The Canadian Press
TORONTO - Stock in Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX:TRQ) was down a little over two per cent Monday amid reports of a dispute with the Mongolian government over it flagship Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine.
Published reports say the dispute is over control and profits from what is slated to be the world's biggest copper mine.
Bloomberg reports that Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj said the country should have more control over the Rio Tinto Group's Oyu Tolgoi project after what the government said was a drastic increase in the cost of the mine.
Rio has a 66 per cent stake in Oyu Tolgoi through its 51 per cent interest in Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill, formerly known as Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. Mongolia has the other 34 per cent stake.
Bloomberg quoted an emailed statement from the government — which gave a summary of a Feb. 1 parliamentary discussion attended by the president — as saying the total cost of the project has jumped to $24.4 billion from the $14.6 billion Rio had earlier estimated.
"It's time for Mongolia to have Mongolian representation on the management team," Elbegdorj told parliament. "It's important that the government takes the Oyu Tolgoi matter into its own hands."
Turquoise Hill did not comment on the report directly, saying "we continue to have on-going discussions with the government of Mongolia on a range of issues."
"With the production of first concentrate last week, we remain on target for the start of commercial operations at Oyu Tolgoi in the first half of this year," it added.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Turquoise Hill shares were down 16 cents, or 2.09 per cent, at $7.51 in afternoon trading Monday.