Wednesday , February 28 2024

Lithium manufacturing capacity rises

Technology metals mining and exploration company Andrada anticipates completion of its lithium bulk-testing pilot facility in June this year, the London Aim-quoted company said on Monday, March 20, when it provided fourth-quarter and 12 months to February 28 production updates for its Uis tin, lithium and tantalum mine in Namibia.

Completion of the bulk testing pilot facility will enable Andrada, formerly AfriTin, to expedite lithium production, the company, headed by CEO Anthony Viljoen, stated.

A process that could produce a lithium concentrate suitable for buyers’ specifications in industrial and battery feedstock markets has been identified through metallurgical test work done by independent Geolabs Global test facility in South Africa.

Drilling to investigate the visible spodumene mineralisation began in January and mapping of drill targets has been finalised, with a detailed exploration update scheduled for release in June.

Andrada is exploring several options for achieving early lithium revenues in the second half of the 2023 calendar year, including concentrate production from the bulk pilot plant.

Lithium’s use in batteries for electric vehicles and large stationary storage applications is driving growth.

Most tantalum growth is expected to arise from chemical applications and tantalum mill products, while capacitors remain the most significant current application, and tin is being researched for potential use in newer technologies, including lithium-ion batteries, smart home devices, electric vehicles, and the 5G network.

The target of Andrada, named after Brazilian mineralogist Professor José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, is to fast-track lithium production as it expands its footprint in Namibia, where mining accounts for 25% of national income.

In the 12 months, the company produced 19% more tin concentrate to 960 t and 18% more contained tin to 586 t. In the final quarter, production of 361 t of tin concentrate, containing 214 t of tin metal, was achieved at the lowest quarterly all-in sustaining costs (AISC) of $18 236/t. Full-year AISC fell by 9% to $24 939/t year-on-year.

Cash balance at the end of February 2023 increased by 16% to £8.6-million.

Being guided is tin concentrate production of between 1 400 t and 1 500 t, an expected increase of between 45% and 56%, on the plant expansion ramp-up.

Viljoen said, “The recently commenced drilling programmes on adjacent licence areas are designed to confirm our belief that the Erongo region is one of the emerging tech-metals provinces globally.”

By: Michael Mondoloka

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