ITOCHU Corporation (HQ: MINATO-KU, Tokyo, Masahiro Okafuji, President and CEO ; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) has agreed with Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum Ltd. (Ivanplats) to acquire a direct interest of 8% for JPY22.4B to participate in the exploration & development of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) and Nickel of the Platreef Project and has concluded a joint operation and investment agreement with the company. ITOCHU now will hold an aggregated project interest of 10%, which includes its 2% holding previously acquired for USD10mm (approximately JPY850mm) in September 2010.
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 2000 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. The Platreef project is located adjacent to Anglo Platinum’s Mogalakwena Mine, and ITOCHU believes the project can be developed as a major underground PGM mine, comparable to or better than the neighboring Anglo Platinum project. The parties have agreed that the proceeds that ITOCHU provides for this transaction will be spent on further exploration, a feasibility study and initial development of the project. The parties will endeavor to realize the early development and production of the project.
Close to 50% 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 production off-take rights, proportional to its participation, thereby helping to secure PGM resources for Japan and increasing its interests in the resources sector. ITOCHU is planning to utilize the financial assistance scheme of JOGMEC for further project development.
As of May 2, 2011, ITOCHU established a 100%-owned subsidiary, ITOCHU Mineral Resources Development Corporation, with intentions to undertake exploration and development projects in the mineral resources area and further expand the activities in the mineral resources sector. The Platreef Project participation is one of the projects that will be promoted by and between ITOCHU and this newly established company.
|Project||Platreef PGMs/Nickel exploration and development project|
|Location||280km Northeast of Johannesburg, Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in RSA|
|Project owner||Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum Ltd., ITOCHU and a joint exploration venture company established by ITOCHU|
|Exploration history||Ivanplats has conducted exploration since 2000. The exploration drilling for underground resources commenced in 2007 and has returned very good results in 2010.|
|Resources||Ivanplats is currently preparing a National Instrument 43-101-compliant technical resource report on the Platreef Project, which ITOCHU expects will expand and upgrade the underground resources of the project. The completed report may be disclosed to the public in the near future.|
Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum (Ivanplats) is a privately-held company focused on exploration and development of major copper, platinum, gold, nickel and iron ore deposits, primarily on the African continent.
|Company||Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum Ltd.|
|Representative person||Mr. Robert M. Friedland|
|Date of Establishment||1993|
ITOCHU Mineral Resources Development Corporation
It is the newly established and wholly owned subsidiary of ITOCHU by taking out its Mineral Resources Development Group under Metals and Minerals Division. The company will take on exploration and development projects and further increase and expand the involvement of the mineral resources area.
|Name||ITOCHU Mineral Resources Development Corporation|
|Representative person||Mr. Satoshi Kondo|
|Location||ITOCHU Corporation Tokyo Headquarters|
PGMs is the collective term for Platinum, Palladium, Ruthenium, Rhodium, Osmium and Iridium. They share materialistic and chemical characteristics and are often found in the same geological settings.
*2Mogalakwena PGMs mine
Mogalakwena is a PGMs and Nickel mine located in the Northern Bushveld, operated by Anglo Platinum, the world’s largest platinum producer. Mogalakwena produces around 10mm tons of ore (around 20 tons of PGMs metals) annually.