Canada’s Erdene Resource Development (TSX:ERD), the company that literally struck gold earlier this year after finding its new Mongolia-based gold project was richer than previously thought, expects to move Bayan Khundii towards its maiden resource estimate by 2018. The firm, one of the very few miners to never have encountered issues in the landlocked Asian country, was granted this week the Exploration Mining Company of the Year award at the Mines & Money event in Hong Kong, said mining.com.
According to Dawson Brisco, Vice President Corporate Development, the award is considered to be Asia’s most prestigious mining investment awards. He added it’s also a deserved recognition of what the firm has done so far in the landlocked country.
In 2012, Erdene began working on its Altan Nar (meaning Golden Sun) gold-polymetallic project in the Tien Shan Gold Belt of southwest Mongolia at a time when other miners were struggling to achieve agreements with the country’s shifting policy makers.
Shortly after, the firm found a new project — Bayan Khundii — that quickly became its flagship venture and where the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based firm has already completed 10 km of drilling, Erdene’s President and CEO, Peter Akerley, told CNBC Asia, after receiving the award.
The executive believes current conditions in Mongolia couldn’t be better. “Last year in July the Mongolian People’s Party was elected by a landslide victory and that brought in a government that is pro-business and pro-mining,” Akerley said in the interview.
“The country is opening the exploration sector for more licences and it has recently signed a protection agreement with the US and Canada,” he noted as a clear example of the improved business environment in the nation.
While it’s still relatively early days for Bayan Khundii, discovered in late 2015, over the next 12 to 18 months the company expects to define the resource, de-risk the deposit and then move towards production.
In addition to Bayan Khundii and Altan Nar, Erdene Resource has two other exploration licences and a mining permit in southwest Mongolia.