By Paul Ploumis (ScrapMonster Author)
May 02, 2016 03:04:48 AM
SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The recent report published by ITRI suggests that there is no threat to long-term availability of tin metal. The report titled “2016 Report on Global Tin Resources and Reserves” presents ITRI’s estimate of global tin resources and reserves at the end of 2015 and analyzes the long-term market supply prospects.
According to the report, availability of raw materials is one of the several critical factors of importance to policy makers and downstream users. A perception that a material is “running out” can destroy demand through substitution to other materials, economization, or introduction of legislation to limit consumption.
Tin resources globally , as calculated by ITRI,totalled 11.7Mt of contained tin at the end of 2015,of which 3.3Mt, or 29%, was reported according to CRIRSCO standards. Global tin reserves, a subset of the aforementioned resource figures, totalled 2.2Mt, of which 0.6Mt, or 27%,was CRIRSCO-compliant. Based on 2014 tin mine production of 306 kt, present global tin reserves will last a minimum of 7years and resources a minimum of 36 years. When looking at the distribution of resources globally, the majority of CRIRSCO compliant resources can be found in Europe, Australia and South America, with some in Africa, whereas the majority of non-compliant resources are found in Central and Eastern Asia.
For either total resources or reserves, China appears to have the greatest tin production potential of any country. In recent years there has been a rationalization of ownership in China, with a few large companies investing in modernization and many small operations being shut down as environmental and safety regulations have been tightened. While the Chinese industry is becoming more efficient, resources and reserves have declined gradually over the last decade. Indonesia remains the second largest tin producing country in the world, with an estimated 70,900 tonnes of tin mined in 2015 but has the 4th highest tin resource globally.
Tin recycling will continue to play a significant role in future tin supply. However, whether the market share of secondary refined tin will grow or decline will depend on the balance between improvements in tin recycling technology and economics versus the falling concentrations of tin found in end-of-life products as a result of economization.