Itochu to accelerate Karin coking coal project development with Vitrinite

Queensland-based coking coal company Vitrinite, owners of several assets in the Bowen Basin, has signed an agreement with Japanese trading company Itochu Corporation to fast-track development of the former’s highly prospective Karin deposit.

Itochu will gain global marketing rights to Vitrinite’s project as part of the deal.

Vitrinite’s Karin deposit, part of the larger Karin project in the Bowen Basin, has exceptional coking coal properties, with clean seams and banded seams up to 4.5m thick and 16m thick, respectively. The asset was acquired by Vitrinite in August 2016 and initial exploration programs resulted in data exceeding historical Department of Natural Resources and Mines data from the early 1980s.

Coking coal is in high demand from the international steel industry, with particularly strong demand coming from east and south Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and India.

Nick Williams, founder and managing director of Vitrinite, said that the company made the decision to join forces with Itochu after careful consideration, calling it a “genuine alignment of cultural values.

“We are very pleased to have [Itochu] as a partner in this exciting development and believe that this is another major milestone in the history of Australian-Japanese co-investment in the Bowen Basin,” he said.

Itochu is one of the big five ‘sogo shosha’ (general trading house) in Japan, along with Sumitomo, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Marubeni, and is currently in fourth place, according to Fortune’s annual Global 500 listing.

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