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‘Black Swans’ in tin and tantalum mining

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Commodities, Conferences, Mineral Economics, Publications


Last November I presented “Blacks Swans in tin and tantalum mining and their implications for electronics manufacturers” to the ‘Electronic and Battery Metals’ session of the Argus Media-Metal Pages China Metals Week, in Guangzhou.

The efforts of Nick Gardiner (Curtin University), Allan Trench (University of Western Australia), Laurence Robb (Oxford University), Peter Kettle (ITRI), Tom Mulqueen (ITRI) and Cui Lin (ITRI) should also be acknowledged as the presentation draws from some work done with or by them.

The presentation looks at structural changes that have occurred in both tin and tantalum mining relating to artisanal supply and conflict minerals, amongst other factors, and the implication this has for price volatility and supply risk. Some thoughts on how to best understand this volatility conclude the presentation, with the generation of two scenarios for the future of tin and tantalum mining, a high cost-low growth scenario based on known mine projects and a low cost-high growth scenario based on as yet unknown or undiscovered supplies.

The presentation is available on my slideshare:

Black Swans in tin & tantalum mining and their implications for electronics suppliers – Sykes et al – Nov 2015 – Greenfields Research / Centre for Exploration Targeting / Curtin University / University of Western Australia from John P. Sykes

The presentation also draws from an academic paper recently published in Resources Policy, entitled “Tin Mining in Myanmar: Production and Potential“, co-authored with Nick Gardiner (Curtin University), Allan Trench (University of Western Australia) and Laurence Robb (Oxford University).