Africa-focused Alphamin Resources (TSX-V: AFM) has begun commissioning its Bisie tin mine in North Kivu, a remote province in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Mauritius-based miner kicked off construction at Bisie, considered one of the world’s highest-grade known tin deposits, in 2017. At the time, an updated feasibility study projected that the mine could produce 152,300 tonnes of tin over its 12-year life for an initial $126.1 million. It also estimated that Bisie would achieve payback in 17 months.
Construction of the mine, which is surrounded by dense forest, deeply weathered soils and high rainfall, was completed in the first quarter of 2019.
Alphamin said it remains on track to achieve commercial production in the second half the year.
Consumption of the metal increased by 2.5% in 2018, compared to 2017. This year, the International Tin Association (ITA) estimates that global demand will contract by 1%, with a usage forecast of 357,000 tonnes for 2019. The industry group also expects a tin production surplus for the first time since 2013.
Over the longer term, tin demand is expected to continue rising as the metal becomes more integrated into various areas of higher-tech production methods related to high-capacity anode electrode materials. Due to increased demand from electric vehicle makers, global consumption could jump by an additional 60,000 tonnes a year by 2030.