Minsur’s consolidated results for Q4 reveal that total tin-in-concentrate production from the Pitinga mine in Brazil, operated by its subsidiary, Taboca, rose 2% to 5,744 tonnes in 2015. In addition, refined tin production from Taboca’s Pirapora smelter rose 10% to 5,525 tonnes.
A higher tin recovery of 53% resulted in the rise in Pitinga mine production, despite a 4% lower volume of ore treated and a negligible 2% fall in average tin grade. The reduced volume of ore treated was a result of power problems at the mines dedicated hydroelectric plants in August 2015, which has led to reliance on diesel generators whilst repairs to the plant are made. This impacted on Q4 mined tin production, which fell 14% to 1,314 tonnes compared to the same period of 2014.
In order to offset the negative impact of energy constraints at the mine, a drawdown of tin concentrate stocks and processing of tin slags was undertaken at the Pirapora smelter. As a result, refined tin production remained broadly stable at 1,406 tonnes in Q4 2015, compared to Q4 2014.
Net-of-by-product cash costs fell 16% from US$17,910/t Sn in 2014 to $15,130/t Sn last year. This was a result of cost-saving initiatives and a weaker Brazilian real, but was partially offset by the higher cost of running diesel generators and a 20% fall in production of NbTa alloy during the year, which reduced by-product revenues.
ITRI View – The Brazilian results mean Minsur saw total production of 25,729 tonnes of refined tin in 2015, when combined with the company’s Peruvian production. The 5,525 tonnes of refined tin produced by Minsur’s Brazilian operations falls within the company’s guidance for 2015 of 5,000 to 6,000 tonnes and also represents a new record for Pitinga since its acquisition in 2008. For 2016, Minsur announced refined tin production guidance earlier today of 20,000 to 21,000 tonnes from San Rafael and 6,000 to 7,000 tonnes from Pitinga.