San Cristóbal Mine
JBIC signed a loan agreement totaling up to 253 million dollars with Minera San Cristóbal S.A., a Bolivian company in which Sumitomo Corporation has an equity interest. The loan was cofinanced with a private financial institution, with JBIC providing a political risk guarantee for the cofinanced portion.
Bolivia has abundant resources of valuable minerals, and is thus an important country with which Japan hopes to strengthen relations. The loan, which finances the acquisition by Sumitomo Corporation of an additional 65% interest in the San Cristóbal Mine in Potosi Department, Bolivia, producing zinc, lead and silver, is the first direct loan provided by JBIC to an entity in Bolivia. While there are many relatively small zinc, lead and silver mines, this mine is the largest one in Bolivia and one of the few large-scale mines. Thus, it is particularly valuable. It supplies 13 to 14% of Japan’s total imports of these resources (when converted into metal).
Zinc is used for corrosion-resistant galvanization of motor vehicles, housing materials and household electric appliances, as well as for corrosion-resistant parts of ships, bridges and docks. Lead is mainly used for automotive batteries. Japan is totally dependent on imports for all the zinc and lead concentrates used as raw materials for zinc and lead metals. Given the global increase in demand for those concentrates, it is becoming increasingly important to secure supplies. Through this loan, JBIC provides financial support for securing a long-term stable supply of strategically important resources for Japan.