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Japanese trading firms are looking abroad to diversify lithium offerings

Major Japanese trading companies are increasing their investments in lithium mining projects abroad as the resource-constrained country seeks a stable supply of a mineral critical to the production of electric vehicle batteries.

Japan’s largest trading company, Mitsubishi Corp., said last month it would set up a new joint venture with Canada’s Frontier Lithium to develop a lithium mining project in Ontario province. The project is expected to last more than 20 years and produce around 20,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate each year – enough to produce batteries for around 300,000 electric vehicles.

Mitsubishi will acquire a 7.5% stake in the joint venture for 25 million Canadian dollars (¥2.8 billion) as part of its first-ever investment in a lithium mine. The financing will mainly be used to conduct the project’s feasibility study and prepare to obtain the necessary construction permits, the company said in a statement on March 5.



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