Khushuut coal mine feasibility study is completed and its reserve is estimated. It will be operational by October 2010 and together with mining operation, its wash plant and enrichment factory will be opened. It was informed to Prime Minister S.Batbold, during his one – month working visit to the countryside of Mongolia.
Khushuut coal mine has 85 million tons of coal reserve and roughly half of it is coking coal. This reserve is estimated only in its studied area. It might have other huge reserve in other areas, updated by local administration officials. “Some civil movements and local people were against the coal mine operation, but at the end, sides are in harmony and the coal mine will be in operation” said Governor of Khovd aimag.
Over 800 workers are working at Khushuut coal mine. over 310 km of road and bridges are planned to be built, as continuation of horizontal road of Mongolia. According to the Government resolution, concession agreement will be built in order to solve the coal export issue.
Producer – Coal
Location – Khovd Province, Western Mongolia
Ownership – Mongolia Energy Corporation
Operator – Leighton Asia
Annual production – 0.5mt in the first year; 8mt by fourth year
Mine life – 19 years
Mine method – Open-pit
The Khushuut coal mine is situated in the Khovd Province of western Mongolia. Owned by Mongolia Energy Corporation (MEC), the mine is spread over 600ha. The total cost of developing the mine is estimated at $202m for the first two years.
In November 2009, MEC contracted Leighton Asia, a subsidiary of Leighton Holdings, to carry out pre-mining work on the mine. As part of the contract, Leighton conducted a 3mtpa mine plan study.
In January 2010, MEC signed a ten-year contract with Baosteel Group Xinjiang Bayi Iron and Steel (Baosteel Bayi) to supply 9.6-10mt of coking coal. The contract includes an option to buy future productions. The company is expected to make the first delivery of coal to Baosteel Bayi in August 2010.
In June 2010, MEC awarded a six-year, $232m contract to Leighton to develop and operate the mine. Leighton will carry out all mining activities including planning, drilling, transport and handling of coal.
Exploration work was carried out by the China National Administration of Coal Geology. About 52,000m of drilling was conducted as part of the exploration under the supervision of John T Boyd Company. MEC contracted Fenwei Energy Group to carry out field investigations, feasibility and market studies and an environmental impact assessment of the mine. The company is planning to conduct further exploration to measure additional coal reserves.
Initial exploration in 2007 revealed that about 156.2ha of the mine area contained 460mt of coal reserves. About 181mt of these reserves is premium coking coal. Further analysis revealed that the mine has about 149mt of joint ore reserves committee compliant resources.
The reserves contained in the field are of high-quality Jiaomei coal. This type of coal contains low ash and sulphur content and also lower amount of volatile matter. The coal has a relatively high caking index and lower plasticity index. Some of the other coal reserves found in the mine have been classified as Shoumei and Pinshoumei.
The coal reserves of the mine are deposited in the middle Permian-age Khushuut formation. The formation is more than 700m thick and contains composites of sandstone, siltstone and other conglomerates. It contains two pairs of north-south synclinal folds.
Exploration of the mine identified 29 coal seams of varying thickness in a steeply dipping deposit. The majority of the seams are B-seam and C-seam. The characteristics of the seam indicate that the coal was deposited in a restricted inter-mountain basin occurring due to rapid changes in depositional environment.
MEC is planning to produce about 0.5mt of coal between August 2010 and July 2011. In the second year, production will be increased to 3mt and to 8mt in the fourth year.
The Khushuut coal mine will be mined using the open-pit method. The method was chosen due to the geology of the reserve and the need to operate multiple pits. Diesel-powered hydraulic excavators will be used.
Track dozers will be used for material movement and overburden dump maintenance. Front-end loaders will also be used for pit clean-up and coal loading.
MEC is planning to construct a 1,100t/h coal preparation plant to process raw coal. The $60m plant will produce coking coal, middling and rejects. It will be operational by the third year of operation. Until the plant is constructed, the coal will be processed using a dry screening process.
MEC is constructing a 340km asphalt-paved road to link the Khushuut mine with Takeshenken on the Mongolia-China border. The road will be used to transport coal across the border. Construction of the road was started in 2008 and is expected to be completed in 2010. The company is investing $196m in the project.