Aspire Mining 9ASX: AKM) has appointed experienced project manager James Benson to oversee the Ovoot Coking Coal Project in Mongolia through construction of the mine infrastructure as well as management of the Erdenet to Moron Rail line.
Benson, who will become the project director, has over 30 years experience in engineering, procurement, and construction management with a focus on providing leadership and constructive solutions for large scale bulk commodity projects in remote regions, including over 10 years in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia.
He has overseen multiple billion dollar construction projects whilst employed with companies including Parsons Brinkerhoff, FERREXPO, and Bogatyr Access Komir.
These include the development of an iron ore mine in Ukraine and a coal mine and associated Russian rail infrastructure in Kazakhstan.
"The quality of the Ovoot Coking Coal Project has again been able to attract a high calibre executive to the Aspire management team," Aspire managing director David Paull said.
"Jim's experience base provides an ideal fit for the significant challenges ahead in bringing the Ovoot Project into production."
Ovoot Coking Coal Project
Aspire is planning to start Stage 1 production at the project in early 2016 at an initial rate of 6 million tonnes per annum of high quality coking coal, ramping up to 12 million tonnes per annum in 2018 under Stage 2.
This will deliver a project with an internal rate of return of 43%, according to the recently completed Pre-Feasibility Study (NYSE:PFS), which was based on Probable Coal Reserves of 178 million tonnes - the third largest coking coal deposit in Mongolia, by reserves.
Significantly and as a pointer to the future, Aspire to date has only explored 20% of the Ovoot Basin.
The staged development will de-risk the production ramp up and enable the first stage operational cashflows to underpin a future Rail Spur Line connection from Ovoot to link up with the Multi-user rail line at Moron. The Rail Spur Line from Ovoot to Moron will facilitate the targeted full scale 12 Mtpa coking coal operation.
This had Bell Potter issue the company with a buy recommendation and a 12 month price of A$0.27 earlier this month, more than double the current trading price of A$0.125.
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