The funds will be used to expedite development of Aspire’s 90% owned Nuurstei Coking Coal Project in Mongolia.
Aspire aims to take the project into production within 18 months.
The company is now planning to undertake a drilling and exploration program at the Nuurstei project.
Rights issue details
Eligible shareholders had the opportunity to subscribe for six new shares for every five shares held at an issue price of $0.012 each.
The rights issue was fully underwritten by Patersons Securities Limited and sub-underwritten by the company’s major shareholder Noble Group (SGX:CGP).
Noble subscribed for the full amount of its entitlement (circa $2.97 million) and took up a further amount of $0.59 million on a priority sub-underwriting basis.
This takes Noble’s voting power in the company to 19.9% on an undiluted basis.
Drilling and exploration program commencing
Aspire has planned a $2 million drilling and exploration program at the Nuurstei Coking Coal Project.
The program aims to increase current resources and establish an ore reserve, which will then lead to a new resource model planned to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.
Capital costs for the development of Nuurstei have been further refined, with the current estimate of US$13 to US$14 million to be confirmed in the feasibility study process.
The end objective of these studies is to confirm an economically viable mining operation commencing within an estimated 18 month period.
David Paull, managing director, said: “Further to our announcement on Tuesday 5 December, we are pleased to have successfully raised the full amount of $16.5 million from the fully underwritten rights issue.
“The underwriting was supported by a strong panel of institutional sub-underwriters seeking to position themselves as shareholders and we welcome them in that capacity.
“Our focus is now squarely on confirming the feasibility and commencing the development of the Nuurstei Coking Coal Project.”
Debt reduction on track
Aspire intends to pay $0.19 million of the funds raised under the rights issue to Noble which, when combined with Noble’s participation in the rights issue, will result in a total reduction of $3.75 million in the amount owing to Noble.
This completes the first of a further series of transactions designed to reduce the existing US$6.65 million debt owing under the Noble Facility to US$1.8 million.