Freeport deal with China copper smelters may pressure BHP

|By:, SA News Editor

Freeport McMoRan (FCX) has agreed to pay nearly a third more in annual processing charges to China's leading copper smelters, likely increasing the pressure on rival BHP to raise its own offer on the charges, Reuters reports.

China's top copper producer reportedly agreed with FCX to treatment and refining charges of $92/metric ton and $0.092/lb. for term copper concentrate shipments in 2014, setting the benchmark for the region, vs. $70/metric ton and $0.07/lb. charged by the smelters from Freeport this year.

BHP, whose opening offer of $80 and $0.08 offer to Chinese smelters last week now looks low, is meeting the smelters for a second round of talks this week.