The exploration & development of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) and Nickel of the Platreef Project
Up-front investment to secure a stable supply of PGMs
In 2010, we acquired a 2% equity stake in a company promoting the exploration and development of PGMs and nickel in the Platreef Project being implemented by Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. in South Africa. Later, in 2011, we joined a Japanese consortium that acquired an 8% equity stake in the company (6% acquired by ITOCHU, 1.5% by Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), and 0.5% by JGC Corporation), and we have since been focusing jointly on the development.
The Platreef Project is located in the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex, well known for containing more than 80% of the world’s platinum resources and accounting for over 70% of global platinum production. Exploration drilling since 1999 has confirmed good platinum group metal mineralization with nickel, copper and gold, and has recently discovered a major high-grade underground deposit with excellent potential for expansion. ITOCHU believes the project can be developed as a major underground PGM mine.
Close to 60% of the demand for PGMs comes from their use as catalysts to clean exhaust gas from automobiles. Since PGMs are indispensable to maintain and reinforce the competitiveness of key Japanese industries, PGMs have been designated as one of the most important metal categories in the natural resource acquisition policy of the Japanese Government. By participation in this project, ITOCHU has acquired off-take rights of PGMs, proportional to its participation, thereby helping to secure PGM resources for Japan and increasing its interests in the resources sector.