In the first step toward full-year production at one of the world’s biggest copper-gold mines, officials at Rio Tinto-owned Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. have announced state-owned Oyu Tolgoi LLC has approved the Mongolian project’s 2014 operating budget.

Oyu Tolgoi’s 2014 operation is expected to be 150,000 to 175,000 of copper concentrate tons and 700,000 to 750,000 in gold oz concentrates, according to company officials. Operating cash costs, meanwhile, are forecast at $1 billion with capital expenditures at $160 million; of this, $80 million relates to sustaining capital.

During the coming year, Oyu Tolgoi intends to draw down inventory and return to more normal levels of four to six weeks of production. Turquoise Hill officials announced that, on April 17, Rio Tinto signed agreements with 15 commercial banks locking in pricing and terms for project financing.

Rio Tinto has received commitment letter extensions from the commercial banks, now expiring on Q3 2014. Turquoise Hill and Rio Tinto, meanwhile, remain focused on securing project finance with full support from the Mongolian government. A feasibility study is slated for completion by the end of Q2 2014.

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. is an international miner focused on copper, gold and coal mines in the Asia-Pacific. Its primary operation is its 66% interest in the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold-silver mine in southern Mongolia.

On completion, the Oyu Tolgoi project, located in the South Gobi Desert, will represent the largest private sector entity in Mongolian history and will account for 30% of GDP. Turquoise Hill also holds a 56% stake in Mongolian coal miner SouthGobi Resources.