NHK World reported that Japanese trading companies are stepping up their investment in South American copper mines. They believe that increasing use of electric vehicles will boost demand for the metal. Mitsubishi Corporation has decided to invest about 4.85 billion dollars in a copper mine in Peru together with a British resources company. The undeveloped mine is believed to have some of the largest reserves of copper in the world. The companies hope to begin production in 2022. Sumitomo Corporation will take part in the operation of a copper mine in Chile. And Marubeni is conducting a survey at another mine in Chile. The trading firms hope to secure copper resources ahead of a full-fledged shift to electric vehicles in the global market. Production of electric vehicles requires about 3 times as much copper as gasoline-powered vehicles. Copper is also needed for recharging facilities.