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Sumitomo History, Nanban-buki, A Masterful Technique that Changed the Face of Mining in Japan

Nanban-buki, A Masterful Technique that Changed the Face of Mining in Japan (from Sumitomo Historical Archives) 

The Sumitomo Group Family has a history dating back more than 400 years. Known initially as Izumi-ya, Sumitomo began its operations in the fields of copper refining, trading, and mining. Its Shikoku Bessi Copper Mine first opened in 1691.

Sumitomo Group companies continue to engage in activities based on Sumitomo’s Business Philosophy, which has been handed down through the generations ever since Sumitomo’s founding over 400 years ago.


By 1888, mining operations had expanded enough to warrant the introduction of the "shop practices" concept as a way of manufacturing and repairing equipment and tools used at the mine. This marked the beginning of Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd.

In 1969, the company joined forces with Uraga Heavy Industries, Ltd., a company first established as Uraga Dock Co., Ltd. in 1897 with the advocacy of Takeaki Enomoto. After the merger, the company, now operating under the name of Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd., opened up two large-scale plants, the Oppama Shipyard (currently known as the Yokosuka Works) and Toyo Works (currently known as the Saijo Works), establishing its foundations as a heavy industries company.


Foster Wheeler was formed in 1927 from a merger of two companies based in the United States: the Power Specialty Company (which replaced Water Works Supply Company, created by the Foster Family in 1884) and the Wheeler Condenser & Engineering Company, whose roots go back to 1891. In November 2014, AMEC and Foster Wheeler combined to create Amec Foster Wheeler, trading on the London and New York Stock Exchanges in the Oil Equipment and Services sector (AMFW).


In June 2017, Sumitomo Heavy Industries and Amec Foster Wheeler’s fluidized bed business combined to become Sumitomo SHI FW, a new global leader in sustainable energy solutions.

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