Groundhog Day For Rio In Mongolia

Renewed Mongolian political discord over the standing of the investment agreements that support Rio Tinto’s $12 billion worth of current and future investment in the Oyu Tolgoi copper bonanza has been dismissed with an unusually undiplomatic reiteration of the brutal facts of commercial life by the Anglo-Australian miner's copper boss.

“Without these agreements we do not have a business case. And we will not have an operation,” Rio’s copper and diamonds chief executive, Arnaud Soirat, told an industry conference in Chile overnight.

The agreements now being questioned include the original 2009 Oyu Tolgoi deal that set the ground rules for investment in the now exhausted open cut and the phased underground development, and the 2015 agreement that secured the $US5.3 billion underground expansion now  under slightly interrupted construction.