Natural Resources & Agricultural Products | Business Focus

Opportunities Emerge for SCOA’s Mining Endeavors

For over 30 years, Sumitomo Corporation in the Americas has been involved in the mining industry. From gold to copper to silver, Sumitomo is an active player in the world of minerals in North and South America. Sumitomo operates world-class mines that leverage cutting-edge strategies to minimize environmental impact. In tandem with international and local partners, we work to extract mineral assets in South America, silver in central Mexico; gold in Alaska; and copper in Chile & Arizona. Sumitomo has built long-lasting relationships with local mining companies, gaining a good reputation in the mining industry.

Pogo Mine

In the early 1990s, Sumitomo began investing in the Pogo Mine, located in eastern Alaska. We formally began exploration of the mine, discovering gold deposits in 1994. After verifying the gold quantity, we obtained the necessary environmental permits and began constructing the mine, launching production in 2006. The Pogo Mine is currently Alaska’s top gold producer, and has become an important stimulus to the Alaskan economy.

In 2012, Sumitomo discovered a new gold deposit during exploration. The new deposit – named the “East Deep” deposit – translated to roughly 20% of the mine’s projected revenue for that fiscal year. The test drilling confirmed gold at an average grade of 13.12 grams per ton, bringing the average gold grade of the mine to roughly 12.5 grams per ton.

MUSA

In 2010, Sumitomo Corporation acquired 30% of Usiminas’ mining unit. As part of the deal, Sumitomo agreed to subscribe for new shares of Usiminas’ mining unit, called Mineração Usiminas (MUSA). The company has four iron ore deposits in the Serra Azul region in the state of Minas Gerais, with reserves of 2.4 billion tons with an expected mine life of over 40 years.

Usiminas is Brazil’s largest maker of flat steel, and owns its own mining unit to secure a steady supply of iron ore and other raw materials. MUSA has been ranked 4th among the Brazilian iron ore miners and 7th among all miners in Brazil. MUSA received this honor by making numerous key investments and demonstrating its ability to predict movements in the market, while also focusing on improving the quality of life of its employees and the surrounding communities.

Sumitomo’s mineral resources and energy business felt that the deal was in line with their mission statement of “contributing to a stable supply of the natural resources for a sustainable growth of Japan and the world.”

Peñoles

34 years ago, Sumitomo Corporation formed a relationship with Peñoles, the world’s largest producer of refined silver and bismuth metal. To this day, Sumitomo still handles 100 per cent of Peñoles silver imports to Japan. Peñoles was founded in 1887 and its current business activities are all related to mining (lead, silver, gold, zinc, and copper), smelting and refining metals, chemicals (sodium sulfate, ammonium, magnesium), as well as energy and technology (wind power, thermoelectric power). 

In 1994, Sumitomo joined Peñoles to invest in the Minera Tizapa mine, and started operations with 240,000 tons of processing capacity per year. In 2011, it was expanded to the current processing capacity of 800,000 tons per year. In November 2013, the mine achieved a total processed minerals amount of 10 million tons. Minera Tizapa produces zinc, lead and copper concentrates.

In October 2013, Sumitomo started the promotion and export of Peñoles zinc ingot to Africa and Asia with a historical sales volume of 900 metric tons with a target volume of 3,000 metric tons by 2014.