SHANGHAI, Mar 7 (SMM) – China is likely to eliminate its dependency on overseas refined copper and move to develop foreign copper ore supplies by optimising its industry, SMM believes.
China will intensify efforts to improve capacity structure and reorganise steel, coal and power enterprises, said deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Ning Jizhe at the National People’s Congress on Tuesday March 6.
SMM does not expect an overcapacity issue in China's copper production as China accounts for half of the world's copper consumption. About 30% of China's refined copper demand is supplied by imports. It is likely that more efforts will be put in improving the industry structure and upgrading established projects.
New smelters will be built along the coast and near copper mines that enjoy logistical advantages. Older and less efficient smelters with pollution woes and are located close to residential areas will be moved and upgraded.
Treatment charges, or refining charges (TCs/RCs), for copper concentrate has grown significantly since 2010. It hit a high of $107/mt in 2015 and bolstered confidence in smelters and investors. With a preparation period of three to four years, most projects that began in 2015 will be commissioned this year. This includes the 400,000-mt project in Ningde that will be commissioned in August. The project is expected to achieve an annual output of 85,000 mt.
Planned production capacities in 2018 will reach a historic high, showed SMM data.
By 2020, SMM expects that China will be self-sufficient for refined copper as new projects are commissioned in 2018 and 2019.
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