The Mongolian Government has awarded a contract to Aspire Mining's rail subsidiary Northern Railways to build, operate and transfer a 547km section of the Northern Rail Corridor from Erdenet to Aspire's Ovoot coking coal project.
The Ovoot project consists of one mining and three contiguous exploration licences covering more than 430km² and includes the JORC-compliant coal resource and coal reserve area, and the Hurimt and Zuun Del prospects.
Northern Railways is 90% owned by Aspire, while the remaining 10% is held by Noble Group.
The rail corridor requires the completion of additional rail developments from Erdenet to Ovoot (547km) to Arts Suuri (200km) to Kyzyl (260km) and to Kuragino (410km) for a total of 1,414km.
The establishment of the corridor will confirm that Erdenet to Ovoot railway has developed from being a rail connection to a coking coal project.
Aspire said that the Erdenet to Ovoot railway improved the opportunity for blending of coking and non-coking coals from both areas.
Aspire Mining managing director David Paull said: "It is very significant news that the Erdenet to Ovoot railway is now recognised as a key part of a new rail trade route between Russia and China through Mongolia.
"The Erdenet to Ovoot railway has now officially moved from a rail extension to service a world class coking coal deposit, to a strategic piece of rail infrastructure to facilitate China's Silk Road Initiative and Mongolia's Step Road trade initiative."
Aspire entirely owns the Ovoot coking coal project. Production from the project can coincide with the commissioning of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway, which extends between the town of Erdenet to Ovoot project that connects northern Mongolia to China and markets worldwide.