Celsius Coal says completion of a feasibility study into the Trans-Asia railway project in Kyrgyzstan may see its development accelerated, bringing major benefits for transporting coal from the company’s Uzgen Basin operations.  1

China has completed the study for the proposed China-Kyrgyz-Uzbekistan railway, which will pass within 10km of Celsius Coal’s coking projects and link to the closest major coal market in China. The study is now being translated to allow for further formal discussions between the three governments.

The 250km rail link will connect to the existing railway network at Kashgar in Xinjiang, China. China has a major investment plan for the area during the next seven years, which includes the establishment of a special economic zone to become a manufacturing centre for export to Central Asia and Russia. The 2015 Xinjiang development goals include constructing an additional 170,000km of road, 8200km of railway and 22 new airports.

With this infrastructure, Xinjiang is forecast to import 30 million tonnes of coking coal from other countries and provinces, and will become the lynchpin market of Celsius Coal’s export trade to China.

Celsius Coal’s managing director Grant Thomas says until the railway is completed the company has investigated the transport options available for coal export. “For the Uzgen Basin coking coal projects, two options exist - one route of 385km via Osh and then to export via the Irkeshtam border crossing; and the second being 465km via Naryn for export via the Torugart border crossing.

“The route via Osh is more favourable based on road conditions and distance. However, we are very pleased the Trans-Asia railway feasibility study is complete and discussions regarding its implementation are underway,” he says.

The company’s Uzgen Basin projects include the Kargasha, Tuyuk, Kokkia and Min-Teke prospects which take in an established Soviet-era coking coal project and have a combined exploration target of between 500 and 700 million tonnes.