Astra Resources has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Railway Vehicles Equipment (CRVE) to begin production across the company’s vast resource assets.

Astra says the agreement reflects the company’s strategic plan to secure a long-term relationship with a major state-owned Chinese agency in its bid to create a strong footprint in what’s regarded as the epicentre of the Asian growth corridor.

CRVE says the MoU is also reflective of its desire to build a long-term relationship with a global resource and technology company which will support the immediate and future infrastructure requirements of Astra and get full-scale production at its mines under way.

As part of the agreement CRVE will purchase specific resources from Astra, such as thermal coal and iron ore, for its major rail production and infrastructure projects.

Astra’s chief executive officer Jaydeep Biswas says the MoU is a significant step forward for the company. “Entering into both formal discussions and contracts with major resource players and buyers such as CRVE not only secures long term revenue streams, but also opens the door for further discussions and agreements with regards to our project financing needs and production of Astra’s other major resource assets of iron ore and thermal coal and the imminent commercialization of the clean coal conversion technology.”

Jaydeep Biswas says China represents the biggest resource buying market in the world, with Astra now well positioned to take full advantage of the conditions. “By entering into this MoU with one of the largest state-owned agencies in China that has a huge appetite for thermal coal and iron ore supply and connection to many of China’s other state-owned agencies, we have secured a promising future for the company.”

It comes after the company announced the release of a geological investigation and feasibility study into its Nigerian thermal coal sites and deposits as well as a favourable report from the Cayagan River Construction & Development Corporation on its Philippine iron sands project.

Senior China advisor Stephane Muller-Margot, who facilitated the MoU, says it is critical the state-owned agencies partner with major resource companies to ensure a consistent and secure supply chain to feed China’s immense thermal coal and iron ore needs.

“During this stage of massive development and urbanization it is vital we can lock up future sales offtake agreements to provide all of the necessary project infrastructure and financial support for the various CRVE assets,” she says.

Astra says it has also started negotiations for an extension to this MoU with other Chinese state-owned agencies to make use of the company’s Asian gold assets, agricultural resources and clean coal conversion technology.

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