Global Tin Market
Tin solder is the largest end-use sector now accounting for 48% of global demand. The demand for tin solder is driven by substitution for lead solder and growth in demand for consumer electronics. Lower growth in consumer electronics and thrifting have reduced solder’s market share from 54% at the peak in 2010 to 48% in 2014.
Lead-acid batteries, the fastest growing end-use, represented 7% of the market in 2014. Chemical uses are also growing rapidly rising to 16% in 2014.
Tinplate for food cans was the second largest end-use in 2010. However, greater growth in other sectors have reduced its market share to 15% in 2014.
China is now the largest consumer of tin due to rapid growth in electronics manufacturing – it accounts for 35% of the global market.
Global tin demand is 365,000 tonnes or $9 billion dollars at a long-term price of US$25,000 per tonne.
Primary tin production at 290,000 tonnes has failed to meet demand for several years with growth in secondary supply to 75,000 tonnes required to bridge the gap.
China and Indonesia are the largest primary producers of tin accounting for 67% of global production. Both countries are likely to face declining supply due to falling grade and rising costs. Other established producers in South America and Africa face similar issues.
Declining stocks suggest that secondary may not grow fast enough to meet demand growth and cover the loss of primary supply.
New production from the Heemskirk Tin Project and other proposed tin developments is required to help bridge the supply-demand gap in the future.
Rising London Metal Exchange tin prices reflect the need for new sources of supply.