Mongolian parliament OKs plan to sell 30% of Tavan Tolgoi Mine

(Bloomberg) — Mongolian lawmakers approved a plan to sell up to 30% of the troubled Tavan Tolgoi coal mine in the Gobi desert, the latest attempt to develop what’s anticipated to be massive coking and thermal coal deposits.

The north Asian country’s parliament on Friday voted in favor of an initial public offering in state-owned Erdene Tavan Tolgoi Corp. In a broadly written resolution running about 300 words, the legislation instructed Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa to take "urgent measures" for the construction of a railway and roads related to the project.

A potential IPO is at least the third effort to develop the mine after international partnerships failed in 2011 and 2015. The latter included China Shenhua Energy Co., Japan’s Sumitomo Corp., and Mongolian Mining Corp. investing $4 billion in the mine and a railway for sales to China.

"Based on the quality, a lot of commodity players will be interested," said Munkhjargal Otgon, deputy chief executive officer of Ulaanbaatar-based Golomt Capital.

The Tavan Tolgoi deposit holds 1.8 billion tons of coking coal and 4.6 billion tons of high-quality thermal coal, according to an April 20 presentation by state resources company Erdenes Mongol LLC.

Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi declined to comment.

In addition to the transportation routes, the resolution called for the construction of a power plant at the site, which had been part of Rio Tinto Group’s plans to develop the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine.

(by Terrence Edwards)