Metro Mining Limited has signed a binding bauxite off-take agreement with China-based Xinfa Group.

Xinfa is a leading integrated aluminium company in the Asian country.

It has refining and smelting operations in the Chinese provinces of Shandong, Shanxi, Guangxi and Xinjiang.

Currently, Xinfa has 4.3% stake in Metro.

This agreement is valid for four-years and provides for contract tonnage of one million tonnes in the first year of operation, with two million tonnes subsequently every 12 months for the remaining three years.

"The first shipment of bauxite is expected in 2018."

Metro estimates that total annual production from its Bauxite Hills Project will touch four million tonnes.

Metro CEO Simon Finnis said: "This agreement shows the strong relationship and exceptional good faith between Xinfa and Metro Mining.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with Xinfa as we further define the project development plans. The first shipment of bauxite is expected in 2018.”

This deal accounts for almost half of Metro's expected annual production over the next four year term. Further, it guarantees sales during the period of the operation.

Finnis stated that this agreement is the third significant event in this year, the company secured a funding of $8.9m from Greenstone and the acquired 39% shares in Gulf Alumina, which has bauxite reserves.