Indonesian tin exports low in November

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.

Source: ITRI

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.

Confidence returning to mining in Tasmania

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.

HELPING HAND: Resources Minister Guy Barnett inspects core samples with Stellar Resources geologist and project manager Ray Hazeldene, at Zeehan.

HELPING HAND: Resources Minister Guy Barnett inspects core samples with Stellar Resources geologist and project manager Ray Hazeldene, at Zeehan.

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

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.

Source: ITRI

Myanmar tin ore exports plummet in February

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.

Source: ITRI

ITRI Highlights Growth Potential for Tin Energy Applications at PDAC

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



Stellar studies spur Heemskirk

In the February 2016 edition of Paydirt, Rhys Dickson reports that “Stellar Resources Ltd bucked the Tasmanian junior mining trend in 2015, steadfastly advancing its Heemskirk tin project.” He went on to say that “while a majority of its compatriots withdrew in the hope of better days to come, Stellar initiated a string of studies in a bid to increase Heemskirk’s appeal and to ultimately woo a JV partner for the project.”

The study of micro-structures in drill core by Teale and Associates combined with a report by IAMM Consulting on seismic data compiled by a previous explorer “not only confirmed Stellar’s suspicions that Heemskirk’s mineralisation persisted at depth, but provided the company a focus for resource drilling and future exploration.”

Rhys Dickson went on to say that “The last report to come across managing director Peter Blight’s desk in 2015 was by far the best” A PFS optimisation study bolstered Heemskirk’s NPV by 62% to $99 million, reduced its pre-production capital cost by 12.9% to $110 million and slashed its operating costs by 8.2% to $21,355/t tin.


Stellar has added significant value to Heemskirk via multiple studies over the past two years”

Managing director Peter Blight was quoted in the article saying “we still think there are opportunities to sharpen the pencil when we get into the DFS. There is quite a bit to look forward to once we get the DFS process going.




Tin Exports From Biggest Shipper to Shrink as Smelter Shut

PT Refined Bangka Tin, Indonesia’s second-biggest smelter, has ceased operations in support of the government’s commitment to preserve the environment, and its facilities on Bangka island will become a conservation area. The move will cut exports by about 14 percent, an industry group said.

The company “has decided to close its tin refining and marketing operations for a commitment to preserve the environment and to support Indonesia’s government and President’s commitment” to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, according to a statement Tuesday from Tomy Winata, chairman of Artha Graha Network, which owns PT Refined Bangka Tin.

Artha Graha Network “wants to ensure that all business lines support the environment, including green-mining practices, and we see that our mining operations are currently far from meeting the group standard,” the smelter’s Chief Executive Officer Petrus Tjandra said by phone from Jakarta Tuesday.

The closure is the latest blow to the country’s tin industry, the world’s biggest exporter. The government has imposed curbs on production and overseas sales, tightened up on taxation and quality standards, and obliged exporters to trade the metal on a local exchange before shipping. Monsoon rains and floods have also disrupted mining and ore supplies.

Prices of tin, used in everything from electronics to packaging, have jumped 8.9 percent this year to $15,850 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. The metal has advanced 19 percent from the closing low on Jan. 15, just short of 20 percent which is the common definition of a bull market.
Banks to Plantations

Artha Graha Network is a conglomerate with businesses ranging from banks to plantations and mining. Refined Bangka Tin is a private company established in 2007, and has the capacity to produce 2,000 tons of refined tin a month, according to a statement on its website. Bambang Gatot Ariyono, director general of coal and minerals at Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, said by phone that he hasn’t received a report on the closure.

The shuttering could reduce exports from Indonesia by at least 10,000 tons this year, Jabin Sufianto, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tin Exporters, said by phone. He said the estimate was based on Refined Bangka’s past performance and its business plan. The country shipped 70,155 tons in 2015, the smallest amount since at least 2008.

The possibility of other smelters filling the shortfall will depend on their business plans and approval from the Bangka mining office, he said.

Environmental concerns have also affected the nation’s biggest tin smelter, PT Timah, which halted offshore mining last month in response to complaints from local fishermen.
Shipments Slide

Two other smelters, PT Stanindo Inti Perkasa, and PT DS Jaya Abadi, are producing at below 70 percent of capacity due to a halving in ore supplies, M.B. Gunawan, a director at Stanindo and general manager at Jaya Abadi, said by phone on Monday. At issue are government rules imposed in November that require ore to originate from licensed mines.

