Tin has a long historic association with mankind. There is a small bronze arrow head in the Dubai museum that claims to date back to 5,000BC (this would date tin use to over 7,000 years ago).
The special feature of tin was recognised very early in man’s history. This special feature is tin’s ability to amalgamate easily with other metals to produce a totally different alloy.
Tin has always been, and still is, recognised as ‘the spice metal’. Sprinkle a little tin into other metals and get magic results.
Bronze, and the ‘Bronze Age’ are the result of tin’s special feature. Copper metal is soft and pliable, add tin and you create bronze, a much harder metal that can be used for tools and weapons, add more tin to copper and you have a very hard metal ‘ Gun Metal’ that is still used today in extreme corrosive environments where strength and hardness is required, for example ships propellers.
Tin ‘the spice metal’ is still very much in demand today as a vital ingredient in a wide range of modern manufacturing applications. The most widely known being the ‘tin can’. Which, of course, is a steel can with a very thin veneer of tin covering the steel. If you look around you anywhere there is tin in almost everything you see – glass, paint, metal, computers, even down to the tooth paste you used this morning – all contain small quantities of ‘the spice metal’ Tin.
The ‘wonder metal’ that propelled our ancestors into the bronze age is still very much a ‘wonder metal for today’s computer age’. Tin is an essential material for today’s consumer electronics and electrical goods, with tin in solder in every computer and mobile phone, accounting for more than 50% of global tin consumption.
Tin is seen as a “green” metal, and is valued for its benign environmental impact, non-toxicity and resistance to corrosion.
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Current Global Tin Production
Global refined tin production for 2014 was 369,5000t. This made up of 306,000t of new mined tin and 63,500 recycled tin.
Global tin consumption for 2014 was 361,300t
A lack of quality tin development projects is expected to see continued mine supply constraints.
See the latest Tin Market Outlook from ITRI. Click here