Namibian tin miner, AfriTin, has reported a 79% month-on-month rise in tin concentrate production for July 2020 at its flagship operation Uis mine. This brings concentrate production to its highest monthly level to date. Plant performance has improved on several operating measures with availability, utilisation and throughput all achieving monthly highs for the year. Additionally, AfriTin has confirmed a 12-month renewal of its 100% offtake agreement with Thai refined tin producer, Thaisarco.
The production ramp-up at Uis, planned for H1 2020, was disrupted by operational challenges as a result of COVID-19. Due to Namibian government restrictions, mining was suspended between late March and early June 2020, however, processing was permitted to continue. Throughout the first ramp-up phase, AfriTin is targeting monthly production of 60t of tin concentrate, with July’s production figures representing a milestone by exceeding 50% of this target. AfriTin has three further ramp-up stages planned, with targeted annual tin concentrate production at 5ktpy.
AfriTin was one of several tin producers forced to suspend operations, with governments imposing restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Most operations have now returned to production in addition to AfriTin, with major primary and refined tin producers Minsur, Malaysia Smelting Corporation and Mineração Taboca all resuming operations in Q2 2020.
Tin prices have continued to rally after rising throughout much of Q2 2020. In late July 2020, LME cash prices breached US$18,000/t for the first time since July 2019, marking a 1-year peak. However, with the threat of a second wave of COVID-19 materialising across Europe and North America, and uncertainties over refined tin demand set to remain throughout the second half of 2020, prices may be at risk.
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