CANCUN, Mexico Teck Resources Ltd. and Korea Zinc Co. Ltd. have narrowed their discussions on the zinc treatment charge (TC) benchmark to around $209 per tonne, industry sources told AMM.
This would swing the terms in favor of the smelters after a benchmark of $191 per tonne was reached between the companies last year.
Neither Teck nor Korea Zinc have confirmed the benchmark, and it is still possible the terms wont be concluded until after the International Zinc Association (IZA) conference in Cancun ends later this week.
A source familiar with the talks said the companies have been in "very tough negotiations."
A higher benchmark would reflect a looser market for zinc concentrates.
Miners have been negotiating from a base of around $186 per tonne, while smelters were pushing for a much higher $230 per tonne.
Analysts had expected the companies to settle at around $210 to $215 per tonne.
The terms reached between the Canadian miner and Korea Zinc are based on a zinc price of $2,000 per tonne, sources said.
There was no information on the de-escalators and escalators being negotiated.
These reflect the percentage decrease or increase in the base treatment charge for every dollar decline or rise in the London Metal Exchange zinc price above the basis price.
Other miners and smelters attending the IZA conference are expected to settle contracts on similar terms once the Teck-Korea Zinc benchmark has been established.