Wa State, Myanmar, has announced the suspension of its mining operations from 1st August 2023. ITA estimates this would represent about 10% of the world’s tin concentrate supply.

The document released on 15th April 2023 by the Wa State Central Economic Planning Commission said, “in order to protect the remaining mineral resources in Wa State in a timely manner, all mining and excavation of mineral resources are suspended until mature mining conditions are in place”. The document has since been confirmed by a United Wa State Army information official, as reported by Reuters.

Wa is a major tin mining district in Myanmar, and sources a significant portion of concentrate for China, the world’s largest refined tin producer. In 2022, almost two-thirds of China’s imported tin-in-concentrate came from Myanmar, totalling 48,000 tonnes. About 40,000 tonnes of this came from the country’s mine production, of which 70% is estimated to have come from Wa State. An additional 8,000 tonnes came from Wa government stockpiles during the record tin prices in early 2022.

Our View: This news had a significant impact on the market this morning, with the LME 3 Month price up +9% at the time of writing.

As stated in the document, the rationale for the move is to formalise mining, in which case we might expect some restriction of supply until this is achieved. Mines with existing licenses will have three months to adapt to the new requirements.

Local reports suggest there has been no immediate impact on tin concentrate supply. Further documents are becoming available and it is still unclear how and if these plans will be implemented.

ITA will continue to monitor developments closely.