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Sustainability // Sustainability

Sustainability Material Flow and Recycling

An understanding of the material flow of any resource is key to understanding how that resource may be used most efficiently. Both the interactions in the supply-use-recovery loop and the actual quantity of material involved in each use sector is important information which will allow us to ensure; safe use, reduced emissions and waste, and improved rates of recycling.


Having the latest material flow and market data available will allow us, through this comprehensive understanding of the current status of the tin industry, to effectively promote and represent all stakeholders in the tin supply chain in any dealings with regulators and other groups in all sustainability matters. 

We aim to generate a comprehensive overview of the following: 

Tin Production 
Detailed statistics on tin production have been generated by ITRI for many years. This work is continually supported by our Statistics and Market Studies group. 

Tin Use 
While general information on the uses of tin is available, there has been in recent times a severe lack of data on the relative market size of each of those uses in each region. ITRI has taken the initiative to undertake an Annual Industry Survey since 2005 which aims at collecting detailed statistics and critical information on tin usage patterns in different applications. This is a unique global study which achieves participation of a large number (nearly 50%) of all downstream users of tin worldwide. 

Tin Recycling  
Tin can be, and is, recycled, both back to pure tin ingot and, in even larger quantities, in the form of tin based or other alloys. No firm data currently exists on the quantities of tin recycled per year and ITRI is also focusing on work to determine the true recycling rates of the metal.


* Our 2013 Global Tin Use and Recycling Survey has begun. By participating, your company will receive a summary of tin use reports generated by December 2013 Moreover, you will receive a privilege of 10% discount for the Tin Annual Review 2013 – a potential saving of several hundred pounds!

If you have any questions about the project or wish to discuss it further, please do not hesitate to contact Jonathan Rickwood at the direct telephone: +44 (0)1727 871 321 or email: jonathan.rickwood@itri.co.uk

Tin Recycling

Metals are highly recyclable materials due to their intrinsic properties and their economic value. If appropriately managed, closing metal loops by increasing their reuse and recycling has the potential to improve resource productivity, and to reduce energy use, some emissions, and waste disposal.

 

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has published aDeclaration by the Metals Industry on Recycling Principles, stating that ICMM encourages manufacturers, policy-makers and other decision-makers to evaluate real performance and improve the design and management of products, including their disposal and recycling. Such an approach is a forward-looking perspective which supports sustainable development.

 

Although tin has always been reused and recycled, few studies have been done on the sources of secondary material and the quantities available. The ability to recycle tin infinitely without any loss of quality is a key benefit which we share with most metals and would like to promote more widely.

 

Information on reuse and recycling of tin will help to;

Ø     Extend the theoretical lifetime of tin reserves

Ø     Demonstrate the benefits of tin recovery and the benefits of metal use

 

If you are a tin recycling company and would like to share your knowledge/stories;  you are a tin user looking for tin recycling companies in your area or would like more information on our tin recycling project, you are welcomed to contact us at Andrew Cooper   , direct telephone: +44 (0)1727 871 305 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tin Recycling

 

Tin metal is used in numerous applications, in different forms and in different products with very different lifetimes. Generally, scrap and residues generated during the production and industrial use of tin are most likely to be recycled, either by being utilised efficiently in-house and/or recovered by external scrap processing companies. When incorporated in finished products, however, recycling of tin metal will be influenced by other factors such as economic and technological feasibility, societal awareness and often by price variation of other materials with which it is associated.

 

Fully aware that recycling is a necessary and beneficial supplement to primary metal production and the availability of secondary tin at competitive prices is crucial for the viability of the tin industry, ITRI has placed Recycling among the priority areas of study within our Sustainability Project.

 

Initially, we are focusing on the investigation of the current level of reuse and recycling of tin in the industry. This work has been carried out alongside the annual tin use survey which started in 2005 but is also the subject of individual and more in-depth study. Due to the complex flows of material and the involvement of many actors in the recovery chain this study will be by necessity a long-term process and only a general understanding of major sectors has so far been obtained.

 

We estimate that the world tin recycling rate for tin to secondary refined pure metal is in the order of 8%. However, the main form of reuse of tin is in alloy form which might reach 20% for brass and bronze alloys, and even higher, at 30-40% for solder alloys.

 

Together with the ITRI Technology group, we are also investigating potential recovery techniques and costs to proactively support and promote recycling activities within the tin industry.

 

Every year, a global survey on tin use and recycling is carried out with the aim to collect and report on the latest market data. For more information, please go to ITRI Survey

 

 

If you have any questions about the project or wish to discuss it further, please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Cooper   at the direct telephone: +44 (0)1727 871 305 or email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tin Use

While general information on the uses of tin is available, there has been in recent times a severe lack of data on the relative market size of each of those uses in each region. ITRI has taken the initiative to undertake an Annual Industry Survey since 2005 with the objective of collecting detailed statistics and critical information on tin usage patterns in different applications.

Whilst most metal consumption investigations use the principle of mass balancing (input-output) to study how metals flow through the industry and environment within countries and among countries, ITRI’s survey as part of our Sustainability Project is a unique global study. Through circulating relevant questionnaires to a large number of downstream users and recyclers of tin worldwide, we aim to generate a comprehensive overview of production, use, and possible recovery rates per market sector directly from those involved. The survey data, which represents the latest market data, is then combined with national and international statistics on tin consumption and trade obtained from both official agencies and industry experts to produce an annual report on Tin Use.

