Australian Tin Resources Pty Ltd

Ardlethan Tin Mine

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The Ardlethan Tin Mine is located approximately 500 km southwest† of Sydney, NSW† 5 km NW of Ardlethan township. It covers about 400 hectares on land wholly owned by† EOE (No 75) Pty Ltd (EOE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian Tin Resources Pty Ltd (ATR).

 

Excellent road and rail access is available within close proximity to the site.

 

ATR acquired EOE in July 2007 with the intention of re-opening the mine site to process approximately 7.0 million tonnes of tin tailings that remained after the previous mining activities.†

 

Mining at Ardlethan commenced in 1912. At first it was on a small scale, but between 1965 and 1986 Aberfoyle Resources NL  mined around 30 million tonnes of granite, initially from open cut operations and later from underground workings.

 

Of the approx 30 million tonnes mined, Aberfoyle processed about 9.0m tonnes of ore assaying 0.46% tin. The remaining† 21 million tonnes (approx) had a tin content below Aberfoyleís cut-off grade of 0.20% tin and were stockpiled in overburden waste dumps which surround the open cuts.

 

Mining operations ceased in 1986 due to the collapse of tin prices.

 

Advances in processing methods and increased current tin prices, created the catalyst for ATR to consider recommencing mining operations on site, initially by reprocessing the tailings and possibly also waste material stockpiled at the mine site to produce tin concentrate.

 

Additionally, the underground hard rock resource offers an attractive future opportunity in the longer term.

 

Total Resources

Tonnes
(million)

%Sn

Contained Tin

(tonnes)

Tailings *

10.7

0.20%

21,600

Waste Material *

21.3

0.09%

20,200

Hard Rock Underground **

5.5

0.45%

24,700

TOTAL

37.5

 

66,500

*†††† Source: Reynard Australia Pty Ltd Report, October 2011

**† Source: Ardlethan Information Brochure, Molina & Doran, May 1989


Tailings Reprocessing

Retreatment of the tailings from previous mining operations was the main driver for Australian Tin Resources deciding to acquire the Ardlethan tin mine.

 

In late 2016 Australian Tin Resources Pty Ltd (ATR) engaged Mineral Technologies, a subsidiary of Downer EDI to carry out bulk testing of tailings stockpiled on site to assess if it might be technically and economically viable for the tailings to be re-processed. The results of the bulk testing were encouraging and ATR subsequently commissioned Mineral Technologies to carry out an Early Works scoping study relating to the proposed design, supply and construction of a 15-30 tonnes per hour modular pilot plant on site. This study has now been completed and ATR is presently negotiating a commercial contract with Mineral Technologies for provision of the pilot plant.

 

It will take about six months for the plant to be designed, constructed and assembled on site after all regulatory approvals have been received. Before commencing the Pilot Plant test programme, ATR will lodge a Development Application (DA) with Council and prepare a new Mine Operating Plan for approval by the Department of Mineral Resources, to allow us to continue tailings re-processing beyond the 20,000 pilot plant testing program, subject to the pilot plant testing demonstrating that it is economically viable to do so. The DA application will likely be for a plant commencing with 30 tonne per hour capacity with provision for it to be scaled up to around 120 tonnes per hour capacity. This will provide around 10 years mining activity and more than 20 jobs when the tailings reprocessing operation is at full capacity. Preparation of the DA is presently underway.

Assuming all necessary approvals can be obtained it is likely that tin mining operations will commence in 2017.

 

 

Tailings

JORC Resource

 

Inferred Resources

Indicated Resources

Contained Tin (tonnes)

Tonnes

millions

% Tin

Tonnes

millions

% Tin

Main Tailings Dam

Pre 1964

Post 1964

 

1.94

 

0.30%

 

 

4.87

 

 

0.19%

 

5,800

9,000

Spring Valley Tailings Dam

Pre 1981

Post 1981

 

 

2.67

0.48

 

 

0.17%

0.14%

 

 

 

 

4,500

700

White Crystal Pit Tailings

0.76

0.15%

 

 

1,100

Sulphide Tailings Dam

0.03

1.53%

 

 

500

TOTAL TAILINGS

5.86

0.21%

4.87

0.19%

21,600


†††
Source: Reynard Australia Pty Ltd Report, October 2011

 Waste Stockpiles

 

The Ardlethan mine contains approximately 21.3 million tonnes of granite previously mined by Aberfoyle and now stored in waste dumps circling the open cuts. Processing the stockpiled waste material represents a potential option and is a comparatively low capital and operating costs option. Waste material boulders typically range in size from approx 30cm to 100cms in diameter and the waste dumps are readily accessible from existing mine haul roads.

 

ATR has obtained JORC certification of the waste material resources stockpiled at the mine site as summarized in the table below.

 


Waste Stockpile

JORC Resource

Inferred Resources

Indicated Resources

Contained Tin

(tonnes)

Tonnes

(million)

% Tin

Tonnes

(million)

% Tin

Main Waste Dump

Pre 1964

Post 1964

 

0.33

18.72

 

0.10%

0.09%

 

 

 

300

17,400

White Crystal

2.20

0.11%

 

 

2,500

TOTAL WASTE

21.25

0.09%

 

 

20,200

Source: Reynard Australia Pty Ltd Report, October 2011

Hard Rock Mining of Underground Resource

The table below summarises the hard rock mineral resources at the time of mine closure in August 1986. These resources consist of broken ore in stopes, remnants, pillars and resources inferred from drilling. Access would be via a decline just north of the main Ardwest / Wild Cherry Open Cut.

 

There is further potential deeper underground on the mine site and in surrounding environs. There are also some small deposits of known high grade ore at or near the surface.

Hard Rock Underground Resource

 

Inferred Resources

Indicated Resources

Contained Tin (tonnes)

Tonnes

(million)

% Tin

Tonnes

(million

% Tin

Measured

 

 

.05

0.51%

275

Indicated

 

 

.80

0.50%

3,980

Inferred

0.47

0.36%

 

 

1,670

Potential

- Black Reef /Champion

- Godfrey

- Keogh East

0.28

3.80

0.10

0.83%

0.42%

0.50%

 

 

2,325

15,950

500

TOTAL HARD ROCK

4.64

0.44%

0.85

0.50%

24,700

  Source - Ardlethan Information Brochure, Molina & Doran, May 1989.

 

 

 

Breaking News!

ATR is actively progressing its planned Rehabilitation and Tailings Reprocessing Project on the Ardlethan Tin Mine site. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was lodged with Coolamon Shire Council by EOE (No 75) Pty Ltd (ATRís wholly owned subsidiary) in late December 2016 and was placed on public exhibition by Council until 10 February 2017.† The public exhibition period has now closed.

A copy of the EIS can be viewed at Coolamon Shire Council, 55 Cowabbie Street, Coolamon,† or Ardlethan Post Office, 18 Yithan St, Ardlethan, or† Department of Planning and Environment, Level 22, 322 Pitt Street, Sydney.