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Andrada’s lithium and tin operation in Namibia is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week

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Andrada has ramped up production at its tin processing plant in Uis, Namibia. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Andrada’s lithium and tin operation in Namibia is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week

Andrada Mining is hitting all the high notes at Uis in the Erongo Region of Namibia.

By Leon Louw

Andrada (previously Afritin) has not only ramped up its tin operation beyond nameplate capacity over the last two quarters, but the company has also produced first lithium concentrate at its off-site pilot using bulk samples collected at the company’s Nai Nais licence, located close to Uis.

The company is investigating the metallurgical potential of the pegmatite occurrences on its license areas in and around the historical workings at Uis.

According to Anthony Viljoen, CEO of Andrada, potential offtakers have indicated that the lithium concentrate composition represents a desirable lithium product. The concentrate will be used to conduct test work with potential offtakers, including petalite conversion to lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.

According to an ASX announcement by Andrada, first bulk lithium concentrate produced from the off-site pilot test programme using dense medium separation (DMS), consisted of 0.5 tonnes of petalite. The 85% pure petalite concentrate assayed 4.16 % Li2O.

Viljoen says that the construction of an on-site lithium pilot plant is on schedule to be completed in June 2023, and that he expects the plant will be commissioned early in July 2023.

“The pilot plant will enable the company to expedite bulk pilot test work and increase pilot production of lithium concentrate,” says Viljoen.  

“This milestone follows the previously reported successful laboratory scale test work and we believe it moves us one step closer to full-scale lithium production.

“With the completion of the on-site pilot plant imminent, we intend to expedite bulk pilot test work on all our mineral licenses.

“Simultaneously, we plan to increase pilot-scale production of lithium concentrate for testing with potential offtakers to achieve initial lithium sales, says Viljoen.

Construction of on-site pilot plant  (Andrada’s lithium and tin in Namibia is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week)

The on-site lithium bulk-sampling pilot consists of a crushing, screening, DMS and a gravity separation circuit.

The pilot plant processing capacity will be 20 tonnes per hour with minimum annual production targeted at 2,400 tonnes and an upper annual production target of 10,000 tonnes.

It is intended that a pilot lithium flotation and sensor-based ore sorting circuit will be added in the near-future to provide additional optionality in the treatment of lithium ores.

Bulk ore sorting test campaigns by OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) using near – infrared sensor technology have demonstrated the potential for petalite to be preconcentrated at a relatively coarse top size of approximately 60 mm. This will provide Andrada with additional processing options for consideration for its planned lithium expansion.

Record levels of tin concentrate (Andrada’s lithium and tin in Namibia is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week)

In addtion to its successful expansion into the lithium space, Andrada’s tin operation produced record levels of tin concentrate in both Q4 and the financial year (FY2023) at its Uis Mine.

This comes after operating their expanded processing plant for the first uninterrupted quarter. With the upgraded plant allowing greater amounts of ore to be processed, along with improving tin recoveries, tin-in-concentrate production for the last quarter reached 214 tonnes, breaking the mine’s previous record by over 40%.

Despite a five-week shutdown of the plant in Q3 of 2022 when the processing plant was being upgraded, high levels of production throughout the year were able to make up for the losses.

Tin concentrate production during the financial year rose 19% year-on-year to 960 tonnes – containing some 586 tonnes of tin. The plant processing rate, as well as the feed grade and recovery rates, were all up year-on-year.

Andrada is currently conducting a drilling campaign on the mining license to validate historical drill information and increase confidence in overall tin resources at the Proximal Pegmatites.

The drill information will also provide greater detail on lithium and tantalum mineralisation. “We believe these economies of scale and the bringing online of lithium production, will rapidly enhance the value of this outstanding asset over the coming months, says Viljoen.

Leon Louw is the owner of WhyAfrica and the editor of the WhyAfrica magazine

Andrada’s lithium and tin operation in Namibia is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week

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Andrada’s lithium and tin operation in Namibia is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week

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