It is generally recognised by the tin industry that it is not currently possible to produce an accurate and/or definitive report on levels of either global tin reserves or total resources. Information that is available on tin reserves tends to be reported to incomparable national or international standards, and can be somewhat out of date. In addition, no reports account for the important small scale mining sector where reserves are not reported at all. Unlike many other metals, a significant proportion of tin, typically 40%, is mined by local, individual, small scale or artisanal miners. These operators do not carry out exploration or report reserves in the manner of large mine companies and it is not always clear how this 40% of annual production impacts on the depletion of those Sn reserves that are reported.
ITRI believes that the total resource level of tin may be 37 million tonnes or higher, and that the supply of tin can be guaranteed for significantly longer than the 15-25 years that is sometimes quoted in general literature. This is especially so if also taking into account the contribution of recycled tin.