Aspire Mining and its rail subsidiary Northern Railways LLC welcome confirmation of support for the Northern Rail Corridor from the Tyva Republic Government. Tyva is a republic within the Russian Federation that covers the proposed corridor from the Mongolian border at Arts Suuri through Kyzyl and north towards the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Following the ‘Tyva 2030 – The Future of Tyva Forum’ in the Tyva capital of Kyzyl, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was signed by the republic government and Northern Railways noting that the corridor is in the interests of both parties.

The Northern Rail Corridor is intended to run from Tianjin/Beijing in China through Erdenet and Ovoot in Mongolia and reaching north to Kyzyl and towards the Trans-Siberian Railway at Kuragino.

The LoI included an agreement to share data and work together to see the corridor realised.

The Erdenet to Ovoot section is the subject of a rail concession with Aspire’s subsidiary Northern Railways while the concession of the Kyzyl to Kuragino section has now been agreed.

Meantime, the company aims to raise up to A$4 million by way of a placement with the funds to assist in acquisition of a further interest in the Nuurstei Coking Coal Project.

Aspire says completion of the capital raising will be an important in the Nuurstei acquisition process as well as allowing for a debt restructure and further work at the project.

The ASX-listed company owns 45% of the Nuurstei project and it intends to exercise a US$1 million option to acquire an additional 45% interest in the project from Noble Group.

Placement funds will also be used for a 2017 drilling and sampling program.

Nuurstei is seen as a starter project for Aspire while it progresses the 100%-owned Ovoot Coking Coal Project, Mongolia’s second largest coking coal project. During 2016, a maiden JORC resource at Nuurstei was estimated measuring 12.85 million tonnes.

Aspire says the mining licence application process is advanced and additional drilling and sampling is required to convert inferred resources into indicated resources and build mine life.