SHANGHAI, Jan. 7 (SMM) – Following strong base metal demand in China and soaring copper prices, major Japanese copper smelters are stepping efforts to invest overseas copper mines, so as to secure raw material supply.
According to Nikkei news report on January 7th, Nippon Mining & Metals Co., Ltd and Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co., Ltd. plan to invest USD 2.7 billion for copper ore project in Chile and Peru. The joint venture established by the two companies will be in charge of the development of the project.
The president of Nippon Mining & Metals Co., Ltd said the company's self-sufficiency rate of copper ore will increase to 70% in 2014 at the earliest.
In addition, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd is also making more efforts to acquire the right of mineral exploration in south America. The company will get the license in 2010 at its earliest.
Mitsubishi Materials Corp. also decides to restart its copper ore production in Canada.
The competition for the right of copper mine exploration will become more and more intense along with increasingly rising copper demand. China and other new emerging economies have accelerated their move towards overseas mineral resources.
Copper demand in Japan is expected to approach 1 million mt in the fiscal year of 2009-2010.
(Edited by SMM)