ASPIRE Mining has raised Aus$4.396 million in a capital raising priced at 2 cents with a one for two free attaching option with an exercise price of 3 cents and a two-year term. The placement resulted in substantial shareholder Spectral Investments Pty Ltd ATF The Lithgow Family Trust increasing its interest in Aspire from 12.42% to 19.45%.

Funds raised will be used to further explore the Nuurstei and Ovoot coking coal projects in northern Mongolia, technical studies and negotiation for rail related agreements for Northern Railways LLC, debt servicing costs and general working capital.

Spectral acquired shares worth $2 million under the placement. Aspire’s non-executive director Neil Lithgow is a director of Spectral.

Aspire’s managing director David Paull said, “The company is encouraged by the strong support shown from existing and new shareholders.

“It is relevant to note that there has been a shift in sentiment towards companies in the metallurgical coal space with a broad recognition that we are at the bottom for this market in terms of pricing and the industry is actively moving to rebalance supply and demand. A number of metallurgical coal companies have also been able to raise capital notwithstanding it is still a difficult market.

“The company looks forward to commencing its exploration program at Nuurstei for 2015 and continuing to make good progress in the development of rail infrastructure in northern Mongolia which will benefit both of the company’s Ovoot and Nuurstei coking coal project,” he said.

Aspire is the largest coal tenement holder in Mongolia’s northern provinces. It owns a 50% interest in and is the operator of the Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture, and has an option to increase its ownership to 100%.

The JV owns a 60% interest in the Nuurstei project with an ability to increase this to 90%. Following a successful 2014 exploration program the JV plans to conduct additional exploration through 2015 with the aim of identifying a JORC 2012 coal resource and defining coal quality.

Aspire subsidiary Northern Railways LLC, plans to extend Mongolia’s rail network in the country’s north. In May, Aspire received a formal invitation to commence negotiations with the Mongolian Government’s multi-departmental Working Group for a Rail Concession. This group comprises representatives from the Ministries of Roads and Transportation, Environment, Finance and Investment Agency.

The company has also entered into a Consortium Agreement with China Railways 20 Bureau Group Corporation which will provide exclusive rights to technology required to construct the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway. CR20G is a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Railways Construction Corporation, a Fortune-500 company with a US$42 billion market cap and one of the world’s largest international rail engineering construction firms.

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