JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Global tin mine production growth will decelerate between 2018 and 2026, compared with 2009 to 2017, owing to stricter environment regulations and declining ore grades in major producers, such as China, Indonesia and Myanmar.
However, the market researcher BMI expects that absolute production will increase over the coming years, owing to positive growth in Myanmar, Bolivia, Peru and Australia.
In its outlook for tin production report, BMI forecasts global tin mine production to grow by a yearly average of about 1.8% over the 2018 to 2026 period, which is a 2% decrease from the previous nine years.
This slowdown will be caused by lower growth rates in Asian markets, such as Myanmar, where grades are decreasing, and Indonesia, where environment regulations are tightened.
In terms of absolute tonnage, BMI notes that China will dominate the market, with forecast production of 103 000 t by 2027. Tin mine production in China is forecast to grow at an average of 0.25% over the 2018 to 2026 period, compared with the -0.6% average in the previous nine years.
However, the researcher highlights that China’s share of global production will gradually decline from 32.3% in 2018, to 28.8% in 2026, mainly owing to Myanmar’s increasing share from 17.9% to 22.6% over the same period.
BMI says that rising tin prices can be expected as the drive for output from other major markets continues in the coming years, somewhat offsetting the slowdown in global production growth.
Myanmar, however, will remain the fastest growing major tin ore producer, despite a weaker performance relative to the previous five years, as ore production in the country peaks with an average yearly growth of 5.3% over the 2018 to 2026 period. This is owing to large quantities of untapped resources.
Myanmar experienced high average growth levels of 80.5% over the 2009 to 2017 period. However, BMI warns that growth levels will inevitably adjust in the coming years, following the initial growth spurt when the country was coming from a very low base.
As such, despite the fact that Myanmar will remain the fastest growing tin producer globally with an average growth of 5.1% over 2018 to 2027, BMI highlights that this nevertheless represents a significant decrease in growth levels seen in previous years.
BMI further expects that rising tin prices will lead to improving margins among domestic producers in Peru, Australia and Bolivia, which will prompt accelerating production growth in these countries.
Following successive declines in production from 2007 to 2017, the researcher expects Peru’s tin output to increase gradually from 18 600 t in 2018 to 22 300 t by 2026, averaging 1.7% yearly growth.
“The country has lost considerable market share, from 14.9% in 2009 to only 6.2% in 2017. Although its global presence will stabilise in the coming years as production growth picks up again over 2018 to 2026,” BMI’s report states.
BMI further expects Indonesia’s tin mining production to slow in the coming years, owing to a clampdown on miners and restrictions on tin mining owing to environment considerations.
“We forecast Indonesia’s tin mine production to register an annual average growth of 1.3% during 2017 to 2021, compared to 16.8% during 2012 to 2016.”
As a consequence, third-place producer Myanmar will reduce the difference to Indonesia in terms of tin output from 7 000 t in 2017 to about 3 000 t in 2021.
Tin production will further be hindered as registered tin exporters struggle to obtain the ‘Clean and Clear’ certification from the government, which is a requirement in order to export tin from November 2015.