Mitsui Mining & Smelting Assumes Weak Demand for Common Cu Foil

Mitsui Mining & Smelting’s electrolytic copper foil production is decreasing. Demand is weakening for common grade electrolytic copper foil which is adopted to printed circuit boards when sales of liquid crystal panel TV and personal computer are slowing down. Operating rate is presently around 60% at Mitsui Mining & Smelting’s plants of common grade foils in Taiwan and Malaysia. The firm assumes the demand would not significantly improve in the second half of fiscal 2011 (October 2011-March 2012). On the other hand, shipment of high value added copper foil is steady for smart phones.

Output capacity of Taiwanese and Malaysian sites totals approximately 4,000 tonnes per month while the current production is 2,500-2,600 tonnes per month. Mitsui Mining & Smelting Group’s total output of electrolytic copper foil, including Ageo plant in Saitama, Japan and U.S. subsidiary, was 3,200-3,300 tonnes per month average for April-September 2011.

The firm had expected for the demand recovery in the second half year but the market shows no sign of upturn yet. The Group’s production is estimated to keep 3,250 tonnes per month average for a while. The firm estimates the demand for common grade copper foil could rebound in or after April-June 2012.

Meanwhile, production volume of ultra-thin electrolytic copper foil, named Micro Thin, has steadily increased at Ageo plant. Micro Thin is used for smart phone. Mitsui Mining & Smelting raised Micro Thin output capacity by 400,000 square meters to 1 million square meters per month at the end of 2010. The current production is increasing to 600,000-700,000 square meters per month.