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Renison Tin Mine is the largest operating tin mine in Australia. It has an annual production capacity of 680,000t of tin per annum.
The tin project is expected to have an underground ore inventory of two years along with a reserve base of five years. The produced tin concentrates will be shipped through Port of Burnie and sold mainly to Malaysia.
Metals X and Yunnan Tin Group own the mine through a 50/50 joint venture called Bluestone Mines Tasmania Joint Venture.
Renison Mine expansion
The Renison Expansion Project (Rentails) is currently in progress near the mine site. It will involve installation of the latest technology and tin fuming. The feasibility study for the expansion project was conducted in 2009.
The project is aimed at recovering tin from around 19 million tonnes of tailing deposits from the historic ore processing at Renison Mine.
Location and history of Renison Tin Mine
Renison Tin Mine was first discovered in 1890 by George Renison Bell. It is located 15km northeast of Zeehan on the west coast of Tasmania.
The mine was operated under the name Renison Goldfields Consolidated (RGC) during the 1970s and was sold to Murchison United in 1998.
The ownership of the mine was transferred from Murchison United to Bluestone Tin in 2004. Bluestone Tin paused the mining at Renison until 2008 due to higher maintenance costs and lower tin prices.
Bluestone Tin was renamed as Metals X Limited, and resumed mining at Renison in 2008 with the first production commencing in August 2008. Metals X sold 50% of the Tasmanian assets, including Renison Tin Mine, to Yunnan Tin Group of China in 2009 and formed the Bluestone Mines Tasmania Joint Venture.
Renison Mine geology, reserves and mineralisation
The Tasmanian region is covered by Palaeozoic sedimentary and volcanic sequences of Dundas Trough in between the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian rock blocks.
The mineralisation is of the mid-late Devonian era. Tin-bearing Devonian granitoids are densely located in the Duncan trough. Devonian Pine Hill Granite, the key area, is situated 1,000m below the surface.
There are three shallow sulphide bands containing dolomite, which form the main mineralisation zone. The Federal Bassett Fault contains siliceous ores with mineral deposits of quartz, arsenopyrite, pyrrhotite and ilmenite bismuth.
There are estimated to be four million tonnes of tin reserves in total at Renison Mine.
Mining and processing of tin at Renison Mine
Renison Tin Mine started production in 1968, and has produced around 23 million tonnes to date. The processing plant has a total capacity of 700,000t per annum.
The processing of tin ore includes a three stage crushing along with primary grind, copper flotation and cassiterite flotation in addition to concentration.
The tin ore is subjected to fine grinding, magnetic separation, and tin flotation processes. Tin is recovered using LIMS and WHIMS magnetic separation methods. Conventional ball milling using steel media is used to grind the ore.
Gravity tailings are ground to minimise the cassiterite content. Magnetic separation, acid leaching and enhanced gravity separation are performed to enhance the tin flotation feed.
Cassiterite minerals are separated from the hematite using a concentrate cutter. C2000 Falcon centrifugal concentrators in operation at the plant are capable of recovering concentrate particles at a rate of 60t per hour.
Gravity testing is conducted at the laboratory facility at the mine. Minerals are crushed and ground before being subjected to super panning at the laboratory.
Tin production at Renison
Metals X commenced underground mining in 2008 and the tin concentrator was commissioned in 2009. The mine produced 6,266t of tin during 2009-10, 5,000t during 2011-12 and 7,500t during 2012-13.
Contractors involved with Renison Mine’s development
MacMahon had the mining contract at Renison Tin Mine until March. The scope of the contract included underground production, development works and maintenance of mobile plant assets.
Barminco was awarded a three-year contract for mining development and production in April.
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