IMEA Buys New Shares in Aston Resources Limited of Australia

August 9, 2010

ITOCHU Minerals & Energy of Australia Pty Ltd (hereinafter “IMEA”), a subsidiary of ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”), and Aston Resources Limited (headquartered in Brisbane, Australia; Todd Hannigan, Representative; hereinafter “Aston”) have agreed that IMEA will invest 33 million Australian dollars (about 2.6 billion yen) as a cornerstone investor in the initial public offer of Aston and will acquire an equity stake of about 2.75%. With the investment, IMEA will take the exclusive right for 120 days to negotiate to acquire an interest and sales rights in the Maules Creek coal project that Aston is planning to develop.

The Maules Creek coal project that Aston is undertaking in New South Wales, Australia is a large undeveloped coal deposit site that has one of the largest minable reserves in Australia. A feasibility study is currently underway. Aston plans to start to produce high-quality fuel coal and coal for coke making (semi-soft coking coal) in 2012.

With the purchase of the shares, ITOCHU aims to add to prime assets and to create trading opportunities. ITOCHU will continue to seek opportunities to enhance its portfolio of resources interests.

Profile of Aston

Corporate name Aston Resources Limited
Representative Todd Hannigan
Business Coal resource development
Head office Brisbane, Queensland
Established January 2008
Major shareholders Aston Resources Investments (Nathen Tinkler), Farallon Funds

Profile of Maules Creek Mine (based on the listing prospectus of Aston)

Location Gunnedah, New South Wales
Interest rate Aston 100% (IMEA has won the exclusive right to negotiate for minority interest)
Resource About 610 million tons
Production volume About 10.8 million tons per year (fuel coal and semi-soft coking coal; production planned to start in 2012)
Development cost About 463 million Australian dollars

For reference: Location of the Maules Creek coal mining area