Mongolian Government threatens to terminate investment deal for Oyu Tolgoi mine

Mongolia’s Oyu Tolgoi the world’s largest copper-gold-silver mine is expected to produce 480,000 tonnes of copper per year on average from 2028 to 2036 from the open pit and underground, compared with 146,300 tonnes of copper per year in 2019 from the open pit.

Recently, the Mongolian government has threatened to declare the 2009 Oyu Tolgoi mine investment agreement void if an international tax arbitration is not dismissed. The dispute relates to taxes paid by Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Rio Tinto’s unit, between 2013 and 2015.

The miner says Oyu Tolgoi received a tax assessment for about $155 million on January 16, 2018, from the local tax authority, relating to an audit on taxes already imposed and paid by the unit between 2013 and 2015.

Oyu Tolgoi was already at the center of a protracted dispute between Turquoise and its top shareholder, Rio Tinto, over funding for the underground expansion of the mine. Rio claims Oyu Tolgoi paid $4.8 million in January 2018 to settle the unpaid taxes, fines and penalties for items it accepted. The government has now filed its statement of defence together with a counterclaim.

“The company understands that the principal thrust of the Mongolian government claim is to seek the rejection of Oyu Tolgoi’s tax claims in their entirety,” said Turquoise Hill, the Rio-controlled company that operates the mine.

Although it is not a party to that arbitration, Turquoise Hill said on Monday that it understood that the defence and counterclaim included a request that the arbitral tribunal add both the company and a member of the Rio Tinto Group as parties to the arbitration.

Turquoise Hill said it would oppose the request that it be added to the tax arbitration and that it would defend itself against the counterclaim. The capital Ulaanbaatar also threatened in early January to halt the expansion of the mine, arguing that delays and higher-than-expected costs had eroded the economic benefits the country had hoped for. Turquoise Hill resumed shipments to China last month after the Canadian miner declared force majeure on some Chinese contracts last month due to covid-19-led curbs.



Anglo Asian gets 5-year extension approval for Gedabek location, Azerbaijan

Anglo Asian Mining developed Azerbaijan’s first operating gold-copper-silver mine at Gedabek and started to produce gold there in 2009.

The company said the government of Azerbaijan has approved the first of two five-year extensions of the production sharing agreement for its Gedabek contract area.

“I am very pleased to announce that the company has obtained the first of the five-year extensions of the production sharing agreement for the Gedabek contract area, especially as we continue with our exploration programme which has already identified a number of new mineral occurrences including Zafer and Avshancli,” said chief executive Reza Vaziri.

The AIM-listed gold, copper and silver producer said it was also in talks with the government to obtain an extension of the territory of its existing contract areas and for new contract areas in Azerbaijan.

“It is expected these negotiations will be concluded shortly,” Vaziri added.

The company’s main operating location is the Gedabek contract area, a 300 square kilometre area in the Lesser Caucasus mountains of western Azerbaijan.  The Gedabek mine produced 69,000 gold equivalent ounces in 2020.




Talas Gold Mining Complex in Kyrgyzstan launched

The Jerooy deposit located in Talas Region in northwestern Kyrgyzstan has estimated reserves of nearly 90 tonnes of gold and about 25 tonnes of silver.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov took part, via videoconference, in a ceremony to launch the Talas Gold Mining Complex at the Jerooy deposit.

The project, which is being implemented by Russia’s Alliance Group with support from VTB Bank, is among the largest in the history of Russian-Kyrgyzstani economic cooperation in terms of investment volume. The potential level of production at the enterprise is five tonnes of gold a year.

The ceremony to launch the Talas Gold Mining Complex was also attended by President of Alliance Group and President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Russian Platinum Musa Bazhayev, and President and Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board Andrei Kostin.

