Turquoise Hill Resources announced that the first drawbell for the Hugo North underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi (OT) was scheduled to be fired on June 17. This is ahead of expectations and represents continued progress in terms of caving-related milestones for the underground operations at the OT Complex in Mongolia.

In its first-quarter earnings report, the company said the first drawbell would be fired in the third quarter of 2022 and that was contingent on undercut blasting and other construction-related activities. The undercut development started at the beginning of the year and the material handling system was commissioned during the first quarter. Infrastructure to support the production ramp-up was also progressing, including the conveyor to the surface decline and the transfer station.

At the time, Turquoise Hill thought Panels 1 and 2 would be delayed due to changes to mine plans as well as COVID-19-related work restrictions.