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China copper smelters keep Q1 treatment charges flat from previous quarter
China copper smelters keep Q1 treatment charges flat from previous quarter

[Image: 2021-12-29t031708z_1_lynxmpehbs02o_rtrop...k=j8m2u_-7]

China's top copper smelters kept floor treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for copper concentrate in the first quarter of 2022 flat from the previous quarter, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

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The rates were set at US$70 per tonne and 7 cents per pound during a meeting of the China Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT) held online on Wednesday, the sources said.

The new rates are 32per cent higher than the US$53 per tonne and 5.3 cents per pound set during the same period a year earlier.

Miners pay TC/RCs to smelters to process copper concentrate into refined metal, offsetting the cost of the ore. The charges fall when supply tightens and rise when more concentrate is available.

Jiangxi Copper, Tongling Nonferrous, China Copper and other members of the CSPT in top copper consumer China are meant to adhere to the floor price when agreeing spot processing deals for imported concentrate.

The first-quarter floor is higher than a recent settlement between U.S.-based miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc and Chinese smelters of US$65 per tonne and 6.5 cents per pound for term supply of copper concentrate next year.

That settlement is set to be the annual benchmark for 2022, which will be referenced in concentrate supply contracts worldwide. It represents a 9.2per cent increase on this year's benchmark and is the first time the smelters have managed to secure better annual terms since 2015.

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