The CIMIC Group’s mining services provider, Thiess, in joint venture with Mongolian contractor Khishig Arvin, has secured the first underground decline project at the Oyu Tolgoi Copper-Gold Project in Mongolia’s southern Gobi desert.

The Thiess-led contract will generate total revenue of approximately $130 million, of which Thiess’ share is 80%.

CIMIC executive chairman and CEO Marcelino Fernández Verdes said, “This project is key to unlocking Oyu Tolgoi’s potential and is a great addition to Thiess’ diverse mining portfolio.”

Thiess managing director Michael Wright said, “The combination of our underground development expertise and ability to leverage our experienced Mongolia-based team provides us with the foundations for success.

“We are proud to facilitate the growth of a world-class copper and gold operation and deliver long-term solutions at Oyu Tolgoi. Building local capability is integral to our approach and, with the assistance of our partnership with Khishig Arvin, more than 90% of our workforce will be Mongolian personnel.”

Commencing in July 2016 and scheduled for completion in 2020, work will include the construction of a box cut and development of twin declines, incorporating both a service and a conveyor tunnel.

Oyu Tolgoi is owned by Oyu Tolgoi LLC, a Mongolian company majority owned by Turquoise Hill Resources with the Mongolian Government being the other owner. Turquoise Hill is majority owned by large mining multinational Rio Tinto.

CIMIC Group is one of the world’s leading international contractors and the world’s largest contract miner. CIMIC has operations that have been in existence since 1934, was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 1962 and has its head office in Sydney, Australia. CIMIC provides construction, mining, mineral processing, engineering, concessions, and operation and maintenance services to the infrastructure, resources and property markets. It operates in more than 20 countries throughout the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America.