Japan to Secure Rare Metals Resources

Japanese mineral strategy study group, which ministry of economy, trade and industry launched in December 2005, issued report to propose development of alternative materials to rare metals after the 5 meetings to discuss how to secure stable supply of nonferrous metals. METI tires to secure the budget for fiscal 2007 starting April 2007 to develop alternative materials to indium and other rare metals. The group recommended rare metals working group should discuss strategic stockpile of rare metals. The working group will discuss the issue including which metals to stock and how much to stock in and after summer. The group reported strategy from exploration to recycling after the discussion from upstream to down stream operations of nonferrous metals. The report said rare metals, which are in limited areas including South Africa, are indispensable materials for international competitiveness of Japanese manufacturers including hybrid car and solar battery. The report said Japan needs integrated effort from exploration, recycling, development of alternative materials to stockpile to secure the materials. The report recommended Japan should support exploration, feasibility study and infrastructure construction through loan by Japan Bank for International Cooperation while the government should encourage recycled materials import and better utilization and saving of rare metals. The group keeps discussing buyback and other effort to secure stockpile of rare metals when the stockpile is 35 days of consumption volume against the target of 60 days.