Preliminary pit optimisation work at Aspire Mining’s Nuurstei Coking Coal Project in northern Mongolia indicates that a large proportion of the deposit can be mined economically in an open pit. The modelling uses indicated and inferred resources as well as a range of coking coal prices.
The optimisation work was carried out by the Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture (ECJV) in which Aspire and the Noble Group both own 50%. The ECJV has a 90% interest in Nuurstei and Aspire has an option to purchase Noble’s 50% interest which is to expire in March 2017.
The optimisation work combined with strong coking coal pricing provides encouragement for Aspire and the ECJV to complete further commercial and feasibility studies.
Earlier this year Aspire released a resource statement that reported 4.75 million tonnes in indicated resources and 8.1 million tonnes of inferred resources in accordance with JORC 2012. This was based on a report from independent geologists, McElroy Bryan Geological Services (MBGS), incorporating results of work completed in the 2015 and 2015 exploration drilling programs at Nuurstei.
Aspire is planning to complete additional drilling to upgrade the inferred resources to the indicated category and to test deposit extensions being undertaken by MBGS. The process is also under way to convert an exploration licence to a mining licence.
The ECJV has agreed to commence a scoping study for Nuurstei with an international mining contractor assisting in providing mining coasts for a proposed mining schedule.
Nuurstei is 10km south of the Khuvsgul aimag capital of Moron and lies in close proximity to a sealed road connecting with the Erdenet connection of the Trans Mongolia Railway. The project is also well placed to be an early user of the proposed Northern Railway Project which extends rail from Erdenet west to Aspire’s Ovoot Coking Coal Project and then northwest to the Russian city of Kyzyl.
Nuurstei is viewed as a low capital cost starter project which could assist with development of the much larger Ovoot project, 160km further to the west.