Australia’s largest tin producer Metals X (ASX: MLX) has given investors some preliminary insight into what its December quarterly report will look like, with the company announcing production increases at its two producing assets.
Nifty, which the company acquired in 2016, is an operating underground copper sulphide mine located in the east Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Copper production at the mine totalled 5,177 tonnes of copper in concentrate for the December quarter, representing an improvement of 11% over the prior quarter.
This was driven by a focus on developing and stoping in areas outside of the central zone and resulted in an increase in mined grade from 1.30% copper to 1.47% copper.
While copper production jumped, overall ore production during the quarter was marginally lower when compared to the September quarter at 372,749t, compared to 391,346t.
At Nifty, Metals X said it would continue to focus on increasing both development and mining rates outside the central zone.
Tin output on the rise
Metals X also announced production gains at its Renison tin mine in Tasmania.
For the three months to the end of December, tin concentrate totalled 1,798t, up 11% over the prior quarter. Metals X attributed the positive result to an increase in mined grade and commissioning and operation of the ore sorter.
A key focus at Renison is the continued balance between maintaining consistent ore production and ongoing development into new areas.
Metals X said it was continuing to delineate “excellent” production and tin grades from the Central Federal Bassett stopes, while high development grades from Area 5 and Huon North ore zones also bolstered production for the quarter.
Buoyed by recent positive exploration results from Area 5, the company has begun work on development and production options for the area.
Renison is one of the world’s largest and highest-grade tin mines, with mining spanning three centuries.
The operation has a mineral resource totalling 15 million tonnes at a tin grade of 1.35% for 203,000t of contained tin.
Tin is one of the world’s oldest metals and is often referred to as the “spice element” because small amounts of the mineral are present in an array of items essential to everyday life.
While most of the world’s tin output comes out of China and Indonesia, Myanmar and South America are also large tin producers.
Interestingly, tin is tipped to play a key role in the lithium-ion battery sector in coming years which could result in a spike in demand for the commodity.
While emerging markets are anticipated to bode well for tins market fundamentals, the metal’s primary growth drivers will be expansion and diversification within its existing markets for solder and tinned copper.
Shares in Metals X gained 2.9% to $0.422.