Rio Tinto chairman bullish on Mongolian copper story – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – July 10, 2023)

Rio Tinto chairman Dominic Barton says the mining giant is committed to building its footprint in Mongolia, even as capital gets more expensive, and intense competition fuels high prices in the critical minerals mergers and acquisitions space.

Mr Barton also acknowledged that Rio had not always lived up to expectations in Mongolia, where it is counting on Oyu Tolgoi to become the world’s fourth-largest copper mine by 2030. “We are committed to learning from that,” he told the Mongolia Economic Forum in Ulaanbaatar on Monday.

“Industry must invest for the long term. There may be bumps in the road, but if the relationship is built on a shared vision and ambition, then these will be just that – bumps in the road.” Rio and the Mongolian government have been able to resolve many of their differences since early last year, when Rio agreed to waive the $US2.4 billion ($3.6 billion) debt the Mongolian government owed to the Oyu Tolgoi project.

One of few remaining sore points between Rio and the current Mongolian government is over taxes related to Oyu Tolgoi. International arbitration proceedings in the long-running tax dispute have been on hold while they discuss a resolution.

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