Copper concentrates from Oyu Tolgoi may reach China soon

October 17 (MetalBulletin) Copper concentrate from Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia may start reaching Chinese buyers soon, after customs authorities agreed to release material held at the border.

About 38,000 tonnes of concentrate was blocked at customs in July, forcing Rio Tinto to stockpile material from the new mine while its customers negotiated a solution. 

Customs authorities have now agreed to release the blocked concentrate, according to two smelter sources with direct knowledge of the situation. 

“After a long effort, Chinese customs finally compromised and deemed copper concentrates as special product and let the cargo go. All stuck cargo might finish customs clearance by the end of November,” a smelter official told Metal Bulletin. 

“The attitude from Chinese customs has softened, [so] hopefully some parcels will get approval to be collected from the warehouse early next week,” a second smelter source said. 

This does not necessarily mean that all material from Oyu Tolgoi is now free to pass into China but it is does confirm that progress is being made to make that happen. 

Oyu Tolgoi’s concentrator is running at its maximum rate, processing 100,000 tonnes of ore each day, according to Turquoise Hill Resources, the Rio Tinto-controlled company which runs the mine. Output of copper in concentrate is still expected to be between 75,000 and 80,000 tonnes this year, it added. 

“Shipments of concentrate are expected to be aligned with production rates by the end of 2013,” the company said. 

The prospect of Oyu Tolgoi copper finally coming to the market may help smelters as they negotiate annual treatment and refining charges for 2014 with miners.

Source:Metals Bulletin
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