Copper TC/RCs drop at end of July as market braces for Escondida strikes

Spot copper concentrate treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) dropped at the end of July as labor negotiations soured at Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine.

The Metal Bulletin copper concentrates TC/RC index dropped by $3.10 per tonne/0.31 cents per lb to $83/8.3 cents per lb, breaking 3½ months of gains.
TC/RCs had risen sharply since May, when major smelter Sterlite Copper declared force majeure on contracts and was subsequently shut down. Traders cut long positions to go short amid rising terms, inflating smelter buying terms in the selloff.
But after a year of unusually stable mine supply, it looks likely that industrial action will cause at least some disruptions - unions at Escondida expect members to vote to strike.
This has stoked fears in the market that there could be a prolonged outage similar to what occurred last year, when disagreements over the same labor contract kept the mine dormant for 44 days.

Strikes are not expected to last as long as they did last year, which was a...

Published

Archie Hunter

Julian Luk

August 01, 2018

18:02 GMT

London