Minsur’s consolidated results, released last week, report that tin output from the Pitinga mine in Brazil rose by 2% year-on-year to 6,983 tonnes, a record high since the mine’s acquisition by Minsur in 2008.
The Pitinga mine in Brazil saw a 6% year-on-year increase in ore treated to 6.7 Mt in 2017, while average tin head grades remained stable at 0.20% Sn, boosting mine output. Refined tin produced at the Pirapora smelter in Brazil rose 12% to 6,582 tonnes. The company’s Brazilian operations are run by its local subsidiary, Taboca. Refined tin production by Minsur’s operations in Peru and Brazil totalled 24,615 tonnes last year, down 3% from 2016, but in line with official guidance.
The cash cost of tin production at Brazilian operations (net of by-product revenues) fell 17% to US$11,377 per tonne. This cost reduction was largely a result of higher Niobium and tantalum ferroalloy production, which rose 77% to 3,252 tonnes in 2017. This was due to the start-up of new and expanded processing and smelting facilities for the ferroalloys.
Minsur has provided official guidance for 2018 targeting 6,000 to 7,000 tonnes of refined tin production from operations in Brazil and 16,500 to 17,500 tonnes in Peru, or 22,500 – 24,500 tonnes overall.
Our View: The guidance for tin production anticipated for 2018 reflects a continuation of the long-running decline in head grades at the San Rafael mine in Peru as well as stabilising production from operations in Brazil following power disruptions in 2016. The company’s B2 tailings project in Peru, now in the execution phase, is targeting first production from late 2019, which would help offset declining output from Minsur’s existing operations.