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Aspire Mining releases Q1 2014 report

World Coal,

Aspire Mining has released the company’s report on Q1 2014. Highlights include the Ovoot metallurgical coal project being recognised by the Mongolian government as a key supplier for the Sainshand Industrial Park; as well as non-binding expressions of interest to fund the Northern Rail Line being received by the company.

Ovoot project key to Mongolia

A non-binding MoU has been entered into by Aspire and the Sainshand Industrial Complex, which is a Mongolian Government entity established to oversee the development and operation of the Sanshand Industrial Park.

The industrial park will be constructed in southern Mongolia.

The MoU covers an intent by the Government owned entity to enter into future agreements to purchase Ovoot Project coking coal. The Ovoot Project is identified with Tavan Tolgoi as future coal suppliers to feed the planned coke and steel plants included in the overall development plan for the Sainshand Park.

For Aspire Mining to progress the development of the Ovoot Project, the Northern Rail Line is required to be constructed.

Rail funding

A railway connecting the Ovoot project to the Trans-Mongolian Railway at Erdenet must be constructed for the Ovoot project to prove viable. This Northern Rail Line has received a boost as Aspire has sourced a number of non-binding expressions of interests to provide financing for its construction.

If received, the funding would total US$ 1.3 billion, which covers the capital expenditure requirement highlighted in the rail pre-feasibility study completed by SMEC International in April 2013.

Aspire’s subsidiary, Northern Railways, continues to engage with the Mongolian government regarding granting of concession rights. The company intends to begin definitive financing negotiations immediately upon receipt of a rail concession from the government.

Rail line could open up Russian investment

In the event of a future rail link being constructed from the Ovoot Project via Tsagaan Tolgoi through to the Russian city of Kyzyl, the Northern Rail Line would become part of a new major international rail network and will potentially unlock the development of the very large Ulug Khem (“Elegest”) metallurgical coal basin.

The Ulug Khem basin holds five core metallurgical coal projects owned by some of Russia’s largest coking coal and steel producers. At full production, these projects are claimed to produce up to 47 million tpa of coal, based on current project reserves.

Potential new projects

There have been a number of recent reports by Mongolian Government Ministers indicating that the current moratorium for the issue of new exploration licences may be lifted by the Government of Mongolia in the near future allowing access to new exploration ground within Mongolia.

 In line with its strategy to identify and develop world class metallurgical coal assets, Aspire is continually open to assess the prospectivity of potential new coking coal projects it could seek to acquire upon lifting of the exploration licence moratorium. Aspire’s exploration team has identified four exploration projects prospective for coking coal and with access to existing or proposed transport infrastructure. The team conducted field visits in April and are preparing submissions to apply for these project areas if and when the moratorium is lifted. 

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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