Due to the cyclical nature of commodities, tin tends to go up in value when the global economy is strong. But it's volatile, so not necessarily a popular choice for cautious investors.
Is Tin a Good Investment?
Investing in tin depends on various factors such as market demand, supply, geopolitical issues, and economic conditions. Tin plays a crucial role in various industrial applications, especially in the production of electronics and soldering materials. Therefore, growth in these sectors may drive up the demand for tin. However, investing in tin, like any commodity, carries inherent risks and should align with an investor's risk tolerance, goals, and investment strategy.
Why is Tin Valuable?
Tin's value stems from its many industrial uses and its essential role in alloy production. It forms essential alloys like bronze and is vital in the electronics industry for making connections on circuit boards. Its anti-corrosive properties also make it valuable in coating other metals. Furthermore, tin's limited supply and increased demand in green technologies have been contributing to its value.
Everyday items made out of tin include tin cans, solder, pewter items, window glass, anti-corrosive coatings and even toothpaste.
Is Tin a Precious Metal?
Tin is considered a valuable industrial metal rather than a precious metal. Precious metals typically have a high economic value, are rare, and are often used for investments and jewelry. Tin's abundance and primary industrial application differentiate it from traditional precious metals.
Tin Price Chart Performance
Between March 2020 and February 2022, the price of tin rose to more than $49 per kilogram due to demand climbing and supply dwindling. In our June 2021 article on tin outperforming other metal commodities, we concluded the trend looked set to continue, and it did.
However, the rally wasn't to last as the price declined between February and October 2022. Today, are those tin companies that did well during the rally still looking like a good investment? And will the price of tin rise once more?
There are a selection of tin mining stocks to choose from, and some companies use tin to manufacture goods.
Mining is a notoriously risky area to invest in, but it can be highly lucrative when backing the winners.
The top 10 largest producers of tin in the world include China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Nigeria. Meanwhile, the largest tin reserves in the world are often located in countries that are also the largest producers including China, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, and Australia.
Here are a few tin stocks, organized by region, to consider investigating further.
Tin Stocks by Country
Alphamin Resources Corp. (TSX.V: AFM)
Alphamin Resources, traded on the Canadian Venture Exchange as AFM, is a pioneering tin exploration and mining company. This tin miner is based in Mauritius and its flagship project is in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Alphamin's core business centers around the production and sale of high-grade tin concentrate from the Bisie Tin Mine in the DRC.
It began commercial production on September 1, 2019, and has an 84% stake in the Bisie tin underground project at the Mpama North Mine, which is believed to yield the world's highest-grade tin at roughly 4.5%. That comes in at almost four times higher than most global tin mines. The DRC government and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa hold minority stakes.
Alphamin is already producing around 3% of the world's tin from its Mpama North Mine in the DRC. Meanwhile, recent drill results show the continued presence of high-grade samples at its Mpama South Prospect. But the DRC is a conflict-affected and high-risk area that deters bigger companies from operating there.
Alphamin is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Although Alphamin has reduced exploration activities for 2023, it has achieved significant success in previous years, with updated resource statements published. The company is now focusing on regional greenfields campaigns and trenching and pitting.
From a financial perspective, Alphamin's capital allocation strategy includes growth investment, exploration, and dividends.
TinOne Resources Inc. (TSX.V: TORC)
TinOne Resources Inc. is an emerging player in the tin mining sector. Listed on the Canadian Venture Exchange under the ticker TORC, this firm is keenly focused on the exploration and development of high-grade tin projects. Through rigorous research and a strategic approach, TinOne aims to capitalize on the growing demand for tin in various industrial applications.
Eloro Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: ELO) (OTCQX: ELRRF) (FSE: P2QM)
Eloro Resources is exploring targets at its Iska Iska silver-tin polymetallic project in Potosi Department, southern Bolivia. In a recent interview with Eloro, BTV states,
The global energy transition creates soaring demand for silver and tin. With five active drills on their flagship project in Bolivia, Eloro is on the verge of a major discovery.
In July 2023, Eloro Resources Ltd. announced major advancements in metallurgy for its Iska Iska silver-tin project in Bolivia. Preliminary tests indicate a potential removal of 40-80% waste, which can increase grades and reduce costs. Further studies have improved tin recovery to 50%. These findings, considered exceptionally high for a first mineral resource estimate (MRE), justify the significance of this large resource and enable Eloro to rapidly move towards a preliminary economic assessment. The positive results reveal promising prospects for the development of the Iska Iska project.
Yunnan Tin Co., Ltd. (SHE: 000960)
As China's flagship in the tin industry, Yunnan Tin Co., Ltd. holds a pivotal position in the global tin market. Indeed, Yunnan is the largest tin producer and exporter in China and the world. Traded on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange with the code 000960, the company's operations encompass the full spectrum of tin production, from mining to refining. Its commitment to sustainability and innovation has positioned it as a leader in the industry.
