- Tin has become an increasingly important commodity within the renewable energy supply chain
- Nonetheless, supply of the commodity is heavily concentrated, with over 60% of global supply accounted for by only three nations
- The metal’s tenuous supply picture was most recently on display in early August when militia officials in Myanmar – the third largest global tin producer – unilaterally shut down many of the country’s tine mines
- Eloro Resources’ Iska Iska deposit may emerge as one of the most significant contributors to global tin supply in the coming years, with the company set to publish their inaugural NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource estimate (“MRE”) by the end of August
In medieval times, tin was an instrument of war. Dating back to the metal’s original role in the manufacture of weapons and armor – oftentimes in the form of bronze – through to the use of tin plates in the seventeenth century to provide corrosion resistance to iron and steel, tin has played a crucial role within the global industrialisation movement for hundreds of years. Nowadays, tin is primarily utilized as a soldering mechanism to create electrical connections, a function accounting for nearly 50 percent of demand for the commodity. Put simply, every component of the low-carbon and increasingly data-driven economy requires tin: without it, electrons don’t flow – meaning mobile phones would not work, electric vehicle batteries would fail to charge, and the Internet of Things would cease to exist.
The global march towards Net Zero, an ambition predicated on the world achieving a balance between global greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions and those being removed from the atmosphere by 2050, has now emerged as the biggest long-term demand driver of tin. With energy increasingly delivered to goods via a battery-connected wire (as opposed to a cable linked to electricity mains), incremental quantities of tin will be required to facilitate these connections. Similarly, factors such as the rising adoption of 5G networks, the exponential growth of the Internet of Things, as well as the addition of tin within lithium-ion battery anodes to slow degradation are all likely to contribute to making the metal an integral variable in terms of delivering a low-carbon future.
Nonetheless, tin does not come without its risk. Over 50 percent of global tin supply currently originates from China and Indonesia; Myanmar is third-largest supplier whilst the Democratic Republic of Congo – more often cited for its role within the global cobalt supply chain, is rapidly gaining share. The supply chain risk was most recently illustrated by a tin mining ban imposed by Myanmar’s Wa State militia. Myanmar’s Wa region, located in the country’s north-east, accounted for over 70% of Myanmar’s tin production in 2022; the regional militia, the most powerful ethnic armed group in the country, ordered a blanket ban on tin production as of the 1st of August in a bid to ‘protect the remaining mineral resources in the state’ (https://nnw.fm/qKnQv). Since reports of the mooted ban were first circulated in early April 2023 through to its implementation at the start of August, tin prices have risen by nearly 17 percent, outpacing copper and gold by over 22 percent and 25 percent over that interim.
Eloro Resources (TSX: ELO) (OTCQX: ELRRF) (FSE: P2QM), an exploration and mine development company with a portfolio of gold and base-metal properties in Bolivia, Peru and Quebec, is one of the company’s seeking to fill the incremental supply gap. Eloro Resources has recently carried out a number of metallurgy studies linked to its flagship Iska Iska deposit; recent tests have revealed its key deposit to contain two extensive areas of potential mineralization – split into areas focused around silver-tin and silver-zinc-lead, respectively.
Early tin optimization tests carried out at the facilities of consulting group, Wardell Armstrong International in Oruro, Bolivia have revealed the possibility of employing ‘ore sorting’ to extract tin from the deposit. Ore sorting, a procedure entailing the identification and removal of waste and below-grade ore to pre-concentrate the ore being processed, is a key manner through which mining companies can calculate the economic feasibility of extracting a resource from the ground. In Eloro’s case, initial test results suggest that as much as 80% of the tin ore weight may be rejected on an ex-ante basis as sub-cut-off grade waste. In effect, ore sorting can assist Eloro in increasing concentrator feed grades, thereby increasing the recovery of actual ore post the processing stage and reducing downstream processing costs (https://nnw.fm/K7III).
With the global tin market projected to reach an annual size of 481.9 thousand tons by 2030 – implying a 4.5% CAGR growth rate over the next 7 years (https://nnw.fm/n7m4r), securing a reliable supply stream of the commodity has gained increased relevance for companies and manufacturers the world over. With Eloro expected to publish its inaugural mineral resource estimate (“MRE”) at the end of August, the miner may soon affirm its place as an integral member of the metal’s global supply chain.
Mike Hallewell, C.Eng, Eloro’s Senior Strategic Metallurgist commented in relation to the company’s upcoming MRE report: “The level of metallurgical and pyrometallurgical work that has been conducted thus far at Iska Iska is exceptionally high for an inaugural MRE but is justifiable due to the significance of this large potentially open pittable tin and polymetallic resource. This additional metallurgical/mineralogical knowledge will enable Eloro to rapidly move towards a preliminary economic assessment (‘PEA’).”
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.EloroResources.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to ELRRF are available in the company’s newsroom at https://nnw.fm/ELRRF
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