Fri, 11 Oct 06:42:00 GMT
TOKYO, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Japan's JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corp said on Friday that it will start operations at Chile's Caserones copper mine in January 2014.
JX Mining said it expected initial investment in the Caserones mine development at $4.2 billion, up from its earlier estimate of $3 billion.
JX Nippon Mining, which is stepping up its acquisitions to hedge against an increase in ore prices amid declining profit margins from smelting, aims to raise the volume of copper content from its own mine interests for refining to an annual 250,000 tonnes in 2015, and then to 350,000 tonnes by around 2020, its parent JX Holdings Inc <5020.T> said in March. Around 100,000 tonnes of in-house copper content in concentrate was used to refine metal in 2012.
PPC, the world's No.3 copper smelter, was set to start producing copper concentrate at its 75 percent-owned Caserones mine in Chile late this year after spending nearly $3 billion in development.
Caserones, slated to produce 150,000 tonnes of copper annually, will boost its metal self-sufficiency rate to 50 percent of its total output in 2015, making it less dependent on big miners such as Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc and BHP Billiton .
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Shinichi Saoshiro)