JBIC signed a loan agreement totaling up to 160 million dollars with Similco Finance Ltd., a Canadian corporation, to cofinance with private financial institutions the Similco Copper Mountain Project in Canada.
Under the project, Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC), which has an equity stake in Similco Finance Ltd., and Copper Mountain Mining Corporation, a company incorporated in Canada, jointly restart the Similco Mine (British Columbia, Canada). Production will commence in 2011, and the copper concentrate, generated from the project totaling approximately 150 thousand tons annually, will be purchased by MMC and supplied to copper smelters in Japan.
In the face of an increase in the world copper demand especially in China and India, Japan is being urged to secure more copper concentrate supply source. Copper is a raw material used extensively for various products, including electric cables, electrical equipment, transport vehicles such as automobiles, and construction materials. Japan relies solely on imports for all of its copper concentrate (approximately 5.36 million tons in 2010), from which copper cathodes are produced. Upon completion, this project is expected to meet about 3% of Japan’s annual demand for copper concentrate.