Nittetsu Mining Co. plans to increase production of crude copper ore from its Atacama mine in Chile by 56 percent starting in January as global demand for the refined metal expands.
The Tokyo-based company will raise output to 1.4 million metric tons a year of crude copper ore, from 900,000 tons last year, Nittetsu said in a statement today.
“The increase in output is to meet rising global demand,” the company said. Nittetsu has a 60 percent stake in the Atacama mine, while Inversiones Las Cruces S.A. has 40 percent.
Copper, used in construction and automobiles, has jumped 27 percent on the London Metal Exchange this year and reached a record $9,392 a ton yesterday after China, the world’s biggest buyer, said monthly imports rose for the first time since August and an accident at Chile’s Collahuasi mine disrupted supply.
The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.3 percent to $9,337.50 a ton as of 5:24 p.m. Tokyo time.
China’s refined-copper imports surged 37 percent to 232,298 tons in November, compared with October, according to the General Administration of Customs. Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc’s Collahuasi copper venture in Chile declared force majeure on Dec. 20 after an accident shut its port.