Ivanhoe Mines will begin full-scale construction of its copper-gold mining operation at Oyu Tolgoi Mining Complex in southern Mongolia with an approved budget of $758m for 2010.

The joint Ivanhoe Mines-Rio Tinto Oyu Tolgoi Technical Committee has approved the budget, which provides for an early start on a site-wide development programme.

Ivanhoe Mines president and CEO John Macken said the company is considering a schedule that could see construction of the initial open-pit mine completed in 2012 and commercial production begin in 2013.

Work in 2010 related to the mine will include resumption of the sinking of the 10m-diameter Shaft 2, and the construction of its reinforced-concrete headframe, installation of power station, initial earthworks and construction of a highway to link the Mongolia-China border.

“Additional funds are expected during 2010 either from Rio Tinto’s exercise of Series A warrants, or through potential investments in Ivanhoe by one or more strategic shareholders, including sovereign-wealth funds,” Macken said.