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Nippon Mining Holdings Inc., which controls Japan’s biggest copper smelter, said it will focus on digging its own ore as supplies remain “tight” and prices “very high.”

The company is conducting feasibility studies to dig ore in Chile at the Caserones site and in Peru at the Quechua mine, President Mitsunori Takahagi said in an interview Friday. Between 110,000 and 150,000 metric tons of ore a year may be mined from Caserones after production starts in 2011, he said.

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