SHANGHAI, May 13 (SMM) – Production of zinc concentrate in China expanded to 335,500 mt in April, with operating rates across miners climbing 10.3 percentage points from a month ago to stand at 73.4%, showed an SMM survey.
This was driven by operation recovery across miners who were affected by adverse weather and safety checks.
April’s average operating rate, however, stood 1.9 percentage points lower than the corresponding month last year, as the expiration of mining permits and safety certificates as well as poorer quality of ore lowered the production.
Operating rates across medium-sized miners saw a smaller increase last month, compared with large miners, as high ore treatment charges and weaker zinc prices eroded profit margins and hurt production enthusiasm.
Increased standards for renewing mining permits resulted in a larger number of shutdowns of medium-sized miners, which also limited the growth in operating rates.
The average operating rate across zinc concentrate producers in China is expected to continue to rise in May, up 7.1 percentage points from April to 80.5%, standing 3.1 percentage points higher than May 2018.
Further improved weather conditions would allow miners in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Tibet to step up production, while the impact of safety checks will fully fade.