Commissioning of the concentrator at Turquoise Hill Resources’ Oyu Tolgoi Copper-Gold Project continues to progress. The concentrator has recently achieved daily run rates in excess of 80% of nameplate capacity and, to date, more than 40,000 tonnes of concentrate have been produced. All necessary permits have been received and the mine is ready to commence concentrate shipments as soon as the Mongolian Government indicates its support to do so.
Turquoise Hill Resources, formerly Ivanhoe Mines, is an international mining company focused on copper, gold and coal mines in the Asia Pacific region. The company’s primary operation is its 66% interest in the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold-silver mine in southern Mongolia.
Turquoise Hill has entered into an agreement with majority shareholder Rio Tinto for a non-revolving bridge facility for up to US$225 million maturing on August 12, 2013. Advances made under the bridge facility will be used to fund operations and current underground development of Oyu Tolgoi.
The previous bridge funding facility, agreed on April 17, 2012, expired undrawn on May 23, 2013. Turquoise Hill expects to make an initial drawdown under the bridge facility in order to fund a cash call obligation for Oyu Tolgoi, which is due on July 2, 2013.
In the event the bridge facility is not repaid in full at the maturity date or in case of an event of default under the terms of the facility, Rio Tinto may convert any outstanding amounts into common shares at a price per share equal to 85% of the then prevailing five-day volume weighted average trading price of the shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company continues to explore various financing alternatives which would allow it to repay the bridge facility in full prior to maturity and fund the operations at Oyu Tolgoi pending receipt of $300 million in proceeds from the sale of its 50% interest in Altynalmas Gold and completion of project financing.
Turquoise Hill and Rio Tinto continue to engage with lenders to finalize the project financing plan with the aim of raising about $4 billion. On April 17, 2013 Rio Tinto signed commitment letters with 15 global banks that locked in pricing and terms. Project financing requires the support of the Government of Mongolia and is subject to the approval of the Oyu Tolgoi Board of Directors, which includes representatives from the Mongolian Government. Turquoise Hill continues to work with Rio Tinto and the Government of Mongolia to obtain this approval.