Rio’s $6.75bn Oyu Tolgoi expansion to kick off production in 2022 – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – December 16, 2020)

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE:RIO) unveiled on Wednesday that underground production from the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia is slated to begin in October 2022, adding that it will come with a price tag of $6.75 billion.

When it was approved in 2015, Rio expected the expansion to cost $5.3 billion and reach first sustainable production in early of 2021.

Last year, however, the company flagged stability risks associated with the original project design, which translated into as much as an additional $1.9 billion cost. Expected production was then moved to between October 2022 and July 2023.

While both investment required and timeline for the mine expansion disclosed today were better than most analyst estimates, the world’s No.2 miner failed to provide straightforward information on its dealings with the Mongolian government.

The announcement also lacked clarity around the ongoing legal spat with its subsidiary Turquoise Hill (TSX, NYSE: TRQ), which launched in November arbitration proceedings against the mining giant to get clarity on the terms of its financing.

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