Official March mine production data released by ’s mining ministry showed increases in output of most base and precious metals, with the exception of tin. March tin production was reported at 2,294 tonnes, down by 6.6% compared to the same month of 2011. First quarter tin-in-concentrate production amounted to 6,607 tonnes, 2.7% lower than in the same period of last year.

Production in the 2011 comparison period was already depressed as a result of a significant reduction in ore treatment volumes at that time at ’s San Rafael mine, the country’s sole tin operation, due to temporary limitations on tailings disposal. ITRI understands that the current low production levels are a result of difficulties in controlling dilution in the narrow veins that are being mined currently as reserves are gradually depleted. As a result production has been a little below the original targeted 2012 annual rate of 29,500 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate.