Global miner Rio Tinto plans to start exporting copper from the US$6.2-billion Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia on Friday, according to an invitation received by Reuters, marking the opening of a mine that will eventually make up one-third of the country's economy.
Journalists have been invited to attend a ceremony at the mine on June 14 to celebrate the first shipment.
Metals traders are eager to hear if Rio has won official approval to export concentrate from Oyu Tolgoi amid the shortfall in shipments from the crippled Grasberg mine, run by Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold.
If it happens on Friday that would be good although it is a bit disconcerting that Rio Tinto would not comment officially. This is the beginning of a new era in Mongolia as the revenue from the mine pours into the country. The beginning of shipments should help the perception of the country in a positive way but the Mongolians still have a ways to go to repair the damage done last year.
Disclosure: I am long TRQ.