Smelters and miners remain at odds over copper treatment and refining charges (TCs) for 2021 amid tight supply, resulting in a price gap of $5-10/mt between the bids and offers for the process.
According to media reports, smelters are looking to charge around $60/mt in TCs, while miners are not willing to pay more than $50-55/mt, resulting in a $5-10/mt gap in the cost to refine the red metal. In 2019, Freeport McMoran and China’s Jiangxi Copper smelter had struck a deal and set prices at $62/mt for treatment charges in 2020.
However, media reports noted that this year, Freeport, which is usually the first to strike a deal in early November, is yet to conclude its pricing for 2021 owing to its Indonesian mine, which produced copper concentrate with high fluorine impurities, putting it in a weaker negotiating position. Antofagasta, another first mover in setting TCs with smelters has also not set its prices for 2021 yet.