The Chinese government’s five year plans for the period 2011-2015 are based on the assumption that growth in metals consumption in will slow considerably from the very strong rates of the last five years. This should be matched by a slower growth in production and a consolidation of ownership, with small groups of strong companies expected to dominate supply in most metals.

Metal Bulletin reports that the annual average growth rate in China’s apparent nonferrous metal consumption will halve between 2011- 2015, according to the 12th Five-Year Non-ferrous Industry Plan published by the government. The expected annual growth for the period will be only 7.4%, compared with an average annual growth rate of 15.5% between 2006 and 2010, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said.

The plan will contain the output growth rate of the “Top Ten” major non-ferrous metals at an average annual rate of 8%, compared with 13.7% in the 11th five-year period. The list includes copper, aluminium, lead, zinc, nickel, tin, antimony, magnesium, titanium and mercury. The government is pushing for consolidation of ownership, and expects output from the top 10 smelters in China to account for 90% of the country’s copper and aluminium output, and 60% of total lead and zinc output.

While the published version of the non-ferrous metals plan to does provide a targeted concentration ratio for tin, one does appear in the separate Industrial Transformation and Upgrading Plan (2011-2015) which was published recently. This states that the production rate of the top 5 companies in tin, rare earths, tungsten, antimony and molybdenum will be more than 80% by 2015. ITRI calculates that the top five refined tin producers in China accounted for 66% of national production in 2010, with alone having a 38% market share.