Mitsui ends South Korean blending ops as arsenic levels ebb at key copper mines

Mining and trading company Mitsui is ceasing copper concentrate blending in South Korea, an indication that grades and arsenic levels are improving at copper mines where it holds stakes, Fastmarkets understands.

For several years, Mitsui ran a light-asset blending facility in the coastal port of Mokpo to process copper concentrates from Los Bronces and Collahuasi copper mines that have historically contained arsenic levels higher than is permitted for China imports.
But Mitsui has not renewed its long-term contractual agreement with the warehousing company operating the facility, which produces 100,00-150,000 tonnes per year of copper concentrate blends, although it may continue to send limited cargoes there on an ad-hoc basis, several informed sources told Fastmarkets.
Mitsui declined to comment when approached by Fastmarkets.

Mitsui's decision to stop blending copper concentrates reinforces indications that arsenic levels have improved at mines at the Collahuasi and Los Bronces mines in which it owns stakes. But it also indicates margins for traders blending copper concentrates have been trimmed in recent years due to higher freight costs and expensive...

Published

Archie Hunter

January 09, 2020

15:40 GMT

London