Japan's Sumitomo Metal plans 7.7 pct cut in FY19/20 copper output

    TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) - Japan's second-largest copper
smelter, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, said it planned
to produce 420,000 tonnes of refined copper in the 2019/20
financial year that started this month, down 7.7 percent from a
year earlier.
    The decline comes as the company plans a 35-day maintenance 
at its Toyo Smelter & Refinery in Ehime, western Japan from
late-October, a company spokeswoman said. 
    Sumitomo Metal, also Japan's biggest nickel smelter, expects
its electrolytic nickel output to rise by 2.3 percent this year
to meet rising demand for cathode materials used in rechargeable
battery that powers electric vehicles.
    Sumitomo Metal supplies the nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA)
cathode materials used in Panasonic Corp's lithium-ion
battery that powers Tesla Inc's Model 3 and Model X.

    The Japanese smelter also plans to raise ferro-nickel
production by 8.5 percent.
    Ferro-nickel is an alloy made from iron and nickel and is
used as a raw material to make stainless steel.
    Here are details of the company's output plan, compared with
planned production in the 2018/19 year which includes the actual
output in the first half and the estimate for the second half.
(copper, nickel, zinc in tonnes; gold and silver in kilograms):
                             H1 FY2019/20         H2 FY2019/20
 Electrolytic copper     210,000(230,640)     210,000(224,300)
 Electrolytic nickel       31,300(28,200)       31,300(33,000)
 Ferronickel                 6,700(6,156)         6,600(6,100)
 Gold                       8,100(10,808)         8,100(9,800)
 Silver                  108,600(118,500)     108,600(107,900)
 (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Uttaresh.V)