Smelting & Refining Business

Applying its world-class smelting and refining technologies, SMM transforms its mineral resources into metals of superior quality. Our copper is utilized in virtually all kinds of industries from infrastructure development to electronic materials. Our nickel is processed into stainless and other specialty steels. Our gold is used in jewelry as well as in electronic components. With stable consistency, we continue to supply the metals needed to support society’s growth needs.

Core advantages of SMM’s smelting and refi ning business

Use of low-grade nickel ore with HPAL technology

View of the Taganito HPAL Plant

At CBNC in the Philippines, SMM has moved ahead of its global peers by succeeding in the commercial production of nickel intermediates from low-grade nickel oxide ore using HPAL technology. Converting low-grade nickel oxide ore into a resource allows for the effi cient use of limited nickel resources and the stable supply of cost-competitive nickel raw material.

The HPAL technology successfully commercialized at CBNC in 2005 was refi ned through more than 10 years of operating experience and has been used in the second HPAL facility at Taganito. Furthermore, experience and know-how related to HPAL techniques are communicated to the R&D Division, which allows for multi-faceted approaches to technological development as each relevant division puts the accumulated data and knowledge to use. This process helps SMM be a front-runner in achieving advanced nickel production technology and cost competitiveness.

Refi neries with robust cost competitiveness

View of the Toyo Smelter & Refi nery

At our fl agship Toyo Smelter & Refi nery, we have achieved bestin-class cost competitiveness even on a global scale through policies to improve production effi ciency over more than 40 years of operations, and through the pairing of HPAL technology in nickel smelting and refi ning with the MCLE process at the Niihama Nickel Refi nery. We are also striving to maximize income opportunities through stable operations.

At the same time, we are utilizing the smelting and refi ning technology we have built up over many years to move forward with facility automation, while also using interaction between engineers within the Group to share advanced operation technology accumulated at each business site. This allows us to maintain and elevate our technical expertise.

MCLE:Matte Chlorine Leach Electrowinning

Matte Chlorine Leach Electrowinning (MCLE) is the technology used in the manufacturing process at SMM’s nickel refi nery. The nickel matte and MS are dissolved in chlorine to produce high-grade nickel from the nickel chloride solution using direct electrolysis of the metal. MCLE is competitive in cost terms, but poses signifi cant operational challenges, and only two producers in the world besides SMM have commercialized it, using similar technology.

Co-existence with society

Free health exams for local communities carried out
through collaboration between NAC and CBNC

While carrying out dialogue with stakeholders, we listen to the needs and concerns of local communities, and work in harmony with these groups as we strive to operate our smelters and refi neries and stably supply our products.

By processing mine wastewater, reducing dust, and safely storing residues generated in various processes, we are striving for environmental preservation through responsible environmental management.