“The launch of the Talas Gold Mining Complex at the Jerooy deposit is indeed an important project for Russian-Kyrgyzstani economic cooperation and, in general, for the strengthening of partner and allied relations between our nations,” Putin said, who added that “The Talas Gold Mining Complex will employ cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art equipment, including those compliant with all nature conservation regulations and standards. This will allow the production of up to five tonnes of gold per year, efficiently and with no environmental damage.”

According to Putin, the mining complex is creating more than a thousand jobs offering new employment opportunities to the local population. Small and medium-sized enterprises in Talas Region will be able to secure lucrative deals to supply goods and services required by the complex.

“Russian investors intend to provide significant financial support for the social development of Talas Region. The company director already said that a designated foundation was established that will receive up to $2 million every year. Almost half of these funds will be spent on socially significant projects in the region while the rest of the money will be used for subsidised lending to businesses,” Putin said.



Group Eleven Resources gets good results from copper-silver mine in Ireland

Gortdrum is part of the group’s wholly-owned PG West project and two holes were sunk 1 kilometer (km) and 2.2km away from the former mine (mined between 1967 and 1975), along the main mineralizing structure – the “Gortdrum Fault Zone”. Group Eleven Resources Corp has been encouraged by its first exploration drilling at its Gortdrum copper-silver prospect – Ireland’s only modern, commercial-scale, copper mine.

One hole, from a depth of 46.2 metres (m) hit 14.4m of 0.221% copper and 2.1 g/t silver, including 0.80m of 0.620% copper and 4.4 g/t silver. The other, from 32.35m downhole, hit assays including 1.6m of 0.532% copper and 22.3 g/t silver, and 2.9m of 0.151% copper and 0.5 g/t silver.

Bart Jaworski, CEO at Group Eleven, told investors the company had been “pleasantly surprised” at just how extensive and continuous the zone of shallow copper mineralization appears to be.

“We see a lot of scope for a step-change at Gortdrum, given most historic holes were drilled vertically (on very steep structures), very few historic intercepts were assayed for silver and prospective NW-trending splay faults do not appear to have yet been explored,” he said.

This results represent the first drilling at Gortdrum since 1975 and show potentially a series of parallel faults across several hundred metres and a strike of 3km.

“Gortdrum was the first asset acquired by the company and, after being effectively off-the-market for over 40 years previously, it is great to see this prospect finally get the attention it deserves,” said the CEO.

“Gortdrum is integral to our flagship PG West zinc project in the Limerick Basin and is thought to represent the copper-rich ‘roots’ of the zinc prospects in the area.”

The site was mined, via open pit, from late-1967 to mid-1975, producing 38, 000 tonnes of copper and 2.9 million ounces of silver. Around 500,000 tonnes of high-grade copper remain un-mined on the east-end of open pit, at about 100m depth. Exploration drilling ceased in 1975 and the prospect lay dormant for over four decades as a prospecting licence was not reinstated after the mining lease (SML89) expired in 1986. This oversight was identified by Group Eleven in 2014 and the Gortdrum prospecting licenses were awarded in February 2015, the company said.



Adriatic Metals’ silver project in Bosnia got the key approval

Adriatic Metals is focused on the development of the 100%-owned, Vares high-grade silver project in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Bosnia and Herzegovina has issued a positive Record of Decision for the Rupice Environmental Permit (RoD), one of the key approvals required for the issue of the Exploitation Permit, Adriatic Metals announced. The company said that the RoD was received following the submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment, prepared by Adriatic in accordance with the Federal Mining Code, reviewed by a five-member expert committee and presented to a public hearing in August 2020.

CEO and Managing Director Paul Cronin commented, “The receipt of the RoD is another major step forward in the permitting of the Vares project, and when coupled with the recent issuance of the Veovaca Exploitation Permit, clearly demonstrates the team’s ability to permit a mine in BiH. We continue to enjoy the strong support of both our local community in Vares and the government of BiH. We look forward to building this highly profitable mine in Q3-2021, whilst continuing to grow our resources around Vares, and advance our exciting project at Raska. This will be a defining year for our young and ambitious company”.