AN initial resource report for the Nuurstei Coking Coal Project in northern Mongolia has estimated that it contains 12.85 million tonnes of coal with 4.7 million tonnes in the indicated category and the remainder in the inferred category. Nuurstei is 90% owned by the Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture (ECJV) between Aspire Mining and Noble Group.

The report was prepared in accordance with the JORC 2012 code by McElroy Bryan Geological Services. It incorporated work completed in the 2015 and 2015 exploration programs at Nuurstei with further areas also identified that have the potential to expand resources.

The washed coal quality at Nuurstei has been confirmed as high quality coking coal and washability test work on samples indicated moderate theoretical yields of 57% to a product with a 10% ash on an air dried basis.

The ECJV has commenced the process to convert the exploration licence covering the site to a mining licence which will maintain tenure for a minimum of 30 years. The timing of any future work is tied to possible development of the Northern Railway.

Nuurstei is 10km south of the Khuvsgul provincial capital of Moron and is close to a sealed road connecting to Erdenet city and the Trans Mongolian Railway. The project is also well placed to be an early user of the proposed Northern Railway project which will extend rail to Aspire’s Ovoot Coking Coal Project.

Nuurstei is viewed as a low capital cost starter project to operate in conjunction with the larger Ovoot project which is 160km further to the west.

Meantime, Aspire’s Mongolian rail infrastructure development subsidiary Northern Railways LLC is working with EPC contractor and consortium partner China Railways Construction Bureau 20 Group to source bridge funding from a Chinese bank for the proposed rail project.

The funding is a line of credit to enable completion of all pre-development activities required under the Erdenet to Ovoot Rail Concession Agreement.

The project spans 547km and forms part of Mongolia’s policy to provide access to its northern provinces through the extension of its existing network to the Russian-Mongolia border at Arts Suuri. At full capacity the 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.

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