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A law to help domestic companies acquire overseas mining rights is expected to take effect July 1, according to a government official.

The Cabinet will proceed with the legislation for Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., Tsuneyuki Kato, a director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s natural resources department, said Friday.

Japan relies on imports to meet most of its natural resource needs and is the second-biggest importer of iron ore after China.

The ministry has prepared a bill that will allow state-owned JOGMEC to invest in foreign mines in collaboration with private companies as part of efforts to secure raw materials amid increased competition from China and South Korea. It will also provide government guarantees to fund projects.

Under the proposed bill, JOGMEC can invest as much as ¥27.5 billion in overseas mines. Under the current law, it can invest only in overseas projects for oil and natural gas.

The bill will allow JOGMEC to provide government guarantees to help private companies get financing from lenders for mineral resources projects such as rare metals, base metals and iron ore, Kato said.

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