Advertisement

Tin mining at sea

 Wooden pontoons dredge the seabed for deposits of tin ore off the coast of Toboali, on the southern shores of the island of Bangka, Indonesia, 1 May 2021.
Wooden pontoons dredge the seabed for deposits of tin ore off the coast of Toboali, on the southern shores of the island of Bangka, Indonesia, 1 May 2021.

More miners in Indonesia, the world’s largest tin-exporting country, are heading offshore as reserves on land dwindle and the demand for tin soars. About half of all tin sold globally goes to make solder, the fusible metal alloy used to connect semiconductor chips to circuit boards and electronic devices. High demand for smartphones, laptops, and televisions during the COVID-19 pandemic sent the price of tin to a high in June, last seen a decade ago. Local fishermen and environmentalists are campaigning to halt the sea dredging because of concerns about it harming marine life and mangrove swamps along the coast.