Latest official customs data from China shows that tin ore and concentrate from Myanmar continues to flow in large volumes across the border between the two countries. June imports by China amounted to 24,632 tonnes gross weight, up by 55% compared to June last year. Cumulative imports in the first half of the year amounted to 135,179 tonnes, up by 78% year-on-year.
ITRI China estimates that the tin content of imports in January-June amounted to some 22,000 tonnes, although the total is believed by local sources to have been inflated by sales from local government stocks in April and June. Volumes are also reported to have been maintained at an unexpectedly high level in the last month because of the late start of the rainy season, which only began in early July.
Looking forward, seasonal factors should now lead to lower exports in the third quarter, but fourth quarter sales are difficult to predict: since last year ore processing capacity has been expanded and road conditions improved, but these factors may be offset by a reported depletion of near-surface open pit resources. ITRI is currently maintaining its Myanmar 2015 production forecast at 35,000 tonnes but will continue to monitor the situation and attempt to obtain more information on the geology and resource position of the new operations near the Chinese border.