PT TIMAH, the Indonesian state-run tin producer, has released its most recent quarterly statistics, detailing results for the first nine months of the year. Refined tin production in Q3 has seen a quarter-on-quarter increase of 27%, up to 8,898 tonnes, despite being down 7% year-on-year over the nine-month period.
Tin ore output in Q3 built on the positive Q2 results, with results over the nine-month period rising 8% year-on-year, up 18% from Q2. The company attributed the stronger output to investment into various tin mining technologies, both onshore and offshore. The company is also investing in construction of an Ausmelt tin smelter, which commenced in October, and a tin fuming plant. Both are targeted for completion by 2020.
The tin content of PT TIMAH’s tin ore and slag inventories has increased this year, up 46% and 5% quarter-on-quarter to 4,625 tonnes and 11,039 tonnes, respectively. Refined tin stocks were up 14% year-on-year to 4,546 tonnes, representing a quarter-on-quarter increase of 40%.
Our View: Weak production in the first half of 2018 can be primarily attributed to export license and quota issues as well as seasonal low production during the wet season. However, there were no such issues in Q3 translating to a strong increase in tin production. Since 16 October, the ICDX has banned transactions of tin with origins verified by PT Surveyor Indonesia. While Indonesian private smelters were all affected by this issue, PT TIMAH uses a different verifier and has been able to continue exporting tin. We anticipate Q4 production reported by the company will remain strong, particularly as the company is likely to be benefit from the decreased competition for raw materials.