ULAN BATOR, Sept 19 Mongolia's government said
it plans to review all foreign mining investments, but pledged
not to single out a deal with Rio Tinto to develop the huge Oyu
Tolgoi copper-gold mine, in a move that could calm investor
concerns over growing resource nationalism.
Mining minister Ganhuyag Davaajav told media last week the
new mining "action plan" over the next four years was likely to
call for changes to the 2009 Oyu Tolgoi deal, which granted 66
percent of the deposit to Canada's Ivanhoe Mines, now known as
Turquoise Hill Resources and majority-owned by Rio
But a proposal calling for the deal to be renegotiated was
voted down during a heated parliamentary debate on Tuesday.
"In the government action plan, we did not specifically name
Oyu Tolgoi, but we said that all investment agreements in the
mining and energy sector need to be reviewed carefully,"
Mongolian prime minister Altankhuyag Norov was quoted as saying
by news portal news.mn.
The report said Altankhuyag intended to subject the Oyu
Tolgoi agreement to a full and transparent parliamentary hearing
and resolve the debate "once and for all".
London-listed private equity firm Origo Partners, which owns
mines in Mongolia, welcomed the move, saying in a note that it
showed the Oyu Tolgoi project would not be subject to special
treatment and that the government remained "predominantly
moderate and understands the importance of foreign investment."
Located 550 km (340 miles) southwest of the capital Ulan
Bator, Oyu Tolgoi is said to be one of the three largest copper
and gold deposits in the world. Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill
will have plowed $6 billion into the mine by the time the first
phase of construction is complete.
The construction phase at Oyu Tolgoi is expected to formally
wrap up next month and commercial production of ore will
commence in the first half of 2013.