Elementos bolsters its European tin position

News Analysis




Elementos bolsters its European tin position

Elementos Limited (Elementos) signed a non-binding term sheet with CRM Synergies (CRM) to acquire up to a 50% interest in Iberian Smelting, owner of the Robledollano tin smelting and refining facility in Spain. 

Elementos is currently developing the Oropesa Tin Project (Oropesa) in Andalucía, Spain. Oropesa has a JORC total mineral resource estimate of 19.6Mt, grading at 0.39% Sn. At the recent International Tin Conference, Joe David, Managing Director of Elementos, announced that the project is at an advanced stage of development, and a definitive feasibility study (DFS) is nearing completion. Furthermore, details regarding the mining operation, which is expected to extract 1.25Mtpy of ore, were discussed. The extracted ore will feed an on-site processing plant with a throughput capacity of 1.0Mtpy, which is anticipated to produce 5.4ktpy of tin concentrate over a twelve-and-a-half-year mine life. Elementos aims to begin concentrate production by the end of 2027.

CRM operates tin smelting, refining, and solder manufacturing facilities in Spain, Brazil, and Mexico. The company also has sales and recycling offices in North America. In Spain, CRM, the current major shareholder of Iberian Smelting, produces secondary refined tin and solder predominantly from secondary feedstocks, such as intermediate tin products, and recycled process residues at the Robledollano tin smelting and refining facility located in the Extremadura Region, approximately 220km from Oropesa. In 2021, CRM acquired a 90% interest in Iberian Smelting, with the remaining interest held by a private investor. The facility was previously a lead smelter and a lead–acid battery recycling plant, but a new rotary furnace for tin processing was installed and commissioned in 2022 following the acquisition. According to Iberian Smelting, the facility can operate all year round and can process 10–12ktpy of tin concentrate feed. In addition, Iberian Smelting claims that its current licences approve the facility to smelt up to 20ktpy of tin, lead, and other base metal concentrates and residue products.

In June 2024, Elementos made the abovementioned announcement that it had signed a non-binding term sheet via a wholly owned Spanish subsidiary, which will see Elementos obtain up to a 50% interest in Iberian Smelting for €3.2M (US$3.4M) of which €1.2M (US$1.3M) will be used for purchasing shares and €2.0M (US$2.1M) will be used as a capital injection for investment in additional equipment over a five-year period. As per the terms of the agreement, Elementos will obtain 10% from the private investor and 40% from CRM, while CRM will hold the rest of the interest. In addition, Elementos will become a concentrate supplier of the facility, becoming the only primary refined tin producer in Europe.

Project Blue expects the European and North American tin markets to grow steadily over the next 10 years, with demand for solder applications being the main driver. Currently, these regions have limited domestic tin production and rely heavily on Asian imports, which come with a US$700–750/t premium in Europe. Elementos aims to become a vertically integrated tin producer in Europe, strengthening its position in the European market. Additionally, through its CRM connections, the company could emerge as a key supplier in North America. This development could prove to be very significant as these regions seek to reduce their reliance on Southeast Asian production of refined material.