LONDON The Oyu Tolgoi
copper-gold mine in Mongolia is on track to achieve commercial
production in the first half of the year, Rio Tinto Plc said in
response to a media report that it was considering halting work
at the mine.
A Bloomberg report Jan. 30
claimed that Rio Tinto was considering halting development work
to protest the Mongolian governments demands for new
mining royalties and a bigger stake in the $6.2-billion
"The power is secured, first ore
produced and the concentrator switched on. We are on schedule
for first commercial production in the first half of the year,"
a Rio Tinto spokesman said. "We continue to work together
(with) all stakeholders, including the government of Mongolia,
to bring the benefits of Oyu Tolgoi to all parties."
Through parliamentary petitions,
Mongolian politicians have twice sought to boost the
countrys 34-percent stake in the project, and in December
the government published a new draft minerals law that caused
heightened concern among miners and investors operating in the
Private equity firm Origo
Partners was particularly concerned by a proposal for the
effective tax rate for strategic deposits to exceed 50 percent,
possibly to as much as 64 percent.
Origo told AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin earlier in January that it
would scale back its investment in the country if the mining
law is passed in its current form, while the Business Council
of Mongoliaof which Rio Tinto is a membersaid that
the draft law would damage Mongolias reputation as an
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin.