DENVER, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is continuing talks to develop the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine as the Mongolian government has indicated mining remained important to the Central Asian nation, the company’s executive chairman said on Tuesday.
Canada-based Ivanhoe and its partner Rio Tinto (RIO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed to a draft investment agreement last year that would give the government a 34 percent stake in Oyu Tolgoi and clear the way for development of the mine.
But the deal was withdrawn earlier this year by the government amid opposition from small populist parties in the coalition government.
“I think the nature of the dialogue between Rio Tinto, Ivanhoe and the Mongolian government will stand the test of time. And I’d rather mine there than anywhere that I can think of,” Ivanhoe’s Executive Chairman Robert Friedland told the Denver Gold Forum in a presentation.
Friedland said that the Mongolian government indicated on Sept. 3 that mining was key to the country’s development and it had cited the Oyu Tolgoi project as an example.
The Oyu Tolgoi project contains a massive reserve of 40.68 billion lbs of copper and 20.97 million ounces of gold on a total measured and indicated basis, Ivanhoe said. (Editing by Marguerita Choy)