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Oyu Tolgoi CEO McRae Said to Step Down After Term Ends

Cameron McRae, chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Group’s Oyu Tolgoi LLC, plans to step down from his job, three years after taking control of Mongolia’s biggest company, according to a person familiar with the matter.

McRae’s departure at the end of his three-year contract, which comes due in November, has been communicated within the company, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. A successor has yet to be named, the person said. An e-mail to McRae seeking comment yesterday wasn’t answered.

Rio Tinto, the world’s second-biggest mining company, runs the Oyu Tolgoi mine through its 51 percent stake in Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., which owns 66 percent of the operation located 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the Chinese border. Mongolia’s government owns 34 percent.

McRae has steered Oyu Tolgoi through an inception that has included shareholder clashes over cost over-runs, tax payments and a lack of local participation in the management of the $6.6 billion copper and gold mine. Enough of the disputes were resolved to allow the project to begin copper shipments earlier this month, after two postponements, as Mongolia sought to ensure revenue from the mine is passed through domestic banks.

Turquoise Hill fell 1.1 percent to C$5.32 at the close in Toronto. The shares have declined 30 percent this year.

Rio is considering an expansion of Oyu Tolgoi, which would involve building an underground mine. The work may cost $5.1 billion, Turquoise Hill said in a March report. Financing is awaiting approval.

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