BHP Billiton and Japan smelters agree 2010 copper fees

Major Japanese smelters have agreed to a 38% cut in copper treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for 2010 with global miner BHP Billiton industry sources told Miho Yoshikawa of Reuters. The fees were set at $46.5/tonne and 4.65 cents/pound for processing copper concentrate into metal, the same level as those set with US miner Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc in late 2009.

The levels, down from $75/7.5 cents set for the calendar 2009 contract, are the lowest since the 2008/09 mid-year contract when processing fees were set at $42.5/4.25 cents. The mid-year contracts provide terms for copper concentrate supplies for the 12 months starting in July.