Rio Tinto is prepared to make concessions to the government of Mongolia as it seeks to complete the development of a huge copper mine in the Gobi desert that ranks as its most important project.
To speed up returns from the $6.75bn underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi mine, the Anglo-Australian company is willing to reduce the interest rates on loans to Ulan Bator to fund its share of the construction costs.
For its part, Rio wants a number of regulatory and budget issues cleared up and a long-term power agreement put in place so it can start the complex caving process — known as undercutting — and hit its revised production target of October 2022.
The proposals are detailed in a letter sent to Mongolia’s prime minister L Oyun-Erdene last week by Bold Baatar, the head of Rio’s copper division, and Steve Thibeault, head of the company’s Canadian subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources.
The approach comes after relations between…