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Oyu Tolgoi mining licenses halted by Mongolian gov’t

Keywords: Tags  Oyu Tolgoi, mining licenses, Entree Gold, Rio Tinto, Mongolia government, copper, gold, Claire Hack

LONDON — Entrée Gold Inc. said two of its joint-venture mining licenses at the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia have been temporarily suspended by the Mongolian government.

The suspension of the two licenses means it isn’t allowed to sell or transfer the licenses for now, according to the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company, in which London-based miner Rio Tinto Plc owns a 12.9-percent stake.

Contrary to media reports, the Oyu Tolgoi LLC-Entrée Gold joint-venture mining licenses haven’t been canceled, it added.

However, the company has also received official notification from the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia that an order issued in July 2009 has been canceled. The order was related to the registration of reserves linked to the joint-venture deposits, which is one stage in the process of converting an exploration license into a mining license, Entrée said. The order wasn’t tied to the issuance of mining licenses.

Entrée has complied with all Mongolian laws and regulations in connection with the issuance of the licenses, it said.

The licenses were issued to Entrée as a condition to entering in October 2009 the investment agreement between joint-venture partner Oyu Tolgoi, Rio Tinto Plc, Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. and the government of Mongolia.

The company now plans to work with Oyu Tolgoi, manager of the manager of the mining complex of the same name, to resolve the issues with the licenses. Oyu Tolgoi is responsible for "maintaining the licenses in good order," Entrée said.

Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill Resources—formerly known as Ivanhoe Mines—are major shareholders of Entrée, with about 12.9 percent and 10.7 percent of issued and outstanding shares, respectively.

Rio Tinto, due to its majority stake in Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill Resources, beneficially owns 23.6 percent of Entrée’s issued and outstanding shares.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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