Nittetsu Mining Preserves High Grade Copper Ore in Chile

Nittetsu Mining sets copper concentrate production at Atacama mine in Chile, in which Nittetsu Mining holds 60% share, at 95% compared with originally planned volume for 2007. Nittetsu Mining initially planned copper concentrate output at Atacama mine at 18,500 tonnes for 2007, increasing by 15% from 2006. The firm will mine mainly low grade copper ore and preserve high grade ore in 2007 when copper price maintains expensive, meanwhile the firm advances exploration activities mainly in Pacific rim countries such as Chile and Fiji and hastens to develop another copper mine.Atacama mine is located 20 kilometers south of Copiapo, Chile, which is controlled 60% by Nittetsu Mining and 40% by Chilean mine, Inverraz. Atacama is the only copper mine in which Japanese smelter holds a majority at overseas.Nittetsu Mining commits copper smelting to Hibi Kyodo Smelting at 50,000 tonnes per year, which is a copper smelting joint venture among Japanese major smelters in which Nittetsu Mining holds 20% share. Hibi Kyodo Smelting depends 30% concentrate supply on Atacama for electrolytic copper production.Atacama mine started commercial operation in 2003, while the mine life is estimated as long as 11 years. During the remaining 6 years, Nittetsu Mining aims to develop a next copper mine while preserving high grade copper ore at Atacama. The firm has continued exploration activities around Atacama mine in Chile. In Fiji the exploration is co-operated with Mitsubishi Materials. Nittetsu Mining also examines to obtain a mining concession in Southeast Asia.