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[VIDEO] Inside Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi underground mine

Located in the southern Gobi desert of Mongolia, roughly 50 miles from the China border, Rio Tintos Oyu Tolgoi mine is anticipated to become one of th...

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|Oct 27|magazine6 min read

Located in the southern Gobi desert of Mongolia, roughly 50 miles from the China border, Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi mine is anticipated to become one of the largest copper-gold deposits in the world.

• Related content: What does Rio Tinto's $5.4 billion expansion at Oyu Tolgoi mean for copper price recovery?   

First discovered in 2001, the mine is expected to produce an average of 430,000 tons of copper and 425,000 ounces of gold per year, as well as by-product silver and molybdenum, over its mine life. The mine estimated to contain 2.7 million tons of recoverable copper and 1.7 million ounces of recoverable gold in reserves, with an estimated operating life cycle of 50 years.

Rio Tinto’s Turquoise Hill Resources is the majority owner of Oyu Tolgoi LLC, which will lead construction of an underground mine at the site of the existing open-pit operation.

Oyu Tolgoi, which has experienced several setbacks, including disagreements on taxes and royalty payments with Mongolia, has recently secured a $5.4 billion expansion deal will allow construction for the underground mine at the existing open-pit operation. 

According to the video, Rio Tinto will be utilizing a mass mining method known as block cave mining, which allows for the bulk mining of large, relatively lower grade orebodies. The method is not only cheaper but it’s safer. 

The Oyu Tolgoi mine is expected to be fully operational by 2020.

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