Oyu Tolgoi has signed an agreement with a Chinese power company for the supply of electricity to the nearly-completed copper and gold mine in Mongolia. Within the next few weeks, Oyu Tolgoi will start a seven-week commissioning of the ore-processing equipment. First concentrate production will follow within a month and the commencement of commercial production is expected three to five months thereafter.

“This agreement means we are on track to bring the first phase of the world-class Oyu Tolgoi mine into production in the first half of 2013. When fully developed it will be a top-five copper producer with significant gold production,” said Rio Tinto Copper Chief Executive Andrew Harding. “Rio Tinto and its partners have invested almost $6 billion in this vast project, completing it in only 28 months. We have trained and employed thousands of Mongolians and Oyu Tolgoi will be a vital contributor to Mongolia’s economic development.”

Oyu Tolgoi has built a power line from the mine to the town of Khanbogd, which will provide the community with access to around-the-clock electricity for the first time.