THE Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture between Aspire Mining and Noble Group has planned its 2015 exploration program for the Nuurstei Coking Coal project in northern Mongolia. The program will focus on confirming coal seam continuity and coal quality across the tenement and enable compilation of a JORC-compliant resource statement.

The JV is planning core drilling and coal quality test work with a potential scoping study to be completed pending positive exploration results. An exploration target has also been established for the Nuurstei licence.

The JV has received an independent geology report for Nuurstei which provides geological data on the coal seams. The report was independently prepared by McElroy Bryan Geological Services, who supervised execution of the 2014 exploration program at the project.

This program was completed in three phases which included re-logging seven holes from a program in 2011, and drilling a total of 2801 metres in 17 non-core holes and one core hole. Up to 66 coal seams were identified with more than 260 individual coal plies intersected. Apparent seam thickness was recorded up to 9 metres, and averaging 3-4 metres.

This work allowed for definition of an exploration target which has the potential of containing a coking coal deposit for which there has been insufficient exploration to estimate a coal resource. The exploration target could contain between about 15 million tonnes at a 0.5 metre thickness cut-off to about 25 million tonnes at a 0.1 metre coal thickness cut-off, down to 160 metre depth.

A total of 25 holes were modelled which incorporate both 2011 and 2014 drilling data. Additional hole locations have been identified which could further add to the model to increase the exploration target. Resource drilling during 2015 will test the validity of the target.

Coal test work to date has categorized the coal as bituminous mid volatile coal, confirming the presence after beneficiation of a quality hard coking coal displaying a high caking ‘G’ index and low volatile matter. Additional work is required to confirm coal quality across the entire deposit.

High quality coking coals such as this are in particularly high demand by Chinese users within a blend primarily due to the low ratio of these coals in China’s reserves and the growing requirement for higher quality coking coals in the coke industry. Demand is also increasing as China trends towards use of larger blast furnaces to achieve higher productivity, use of advanced technology and balancing environmental concerns.

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