Copper smelters in China wary of BHP-Anglo tie-up – by Siyi Liu, Julian Luk, Mai Nguyen and Melanie Burton (Reuters – April 30, 2024)

Chinese smelters, the world’s biggest buyers of mined copper, are concerned they will lose power to negotiate prices if BHP Group, known locally as “the big miner”, succeeds in its bid for rival Anglo American.

BHP, the world’s largest listed mining group, is fine-tuning an offer that could make it the biggest producer of copper, a metal in high demand as the world seeks to shift towards electric vehicles and a lower carbon economy.The proposed takeover would give BHP control of roughly 10% of global mined supplies, surpassing Chile’s Codelco and Freeport-McMoRan.

“This is not good news for China given the heavy reliance on external supply, and Chinese companies hold limited resources,” Zhang Weixin, a metal analyst at China Futures, said of the potential tie-up.

The China Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT), a group of top smelters that negotiates with miners on yearly prices to treat and refine copper, has no current plans to urge Beijing to investigate the deal, three sources familiar with the matter said.

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