On the concentrate markets, new projects are expected to some extent in 2020. Mines will likely continue to utilize their full production capacities, especially on the basis of the forecasts for the average copper price in 2020. Accordingly, we anticipate a good supply of copper concentrates on the global market. There could be uncertainties, however, due to local political tensions and unrest in countries with larger copper deposits.
For 2019 annual contracts, the benchmark treatment and refining charge (TC/RC) for processing standard copper concentrates was US$ 80.8/t and 8.08 cents/lb. Despite a balanced copper concentrate market in 2019 overall, we have anticipated a possible tightening of the market in connection with declining TC/RCs in 2020.
In late November 2019, the first benchmark between a large mining company and several Chinese smelter operators was agreed at US$ 62/t and 6.2 cents/lb for processing standard copper concentrates in 2020. This confirmed our assumption that the market would tighten, in connection with higher pressure on copper concentrate TC/RCs.
Nevertheless, due to our position on the market, our contract structure, and our supplier diversification, we are confident that we will once again secure a good supply.
The copper scrap market was once again stable at a high level in the course of fiscal year 2018/19. With the same conditions as the last fiscal year, we expect a good supply situation with similar refining charges.
Business in this area, particularly for copper scrap, is conducted with short timelines and is therefore dependent on a variety of influences that are difficult to forecast. For instance, falling metal prices could lead to a market change with declining refining charges in the short term. Our broad market position absorbs supply risks in this case, however. The development of copper scrap and blister copper supply therefore remains difficult to gauge. In Q1 2019/20, we are already supplied with sufficient material with good refining charges.