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Mitsubishi Corp Partners with Canadian Firm to Develop Major Lithium Mine

Aiming to diversify supply chains, Mitsubishi invests in Ontario's lithium mine, countering reliance on Chinese refining amid rising demand
Japan
m 8058.TSE Blue Chip 150 OM 60
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Mitsubishi Corp is embarking on a significant venture with a Canadian mining company, Frontier Lithium, to establish a lithium mine in Ontario, marking a strategic move to secure a non-Chinese dependent supply chain. This collaboration is set to transform the landscape of lithium production, with Mitsubishi investing 25 million Canadian dollars to acquire a 7.5% interest in a newly formed entity, eyeing an increase to 25%. Positioned in Ontario, this site boasts over 58 million tonnes of lithium reserves, potentially becoming the largest lithium resource affiliated with a Japanese enterprise.

The initiative is a direct response to the current geopolitical and economic landscape, where China’s dominance in lithium refining raises concerns. By entering the North American lithium market, Mitsubishi aims to initiate a fully integrated production operation, from mining to refining, by 2027, with plans to extend its reach into industrial and battery-grade lithium production by 2030. This endeavor is pivotal, as it introduces a Japanese company into the North American lithium sector, amidst growing demand for this critical battery component.

Lithium’s importance is underscored by its key role in electric vehicle (EV) and consumer electronics batteries, industries projected to surge in demand. Currently, the global lithium market is heavily influenced by China, especially in refining capacities, prompting Mitsubishi and its partners to establish an alternative, secure supply chain. The project’s ambitions are substantial, targeting an annual output that could support the battery requirements for approximately 300,000 EVs.

This venture is part of a broader strategy by Japanese firms to ensure stable lithium supplies, vital for the country’s automotive and technology sectors. With the U.S. shifting incentives to discourage the use of Chinese-produced lithium and global demand for lithium expected to rise sharply, Mitsubishi’s investment is a strategic step towards self-reliance in critical mineral production and processing.

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