HAMBURG, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Global spot copper treatment and charges dipped in February, in a market for copper concentrates that has remained quiet despite Indonesia’s ban on copper ore exports, Europe’s biggest copper producer Aurubis said on Tuesday.
Global spot copper ore treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) are currently $100 a tonne and 10 cents a lb, Aurubis said. This was down from $110 a tonne and 11 cents a lb Aurubis reported in January.
TC/RCs are paid by miners to smelters to refine concentrate into metal and are a key part of the global copper industry’s earnings.
“There has been some interest in spot purchases of copper concentrates among Indian and Japanese smelters due to the Indonesian export ban,” Aurubis said in a market report. “In contrast, there is almost total quiet in concentrate business in China and Europe.”
Indonesia’s ban on copper and some other ores, which came into effect on Jan. 12, aims to stimulate more raw materials processing inside the country.
“This has caused Indonesian exports of copper concentrates to grind to a halt for the time being,” Aurubis said. “This affects the national mine output of about 40,000 tonnes of copper per month. However, a little less than half of this quantity can be processed in Indonesia’s only smelter.”
Whether new copper smelting capacity will be created in the country by 2017 as sought by Indonesia remains unclear, though U.S. miner Freeport-McMoRan plans a smelter in the country, Aurubis said.
“These kinds of investments are very capital-intensive, require a high level of risk protection for foreign investors, could necessitate state support or subsidies and are connected with a need for an extensive knowledge base - when taken together, these are not optimal conditions for quick implementation,” Aurubis said.