World refined_tin_use_2009

Instead of a traditional one-way approach, a combination of both top-down and bottom-up approaches allow us to provide a comprehensive understanding of the current status of the tin industry, and effectively promote and represent all stakeholders in the tin supply chain in any dealings with regulators and other groups in all sustainability matters. Over 170 companies worldwide took part in our survey on tin use and recycling for the year 2009 which accounted for over 47% of estimated refined tin consumption globally. The main findings of our last global study are as follows:

  • Tin use held up better than previously estimated following the global financial crisis and has recovered strongly in 2010.
  • There has also been strong growth in secondary tin production in recent years. ITRI estimates that secondary refined tin production will have exceeded 60,000 tonnes in 2010, with China accounting for over 75% of the world total.
  • World usage of refined tin in 2009, previously estimated a year ago at some 307,000 tonnes, is now considered to be just over 320,000 tonnes.
  • In 2010, strong growth in all the main applications is indicated, resulting in an estimated 12.5% rise in refined tin to about 360,000 tonnes.
  • China’s tin use has reached a new record level of almost 147,000 tonnes, although consumption in the rest of the world is some 25,000 tonnes less than its 2006 peak.
  • Refined tin use in electronic and industrial solders was a little less than 54% of total use in 2009. The proportion has been greater than 50% since 2005.
  • In addition to 320,000 tonnes of refined tin metal, tin users are estimated to have utilised some 59,000 tonnes of tin contained in secondary alloys and other scrap during 2009

 6 years_summary

Opportunity to obtain 2010/2011 data: The 2011 Tin Use and Recycling Survey is now underway. With this year’s survey which will look at tin usage and recycling in 2010 & 2011, we hope to produce a very up-to-date and comprehensive set of information which will serve as a reliable and valuable reference for all stakeholders. By participating in this survey, your company will receive a summary of reports generated by November 2011. Moreover, you will receive a privilege of 10% discount for the Tin Annual Review 2011 – a potential saving of several hundred pounds!

Your participation in the survey is very meaningful, no matter how large or small the company is, and will benefit not only your company but also the whole industry in the attempt to ensure that we are capable of making informed and wise decisions in such a rapidly changing market.

Your company may have already recieved our email requesting your participation, however if not please complete the relevant survey form below or send us your contact details. Please be assured that all information collected will remain strictly confidential and we can provide a confidentiality agreement on request. Data will be used exclusively for this project and under no circumstances will any individual company data be released to any third party. If you have any questions about the project or wish to discuss it further, please do not hesitate to contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Please note that limited, general information such as that shown above will be released through a press release upon completion of the survey  in November 2011, but the full report will only be available to participating companies! (company specific data is not shown anywhere in our reports)

 

Tin Production

 

Tin is one of the oldest metals known to man. It was the alloying of tin with copper to make bronzes that marked one of prehistoric man’s most significant discoveries and enabled utensils, weapons and decorations to be fashioned in a material that was far superior to stone. By Roman times, tin was being fairly widely used both in bronzes and in other applications such as for tinning copper vessels. At around this time, a high proportion of the tin used in the civilised world was mined in Cornwall, and this continued up to the 19th century.

Nowadays most tin is mined in developing countries and production is dominated by two countries, and  , which account for over 70% of global mine output. The other major producers are Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Australia, and Malaysia. 

Types of tin deposits:

By far the most economically important tin mineral is cassiterite, a naturally occurring oxide with the chemical formula SnO2 from which practically all tin used throughout the world is obtained.

  • Vein deposits: For the most part, tin minerals are restricted in their primary occurrence to relatively narrow ore bodies or veins associated with granite or rocks of granitic composition.

  • Placer deposits: Commercially valuable tin ores are frequently found as secondary or placer deposits. Weathering and erosion of the host rock and the tin-bearing veins result in the concentration of the comparatively heavy cassiterite in alluvial deposits retained in e.g. stream beds.

Mining methods:

  • Underground mining: Vein deposits are recovered by underground mining, access normally being gained by sinking vertical or inclined shafts with horizontal tunnels to intersect the veins at right angles where ore can be exposed. The retrieved ore is loaded into trucks and taken to the separating plant for processing and concentration.

  • Dredging: Bucket dredging is an important method for mining alluvial deposits which occur beneath water level. The dredges are large floating processing plants which move to and fro over the surface of shallow seas or artificial ponds digging out tin-bearing sediments by means of an endless chain of buckets. The tin ore is roughly concentrated on board and then taken ashore to dressing sheds for final treatment.

  • Gravel pumping: Tin-bearing sands are washed away from the vertical faces of surface mines by directing onto them a high-powered jet of water. The water carries the particles of sand, mud and tin ore down to a central sump area where they are sucked and elevated to sluice boxes by the gravel pump. Cassiterite settled to the bottom is removed by passing cleaning water down the sluice boxes which sweeps unwanted materials away. Material obtained may require further concentration and treatment.

  • Open cast mining: The ore is removed using mechanical shovels, excavators or manual labour instead of hydraulic methods. This method is much less widely used.

Ore treatment:

The main techniques employed for concentrating tin ores are screening, wet and dry gravity methods and magnetic and electrostatic separation. The amount of treatment needed depends on the grade of ore and type of deposit.

Smelting:

Once a tin concentrate of the required purity has been obtained, it is sent to the smelter who converts it into tin metal. In simple terms, the smelting of tin oxide corresponds to the reaction:

            SnO­2 + C à Sn + CO2

where the tin is mixed with carbon and heated in a furnace to produce the molten tin metal. Many of the unwanted impurities are removed in the slag during this process. Any remaining impurities are treated in the refining step (e.g. by heating under particular conditions in a cast iron kettle, or by electrolytic refining) where eventually, the refined tin of desired purity is cast into ingots for sale.

Formerly most tin smelting was performed in industrialised countries but since the 1950’s there has been an increasing trend for tin to be smelted in its country of origin.

Secondary Tin Production:

Pure tin is also produced from secondary materials, and tin is also re-used in alloys and other products. For further information see Tin Recycling 

 

For further information please contact:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  

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