Metals & Minerals
ITOCHU has been a partner with BHP Billiton (at that time, BHP) in Mt. Newman iron ore joint venture in Pilbara region, Western Australia, since it was formed in 1967, through Mitsui-Itochu Iron Pty Ltd(MII). MII holds 10% entity of the joint venture, in which ITOCHU holds 30%. Production of ore started in 1969.
In 1987 we acquired an additional 5% interest from Seltrust (a BP subsidiary) and established a 100% owned affiliate, CI Minerals Australia Pty Ltd (CIMA), to hold such a stake. In 2004, CIMA has changed name to ITOCHU Minerals & Energy of Australia Pty Ltd (IMEA).
In 1990, Yandi iron ore project was implemented in a joint venture in which CIMA took an 8% interest. At the same time, CIMA purchased an 8% stake in the Mt. Goldsworthy iron ore joint venture, thus expanding ITOCHU's overall activities in the iron ore business in Australia. Since then, equity ratio among all of three joint ventures have become ITOCHU 8% through IMEA including both direct and indirect holding, BHP Billiton 85%, Mitsui 7%.
In April 2002, an announcement was made to develop new iron ore mine at Mining Area C (MAC), which belongs to Mt. Goldsworthy iron ore joint venture, and an expansion of its Pt Hedland port and rail facilities, both in the Pilbara region north of Western Australia. ITOCHU and its joint venture participants have entered into a joint venture arrangement with POSCO, as part of the Mining Area C development.
In March 2004, ITOCHU and its joint venture participants, BHP Billiton and Mitsui, also, have entered into another joint venture agreement with four Chinese steelmakers (Wuhan Iron & Steel, Maanshan Iron & Steel, Jiangsu Shagang Group and Hebei Iron & Steel) to establish a joint venture at the Jimblebar Mine.
In April 2006, Yandi Joint Venture partners, ITOCHU, BHP Billiton and Mitsui, established a new joint venture with Japanese JFE Steel for the Western 4 deposit within the Yandi mine.
In June 2013, we acquired an interest in the Jimblebar Iron Ore mine, part of the integrated Iron Ore business of BHP Billiton, thereby increasing our prime assets.
The operation and expansion of the newly acquired Jimblebar Iron Ore mine have been making steady progress. In fiscal 2014 (April-March period), we shipped a total of 251 million tons in the entire business.
We are planning to expand the business step by step to increase the production and loading capacity to 290 million tons per annum by leveraging our world-leading prime assets and cost competitiveness. In this manner, we will strive to respond to the expected increase in the medium- to long-term demand for iron ore, primarily in Asia.
In 1977, ITOCHU – along with Nisho Iwai (now known as Sojitz) and Kobe Steel – became joint venture partners with BHP Billiton (at that time, BHP), Reynolds, Shell in the development of Worsley project to mine bauxite and produce alumina. In 1980, the Japanese holding was repositioned through the creation of Kobe Alumina Associates (Australia) – since 2003, known as Japan Alumina Associates (Australia) Pty Ltd (JAAL) – to hold a 10% interest in the Worsley alumina project. This entity was owned 40% by Kobe Steel, 35% by Nissho Iwai and 25% by ITOCHU.
In 2002, the original holding vehicle for the Japanese equity stake, Kobe Alumina Associates (KAA), was restructured and renamed – as Japan Alumina Associates (Australia) Pty Ltd (JAAL). Kobe Steel, the original major stakeholder in KAA, sold down its 45% stake in the holding vehicle to ITOCHU and Sojitz. ITOCHU took a greater proportion of Kobe Steel’s holding in order that the two trading companies would each hold a 50% share of JAAL, giving each, proportionally, a 5% equity stake of the total Worsley joint venture. Worsley Alumina Refinery is, currently, run as an annual production capacity of 4.6 million tonnes of calcined alumina, which is one of the largest and most cost-competitive alumina producers in the world.