With an investment of $500,000, the drilling program is planned to start this month, and is subject to regulatory approval for an environmental plan submitted prior to the acquisition of stake in the joint venture by Aspire Mining.

It aims to confirm resource continuity to enable preliminary economic assessment and provide samples for testwork.

The drilling will focus on the northern part of the project tenement area, and will drill 20 holes at an average 100m depth. It is expected to be completed by the end of September and expects to receive laboratory analysis in December quarter.

The results from the drilling program will help prepare a pre-feasibility study, which is designed for the grant of a mining license and completion of a general environmental impact assessment.

ECJV gained control of the Nuurstei coking coal project in mid-2011, and holds a 60% stake. It has an option to increase its share to 90% on achieving certain milestones.

In June, Aspire Mining purchased a 50% stake in ECJV from Xanadu Mines.