Japanese mining and smelting firm Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd (SMM) said yesterday that it hopes to increase its output of non-ferrous metals, including aluminium, for use in batteries via upcoming capital expenditures.
In comments made at a press conference on Tuesday, SMM President Akira Nozaki said it plans to spend US$4.3 billion through March 2025, an increase of about 66 percent from the preceding three years.
“Our long-term goal to become a global leader in nonferrous metals remains unchanged,” said Nozaki on Tuesday.
“We also want to maintain a leading position in nickel-based cathode materials market by expanding production capacity.”
SMM currently supplies the nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) cathode material for the lithium-ion batteries made by Panasonic for use in Tesla’s Model 3 and Model X.
A portion of the funding dedicated to capex will be used in increasing cathode materials for rechargeable batteries in electric vehicles. SMM hopes to produce 10 thousand metric tons by the spring of 2028 and 15 thousand metric tons by the spring of 2031.
As for its nickel production, SMM plans to decide on whether to invest in an Indonesian project in the very near future. SMM plans to begin production of sulphide nickel at a rate of around 40 thousand metric tons by the end of the decade in partnership with PT Vale Indonesia.
SMM will begin production at its Chilean copper mine later this year. Upon production at that mine, SMM expects to boost its copper production from 230 thousand metric tons this year to an estimated 270 thousand metric tons by the spring of 2025.
The firm will commence gold production in Canada next year, though an expected output from that operation was not publicized.