SANTIAGO, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Tighter copper supply and an increase in refining capacity in top-consumer China should result in lower treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) by smelters, the chief of Chilean miner Antofagasta PLC told Reuters on Monday.
“The fundamental market conditions are indicative of a deficit and that should mean that the TC/RCs fall. That’s the logic that should prevail,” Ivan Arriagada told Reuters on the sidelines of an event.
Last week, sources told Reuters that China’s largest smelters had raised their minimum charges by up to 10 percent for the fourth quarter, more than most traders had expected.
Arriagada said that the expansion of Chinese capacity, in addition to production lost to strikes at Chile’s Escondida and Indonesia’s Grasberg mines had resulted in a shortage of copper concentrate.
Treatment and refining charges serve as an indicator of copper smelters’ profits, with higher charges seen as a sign of an abundant supply of copper. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Bernadette Baum)