Mining giant Rio Tinto has deliberately missed the 30 September deadline of financing $4.2bn for the underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia.
According to Rio Tinto copper CEO Jean Sebastien Jacques, the company has reached a point where the government must decide on the project proceedings, reported The Australian.
Jacques told the news agency: "That is why we have been very patient, and we have been negotiating for 18 months in good faith.
"We fully understand the situation and now is the time for them to decide what they want to do. The ball now is really with the government."
Rio Tinto and the Mongolian Government have been in a long-running negotiation over their joint venture project. As per the latest negotiations, both partners had to agree on the $4.2bn fund required for the underground expansion at the mine by 30 September.
However, with no action taken by the Mongolian Government, Rio Tinto chose let the deadline pass.
According to Jacques, the company plans to submit a formal extension request to 15 commercial banks to provide the monies for the next phase of development.
"The main reason why we have not submitted a formal request yet is that we want to understand where the Government of Mongolia is coming from," Jacques added.
"Because after 18 months of conversation with the government, there is a deal on the table. We believe it is a well-balanced deal, it is beneficial for all parties."
Situated in the south Gobi region of Mongolia, the Oyu Tolgoi mine is 66%-owned by Rio Tinto's Turquoise Hill, while the Government of Mongolia holds the remaining stake.
Image: Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia. Photo: courtesy of Rio Tinto.