State-owned tin miner PT Timah plans to cut costs and finish the construction of a smelter in an effort to turn its fortunes around after the company lost money last year.

The publicly listed company announced on Thursday that it planned to deleverage debt, reprofile bank loans and cut costs “in all lines of production”. 

The company also planned to continue developing a multimillion dollar tin smelter on Bangka island at the behest of the government and to keep exporting the mineral strategically.

“We have to be selective in responding to the dynamism of the global tin market,” said Timah president director Riza Pahlevi Tabrani in a statement.

Riza told reporters late last year that Timah would cut export volumes by up to 2,500 metric tons each month to optimize earnings amid variable global tin prices. 

Timah, one of the world’s top tin miners, began the construction of its new tin smelter on Jan. 30. The US$80 million facility is expected to yield 40,000 tons of crude tin yearly when completed in 2021. The development of the smelter is part of the government’s policy to transform Indonesia into an industrial economy.

Timah booked a loss of Rp 703.97 billion ($49.4 million) last year, down from a profit of Rp 278.88 billion the previous year. The miner attributed the loss mainly to depressed global tin prices since January 2019.

Its revenue, however, jumped 75 percent year-on-year (yoy) to Rp 19.3 trillion while its costs rose 83 percent to Rp 18.16 trillion.

“Other than the trade war, which continues until today, the COVID-19 pandemic has major potential to affect global tin prices,” said Timah corporate secretary Abdullah Umar, referring to the United States-China trade war.

China is the world’s top importer of tin, a metal mostly used for soldering.

Global tin prices closed at $16,855 per ton on Thursday at the benchmark London Metal Exchange (LME). Prices have rebounded from those of March but remain half of the pre-trade war price.

Timah’s shares, traded on the Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX), had fallen 0.86 percent during the trading day as of 2:43 p.m. Jakarta time on Friday as the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) gained 0.1 percent. The stocks have lost almost 30 percent of their value so far this year.