Canada’s Steppe Gold awarded development of the year by Bloomberg Mongolia

Precious metals explorer and producer Steppe Gold has been awarded ‘development of the year’ by Bloomberg Mongolia, for its ATO Phase 1 project in the central Asian country.

The recognition comes as Steppe rapidly advances to construction of the Phase 2 project, which is slated to begin in March 2022. ATO, located in Eastern Mongolia, is projected to produce over 100,000 ounces of gold from the current operational oxide zone in 2022 and 2023.

Phase 2 comprises of a 10.5 year expansion to the mine life, giving ATO a 12.5 year aggregate mine life. The October 2021 feasibility study outlined a production rate of 106,000 ounces of annual gold equivalent during the first five years of the Phase 2 expansion, following depletion of the oxide zone.

TSX-listed Steppe in November 2021 secured an agreement for up to US$65 million in debt capital to fast track the Phase 2 expansion construction stage. Approximately $59.7 million of the funding was provided by the Central Bank of Mongolia, through its been funded through the Gold-2 National Program.

“The company is highly encouraged by the trust placed in us by leading Mongolian financial institutions,” said Steppe’s president and CEO Bataa Tumur-Ochir. “This is a tremendous vote of support for Steppe Gold, for the Mongolian mining industry and will add value to Mongolia’s export revenue and foreign reserves position.”

The Phase 2 expansion will generate an additional 300 jobs and will further solidify Steppe’s role as one of the largest investors and employers in the region. Of Steppe’s entire workforce, 99% are Mongolian nationals, with 65% coming from Dornod province where the ATO mine is located.