Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division
In addition to upstream investment and trading in metal resources and ferrous materials, the Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division has made a full-scale entry into the circular economy field, which includes recycling businesses, and this division is working to create and promote new businesses that respond to social needs.
Strengths of the Division
- ●Growth in demand for mineral resources, steel, and industrial materials centered on emerging countries
- ●Demand for new products arising from strengthened and revised environmental regulations
- ●Increased demand for new technologies and materials that contribute to the development of a sustainable society
- ●Higher demand for eco-friendly businesses, such as recycling and by-product management
- ●Reduction to revenues from fluctuations in resource prices and exchange rates and inflation
- ●Rising geopolitical risks, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, resource nationalism, and trade friction between the United States and China
- ●Substitute products and strengthened regulations resulting in lower product competitiveness
- ●Global trend toward carbon taxes and other stringent environmental regulations
The Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division positioned FY2022 as a year of action. Specifically, we pursued business in our three fields of focus set out in Medium-term Management Plan 2023. Our aim for this final fiscal year of the Plan is to achieve results for each of the initiatives we launched in the previous years.
Our first field of focus is the circular economy. Beginning with our investment in a North American electronics recycling business executed last fiscal year, we are accelerating our circular economy initiatives in order to continue to scale up our presence in this field.
Our second field of focus involves new business creation to address social needs, such as businesses related to decarbonization, rechargeable batteries, and new materials. We will strive to realize these initiatives and achieve monetization of businesses in this field, which includes our manufacturing business for the fluorinated products that are essential in the creation of semiconductors, our business supplying raw materials used in rechargeable battery production, and our rechargeable battery reuse and recycling business.
We have positioned our third field of focus as acquiring cost-competitive upstream interests in metal resources to ensure a long-term stable supply of unique resources that align with Sojitz’s procurement policies. As part of Medium-term Management Plan 2023, the division has carried out initiatives including asset replacement of thermal coal interests and will continue to build a high-quality portfolio of upstream assets that will generate long-term stable earnings.
The Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division will strive to improve the quality, cost-competitiveness, and efficiency for our metal resources, steel products, and other existing business fields in order to ensure that we have a strong framework capable of producing stable earnings. At the same time, we will also aim to achieve results in new initiatives including the circular economy, new materials, and rechargeable batteries to transform our business portfolio into one with great potential for major growth moving forward.
Niobium mine in Brazil
(Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração)
Products created using 3D metal printer
■Coking Coal and Steel Products Businesses
In order to achieve sustainable growth and address rising global environmental awareness, the Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division is quickly withdrawing from thermal coal businesses. At the same time, we are ramping up production and pursuing cost reductions at the Gregory Crinum coal mine, Sojitz’s flagship coking coal mine in Australia.
Making use of the mine’s existing infrastructure, and our accumulated expertise as the sole general trading company with experience operating its own mine, we will venture into contract mining in surrounding mines. Meanwhile, in the steel products business of Metal One Corporation, which Sojitz founded together with Mitsubishi Corporation, we are pursuing synergies while collaborating and providing support.
■Circular Economy Businesses
Sojitz is growing circular economy businesses that promote the reuse and recycling of resources based on the trends toward decarbonization and resource recycling. Our initiatives on this front in Japan have included investment in IT asset disposition company TES-AMM JAPAN K.K. and polyethylene terephthalate chemical recycling company PET REFINE TECHNOLOGY, Co., Ltd. In addition, we have acquired equity interest in and participate in the management of eCycle Solutions Inc., a recycling business based in Canada handling household appliances and electronic devices. In such circular economy businesses for recycling metal, plastic and other waste, we aim to develop businesses with a certain degree of scale in order to make contributions to the realization of a recycling-oriented society.
■Businesses That Respond to Social Needs
We will pursue the creation of new businesses in the fields of rechargeable batteries and decarbonization, where there is great social need. Initiatives currently in progress include hydrogen-related demonstration projects and the development of niobium titanium oxide-based anode materials for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles.
In addition, we have also launched a rechargeable battery reuse and recycling business as well as initiatives in emissions trading and CCUS (carbon capture, utilization, and storage). Sojitz also has plans to enter the manufacturing business for fluorinated products beginning in FY2026. These materials make up an essential part of the manufacturing supply chain for products such as semiconductors and next-generation batteries.
Moreover, 3D metal printing business operator JAMPT is responding to demand for highmix, low-volume production of high-precision products. Uses for this company’s 3D metal printing approach include the development of lighter weight automotive components as well as dental applications.
IT Asset Disposition and e-Scrap Business
The Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division invested in IT asset disposition service provider TES-AMM JAPAN K.K., in January 2021, commencing metal recycling and reuse initiatives in the circular economy field. This decision was made based on the rising needs for addressing data leakage risks in the midst of efforts to reduce emissions and environmental impacts and in the face of depleted natural resource reserves. In addition, we announced our investment in Canada’s largest recycler of household appliances and electronic devices, eCycle Solutions Inc., in February 2023. Sojitz began participating in the management of eCycle Solutions Inc. in April 2023.
Looking ahead, we aim to expedite the development of an IT asset disposition and e-scrap business by bolstering the resource collection operations that are the first step in recycling the metal resources used in electronic equipment. Through metal recycling and reuse activities, the Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division aims to contribute to a recycling-oriented society while also developing a competitive metal resource recycling chain in its IT asset disposition and e-scrap business.
eCycle Solutions Inc office（Canada）
New Company Established for Realizing Practical Application and Commercialization of Membrane-Based DAC Technology
In 2022, Sojitz partnered with Kyushu University to research the practical application and commercialization of a direct air capture (DAC) technology for directly capturing CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. The partnership originally aimed for social implementation of DAC technology by 2030. However, Sojitz has now established a new company, Carbon Xtract Corporation, in order to accelerate this timeline and achieve social implementation by the late 2020s. Kyushu University’s technology is the world’s first membrane-based DAC technology, which makes it possible to capture CO2 from the air through a membrane separation system. This new technology will increase the number of possible locations for CO2 capture equipment by greatly reducing the geographical restrictions on implementation. The recovered CO2 can be used as a raw material for fuels and chemicals as well as for cultivation of crops and for production of beverages and dry ice. Moving forward, Sojitz will continue to collaborate with Kyushu University to promote product commercialization and utilization of DAC technology and become a leading company in the small-scale and distributed DAC market.
[News Releases] Kyushu University and Sojitz Conclude Memorandum for Implementation of Membrane-based Direct Air Capture Technology and Related Technology Solutions to Capture Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere