SANTIAGO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The global copper market will remain tight in 2013 and prices shouldn't fluctuate much from 2012 levels, Chilean miner Antofagasta CEO Diego Hernandez told Reuters on Friday.
But potential new copper entering the market in the second half of the year could cause the market to tilt into a small surplus, he said.
"I don't see the price (and) the market conditions being very different from 2012, with a supply-demand that is tight and with a few doubts in the second half if more copper is going to come into the market or not ... Which could cause a slight surplus," Hernandez told Reuters. "In general I don't see this year very different to last year."
London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month copper was $7,929 per tonne in the final ring trade of 2012, up around 4.3 percent from 2011. It closed at $8,030 a tonne on Friday.Spot prices for copper refining and treatment charges (TC/RC) should remain stable in the short-term, Hernandez added.
TC/RC are charges paid by miners to smelters for converting concentrate into refined metal.
Antofagasta in December said it had halted development at its $1.7 billion copper mine Antucoya, as it reviews escalating costs of the project.
Antucoya, which was forecast to produce 80,000 tonnes of copper cathodes a year, is one of the most capital intensive projects in the industry.
Hernandez declined to comment on Antucoya.