SEATTLE (ITRI.CO.UK): Tin-in-concentrate production from the Renison tin mine in Tasmania totalled 1,703 tonnes in Q2, down 4.7% compared to the first quarter of 2017, primarily as a result of a scheduled processing plant shutdown, according to Metals X's latest quarterly report.
While falling on a quarter-on-quarter basis, production was up 48% compared to Q2 2016, largely due to the transition to owner-operator mining last year. Production over the first half of the year totaled 3,486 tonnes, up 23% from 2016, for mostly the same reason. Cash operating costs rose 8.6% to A$12,621 (~US 12,100) per tonne of tin produced compared to Q1, with the rise associated with lower production and costs associated with the planned mill shutdown. However, the ore grade mined rose to 1.33% from 1.28% last quarter.
In Q2 the company commenced earthworks for a new crushing and ore sorting facility at Renison with the project currently ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, underground development work has ramped up to prepare the mine for an additional 200,000 tonnes of annual ore production to feed into the new ore sorter, expected to be completed by April 2018. In addition, an updated DFS scenario was published for the nearby Rentails tailings project, which envisages annual production of 5,400 tonnes of tin and 2,200 tonnes of copper. The initial capital cost of the project has been estimated at A$205 million (US$156 M) with total capital costs of A$243 million (~US$185 M) over the projected 11-year life of the operation, at a break even tin price of US$14,000.
ITRI View: Renison produced 6,314 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate in 2016, but with better first half performance we expect to see an increase in total output to around 7,000 tonnes in 2017. Providing the implementation of the new ore sorting expansion is relatively smooth, annual production could reach 8,500 tonnes in the next couple of years. The Rentails tin tailing project presents even greater long-term potential for expanded production from the area, but its execution is less certain, as financing for the project has yet to be agreed.
Courtesy: www. itri.co.uk