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By Bernadette Christina Munthe
JAKARTA, April 28 (Reuters) - Indonesia’s state-owned tin miner PT Timah saw a 40 percent drop in refined tin production to 4,205 tonnes in the first quarter from 7,057 tonnes in the same period a year earlier, the company said in a statement on Thursday, amid declining output of tin ore.
The company’s tin ore production fell 49 percent to 3,405 tonnes in the first quarter from 6,653 tonnes in the same period a year ago, the statement said.
“Several factors such as low prices and extreme weather contributed to the decline,” Timah corporate secretary Agung Nugroho told Reuters, referring to heavy rains, floods, strong winds and waves offshore, which affected mining operations.
Typically Timah’s output declines during the rainy season, when the state-owned company must move its dredging vessels, used to suck up tin ore from the sea bed, to sheltered harbours.
“There was a lot of maintenance work (and) a reduction in Timah’s production equipment,” Nugroho added.
In the first quarter, Timah recorded a loss of 138.84 billion rupiah ($10.53 million) on declining revenues and a near 6 percent increase in production costs.
In February, Nugroho said Timah’s tin production was expected to reach 26,000-30,000 tonnes in 2016, unchanged from 2015 levels, and Indonesia’s total output of the metal, which is used to solder electronics, would reach a maximum of 50,000 tonnes.
Indonesian tin exports have been declining for several years as a result of tightening government regulations on miners and smelters operating on the islands of Bangka and Belitung.
The declines from Indonesia, the world’s top producer of refined tin, have helped London benchmark tin prices surge 16 percent this year. ($1 = 13,185 rupiah) (Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Sunil Nair and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)