Turquoise Hill Resources has informed shareholders at its annual meeting that strong progress is being made at its $7 billion Oyu Tolgoi gold-copper-silver development in southern Mongolia, with concentrate shipments from the project expected to begin by July.
The company’s chief executive officer Kay Priestly said, “We are making strong progress and completing vital operational components to transform Oyu Tolgoi from a development project into a full-scale mine. With the advancement of commissioning, we expect the concentrator will be consistently running at production rates of 70% of capacity and the start of concentrate shipments by the end of June. Additionally, our timeline for project financing is well advanced.”
The company began its commissioning process in early November 2012 after finally securing a power purchase agreement with China’s Inner Mongolia Power for the massive copper-gold-silver complex. The 66%-owned mine is about 550km south of Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar and 80km north of the Mongolia-China border.
Mineralization on the property consists of porphyry-style copper, gold, silver and molybdenum contained in a linear structural trend extending over a 23km strike length. Mineral resources have been identified in a series of deposits including Heruga, Southern Oyu and Hugo.
Turquoise Hill is initially developing Oyu Tolgoi as an open-pit operation, with the first phase of mining to start at the near-surface Southern Oyu deposits.
The Definitive Integrated Development and Operations Plan (DIDOP) underground feasibility study is ongoing and is now expected to be released by next month. The study team is evaluating the optimum development plan and updating various sensitivity cases, with an expected 2016 start date for underground production.