Despite a few hitches and some stern words from Rio Tinto and the Government of Mongolia, The US$350bn mine at Turquoise Hill phase 1 has started production on the first half of 2013. Phase 2 of the underground mine has been delayed due to disputes with the Mongolian government but expected to be resolved by Q1 2015.
The Oyu Tolgoi mine is a combined open pit and underground mining project in the Gobi Desert, approximately 235 kilometres east of the Ömnögovi Province capital Dalanzadgad. The site was discovered in 2001 and is being developed as a joint venture between Turquoise Hill Resources, Rio Tinto and the Government of Mongolia. The mine is under construction as of 2010 and scheduled to begin production in 2013.
The Oyu Tolgoi mining project is the largest financial undertaking in Mongolia's history and is expected upon completion to account for more than 30% of the country's gross domestic product. Copper production is expected to reach 450,000 tonnes annually. Financing for the project has come in part from the Rio Tinto Group and an investment agreement between Ivanhoe Mines and the government of Mongolia.