Macmahon Holdings and German firm Operta‘s joint venture has won a contract for coal mining operations at the Tavan Tolgoi mine in Mongolia.

The $500m contract was awarded by Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi for a period of five years.

The project will involve large-scale open cut mining operations in the Eastern Tsankhi area of the Tavan Tolgoi deposit, located about 540km south of Ulaanbaatar in the South Gobi region.

Mining is scheduled to commence in January 2012, with an expected production rate of 3Mtpa of coal, and is expected to be increased to 6Mtpa in the second year.

Once the entire mine and transport infrastructure is established, coal production is expected to increase to 15Mtpa.