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Igor Vasilievich Milostnykh, First Deputy Director of UBTZ, and David Paull, Executive Chairman of Aspire Mining (right), signing the Cooperation Agreement guaranteeing rail capacity for the company’s OEDP coal transport to the Mongolian-Chinese border.

Mongolia green lights Aspire’s coal reserve estimates

Metallurgical coal developer Aspire Mining has received the thumbs up from the Mongolian Mineral Reserve Council, which approved the total ore reserves estimate for its Ovoot Early Development Project, or “OEDP”.

In a comprehensive update, the company also outlined that approvals for its Mongolian-compliant Ovoot Feasibility Study updated with the OEDP PFS results were also expected shortly from the same Government agency.

These milestones form the technical basis for all other project permitting and enable Aspire to commence the related environmental studies.

The company has also initiated community engagement and public consultation works as part of the wider environmental and social impact studies and project management plans.

Critically, community stakeholders have combined the Erdenet to Ovoot haul road construction as part of the OEDP mine development works in their broader considerations for support of the project.

Given these developments, Aspire revealed that the OEDP DFS is now expected to hit the streets by the end of 2019 and that it was still on track for the first production of washed coking coal in the first half of 2021.

The company has also entered into a Cooperation Agreement with Ulaanbaatar Tumur Zam Joint Stock Company, or “UBTZ”, who is the operator of the Trans Mongolian rail network, which will guarantee rail capacity for Aspire’s OEDP coal transportation to the Mongolian-China border, 1,500km to the southeast.

Supporting this development, company management recently visited several coal handling and preparation plants in China, which outlined some efficient and low water and power consuming options to treat its Ovoot products.

Aspire has also met with the Mongolian Government owners of the large Tavan Tolgoi coking and thermal coal deposits in the southern part of the country, where synergies may exist for the blending of Tavan’s non-coking coal resources with Ovoot’s premium coking coals.

Preliminary work showed that an attractive value adding opportunity exists for combining the products from both deposits, which will also benefit from a recent initiative to construct a rail line from Tavan Tolgoi to an existing railhead at Sainshand to the east northeast.

The beauty is that Aspire’s Ovoot coal products will travel through Sainshand on route to China, which makes the small city an ideal location for blending of the future coal products from the separate mines, where an industrial park development has been touted.

During April, Aspire said that Chinese State-owned enterprise China Gezhouba Group had provided a Letter of Interest to construct the critical haul road that will link the OEDP to an existing railhead at Erdenet.

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