Australian company Iron Road has signed five separate non-binding memorandum of understandings (MoUs) with Chinese steel companies to study the benefits of high-grade Central Eyre Iron Project (CEIP) concentrate on steel mill performance.
Under the MoU terms, the companies will conduct technical evaluations of the project verify its commercial and technical merits, with discussions then held towards signing a letter of intent (LoI) for the long-term supply of CEIP concentrate.
Shandong Iron & Steel Group, one of the MoU parties, has signed a further agreement, progressing its intention to enter a LoI with Iron Road.
The proposed LoI will cover supply of iron products to ShanSteel from the CEIP.
Under the agreement, both companies will also collaborate to seek a project funding solution to enable the latter to reach a final investment decision to begin construction during 2017.
Iron Road managing director Andrew Stocks said: "Our high-quality product from the CEIP offers significant advantages for steel mills intent on running the most efficient and environmentally compliant operations, hence the strong interest we have received from a number of parties.
"The MoUs are aimed at establishing a detailed understanding of the commercial and technical benefits the CEIP product will deliver for steel mills, prior to entering a letter of intent for the long-term supply of iron ore product from the CEIP."
The company also looks to partner with ShanSteel with regard to the completion of its final preparations before funding of the project.