Thiess wins contract for Rio Tinto’s $5.4b Oyu Tolgoi project

Thiess wins contract for Rio Tinto’s $5.4b Oyu Tolgoi project

The Cimic Group’s mining services branch Thiess has secured a US$130 million contract for Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO) $5.4 billion Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia’s Gobi desert.

The contract will be carried out in a joint venture with local Mongolian contractor Khishing Arvin, and is for an underground decline for the copper and gold development.

Marcelino Fernández Verdes, Cimic executive chairman said: “This project is key to unlocking Oyu Tolgoi’s potential and is a great addition to Thiess’ diverse mining portfolio.”

Thiess’ work is set to begin this month and scheduled to finish in 2020.

The company’s responsibilities will include construction of a box cut and development of twin declines, incorporating a service and conveyor belt.

Michael Wright, Thiess managing director stated: “The combination of our underground development expertise and ability to leverage our experienced Mongolia-based team provides us with the foundations for success.”

Rio Tinto and its partners, the Government of Mongolia and Turquoise Hill Resources approved the next stage of the Oyu Tolgoi mine development in May.

First production from the underground is anticipated in 2020.

Once the production is fully ramped-up in 2027, the mine is expected to produce more than 500,000 tonnes of copper per year.

Oyu Tolgoi is jointly owned by the Government of Mongolia (34%), Turquoise Hill Resources (66%) and Rio Tinto (51%).