Mongolia confident of resolving Oyu Tolgoi disputes by year-end

|By:, SA News Editor

A top official in Mongolia's mining ministry is confident the government can resolve disputes with Rio Tinto (RIO -0.4%) over the $5B expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine by Dec. 31, the deadline for sealing financing for the project.

While key issues remain to be resolved, progress was made in last weekend's talks, and the government would be willing to tackle some of its minor concerns after work resumes on the underground mine, the official says.

The expansion is vital to Mongolia as it is expected to boost the economy by a third by 2020 and is key to Rio's effort to ease its dependence on iron ore; Rio's Turquoise Hill (TRQ -0.9%) unit owns a 66% stake in the mine.