With tin prices soaring on to their highest point since 2011 on a supply crunch, Stellar Resources’ (ASX:SRZ) decision to restart exploration at its Heemskirk project in Tasmania seems like a no-brainer.

The company was forced to put operations at the project on hold in October 2019 despite completing a scoping study demonstrating attractive economics due to the poor state of markets.

While Stellar then raised funds and turned to gold exploration, it is now in the final stages of planning an initial drill program aimed at identifying new areas of high-grade tin mineralisation.

The drill program targets depth extensions of four key historically mined silver-lead lodes in the highly mineralised Zeehan district.

These mines typically produced ore with silver grades between 20oz to 100oz per tonne from fissure veins ranging in widths from a few cm up to 2.7m that were mined over lengths of up to 300m, which are valuable exploration targets in their own right.

Key targets include the historical Oonah mine, the Montana No.1 mine, the Zeehan Western mine and the Zeehan Queen No.4 mine.

All four had substantial silver production with Stellar’s work defining an inferred resource of 0.59Mt grading 0.9 per cent tin, 0.8 per cent copper with lead and zinc under the historical workings.

A deep drilling program targeting depth extensions of the Severn tin resource is also under review by the company.

The Severn resource has been drilled to a depth of about 500m below surface and remains open at depth, where it is hoped that mineralisation will continue and increase in grade towards the underlying granite contact.

Other tin plays

Stellar is not the only Australian junior that has been motivated by high tin prices.

AVZ Minerals (ASX:AVZ) has just announced that a diamond drilling program at its Manono lithium and tin project in the Democratic Republic of Congo has returned strong results of up to 173m grading 1.63 per cent lithium oxide and 1,134 parts per million tin.

The results provide the company with further confidence about the thickness and tenor of the mineralised pegmatite on the Roche Dure pit floor.

Assays are pending from the final three holes in the nine-hole drill program.

Metals X (ASX:MLS) is already in production through its 50 per cent interest in Tasmania’s Renison Bell mine, which produced 2,000t of tin-in-concentrate in the December 2020 quarter.

It expects to produce between 8,200t and 8,500t of tin-in-concentrate during the 2021 financial year at an all-in sustaining cost of between $20,000/t to $21,000/t, which could deliver robust returns at the current tin price.

The company has flagged that it will start a scoping study into a thermal upgrade project that will examine the production of a low tin grade concentrate.

This will then be fed into a tin fumer to produce a high-grade tin fume product suitable for sale to conventional offtake.

Metals X expects this to produce a step change in recovery beyond that achieved by it metallurgical improvement program.

Also in Tasmania, Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS) holds the Mount Lindsay tin-tungsten deposit that has more then 80,000t of contained tin resources.

The company has a number of high grade targets with drill results to follow up including Big Wilson at 17.4m at 2 per cent tin.

Aus Tin Mining’s (ASX:ANW) Taroga project near Emmaville in northern NSW has a resource of 36.3Mt grading 0.16 per cent tin, 0.07 per cent copper and 3.8g/t silver.

Thomson Resources (ASX:TMZ) clearly has rising tin prices in mind, flagging that once it completes a six hole program at the Mallee Hen gold prospect, it will mobilise the rig to the Bygoo tin project to carry out resource and extensional drilling.

Previous drilling had returned hits such as 35m at 2.1 per cent tin from a depth of 113m, 11m at 2.1 per cent tin from 38m and 10m at 2 per cent tin from 108m.

At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Thomson Resources is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.