While production at the Pitinga mine fell in Q3, tin output at the company’s Pirapora smelter rose by 7%.
Minsur released its consolidated Q3 results on Monday revealing that its Brazilian subsidiary, Taboca, saw a 21% year-on-year fall in Q3 tin production from its Pitinga mine to 1,173 tonnes in 2015. This was primarily due to restricted energy supply and production halts relating to the discovery of water leaks at the dam feeding the mine’s hydroelectric plant. Production in the first three quarters of the year rose by 8% to 4,430 tonnes.
The cash cost per tonne of treated ore at Pitinga fell 2% from Q3 2014 to Q3 2015 to 20.5 US$ per tonne of ore. The net of by-product credit cash cost fell by 12% over the same period to US$ 17,668 per tonne of tin, due to the devaluation of the Brazilian Real and cost efficiencies offsetting the higher cost of using diesel generators and a 25% lower volume of processed ore.
However, processing of tin from slag stockpiles at the company’s Pirapora smelter in Brazil has offset the decline in mine production at Pitinga, resulting in a 7% increase in refined tin production in the quarter compared to the same period of the previous year. The Brazilian results bring Minsur’s total Q3 refined tin production in 2015, including its Peruvian tin operation, to 5,628 tonnes.
The company has also announced a number of production increasing initiatives for its Brazilian operations. These include increasing the capacity of the crushing and concentration plant by 40%, doubling production from the Niobium Tantalum plant and adding up to 1,000 tonnes of annual refined tin production by processing slags at Pirapora. Minsur still expects total refined tin production for 2015 from Pitinga and Pirapora to fall within the 5,000 to 6,000 tonne range anticipated at the beginning of the year, despite the ongoing energy problem.