JFE Steel is to spend more than $550M (A$610.64M) on a stake in an Australian coal mine.
JFE Steel said it would acquire a 20% interest in the Byerwen Coal project from QCoal Pty. The mine, in Queensland, is expected to start production in 2012.
The two companies also agreed to a long-term supply deal for JFE Steel to receive coal from the project.
JFE, Japan’s second-largest steel maker, said its total investment would be Y50bn ($555M) ($A617.97M), including spending related to the mine’s facilities.
The group said it aimed to get the project operating “as soon as possible”.
Japan’s steel makers have been seeking stable sources of raw materials by buying stakes in mines as the country jostles with other regional economies such as China and India for commodity supplies.