Sumitomo Metal, Sumitomo join expansion at Freeport's Morenci mine

TOKYO Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:32pm EST

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TOKYO Jan 15 (Reuters) - Sumitomo Corp and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co agreed to participate in a $1.7 billion expansion at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's Morenci mine in Arizona to increase copper production by 43 percent, the Japanese companies said on Tuesday.

Annual copper production will be raised from 280,000 tonnes to 400,000 tonnes, the Japanese companies said, adding their share in the increase will be 15 percent, the same as their current equity stake in the mine. They will bear $260 million of the costs of the increase.

The investment ratio of Sumitomo Metal and Sumitomo in the 15 percent interest will remain at 8:2, the companies said in a press statement. Full production is scheduled for the third quarter of 2014.

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