Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rio Tinto closer to striking a deal on Mongolia mine

Signs that Rio Tinto is close to striking a deal with the Mongolian government to develop the second stage of the huge Oyu Tolgoi mine continue to mount, with an engineering contractor advertising for workers on what appears to be the famous copper and gold mine.

Progress on the $US6 billion second stage of Oyu Tolgoi - which arguably ranks as Rio's most important growth project - has been frozen due to Rio's inability to strike an investment agreement with the Mongolian government.

But expectations that a deal will be sealed before the end of this month were heightened on Wednesday when it emerged the company that helped build stage one of the mine - engineering and project management company AMEC - had started hiring workers for a major underground, copper and gold mining expansion in Mongolia.

Rio in effect has majority control of Oyu Tolgoi, through its 50.8 per cent stake in Canadian company Turquoise Hill Resources, which in turn owns 66 per cent of Oyu Tolgoi.

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