- Region: Asia
- Energy and Natural Resources
- Overseas Investment Loans
July 5, 2011
- The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC; President & CEO: Hiroshi Watanabe)*1 signed today a loan agreement totaling up to 750,166 thousand US dollars with Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation (THPAL), a company incorporated in the Republic of the Philippines (the Philippines), where Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. (SMM), MBAPR Holdings Corporation (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., Ltd.) and Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), a Philippine corporation, hold equity stakes. JBIC assumes the political risk associated with this project, thereby mitigating local risks entailed in the Japanese firms’ overseas business development.
- This loan will finance a nickel/cobalt mixed sulfide (MS; an interim product produced in the nickel smelting process) production project undertaken by THPAL in Taganito, the Philippines. The project will produce nickel/cobalt MS from low-grade nickel oxide ore by using a high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) process, a technology with which SMM has successfully started sustained commercial production ahead of competitors worldwide. SMM will purchase the whole MS output (50,000 tons annually) and import to Japan for the nickel ingot/cobalt ingot production at SMM's nickel smelter in Niihama, Ehime Prefecture.
- Nickel and cobalt are both materials used in a wide range of industries. Nickel is essential for the production of stainless steels and a variety of electronic materials (such as semi-conducting alloys and batteries), while cobalt is an important ingredient in lithium ion battery cathodes and special steels used in aircrafts. Japan, however, relies completely on imports for such mineral ores, and given an increasing demand for electronic materials and special steels in the global market, it is becoming ever more vital to secure the supply of rare metals elements. The loan will help secure the long-term stable supply of nickel and cobalt by supporting the production of MS, a material containing rare metals minerals.
- JBIC will continue to support the development and acquisition of interests in natural resources that are strategically important for Japan by performing its functions, including project structuring and risk-taking.