Power supply deal turns on Rio’s lights at Oyu Tolgoi

Rio Tinto’s soon to be completed Oyu Tolgoi copper gold mine in Mongolia has secured its power supply with an unnamed Chinese power company, overcoming national rivalries to import power across the border.

Rio Tinto Copper chief executive Andrew Harding said “this agreement means we are on track to bring the first phase of the world-class Oyu Tolgoi mine into production in the first half of 2013”.

Oyu Tolgoi has also built a power line from the mine to the town of Khanbogd, in southern Mongolia, providing the community with access to 24/7 electricity for the first time.

To date Rio Tinto and its partners have invested almost US$6 billion into the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine to produce one of the most technologically advanced mining developments to date, utilising the revolutionary block cave mining method.

"This method requires construction of significant underground infrastructure prior to ore production," according to Rio Tinto.

Mongolia is currently in a ramp up phase for mining development, Rod Commerford, Austrade's senior export advisor, Export and Invest Services-Opportunities for Australian Business in Mongolia telling Australian Mining that the opportunities in Mongolia are huge.

"Mongolia is rich in mineral resources and has some of the world's major deposits," Commerford said.

"Less than 15 per cent of the country has been geographically surveyed," he said.

The Oyu Tolgoi project signals an important milestone in Mongolia's mining history and future.

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