Oyu Tolgoi to be one of most water efficient mines in the world

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Ganzorig Tsend
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Aquifer preserves local water - 70km purpose-built pipeline built

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia ( – New studies by water experts at Oyu Tolgoi have confirmed that the mine will be one of the most water-conservative mines in the world, recycling 100 per cent of domestic waste water, and 80 per cent of processing water.

Oyu Tolgoi is taking its water from the Gunii Hooloi aquifer – this is non-drinkable water that is separate from local water supplies for households and animals. Oyu Tolgoi has just completed a 70km pipeline to deliver that water.

Oyu Tolgoi is only allowed to use approximately 20 per cent (870l per second) of the water from Gunii Hooloi, so the aquifer can never be exhausted.

Oyu Tolgoi CEO Cameron McRae said that Oyu Tolgoi was going ‘above and beyond’ what was required by law in order to ensure that water resources were properly conserved.

“What we are doing in the South Gobi is setting new standards for water engineering. We are sourcing our water from an underground aquifer that is entirely separate from existing supplies, and then transporting it 70km along a buried pipeline so that it does not disturb the biodiversity of the region:” he said.

“This huge effort demonstrates our determination not to take any of the water from the existing supplies – indeed we have committed to zero impact on community water sources:” said McRae.

Oyu Tolgoi only uses water in full accordance with all related legal requirements, including ensuring that all related professional hydrogeological assessments, environmental impact assessments and all related soum, aimag and national approvals have been obtained. Oyu Tolgoi accurately measures and pays for all water that is used.

About Oyu Tolgoi

Oyu Tolgoi LLC is Mongolia’s largest copper and gold mining company and is a strategic partnership between the Government of Mongolia, Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto is the major shareholder in Ivanhoe Mines and the manager of the Oyu Tolgoi project. In addition to dividends from its stake in Oyu Tolgoi, the Government of Mongolia will receive taxes and royalties.

Oyu Tolgoi, located in the Gobi desert in southern Mongolia, will be one of the largest and highest-grade copper and gold mines in the world. It is the largest project ever developed in Mongolia, requiring a capital investment for phase one of more than US$6 billion.

Oyu Tolgoi is committed to contributing to a sustainable future for Mongolia. At least 9 out of 10 employees will be Mongolian once the mine is in production and Oyu Tolgoi is investing US$85 million dollars (110 billion MNT) in training.

Oyu Tolgoi’s key priorities are the health and safety of employees, best-practice environmental management, contributing to sustainable communities and always doing business with integrity, for the benefit of all the project’s shareholders and the people of Mongolia.

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About Oyu Tolgoi LLC (

Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Mongolia's largest copper and gold mining company, is a strategic partnership between the Government of Mongolia, Turquoise Hill Resources and Rio Tinto. Located in the South Gobi, Oyu Tolgoi commenced shipment of product to customers in July 2013. Oyu Tolgoi is managed by Rio Tinto, which is investing global expertise and cutting-edge technology to help develop Mongolia’s mining industry and ensure Oyu Tolgoi is one of the world’s most advanced mines. For Oyu Tolgoi, nothing matters more than safety. The business operates under the principle that if a job cannot be done safely, it will not be done at all.

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