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JOGMEC Financially Assists Lithium Project in U.S.
- A Step Forward to Stable Supply of Lithium Resource to Japan -

June 9, 2011

 On June 9 th 2011, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation ("JOGMEC", President: Hirobumi Kawano) has provided financing of one billion yen to a lithium recovery project in the state of California, United States of America. The loan is for ITOCHU Corporation ("ITOCHU", President & CEO: Masahiro Okafuji) which made an investment into the project.
 
 ITOCHU took approximately 20% of equity stake of Simbol Mining Corp., a resources development company in the USA. The finance will cover a part of the fund.
 
 Simbol Mining Corp extracts lithium from geothermal brines used in geothermal power plant in southern California and produces lithium chemicals. Presently, they are constructing pilot plant for demonstration to operate technical verification test and feasibility study, expecting to start commercial production of approximately 16,000mt in LCE by year 2013. 
 
 Lithium is anticipated to surge in demand in the lithium battery for hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles. It is JOGMEC's first lithium business of financial assistance to lithium project, and is expected to contribute to reservation of lithium resources to Japan. 
 
 JOGMEC will proactively assist companies which endorse exploration development overseas for stable supply of overall metal resources.

The Outline of the Project

 Simbol Mining Corp is the first ever known producer of lithium chemicals using geothermal brines. The brine they develop near Salton Sea of southern California is unique because of its high content of lithium. Started as an initial spin out from the U.S.
 
 Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2007, Simbol has concentrated on developing technology to extract lithium from geothermal brines. They succeeded in technical development to be the most competitive producer of lithium chemicals 
 
 The project's annual production volume is planned at approximately 16,000mt (in LCE).
 As the production time from brine to final product is short, Simbol will be able to easily increase its production capacity to meet industry demand. With the lithium demand in the EV and HEV industry anticipated to expand in the future, it is expected to be an important supplier of lithium in such growing markets.
 
 ITOCHU has obtained sole marketing rights to distribute Simbol's lithium chemical products in Asian countries including Japan, hoping the project to greatly contribute to securing Japan’s lithium resource.
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