Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co. Ltd. has started idling 20% to 30% of its 800,000-tonne annual copper smelting capacity in accordance with an Anhui province government directive to curb pollution over the winter months, Bloomberg News reported Dec. 7, citing a company official.
Wang Guojian, vice commercial director for the company, said it remains unknown how long the suspension will last and the curbs could help Chinese smelters in negotiations over processing fees with foreign mining companies.
"If the curbs are enacted in more regions, or nationwide, that will affect demand for copper concentrate," Wang added, noting that Tongling Nonferrous has yet to resume talks for processing fees. Discussions over the fees were suspended last week without an agreed-upon price for how much miners will pay for copper refining in 2018.
Other copper-producing regions such as Shandong and Jiangxi have not been affected by environmental curbs, Wang added, according to the report.