The mining company has locked in deals for 2019 supply of high-silver lead concentrates from its Cannington mine in Australia, with TCs for lead set at $98 per tonne and RCs for silver at $0.60 per oz, sources said.

Cannington's annual contracts are regarded as a benchmark for other high-silver lead concentrates. Rolling over last year's numbers means that terms continue to reside at multi-year lows, having been set at $124.70 per tonne and $1 per oz in 2017 and $192.50 per tonne and $1.50 per oz in 2015.

"I think it’s indicative of the persistently tight market and really interesting in contrast with the one known zinc term contract," Macquarie base metal strategist Vivienne Lloyd commented today.

Fastmarkets assessed spot TCs for high silver lead concentrates at $40-60 per tonne cif China on April 26, while spot market RCs are around $0.70 per oz.

Levels have risen since the start of the year after the arbitrage that allowed material into China at large profits dissipated and several Chinese smelters decided not to renew silver tolling licenses.

Cannington is forecast to produce 98,000 tonnes of payable lead this year, down from 104,400 tonnes per year in 2018 and equivalent to 154,000 dry metric tonnes of lead concentrates.