JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Aspire Mining has teamed up with fellow Australian firm the Noble Group to jointly explore and develop coking coal opportunities in Mongolia, with an immediate focus on the Nuurstei coking coal project, in the north of the country.
Aspire, which already owns the Ovoot coking coal project in Mongolia, will become Noble’s 50% partner in the Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture (ECJV) by acquiring Xanadu Mines’ interest in the venture.
The company will issue Xanadu 10-million shares when the ECJV enters into an agreement to undertake feasibility studies in the Nuurstei project area, or when the venture is granted a mining licence over the project area. Aspire agreed to a further five-million shares when a 30-million-tonne resource is identified.
Aspire will assume Xanadu’s obligation to pay for an additional interest in the project and will pay the minority vendors $200 000 on the grant of a licence over the Nuurstei area. The ECJV will then hold a 90% interest and minority interest will be free carried through to production.
Noble will retain all marketing rights over the Nuurstei production.
The ECJV acquired the Nuurstei project in mid-2011 and Aspire reported on Friday that the venture had “immediate drilling success”. Subsequent testwork has shown that the Nuurstei project contains a low volatile bitumous coal with moderate to high ash levels and low sulphur.
Aspire MD David Paull pointed out that the Nuurstei project was a relatively short trucking distance from the proposed Northern rail line, which Aspire subsidiary Northern Railways was developing.
“There are many potential synergies with the Ovoot coking coal project, not the least of which potentially being an important customer for the Northern Railways,” he stated.
Aspire and Noble are investigating the possibility of starting production at Nuurstei before rail operations commenced.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter