Latest official customs statistics released by yesterday showed that the country’s ore and concentrate imports from hit a new monthly record level of 43,531 tonnes (gross weight) in December 2015. Annual imports from Myanmar last year amounted to 285,593 tonnes, accounting for 98% of China’s total ore imports and up by 65% on 2014.

China estimates that the tin content of Myanmar ore imported by China in 2015 was some 41,000 tonnes, mainly from county, near the border with China’s province. In the second half of last year we understand that volumes were boosted by shipments of unprocessed ore grading 7 – 8% tin from a new mine site in Wa. This has offset a decline in production from the original production area which has been extensively exploited in the last two years. Supplies to China from Wa have also been supplemented by small quantities of higher grade (40% tin) concentrate from the south of Myanmar.

Shipments are expected to be much lower in January and February, as most mines in Wa have already stopped production ahead of the forthcoming Chinese Spring Festival holiday.