* CEO says sees 2013 copper prices similar to 2012 levels
* Spot TC/RC seen steady in short-term - Hernandez
* Hernandez declines to comment on halted Antucoya project
By Alexandra Ulmer
SANTIAGO, Jan 25 The global copper market will
remain tight in 2013 and prices shouldn't fluctuate much from
2012 levels, Chilean miner Antofagasta CEO Diego
Hernandez told Reuters on Friday.
But potential new copper entering the market in the second
half of the year could cause the market to tilt into a small
surplus, he said.
"I don't see the price (and) the market conditions being
very different from 2012, with a supply-demand that is tight and
with a few doubts in the second half if more copper is going to
come into the market or not ... Which could cause a slight
surplus," Hernandez told Reuters. "In general I don't see this
year very different to last year."
London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month copper was $7,929
per tonne in the final ring trade of 2012, up around 4.3 percent
from 2011. It closed at $8,030 a tonne on Friday.Spot prices for copper refining and treatment charges
(TC/RC) should remain stable in the short-term, Hernandez added.
TC/RC are charges paid by miners to smelters for converting
concentrate into refined metal.
Antofagasta in December said it had halted development at
its $1.7 billion copper mine Antucoya, as it reviews escalating
costs of the project.
Antucoya, which was forecast to produce 80,000 tonnes of
copper cathodes a year, is one of the most capital intensive
projects in the industry.
Hernandez declined to comment on Antucoya.