Itochu Corp Increases Resource Investment to 100B Yen in F2010

Itochu Corporation’s metals and minerals division plans to triple the annual investment for raw materials to 100 billion yen in fiscal 2010 ending in March 2011 compared with the previous fiscal year. The division will devote more than 50 billion yen for new projects to develop coal, copper and rare metals while continue expansion of existing projects of iron ore and coal. The division seeks new mineral items and long-term exploration projects.

The division tries to acquire new equities for coal, copper, nickel, molybdenum and platinum group metals. The division also examines investment in aluminum smelting business. As to iron ore, the division mainly expands investing mines while eyes new investment for new competitive mines.

The annual investment for raw materials totaled about 33 billion yen in fiscal 2009, mostly devoted to expansions of existing projects of iron ore and coal. The division started additional expansion of an iron ore joint business in West Australia. The division’s investment will reach 50 billion yen in fiscal 2010 for existing projects’ expansions of iron ore, coal and alumina.

The division aims to expand iron ore equity to total 30 million tonnes per year in fiscal 2015 from current 14 million tonnes. The division also plans to increase coal equity to 15 million tonnes per year from present 9 million tonnes and alumina equity to 300,000 tonnes per year from present 190,000 tonnes. Iron ore equity is expected to increase steadily by expansion of a joint venture with BHP Billiton and Namisa mine in Brazil.

Meanwhile, Itochu has advanced several explorations such for nickel in Alaska and coal in Australia. The exploration investment may reach 10 billion yen in fiscal 2010. The division also activates downstream businesses of nonferrous metal products, metal scrap trading and recycling in cooperation with Itochu Metals, a subsidiary of Itochu Corporation.