The Mongolian Government has revised a number of laws to clear the way for the exploitation of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold complex by Rio Tinto and Canada's Ivanhoe Mines.
The agreement, which is expected to be finalised in the near future, will see the government own a 34% shareholding in Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia.
Investment in the project by Rio, through its own shareholding in Ivanhoe Mines, is consistent with the company’s strategy of focusing on large scale, long life, low cost assets, Rio Tinto said.
Production at the site in Mongolia’s South Gobi region is expected to begin in 2013 with an approximate five-year ramp-up to full production, Rio said.
The mine has an average production capacity of about 450,000t a year of copper and about 330,000oz of gold.