Aspire Mining Ltd (ASX:AKM) has appointed highly experienced coal mining executive Sam Bowles as chief operating officer with the aim of delivering the Ovoot Early Development Plan (OEDP) in Mongolia.
A mining engineer, Bowles has extensive coal mine management experience in Australia and Mongolia and until recently was Mongolian Business Unit Head for TerraCom Ltd (ASX:TER), owner of the Baruun Noyon Uul coal operations.
Bowles, who is a resident of Mongolia, will act in a consulting capacity from November while moving to a fulltime appointment in March 2020.
Aspire’s executive chairman David Paull said, “Aspire is delighted to have secured the services of someone as highly qualified as Sam as our COO.
“Sam combines a strong technical background in mine engineering and planning and project delivery with a track record of successful engagement with Mongolian communities at the local and national levels.”
Complement new leadership
The appointment will complement Aspire’s proposed new leadership team led by managing director-elect Achit-Erdene Darambazar.
Paull added: “I have no doubt that Sam and our managing director-elect Achit-Erdene Darambazar will be able to provide the in-country leadership required for Aspire to deliver value for all shareholders from our world-class Ovoot coking coal project.”
Mongolian coal experience
While at TerraCom, Bowles oversaw operation of the Baruun Noyon Uul coking coal mine in southern Mongolia.
Prior to joining TerraCom, he was chief operating officer of Mongolian Mining Corporation (HKEX:0.975) and oversaw operation of the Ukhaa Khudag and Baruun Naran coal mines and associated infrastructure.
A graduate of the University of New South Wales and member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Bowles began his career as a graduate mining engineer in the Dartbrook Collery in NSW in 2002 before moving to Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek operations.
Targeting early production
Aspire is targeting early production from the world-class Ovoot Coking Coal Project in the country’s north through the start-up OEDP, which will see a 4 million tonnes per annum operation delivering high-quality coking coal via road and rail to steel mill customers in China and Russia.
A definitive feasibility study is underway and scheduled for completion around May 2020.
Assuming finance is secured and all permits received by Q1 2020, Aspire expects to begin pre-stripping of waste at Ovoot from Q2 2020.
The company will send a notice of the annual general meeting to shareholders in the near future.
This meeting will enable shareholders to consider, amongst other matters, a $33.5 million placement to Tserenpuntsag Tserendamba priced at 2.1 cents per share, a 75% premium to the company’s current share price.
The placement will increase Mr Tserenpuntsag’s shareholding in Aspire to 51%, and potentially up to 52.5%, confirming his commitment to assist Aspire with developing Ovoot and delivering value for all shareholders.