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.