SHANGHAI, Apr. 2 (SMM) – According to the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA), China’s lead concentrate output in during the first two months of this year was down 15.94% to 324,000 mt.
The suspension of production at Chinese mines during winter months is mainly responsible for the lower output, with operating rates at mines in north China falling sharply due to bitter cold temperatures and water shortages. Lead concentrate output in Inner Mongolia was only 54,000 mt during the first two months of 2013, well below the normal monthly output of 70,000-90,000 mt. In addition, restrictions on the use of explosives ahead of the NPC and CPPCC sessions also limited operations at mines.
Low lead prices also discouraged mine owners. SMM data show #1 lead prices remained low during January and February at RMB 14,700-14,800/mt. In response, many mines were reluctant to sell goods, while some SME mines cut output. Production at lead smelters was also down due to the lack of raw materials.
Most of the lead concentrate output during January and February came from mines in south China. Output in Sichuan province during those two months was 68,000 mt, up from 43,900 mt during the last two months of 2012, or an increase of 55%. Output during January and February was 67,300 mt in Hunan province, 27,900 mt in Guangxi, 21,200 mt in Yunnan province, and 20,000 mt in Fujian, with each up by 20-30% from output during the previous two months.