Both companies are “currently only exporting about 100 tons per month,” Gunawan said. The smelters expect to raise output to about 80 percent capacity by mid-year, he added.

Tin exports have dropped every year since 2013 due to stricter regulations. Shipments dropped 7.6 percent in 2015 from a year earlier, according to Trade Ministry data compiled by Bloomberg. Overseas sales plunged 57 percent to 2,486 tons last month from December, the data showed.



Morgan Stanley – Metal & Rock – Tin’s supply grief to continue

A catalogue of supply-side dramas has tightened the global tin market, leaving global inventories critically low + lifting the price.

Top price performer: Of the base metals, lesser-known tin has already delivered a solid price performance in 2016: +7.3% ytd to $15,651/t (in line with zinc; outstripping complex’s heavy-weights copper & aluminium) on robust market fundamentals. So what’s actually going on in Tin World – a metal used mainly as a solder (pipe joining/welding; electrical), making it a good gauge of industrial and property sector activity?

Mostly a supply story: A massive drawdown in LME inventories this year gives a hint about tin’s main price driver – down 26% ytd to just 4,500t (4.5 days’ supply) – itself a function of declining supply out of Indonesia and China (>60% global supply), in the face of stable demand growth. Indonesia’s exports fell 63% yoy Jan-16 (2,486t), mainly after a new export permit procedure was implemented mid-2015 (gives producers 6-month export quota). As producers filled their quota quickly, they had nothing left for January! While these exports should recover once the permits are renewed, there are supply constraints elsewhere: Indonesia’s main tin-producing province of Bangka Belitung was flooded late-Jan; environmental constraints have been imposed on offshore mining; a clampdown on illegal mining is being extended. Meanwhile, China’s tin producers announced coordinated supply cuts in Jan-16, totaling 17kt (12% of China’s 2015 production; 5% global output). Refined production may also decline in 2016 on reduced ore supply from Myanmar. Rapid growth of Myanmar’s tin industry (17kt, 2015; up from 2kt in 2012) undermined tin’s price mid-2015; but grades are peaking and current production rates are believed to be unsustainable.

Bullish price outlook: China’s producers are lobbying the government for the development of a tin stockpile as a way of providing industry relief for subdued domestic demand – in particular, in China’s construction sector. Nonetheless, falling mine supply and modest demand growth are expected to leave the global market in deficit in 2016, supporting the price. We forecast $16,755/t in 2016 (+4% yoy).


Download the complete report (33 pgs)

Source: Morgan Stanley

Minsur’s Peruvian production falls in December

Latest data released by Peru’s Energy and Mines Ministry has revealed that tin production by Minsur’s San Rafael mine, the country’s only tin operation, dropped in December 2015 by nearly 23% to 1,841 mt. According to the ministry, provisional tin output from San Rafael fell 15.6% to 19,511t in 2015 from the year before.

ITRI View: The reduced production is not surprising and is primarily a result of the continuing natural decline in tin grades at the mine. Official production data for 2015 will be released by Minsur in due course.


Source: ITRI –

Regulation and flooding curb Indonesian tin operations

Preliminary data from the Indonesian trade ministry has revealed that the country exported 2,486 tonnes of tin in January, down 63% from the 6,770 tonnes exported in January last year, while recent flooding on the island of Bangka is expected to affect tin operations in February.

There are three inter-related regulatory factors currently affecting sales, two of which are new. The first factor is that producers need permission to export (PE) letters, which give them a maximum permissible tonnage they can ship over six months. Some producers used up their initial six months quotas early, so had to stop selling in January prior to renewal of the PE from 1 February onwards.

Additionally, the two new factors are that the provincial government of Bangka Belitung has halted offshore mining activities since 27 January, while new audits of smelters in the province are due to be carried out this week and next by inspectors from the energy and mineral resources ministry.

Bloomberg also reported that flooding on Bangka has restricted access to smelters and mining areas and caused electricity cuts on the island. PT Timah has announced that its Nudur mining area on Bangka has shut due to flooding, although its other mining leases and smelting operations remain unaffected.


Source: ITRI –