Spot zinc treatment charges (TCs) fell by more than 72% last year, the slide beginning after the Covid-19 pandemic forced major mines into government-mandated lockdowns
The nosedive in spot TCs – which are discounts to the exchange price paid to smelters for the costs of turning concentrates into refined metal – reflects the supply hit that the zinc market faced in 2020.
The zinc concentrate market was expected to record a heavy surplus, but shutdowns in major zinc and lead producing mines in Peru, Bolivia, India and other heavy zinc-producing countries created an ever-widening chasm between the zinc benchmark TCs and spot terms.
Zinc mine supply hardest hit by Covid-19, supply tightness to persist in 2021
Zinc mine supply, particularly in Peru, was hardest hit by Covid-19 related disruptions, according to Wenyu Yao, senior commodity strategist at ING.
“Australia, the top supplier of zinc concentrate to China, was able to divert more...