ULAANBAATAR, April 5 (Reuters) – A group of Mongolian legislators has recommended one of the agreements underpinning Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi copper mine should be scrapped and another changed, adding to the giant project’s political problems.
The Gobi desert copper deposit promises to become one of Rio Tinto’s most lucrative properties, but it has been subject to repeated challenges from politicians who argue the spoils of the country’s mining boom are not being evenly shared.
It has also been at the centre of an anti-corruption investigation that has seen the arrest of two former prime ministers and a former finance minister.
The original 2009 Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement granted 34 percent of the project to the Mongolian government and 66 percent to Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines, now known as Turquoise Hill Resources and majority-owned by Rio Tinto.
Nationalist politicians have repeatedly called for the deal to be adjusted in Mongolia’s favour. Terbishdagva Dendev, head of a parliamentary working group set up last year to review the implementation of the Oyu Tolgoi agreements, told reporters this week the group had concluded the original 2009 deal should be revised.