Copper miners, Japanese smelters to meet for crucial TC/RC talks

Dec 04, 2006 | 07:43 AM | Sean Barry

Crunch talks between Japanese smelters and copper miners BHP Billiton and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. are scheduled to take place next week and are likely to see smelters battle to retain the price participation element of annual treatment and refining charge (TC/RC) agreements.

The benchmark deals with the Japanese, which the rest of the industry traditionally follow, come amid reports of at least one Chinese smelter agreeing close to BHP's initial offer of $60 a tonne/6 cents a pound with no price participation.

But traders expect Japanese smelters to press for price participation, which allows them to raise fees when copper prices gain, to be built into the new agreements in some form to protect against exposure to higher financing costs.....

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