Turquoise Hills profit jumps 41% on higher production

Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia. (Image courtesy of Rio Tinto)

Canada’s Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd posted a 41.4% rise in quarterly profit on Monday, helped by higher copper prices and increased production of copper and gold at its Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia.

The results come a week after Chief Executive Officer Ulf Quellmann resigned amid a protracted dispute between the company and its top shareholder, Rio Tinto, over funding for the underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine.

Mongolia had sought an agreement with Rio to cancel the deal underpinning the mine’s underground expansion, saying rising costs and project delays had eroded the expected benefits.

Oyu Tolgoi is one of the world’s largest copper-gold-silver mines. Rio owns 51% of Turquoise Hill, which in turn owns 66% of the mine. The rest of the mine is owned by government of Mongolia.

Copper production rose 26.4% to 41.6 thousand tonnes in the fourth quarter, while gold production surged 266.7% to 88 thousand ounces.

Rio Tinto-controlled Turquoise Hill said income attributable to owners of the company was $159.9 million, or 79 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with $113.1 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier.

(By Arunima Kumar and Praveen Paramasivam; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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