Can tin become an important player in global commodity market?

Team Veye | 08-Jan-2023 global commodity market

Can tin become an important player in global commodity market?



Australia has a long history of tin mining, it being home to the world’s largest underground tin mine, Renison, which is one of the world’s largest operating underground tin mines and Australia’s largest primary tin producer. It accounts for 85% of the country’s economic tin resource.

Globally, Australia’s production quantities are hugely overshadowed by China, Indonesia, Peru, and others. Still, despite comparatively massive tin production in China and Indonesia, Australia remains a globally significant producer of tin concentrates.

Tin has lately been pushed back as a battery metal in comparison to other commodities such as lithium, nickel and cobalt. Its prices have fluctuated widely in last few years between a low of US$15000 - US$50000.

Rio Tinto’s Ventures group, in its study in 2018, while looking for new areas to invest, determined tin to be at the top of their list of metals likely to be positively impacted by new technology.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), commissioned by Rio Tinto to survey new technologies, had come up with a list of metals required to meet this evolving demand.

MIT followed the approach of doing a functional match between the needs of new technologies and the properties provided by each commodity. Thus, if a technology innovation needed conductive materials, it was matched against commodities having good electrical conductivity.

Tin scored very highly using the MIT framework because of the potential for increased demand applications particularly in the electrical and energy storage areas and also because these demand changes might be quite large in comparison to the current market size. Other commodities had a larger potential for total demand increases, but these were for commodities that already had quite large market sizes.

Used in everything from cans to smart phones, Tin with a low melting point, has many characteristics not easily found in other commodities. Highly ductile, it is also resistant to corrosion and fatigue. While being non toxic, it has the ability to alloy with other metals and is easily recycled.

The best thing about tin is that there isn't really a commodity that can substitute its rust-resistant and malleable characteristics.


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