China tin trade subdued in January
Latest official customs statistics released by China last week showed that the country’s tin ore and concentrate imports from Myanmar fell by 57% year-on-year to 31,359 tonnes (gross weight) in January, predominantly due an earlier Chinese Spring Festival holiday period than in recent years. Refined tin imports also fell 34% over the same period to 643 tonnes.
The top 10 global producers of refined tin showed a 2.4% reduction in aggregate production in 2016 to 218,165t according to the International Tin Research Institute (ITRI). Their share of the global market also declined marginally from 67% in 2015 to 65% in 2016. The top 4 Chinese producers account for just over 50% of top 10 production and managed a 1% increase in 2016 with the help of imports from Myanmar covering a decline in domestic raw material supply.
Stellar Resources Limited (ASX: SRZ, “Stellar” or the “Company”) is pleased to advise that it has completed an initial X-ray sorting test program using drill core from the Severn and Lower Queen Hill tin deposits.
TOMRA advised in its test report that sorting using a full size TOMRA COM XRT machine was “able to identify and separate high density tin bearing particles from waste. Different machine settings were used for each of the feed materials and both sets of samples showed significant amenability to upgrading the tin concentration.”
Indonesian tin exports in November amounted to 4,892 tonnes, some 25% lower than in the previous month, according to preliminary figures released by the trade ministry today. The cumulative tonnage for the first eleven months of the year is 57,508 tonnes, down by 18% compared to January-November 2015.
The latest figures are based on pre-shipment checks made by surveying companies and include a small quantity of tin solder, as well as refined metal ingots. They are consistent with the November trading volume on the ICDX, through which all refined tin export sales must be conducted, of 4,175 tonnes.
ITRI View: Activity on the ICDX was subdued in early November as a result of rule changes which required buyers to pay in full for purchases via the exchange clearing house, whereas previously cash settlements were made directly between buyers and sellers. However, volumes have since recovered and we believe that higher prices are resulting in increased small-scale mining activity. Our latest estimate of Indonesian refined tin production this year is 66,400t, up by 1,000t on 2015.
Mineral exploration spending remains weak in Tasmania, but Resources Minister Guy Barnett says confidence is returning to mining.Exploration spending fell slightly to $3.2 million in the September quarter, Australian Bureau of Statistics trend terms figures showed.
That took the annual spend to $12.9 million; well down on the $16.6 million spent in the year to the end of September 2015, and less than a third of the $39.2 million spent in the year to the end of September 2013. National spending increased by 1 per cent in the quarter, seasonally adjusted.
“Confidence is returning to the Tasmanian mining industry as world commodity prices recover and companies look to progress several exciting projects,” Mr Barnett said. He said there was an air of optimism at an Australian Mines and Metals Association gathering at Strahan on Friday.
He also visited Stellar Resources Limited, which hopes to mine tin near Zeehan.
“I was pleased to speak to the local mining industry about the Liberal government’s investment in strengthening our support of this critical sector, which employs about 3000 Tasmanians,” Mr Barnett said.
“The potential is enormous, and it is great to hear that the company will now be applying for a mining lease and setting out to gain all necessary approvals,” Mr Barnett said.
“Together with PYBAR’s work to restart Henty and MMG’s announced sale of the Avebury mine, there is more and more positive news in the industry.
“Most importantly, as we are seeing at Henty, and we hope at Avebury and at potential new mines such as Stellar, this is an industry that can create direct and indirect jobs for a great many Tasmanians.”
Source: Sean Ford, The Advocate Newspaper
Leading tin producers share positive industry outlook – ITRI Asian Tin Week
Monday, 28 November 2016
The heads of the world’s two largest producing tin mining companies, Yunnan Tin Group General Manager, Mr Li Gang, and PT Timah President Director, M. Riza Pahlevi Tabrani, responded positively to questions on price, demand and sustainability during the Leaders Discussion at the ITRI Asia Tin Summit in Shanghai last week. The panel was chaired by Deputy Bureau Chief of the Financial Times Beijing, Lucy Hornby, with Chief Sales Officer for Metallo Chimique, Inge Hofkens, and ITRI’s David Bishop and Peter Kettle also present as guest panellists.
