Aspire Mining has received a coal blending facility concept study completed by German engineers Tenova Takraf. The study was commissioned by Aspire in order to investigate the establishment of a coal blending facility at the Sainshand Industrial Park adjacent to the Trans Mongolian Railway in southern Mongolia.

The study looked at a 10 million tonne/annum coal blending operation which could be readily upgraded to larger volumes if needed. The business plan is to look to combine Ovoot coking coal with other non or low coking coals from the South Gobi region of Mongolia in order to upgrade Mongolian coal brands.

Ovoot coking coal would be delivered by rail from northern Mongolia while coals from the South Gobi region would be delivered by rail currently under construction that intersects the Trans Mongolian Railway at Sainshand. Blended product can then be railed south to customers in China and the Chinese ports for export under the recently agreed protocols.

Laboratory and pilot coke over test work on samples has clearly shown the ability for Ovoot coking coal to upgrade a wide variety of lower and non-coking coals.
The concept study estimated a pre-contingency capital cost of about US$70 million and a two year construction timeline. Should Takraf be appointed as the EPC contractor to construct this facility, up to 85% of the construction cost is available for Export Credit Agency backed debt funding.

Aspire also advises that the exploration drilling program at the Nuurstei Coal Project has commenced following mobilization of the first drill rig to site and completion of site establishment. The Nuurstei project is 60% owned by the Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture (ECJV) of which Aspire and the Noble Group each hold a 50% interest. ECJV has a right to increase its interest in the project to 90%.

The approved drilling program will consist of geographically reclogging of 2011 drill holes, reverse circulation and diamond drill holes completed at an average 100 metre depth. These holes are focused mostly in the southern part of the main tenement and the program has been designed to confirm resource continuity.

Drilling is expected to be completed by the end of October.

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