Metals Business


metals Business Image

Making the Stable Supply and Recycling of Metal Materials as Our Mission

The roots of our Metals Business trace back to 1873 when the Company acquired the Yoshioka Mine. We have supported the development of Japanese industry and society for more than a century by providing copper and other metals, which are essential materials for a host of industries. Our customer base has now spread out in the global market. We have established a recycling system for recovering gold, silver, and other valuable metals from the scrap of electronic equipment and other products, which is also called urban mining. We are thus proactive in taking initiatives for the effective utilization of resources.

Business Summary

Mitsubishi ProcessMitsubishi Process

Gold Bar and Electrolytic Copper 1kg Gold BarElectrolytic Copper

The mining sector invests in overseas copper mines with the aim of securing the source of stable supply of copper concentrates for smelting and refining.
In the smelting and refining sector, we achieve highly efficient, environmentally-clean and stable operations with our advanced technologies, represented by the Mitsubishi Process. High-quality cathodes are produced domestically at the Naoshima Smelter & Refinery and Onahama Smelting and Refining Co., Ltd., and abroad at the Gresik Smelter and Refinery (PT. Smelting in Indonesia).
In recent years, we have applied the copper smelting process to establish a recycling system, with which we recover valuable metals from metal waste (E-Scrap)--a process sometimes referred to as "urban mining." We are proactively undertaking activities to promote effective use of the natural resources.
In the precious metals department, we offer an accumlation plan called "My Gold Partner" for gold, silver and platinum, providing an alternative for private investors' asset building.


Targets and Strategy

Copper Mountain Mine (Canada)Copper Mountain Mine (Canada)

In the mining sector, we are developing new mines in an effort to further enhance the captive mine ratio.
In the smelting sector, we are aiming to become the world's leading processor of E-Scrap. To this end, we are building up our processing capacity, including our collection capabilities and processing facilities.



Naoshima Smelter & Refinery Expands to World's Top-ranked E-Scrap Receiving and Processing Capacity

Examples of receiving and processing E-Scrap Examples of Receiving and Processing E-Scrap

Discarded circuit boards from home appliances, personal computers, smartphones and other mobile phones, network equipment and various other electronics are commonly referred to as E-Scrap and contain a high concentration of gold, silver, copper, palladium and other valuable metals. This is the source for a new supply of valuable smelting materials, which in recent years has been gaining attention as an urban mine.
Furthermore, amid growing environmental concerns, the amount of E-Scrap recovered is expected to increase in line with the higher recycling rates of home appliances and other items.
Our Naoshima Smelter and Refinery, taking advantage of the Mitsubishi Process for continuous copper smelting, a unique technology for smelting precious metals with the lowest environmental impact in the industry, has been promoting the expansion of E-Scrap receiving and processing, and through the combined operations of our Naoshima facility and Group company Onahama Smelting and Refining Co., Ltd., we are working to expand this business further and achieve the leading share of the world market in terms of processing volume.



Naoshima Smelter & Refinery (1929)Naoshima Smelter & Refinery (1929)

Naoshima Smelter & Refinery (2015)Naoshima Smelter & Refinery (2015)

PT. Smelting Gresik Copper Smelter & RefineryPT. Smelting
Gresik Copper Smelter & Refinery

Our Metals Business got its start in 1873, when Mitsubishi founder Yataro Iwasaki acquired and began operations at the Yoshioka Mine in Okayama Prefecture. In 1887, we also acquired a mine in Osarizawa. Full-fledged smelting and refining operations commenced in 1896, when we acquired the Ikuno and Sado mines and a refinery in Osaka from the Japanese government.

1873 Acquired and began operations at the Yoshioka Mine
1887 Acquired and began operations at the Osarizawa Mine
1896 Acquired the Ikuno Mine, the Sado Mine and a refinery in Osaka from the government
1917 Established the Naoshima Smelter & Refinery
1934 Acquired the Hosokura Mine (current Hosokura Metal Mining Company)
1958 Established the Akita Smelter & Refinery
1963 Established Onahama Smelting and Refining Co., Ltd.
1970 Established Ote Metals Co., Ltd. (current Materials Eco-Refining Co., Ltd.)
1990 Closed the Osaka Smelter & Refinery, established the Sakai Plant
1996 Established PT. Smelting in Indonesia
2004 Established Kobelco & Materials Copper Tube, Ltd.
2008 Converted Mitsubishi Shindoh Co., Ltd., to a consolidated subsidiary
2010 Converted Mitsubishi Cable Industries Co., Ltd., to a consolidated subsidiary

*Including Copper & Copper Alloy Business