Mining Weekly reported that Ivanhoe Mines continued to focus its exploration efforts in Mongolia and Australia, while its subsidiary SouthGobi Energy Resources sold USD 3.5 million of coal from its Ovoot Tolgoi project in southern Mongolia during the Q1 of the year.
Vancouver based Ivanhoe reported that its 80% owned subsidiary had sold about 127 000 tonnes of coal from the Ovoot Tolgoi project but said that its sales during the quarter ended March 31st 2009 had been impacted on by difficulties in expediting the movement of its coal shipments across the Mongolia China border.
The company in a statement said that the Ceke border crossing had during January and February, operated only for limited hours and only 5 days a week, which had limited the volume of coal SouthGobi could sell to its customers in China. Subsequently, the mine had been shut down in February although crews had continued to load stockpiled coal into customers’ trucks.
The border crossing had in March started operating for 8 hours a day and 7 days a week, allowing SouthGobi to ship more than 115 000 tonnes of coal.
The company expected mining at Ovoot Tolgoi to resume in the near future, should the border crossing stay open for more hours a day.
Ivanhoe said that a second fleet of coal mining equipment had also been ordered for the expansion of the mine. The fleet would be commissioned in September. Meanwhile, Ivanhoe Mines had progressed its Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold project, in Mongolia, to a stage where construction could start once an investment agreement for the project was finalized.
As per report, Ivanhoe, Rio Tinto and other negotiators had agreed to a draft investment agreement but it is still subject to a parliamentary review by the Mongolian government, which is under way. Meanwhile the company’s 83% owned subsidiary, Ivanhoe Australia, continued exploration on its key projects in Australia.