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Rio Tinto, Ivanhoe Mines Tussle Over Mongolian Deposit

Rio Tinto wants more than to be a side line partner for Ivanhoe Mines in Mongolia. The Canadian miner Ivanhoe was assisted by Rio to end lengthy and complicated 5 year old negotiations under Mongolian mining law for the largest undeveloped copper deposit in the world.

Oyu Tolgoi is the world's largest undeveloped copper-gold project and is located in the South Gobi region of Mongolia, approximately 550 km south of the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and 80 km north of the Mongolia-China border. Image Credit: Ivanhoe Mines

However as things stand now Rio Tinto is not happy. It would be hard to miss the dispute over their joint Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia. Ivanhoe's recent integrated development plan showcases the prospect that Oyu Tolgoi can sustain average production of 410,000 tonnes of copper and 455,000 ounces of gold over a 59-year mine life.

Rio Tinto is involved in the technical and financial progress of Ivanhoe's Oyu Tolgoi project but it has no direct stake in Mongolia. While it does have a 22.4% stake in Ivanhoe it wants to capture 7.3% more.

Disagreements on key policies seem to be the provoking factor. In fact Rio Tinto confirmed it has called for formal arbitration to settle a boardroom dispute with Ivanhoe. This is on the heels of Rio Tinto's objection to Ivanhoe's recently adopted shareholder rights scheme which it now wants a third party to review.

Joel Scanlon

Written by

Joel Scanlon

Joel, originally from the UK, emigrated to Australia in 1995 and spent 5 years working in the mining industry as an exploration Geo-technician where he developed skills in GIS Mapping and CAD. Joel also spent a year working underground in a gold/copper mine. Upon moving to the North Coast of NSW, Australia Joel worked as a graphic designer for a leading consultancy firm before starting a successful business providing graphic and web design services to local businesses on the eastern seaboard of Australia. Joel is skilled in project management, content production, design, animation, database and networking, software, and editing. Joel has been with AZoNetwork since its inception in 2000.

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