TORONTO/LONDON, March 8 Mongolia said it has no
plans to change the size of its stake in the massive Oyu Tolgoi
copper mine, although it is seeking to boost exploration as it
works to bolster its finances following an IMF-led loan deal.
Oyu Tolgoi is jointly owned by the government of Mongolia
(34 percent) and Turquoise Hill Resources (66 percent),
which in turn is 51 percent-owned by mine operator Rio Tinto.
Industry insiders say there is a logic in Mongolia selling
down its relatively large state holding, while Rio's stake is
relatively small given that it is operator.
Asked whether Mongolia might sell some of its stake, the
mining minister said there were no plans for any change for now.
"Our ministry has to find out all possible options that are
good for Mongolia and within that framework we are researching
all possibilities. But currently, there is no such plan, but it
is something that we can watch," Mongolia mining and industry
minister Dashdorj Tsedev told Reuters on the sidelines of a
conference in Toronto.
Rio Tinto declined to comment.
Geologists and mining executives see Mongolia as one of the
world's best copper prospects and some are hoping to find
another Oyu Tolgoi.
Also this week, the mining and industry minister said
Mongolia aimed to double the amount of land available for
exploration and the country hoped to build a copper smelting
(Reporting by Susan Taylor in Toronto and Barbara Lewis in
London, editing by David Evans)