Turquoise Hill Resources’ Oyu Tolgoi Copper-Gold Project in Mongolia achieved operational records for total material mined, ore treated and average daily concentrator throughput during the September quarter. Copper production for Q3 was in-line with the second quarter while gold production increased almost 30%.
During the three months ending September 30, material mined from the open pit of 27.466 million tonnes increased 9% over the June quarter and ore treated increased 10.1% to 10.615 million tonnes. Average daily concentrator throughput for Q3 was 115,400 tonnes, an increase of 8.9% over Q2, although average throughput in that quarter was impacted by a scheduled maintenance shutdown.
Copper production in Q3 was essentially flat compared to Q2 while gold production increased 29.2% over Q2 due to higher head grades from the medium-grade stockpile and Phase 4A. Open pit operations are expected to continue to mine in Phases 4 and 6 for the rest of the year. In addition, stockpiled ore will continue to be processed.
Turquoise Hill said that higher gold grades during Q3 resulted in a 26.1% increase in gold sales compared to Q2.
The open pit operations are expected to produce between 130,000 and 160,000 tonnes of copper and between 100,000 and 140,000 ounces of gold in concentrates during 2017.
Turquoise Hill’s chief executive officer Jeff Tygesen said, “We are extremely proud of what the nearly all-Mongolian operations team achieved for the quarter.”
Turquoise Hill holds 66% of the OT project with the remainder held by the Government of Mongolia. Turquoise Hill is majority owned by Rio Tinto. Underground development at the project in the South Gobi region continues.