TORONTO, May 27 (Reuters) - Copper Mountain Mining CUM.TO said on Friday it will start producing copper at its flagship mine in southern British Columbia as planned despite receipt of a force majeure notice from a Mitsubishi Materials' (5711.T) smelter in Japan that was set to process the output.
Mitsubishi, Copper Mountain's strategic partner on the project, was forced to issue the notice because operations at its Onahama copper smelter, which were shut down following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, are unlikely to resume any time soon.
Nevertheless, production from the copper project will begin on schedule next month, a spokeswoman for Copper Mountain said.
In a statement issued on Friday, Copper Mountain said that Mitsubishi will implement actions to fulfill its obligations in good faith. Mitsubishi will still buy all the copper produced from the mine once it begins production in June, the spokeswoman said.
"We just had to put this out legally, because we got the notice," she said. "But it's not really going to affect our start-up."
Mitsubishi operates two copper smelters in Japan, Onahama, with annual copper cathode production capacity of 258,000 tons, and Naoshima, with capacity of 225,000 tons. It also operates PT Smelting in Indonesia with a capacity of 300,000 tons. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Peter Galloway)