(Repeats story published early Wednesday; no changes to text)
By Nicole Mordant
VANCOUVER May 13 A group of banks has agreed to
a six-month extension of a commitment to fund the underground
expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia, the
chief executive of mine owner Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd
said on Tuesday.
The expansion still must be approved by the company and the
Mongolian government after a new feasibility study is done.
Turquoise Hill CEO Kay Priestly said the study will be finished
by the end of June, contrary to an assertion by a Mongolian
government official earlier this month that it had already been
Fourteen of 15 banks have agreed to extend their financing
commitments to Sept. 30, with a response from the final bank
expected shortly, Priestly said on a conference call held to
discuss Turquoise Hill's first-quarter results.
"With this we now have sufficient commitments to reach our
funding goal of approximately a $4 billion facility," she said.
The underground development of Oyu Tolgoi, which is one of
the world's largest undeveloped copper deposits, was put on hold
last year when the Mongolian government became concerned that
cost overruns would delay the flow of the government's share of
profits from the mine.
Oyu Tolgoi is being developed by global miner Rio Tinto
Plc/Ltd , which owns 51 percent of
Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill. An open pit mine at the site is
Priestly said talks with the Mongolian government on
restarting development of the underground expansion have been
She also said that Turquoise Hill is considering selling its
stake in Mongolian coal miner SouthGobi Resources Ltd
as it focuses on Oyu Tolgoi.
Turquoise Hill owns about 58 percent of SouthGobi, which has
a market value of around C$93 million ($85.29 million) and owns
the Ovoot Tolgoi open pit coal mine and three coal projects in
(Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Franklin
Paul, Nick Zieminski and Peter Galloway)