Latest China customs data released yesterday shows imports of tin ore and concentrates at 39,044 tonnes (gross weight) in June, of which 38,936 tonnes originated in Myanmar. The June total was down 4% on the previous month’s figure, but up by 58% compared to June 2015. In the first half of this year, tin ore and concentrate exports from Myanmar into China totalled 254,120 tonnes, up 88% on the same period of 2015, containing close to an estimated 30,000 tonnes of tin content.
It has also been reported that two mines in Myanmar’s southern Tanintharyi Region have been suspended by the local government. The Heinda and Bawapin mines had caused environmental damage and failed to follow mining regulations, with local communities accusing them of polluting the water supply and damaging farmland. However, the mines will both be able to reopen once they can prove they can abide by regulations; the Heinda mine has already reopened two of its four sites for a testing and monitoring period. The two mines account for only a very minor share of Myanmar’s tin production, the great majority of supply emanating from Wa County in the north east of the country.
ITRI View: Despite the relatively small reduction in tin ore exports to China in June we expect to see lower levels from now through to October as the rainy season impacts production and transport of material. Less than 5% of the country’s tin mine production takes place in the south of the country and as such the two mine suspensions will have a limited impact on overall exports.