SHANGHAI, Dec 19 (SMM) – Treatment charges (TCs) climbed in 2018 as lowered demand gave smelters an upper hand over miners in the negotiations.
SMM assessments showed that TCs for domestic lead concentrate (Pb 50%) averaged 1,800 mt in Pb content as of December 1, up 44% from 1,250 yuan/mt recorded on January 1, 2018.
Many smelters undertook maintenance when domestic miners operated in high gear. This, combined with periodic environmental restrictions, lowered demand for lead concentrate and shored up the bargaining power of smelters.
Domestic miners also faced competition from seaborne materials as an import arbitrage window opened . This prompted them to raise TCs to attract more buyers.
An increase in using lead-containing waste materials at smelters also dented demand for lead concentrate.