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Strike at Chilean ports lifts copper premiums to Asia

Keywords: Tags  Chilean copper, copper, port strike, copper premiums, BHP Billiton, Xstrata, Codelco, Carolina Guerra


SÃO PAULO — Premiums for Chilean copper delivered to Asia are likely to rise to more than $100 per tonne c.i.f. as a result of the strike at the country’s ports, AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin has been told.

"Regular premiums to Asia are at $95 per tonne ... there was a bid for 500 tonnes at $112 per tonne c.i.f.," one trader in Chile said.

"We increased premium levels on material for Asia to $105 per tonne after the strike," a second trader said.

Last month, Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco) reported a delay in shipments due to a dockworkers’ strike at the Chilean port of Angamos ( amm.com, March 22).

Other ports later joined the strike, leaving Codelco to seek other options for exporting of its copper ( amm.com, March 28).

The Angamos port is used by Codelco to ship copper from Chuquicamata, the company’s largest project, as well as the Minera Gaby and Radomiro Tomic mines, according to a report by Chilean newspaper La Tercera.

BHP Billiton Plc’s Escondida and Spence mines also ship some supplies from Angamos.

"It is a very difficult situation and it is getting harder to fulfill commitments. Premiums are based on urgency. If the strike extends for a long time, premiums will keep rising," the second trader said.

Copper cathode exports are likely to be more affected than those of concentrates, as most companies use private ports to ship concentrates, market sources said.

An executive from the Collahuasi Mine, in which Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc each have a 44-percent stake, said the strike isn’t affecting operations as the companies use the private port of Patache.

Shanghai copper premiums have already touched $100 per tonne on tight spot availability.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.


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