Alphamin Resources (TSXV: AFM), which produces about 4% of the world’s tin from its Mpama North mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, achieved a record production of 2,898 tonnes during the fourth quarter of 2020.
This represents a 13% improvement from the previous quarter and exceeded the company’s market guidance of 2,600 to 2,800 tonnes.
According to Alphamin, the outperformance was due to better than expected tin feed grades and plant recoveries. The processing plant performed at an average recovery of 74% for the quarter, including a record recovery of 77% achieved in December 2020.
However, quarterly sales decreased by 14% due to extreme seasonal rains impacting export road conditions. Weather stations across the export route reported rainfall above 159% of the long-term mean.
“The short dry-season (January-March) allows road maintenance to be done and already road conditions are improving, and we expect to recoup the majority of the quarter’s sales shortfall during Q1 2021,” the company said in a media release.
In the short term, Alphamin plans to increase annualized contained tin production from the current level of 11,000 tonnes to 13,000 tonnes. This increase is expected from July 2021 following the commissioning of the fine tin recovery plant, which is 70% complete, and a planned increase of 5%-10% in processed ore volumes.
On this basis, the company expects contained tin production of 5,500 tonnes in H1 2021, then increasing to 6,500 tonnes in H2 2021, which would achieve its annualized production goal of 13,000 tonnes thereafter.
Meanwhile, Alphamin has planned two drilling campaigns at the adjacent Mpama South deposit, the first of which would lead to a maiden mineral resource estimate during Q2 2021.