SHANGHAI, Jun. 4 (SMM) –
CNIA data show domestic refined zinc output in April was 522,000 mt, up 14.6% YoY and 6.3% MoM, and hitting a monthly high for 2015. Refined zinc output in the first four months totaled 1.98 million mt, up 13.59% YoY.
TCs for domestic zinc concentrate climbed to a high RMB 5,400-5,500/mt (zinc content) in April. This, coupled with high zinc prices and the peak season, kept operating rates high at zinc smelters. The average operating rate at major zinc smelters reached 78.42%, up 2.98 percentage points MoM.
Output in Anhui in the first four months of this year posted a 1,033.75% YoY surge as Anhui Tongguan Non-ferrous Metals ran both of its two production lines after the Chinese New Year holiday. The company only maintained one production line under operation last April, with operating rates also low. Zinc output in Inner Mongolia increased 0.6% MoM, with YTD output through April up 31.15% YoY. Major zinc smelters including Zijin Mining, Chifeng NFC Zinc Industry Company and Xing’an Copper & Zinc Smelting Company all operated near capacity.
NBS data show domestic zinc concentrate output in April was 427,000 mt, down 12.3% YoY and 0.5% MoM. Zinc concentrate output between January and April fell 10.55% YoY to 1.35 million mt.
Domestic zinc concentrate output in April dropped 2,000 mt from March. Zinc concentrate output in Guizhou declined 25,000 mt to 8,000 mt in April, compared to a 36,000 mt growth in March. The province produced 60,000 mt of zinc concentrate in 2014.
Zinc concentrate output in Hunan decreased 18,000 mt to 32,000 mt in April. Hunan’s Jinchuitang Mining Company was closed for illegal effluent discharge March 21. Output in Shaanxi slid 6,000 mt to 25,000 mt, and output in Sichuan contracted 3,000 mt to 11,000 mt. The drop in output in the three regions is due mainly to environmental protection inspections.
But SMM finds that zinc concentrate output in most other provinces posted a MoM growth because of rising zinc prices, which simulated mine production. The average SMM #1 zinc price in April was RMB 16,243.3/mt, up RMB 506.9/mt MoM. TCs for domestic zinc concentrate were also stable, with RMB 5,400-5,500/mt (zinc content) for Zn 50%.
In addition, mines also ramped up production due to improving weather in April. A large number of mines in Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Xinjiang resumed operation in April.
Output in Inner Mongolia grew 9,000 mt to 165,000 mt in April, and output in Gansu increased 4,000 mt to 27,000. Xinjiang added 2,000 mt in output to 11,000 mt, with output in Yunnan up 9,000 mt to 59,000 mt. Zinc concentrate output in Guangxi was up 10,000 mt to 33,000 mt, with output in Guangdong up 3,000 mt to 11,000 mt.
Zinc concentrate output is expected to increase further in May due to favorable weather and high zinc prices.