The open pit accesses the Southern Oyu deposit, one of three deposits discovered at Oyu Tolgoi. Around 560 people work in 12-hour shifts with a production rate of 100,000 tonnes a day.

Ore is removed from a series of benches which are linked to the top of the pit by a 40 metre wide trench road. Each truck transports around 290 tonnes of excavated soil and ore to the top of the pit where it is stockpiled or sent to the primary crusher. The first ore from Oyu Tolgoi was mined at the open pit in April 2012.

Holes are drilled to take explosive charges.
Explosives are placed and safely detonated, paving way for the excavation.
After blasting, excavators scoop up ore from the loose ground and transport out from the bottom of the open pit.
Ore taken to primary crusher on haul trucks and waste taken to be spread on waste dumps. Oyu Tolgoi has a fleet of 30 giant haul-trucks. These 290-tonne Komatsu machines operate in shifts.
Ore is crushed into to a volleyball size suitable for processing and conveyed to concentrator plant on a 2.7 km conveyer belt.


  • Stripping of the Southern Oyu deposits to prepare for open pit mining began in August 2011.
  • The first ore from Oyu Tolgoi was mined at the open pit in April 2012.
  • The open pit mine will eventually cover an area of 1.5x2.7 km and will be about 650 metres deep.

Equipment used at the open pit

  • 30 Komatsu 930Е-4SЕ trucks are in operation at Oyu Tolgoi.
  • Two Bucyrus 495HR steel cable shovels are in operation at the mine. The Bucyrus 495HR shovel is a highly efficient vehicle with a bucket capacity of 56 cubic metres.