Australia

Aspire Mining advances DFS for early development of world-class Ovoot project

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Aspire Mining Ltd (ASX:AKM) continues to advance a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the early development of the world-class Ovoot Coking Coal Project in northern Mongolia.

The company is engaging with the local community to provide ground access to complete the technical drilling and associated studies required to complete the DFS.

Ovoot Early Development Plan (OEPD) is focused on a truck and rail operation to deliver 4 million tonnes per annum of washed coking coal to end markets within 12 to 15 months of final operational and board approvals.

Operational expansion can then occur following the construction of the Erdenet-to-Ovoot Railway being progressed by Aspires subsidiary, Northern Railways LLC.

Community benefits

Based on the pre-feasibility study outcomes for the extended Ovoot project, the OEDP will generate an internal rate of return of 44.5% on a before tax basis.

As part of detailed modelling of the OEDPs community benefits, Aspire calculates that the OEDP will provide total direct and indirect employment for 1,200 workers and deliver $US850 million in royalties and taxes to Mongolia.

Dependent on haul road

The OEDP is dependent upon first constructing a haul road able to deliver coking coal to the nearest railhead at Erdenet and from there, the coal can be railed north or south to export markets.

For this purpose, the company is engaging with regional authorities from Khuvsgul aimag in terms of an acceptable alignment for the special purpose coal haul road.

There is no road connecting the local Tsetserleg soum with the Khuvsgul capital of Murun.

Awaiting approvals

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Khuvsgul aimag administration is considering the Ovoot-to-Erdenet Road as part of a 2030 road development plan as it passes within the aimag.

The administration also needs to negotiate with the various soums, villages and herder groups impacted by the road alignment.

Until the road alignment in Khuvsgul is approved it is not possible to complete the definitive road engineering studies.

Aspire continues positive engagement with the local community, however, community leaders are awaiting confirmation of the road alignment before providing their support for further ground activities at Ovoot.

Delayed completion

Given continued delays in receiving these approvals, combined with the onset of winter, Aspire will not be able to complete critical hydrological and geotechnical drilling to a required DFS standard before the onset of winter.

The low temperatures would impact on the results if drilling was attempted and temperatures are not expected to be suitable for this drilling until March/April 2020.

It is now likely the DFS will not be completed until May 2020 but in the interim, Aspire will be completing other DFS components with final inputs subject to the completion of this work.

Infill drilling for detailed mine planning and customer samples can continue through winter.

Marketing in China

Aspire recently visited a number of steel mills identified as potential cornerstone customers in north-eastern China with more marketing visits being arranged for later in the year.

The steel mills confirmed they had previously acquired Mongolian coking coal, largely from traders, and that there were logistics solutions available to transpRead More – Source