KALGOORLIE, Australia, Aug 02, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Copper treatment and refining charges are settling at $39 a metric ton and 3.9 cents a pound for mid-year 2010 contracts between miners and smelters, Terry Burgess, chief executive of OZ Minerals (OZL.AU), said Monday.
"We are a price taker. We just follow the big boys, but that's our understanding," he said at the Diggers & Dealers mining forum.
TC/RCs are paid by miners to smelters in order to turn copper concentrate into copper cathode. They are the key source of revenue for smelters and tend to fall when concentrate availability is scarce and smelters are forced to offer competitive fees to attract limited business.
The negotiations are usually led by the biggest copper mining companies, including Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) and BHP Billiton (BHP).
Burgess said the record-low TC/RCs showed how tight copper supply really was and added that smelters were still keen for concentrate despite the low charges.