SMM: global mining giant Rio Tinto on Tuesday rejected allegations that its Oyu Tolgoi (Oyu Tolgoi) underground copper mine development and financing plan, (UDP) and other basic agreements, were "illegal".
Previously, the Mongolian Administrative Court supported the claim of the non-governmental organization Darkhan Mongol Nogoon Negdel that the Government of Mongolia had not followed due process in finalizing the UDP.
Rio Tinto said the court's formal written ruling would be announced in the coming weeks.
Rio Tinto owns 66 per cent of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine through its turquoise mountain resource (Turquoise Hill Resources). Under the current development plan, the copper mine could become the third largest copper mine in the world by 2025.
The underground expansion project, which cost more than $5 billion, is expected to produce more than 500000 tonnes of copper a year after it goes into production, while the current opencast project produces 17.5-200000 tonnes of copper a year, and the opencast project went into production in 2013.
The Mongolian government holds a 34 per cent stake in the Oyu Tolgo copper mine. Rio Tinto is the operator of the copper mine.
Oyu Tolgoi is at the heart of Rio's push to diversify its portfolio from iron ore, but it faces a series of challenges as the Mongolian government disputes how best to bring the country.
For Mongolia, the copper project is a country-changing project, with its capital budget making it the largest project in the country's history, but it also accounts for more than half of the country's $13 billion annual GDP.