JAPAN TO INVEST HEAVILY IN SOUTH AFRICAN PLATINUM MINE

Itochu to Invest 22 Billion Yen

in Ivanhoe Platinum Mine

June 03, 2011, 1:29 AM EDT

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June 3 (Bloomberg) — Itochu Corp. said it has agreed to acquire an 8 percent stake from Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum Ltd. in a mine project in South Africa for exploration and development of nickel and platinum-group metals.

The Tokyo-based company will invest 22.4 billion yen ($277 million) for the stake, it said in a statement today. The company now holds an aggregated stake of 10 percent in the Platreef project after it invested $10 million to buy 2 percent in September 2010.

Mining at the project located in the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex is expected to start in 2017, Itochu spokesman Yasuhiro Terashita said earlier by phone. Platinum-group metals, which include palladium and rhodium, are used as catalysts to clean exhaust gas from automobiles.

The project is expected to produce 20 metric tons of platinum-group metals each year, Satoshi Kondo, president of Itochu Mineral Resources Development Corp., a unit of Itochu, told reporters today.

–Editors: Jarrett Banks, Matthew Oakley

To contact the reporters on this story: Jae Hur in Tokyo at jhur1@bloomberg.net; Ichiro Suzuki in Tokyo at isuzuki@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net; Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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