SHANGHAI, Feb. 12 (SMM) – The average operating rate at major Chinese primary lead smelters fell 6.21 percentage points on the month to a mere 59.8% in January, SMM’s latest survey indicates.
The 47 primary lead smelters in SMM’s renewed survey sample have a total capacity of 4.46 million tpy.
The average SMM #1 lead price hit a refreshed low of 12,536 yuan per tonne in January, down over 500 yuan per tonne from December. This, combined with sharp declines in the price of bismuth and antimony, two by-products in primary lead smelting, discouraged smelters from producing.
Primary lead output in Henan and Yunnan decreased 7,000 tonnes and 15,000 tonnes, respectively, in January, but that in Hunan barely changed.
Now that many primary lead smelters have entered into maintenance cycles, or halted production due to sliding lead prices and the Chinese New Year holiday, SMM expects China’s primary lead output to total some 180,000 tonnes in February.
SMM has excluded Ningxia Tianma Metallurgical Chemical Group, Henan Luoyang Yongning Gold & Lead Refining, Shaanxi Nonferrous Metals, Jiaozuo Dongfang Lead & Gold from its 2015 survey sample due to their closures, and added Chifeng Mountain Jinhongling Nonferrous Metals Mining that has recently been put into production.
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