Yunnan Tin Group (Holding) Company Limited, or YTC, makes tin metal and chemicals based on tin and arsenic.
The company was founded by the Chinese government in 1883 as the Gejiu Manufacture & Commercial Bureau. YTC owns two subsidiaries that are listed on stock exchanges: The Yunnan Tin Company Limited and Sino-Platinum Metals Company Limited.
YTC was established in 1998 and listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2000. It is the only tin stock in the Chinese tin industry.
Timah Tbk PT (IDX: TINS)
Indonesia's Timah Tbk PT, listed on the Indonesian Stock Exchange under TINS, is renowned for its tin mining and smelting operations. With decades of experience, the company boasts a rich legacy of tin production, maintaining high standards in environmental conservation and sustainable mining practices.
PT Timah is an Indonesian engineering services company. Its output fell 40% in 2020 due to the pandemic.
MINSUR SA (MINSURI1)
MINSUR SA stands tall as one of South America's premier tin producers. With operations grounded in sustainability and innovation, MINSUR is devoted to maintaining the highest standards of production and environmental stewardship. Minsur SA is a Peru-based mining company primarily engaged in the exploitation, smelting, refining, and commercialization of tin.
Empresa Metalúrgica Vinto (EMV)
Empresa Metalúrgica Vinto (EMV), a Bolivian state tin producer, specializes in the production of high-grade metallic tin ingots. It processes tin concentrates from various sources including mining cooperatives, big miners, small miners, and other companies involved in the production or sale of tin concentrates. The Bolivian government nationalized EMV from Glencore in 2007 and subsequently nationalized the Vinto antimony smelter from Sinchi Wayra, a subsidiary of Glencore International, in May 2010. Post-nationalization, four new furnaces were installed at the smelter, adding a combined processing capacity of 1,000t/y of tin. EMV operates out of Oruro, Bolivia.
Tincorp Metals (OTC: TINFF)
Traded on the OTC Markets under TINFF, Tincorp Metals, formerly known as Whitehorse Gold Corp., is a Canadian firm focusing on two tin exploration projects in the Oruro Department, the tin mining district of Bolivia. These projects are strategically situated between the tin-producing Huanuni and Llallagua mines. With a clear focus on exploration and development, the company is keen on leveraging modern methodologies to unlock tin's full potential.
Malaysia Smelting Corporation Bhd (KLSE: MSC)
Malaysia Smelting Corporation Bhd, a leading force on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange under the ticker MSC, is deeply ingrained in the tin smelting sector. With a commitment to excellence, MSC continually refines its processes to meet global standards, ensuring quality and consistency.
UK Tin Stocks
First Tin PLC (LON: 1SN)
Listed on the London Stock Exchange as 1SN, First Tin PLC is a dynamic player in the tin exploration arena. With a vision to tap into lucrative tin reserves, the company combines innovative techniques with seasoned expertise.
Andrada Mining (LON: ATM)
Andrada Mining Ltd (LON: ATM), formerly AfriTin, is a London-listed metals explorer. Andrada Mining, once focused exclusively on tin mining, has shifted its attention to the lithium market. It also has assets in Tin, Tungsten, Tantalum, and Copper at four sites in the Erongo Region of Namibia. This region, known for its mining heritage in marble and uranium, is centrally located near the Skeleton Coast and includes major population centers like Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
Andrada Mining has made progress on three fronts in its lithium product development program. The company has updated its mineral resource estimate, started pilot-scale metallurgical testing for lithium and taken the first steps to explore commercial partnerships for its lithium petalite concentrate.
Cornish Metals (LON: CUSN) (TSX-V: CUSN)
Cornish Metals was publicly listed on London's FTSE-AIM market in February 2021. The company is a Canadian mineral exploration and development firm and an Associate Company of Osisko, Barkerville Gold Mines.
Its flagship projects in Cornwall, UK, are the United Downs copper-tin project and the South Crofty tin project. Cornish Metals bought the South Crofty tin and United Downs copper/tin projects and extra mineral rights in Cornwall, UK, in July 2016. These extra rights cover around 15,000 hectares and include old mines that were previously mined for copper, tin, zinc, and tungsten.
The former South Crofty tin mine, which operated for over 400 years, closed in 1998. Since acquisition Cornish Metals has completed and published a preliminary assessment, conducted pilot-scale water treatment trials, and obtained necessary environmental permits for mine dewatering. Construction of the water treatment plant is well underway, and planning permissions for mine operation and surface facilities re-development have been secured.
