E-TT CEO Batdorj Enkhbat told reporters that coal extraction at the Tsankhi block would begin soon, allowing liquidity for a cash-strapped company forced to suspend deliveries to China—its only customer—over financial problems. Political problems have prevailed, too, and Enkhbat, for his part, would not say if E-TT would allow foreign partners. In 2011, Peabody and Shenhua were granted rights to Tavan Tolgoi’s western block, but the Mongolian government backed out following objections from bidders in Japan and South Korea.

The western block’s production near the Chinese border would add 888 million mt of reserves, Enkhbat added, bringing current reserves to 1.8 billion mt.