International diversified resource company Astra Resources PLC (FWB Code: 9AR), through its joint venture in the Cagayan River Construction and Development Corporation (CRCDC) will begin the dredging of its Philippine iron sands project in late 2012.
Through its subsidiary Astra Philippines Pty Ltd, Astra beneficially owns ninety percent (90%) of the joint venture company CRCDC, a Philippine registered company.
The Babuyan Channel Iron Sand Lode in the province of Cagayan, in the north eastern part of Luzon in the Philippines, is estimated to contain more than 31.3 billion metric tonnes (BMT) in the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement areas (MPSA), which is only a fraction of the Lode.
Astra CEO Dr Jaydeep Biswas says commencement of the project is pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by and between the CRCDC and the Provincial Government of Cagayan, which was ratified by the Provincial Board on May 4, 2012.
“This grants CRDCD the authority to dredge, extract and utilise ‘quarry resources’, sand particles and other materials of commercial value such as magnetite iron sands from the Cagayan River Delta,” Dr Biswas says.
The authority to dredge the assigned area, a 200 metre by 12 kilometre strip along the mouth of the Cagayan River, located in Aparri, was stipulated to be for a period of 25 years, with the production expected to reach gross sales of about 1 million tonnes per annum by 2014. The initial estimated resource is 135 million tonnes.
The ultimate goal of the Joint Venture company CRCDC is off-shore mining of magnetite sand with a top production of 300 thousand metric tonnes per month on a floating plant.
Astra Managing Director Silvana De Cianni says that Astra is in the process of acquiring additional mining areas alongside MPSA 1, 2, 3 and 4 to add to the Joint Venture.
“This site, to be secured from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has inferred resources of 13 BMT,” Ms. De Cianni says.
It is expected that this business partnership will significantly enhance the Economic Development Program, particularly in the mining industry sector, in the Philippines.
Astra through its joint venture interest in CRCDC has successfully arranged all requirements to start full operation by end 2012. Top level discussions will be held in Manila for a corporate review of the requirements before full implementation.
Astra Resources’ global portfolio includes gold interests in Southeast Asia, coal mine in Africa, iron ore in India, Norway and the Philippines, carbon efficient and commodity businesses, the production of the high-strength T-Steel technology in Hungary, clean coal technology and the provision of mining services housing in Rockhampton, Queensland and a large Agricultural focus on creating Australia as the food bowl for the Asian Region through Astra Agricultural Resources.
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