Provisional data from the Brazilian tin association, Sindicato Nacional da Indústria da Extração do Estanho (SNIEE), reveals a 9.5% increase in tin mine output to 12,606 tonnes in 2016 compared to 2015, although refined tin production fell 1.6% to 11,663 tonnes over the same period.
Minsur’s Brazilian subsidiary, Taboca, remains the top producer of both tin ore and metal, with mine production of 6,864 tonnes and refined tin output of 5,873 tonnes, both accounting for just over 50% of the national total. White Solder was the second largest refined tin producer in the country, with output of 2,731 tonnes in 2016, while metal production by other smaller producers was estimated at 3,000 tonnes. Tin mine output of the Coopersanta and Coopermetal cooperatives totalled 1,743 tonnes, up 5.2% from 2015, while mine production by other parties was estimated at 4,000 tonnes in 2016.
Domestic sales of refined tin by producers rose 10.1% to 4,553 tonnes in 2016, while exports direct from producers fell 16% to 5,049 tonnes. Total official Brazilian exports of refined tin fell 12% to 7,104 tonnes.
ITRI View: Besides the impact of the low tin price in early 2016, Brazilian tin output appears to have been largely unaffected by political instability and currency value fluctuations last year. There are also positive signs for short and medium term increases to output. Official guidance for Taboca in 2017 is 6,500 to 7,500 tonnes of refined tin following the end to power disruptions at the mine and processing plant improvements. Also, in early 2017, TSX-listed Meridian Mining entered into a joint-venture with the Coopersanta and Coopermetal co-operatives and is now carrying out a drilling programme at the Bom Futuro Mine licenses in Rondônia. The outlook for production from these licenses is more positive as a result of this external investment.