The panel was generally bullish on the outlook for tin prices next year, although Mr Li commented that other input prices such as energy were also rising, putting upward pressure on YTC’s production costs. Mr Tabrani spoke about PT Timah’s plans for new processing facilities, mining vessels and development of borehole mining, which would help sustain production in the future. Inge Hofkens commented that as a secondary tin smelter, Metallo Chimique’s position was generally neutral on price, as the cost of scrap is benchmarked to the LME price. Both Li Gang and David Bishop expressed hopes for less volatility in the tin price moving forwards and a price level that is healthy for both producers and consumers.
The panel was generally optimistic about long term tin demand prospects, noting the potential from new energy applications and further electronics growth. It was noted that efficiency and recyclability were major drivers for new tin product development, with higher tin prices likely to encourage the development of new technologies for the recycling of tin.
When questioned about the impact of the tin industry on the environment, Mr Tabrani noted that PT Timah was committed to green mining and fully engaged with the development of the ITRI Code of Conduct, due to be implemented in 2017. Mr Li also expressed YTC’s strong support for the Code. The panel recognised that improving practices and reporting would incur additional cost, but that this could be offset by careful management of operating cost and efficiency improvements. Mr Li also stressed that it was important for leading tin companies to help small-scale miners by encouraging progressive improvement of their working practices.
In response to the rising tin price, investment bank UBS has issued a report to clients summarising the key supply and demand factors that drive tin prices.
Tuesday, 22 March 2016
Latest official customs statistics released by China yesterday showed that the country’s tin ore and concentrate imports from Myanmar totalled just 8,641 tonnes (gross weight) in February 2016, down 88% from 72,436 tonnes in January and down 53.0% year-on-year.
The February figure represents the lowest monthly total since September 2014. It is understood that the Chinese Spring Festival holiday was the main reason for the drop. However, the record high exports reported from Myanmar in January are believed to have almost entirely depleted warehouse stocks of tin ore and concentrate in the border port, which will have also contributed to the far lower levels of activity and exports in February.
ITRI View: A return to higher levels of production and transportation of tin ore has been seen in early March and it is expected that reported exports will rise to more normal levels. Allowing for the fact that production is now at a seasonal peak, the gross weight of shipments in March and April are likely to be in the order of 40,000 tonnes, or some 5,000 tpm contained tin. Volumes will then start to drop with the onset of the wet season.
ITRI’s markets manager Peter Kettle has addressed a special session of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto, saying that ITRI sees the storage, generation and conservation of energy as key drivers for new applications for the metal over the next 3 to 30 years.
While the current largest market for tin is lead-free solders, looking ahead it appears likely that the main growth area will be in energy-related applications. In the short term, the biggest growth has been in lead-acid batteries with global tin use in this application in 2014 estimated at some 26,000 tonnes, a little over 7% of total refined tin consumption. Despite the advent of competitive products, the lead-acid battery is still the cheapest and best way to store energy in massively growing markets such as electric vehicles, renewable energy and cloud storage backup.
Tin may have some new use in lithium-ion batteries as a nanotin product added into the carbon electrode. Although silicon has a higher charge capacity and currently features most prominently in the field, there is growing interest in tin with a demonstrated benefit of using both materials together. Tin also continues to be featured prominently in research on materials for next generation magnesium-ion and sodium-ion batteries.
Smaller, but potentially significant markets for tin include new generation, low cost, solar cell materials and thermoelectric materials – such as tin selenide – which convert waste heat into electricity and are frequently referenced in scientific publications. Other areas of interest that could be part of the future tin story are hydrogen fuel production, fuel cells and fuel catalysts that can greatly reduce emissions as well as boosting efficiency.
You can download the full press release here