of becoming one of the world’s largest sustainable tin producers in 2022. And all indications are that the mine’s winning streak is far from over.

Drilling results indicate that Mpama South and additional targets drilled on Alphamin’s licence areas, will deliver similar grades to Mpama North (in the region of 3% to 4%), which truly sets the mine apart from any of its current competitors in the international world of tin mining.

A resurgent tin price (Alphamin’s Bisie in DRC is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week)

Geopolitics and the great energy debate has certainly counted in Alphamin’s favour, as the tin price, historically in the doldrums, has shown exceptional resilience and renewed verve in the wake of Covid-19 and at a time when the Ukraine crisis has put the cat amongst the pigeons in the European energy space.

The sudden thirst for renewable energy solutions (and especially solar panels), and the long waiting lists for Electric Vehicles (EVs) and all sorts of electronic devices, have given tin, which for a long time was believed to have become redundant, a new life.

And with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues taking centre stage during most mining conversations, utilising tin in its new form as a green solution, will be a feather in the cap for any technology focussed company.

Tin’s uses in electronics, and in renewable energy solutions are forecast to increase double-fold during the next decade as the globe moves away from fossil fuels and enter a brand new normal, where climate change, green technology and net-zero emissions will be pursued relentlessly by more socially and environmentally aware investors and venture capitalists.

As a result, a tin supply cliff is looming large as several prime operations around the world flounder in the face of geopolitical tension, logistic and supply chain challenges, operational difficulties, sky-high input costs and the perpetual energy crisis across the world.

Not many new tin mines have started supplying the market recently, and although a few promising prospects are in the pipeline, there is not enough greenfield exploration and development projects to close the widening demand/supply gap soon.

These market forces will inevitably push the tin price further into green territory, and with Bisie on the verge of upping the ante when Mpama South comes online, the results may be better than what even the most optimistic analyst predicts for 2023.

Bisie’s bumper 2022 (Alphamin’s Bisie in DRC is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week)

Bisie had a bumper 2022 under extremely difficult macroeconomic conditions. With most of the teething problems and bottlenecks that pestered the early-stage operations now well and truly behind it, the mines’ output has been consistent as it gradually ramped up towards maximum capacity over the past three years.

Alphamin produced more tin than stated in the market guidance during the third quarter of 2022. The contained tin production of 3,139 tonnes was in line with the previous quarter and above market guidance of 3,000 tonnes.

A highly mineralised area underground, not previously included in the mineral resource or mine plan due to its structurally complex nature, was successfully mined and processed during the quarter.

This area delivered ore at good tin grades but contained high levels of sulphides which impacted processing recoveries. Despite a few hick-ups, Bisie continued supplying tin to an ever-expanding market as the applications of tin in the transitional economy increases.

Alphamin’s Bisie in DRC is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week

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Alphamin’s Bisie in DRC is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week

 

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