Explainer: Possible impact of Myanmar coup on China’s metal and rare earth supply

(Reuters) – Myanmar’s military coup and declaration of a state of emergency has sparked concern in neighbouring China over metal and mineral supplies amid already high tin, copper and rare earth prices. Below is a description of trade flows from Myanmar to China, the world’s top metals consumer, with comment from analysts and associations on the prospects of disruption. TIN Myanmar is the world’s third-biggest miner of tin, according to the International Tin Association (ITA), and in 2020 accounted for more than 95% of China’s imports of tin concentrate, used by smelters to make refined tin for circuit-board soldering. China’s overall import reliance is 30-35%. Shipments from Myanmar, which borders China’s tin-smelting heartland of Yunnan, fell 13.5% last year amid coronavirus-related disruption. But since Myanmar’s main tin-mining area is the autonomous ethnic Wa region near China, which acts separately from the central government, it has not been affected by the coup and shipments are still possible, says the ITA, which sees concentrate exports holding steady in February. Mines in southern Myanmar are likely to reduce production and may eventually have to suspend operations as Chinese mining supplies, which enter at the Ruili border crossing in the north, have been cut… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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