STOCKHOLM, March 29 (Reuters) - Swedish miner and smelter Boliden signed a deal on Monday to sell 36,000 tonnes of copper to Chinese firm Minmetals, its first-long term supply agreement with the world's top consumer of the metal.
The firm, focused on copper and zinc but also a minor seller of gold, said the amount of copper would be worth about $300 million if calculated at today's price CMCU3 and would be supplied over a three-year period. It gave no further details.
Boliden does most of its business with industrial customers in Europe but has been trying to increase its presence in China and other Asian countries where demand for its exports remains strong, supporting prices and driving global demand.
"It's the first deal of this kind, it establishes a good channel to the Chinese market," said investor relations officer Frans Benson.
Benson did not say if the copper would be sold at a fixed or floating rate, or how often its price would be renegotiated.
On Monday, the price of copper for three month delivery rose to its highest level in three months as a weaker dollar drew non-U.S. investors to the metal and a drop in inventories hinted at improving demand.
Analysts said the deal was generally positive for Boliden's ambition to grow in China but would not alter their view of the company's performance, given the lack of detail on the pricing mechanism.
"All they've done is guarantee a take-off agreement," said Rob Clifford, an analyst at Deutsche Bank. "If they had locked in today's price, then that would change the view slightly, but they've given no clues about the pricing mechanism."
Shares in the firm were up as much as 2 percent after the deal with Minmetals was announced.
Boliden produces and sells more zinc than copper, and continues to operate its copper smelters at reduced capacity even though copper prices have rebounded by about 167 percent since hitting their low in late 2008.