Whitehaven Coal and Aston Resources have agreed on a A$5.1 billion (£3.3 billion) merger to create Australia's biggest independent coal miner, looking for scale as they tap into booming Asian coal demand, the two said on Monday.

Aston shareholders will receive 1.89 Whitehaven shares per each Aston share after a distribution of a special dividend of A$0.50 per share to existing Whitehaven shareholders.

The tie-up marks the latest in Australia's hottest deal sector over the past three years, topped by U.S. miner Peabody Energy's takeover of Macarthur Coal for $5 billion last month.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Ed Davies)