AIM-listed Cornish Metals Inc, also dual-listed on the Toronto Exchange and headquartered in Vancouver, hopes to revive Cornwall's ancient mining heritage. Along with tin, Cornish Metals hopes to extract lithium.
Cornish Metals is not profitable.
Venture Minerals Limited (ASX: VMS)
Venture Minerals Limited, trading on the Australian Stock Exchange under VMS, is a forward-thinking company devoted to the exploration and production of various minerals, including tin. Its strategic operations span across several projects, each promising substantial growth potential.
Elementos Ltd (ASX: ELT)
Elementos Ltd, trading on the Australian Stock Exchange as ELT, has made its mark as a significant tin exploration company. By harnessing cutting-edge technology and a dedicated team, Elementos aims to uncover and develop tin resources efficiently.
Clara Resources Australia Ltd (ASX: C7A)
Making waves on the Australian Stock Exchange under the ticker C7A, Clara Resources Australia Ltd is a formidable entity in the realm of tin exploration. With a clear vision and strategy, the company is poised to capitalize on the burgeoning tin market.
Stellar Resources Ltd (ASX: SRZ)
Specializing in tin, Stellar Resources Ltd, traded as SRZ on the Australian Stock Exchange, brings a robust combination of experience and innovation to the table. Its operations are rooted in responsible mining, ensuring a balance between profitability and sustainability.
Metals X Ltd (ASX: MLX)
Metals X Ltd, listed as MLX on the Australian Stock Exchange, is a diversified resource company. While it explores a range of metals, its prowess in the tin sector is noteworthy. Its approach prioritizes sustainability and community engagement, setting them apart in the industry.
IBU-tec advanced materials (ETR: IBU)
A German company, IBU-tec, provides thermal process engineering solutions, including treatments for inorganic materials. For instance, coatings for glass bottles to make them last longer. IBU-tec advanced materials AG offers services like material development, lab analysis, and process optimization, among others.
IBU-tec is a company that develops and makes high-quality materials for industries. It uses special technology and the knowledge of its 250 skilled employees to create materials. The company's products include LFP battery material, which is used in batteries for electric cars and energy storage, and solutions for air purification and reducing plastic waste.
IBU-tec works on long-term global trends, like protecting the environment, and has customers all over the world, from small businesses to big corporations.
IBU-tec's subsidiary, BNT Chemicals specializes in wet chemical processes for manufacturing tin-based products, such as tin catalysts. Catalysts are important in the production of substances because they can make reactions faster or more efficient. They also make some reactions possible that would not happen otherwise.
Tin catalysts can be more effective than other options. The right catalyst for a process depends on the final application. BNT offers a wide range of solid and liquid catalysts. Some examples of powder catalysts that BNT makes are MBTO, DOTO, and DBTO. BNT can provide the right tin catalyst or make a custom one for a customer.
Other companies operating in the tin chemicals market include DuPont de Nemours (NYSE: DD), TIB Chemicals, and Keeling & Walker, among others.
Is There a Tin ETF?
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are often deemed a safer way of investing in a sector than investing directly in individual stocks. That's because when you invest in an ETF, you buy shares in a basket of stocks related to that sector or index being tracked.
There are a few ways to invest in tin via ETF.
WisdomTree Tin ETF (TINM)
The WisdomTree Tin ETF (TINM) tracks the Bloomberg Tin Subindex. In this instance, the ETF tracks the index performance rather than the price action of individual stocks.
The Bloomberg Tin Subindex is made up of futures contracts on Tin. This means its performance reflects the return of underlying commodity futures price movements.
BlackRock iShares MSCI Global Metals & Mining Producers ETF
The BlackRock iShares MSCI Global Metals & Mining Producers ETF gives investors access to several metal mining companies. This ETF contains many well-known mining companies including Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), BHP Group (NYSE: BHP), Cia Vale Do Rio Doce (BVMF: VALE3), Freeport-McMoran (NYSE: FCX), Anglo American (LON: AAL), and Glencore (LON: GLEN).
Because tin is listed as a conflict mineral, most of these companies do not mine for tin.
Risks to investing in Tin
Tin has a multitude of uses and is likely to remain in high demand. However, there are several risks to investing in this commodity.
Tin is considered a 'conflict mineral' because it comes from areas where illegal mining still takes place. Companies like Freeport McMoran check their tin is sourced from smelters designated as "conflict-free" by the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process to meet current global standards.
The success of a tin company is usually dependent on the success of its core projects. If it doesn't discover the metal or meet its objectives, its share price could fall.
Headwinds facing tin mining companies include geopolitical tensions, geological conditions, operational and technical challenges, industrial and environmental accidents, government regulations, weather, illegal mining, and much more.
Therefore, investors should carefully weigh the pros and cons before jumping in.