Over a month ago, I stood in Penang, Malaysia, addressing our global tin conference. Our bi-annual event brings together key players in the sector to reconnect, share experiences, and collaborate on solutions to support a sustainable and resilient tin industry  

I still find it staggering to think how important tin is for the future; often, when I say what I do, most people think of tin cans for food, yet not enough people realise that tin acts like a ‘glue’ linking all electronics. From the mobile device in your hand, the laptop you rely on daily for your work, and that Artificial Intelligence (AI) program you co-create with. Tin plays an essential role in our everyday lives and the future of the energy transition. Its uses are endless. And our future would be challenged without it – tin the “forgotten metal”.  

So when people ask me – why do you choose to work in this sector? I tell them because I hope I can play a role, as CEO of the International Tin Association (ITA), to ensure that tin plays its critical purpose in enabling progress and that our industry can do so in a way that is sustainable. 

While tin is critical, the industry is at a turning point. From challenges due to geopolitics, or sustainability or much needed investment. We have a bright future, but only with concerted action and collaboration.  

This is where ITA comes in to play a leadership role. I am incredibly proud to lead the team at ITA and support the industry’s efforts to drive progress, drawing on our expertise in sustainability, markets and technology. And our collective vision for the industry.  

As the sole organisation dedicated to supporting the tin industry, we are uniquely positioned and committed to providing leadership. 

Securing a sustainable future 

At ITA, we believe a sustainable future is one where the tin industry operates in a way that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) demands are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and in a way that is sustainable.  

Where mining, processing, smelting and recycling of tin is done with care. Where we not only reduce our impact on local communities and the environment but generate local economic benefits too.  

To achieve these ambitions—which we fully believe we can—involves supporting our members in long-term sustainable production across mining and recycling, and respectful local stakeholder engagement. It also involves investing in new technologies, enhancing the sustainability of our supply chains, recycling tin to reduce demand for new resources, and bringing transparency to ensure confidence in our industry.  

For many years, we have been at the forefront of developing and driving progress through global standards for the tin industry. Our Tin Code and Assurance system have evolved into crucial tools for the industry, demonstrating our collective commitment to continuous improvement and transparency. 

We have ambitious goals, and will strive towards them through collaboration and innovation. 


A technology revolution 

The tin industry is at the forefront of significant technological advancements, with tin playing a vital role in various new technologies, from renewable energy systems to advanced electronics and AI chips.  

For instance, the rapid growth of electric vehicles relies heavily on tin for electronics, battery systems, wiring, and charging. Considering that nearly 40% of all cars produced will be fully electric by 2030, up from 18% today, this represents a significant increase. 

Another example is the metallic tin solder strips across the front of every solar panel. Tin is the crucial element that holds the modules together and helps conduct electricity to the grid. Tin use in solar panels has more than tripled in five years. 

On top of this is digitalisation, a third new driver for tin use, boosted by the growing use of AI.  

Technology advances will bring enormous opportunities for tin. Capturing these opportunities requires specialist knowledge, capabilities, and collaborations that are rare in the industry. 

At ITA we are ready to respond in these exciting times. We are already incredibly proud of our long legacy in tin research, and we are boosting our resources to help capture new ideas. We also aim to speed up investment in research and innovation to fully use tin’s unique properties.  

For instance, we are exploring the use of tin in energy storage solutions, which could revolutionise energy use, such as in sodium-ion batteries. 

These are all exciting developments.  

A wake-up to tin is needed 

However, like other sectors, the tin market is impacted by the economic and geopolitical turbulence we see in the world around us.  

We know climate change and digitalisation will strain vital resources, including tin. And a more divided world will see countries competing for vital resources including tin. On top of this, current investment constraints and capacity relocations will test supply resilience.  

At ITA, we are focusing on securing tin supply by raising awareness of the issues, building capacity and enhancing collaboration across the supply chain. We know this method is more effective than individual companies acting alone. 

As we face these challenges together, our Market Intelligence team continues to deliver valuable service to our industry. Our offices in the UK and China work closely together to engage, understand, and inform the industry about the ever-more complex market dynamics. 

And our team is actively leveraging cutting-edge data and AI technologies to enhance tools and visualisations, improving our collective insights. Our modelling is increasingly precise in forecasting supply and demand. We are now broadening our focus to strategic industry issues, including resource mapping.  

Thanks to input from our members, associates, and partners, our insights provide a clear understanding of past events and future trends, which we use to co-create our vision. 


Navigating the future 

I am often struck by the complexity of extractive industries and their challenges. And the tin industry is no different.  

I have always been collaborative by nature, and although I have been in this role for over two years, there is still so much to learn. Yet I instinctively know collaboration is the key to unlocking tin’s full potential. The challenges we face as an industry are complex and interconnected, requiring a united effort. And again, that is where ITA comes in. It is how we developed TIN2030 – a Vision for Tin, and how we focus our efforts on those findings. 

And although the world can be very polarised, as an association, we have a role to play to keep our industry and its stakeholders connected for the long-term . This also gives us a unique insight. And that is why it’s important that there are bodies like ours. Our role is critical to ensure the industry remains sustainable and tin can play its part in securing a positive future for society.  


Helen Prins

CEO, International Tin Association


TIN2030 Report

Chairman’s Speech

Tin Code