We produce iron ore for steel, aluminium for cars and smart phones, copper for wind turbines, diamonds that set the standard for “responsible”, titanium for household products and borates for crops that feed the world.
26/02/20 Annual results
Annual Results 2019 5.00pm Sydney (6.00am London).
We aim to deliver superior returns to our shareholders while safeguarding the environment and meeting our obligations to wider society.
SOUTH GOBI, MONGOLIA
Oyu Tolgoi, in the South Gobi region of Mongolia, is one of the largest known copper and gold deposits in the world. It is also one of the most modern, safe and sustainable operations in the world. When the underground is complete, it will be the world’s third largest copper mine.
Open pit mining began at Oyu Tolgoi in 2011 and the copper concentrator, the largest industrial complex ever built in Mongolia, began processing mined ore into copper concentrate in 2013. Current infrastructure at Oyu Tolgoi will allow the mine to operate for decades to come.
Oyu Tolgoi is jointly owned by the government of Mongolia, which has 34% ownership, and Turquoise Hill Resources, which owns 66%. Rio Tinto owns 50.8% of Turquoise Hill Resources and manages the operation on behalf of the owners.
Entrée Respources also a partners in the business.(red.)
Innovation at Oyu Tolgoi
Most of the value lies deep underground and to reach the ore body we are building a world-class underground mine. It will include a state of the art control room to oversee the operation that will have approximately 200 kilometres of tunnels.
Deepest Reaching 1.3KM
5.5m x 5m
Average Tunnel Height & Width
We will use leading underground mining technology known as block caving to mine the ore body. Block caving is technically complex, but it is also one of the safest and most cost-effective methods of mining ore from deep below the ground as it uses the force of gravity.
Put simply, a void is created under the ore body, which then collapses gradually under its own weight. The ore passes through ‘funnels’ in the rock, known as draw points. A series of lateral tunnels over several levels are used to extract the ore and to haul it for crushing before it is transported to the surface via shaft or conveyor belt.
We have made significant progress on a number of key elements in the construction of the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine during 2019. However, the ground conditions are more challenging than expected and we are reviewing our mine plan and considering a number of mine design options. Delays are not unusual for such a large and complex project and we are focused on finding the right pathway to deliver this high value project.
We have the world’s best underground mining experts working on delivering the revised mine design in the first half of 2020. Once the design has been finalised, we will progress with a definitive estimate of cost and schedule for the project in the second half of 2020.
At Oyu Tolgoi, we are using technology to build a connected mine and keep our people safe. We are installing a wireless network to connect our people and equipment underground with the teams on the surface. All team members have a Personal Location Indicator, which allows us to track their whereabouts, providing critical information during an emergency. Similar sensors allow us to track the location and performance of all equipment and we have real time monitoring of atmospheric conditions. The team in Mongolia are supported by the Rio Tinto Underground Mining Centre, which connects our caving experts in the Brisbane hub with our operations team at Oyu Tolgoi. These groups work together to improve safety and productivity performance by using the vast amount of data being collected.
Global demand for copper is set to grow, driven by urbanisation, industrialisation and increasing requirements for renewable energy: copper plays a key role in electrification and power production. For example, a wind turbine capable of generating a megawatt of power – enough to supply several hundred homes – needs more than three tonnes of copper.
Given its significance to the global copper industry and the likely multi-generational nature of the business, Oyu Tolgoi is being developed with a distinctly long-term view. Guided by Oyu Tolgoi's vision, 'From natural wealth to enduring value, knowledge and skill', the partners and stakeholders involved in the project are focused on delivering a safe and globally competitive copper business that contributes to and facilitates the prosperity of Mongolia.
At full production, the underground mine will produce 95 thousand tonnes of ore each day. This will triple Oyu Tolgoi’s annual production of copper concentrate; making us the world’s third largest copper mine.
Results from a baseline socio-economic study helped us to develop and implement projects that focus on protecting the environment, community health, education, and local livelihoods. Our education and training initiatives includes the construction of colleges as well as scholarships. We have programmes that focus on each of the priority areas, including, for example, a community health programme and a herders' livelihood support programme.
Water is precious in the arid South Gobi region, which receives on average 97 mm of rainfall each year. The way we manage water resources is of great importance to the local Khanbogd herders, whose livelihoods depend on it. Local herders rely on shallow sources of groundwater from springs and wells for their animals.
Oyu Tolgoi is one of the most water-efficient copper mines in the world. Through innovative recycling and conservation practices, our operation uses 0.42 cubic metres of water per tonne of ore processed – significantly below the global average of 1.2 cubic metres of water per tonne for comparable copper businesses. In addition, more than 85% of water used at Oyu Tolgoi is recycled. We also have a policy of zero direct discharge, meaning that no wastewater will be directly released into the environment - all of the water at Oyu Tolgoi is used and reused until it is lost through evaporation.
In addition to our recycling and water conservation practices, we also work with the community to protect the water in boreholes, existing wells and other community water supplies. One way we do this is through a community water-monitoring programme: we monitor the levels and quality of water in herders' hand-dug wells, and local herders make their own water records for comparison. The data has shown there has been no negative impact on the wells from the mine's operations.
Oyu Tolgoi Gold and Copper Project, Mongolia.
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