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Uncertainty in tin and tantalum mining

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Commodities, Mining


Today I will be attending the last leg of ITRI Tin Explorers and Developers Australian Tour 2014, at the offices of Metals X in Perth. As such it seems a good opportunity to catch up with the backlog of presentations and papers I need to upload to the website. Back in September, as well as presenting a plenary talk on the Economic History of Esoteric Metals at Metal Pages China Metals Week, I also presented on “The Implications of Uncertainty in Tin and Tantalum Mining for the Future of the Electronics Industry”:


Uncertainty in Tin & Tantalum Mining – Sykes & Kettle – Sep 2014 – China Metals Week from John Sykes


Over half of tin demand is for solder in electronics, half of which is consumed in China, so the venue was appropriate. Both tin and tantalum have a history of price volatility and structural changes in supply. The presentation looks at whether both commodities are going through another structural supply change, associated with a combination declining production from alluvial ores, artisanal mines and conflict minerals. The future of both these industries is thus highly uncertain and there is a lot of focus on the current project pipeline and exploration. The content of this presentation is based on two new reports by ITRI and Greenfields Research, which analyse global tin supply-demand dynamics and the tin project pipeline.