MONGOLIA – Oyu Tolgoi will be the world’s next major copper and gold mine if owner IVANHOE MINES LTD. has anything to say about it. An integrated development plan for the project puts annual production at more than 1.0 billion lb of copper and 330,000 oz of gold for at least 35 years.
Development at Oyu Tolgoi is scheduled to occur over a 15-year period, providing for an ultimate mine life that is expected to exceed 40 years. The plan outlines first an initial, large open pit mine developed on the near-surface Southern Oyu deposits; and second the associated infrastructure, such as power supply, and a world-class, underground block caving operation at the Hugo Dummett North and South deposits.
Production would begin in mid-2008 after initial capital costs of US$1.15 billion for the pit and milling complex. Underground development will require another US$232 million. The milling rate is predicted to top 140,000 tonnes/day by year seven, with the commissioning of a second semi-autonomous grinding circuit. Sinking of the 6.7-m-diameter No.1 shaft is to begin shortly. A second, 10-m-diameter shaft is in the engineering stage.
Ivanhoe puts total measured and indicated resources at Oyu Tolgoi at 1.15 billion tonnes with grades of 1.30% Cu and 0.47 g/t Au (1.54% Cu equivalent). There are an additional 1.16 billion tonnes of inferred resources at 1.02% Cu and 0.23 g/t Au.
More details of the proposed development are available at www.Ivanhoe-Mines.com.