According to its 2019 annual report, Yunnan Tin Co. () increased its profit last year despite lower refined tin production. The company plans to improve both in 2020.

YTC final audited numbers show that it produced 72,600 tonnes of refined tin in 2019, along with 229,200 tonnes of other non-ferrous metals including copper, zinc and lead. Tin production was down from 2018 levels, when the company production some 77,000 tonnes.

Revenue last year was almost 43 billion yuan (~US$ 6 billion; ~£4.95 billion), up 8.3% year-on-year (YoY). Operating profit also increased by 1.2% to 1.36 billion yuan (~US$ 192.3 million; ~£156.5 million). This is particularly impressive considering prices for base metals fell during 2019.

During 2019, YTC invested 193 million yuan into exploration, adding 27,500 tonnes of tin metal to its extensive reserves. As of 31 December 2019, the company had over 700,000 tonnes of tin metal in its known reserves.

In 2020, the company plans to produce 76,500 tonnes of refined tin, a 5% increase YoY. According to internal targets, this could see revenue rise to 43.5 billion yuan, although this does not represent the company’s earnings forecast for 2020.

The company also aims to finish its smelter relocation project, which was first announced in 2013. The project will add an additional 20,000 tonnes to YTC’s annual smelting capacity.

Our view: Against the backdrop of coronavirus-related economic downturn and falling demand for base metals, 2020 will likely be a difficult year for ’s biggest tin producer. However, YTC may reclaim the position of largest global tin producer if PT Timah cuts production this year in response to COVID-19.