Japan and Chile have strengthened their ties in the mining sector as the Asian Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed last week a series of deals on science and technology, mainly centered on the copper industry.
Japan, which already allocates 90% of its investment in Chile to mining, may be increasing it presence in the South American nation soon following Mitsui deal with Chilean state copper giant Codelco, also signed last week. The companies will work on technology transfer aimed to improve mining efficiency. They said they would also perform research on new, higher-value-added applications for the red metal.
During the visit, AFP reports (in Spanish), Abe took part in the official opening of Lumina Copper’s (CVE:LCC) US$4.2 billion Caserones mine, in the Atacama Desert, owned by Japanese Pan Pacific Copper (77,37%) and Mitsui (22,63%).
The Japanese authority was on a five-country Latin American and the Caribbean tour that came just after China’s President Xi Jinping wrapped up his own visit to the region, which has a combined gross domestic product of almost $6 trillion and is rich in minerals and metals, food, energy and other commodities.
Japan is competing with China and Russia for access to the region’s energy and minerals at a time of rising natural resource nationalism in the region. Last month, members from the BRICs group of emerging market powerhouses met in Brazil, and created a $100 billion development bank and a currency reserve pool to foster more cooperation and trade.