New data from the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines indicates that production at Minsur’s San Rafael mine fell some 3% in November.
The monthly Mining Statistics Bulletin (Boletín Estadístico Minero in Spanish) details mine production for all minerals in the country. Included in this is the San Rafael mine, which belongs to the sole Peruvian tin producer, Minsur. According to the Bulletin, production of tin-in-concentrate at San Rafael (including the B2 Project) fell by 2.7% in November. Production in the month was 2,097 tonnes, down from 2,156 tonnes in October.
However, the report indicates that for 2020, tin production in Peru was up 0.6% compared to the January-November period of 2019. This was despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the Peruvian government to close all mines for a brief period in the middle of the year.
Output at San Rafael has recovered rapidly due to the B2 tailings reprocessing project. This project, which came online in late 2019, complements production from the main mine. This has boosted year-on-year comparisons between tin-in-concentrate production in 2020 and 2019.
In terms of exports, the Bulletin also shows a strong recovery from the pandemic. Refined tin exports in 2020 to October were up 1.4% compared to the same period in 2019. In total, roughly 15,900 tonnes of refined tin were exported in 2020 to October.
Our view: Past data from the Mining Statistics Bulletin indicates that the B2 project has benefitted Minsur’s recovery following the pandemic. Before it came online, production of tin-in-concentrate was some 200 tonnes lower than the average output in 2020, despite enforced closures. As such, we expect average production in 2021 show a slight year-on-year improvement again as Minsur experiences a less disrupted year.