"I believe Mongolia has all the potential to become an important player in the critical mineral space. The country remains broadly underexplored for these materials."

Gan-Ochir Zunduisuren

MANAGING DIRECTOR, ASIAN BATTERY MINERALS

February 26, 2024

Could you introduce Asian Battery Minerals?

Asian Battery Minerals is an Australia-based company with three critical minerals projects in Mongolia. These projects are the Oval nickel-copper (magmatic sulfide), Khukh Tag flake graphite and Tsagaan Ders lithium. 

For the Oval Ni-Cu project, our company was selected to participate in the inaugural BHP Xplor program, a global accelerator program that targets innovative, early-stage mineral exploration companies. By the time of completion of the BHP Xplor program in June 2023, Asian Battery Minerals was able to discover a magmatic nickel sulphide system.  

The Khukh Tag graphite project is possibly 24-30 months away from a final investment decision, as we progress into 2024 with detailed technical studies, including a scoping study. The Tsagaan Ders lithium project that is located in Dundgobi region is at an early stage, and we have completed sampling and mapping, and we plan to start a maiden drilling program in first half of 2024. 

Could you provide more details about the Khukh Tag graphite project?

Khukh Tag currently has a total mineral resource of 12.2 million t at 12.3% grade. The exploration upside is several times larger since we have only drilled a small part of the graphite containing outcrops within the license area. In 2024, we are going to carry out high-impact drilling at Khukh Tag to improve the grade and increase the resources. So far, the best drill hole was 17.8% TGC @47 meters, a single drill hole in what we call the North Zone. Besides advancing towards the scoping study through commercial studies and infill drilling, next year, we will also test for the suitability of the material to go into battery anodes, with results expected in second half of 2024. 

How about your Oval nickel-copper project in western Mongolia?

We have completed phase 1 scout drilling program at the Oval project in May 2023; all drill holes encountered a mineralization (up to 200 m depth), and it has become evident that the ore body is open in most directions. Oval nickel-copper project is located in the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) and has multiple targets identified for further drilling. We are very excited to carry out a further drilling in 2024 at Oval, as well as to continue with comprehensive regional geophysical studies. 

What do you think of Mongolia’s potential in the critical minerals space?

Being located next to the world’s largest EV market (China), which dominates each stage of the battery and battery materials production value chain, provides Mongolia with many opportunities. These include developing mineral projects to different levels of supply chain. This optionality of producing a product for up-to mid-stream markets gives a flexibility of addressing capital cost, generating cashflow and project finances for different mineral projects in Mongolia. This is very important for exploration companies to make their projects competitive regionally. We have clear transportation cost and environmental footprint advantages in comparison to jurisdictions located far from China and Asia-Pacific market. 

I believe Mongolia has all the potential to become an important player in the critical mineral space. The country remains broadly underexplored for these materials. 

To what extent do you believe the perception of Mongolia as a high-risk jurisdiction is justified?

In my experience, there are a lot of misconceptions about Mongolia. It is a well-established democracy with competitive fiscal and legal frameworks for investors, especially for battery minerals. I believe Mongolia has become quite a mature mining jurisdiction. Key components for developing large projects; infrastructure, border capacity, human capital and mining sector policy are all improved vastly if you look at last 15 years of development. Overall change in permitting is very much in line with recent changes and developments in global mining industry. 

Some may look at Mongolia as risky, but if you look a bit deeper into the facts, it is a well-established mining jurisdiction with over 30 million t/y of coal exports to China and large operations in iron ore, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, and fluorspar, as well as large players such as Rio Tinto, Orano and Zijin operating here. 

Asian Battery Minerals operates its projects with a long term approach based on strong local technical and business knowledge. We have an in-country experienced board and very talented operational team that understands the legal, financial, and mining landscape of the country. 

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