Amadeusz Juskowiak

Atpc members find ways to curb tin exports

Mine and industry officials from most member states of the Association of Tin Producing Countries ATPC say they have found ways to limit group exports to 96000 tonnes in the year started March 1 according to views polled by Reuter correspondents

The plan to curb exports agreed in January is aimed at cutting the world surplus to 50000 tonnes from 70000 now and boosting prices to about 19 ringgit a kilo from just over 16

Members of the sevenmember Kuala Lumpurbased ATPC account for some 65 pct of the worlds tin output

Under the ATPC plan Malaysia has been allocated an export quota of 28526 tonnes Indonesia 24516 Thailand 19000 Bolivia 13761 Zaire 1736 and Nigeria 1461

Australia has said it is not setting any export quota However the tonnage allocated to it 7000 tonnes is roughly equal to its expected output this year

Comment from officials in Zaire was unavailable

Mine officials in Malaysia the worlds leading producer said only 188 mines will be allowed to operate to ensure that output is limited to around 31500 tonnes in the year started March 1

Chief Inspector of Mines Redzuan Sumun told Reuters that excess output of some 3000 tonnes after exports of 28500 in the oneyear quota period would be kept in the national stock

Mine owners in Malaysia have welcomed the ATPC export curb and asked the government not to issue new mining licences More than 100 applications for licences are pending

Redzuan said the Mines Department would approve new mining licences only if a sixmonth review of production trends showed that local mines were not overproducing

ATPC chairman and Indonesias Mining and Energy Minister Subroto has pledged his countrys support for the export curb

A spokesman for the stateowned tin mining company PT Tambang Timah told Reuters it would be easy for Indonesia to stick to an export quota of 24516 tonnes because this was close to exports in calendar 1986 of 24636

In Bangkok Thai Industry Minister Pramual Sabhavasu said Thailand would keep to its 19000 tonne quota and added this would not cause the local industry hardship at current prices

To insure adherence the industry ministry and sole tin exporter Thailand Smelting and Refining Co would encourage bigger stockpiles and income tax exemptions would be permitted he said

The Thai Mineral Resources Department is expected to disallow new tin mines opening this year to prevent excessive production industry sources said

But Mining Industry Council President Dam Teutong told Reuters that if the tin price rose above 18 ringgit a kilo Thai miners would press for the opening of more new mines

Thailand exported 18367 tonnes in 1986 up from 17359 in 1985 Pramual said

Bolivia said it expects to export less tin this year than its allocated 13761 tonne quota

Mining Minister Jaimie Villalobos told Reuters in La Paz that Bolivia expected to export about 9000 tonnes of tin in calendar 1987

He said this was due to the sacking after the tin crisis of October 1985 of about 20000 of the 28000 workers at the state mining company Comibol which produces more than 80 pct of Bolivias total exports

He said there were risks in the ATPC plan to cut exports but added he was confident the goals set by the plan would be achieved He did not elaborate

Mines Power and Steel Minister Bunu Sheriff Musa said in Lagos that Nigeria would have no difficulty keeping within its ATPC quota of 1461 tonnes because its metals output had declined due to poor demand and high production costs

Industry sources told Reuters that Nigerias output was less than 1000 tonnes last year

ATPC officials said they would monitor member countries export figures every three months using customs documents and make projections from such data to see if quotas were likely to be breached within the yearlong quota period

The ATPC officials said members that appeared likely to breach their quotas would be told to take remedial measures

They added that if member countries were unable to fulfil their quotas their extra tonnage would be reallocated to other members at the ATPCs discretion

The ATPC would have produced and exported an estimated 106000 tonnes of tin in 1987 without the plan

Nonmembers Brazil and China have pledged to cooperate with the ATPC and limit their exports to 21000 and 7000 tonnes respectively during the quota period