AfriTin Mining Limited (AIM: ATM), a mining company with a portfolio of near production tin assets in Namibia and South Africa, with its flagship asset, the Uis Tin Mine (“Uis”) in Namibia, is pleased to provide an update on the drilling programme designed to support the historical Mineral Resource estimate of the V1 and V2 pegmatites.
▪ Announcement of a maiden Measured, Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource estimate, prepared in accordance with JORC (2012), for the Uis Tin Mine of 71.54 million tonnes of ore at a grade of 0.134 % tin for 95,539 tonnes of contained tin;
▪ An Inferred Mineral Resource estimate of 71.54 million tonnes of ore at 85 ppm tantalum for 6,091 tonnes contained tantalum (spatially coincident, to the Tin Mineral Resource); and,
▪ An Inferred Mineral Resource estimate of 71.54 million tonnes of ore at 0.63 % Lithium Oxide for 450,265 tonnes contained lithium oxide (Li2O) (spatially coincident, to the Tin Mineral Resource)
Anthony Viljoen, CEO of AfriTin Mining Limited commented:
“Confirming the historical data at Uis has always been a crucial step in the progression and development of our flagship asset. The additional down dip drilling confirmed extension and thickening of the ore body at depth affirming our belief in the scale of this deposit and increasing the resource historically stated by SRK (1989) on the V1/V2 orebody. Furthermore, the scale of this resource, from 2 pegmatites, places the tin inventory as one of the biggest of its kind in the world and encourages further development of the additional outcropping pegmatites identified within our mining licence area, of which an excess of 100 pegmatite bodies have been identified.
The addition of tantalum and lithium to the estimate, further enhances the attractiveness of this globally significant asset and creates an exciting opportunity for other potential revenue streams. Assays of the historical resource didn’t typically capture other elements as there were no markets for these by-products at the time. However, with the advent of new technology and the battery metal boom, AfriTin has extended the inventory of potentially extractable metals at Uis to include tantalum and lithium.
Importantly, today’s results now provide us with the confidence to move our Phase 1 mining operation forward towards a large-scale Phase 2 operation.”
In Q4 2018, AfriTin initiated an exploration drilling programme aimed at validating the historical information disclosed for ISCOR by SRK in 1989. The validation was done through a JORC (2012)-compliant Mineral Resource estimate for the V1 and V2 pegmatites at the Company’s flagship Uis Project. The Company divided the exploration programme into two phases. The initial phase focussed on the drill holes required for the validation of the historical data, whereas the second phase focussed on exploring the down dip continuation of the V1 and V2 pegmatites, which had not been previously investigated.
The validation programme comprised 26 diamond drill holes (4,435.6 m) and was used to validate the historical data from 128 percussion drill holes (12,953.4 m) and 13 diamond drill holes (2,042.7 m) for which AfriTin has the assay data.
The completion of the validation drilling programme was announced on 20 May 2019. The Company is pleased to confirm that the results of the drilling programme successfully validated the historical exploration data generated by ISCOR in 1989, allowing for the incorporation of the existing 141 drill holes utilised in the estimation of the JORC (2012)-compliant Mineral Resources reported here.
The historical exploration data contained only information for tin. Ancillary elements were analysed during the confirmatory drilling campaign of which tantalum and lithium were identified as having by-product potential. Tantalum and lithium oxide have been estimated but are reported at a lower confidence level due to the smaller data set and the application of different estimation techniques.
The reported Mineral Resources are constrained by a Whittle-derived pit shell considering tin revenues exclusively. Potential by-product tantalum and lithium occurring within this tin pit shell are reported as Inferred Mineral Resources.
Mineral Resources were estimated for tin, lithium and tantalum contained within two pegmatite ore bodies referred to as the V1 and V2 pegmatites. The historical assays that had been acquired from the early ISCOR drilling (circa 1986) were compared to the new drilling, undertaken by AfriTin. This drilling was to assess and then ascertain that the two data sets are statistically, sufficiently similar to be jointly used for geostatistical analyses and Mineral Resource estimation.
The 141 holes drilled by ISCOR had been sampled and assayed for tin only, whereas the 26 AfriTin drill holes were sampled for tin, lithium and tantalum. Six of the deeper AfriTin holes testing the down dip continuity of mineralisation have been drilled and geologically logged but analytical data was not available at the time the Mineral Resource estimate was undertaken. The logged geology was utilised to define the geological model.
All samples were composited to 2 m intervals and used for geostatistical analyses and estimation. Sufficient tin composites (3 754) were available to provide robust block estimates permitting the tin Mineral Resource to be classified into Measured, Indicated and Inferred classes. Lithium and tantalum composites were lower in number (485), leading to a less robust estimate of these two elements resulting in an Inferred Mineral Resource classification.
All Mineral Resource estimates for tin, lithium and tantalum are spatially coincident with mineralisation confined to the pegmatites encountered. There has been significant extrapolation of grades, which has given rise to a large portion of the Mineral Resource, for all elements, being classified in the Inferred category. The choice of the grade estimation extrapolation parameters has been done in a way that ensures that the average of these extrapolated estimates is at a level similar to the global average grade for each element. Extrapolation has been guided by the geological model which is informed by the deeper down dip holes. The down dip drill holes have confirmed the continuation of the V1 and V2 pegmatite ore bodies at depth.