(EnergyAsia, December 19 2011, Monday) — Mongolia Energy Corporation (MEC) Limited said it has started delivering coal to China with the completion of a new 311-km road linking the Khushuut mine in Mongolia to Takeshensken in the Xinjiang region.

Following last month’s official recognition of the project’s completion by Mongolia’s State Commission Inspection Committee, MEC is certified as having constructed the country’s longest hard-surface paved road for coal transport.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed company said the road crosses 17 bridges within five districts in the Khovd province. It supports a payload of up to 110 tonnes while facilitating more than 200 waste water pipes.

MEC said the new paved road has a direct positive impact on its operations as it helps reduce travelling time by half from the eight hours previously needed to truck coal along what used to be a gravel road.

While declining to disclose the value of the investment, MEC said the road project is the biggest infrastructure development project for Khovd province, and one of the largest road investment projects by a privately owned mining enterprise in the country.

“Not only does it provide an efficient mode of transportation for the local residents, the project also created hundreds of jobs and a considerable income” for the government and the people,” it said.

MEC CEO James Schaeffer Jr. said:

“The Khushuut Road indicates a milestone in our coking coal exporting and our team will continue our efforts in all aspects to expand our Khushuut operations.”