ITOCHU Corporation, Japanese major general trader, announced on Wednesday the firm agreed with Aston Resources of Australia in 15% share acquisition for Maules Creek coal mine project in New South Wales, Australia at A$ 345 million through ITOCHU Corp’s subsidiary, IMEA. ITOCHU joins in development of soft coking coal and fuel coal to start commercial operation in fiscal 2012 ending in March 2013. IMEA gained exclusive distributorship to Japan and prior distributorship to other countries for Maules Creek’s coal. ITOCHU Corp continues negotiation with Aston Resources to take additional equity in the project and enhances trade volume of high grade coal.ITOCHU Corp announced in August 2010 IMEA started negotiation with Aston Resources to take 2.75% shares in Aston Resources as a strategic partner and to acquire distributorship and equity in Maules Creek mine. The preferential negotiating right was for 120 days. IMEA extends exclusive negotiating right by 6 months and continues talks to take additional 10% shares in Maules Creek. Mauls Creek coal mine reserves coal at about 610 million tonnes. The recoverable reserve volume is the largest one in Australia as well as coal’s high quality. Aston Resources plans to start production of soft coking coal and fuel coal at 10.8 million tonnes per year with capital expenditure at approximately A$ 463 million. Aston Resources positively evaluated ITOCHU Corp’s fund, human resources and experiences in international coal market and mine development in Australia. Aston Resources expects for smooth progress of the project with financial background including IMEA’s investment as well as Aston Resources’ listing in August. ITOCHU Corp plans to increase its coal interests to 15 million tonnes per year toward 2015 from current 8 million tonnes. The firm seeks favorable resource interests and expands the business profitability.
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