By Jaime Llinares Taboada
Rio Tinto PLC said Wednesday that it expects to achieve sustainable production from its Oyu Tolgoi underground copper project in Mongolia by October 2022.
The FTSE 100 mining company said development capital is estimated at $6.75 billion. The project aims to turn Oyu Tolgoi into the world's fourth-largest copper mine by building an underground operation that complements the open pit.
The site produced 146,300 metric tons of copper in 2019, and Rio Tinto expects it will produce 480,000 tons a year on average from 2028 to 2036, the company said. The Panel 0 of the project is expected to achieve production by October 2022, but Panels 1 and 2 are required to ramp up underground output further, and they are subject to further studies, it said.
Rio Tinto has a 50.8% interest in Turquoise Hill Resources, which owns 66% of Oyu Tolgoi.
Write to Jaime Llinares Taboada at email@example.com; @JaimeLlinaresT