The 2018 International Tin Conference in Budapest was successfully held last month, with over 200 delegates in attendance. The conference programme highlighted, in particular, the increasing focus on responsible tin sourcing, while assessing the outlook for tin supply and impact of new technologies.
During the conference, various views on responsible sourcing were expressed by a range of stakeholders across the tin supply chain. Supply chain due diligence emerged as a key theme, with the London Metal Exchange, European Commission, the International Tin Association (ITA) all outlining progress in developing and implementing new supply-chain standards and requirements for tin. Tin consumers present raised concerns about overlapping or unharmonized standards. Tin producers hope that the ITA Code of Conduct can address this concern by becoming the universal standard for responsible tin supply in the tin industry.
The growth of Electric Vehicles presents new opportunities for tin, with various potential uses in lithium-ion batteries and in the development of supporting infrastructure. However, innovation in the tin industry is also visible in mining and processing technology. Presentations outlined how optical ore sorting can successfully be applied to tin ore processing for hard-rock mines and that it has been adopted both by the San Rafael mine in Peru and Renison in Tasmania.
A number of tin exploration and development companies provided progress updates for projects in Australia, Canada, DR Congo and Morocco. Some existing producers outlined how they are working on new sources of tin supply, with Minsur developing its B2 tailings project and carrying out advanced exploration at a number of deposits proximal to the San Rafael mine. PT Timah is trialing both onshore and offshore borehole mining with plans to invest in this extraction method in the coming years. However, we continue to warn that global tin supply will likely be insufficient to meet rising demand in the years ahead without price increases.
Our next event will be our Asia Tin Week in Shenzhen, provisionally the 16-18th of September 2018. Further details of this will be released in due course.