Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division
In addition to upstream investment and trading in metal resources and ferrous materials, we have made a full-scale entry into the Circular Economy field, including recycling, and are working to create and promote new businesses that respond to society’s needs.
Strengths of the Division
- ●Trends in demand for mineral resources, steel, and industrial materials in emerging countries
- ●Demand for new products arising from strengthened and revised environmental regulations
- ●Increased demand for innovations and new materials which contribute to the development of a sustainable society
- ●Increased demand for environmentally friendly businesses, such as recycling and by-product management
- ●Fluctuations in market prices and exchange rates resulting in falling revenues
- ●Arising geopolitical risks, such as resource nationalism and trade friction between the U.S. and China
- ●China‘s economic slowdown resulting in metal resources and products price slump
- ●Substitute products and strengthened regulations resulting in lower product competitiveness
- ●The global trend towards stringent environmental regulations, such as a carbon tax
The main themes of MTP 2020 are establishing a stable source of earnings resistant to market volatility, and contributing to an environmentally-friendly low-carbon society, as called for by the international community. We have established three growth strategies to propel us towards these goals.
First, we will venture into new business areas aimed at responding to medium to long-term societal needs and environmental changes.
Second, we will endeavor to satisfy the needs of our clients by strengthening offerings such as products and businesses that reduce the burden on the environment. We will aim to maintain and expand trade targeted at Japan and emerging countries.
Third, for our upstream interests, we will build an asset portfolio that will generate profits even amidst a market downturn by improving the efficiency of our existing projects and replacing them with higher quality assets.
Although the industries and products this division handles in Japan and overseas are being affected by reduced production and impeded distribution due to the spread of COVID-19, we will endeavor to smoothly resume activities after the pandemic, respond to changes in the future and pursue and seize opportunities for earnings.
An ITAD (IT asset disposition) service vehicle
Products created using 3D metal printers
■Acquiring high-quality coking coal and developing a contract mining business
In order to achieve sustainable growth and address the growing global environmental awareness, we took steps to rebalance our coal portfolio by replacing thermal coal interests with high-quality coking coal, as with our acquisition of the Gregory Crinum coal mine in Australia. Making use of the mine‘s existing infrastructure, and our accumulated expertise as the sole general trading company to operate its own mine, we will venture into contract mining in surrounding mines, a new business model that will be resilient to market fluctuations.
■Increasing stable earnings through Metal One and other mid-downstream ventures
Our division owns a 40% stake in one of the world’s largest general steel trading companies, Metal One, which we founded together with Mitsubishi Corporation. Through close collaboration and providing support, we strive to create synergy between Metal One and Sojitz in the metal products business. We have also founded JAMPT Corporation as new midstream and downstream businesses, which are more resistant to market fluctuations compared to upstream investments. Commencing operations in October 2018, JAMPT is Japan‘s first 3D metal printing business which covers the entire process from manufacturing metal powders to assimilating metal products. The potential of the 3D metal printing technology is driven by increasing demand for high-precision products, such as aerospace engine components and medical implants., etc.
■Venturing into new applications and businesses
Dealing in niobium has been one of our strengths in the steelmaking field. As part of our drive to develop new applications for niobium, in June 2018, we signed an agreement with CBMM (Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração) and Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions to jointly develop anode material for use in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. We are currently working towards the early stage of commercial production, through which we hope to contribute to society by reducing the burden on the environment. Furthermore, we are placing an emphasis on the resource recycling market in order to realize a sustainable society. To that end, we have launched a business to promote the efficient reuse and recycling of IT equipment, built a platform for recirculating renewable resources, and started a business to recycle discarded plastics, in addition to our existing business of recovering metals from urban mining. In the future, we aim to develop a business for recovering IT equipment, lithium-ion batteries for EVs, and electric vehicles.