The Export-Import Bank of the United States said its directors had authorised a US$500 million loan for development of Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia.
In March, Bloomberg said Rio had secured bank pledges amounting to at least US$3 billion of the US$4 billion project financing it required to fund Oyu Tolgoi, quoting three people familiar with the matter.
Ex-Im Bank’s chairman and president Fred Hochberg said the investment would support 2,000 jobs in the US through the use of American-made products at the mine.
Oyu Tolgoi, which is expected to ship its first copper-gold concentrate next month, is owned 66% by Rio offshoot Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd and 34% by the Mongolian government.
Tensions between the Central Asian country, Rio and Turquoise Hill have heightened following attempts by the government to renegotiate the investment agreement that governs the US$6.6 billion project.
Discussions have continued, but the company said it still expects to ship its first copper-gold concentrate from Oyu Tolgoi by the end of next month.
Ex-Im Bank says it provides financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase US goods and services.