Andrada Mining Ltd, the tin producer formerly known as AfriTin, has published its inaugural sustainability report yesterday.
In the report the company says it has managed to produce 8.2% less combined Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse-gas emissions from its Uis tin mine in the Erongo region than what is stated in the Equator Principles Yearly Threshold.
The company produced 8 208 t of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, or 0.018 t of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per tonne of ore processed, in the financial year ended February 28, 2022.
Further, the mine abstracted water from non-potable groundwater and surface water through a historical mining pit at a water-use intensity of 0.33 m3/t of ore processed.
As of January 26, when Andrada released its sustainability report for the 2022 financial year, the Uis mine employed 315 people, of which 128 were permanent staff.
The company highlights in the report that 75% of senior managers at the Uis mine are women and that the company spent just under half of its expenditure, or $6.8-million, on procuring goods and services from 250 Namibian suppliers.
Although the company recorded no Level 5 or 4 environmental incidents, which are the most severe, it did record two Level 3 environmental incidents, which extended beyond the border of the mine site. Level 2 and 1 environmental incidents totalled 39 and 34, respectively, and involve minimal to material impacts with short-term durations.
From March 2021 to February 2022, the Uis mine consumed a total of 58 733 GJ, equating to an efficiency of 0.13 GJ/t of ore processed. The company is committed to investing in renewable and lower-carbon energy solutions.
CEO Anthony Viljoen says the company remains committed to improving its environment, social and governance credentials, as it has done over the 2021 to 2022 financial years.
“We recognise that the integration of ESG principles into our business model is an important step in the company’s evolution into a significant tech-metals producer,” Viljoen said.
In the meantime, tin price is at close to ten year highs, on back of electronics and renewables demand.
The tin price moved upward again this week, retracing much of the ground given up since it began to test new ten year highs at the end of May and beginning of June. The strong upward pressure on the price, as supply struggles to meet demand, makes tin the best performing of the major commodities this year by some margin, comfortably beating such staples as gold and silver, and even the apparent star of the moment copper.
The tin price has more than doubled over the past 12 months, from just over US$7.00 per pound back in June 2020 to a current price slightly shy of US$15.00, or US$32,457 per tonne, according to data supplied by mining.com.
The current cash price, though, is significantly higher than the 15-month forward price, which usually means that demand is outstripping supply.
Whether or not the current backwardation actually does mean tin prices will weaken in due course is an open question. The current upsurge in demand is being driven by a renewed appetite for tin for use in electronics. The demand for electronic items has been spurred by the trend to working from home over the past 18 months, while supply has been disrupted in an already tight market by ongoing coronavirus working restrictions.
On the production side, the International Tin Association is currently forecasting a deficit of 13,500 tonnes. It is unlikely to stay that high however, since as the global economy reopens spending will switch elsewhere.
Nevertheless, the increasing trend towards renewables means that long-term demand is likely to hold up pretty well, as tin is used heavily in the electric circuitry that supports much of the world’s future energy supply, and is also a significant component in solar panels. It was that dynamic that lead the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to argue a couple of years ago that tin was likely to be the best performing commodity over the coming decade or so.
So far, that call by MIT looks to have been a good one, even if naysayers like the World Bank are forecasting an easing off of the tin price next year.