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Japan secures steady supply of platinum metals from South Africa

Deal equals 20% of nation's demand for materials used in fuel cells and cars

An aerial view of a mine in South Africa, which holds the vast majority of global reserves of platinum group metals.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan will obtain rights to buy platinum group metals worth a fifth of its annual consumption from South Africa, securing a stable future supply of the metals vital to making car exhaust filters and fuel cell vehicles.

Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., or Jogmec, will announce the deal on Friday with its partners. The state-owned company created a joint venture in 2009 with Canadian and South African partners and has surveyed areas around the northern province of Limpopo for reserves of platinum group metals including palladium. South Africa is home to a majority of global reserves of these metals.

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