HAMBURG, March 16 (Reuters) - Copper smelters' fees globally are likely to rise as copper concentrates that would have been processed in Japan must be sold elsewhere after the disaster, said a report from Aurubis (NAFG.DE), Europe's biggest copper producer.
When large volumes of concentrates are offered on global markets, concentrate treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) rise as smelters do not have to compete for supplies. TC/RCs are the fees paid by mines and traders to smelters to refine concentrate into metal.
In 2010 Japanese smelters produced about 1.35 million tonnes of copper using concentrates, Aurubis said.
"A reduction in their demand would cause the treatment and refining charges in the spot market, which are still currently about $60 a tonne and 6 cents a pound, to rise substantially," Aurubis said.
"Deliveries must now be redirected via distress sales to other purchasers."
Two Japanese copper smelters with combined 2010 copper output of around 430,0000 tonnes are located in the area of northern Japan hit by the disaster and could be affected by power outages, Aurubis said.
In the medium to longer term, copper demand could be increased by rebuilding work following the disaster, it said.