Sumitomo Metal’s Taganito Project Ships First Nickel to Japan

Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Japan’s top nickel producer, said its Taganito nickel project in the Philippines shipped the first shipment to Japan in late October and is heading for full production from January.

The shipment carrying the equivalent of 1,200 metric tons of refined nickel arrived on Nov. 1 at the company’s Niihama refinery in Ehime prefecture in western Japan, company president Yoshiaki Nakazato said today in an investor meeting.

Sumitomo Metal said it will produce 30,000 tons of nickel in 2014 and 36,000 tons in 2016. Indonesia’s proposed ore export ban to promote domestic processing may affect the company’s ferro nickel production at its Hyuga smelter in Miyazaki prefecture in western Japan, which secures 40 percent of its raw material from the Southeast Asian nation, he said.

“If the ban happens, we will try to increase purchases from the Philippines and New Caledonia,” Nakazato said. Indonesia’s scheduled export ban will have an impact on nickel prices in coming months, he said.

Nickel on the London Metal Exchanged has dropped 19 percent this year, the worst performer among six base metals traded on the bourse, and was at $13,820 a ton at 2:05 p.m. in Tokyo.

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