However, strict environmental checks will make it harder for idled domestic zinc mining capacity to restart.
Treatment charges for imported concentrate to stabilise in 2H
Chinese zinc concentrate imports have been decreasing since the fourth quarter of 2015. This is due to production cuts by global mines last year, as a result of lower zinc prices and over-importation of zinc ore into China earlier in the year.
In 2015, China imported 3.24 million tonnes of zinc concentrate, up 47.2% year-on-year. But in the first six months of 2016, its total zinc concentrate imports fell almost 30% year-on-year, to only 1.0 million tonnes.
Treatment charges (TC) for imported zinc concentrate have also fallen markedly along with zinc concentrate import volumes so far this year. Spot TCs are now quoted at $100-105 per dry tonnes, down 34% from $160 at the start of this year.
Fig 1 China zinc concentrate imports fall in 2016 on poorer margins