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JFE Holdings Inc. and Itochu Corp. have agreed to increase ownership in an iron ore mine in Brazil by buying stakes from Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd.

Itochu, Japan’s fourth-biggest trading company, will spend ¥40.9 billion to raise its stake in the Namisa iron ore mine, the company said Thursday. JFE, Japan’s second-largest steelmaker, said it would pay Nippon Steel ¥13.7 billion to increase its stake.

Global competition for iron ore and coking coal is intensifying as the growing economies in China and India boost demand for the steelmaking materials.

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