ITRI reports that nine of the top ten refined tin producers saw a fall in production in 2015, including all of the big four companies.
All Chinese companies in the top ten saw refined production fall in 2015. Despite the continuing increase in supply of tin ore and concentrates from Myanmar, domestic mine production and secondary refined tin production both faltered during the year due to low tin prices. Refined tin production is expected to fall further again this year following the announcement of a combined 17,000 t of production cuts by Chinese smelters in mid-January.
In Indonesia, PT Timah saw a 32% year-on-year increase in refined tin production to 14,261 t in the first half of 2015, but production fell 7.7% to 13,170 t in the latter half of the year, likely due to the introduction of new regulation on exports in August and lower tin prices. Refined tin production and exports from both PT Timah and the private Indonesian smelters continue to be restricted by delays to applications for export permits in early 2016 and this is expected to result in a further reduction in total refined tin production from the country this year.
In 2015 refined tin production by Minsur in Peru declined by 17% to 20,224 t, largely due to a fall in head grades from the San Rafael Mine to 2.05%, compared to 2.48% Sn in 2014. However, refined tin production from Minsur’s Brazilian operations rose 10% to 5,525 t in 2015. Minsur’s consolidated refined tin production is expected to increase in 2016, with company guidance of 20,000-21,000 t from San Rafael and 6,000-7,000 t of tin from the Pitinga mine in Brazil.
EM Vinto in Bolivia was the only company in the top ten to announce an increase in refined tin production last year; up 3.2% to 12,106 t. Production capacity at the company’s smelter was increased following commissioning of a new Ausmelt furnace in September. The company has anticipated production of 14,000 t of refined tin in 2016.