Rio Tinto has entered into an agreement with Ivanhoe Mines to assume direct management of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia.
Under the agreement, the firm will provide a comprehensive financing package to Ivanhoe Mines for the development of project.
The financing package includes a $1.8bn interim loan facility, the exercising of Rio Tinto’s remaining warrants for common shares in Ivanhoe and participation in Ivanhoe’s $1.2bn rights offering.
The Oyu Tolgoi mine is being constructed ahead of schedule with first production expected to start in late 2012.
A copper concentrator plant and related infrastructure are being constructed on site for achieving an initial throughput of 100,000t of ore a day.