Revival of tin mining in South Africa


Revival of tin mining in South Africa


Although no tin is currently mined in South Africa, a fast recovery is forecasted. The first mining project will recover the metal from the old Zaaiplaats tin tailings dump, and the generated cash will be used to build opencast mines in an area where tin forms the uppermost layer of the northern Bushveld Complex, dubbed as a mineral treasure.


It has been estimated that 2,600 t and 4,500 t of tin in the historic site, left after Zaaiplaats was removed from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the 90s.


Bushveld Minerals is expecting to start the mining of tin from the cassiterite material lying on surface.


Bushveld Minerals CEO Fortune Mojapelo said that the company expects to turn the dump to positive account “fairly quickly and without having to spend a lot of money”.


According to the firm, a capital expenditure of $1.5 million to $3 million will be necessary to bring the asset into production over a period of 1-1.5 years, following the acquirement of water-use permits from the regulatory authorities.


The acquisition of the Zaaiplaats dump is conditional on the result of its technical assessment, which Bushveld Minerals must complete by May 20 of this year.


From the financial perspective, the deal is subject to a new funding arrangement that Bushveld Minerals has made with capital provider Darwin Strategic, thereby creating hundreds of engineering job opportunities in mining.


Mojapelo stated: “We will look at strategic partnerships, particularly where they can help us to scale up our operations to build up an African tin portfolio.”


Bushveld Minerals has identified five tin targets in its licence area, with the aim to recycle the dump between 6 000 t of contained tin in coarse granite at Groenfontein and 12 500 t of contained tin at Zaaiplaats.


The firm expects the primary deposits to be turned into open pit quarry-type mines for collective development in the near future, four to five years.


Concurrently, exploration will continue at the Marble Hall project, a separate licence area that has another 18 000 t of contained tin close to surface.


All the identified tin sites are being studied by Bushveld Minerals, according to which there is significant potential, particularly for the low-grade material that it is targeting.


Photo Source: Guardian