Sumitomo Metal Mining to Double Crystal Material Output

Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM) plans to double the output capacity for crystal materials at Kunitomi district division in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan for approximately 1 billion yen. The division maintains full production since April 2006 to meet strong demand for crystal materials, especially lithium tantalate (LT) and lithium niobate (LN) used for surface acoustic wave (SAW) filters inside cellular phones. The firm has introduced productive facilities for the output expansion since the second half of fiscal 2006 ended March 2007.SMM has 30% share in the world LT and LN market. In the cell phone market, an internal-antenna type has become the mainstream in recent years. LT and LN demand is increasing under the situation.To follow the demand growth, SMM increased the number of pre-burning furnaces and crystal growth furnaces and constructed another building for an advanced treating process of LT wafers at Kunitomi district division. The division also expands the equipment to slice and flatten crystal wafers more precisely. The total output capacity for LT and LN is expected to almost double after the completion of these new facilities.Kunitomi district division mainly produces crystal materials and magnetic materials. Crystal materials include LT, LN, yttrium aluminium garnet (YAG) and germanium oxide. The district will withdraw from germanium oxide production after the last shipment at the end of July this year.