Thursday, April 29, 2010

"With Aid to Bolivia, Japan Locks in Lithium" ooops "Bolivia slams Japan mining firm for 'plundering' resources" (PKX)

Butch Cassidy:

Kid, the next time I say, "Let's go someplace like Bolivia," let's go someplace like Bolivia.
- Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (1969)

I've been on the Bolivia beat for a while. A Google search of the site comes up with 1110 hits. Can't be right, I can still type.

I've come to believe that dealing with Mr. Morales yields results akin to those of the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact.*
First up, MatterNetwork, April 6, 2010:

In the quest to secure the raw materials that are required to build next generation automobile batteries and motors, Japan seems to have grasped the importance of locking down supplies now.

A report in the Japanese Nikkei newspaper says that Japan will loan tens of billions of yen to Bolivia this summer to help them build modern power plants and put solar panels on a hospital. In exchange, Japan will get guaranteed access to Bolivia’s vast supplies of lithium. Sometimes the difference between “bribery” and “help” can be so blurry....MORE

From Agence France-Presse April 18:
Bolivia's foreign minister accused a Japanese mining subsidiary Sunday of "plundering" natural resources in the South American country while exploiting lead and silver, amid a dispute between the firm and local farmers.

Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca told local media that San Cristobal, a company owned by Japanese trading giant Sumitomo, "doesn't pay a cent" for its consumption of some 600 liters (158 gallons) of water per second for its metal mining operations....MORE

From TradingMarkets, April 22:

S. Korean companies to help Bolivia develop lithium industries

South Korean companies will conduct research for Bolivia to help the South American nation develop its lithium resources and related industries, the government said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said 13 companies including GS Caltex Corp., POSCO and state-run Korea Resources Corp. will conduct joint research projects to determine the ideal infrastructure needed to make best use of the material by August. The Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade will also take part in the evaluation effort....MORE

Finally, from New Straits Times, April 26:

Japan to search seafloors for rare metals

apan plans to scour the seafloors in its exclusive economic zone for rare metals needed in high-tech products in a drive that may irritate Asian rival China.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s cabinet is expected to approve as early as June the national strategy on securing undersea resources, the Kyodo News agency reported, citing a copy of the government document.

Japan and its Asian rivals are scrambling to secure rare metals needed for a range of products from fuel-efficient hybrid cars and batteries to cellphones and liquid crystal display televisions.

Last year the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology announced plans to send robotic submarines to study areas near seabed volcanos, where so-called hydrothermal vents belch out minerals.

Experts believe exploiting those remote and hard-to-reach deposits will become feasible despite the huge technical challenges and expense, as certain minerals become more scarce worldwide.

Under the new strategy, resource-poor Japan eyes exploring the seabed within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), an area which extends 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) offshore or to the half-way points to neighbouring countries.

The areas to be explored cover 340,000 square kilometres (136,000 square miles) of the East China Sea and the Pacific, Kyodo said....MORE
*The pact was the non-aggression treaty between Hitler and Stalin, signed on August 24, 1939.

Eight days later the Nazis invaded Poland.
On June 22, 1941 Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, thus terminating the agreement.

See also the German–Soviet Commercial Agreement of 1940 and the German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement of 1941.

Warren Buffet through BRK owned 3,947,554 shares of Posco (PKX), 5.2%, as of Dec. 31, 2009. His $768Mil. investment was worth $2.1Bil. in the last annual report.