Leaders of Wa State have authorised a partial resumption of mining in the area from 3rd January 2024, although most tin mines will remain closed for now. A mining ban came into force on 1st August 2023. 

According to a document seen by ITA, on 28th December 2023 the Wa State Central Planning Committee (EPC) announced that most mining can resume in Wa State, with the notable exception of the Man Maw mine area, which accounts for almost all tin production in the autonomous region of Myanmar. 

This announcement comes almost one month after on 1st December 2023, investors in the Man Maw tin mine area submitted an application to leaders in Wa State, stating financial difficulties and hoping to restart mining soon. 

On 4th December, the Wa State Mineral Industry Administration held a meeting with investors in mines and processing plants in the Man Maw mine area. Discussions led to a successful vote to send a mine management proposal to the Wa State Central Committee for further review, which has not yet provided an update on the full proposal. 

Processing of surface ore stockpiles has been allowed since September 2023, subject to a 30% tax-in-kind to the EPC, although these are now reported to be mostly exhausted.

The new announcement reaffirms that ownership of all mineral rights now belongs to the EPC. Investors must first apply for a Mineral Exploration Permit from the Bureau of Industry and Mining, before applying for a Mineral Mining Licence to enable the resumption of mining operations. New mining licences will be valid for a maximum of ten years, while Exploration Permits are valid for three years with the option to extend the permit for a further two years. 

Our view: Optimistic forecasts estimate that tin mining in Man Maw may eventually resume after the Spring Festival in February. However, whilst progress on lifting the suspension is promising, significant obstacles remain. There are intensifying civil conflicts in neighbouring Shan State, ongoing crackdowns on telecommunications scams, and the time required to remobilise mining workforces and restart mining operations. 

SHFE stocks of refined tin have declined from a 2023 peak of 9,700 t on 12th May to 6,300 t on 29th December, although refined tin imports have increased. Even if the tin mining suspension is lifted as soon as local traders suggest, 2024 Q1 may bring some China supply tightness.