Turquoise Hill reports fourth quarter 2018 production for Oyu Tolgoi, 2019 guidance

Oyu Tolgoi is expected to produce 125,000 to 155,000 tonnes of copper and 180,000 to 220,000 ounces of gold in concentrates this year, Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX: TRQ; NYSE: TRQ) reports.

Last year the Mongolian copper-gold mine produced 159,100 tonnes of copper, up 1.1% from 2017, and 285,000 ounces of gold, up 150% from 2017.

The government of Mongolia owns 34 percent of Oyu Tolgoi with the remainder held by Turquoise Hill Resources, which in turn is 51% owned by Rio Tinto.

The mine, 80 km north of Mongolia’s border with China and roughly 550 km south of the capital, Ulaanbaatar, is one of the world’s largest.

Turquoise Hill says Oyu Tolgoi has the potential to operate for about 100 years from five known mineralized deposits, the first of which (Oyut), went into production as an open pit in 2013. Turquoise Hill expects Oyu Tolgoi will be the world’s third-largest copper producer at peak metal production in 2025

A second deposit, Hugo North (Lift One), is under development as an underground operation and is scheduled to begin sustainable production in 2021. The other three deposits, Hugo North (Lift Two), Hugo South and Heruga, are not yet scheduled for development.

Turquoise Hill expects Oyu Tolgoi will be the world’s third-largest copper producer at peak metal production in 2025.

Turquoise Hill expects average production from 2025 to 2030 to be more than 550,000 tonnes of copper and over 450,000 ounces of gold per year, all from the Oyut open pit and the Hugo North Lift One underground operation.

This year Turquoise Hill says open-pit operations are expected to mine phase four with mill throughput forecast to be about 40 million tonnes. Meanwhile, the company expects underground development will advance 15-16 km.

At the end of 2018, the company signed a power source framework agreement between Oyu Tolgoi and the Mongolian government that provides a binding framework to build a power plant that offers a long-term domestic power solution for the mine.

This article first appeared in The Northern Miner.