MONGOLIA: A draft feasibility study for the 549 km Erdenet to Ovoot Railway Project has been delivered to mine development company Aspire Mining Ltd by China Gezhouba Group International Ltd.

Apire said its Northern Railways subsidiary which is promoting the multi-user railway project would now review, assess and provide feedback on the ‘comprehensive’ study completed last month. Apsire said the study ‘again confirms the financial viability’ of the proposed railway, while the estimated costs of construction are comparable to a first stage feasibility study completed in January 2017.

NR’s 30-year railway concession agreement awarded by the government in 2015 has been amended with the approval of all participants, including the government, to include CGGC as a nominated joint EPC contractor for the rail project. Apire said the combination of CGGC with China Railway Construction Corp subsidiaries China First Survey & Design Institute Group Co Ltd and China Railway 20 Group Bureau Corp would create a ‘very strong technical, operational and financially powerful alliance’.

CGGC is holding ongoing discussions with a range of debt and equity providers interested in funding the project, including China Development Bank and the Silk Road Fund.

NR has separately entered into an agreement with Russian design institute Mosgiprotrans to jointly complete a preliminary assessment of a rail connection from Ovoot to Arts Suuri and Kyzyl in Russia. NR and a Mongolian design institute will complete a similar assessment for the Mongolian side of the border. The results will be jointly presented by Russian and Mongolian rail ministry representatives to Chinese funding institutions including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to seek funding for a feasibility study.