High-silver lead concentrate set to diverge from standard-grade material: 2022 preview

Silvery lead concentrate is expected to remain sought-after in 2022 with growing interest in the recovery of precious and minor metals from the smelting of lead, while its low-silver peers could face very different market fundamentals, multiple industry sources told Fastmarkets.

“Those who have to sell pure lead concentrate of low silver content next year would have a tough time,” a miner source said.

And that is not only a forward-looking statement; it also applies to trading dynamics of the battery metal raw material this year.

Lead and zinc ores are usually found together with gold and silver. The ratio and content of the ores differ across deposits.

For the first time in two years, Fastmarkets’ high-silver lead concentrate treatment charge (TC) dipped below the corresponding price for standard concentrate in late November, demonstrating a sound appetite for the silvery material that typically commands a higher TC.

Fastmarkets’ lead spot concentrate TC, high silver, cif China was last assessed at $50-70 per tonne, $5 per tonne below the TC for low-silver lead concentrate.

A lower TC typically implies a lower availability of material on the spot...


Julian Luk

Ana de Liz

December 31, 2021

11:10 GMT