The first 10 holes of the 2015 drilling program being conducted at the Nuurstei Coal Project in northern Mongolia by the Aspire and Noble Group Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture (ECJV) have intersected many coal seams.
Mobilisation of two drill rigs to the site occurred in late July 2015 and up until August 21 nine non-core drill holes and one PQ diamond core hole had been completed. The best coal intersections were found in one drill hole with cumulative apparent thickness intersections of 15.3 metres from 51.4 metres and 9.6 metres from 71.6 metres.
The coal seams are consistently steeply dipping and banded. The thick coal packages in the hole mentioned above are suspected to be structurally thickened by reverse faults that have repeated the coal seams. The exact fault geometry is unknown at this stage.
Approximately 40 non-core and PQ diamond drill holes are planned to be completed during the drilling program which is expected to be completed during the current quarter. The ECJV has prepared the program with the aim of increasing confidence levels in coal seam correlation and establishing coal resources that can be reported in accordance to the 2012 JORC Code.
All proposed PQ diamond drill holes will be drilled to collect coal samples to be sent to laboratories for coal quality analysis. These tests are designed to confirm if coal coking characteristics of coal are present across the deposit. The results of core sampled in 2014 suggested the presence of coking coal at Nuurstei.
Nuurstei is near the capital town of Moron in Mongolia’s Khuvsgul province and alongside the Erdenet to Ovoot railway which is being developed by Aspire subsidiary, Northern Railways LLC. Given its strategic position close to infrastructure such as Moron town, power, sealed road and existing rail at Erdenet, Nuurstei could be a near-term development opportunity.
The ECJV plans to complete a scoping study pending favourable results of the current exploration program. The definition of coal resources that can be reported in accordance to the JORC Code 2012 would enable the ECJV to also proceed with application for a mining licence.
Whilst initial production could be transported from the mine site to the Erdenet rail siding by road, Nuurstei coal would have access to the Erdenet to Ovoot railway within approximately two years of commencement of its construction and thereby become one of the first users of this railway.