FOCUS: Sulfuric acid price hike a relief for copper; zinc TCs drop for Chinese smelters

Chinese copper and zinc smelters are now finding the sulfuric-acid price hike had provided some breathing room as a key source of income while processing fees for concentrate both sank to multi-year low levels, Fastmarkets understands.

The sale of sulfuric acid - a major by-product of copper and zinc smelting - has been generating more cash for smelters, with acid prices increasing substantially in March across China.
One copper smelter source based in Southern China said its realized selling price for sulfuric acid rose by 30% month on month in March to around 370 yuan ($56.70) per tonne, compared to 280 yuan per tonne a month ago.
The realized selling price for acid already reached 450 yuan per tonne this month, a second copper smelter source based in Central China said.
"The margins for acid sales improved a lot while transport costs for sulfuric acid also came down. This could prevent us from cutting primary smelting volumes for now," a Copper Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT) smelter source said.

During the process of smelting concentrates into metal, one tonne of copper output generates three to four tonnes of...

Published

Julian Luk

March 26, 2021

12:26 GMT

London