Mineral resources-poor Japan is mostly dependent on other countries for copper and other nonferrous metals. Copper is a metal resource indispensable to modern society. Yet for various reasons, obtaining stable supplies of copper ore has become increasingly difficult. These include its uneven distribution, country risk, and risk of price and exchange rate fluctuation, along with the growing size of development projects, lowering ore quality and difficulty of processing it, as well as the rising cost of development due to such factors as increasingly fierce global competition for resource acquisition. The mineral resources business is addressing this situation by becoming actively involved in promising mine development projects from the planning stage, and working to expand mining rights and interests.
A further aim is to make efficient and sustainable use of limited resources, by advancing the commercial application of original new leaching technology.
Keywords for better understanding the mineral resources business
Caserones Copper Mine
Operation of the Caserones Copper Mine is being carried out in Chile, South America as an all-Japan-funded project led by the JX Nippon Mining & Metals Group. Production of refined copper by the SX-EW method began at the mine in 2013, followed by copper concentrates production in 2014. The mine is expected to have a production life of 28 years, lasting through the year 2040. The average annual production volume of copper concentrates (copper content) over the initial 10 years of operation is forecasted to be 150,000 tons, with 30,000 tons of refined copper and 3,000 tons of molybdenum being produced each year. The volume of copper concentrates resulting from the project is equivalent to around ten percent of the overall Japanese import volume in terms of copper content. It is expected to contribute to the stable supply of copper resources to Japan.
Caserones Copper Mine: Overall View
Caserones Copper Mine: History of Development
|May 2006||Pan Pacific Copper Co., Ltd. (in the JX Nippon Mining & Metals Group) acquired mining rights to the Caserones Copper Deposit (then called the Regalito Copper Deposit).|
|-||Economic feasibility was assessed based on drilling surveys and other studies.|
|September 2008||Feasibility studies were begun.|
|2010||The decision was made to go ahead with development. Construction was begun.|
|March 2013||Refined copper production by the SX-EW method was begun.|
|May 2014||Copper concentrates production was begun.|
Other mining investments
In addition to the Caserones Copper Mine, we are actively acquiring interests in other promising mines overseas, seeking not only return on investment but a stable supply of copper concentrates. These are all large-scale mines in the top ten globally in copper production volume, and it exists in Chile as well as Caserones.
Overview of mining investments
|Mineral reserves||Approx. 6.1 billion tons
(Copper grade 0.51%, molybdenum grade 0.016%)
(as of Dec. 31, 2016)
|Copper sulfide ores approx. 25.3 billion tons
(Copper grade 0.53%)
(as of June. 31, 2017)
Oxide ores approx. 600 million tons
(Copper grade 0.60%)
|Production start||Jan. 2000||Dec. 1990|
|Volumes produced (2017)||Copper content in copper concentrates 344,000 tons||Copper content in copper concentrate 664,000 tons
SX-EW refined copper 238,000 tons
|Our equity shares||15.79%||3%|
Worldwide distribution of copper mines
A feature of nonferrous metal deposits is their being found in only certain parts of the world. Deposits of copper are concentrated in Chile, a South American country accounting for more than half of copper production volume of the world.