ULAN BATOR, April 23 Mongolia's copper
concentrate export volumes leapt 53 percent year-on-year in
March, with rising output from the $6.5 billion Oyu Tolgoi
project run by Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto
driving up sales, official data showed.
According to figures released on Wednesday by Mongolia's
National Statistical Office, copper concentrate accounted for 35
percent of the country's total mineral export earnings in March,
with sales totaling $349 million, a 67 percent rise compared
with $209 million a year earlier.
Exports of Mongolian coal grew 8.4 percent over the period,
but its value fell 1 percent because of a drop in coal prices,
the report said.
Copper concentrate sales continue to climb with deliveries
to Chinese smelters by the Oyu Tolgoi project, the biggest
foreign investment in Mongolia, rising to match current
"Concentrate sales continue to accelerate and are matching
current production," said Turquoise Hill Resources, the
66 percent stakeholder in the project. Turquoise Hill is
majority owned by Rio Tinto.
Crude oil and gold exports also saw spikes in sales volumes,
growing 68 percent and 110 percent, respectively.
Gold exports have grown as a result of legislation passed by
Mongolia's parliament to reduce royalties to a flat 2.5 percent
from 5-10 percent.
Mongolia surrendered the tax income in the hopes of building
up its gold reserves to bolster the local currency, the tugrik,
and squash black market trade in the precious metal.
China was involved in 56 percent of Mongolia's foreign trade
over the month, with Russia accounting for 16 percent.
The total trade turnover in March fell 1.6 percent from the
year before, reaching $1.98 billion. Trade with China grew 9
percent in March from the same period of 2013 while trade with
Russia fell 2 percent.
(Reporting by Terrence Edwards; Editing by David Stanway and