TOKYO Japans Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. (SMM) plans to increase its nickel output for this fiscal year, but it will reduce its copper production due to planned maintenance works.
The company expects to produce 53,200 tonnes of electrolytic nickel this fiscal year, up nearly 30 percent from 41,000 tonnes in the fiscal year just ended, the company said.
In 2012, Sumitomo expanded its electrolytic nickel production capacity to 65,000 tonnes per year. However, its actual production volume will be considerably less this year due to the shipment of intermediates from the companys Taganito project in the Philippines commencing in the second half of the year, the Tokyo-based company said.
SMM also expects to increase its full-year production of ferronickel by 200 tonnes to 22,400 tonnes, it said.
However, the company noted that any rise in output would be limited by its plans to shut one of the kiln lines at its Hyuga smelter for 35 days for maintenance in May and June and the closure of the other line at the smelter for 22 days in September.
Maintenance work will also curb electrolytic copper output this year. The company plans to shut its Toyo smelter for 20 days in October and November.
Full-year output will reach 423,000 tonnes, down 13,000 tonnes from production during the last financial year.
London Metal Exchange copper prices have been trending downward in recent months, with three-month LME copper standing at $7,469 per tonne April 2. Thats down from $8,166 per tonne in early January.
LME three-month nickel stood at $16,450 per tonne April 2, down from $17,595 per tonne in early January.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.