Vale and Japan celebrate six decades of partnership

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Brazilian mining giant Vale is celebrating the 60th anniversary since it signed its first contract to supply iron ore to Japan.

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The initial shipment of 9 million metric tonnes of iron ore in 1955 was followed by continued shipments of the commodity to Japan in the coming decades, turning Japan into one of the company’s three major biggest markets.

According to the company’s press release, Vale has sold 6,572 million metric tons of iron ore and pellets to the country in the first quarter of 2015 alone, and more than 1.2 billion metric tons of iron ore over the last 60 years.

“In addition to our sales to Japan’s steel mills, the partnership between Vale and Japan has intensified over the decades, translating into joint ventures and investments in ferrous metals, coal, logistics, steel, fertilizers and base metals,” it says in the press release.

“In Peru, for example, the company is Mitsui‘s partner in the Bayóvar operation to produce phosphatic rock. In New Caledonia, Vale has a project in partnership with Sumic, and in Indonesia, it has joined forces with Sumimoto, to produce nickel.”

The partnership with Japan was further extended with the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Vale and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in 2014 as part of the company’s operational cooperation commitment through the provision of consultancy services on projects that contribute to the supply of mineral resources to Japan and the export of the country’s mining equipment.

“That same year, Vale entered into an investment agreement providing for Mitsui to acquire a 15% stake in Vale Mozambique – owner of 95% of the Moatize mine – and half of Vale’s 70% stake in the Nacala Corridor (CLN), as well as agreements to transfer its 20% capital holding in VLI, a company supplying integrated logistics solutions,” reads the press release.

Vale also credited its Japanese partners for their support on the consolidation of the Carajás Iron Project – the largest iron ore open-pit mine on the planet in the early 1980s – describing the partnership as “much more” than a business relation simply increasing the trade flow between Brazil and Japan.

“Vale also received support to construct its pelletizing plants from Companhia Nipo-Brasileira de Pelotização (Nibrasco), which includes all the principal integrated Japanese steelworks: Nippon Steel Sumitomo, JFE Steel, Kobe Steel and Nisshin, and to build the Port of Tubarão, in Vitória (ES), contributing to the diversification of the region’s economy with the import and export of a variety of products.”