Steel is a key driver of the world’s economy and it is Astra’s goal to maximise the impact of its unique T-Steel IP worldwide.
Astra takes a multi-faceted approach to steel making throughs securing raw materials required for all aspects of production, and close to markets, while capitalising on high value business opportunities which focuses on resource demand for global markets. Astra has developed practical and cost effective business models for steel manufacturers to be able to take advantage of the technology. Existing factories will be able to produce improved quality steels and hence enter into markets which were previously not available.
The IP, owned by Astra, will enable the production of the premium grade steels falling into the T1-T9 categories. The key focus of Astra’s commercialisation process is to partner with interested steel manufacturers as well as manufacturers of steel products, such as turbines.
Spearheading Astra’s technology assets portfolio is its revolutionary T-Steel technology, of which Astra retains 45 per cent IP ownership and maintains full operational development and management control.
T-Steel is a generic code name for top grade special steels. In very general terms, the technology involves enhancements to the actual manufacturing process, including the additions of certain appropriate standard alloys where required. The characteristics of T-steel when compared to standard steel types are substantial. There is a unique commercial history behind the development and applications, and these improved characteristics will provide significant economic benefits for steel plants where the technology is introduced.
The advantages of T-steel can be summarized as:
Other benefits include up to 30 per cent lower emissions, improved hardness, tensile strength and malleability, fewer raw materials required and higher elongation.
- Substantial yield savings
- Significant reduction in alloys used
- Tangible and significant energy savings during the refining process
- Improved physical properties as compared to normal HSLA steels.
T-Steel types are subdivided into nine categories, and these categories actually cover a large family of steel types. The table below also summarises the stratification of products, as covered in the IP owned by Astra. Steel types are listed from T1 (structural steel) through to the premium grade high category specialised steels (T9).
The value of the IP held by Astra is centred around the actual development methodology and the subsequent commercial applications. When compared to similar research conducted by other entities, the credibility and advantages of T-Steel come from the actual research methodology and the commercial applications, which have been largely kept confidential for commercial reasons.
The IP (the process) which has been signed over to Astra Steelworks includes all the detailed manufacturing steps and these are included in the IP documentation. The work was carried out by the developers in the course of their working life within the steel industry and academic studies. They planned, controlled and implemented the processes. Astra Steelworks also has confidential records pertaining to the past commercial applications. The processes can be implemented within the technical requirements as outlined in the IP documentation.
These characteristics have been endorsed separately by the extensive independent reports and by a global steel manufacturer. T-Steel technology has a valuation NPV of EUR4.47bn (A$6.03bn as at 14 February 2011) assuming that the level of risk of the project is in line with industry average This would make the Astra Mining interest valued at EUR2.01bn (A$2.68bn) based on the 45% IP ownership.
Astra is currently negotiating with a number of international steel companies who are interested in introducing the technology in order to enhance existing product lines and enter new and profitable markets which were previously not available to them.