July 30, 2010 / 7:49 AM / 7 years ago

Japan in pact for rare earth exploration in Namibia

<p>Worker prepares diamonds at the LLD Diamond polishing factory, Africa's biggest cutting and polishing plant, in the Namibian capital Windhoek in a file photo. REUTERS/Alistair Thompson</p>

TOKYO (Reuters) - State-backed Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp has agreed with Namibia to explore and develop mineral resources, especially rare earth and rare metals, it said on Friday, the first such pact with the southern African country.

The deal follows a similar agreement reached earlier this month with Kazakhstan’s national mining firm, as JOGMEC beefs up procurement amid growing global competition for resources.

JOGMEC plans to send engineers to Namibia next month to help jointly develop technology to remotely sensor and analyse potential mines.

“Through the joint effort, we hope to explore new mining fields including rare earth, and accelerate joint venture projects with private mining firms to help secure stakes in rare metal resources,” JOGMEC said.

A legal revision which took effect this month gives JOGMEC more flexibility in helping private firms acquire stakes in overseas firms or projects specialising in resources.

JOGMEC was set up in 2004 to help secure supplies of oil, gas and minerals for Japan, among other things conducting field surveys to assist Japanese oil companies.

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