Aspire Mining Limited (ASX: AKM) (Company) is a leading pure-play metallurgical coal project developer with 100% ownership of the world-class Ovoot Coking Coal Project in Mongolia and a 90% interest in Nuurstei Coking Coal Project located in northern Mongolia.
Northern Railways LLC (Aspire’s subsidiary) is engaged in the progress for the construction of the Erdenet-to-Ovoot Railway which is expected to fuel operational expansion.
Recently, Aspire Mining Limited signed a Non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Sinosteel Equipment & Engineering Co., Ltd. in connection to the early development of its Ovoot Coking Coal Project in Mongolia.
Following the signing of the MoU with Sinostee, Aspire’s OEDP is expected to witness potential Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and trade-based funding opportunities.
Sinosteel and Aspire are expected to initiate talks concerning:
- A possible Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract and funding opportunities for the OEDP Pre-feasibility Study which shall include the construction of a 5Mtpa Coal Handling and Preparation Plant at the Ovoot Mine Site carrying an estimated cost of USD 37 million.
- Trade-based financings for future metallurgical coal sale prepayments and/or
- A streaming funding facility which would enable the development capital to be raised through non-dilutive basis to existing equity holders and to support in financing the required mine development.
Under the MoU, Aspire is expected to share information on OEDP development progress with Sinosteel MECC including but not limited to
- mine development,
- permitting and licenses,
- transport logistics,
- project financing,
- cash cost analysis and
- situational updates.
Alternatively, Sinosteel is expected to facilitate Aspire in access to its Coal Trading Platform, that can potentially enable selling coal in China on a spot basis.
The MoU between Aspire and Sinosteel was signed post the completion of the placement of $33.5 million on 3 December 2019 by Aspire and has been provided with commitments regarding loan guarantees of up to $100 million on a commercial arms-length basis and half of the future equity requirements to complete OEDP’s construction and development by a major shareholder, Mr Tserenpuntsag (with 51% stake in the Company).
AKM is currently moving forward in an attempt to complete a Definitive Feasibility Study, which is planned to be concluded in the month of May 2020, conditional to receiving permits and approvals for completing the drilling.
Moreover, the Company expects the commencement of pre-stripping of waste at Ovoot from the third quarter in the year 2020 with the assumption of obtaining the finance and all permits received by the first quarter of 2020.
Aspire is focused on early production of washed coking coal from a first-stage development of the Ovoot Early Development Plan (OEDP) or Ovoot Project, which involves a truck and rail operation focused on providing as much as 4Mtpa to end markets.
The AKM stock last traded at a price of 1.30 cents on 02 December 2019 with a market capitalisation of $46.57 million.
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