Sumitomo Metal Mining to spend big to boost output of nickel, battery materials

16th February 2022

By: Reuters


Font size: - +

TOKYO – Sumitomo Metal Mining Co said on Tuesday it will triple its capital expenditure over the next three years to boost its output capacity of nickel and cathode materials used in batteries.

The Japanese miner and smelter plans to spend 494-billion yen ($4.3-billion) in capital expenditure, excluding investment and lending, in the next three years, up from 164-billion yen spent last three years.

"Our long-term goal to become a global leader in nonferrous metals remains unchanged," President Akira Nozaki told a news conference on a new three-year business plan through March 2025.

"We also want to maintain a leading position in nickel-based cathode materials market by expanding production capacity," Nozaki said.

Using some of the funds, SMM, which also makes electrical materials, plans to boost its monthly output capacity of cathode materials for rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles to 10 000 t by end-March 2028 and 15 000 t by end-March 2031 from nearly 5,000 tonnes now to meet burgeoning demand.

SMM supplies the nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) cathode materials used in Panasonic's lithium-ion battery that powers Tesla Inc's Model 3 and Model X cars.

To secure nickel, SMM wants to make an investment decision on the Pomalaa nickel project in Indonesia "as early as possible," Nozaki said. He also said the project aims to start production in late-2020s with a capacity of about 40 000 t of mixed sulphide nickel. SMM's local partner in the project is PT Vale Indonesia.

In Chile, the Quebrada Blanca 2 copper project is due to launch production later 2022. SMM's copper output through its shareholding in the project is expected to reach 270 000 t in the year to end-March 2025 from 230 000 t this year.

The Cote gold project in Canada, in which SMM has a stake, is scheduled to begin production in the first half of 2023.

Despite the ambitious investment plan, SMM expects its net profit to fall to 118-billion yen in the year to end-March 2025, from an expected 248-billion yen for this year due to lower metals prices.

Edited by Reuters


The content you are trying to access is only available to subscribers.

If you are already a subscriber, you can Login Here.

If you are not a subscriber, you can subscribe now, by selecting one of the below options.

For more information or assistance, please contact us at

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?