ITRI reports that four of the top ten refined tin producers saw output rise in 2016, while six saw a decline, including half of the top four companies. The data was reported directly to ITRI, with augmentation using published information.
Of the four Chinese companies included in the top 10 table, two saw production fall in 2016, one reported a large increase and the other a negligible increase. China’s mine and secondary refined tin production both fell last year, but this was more than offset by a 30% rise in the supply of tin in ore and concentrate from Myanmar. China’s refined tin production is expected to increase marginally this year; a recovery in mine output and secondary refined tin production should compensate for lower shipments from the Wa County mining district in Myanmar as grades fall and costs rise.
In Indonesia, PT Timah saw a 13.4% fall in refined tin production to 23,756 tonnes (unaudited) in 2016. Production was affected by lower raw material availability as a result of reduced mine output. In turn, this was driven by the low tin price and flooding on the island of Bangka in the early part of 2016. PT Timah has since raised the price they are willing to pay for ore, which incentivised mining in the latter part of the year and should continue to do so in 2017. Despite higher prices, Indonesian tin production continues to face pressure from depleting resources and falling tin grades. On balance we expect Indonesian tin output will remain broadly unchanged this year.
Refined tin production by Minsur in Peru contracted by 3.2% to 19,573 tonnes in 2016 as a result of the continuing natural decline in tin grades at the company’s San Rafael Mine, although this was somewhat offset by the commissioning of a new ore sorting plant last May. Also, Minsur’s Brazilian operations saw a 4.8% increase in refined tin production to 5,873t. Minsur’s total refined tin production should remain broadly stable in 2017, as a likely increase in Brazilian production from Brazil offsets any further decline in Peru.
The Bolivia state-owned smelter, Empresa Metalúrgica Vinto, saw official refined tin production rise 7.7% to 13,032 tonnes last year, short of the 14,000-tonne target announced in early 2016. It was reported locally that the target was missed due a drought in the latter part of the year that disrupted mining, particularly at the state-run Huanuni mine, therefore limiting the supply of tin concentrates to the smelter.
Update (15/2/2017): Minsur Peruvian production corrected to 19,573 tonnes from 19,583 tonnes following publication of Minsur’s Q4 results.
Update (28/3/2017): EM Vinto production corrected to 13,038 tonnes from 13,111 tonnes following publication of official government data