Japan’s Pan Pacific Copper (PPC) plans to revise joint structure of its copper operations through transfer of two of its copper smelting and refinery plants to its partners by April 2020 to improve competitiveness.
The agreement, signed between PPC and its partners JX Nippon Mining and Metals and Mitsui Mining and Smelting authorises them to run independent subsidiaries after PPC’s copper smelting and refining functions at Saganoseki and Hitachi are transferred to JX Metals, while its Hibi and Tamano smelters are transferred to Mitsui Kinzoku.
PPC’s aggregate production capacity of refined copper totals 740,000mt/yr with 450,000mt produced at Saganoseki and Hitachi plants, and 290,000mt at the Tamano plant.
The decision to adopt a new operational structure with independent ownership was taken to make the existing copper smelting and refining functions more competitive, as JX Metals seeks to strengthen downstream operations, while Mitsui Kinzoku pursues synergies in its existing lead, zinc, and precious metals smelting and refining network.
Following the change in operational structure, PPC will supply raw material to JX Metals and Mitsui Kinzoku, as independent consumers who after processing will return their respective refined copper, gold, silver, sulfuric acid and other products to PPC for further sale.
The three companies have also reached a basic agreement on the transfer of PPC’s resources development business, including mineral rights held by PPC in the Caserones Copper Mine and mineral exploration projects, to a joint subsidiary formed through direct investment by JX Metals and Mitsui Kinzoku, allowing PPC to fully focus on the copper smelting and refining business.
PPC was established in 2000 by JX and Mitsui as a joint sales company for their copper products, and was later integrated as a copper refining and smelting operation by the two companies in 2006 to increase competitiveness.