2023 saw global refined tin production of 370,100 t, representing a decline of 2.1% from 2022. Approximately 59% of this tin originated from just ten leading smelters, whose collective output increased by 856 t.

The top two producers remain unchanged, with Yunnan Tin maintaining its position as the world’s largest producer of refined tin, and Minsur kept second place. A challenging year at PT Timah resulted in a 23% decline in production, whilst growth at Malaysia Smelting Corporation saw the companies switch positions.

2023 saw moderate production growth from Chinese producers Yunnan Chengfeng and Guangxi China Tin, who held onto third and sixth positions respectively. This growth was offset by declines at similarly-sized producers Jiangxi New Nanshan and EM Vinto, which traded places. European secondary producer Aurubis Beerse saw growth, climbing one spot to ninth, while a decline at the Thailand Smelting & Refining Company (Thaisarco) pushed the company to tenth place, completing the Top 10.

Total production in mainland China declined 1.3% to 177,000 t in 2023. A partial resumption of mineral processing and sales of government stockpiles in the autonomous Wa State of Myanmar, which suspended mining operations from 1st August 2023, maintained some level of shipments to China. Myanmar tin concentrate shipments to China decreased 15% year-on-year, while shipments from other countries increased by 5% over the same period.

Global secondary supply increased by 7.5% in 2023, recovering from a 6.6% decline the previous year. Growth in secondary refined tin production was split evenly between Europe and China.

Our view: Alongside a difficult macroeconomic climate impacting demand, a decline in global tin production yielded a market surplus of 9,700 t. An expected recovery in demand and ongoing supply disruptions especially in Wa State and Indonesia may bring supply tightness in 2024. We anticipate a reversal of the significant stocking seen in 2023.

Yunnan Tin, Minsur, Malaysia Smelting Corporation, PT Timah, Aurubis Beerse, and Thailand Smelting & Refining Company are members of the International Tin Association. Yunnan Chengfeng, Guangxi China Tin, and Jiangxi New Nanshan are Associate Companies reporting data to International Tin China.