(Releads, writes through adding background, data)
By Yuka Obayashi
TOKYO, April 7 Copper output in Japan is
expected to rise 4.4 percent in the six months between April and
September from the same period last year, Reuters calculations
showed on Monday, driven by recovering local demand and higher
Pan Pacific Copper (PPC), Japan's biggest copper smelter and
a unit of Japan's JX Holdings Inc, said it was aiming
for a 5.5 percent increase in its refined copper output for the
first half of the 2014 business year that started on April 1, to
meet strong demand at home and abroad including China.
"We are boosting our output as domestic demand is likely to
stay solid with more infrastructure work to rebuild in the
northeastern region after the huge earthquake and tsunami and to
prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics," Yoshihiro Nishiyama,
senior executive officer at PPC, told Reuters on Monday.
Japan's local copper demand has been recovering as an
increasing number of urban development projects, the
refurbishment of old infrastructure and the construction of
solar power plants have boosted electric cable demand.
Healthy demand for copper products used in automobiles is
another good sign for smelters, according to industry officials.
PPC's Nishiyama said Japanese smelters have better financial
incentives to process more metals because of higher processing
fees and premiums.
Late last year, PPC won its highest copper processing fees
in eight years in a deal with U.S. miner Freeport-McMoRan Copper
& Gold Inc, reflecting an anticipated growth in mine
The treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for Freeport
were set at $92 per tonne and 9.2 cents per pound respectively,
up 31 percent from $70 and 7 cents for 2013.
Separately, PPC set 2014 copper premiums for Chinese buyers
mostly at $123, up 45 percent from last year.
Other smelters also aim to boost their copper output for the
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, Japan's No.2 copper
producer, plans a 6.4 percent increase while Mitsubishi
Materials Corp targets a 1.2 percent rise.
"Domestic copper demand is solid, especially for electric
wires used in infrastructure and solar power generators,"
Masanori Ohyama, general manager of copper & precious metals
sales at Sumitomo Metal, told Reuters last week.
"We've practically sold out our refined copper for calendar
2014 through the long-term contracts," he said.
NO IMPACTS FROM CHILE EARTHQUAKE
Both PPC and Sumitomo Metal, also copper miners, are set to
start production at new copper mines in Chile this year.
PPC plans to begin producing copper concentrate at its
Caserones mine in May, while Sumitomo Metal, along with Poland's
KGHM, aims to start operations in Sierra Gorda mine in
the April-June quarter.
PPC's Nishiyama said the major earthquake that struck last
week in Chile, the world's top copper producer, did not have any
impact on its Caserones mines or its procurement of copper
concentrates from the existing mines in the country.
Below are production plans for Apr-Sept, compared with
year-earlier output, of non-ferrous metals from Pan Pacific,
Sumitomo Metal, Mitsubishi Materials, Furukawa Co Ltd,
DOWA Holdings Co Ltd, Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co Ltd
, Nittetsu Mining Co Ltd and Toho Zinc Co Ltd
. (in tonnes)
In Japan, most of companies start their business year on
H1 H2 H1 H1 Yr/Yr
2014/15 2014/15 2013/14
Pan Pacific 280,900 n.a. 266,300 5.5%
Sumitomo 217,000 219,000 204,000 6.4%
Mitsubishi 159,648 n.a. 157,788 1.2%
DOWA 56,219 n.a. 55,809 0.7%
Furukawa 46,907 n.a. 45,177 3.8%
Nittetsu 23,106 n.a. 21,682 6.6%
Mitsui 105,400 n.a. 104,300 1.1%
DOWA 85,605 n.a. 78,396 9.2%
Toho Zinc 51,175 n.a. 53,533 -4.4%
Sumitomo 23,500 26,500 25,600 -8.2%
Mitsubishi 0 0 4,842 n.a.
Toho Zinc 47,900 n.a. 50,079 -4.4%
Mitsui 32,100 n.a. 33,300 -3.6%
Mitsubishi 14,880 n.a. 13,944 6.7%
DOWA 6,752 n.a. 6,626 1.9%
Sumitomo 28,200 29,500 22,400 25.9%
Sumitomo 9,800 11,600 10,000 -2.0%
(Editing by Keiron Henderson)