Astra Resources Plc (FWB Code: 9AR) is in the final setup stages for the production infrastructure in Hungary for its renewable energy technology, Green Gum, which operates in the area of waste recycling of rubber into high value products.
The machinery will be able to produce various grades of rubber granules in sizes from 600 microns (fine) to 150 microns, the latter being superfine granules which are similar to talcum powder in quality.
Astra Resources CEO Dr Jaydeep Biswas says production testing has been in progress since early March and over 200 kilograms of rubber granules have been produced in order to test their consistency and cleanliness.
“Additional testing was completed earlier this month which produced over 40 kilograms of the 150 micron grade granules,” Dr Biswas says.
“The third test production in excess of 20 tons is scheduled for the middle of April and will be quality certified at the University of Miskolc in Hungary.
“Following these tests the first full scale commercial production run is scheduled for the end of April and early May and Astra intends to fully leverage the product’s potential in order to maximize value to shareholders.”
Astra Resources owns a 76 per cent stake in Green Gum Technologies through its subsidiary Astra Innovations Pty Ltd.
The patented process is able to produce fine and superfine granules with technology that produces a small carbon footprint.
One of the main advantages of the Green Gum technology is that it uses substantially less energy for the production of the granules than the traditional “energy hungry” methods which utilise either a cryogenic freezing process or a very high-pressure water cutting process.
The sale price of the superfine granules in premium industries is expected to exceed 600 Euros per ton, and for certain applications such as rubber or plastics manufacturing in excess of 1,200 Euros per ton with net margins as high as 50 per cent of the sale price.
Astra Managing Director Silvana De Cianni says the premium, superfine granule products are used in a range of industrial processes, as a base material in the paint or rubber manufacturing industries as well as a substitute for expensive base components in the plastics industry.
“The superfine granules are expected to be sold at a premium price into the plastics industry,” Ms De Cianni says.
“A particularly sought after property of the larger fine quality granules is the granule surface geometry which allows stronger and more consistent bonding under loads.
“These larger fine quality granules are intended as an additive to be used in road construction by an Austrian company, and there is already interest from another major prospective customer.
The existing plant will be able to produce over 15,000 tons per year, once the machinery installation is complete. The interest shown in the product suggests that 25,000 tons per year will be required in 2012, possibly increasing to 30,000 tons soon after, for the regional market.
The plant is located in a local government designated Green Belt area in Western Hungary, which further enhances the company’s green credentials.
The European and global market potential for this technology is significant.
Astra Resources’ global portfolio includes gold interest in Southeast Asia, coal mine in Africa, iron ore in India, Norway and the Philippines, the production of the high-strength T-Steel technology in Hungary, carbon-efficiency businesses and the provision of mining services housing in Rockhampton, Queensland.