Rio Tinto has opened a new office in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, and plans to expand its employee count by upwards of 80 people throughout 2018.
The office is intended to support the development and exploration of new projects, separate to the local 450,000 tonnes-a-year (t/y) Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project that is already in production within the company.
J-S Jacques, chief executive of Rio Tinto called Mongolia one of the company’s most strategically important markets.
“We have invested more than $7 billion in Mongolia since 2010,” he explained, “including salaries, supplier payments, investment in the community, and $1.5 billion in taxes, royalties and other payments to the government of Mongolia.”
“We are proud to partner with Mongolia to build one of the best copper and gold mines in the world, supplying the essential materials used in everyday life.”
Munkhtushig Dul, a storied businessman who has worked with Noble Group, the Mongolian Stock Exchange and the Executive Office of the National Security Council, has been appointed to lead the office as Rio Tinto’s regional director, and is expected to co-ordinate with the team at Oyuu Tolgoi.
The Oyu Tolgoi mine, an open-pit and underground project in the Gobi Desert that is the largest financial undertaking in Mongolian history, was discovered in 2001, and began construction in 2010.
Rio Tinto owns roughly two-thirds of the project through Turquoise Hill Resources (the English translation of Oyuu Tolgoi), in which Rio Tinto has a majority share, with the other third of the mine owned by the Mongolian Government.
Dul said he was excited to join the company. “Through its shareholding in Oyu Tolgoi, Rio Tinto has invested heavily in Mongolia and is committed to evolving this into a deep and mature partnership for the long term,” he said.
“I am looking forward to helping shape the pathway for Rio Tinto’s growing investment in our country.”