Battery Metals

Tin: The forgotten battery metal and a closer look at ASX-listed producers

Fri 06 Jan 23, 3:31pm (AEST)
Tin cans
Source: unsplash

Key Points

  • Tin prices have fluctuated between lows of ~US$15,000 to highs of almost US$50,000 in the last two years
  • A 2018 study by Rio Tinto found tin to be the metal most likely to benefit from new technologies
  • There are very few ASX-listed tin companies, with Metals X as the only one that's hit producer status

The humble tin is often forgotten thanks to flashy and exciting commodities such as lithium, nickel and cobalt. Still, it's an essential material for all-things electronic.

In this article, we'll take a look at the important uses for tin, a recent study for materials most impacted by new technologies and ASX-listed tin stocks.

Tin: Uses and resources

According to Geoscience Australia, more than 50% of tin is used as a tin-lead or solder for electronic parts, plumbing, machinery and cars.

In addition, approximately 20% of tin is used to line steel cans for packaging food as steel alone would rust but tin alone would be too soft.

There is approximately seven million tonnes of tin in the world, with Australia possessing around 1.3% of them. Eastern countries such as China (27%), Malaysia (15%) and Thailand (12%) possess a majority of the world's tin resource.

Interestingly, most electronics use a tiny amount of tin. Everyday products such as iPads, laptops and TVs typically use between 1-5 grams of tin rich solder. At today's spot prices, that's around 2.5 cents to 15 cents worth of tin.

The good thing is that there isn't really a commodity that can substitute tin's rust-resistant and malleable characteristics.

Rio Tin-to: Metals to watch

A 2018 study by Rio Tinto identified tin as the metal most likely to be positively impacted by new technologies. This was followed by, and in order of impact: Lithium, cobalt, silver, nickel and gold.

The study was conducted with the help of UK-based Cornish Tin Limited, which found that the UK is totally dependent on tin imports, of which 75% came from Asia. Those imports can involve unethical practices such as exploitation of workers and high carbon emissions.

Metals most impacted by new technology
Source: Rio Tinto

Tin prices: A wild ride

Tin staged an astonishing rally from pre-COVID levels of US$17,000 a tonne to almost US$49,000 in March 2022. The price rise was fuelled by factors including tin shortages and the shift to working from home, which boosted global demand for computers and electronic devices.

The fall was just as fast as the rise, with prices falling -60% from March highs to lows of around US$17,500 by October 2022. Factors including a decline in global industrial activity, rising interest rates and global supply chain challenges weighed on prices.

The meteoric moves were compounded by the illiquid nature of the tin market, which makes it more susceptible to wild price movements.

2023-01-06 11 33 42-Tin - 2023 Data - 1960-2022 Historical - 2024 Forecast - Price - Quote - Chart
Source: TradingEconomics

ASX-listed tin stocks

Another reason why tin might be so unpopular is the lack of stocks in this space.



Mkt cap ($m)


1-month return

6-month return

12-month return


Metals X














Stellar Resources






Returns as at 6 December 2022

A closer look at Metals X

MetalsX is the largest and most advanced tin play on the ASX. Being an established producer, it's share price quite accurately reflects the recent moves in tin spot prices.

The stock fell as much as -70% between April and November 2022. But the recovery in tin prices has helped the stock bounce around 40% in recent weeks.

The company is profitable, posting $183.9m net profit for FY22. The latest September quarterly update noted sales receipts of $28.2m with $117.5m cash at bank.

Metals X Ltd (ASX MLX) Share Price - Market Index


Written By

Kerry Sun

Content Strategist

Kerry holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Monash University. He is an avid swing trader, focused on technical set ups and breakouts. Outside of writing and trading, Kerry is a big UFC fan, loves poker and training Muay Thai. Connect via LinkedIn or email.

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