BEIJING, Jun. 18 -- Yunnan Tin Group, the world's largest tin producer, aims to at least double output of tin concentrate from its Laochang ore field to 3,000 metric tons a day over the next nine years, the company said.
The company is planning a three-stage process for the expansion of Laochang field, its largest mine, chief engineer Sun Guoxiang said in a statement Thursday
In the first stage, it plans to take the mine's concentrate output rate to 1,500 tons a day by 2012, it said.
Second-stage expansion will take output to 2,000 tons a day by 2014, and the "strategic goal" of 3,000 tons a day is slated to be achieved by 2019, it said.
A Laochang mine executive declined to disclose the mine's current tin-concentrate output rate, but the 2012 target implies production is significantly lower than 1,500 tons/day.
Ran Jun, a tin analyst with state-backed metals consultancy Antaike Co., said a 3,000 tons a day is a considerable quantity for one mine. Another major Yunnan Tin mine, Wuchangping, has a tin-concentrate output capacity of 1,500 tons/day, half of Laochang's target, she said.
Yunnan Tin produces about 60,000 tons of refined tin a year, about a fifth of global consumption.
There isn't a direct correlation between the amount of tin concentrate needed to produce the refined base metal, since the yield depends on the grade of the concentrate.
The first five years of the Laochang expansion project would be "extremely complicated, as current production would have to be stabilized even while new capacity opening is accelerated," Laochang's deputy mine chief Liu Weiji said in the statement.
Last month, Yunnan Tin reported a hefty profit growth rate of 164% in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period last year.