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Present Situation And Future Map Of Molybdenum Industry In Chile
= Survey Compiled By JOGMEC, Moly Output In 2010 Is Expected To Recover To 40,000 Tons
JOGMEC (Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation) compiled recently a survey concerning productions of copper and molybdenum in Chile for 2009 and the outlines are summarized as follows. This survey has been reported by Mr. Katsuhisa Ohno, who is a resident person of JOGMEC Office in Santiago of Chile, and he has analyzed in detail about the present situation of copper and molybdenum in Chile.

In this report, Mr. K. Ohno said as follows ; (1) The recent quantity of molybdenum recovered from copper production at copper mines in Chile has inclined to decrease gradually and, in order to compensate this decrease of molybdenum production, Chile has been importing molybdenum from Peru, the USA and Mexico and endeavoring to keep a scale of the exports of molybdenum from Chile., (2) Chile produced 34,900 tons of Mo on content base in 2009, having increased by 1,200 tons (3.7%) compared with that in 2008, and is anticipated to return the output of molybdenum in 2010 to a scale of 40,000 tons per annum., (3) Chile so far had nearly nothing to export molybdenum for China but launched this export of molybdenum for China from 2009 and a trend to export molybdenum from Chile to China is expected to continue further for the future., and (4) New copper projects (copper-molybdenum complex mines) will make possible to increase molybdenum production from 2010 but, on the other hand, if commercial production of copper by means of utilizing Heap Leaching Process could have been materialized, a possibility to decrease molybdenum production as by-product from copper production would arise. The supply and demand of molybdenum in Chile are as per the table attached hereto.

(1)Production = Chile produced 34,900 tons of Mo on content base in 2009, having increased by 3.7% compared to that in 2008. However, in the course of the last 5 years (2005 - 2009), molybdenum production in Chile decreased by approximately 13,000 tons (by 27.3%). This decrease of molybdenum production was due to a low content of Mo in ore produced at Codelco Norte Mine (Chuquicamata Mine). In order to compensate this decline of molybdenum production, Codelco increased their imports of molybdenum in the recent years. Codelco said that Codelco Norte Mine is scheduled to mine hereafter crude ore, containing high Mo, for the next 2 - 3 years and, therefore, will turn to increase molybdenum production. Also, reflecting the expanded capacities at three copper mines, the output of molybdenum in 2010 is expected to increase. Chile is anticipated to return their molybdenum production in 2010 to a scale of 40,000 tons per annum as a whole.

(2)Exports = Chile exported 51,900 tons of Mo on content base in 2009 as a whole of molybdenum, which increased by 2% compared with that (50,800 tons) in 2008 but decreased by a scale of 10,000 tons compared to that (62,600 tons) in 2007. In the course of the last 5 years, the exports of roasted molybdenum concentrates from Chile increased by 20% and the exports of roasted ore in 2009 shared approximately 70% of the whole export. Japan was a main country to export roasted molybdenum concentrates from Chile until 2007, having shared 50% of the whole export, but, on the occasion that China has transformed to the net country to import molybdenum from 2009, Chile exported 19,700 tons of Mo on content base to China in 2009, which shared 33.5% of the whole export and let China to be the largest country to export molybdenum from Chile.

(3)Imports = The total quantity of molybdenum imported from the USA, Mexico and Peru into Chile had shared approximately 90% of the whole import. Chile imported 17,700 tons of Mo on content base in 2009, having increased by 18% compared with that (15,000 tons) in 2008. In order to compensate a reduction in domestic production of molybdenum in Chile, this country had to import molybdenum.

(4)Processing = In addition to the case that Chile exports molybdenum concentrates produced at domestic mines or reexports molybdenum concentrates imported into Chile without processing, this country exports molybdenum in forms of roasted molybdenum concentrates, ferro-molybdenum and molybdenum trioxide after having processed. The facilities to process molybdenum concentrates are (4-1) Codelco, Molymet, Xstrata and AAC have been operating roasters to convert to molybdenum oxide and (4-2) Molymet produces ferro-molybdenum at their plants.

In addition to the Santiago plant, Molymet completed in January of 2010 a new plant, located in Mejillonese Industrial Zone of Chile, which has been designed to roast 13,600 tons per annum of molybdenum concentrates. Xstrata is scheduled to resume the operation at Altonorte refinery, which was once shutdown, and also plans to construct a plant for leaching molybdenum (to remove copper contained in molybdenum concentrates). When this new plant is constructed, Altonorte refinery is expected to expand the capacity to roast molybdenum concentrates and will be possible to roast 28,000 tons per annum of molybdenum concentrates from 12,000 tons at present but its completion is not decided yet.

(5)Chinese Market = Chile decreased their exports of copper and molybdenum in 2009, excluding those for China. Chile increased their exports for China in 2009 by 86% for copper cathodes and by 400 times for molybdenum in comparison with those in 2008. According to an information, these considerable increases in exports of copper and molybdenum from Chile to China had been caused by the national stockpiles carried out by China National Stocks Reserves Bureau (SRB). Even after the second half of 2009, when molybdenum prices have turned to rise, China has continued to import molybdenum and there is a view in the market that China is supposed to have been strongly interested in imports of molybdenum. The molybdenum projects, in relation to China, are that <> Molymet is constructing a plant in Inner Mongolia to roast molybdenum concentrates on a scale of 8,000 tons per annum and <> Molymet has acquired 50% of the shares of a subsidiary of China Molybdenum for US$37.7 million.

(6)The projects to develop copper-molybdenum complex mines = (6-1) Codelco has planned to expand the capacity at Andina Mine to treat crude ore from 72,000 tons per day at present to 94,500 tons per day as the first phase (completed in January - March quarter of 2010), (6-2) Collahusi Copper Mine is scheduled to complete in 2010 the first phase of the project to expand the capacity to treat crude ore by 35%, and (6-3) Los Pelambres Copper Mine is anticipated to complete in 2010 the project to expand the capacity to treat crude ore to 175,000 tons per day.
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