November 29, 2018 / 9:24 AM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-Mitsubishi Materials says Indonesia copper smelter declared force majeure on some deliveries

(Adds comment from Freeport)

TOKYO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials on Thursday said its Indonesia copper smelting unit, PT Smelting, has declared force majeure on deliveries of products to some customers as maintenance at its plant had been extended.

The smelter on Oct. 31 went into maintenance that was scheduled for about 30 days, but that has been extended due to a lack of supply from a neighbouring oxygen plant, said a Mitsubishi Materials spokesman.

The oxygen plant was also conducting maintenance that had to be extended, the spokesman said. Oxygen is used in the initial stages of copper smelting to help remove impurities from copper concentrate.

The extended maintenance would cut the smelter’s annual production of copper cathode by around 20,000 tonnes to approximately 240,000 to 250,000 tonnes, assuming partial operations resume in mid-December, the spokesman said.

The plant is expected to resume full operations in mid-January, he said.

He did not say how much copper supply would be affected by force majeure or which customers would be hit.

A Jakarta-based spokesman for Freeport-McMoRan Inc unit PT Freeport Indonesia, the main supplier of copper concentrate to PT Smelting, said its deliveries had not been disrupted yet, but he provided no further detail.

Each year Freeport supplies around 1 million tonnes of copper concentrate to PT Smelting for copper production.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Additional reporting by Fergus Jensen and Wilda Asmarini in JAKARTA; Editing by Joseph Radford and Tom Hogue

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