Onahama Port Recovering Delay May Affect Smelters Operation

Onahama port recovery is delayed in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture of Japan. Onahama port was seriously damaged by tsunami after Japan Earthquake. The wharfs for general cargos, including copper concentrate, zinc concentrate and thermal coal for electric power plants, have returned in services only by 15%. Damage inspections on port facilities are still ongoing. Japanese nonferrous metal smelters aim to restart copper and zinc plants in Onahama in June-July while the port recovering procedure may affect the smelters’ operations.

Onahama port has 38 berths for general cargos and 8 berths for hazardous cargos such as petroleum products. The port restarted partial service on March 16 though the port had been actually closed due to tsunami damage.

At present, 6 berths for general cargos and 5 berths for hazardous cargos are in service. The port’s total operating rate is still as low as 20%. Onahama port office explained damages on cargo handling facilities are now inspected.

Onahama port’s freight handling totaled approximately 14.745 million tonnes in 2009. Imported freight was 7.48 million tonnes, 8% of which was copper concentrate, the thirdly largest portion, and 3% of which was zinc concentrate, the fourthly largest portion. Copper concentrate is used at Onahama smelter in Iwaki, mainly controlled by Mitsubishi Materials. Zinc concentrate is roasted at Toho Zinc’s Onahama smelter and supplied to the firm’s Annaka smelter in Gunma Prefecture, Japan.