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With the thawing of relations between the two countries, Australian copper mines are now being shipped to China.

Port data shows that copper concentrates from Australia are being shipped to China, marking the first such shipment since China halted imports of copper concentrates from Australia three years ago.

According to the Western Australian Port Authority, on November 3rd, the “African Board” cargo ship set sail from Geraldton Port in Australia to Qingdao, carrying 11,000 tons of cargo. The second batch of 11,000 tons of cargo will be transported on the same route next week by the “Densa Hawk.”

This move comes as relations between the two countries are thawing.

At the same time, as smelters expand capacity and mining faces increasing political risks, it is expected that the market for processing copper concentrates will tighten. Miners, traders, and executives from the smelting industry are arriving in China to participate in the CESCO Asia Copper Week, where annual supply agreements are negotiated.

China has not formally banned the import of copper mined in Australia, but in 2020, an unofficial ban on a major supplier prompted Chinese smelters to seek alternative sources, leading to the redirection of Australian materials elsewhere. Other products like coal also faced import restrictions but were later relaxed.

Geraldton is located on the west coast of Australia and serves as the export port for copper concentrates from the Golden Grove copper mine, which is owned by 29Metals Ltd. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comments on this shipment via phone and email.

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