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The price of Tin is predicted to stay high due to Indonesia having ordered the closure of some illegal tin smelters in that country. At the time of Renison’s closure, Tin was about 8000 USD/t, now it’s over 10,000.

Collingwood mine is producing now, Renison is still closed. BTX are doing testwork using hydrocyclones to recover tin from historical tailings at Renison. The same technology could also be used to improve the recoveries of Tin assuming Renison is opened again.

Post the merger with MTX (Metals exploration) BTX will also own the Wingellina lateritic nickel deposit in the Musgrave of WA/SA. 20km of RC drilling and 15km of RAB drilling are ongoing at Wingellina. MTX is profitable and was trading on a PE of 10 before the merger. They have royalties over some of the Mount Keith nickel tenements (BHP) bringing in 5 or 6m per year (at a much lower nickel price than now). MTX was paying dividends before the merger. Wingellina is a world-class deposit containing 1.78Mt nickel and 109Kt Co (181.5 Mt @ 0.98% Ni and 0.06% Cobalt at 0.5% Ni cutoff). Some back of the envelope calculations will show that at the current nickel price of about 32,000 USD/t there’s about, well, quite a lot of value in the ground.

Lateritic nickel deposits are not all the same. Some (such as Wingellina) are amenable to an atmospheric heap-leach process as being used by European Nickel at Caldag in Turkey. This will hopefully avoid nightmares a la Minara/Anaconda nickel etc who used pressure acid leach (pressurised sulphuric acid at 225 centigrade anyone?). Of course, Wingellina is pretty remote, being situated on the WA/SA border, not far from the NT border. In addition to the nickel, some tantalising PGM hits were reported such as 4m @ 1.56g/t PGM (136-140m). Not economic in itself, but it was in the same zone as 50m @ 1.42% Ni & 0.06% Co (92-140m) and could therefore perhaps be co-mined. I emailed the company about the PGM and asked if they were going to re-analyse the samples from the earlier drilling programmes for PGM, but they replied that their focus is on Nickel for now. Presumably the current drilling will be routinely analysed for PGM though. Wingellina remains open along strike and it seems likely that there’s more to be found.

The managment (Peter’s Cook and Newton) is the same as Hill 50 Gold and Abelle Gold, both of which had tired assets that other companies had discarded (sorry, sold), were turned around and then taken over by majors at large premiums. They are canny mining entrepreneurs and heavily invested in the companies they manage.

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