Oyu Tolgoi is one of the most exciting developments in copper and gold mining in the last several decades. It contains enough reserves to cement its status as one of the largest known copper and gold deposits in the world.
Situated in the Southern Gobi desert of Mongolia, Oyu Tolgoi is jointly owned by the Government of Mongolia (34 per cent) and Turquoise Hill Resources (66 per cent, of which Rio Tinto owns 51 per cent). Since 2010, Rio Tinto has been the manager of Oyu Tolgoi project.
After decades of exploration and drilling, first major discoveries at Oyu Tolgoi were made in 2001. While exploration continues, even with the reserves currently identified, Oyu Tolgoi is expected to operate for over 50 years. The majority of the value of Oyu Tolgoi, up to 80 per cent, lies deep underground. To access it, underground mining techniques will be used at depths of more than 1,300 metres.
By July of 2018, total shipment of concentrate, processed from the ore from the open pit, had reached 4 million tonnes, exported mostly to China. The concentrate contains approximately 25-30 per cent copper and small amounts of gold, silver, and other metals.
In May 2015, Oyu Tolgoi's shareholders agreed on a plan to progress the next stage of underground development at Oyu Tolgoi. The following December, a Project Financing agreement with 20 international banks and financial institutions was signed. In addition to the initial $4.4 billion financing, the lenders pre-approved Oyu Tolgoi taking on up to $1.6 billion of supplementary debt if necessary to complete underground development. Phase 2 construction kicked off in May 2016.
Contributing to the prosperity of Mongolia
From 2010 through the third quarter of 2018, Oyu Tolgoi spent more than US$8.3 billion in-country in the form of salaries, payments to Mongolian suppliers, taxes, and other payments to the Government.
As of the third quarter of 2018, 93 per cent of the workforce were Mongolians. In the first 9 months of 2018, Oyu Tolgoi bought necessary goods and services from 562 Mongolian-owned businesses for a total value of $313 million, which represented 79% of all operational expenditure during this period.
In partnership with government and local organizations, Oyu Tolgoi has implemented a wide-ranging programme of education and training initiatives. The programme became a transformative investment in the technical education sector, including the construction and enhancement of colleges and mining schools across the country. Through its extensive scholarship programme, Oyu Tolgoi is preparing the next generation of Mongolia's leaders and experts, especially in the mining industry.
Supporting the South Gobi's communities
The South Gobi is a large and sparsely populated area, residents of which have for hundreds of years relied on nomadic herding and animal husbandry. Oyu Tolgoi has become the engine of growth in the region, most noticeably Khanbogd, the closest town to Oyu Tolgoi. Khanbogd locals gained an access to fresh running water, electricity, globally accredited vocational training, quality medical services with Oyu Tolgoi's support. Now they can send their kids to school and kindergarten, built and furnished by Oyu Tolgoi funding, capable of accommodating 840 children of Khanbogd.
Protecting the environment
Oyu Tolgoi operates in a sensitive and precious environment with a unique ecosystem. Under the guidance of Rio Tinto standards of environmental protection, Oyu Tolgoi is fully committed to minimising and mitigating the mine impact on the local environment. It is one of the most water-efficient mines in the world, compared to similar mines. 89 per cent of used water is recycled and used again. With a support from international NGOs, it aims to not only prevent harm to the environment but to have a net positive impact on the ecosystem.
From natural wealth to enduring value, knowledge and skill
Given its significance to the global copper industry and the likely multi-generational nature of the business, Oyu Tolgoi is being developed with a distinctly long-term view. Guided by Oyu Tolgoi's vision, 'From natural wealth to enduring value, knowledge and skill', the partners and stakeholders involved in the project are firmly focused on delivering a safe and globally competitive copper business that contributes to and facilitates the prosperity of Mongolia.
Media enquiries, Oyu Tolgoi
Oyu Tolgoi LLC
Monnis Tower, Chinggis Avenue 15