- Focussed on facilitating the future operations at Ovoot Early Development Project, Aspire Mining is dedicated to creating a reliable transportation infrastructure.
- The phased development plan for the special purpose road between Ovoot to Murun besides providing community benefits would also lower road development investments before the start of the operation.
- Consortium including Aspire Mining along with others, supports Northern Railways LLC, which is assigned Erdenet to Ovoot Railway Project.
- The Company is eyeing critical approval from the Ministry of Environment for the DEIA, the scope of which addresses all 10 “Equator Principles” of the International Finance Corporation.
Australian mineral explorer, Aspire Mining Limited (ASX: AKM) appears to make headway towards the achievement of its significant mining objectives as it advances well on its Ovoot Early Development Project (OEDP). The Company remains dedicated to exploring and developing metallurgical coal assets and transportation infrastructure, in a bid to further facilitate future operations.
Notably, Australian-listed Aspire Mining 100% owns the massive scale top-notch Ovoot Coking Coal Project in Northern Mongolia. Additionally, it holds a 90% stake in the North Mongolian Nuurstei Coking Coal Project as well.
As the company eyes commencing ground activities, it has progressed with local approvals concerning the road connection to the Erdenet Rail Terminal. Significantly, Aspire Mining also continues its productive engagement with the necessary stakeholders for ensuring completion and approval of the Definitive Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA).
Special Purpose Road Development
Benefits Characterising the Road
Aspire Mining, based on formerly building Ovoot to Murun road followed by the usage of small capacity trucks for delivering coal along Murun to Erdenet existing road, is assessing a phased development plan. Meanwhile, the construction is ongoing for the balance of special-purpose road, which is designed for larger vehicles from Murun to Erdenet. The phased development plan is expected to significantly lower investment in road development which is required before starting the operations.
The OEDP encompasses Ovoot Coking Coal Project’s open pit development, and trucking washed coking coal up to 4 million tonnes/annum along a 560-kilometre special-purpose road through to the nearest rail head at Erdenet. Meanwhile, local communities would also be benefited through the road.
The construction cost estimate from the released and updated OEDP Pre-Feasibility Study is worth US$165 million for this road which constitutes two-thirds of capital cost US$259 million, which is for the total OEDP development.
Accomplishments in the Road Plan
The Company has received local approvals concerning the preferred route from the 13 soums that lies along the expected path of the road. The soums from which approvals were received include Bulgan and Orkhan. However, the intended road alignment which required Khuvsgul airmag government’s additional approval concerning the path within Khuvsgul impacted the permissions from the five soums.
Khuvsgul airmag Government studied the Mogoin Gol to Erdenet road alignment and included it the airmag’s 2030 Road Development Plan during the March 2020 quarter. The approval enables community engagement with each of the soums in the pathway for gaining final Ministry approval fostering definitive engineering study’s alignment and completion.
Advancing on Erdenet to Ovoot Railway Project
A Mongolian-registered rail infrastructure company, Northern Railways LLC was delegated to carry out the development of 547 kilometres rail from Erdenet to Ovoot. In August 2015, Mongolian Government Granted it an exclusive 30-year concession for building and operating Erdenet-to-Ovoot Railway.
Northern Railways is backed by a consortium including Aspire Mining, China Gezhouba Group subsidiaries of Fortune 500-listed China Railway Construction Corporation Limited.
The Company held negotiation with the Mongolian Government towards extending the time required for the completion of prior conditions for the Concession of 30 years concerning Erdenet to Ovoot Railway Project. Significantly, the Governments National Development Agency granted an extension until 8 September 2021 from February 2020.
Ongoing Progress and Plans
To gain necessary approvals for advancing OEDP Definitive Feasibility Study, the Company has pursued productive engagement with the local Tsetserleg soum Government as well as with the communities where the project is located.
The future intentions include receiving critical consent from the Ministry of Environment for the DEIA. The Company would present the OEDP management and mitigation plans in the process which shall also include various assessments like stakeholder sharing and engagement, ethnological surveys, flora and fauna surveys and evaluation of the social impacts.
Moreover, DEIA scope will address all 10 “Equator Principles” of the International Finance Corporation for responsible and sustainable resource developments. Through this, the Company plans on the satisfaction of funding conditions from international commercial and multi-lateral banks.
AKM stock closed the day’s trade flat at $0.085 on 9 July 2020.