The first settlement in the 2017 ‘mating season’ for treatment and refining charges (TCRCs) payable by miners under long term contracts with smelters has been reached. It is understood that within the past few days Freeport McMoran has settled with a major Chinese smelter at a level of $92.5/t & 9.25c/lb. At the time of writing, it remains to be seen whether other major buyers and sellers will adopt these terms. However, this initial deal does indicate that the 2017 benchmark is likely to be somewhat lower than previous forecasts. This inform discusses the reasons for the recent change in market sentiment and considers some of the implications of lower TCRCs.