The board of Mongolia’s Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine agreed to continue funding the project through April, Mining Minister Davaajav Gankhuyag said in a mobile-phone text message.
The mine, 66 percent-owned by Rio Tinto Group (RIO) and 34 percent-owned by the Mongolian government, is operating on a month-to-month budget and requires approval from the board of directors. International investors currently cash fund the entire project.
Puntsag Tsagaan, an Oyu Tolgoi board member, said earlier this month that Mongolia won’t approve the budget for the entire year until the company produces a feasibility study for phase two of the project.
Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ), the Rio Tinto unit that controls the mine, says a phase-two feasibility study won’t be available until 2014. Costs for phase one of the project totaled $6.6 billion. A 2013 Oyu Tolgoi technical report estimates phase two costs could reach $5.1 billion.
Rio Tinto and the Mongolian government are in talks to remedy several disputes around the project, including alleged cost overruns and management control. Three emergency shareholder meetings have been held this year. A date for the next shareholder meeting hasn’t been set.
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