Mongolian PM meets Rio Tinto chief to explore Oyu Tolgoi project

Following on from the recent news that Rio Tinto was to open a new office in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, Prime Minister of Mongolia Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh has met with the miner’s chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques to further discuss their business relationship.

The two discussed the possibility of setting up a joint working group in order to explore options for accelerating community development via private and public investment into Khanbogd, the town nearest to Rio’s Oyu Tolgoi mine.

The two also discussed the development of national power solutions, as well as whether or not funding for the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project (located in the Gobi) could be reduced to improve the benefit to shareholders.

This point in particular is nothing new for the project, which has faced budget concerns since construction began in 2010; at full operation the mine is expected to account for nearly one-third of the country’s economy, but with over $7 billion of investment this decade it has seen accusations of cost overruns, incurred various layoffs and even unpaid taxes.

Jacques said that Rio Tinto remained fully committed to the region.

“Our nearly 14,000 employees and the people of Mongolia should be proud that Oyu Tolgoi is one of Rio Tinto’s safest and most productive mining businesses in the world,” he said.

“We remain committed to creating opportunities for talented Mongolians to build their careers on a global stage.

“We will continue to work together [with the Government of Mongolia] to solve outstanding issues as joint working group progresses win-win solution on matters such as power and community development.”

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