Metals and Resource Circulation Business


metals Business Image

Providing Stable Supply of Metal Materials and Recycling of Metal Resources as Our Mission

The roots of our Metals Business trace back to 1873 when the Company acquired the Yoshioka Mine. Metal materials such as copper are essential in many industries. We have supported the development of Japanese industry and society across centuries by providing metal materials. Our supply destinations have now expanded globally.
Furthermore, we have developed a recycling system for recovering metal resources such as gold, silver, tin, lead and bismuth not only from the so-called urban mine of printed circuit board waste and other scrap materials (E-scrap), but also by efficiently disassembling discarded products such as home appliances and automobiles and incorporating them in smelting and other processes.

Business Summary

Mitsubishi ProcessThe Mitsubishi Process

Gold Bar and Electrolytic Copper 1kg Gold BarElectrolytic Copper

Mining sector

The mining sector invests in overseas copper mines to ensure the stable procurement of copper ore, the raw material used for smelting, and to meet the growing global demand for copper.

Smelting and refining sector

The smelting and refining sector uses the advanced technological capabilities that enabled the development of the proprietary Mitsubishi Process, a highly efficient and environmentally-clean smelting method, which we use to smelt raw materials such as ore and E-scrap, allowing us to produce high-quality electrolytic copper, gold, silver, PGMs (such as platinum and rhodium), tin, lead, and other metals, as well as by-products such as sulfuric acid.

Precious metals sector

We offer an accumulation plan called "My Gold Partner" for gold, silver and platinum, providing an alternative for private investors' asset building.

Resource recycling sector

In FY2024, we integrated our Environmental Recycling Business into the Metals Business and strengthened our system to allow more efficient recycling and utilization of discarded products such as home appliances and automobiles as metal resources.

Targets and Strategy

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

In the mining sector, we will develop new mines to increase the procurement amount under off-take agreements from invested mines.
In the smelting and refining sector and the resource recycling sector, we aim to become a key player in the resource recycling loop by further expanding the scope and scale of recycled products beyond E-scrap, for which we now have the world's highest processing capacity, as well as by strengthening cooperation in our value chain with a focus on copper.


World's Top-ranked E-Scrap Intake and Processing Capacity

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

Known as E-scrap, discarded printed circuit boards of various electronic devices such as home appliances, personal computers, mobile phones, smartphones, and network devices have gained attention in recent years as a new source (known as the urban mine) of precious smelting materials because they contain high concentrations of valuable metals such as gold, silver, copper, and palladium.
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.
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, our Group has been promoting the expansion of E-Scrap receiving and processing. Through the combined operations with Onahama Smelting and Refining Co., Ltd., our group company, we are working to expand this business further and achieve the leading share of the world market in terms of processing volume.

Promotion of material flow optimization

In addition to copper smelting, we also have the advantage of having lead smelting, tin smelting, precious metal smelting, and PGM refining capabilities within the Group, and we are working on measures for recovering various valuable metals even more efficiently by turning the Group into a single smelting system to build process flows across production bases.
For example, by organically linking together the areas in which each production base excels, such as efficiently processing and recovering lead-containing by-products generated by copper smelters at lead smelters, and efficiently processing and recovering tin-containing by-products generated by lead smelters at tin smelters, we aim to establish a robust business that is immune to changes in the external environment.

Material Grid Material Grid


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.
In 1917, Naoshima Smelter & Refinery was established as the central smelter of Mitsubishi Goshi Kaisha (Limited Partnership), the predecessor of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, and, in 1974, commercial use of the Mitsubishi Process began on site.
The resource recycling sector, which was integrated in FY2024, was the first in the world to launch a home appliance recycling business utilizing the technology we have cultivated since our founding and has led the industry through close collaboration with home appliance manufacturers. By strengthening cooperation with the smelting process for non-ferrous metals, we are promoting further resource recycling.

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.)
1985 Participated in Escondida Mine, Chile
1987 Closed the Hosokura Mine.
Closed Akenobe (Ikuno) Mine, Ikuno Plant specialized in tin recycling
1990 Closed the Osaka Smelter & Refinery, established the Sakai Plant
1994 Hosokura Smelter & Refinery Company (current Hosokura Metal Mining Company) started recycling lead-acid batteries
1996 Established PT. Smelting in Indonesia
Discontinued zinc smelting at Akita Smelter & Refinery
1997 Participated in Los Pelambres Mine, Chile
1999 Established East Japan Recycling Systems Corporation
2004 Established Chubu Eco Technology Co., Ltd.
2009 Participated in Copper Mountain Mine, Canada
2013 Participated in Zafranal Copper Project, Peru
2021 Participated in Mantovelde Mine, Chile



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