An accident at the Grasberg mine in Indonesia which killed 28 people is causing concern at Chinese smelters because copper supplies are decreasing.
Although a tunnel collapse did not impact areas where mining takes place, operations at the Grasberg mine, the second largest source of copper in the world, have been halted and no date for restarting operations has been established by Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc., the company which runs the mine.
Chinese smelters are, therefore, pinning their hopes on Oyu Tolgoi to begin production in the near future. Rio Tinto is still awaiting approval to begin transporting copper concentrate, but has, for the most part, already ironed out the logistics of transporting copper to China and is stockpiling copper concentrate at the mine. At full capacity, Oyu Tolgoi will produce 450,000 tons of copper per year.
Some Chinese smelters are already reducing production because of a lack of scrap supplies.