China’s top copper smelters agreed on a lower guide price for treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for copper concentrate processing in the second quarter of 2023 amid supply disruptions, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The rates of $90 per tonne and 9.0 cents per pound were decided at a meeting of the China Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT) held on Thursday, the sources said.
The new prices are lower than the guidance for the charges set at $93 per tonne and 9.3 cents per pound for the first quarter this year.
Miners pay TC/RCs to smelters to process copper concentrate into refined metal, offsetting the cost of the ore. The charges tend to fall when supply tightens and rise when more concentrate is available.
The charges in the first quarter were a five-year high and reflected market expectations of a supply glut this year. But recent disruptions in some key producing regions raised concerns about near-term shipments to China, the world’s top copper consumer.
Peru, the world’s no. 2 copper producer, has been roiled by demonstrations since late last year, with road blockades restricting transport to and from key mines and some attacks on mine sites by protesters.
Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals FM.TOsuspended ore processing operations at a key Panamanian copper mine in late February after a government order halted port loadings, limiting its capacity to store copper.
Operations resumed in mid-March after an agreement was reached.
Learn more: Reuters