From the end of March, a number of fuming furnaces in the Chinese province of will be closed for environmental checks.

Fuming furnaces are a key part of smelting operations in . The furnaces process low grade raw materials, including slag, hard-head, and middlings into higher-grade dust particles.

Local contacts expect the environmental inspection team to arrive in Honghe prefecture, Yunnan in early April and stay for around one month.

Our view: On top of the fuming furnace closures, there has been another outbreak of COVID-19 in the border town of Ruili. 500-600 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate pass through the town from every month. The border has been closed since 31 March.

China has been struggling with raw materials shortages for some time. Recent news will likely add further pressure on smelters. Treatment charges for 40% Sn concentrate in Yunnan are reportedly 11,500 – 12,000 yuan/tonne, down 8% year-on-year. This is a significant 31% decline compared to 2019, when TCs were roughly 17,000 yuan/tonne.