SIGNING of the OT underground mine development and financing plan has attracted favourable comments from mining commentators and companies with exploration projects in Mongolia.

Berwin Leighton Paisner law firm partner Marius Toime says, “The importance of OT to Mongolia’s future cannot be overstated. The agreement with Rio Tinto will give much-needed assurance to foreign investors and will be transformative for Mongolia’s economy. The focus will now be on finalizing the project finance for the second phase and securing the necessary permits. This cannot happen overnight, but the announcement may be enough for investors who have been waiting on the sidelines.

“Prime Minister Saikhanbileg has stated that Mongolia is ‘back to business’. While this agreement is clearly a positive step, there are still concerns around inflation, regulatory changes and political instability ahead of the 2016 elections. The government needs to continue working with the private sector to build critical infrastructure to support future growth.”

Kincora Copper’s president and CEO Sam Spring says resolution of the long-standing dispute is another significant positive development for investors under Prime Minister Saikhanbileg’s leadership. “Since 2012 a number of legislative and political issues, coupled with select high profile government disputes, have caused a collapse in FDI, asset valuations and reduced the ability of interested groups to gain exposure to high quality projects in Mongolia’s minerals sector.

“Resolution of shareholder matters relating to the next stage of OT’s development will address the final of three significant items of push back we have recently received from potential investors, following resolution of the 106-licence dispute and reform to the Minerals Law, including lifting the moratorium for new exploration licences. The improved environment provides the foundation again for new entrants and increased activities, albeit within the context of difficult global market conditions.”

Aspire Mining says the agreement could provide a conducive environment to attract foreign investment, which could in turn benefit the company as it seeks funds. It also bodes well for its Ovoot and Nuurstei coal projects as well as the Northern Railway proposal.

Managing director David Paull says the plan represents a key milestone and confirms Mongolia as an attractive jurisdiction for large-scale capital investment. “The timing is fortuitous given Aspire is conducting a prospectus based capital raising.”

The agreement is, in the opinion of Erdene Resource Development Corp’s executive management, a significant milestone for Mongolia and all stakeholders in its mining industry. “This achievement signals that Mongolia’s Government is supportive of the mining industry and the investment required to bring mineral deposits to production.”

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