SouthGobi Restarts Output at Mongolia Coal Mine on Outlook

Source: BLOOMBERG
March 22, 2013

SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (SGQ), a Mongolian coal mining company controlled by Rio Tinto Group, will restart production at its Ovoot Tolgoi mine as the outlook for prices improves.

The company plans to produce 3.2 million metric tons of semi-soft coking coal over the remainder of 2013, Vancouver- based SouthGobi said yesterday in a statement.

Production at the mine has been halted since the end of June 2012 after prices and customer purchases declined. SouthGobi’s relations with Mongolia became strained last year after Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. launched an ultimately unsuccessful bid for a stake in the coal producer.

“While a certain amount of volatility remains in the coal markets, signs of improvement justify this restart of operations,” SouthGobi said.

SouthGobi, controlled by Rio’s 51 percent-owned unit Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ), fell 0.5 percent to C$2.09 at the close of trading in Toronto yesterday. The stock has declined 67 percent in the past year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney atebehrmann1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net

Rio Tinto’s Mongolia Mine Said to Get $3.7 Billion From Banks

Source: BLOOMBERG
March 20, 2013

Rio Tinto Group attracted nearly double the $2 billion sought from commercial banks for the Oyu Tolgoi project finance deal, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The Mongolian mine deal has attracted about $3.65 billion from banks, including 11 lenders committing $300 million each, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the transaction isn’t public. Further banks may participate in the loan before it closes next month, they said.

Rio Tinto is seeking about $2 billion of 12-year facilities from banks and a further $2 billion from export credit agencies and international development lenders, people familiar with the deal have said. The boards of International Finance Corp. and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said they granted approval to join the deal last month.

HSBC Holdings Plc, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and Natixis have committed $300 million to the deal, said the people. They join Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., BNP Paribas SA, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Agricole SA, ING Groep NV, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., Societe Generale SA and Standard Chartered Plc in providing the biggest amount, people familiar with the matter said last week.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. and National Australia Bank Ltd. have committed $150 million each, and Nederlandse FMO NV has pledged $50 million, they said.

David Outhwaite, a London-based spokesman for Rio Tinto, declined to comment on the financing.

The bank commitments come amid a tussle for control of the $6.6 billion copper and gold project, Mongolia’s single biggest investment. At full capacity the mine, which is suffering from cost overruns, will account for almost a third of the economy.

The Oyu Tolgoi facility, in the South Gobi desert 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Mongolia’s border with China, is controlled by Rio Tinto through its 51 percent stake in Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ) which holds a 66 percent stake in the project. The Mongolian government owns the remaining 34 percent stake.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Morris in London at smorris39@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Faris Khan at fkhan33@bloomberg.net