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Rio’s Mongolia Copper Dream Awakens 20-Year-Old Nightmare

Rio Tinto Group’s Mongolia copper and gold mine looks a dream location sitting next to China, the biggest market. Yet, Mongolia’s bid for more control of the project draws comparison with a Rio mine that went badly wrong.

Mongolia’s government is ratcheting up criticism of Rio’s management of the $6.6 billion project, the landlocked country’s single biggest investment. Lawmakers have argued for a bigger share of profit, while President Tsakhia Elbegdorj wants more management control. He faces elections in June with a fifth of the nation’s 3 million people in poverty despite world-beating economic growth of 17.3 percent in 2011.