Aspire Mining Ltd (ASX:AKM) now has a 12.85 million tonne JORC resource at its 45% owned Nuurstei Coking Coal Project in Mongolia.
Aspire's 45% ownership is through its 50/50 Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture (ECJV) with Noble Group (SGX:N21), which currently has a 90% interest in Nuurstei.
Aspire has the option to purchase Noble's 50% interest in the ECJV through to March, 2017.
Of the 12.85 million tonne resource, 37% sits in the Indicated category and 63% sits in the Inferred category.
The JORC resource captures the 1.6 kilometre long coal seam which dips from surface down to 200 metres in depth.
The majority of the resource, 59%, is located between the surface and 100 metres depth with the remainder, 41%, between 100 metres and 200 metres depth.
Aspire is focussed on the exploration and development of metallurgical coal assets in Mongolia and is the largest coal tenement holder in the Orkhon-Selenge Coal Basin in northern Mongolia.
Aspire currently wholly owns the large scale, Ovoot Coking Coal Project, the Jilchigbulag Coal Project and the Myngan Exploration Licence.
Through its 50% ownership in the ECJV Aspire holds an interest in Nuurstei and the Erdenebulag Coal Project.
Northern Railways LLC, Aspire’s Mongolian rail infrastructure subsidiary is responsible for activities associated with the commercialisation and future development of the 547 kilometres Erdenet to Ovoot railway in northern Mongolia.
Nuurstei is a low capital cost starter project to operate in conjunction with the much larger Ovoot Coking Coal Project located 160 kilometres to the west.
The ECJV completed its 55 hole exploration drilling program at Nuurstei in October, 2015.
Washed coal quality results indicate the presence of a good hard coking coal with strong plastic properties such as swelling, fluidity and dilation.
A coal such as this would ideally be blended with other materials to realise a premium grade coke.
Subject to further drilling work and sample analysis, Nuurstei has potential to be developed as a shallow open pit mining operation with a low strip ratio.
Other coal projects in the area will be assessed for consolidation with Nuurstei.
There is a modest opportunity to increase the resource to the west and north west.
The ECJV will apply for a mining license over Nuurstei which will give the ECJV tenure over the property for 30 years.
Nuurstei is ten kilometres from a town from which there is a paved road to rail infrastructure. Subject to commencement of construction of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway in 2017, a lower cost and higher capacity transport route will become available by 2019.
The Noble Group has 100% of the marketing and supply chain rights at Nuurstei.
While tonnages in the JORC resource categories are modest at Nuurstei, it presents as a commercial scale pilot project for logistics and market development for Ovoot and other coking coals from northern Mongolia.
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