Towards the end of the last century, Russia was a significant producer of tin concentrates, supplying both domestic and foreign smelters. However, output fell below 400 tonnes in 2009 and struggled to improve for some time.
However, the Russian tin mining industry now appears to be in the midst of a revival, led by tin miner PJSC Rusolovo.
Having grown from producing just 117 tonnes of tin concentrate in 2012, Rusolovo is now a significant tin producer. The company’s recent report indicates that it produced more than 2,500 tonnes of tin in 2020.
While much of the world has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the isolated tin mines of PJSC Rusolovo have been steadily pumping out concentrate. The two mines, Pravourmiyskoye and Festivalnoye, are both located in the far reaches of the Russian Khabarovsk region. In previous years, both mines operated on a campaign basis, with the isolated location and weather preventing mining during the coldest parts of the year.
However, the mines switched to continuous operations at the end of 2018, which saw output from the two mines increase by 12% between 2019 and 2020 to 2,538 tonnes of contained tin. On top of this, the company also produced 72 tonnes of tungsten in concentrate and 600 tonnes of copper concentrate.
This year, Rusolovo plans to increase production further. The Solnechnaya processing plant, which currently concentrates ore from the Festivalnoye mine, is undergoing modernisation. This work would increase its capacity from 260 thousand tonnes of ore per year to more than 400 thousand tonnes.
On top of this, Rusolovo’s parent company, Seligdar, has recently signed an agreement with the government of the Chukotka autonomous area of Russia for the social and economic development of Chukotka. This area of the Russian Far East is home to the Pyrkakay deposit, which – according to the State Register of Mineral Reserves of the Russian Federation – holds some 267,000 tonnes of tin. Seligdar is reportedly looking to progress the project, which will be operated by Rusolovo, in the next few years.
Our view: In 2019, Festivalnoye produced 863 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate, 38% of the company’s annual output. 2020 saw the deposit overtake Pravourmiyskoye as Rusolovo’s largest tin mining operation, producing 1,338 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate compared to Pravourmiyskoye’s 1,200 tonnes. Based on current production, ITA estimates that the increased throughput at Solnechnaya could increase annual concentrate output by some 500 tonnes.