November 9, 2020
JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corporation
Agreement Reached on Acquisition of Full Rights and Interests in the Caserones Copper Mine
JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corporation (Head Office: Toranomon 2-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo; President: Murayama Seiichi; “the Company”) announces that it has today reached a basic agreement with Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Osaki 1-chome, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo; President: Nishida Keiji; “Mitsui Kinzoku”) and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Otemachi 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Yasunaga Tatsuo; “Mitsui & Co.”), joint investors in the Caserones Copper Mine, on the transfer to the Company of all their rights and interests in the mine (Mitsui Kinzoku: 25.87%, Mitsui & Co.: 22.63%).
1.Timeline and background
The Company and Mitsui Kinzoku acquired mining rights and interests in the Caserones Copper Mine in 2006 through their venture firm Pan Pacific Copper Co., Ltd. (transferred to Nippon Caserones Resources Co., Ltd. in April 2020). The two firms have been developing the Caserones project ever since, and in 2010 were joined by Mitsui & Co. to form a three-company operation. The project faced difficulties early on, with construction delays and swelling construction costs. Today, however, having achieved stable production and profitability, the mine is entering a new phase toward further boosting production volume.
In light of this situation, discussions among the three companies about how to proceed from here made it clear that, since Mitsui Kinzoku would be giving priority to use of its management resources in other businesses, while Mitsui & Co. would be revising its metal resources business portfolio, management of Caserones Copper Mine project would become the responsibility of the Company. The discussions then turned to having the Company buy out the rights and interests in the project from Mitsui Kinzoku and Mitsui & Co., leading to a consensus and the conclusion of a written agreement today on transfer of interests.
The copper concentrate from the Caserones Copper Mine is a valuable resource for the JX Nippon Mining & Metals Group smelting and refining facilities. As the copper grade of ores worldwide declines and impurities are on the increase, the value of the high-quality and clean Caserones ores is rising. Obtaining such excellent copper concentrate is seen as of key importance for the Company’s copper smelting and refining business, the core of the metal supply chain from upstream raw material ores to the downstream advanced materials, and including recycling.
As the Company takes over full responsibility for the Caserones Copper Mine, which produces excellent ores, it will proceed with already devised plans to invest in automation taking advantage of IoT technology, while further stepping up exploration efforts in areas around the mine with the prospect of substantial mineral reserves, working to maintain and expand production volume and extend the mine lifetime.