Japans Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. (SMM) is targeting
nickel metal production of 46,000 tonnes this year and 65,000
tonnes in 2014, thanks in part to the companys Taganito
project in the Philippines.
"We want to be a major
player, and are targeting nickel production of 150,000 (tonnes
per year) by 2020," a source at SMM told AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin during London Metal
company expects to produce about 100,000 tonnes of nickel in
2014, of which 65,000 tonnes will be nickel metal and the rest
ferronickel and salts.
"Ideally, we would
like to sell all our production in Japan," the source said.
"Our first priority is the domestic market. Then China, Korea
and Taiwan. In the form of nickel metal in metal and
briquettes, Japans consumption is approximately 75,000
Some battery producers
prefer to get nickel in the form of briquettes for powder, but
it is difficult to estimate how much cathode Japanese consumers
buy, the source said. "(But on a) contained-nickel basis, total
Japanese consumption is 140,000 tonnes in the form of metal,
ferronickel, nickel oxide and some salts."
Nickel demand in Japan
is expected to improve in 2014 due to economic stimulus
measures implemented by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a
trader said. "In the nickel business, good demand comes from
special steels for energy industries like oil rigs, gas wells,
pipes and large tanks."
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin.