Aspire Mining’s Mongolian rail infrastructure development subsidiary Northern Railways LLC is working with its nominated EPC contractor and consortium partner China Railways Construction Bureau 20 Group (CRCB20G) to source bridge funding from a Chinese bank. The funding is a line of credit to enable completion of all pre-development activities required under the Erdenet to Ovoot Rail Concession Agreement in northern Mongolia.

The Northern Railway project spans 547km and forms part of Mongolia’s Rail Policy to provide access to its northern provinces through the extension of its existing rail network from Erdent to Ovoot to the Russian-Mongolia border at Arts Suuri with a Russian connection planned to Kyzyl. At full capacity the rail project will have capacity to annually move 30 million tonnes of bulk commodities, agricultural, general and passenger freight including transit freight between Russia and China.

The credit facility allows the completion of a rail bankable feasibility study, environmental permitting, completion of a number of commercial agreements including the EPC, and debt refinance. The line of credit is intended to be supported by guarantees from construction contractors and Aspire.

Aspire has also agreed with Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar Railway Corporation (UBTZ) to establish a working group to work through the technical and commercial issues in connecting the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway onto the existing Mongolian rail network operated by UBTZ and the operational management of the Northern Railway.

Noble Group continues to be part of the Northern Rail consortium and welcomes the participation of new partners. Noble has agreed to revised terms on the existing loan with Aspire to allow the partnership time to complete its 24 month rail development process.

Aspire’s managing director David Paull says, “With the continued support of the Mongolian Government, CRCB20G and now with the support of UBTZ, the Erdenet to Ovoot to Arts Suuri railway continues to progress as a viable inclusion in Mongolia’s ‘Economic Corridor’ between China and Russia.”

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