OREANDA-NEWS. In 2003, Mitsui & Co. acquired ownership interest in Valepar, the holding company of the world's largest supplier of iron ore, Vale S.A., and became involved in the management of the company including appointing Mitsui & Co. officers as members of the board.

This relationship between the two companies gained momentum in 2001 with the joint management of Brazilian mineral resources company Caemi Mineracao e Metalurgia S.A. Building on this, the two companies agreed to expand their cooperation to a variety of fields and concluded a Strategic Alliance Agreement. Together with Vale, Mitsui became involved in cross sectional activities that went beyond the scope of each business unit, enabling it to create a range of diverse and multifunctional businesses that demonstrate Mitsui's business engineering capabilities.

In addition to iron ore business, the two companies became jointly involved in a nickel producing business in New Caledonia, a phosphate rock business in Peru, and a general cargo business in Brazil, as well as trading rails, rail wagons for iron ore transportation, mining machinery, and ultra-large-off-the-road radial tires for mining vehicles. Today, 7 of Mitsui's 12 business units have business contacts with Vale. Through lateral initiatives transcending business unit boundaries, Mitsui is building an organization that is able to leverage its comprehensive strengths to create and integrate diverse businesses, and as a result there are high hopes for further expansion of Mitsui's role as Vale's strategic alliance partner.

Mitsui has been working together with Vale in the area of human resources to further strengthen the relationship of trust that has developed over many years. In 2003 a trainee exchange program was launched, based on the idea that personal interaction is an important part of relationship building. Through to January 2014, a total of 117 employees from Mitsui and 124 employees from Vale have participated in this program. The 8-11 week course provides an ideal forum for the mutual understanding of the two companies' businesses as well as Japanese and Brazilian culture and business practices.

Mitsui will continue to leverage its functions with the aim of providing high added value through cross-sectional activities that go beyond Business Unit frameworks and demonstrate its business engineering capabilities to increase the value of each business.