History of the project

Pre 2000: Geologists conduct research, mapping, and exploration in and around Oyu Tolgoi.

2000: Ivanhoe Mines Ltd acquires the initial exploration rights to the Oyu Tolgoi area.

2001: The first in a series of major mineral deposits is discovered at Oyu Tolgoi.

October 2006: Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto announce a strategic partnership and joint Technical Committee for the construction and operation of Oyu Tolgoi. The Oyu Tolgoi Technical Committee is established to guide the engineering, construction and operation of Oyu Tolgoi. Rio Tinto acquires a 10.0 per cent stake in Ivanhoe Mines.

January 2008: Sinking of the 6.7 metre diameter shaft number one to a depth of 1,385 metres is completed to provide exploration access and initial ore recovery, and will eventually serve as a ventilation shaft for the underground mine. At the time, this is one of the deepest shafts in Asia, and is the deepest excavation ever made in Mongolia.

October 2009: The Investment Agreement signed by the Government of Mongolia, Ivanhoe Mines , Oyu Tolgoi LLC and Rio Tinto,  resulting in the Mongolian Government taking a 34% interest in the Oyu Tolgoi project.  Rio Tinto increases its shares in Ivanhoe Mines to 19.7 per cent.

March 2010: Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement is ratified, with Government of Mongolia owning 34 per cent. Rio Tinto increases its ownership of Ivanhoe Mines to 22.4 per cent.

June 2010: Work starts on the ten metre diameter shaft number two, which will be the initial primary underground production and service shaft at Oyu Tolgoi.

July 2010: Work starts to build the foundation for the concentrator, which will enrich the mined copper ore to produce a concentrate product.

September 2010: Rio Tinto increases its ownership in Ivanhoe Mines to 34.9 per cent.

December 2010: Rio Tinto increases its ownership in Ivanhoe Mines to 42.1 per cent.

December 2010:  Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines sign new agreement covering the following areas: 

  • Rio Tinto assumes direct management of Oyu Tolgoi, upon approval of Oyu Tolgoi LLC board.
  • Rio Tinto to provide [interim] financing facility for Oyu Tolgoi, including:
  • A US$1.8 billion interim loan facility that will be in place whilst Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines work together to complete project financing.
  • Rio Tinto will exercise its remaining warrants for common shares in Ivanhoe Mines.
  • Rio Tinto will participate fully in Ivanhoe Mines' US$1.2 billion rights offering.

August 2011:  Rio Tinto increases stake in Ivanhoe Mines to 48.5 per cent.

September 2011:  Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis visits Oyu Tolgoi to celebrate achieving 50 per cent construction at Oyu Tolgoi.

September 2011:  Rio Tinto increases its stake in Ivanhoe Mines to 49 per cent through:

  • acquiring a total of 20 million shares at current market prices, evenly from Citibank and Ivanhoe Mines executive chairman and chief executive officer Robert Friedland;
  • exercising Rio Tinto's remaining warrants for common shares in Ivanhoe Mines;
  • The purchase of Ivanhoe Mines shares in the market and;
  • exercising Rio Tinto's subscription right that obtained from the December 2010 agreement.

October 2011:   The Government of Mongolia, Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto confirm that the Investment Agreement was signed in full compliance with all laws and regulations of Mongolia. All parties have reaffirmed their continued support for the Investment Agreement.

December 2011:  An independent arbitrator upheld Rio Tinto's claim in respect of Ivanhoe Mines' Shareholder Rights Plan, providing the ability for Rio Tinto to purchase additional shares beyond 49 per cent after 18 January 2012 without being diluted.

January 2012 - Rio Tinto increases stake in Ivanhoe Mines to 51 per cent.

August 2012 - Ivanhoe Mines announces the company's name change to Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. The new name was approved by shareholders at the company's annual meeting on June 28, 2012.

November 2012 - Oyu Tolgoi LLC signs a binding agreement with a Chinese power company to supply electricity to the Oyu Tolgoi mine.  The agreement enables Oyu Tolgoi to complete commissioning leading to the first production of copper and gold concentrate.

December 2012 - Oyu Tolgoi commissions the concentrator.

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Project schedule - Oyu Tolgoi will begin producing the copper concentrate in the early stage of first quarter of 2013. Commercial production is expected within the first half of 2013.The ore is coming from Oyu Tolgoi's open pit mine, which began producing raw ore earlier in 2012. Eighty percent of the value of Oyu Tolgoi is in the extensive underground mine, which is still in early stages of development, and expected to begin production in 2016.

For current project progress and more information please visit the Oyu Tolgoi website