Mining deal signals Mongolia’s return to the stage
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Mining deal signals Mongolia’s return to the stage

Ivanhoe claims GDP could get 30% lift; Deal expected to be worth $4 billion

Nine years after it first began exploring the Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper deposits in Mongolia, Canadian firm Ivanhoe and its larger partner Rio Tinto have secured the mining rights deal that could transform the country’s economic prospects. The long-awaited deal, signed on October 6 – the most auspicious day of the year according to the Mongolian-Tibetan Buddhist calendar – allows Ivanhoe and Rio Tinto to mine the site’s deposits after completing investments projected to total $4 billion. News of the deal will come as a relief to almost everyone with a stake in Mongolia’s future: from the foreign mining companies and investors who had begun to despair of realizing the potential of the country to the Mongolian people who faced declining employment prospects.

“The impact of this deal will be huge,” says Chad Blewitt, CFO of Ivanhoe, in a call from the Oyu Tolgoi site. “The project by itself could cause a rise in GDP of around 30%, and then there’s the multiplier effect on the economy as supporting services and infrastructure build up. As well as increasing the number of our personnel we’ll obviously be bringing in a lot of construction material, maybe 80 truckloads a day at times, and at the moment the physical infrastructure isn’t there for that.”

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