Rio Tinto subsidiary multinational mining company Turquoise Hill Resources said that the Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold mine, in Mongolia, has achieved significant underground development milestones with the completed sinking of two shafts this year.
Oyu Tolgoi, one of the world’s largest new copper/gold mines, is located in the South Gobi region of Mongolia, about 550 km south of the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and 80 km north of the Mongolia-China border.
The mine is jointly owned by the Mongolian government and Turquoise Hill Resources, which is focused on copper, gold and coal mines in the Asia Pacific region. Turquoise Hill is 51%-owned by Rio Tinto.
Sinking of Shaft 5 has been completed to a final depth of 1 178 m.
During the fourth quarter of last year, installation of the shaft exhaust fan began and is on target to be finished in the early second quarter of this year.
Turquoise Hill CEO Jeff Tygesen has noted in a press statement in March that “underground development momentum continues to progress with the completed sinking of Shaft 5. Each milestone achieved takes Oyu Tolgoi closer to becoming the world’s third largest copper mine”.
Shaft 5 is 6.7 m in diameter and will be dedicated to ventilation, thereby increasing the capacity for underground activities.
Shaft 2 Developments
Mining contractors and engineers Redpath Group, along with Mongolian company Hasu Megawatt, through their joint venture company, Dayan Contract Mining (DCM), has reached the bottom of Shaft 2 at Oyu Tolgoi, the company noted in a statement in February.
The sinking of the shaft, which is now 10 m in diameter and 1 284 m deep, was completed in January. According to Turquoise Hill, the fit-out is expected over the course of 2018.
DCM blasted the last bench on January 13, after a lengthy shaft sinking programme that endured several prolonged work shutdowns at the project.
Oyu Tolgoi’s Shaft 2 is a combined skipping and service shaft that will support the early development and extraction activities at the South Hugo Dummett block cave mine.
DCM employed about 200 Mongolian nationals to make up 75% of the shaft workforce to complete the construction project. In addition to shaft sinking efforts, nearly 135 000 m3 of mass excavation has been completed to support the high tonnage installations yet to be completed.
The DCM team is currently focusing on the installation of the 7.2-m-diameter production friction hoist and 6.75-m-diameter service hoist installation atop the concrete headframe, concurrent with shaft outfitting efforts. Once complete, this installation will be one of the largest of its kind in the world, capable of hoisting 30 000 t/d of rock, and transporting people through the 24.3 m2 service cage.
Having performed work in more than 30 countries since 1962, the Redpath Group provides comprehensive services and experienced mine development with an international team of highly skilled professionals committed to safety and quality. The company is renowned for meeting all challenges and delivering practical, innovative solutions.
Regional offices are located on six continents: in Brisbane and Perth, in Australia; in North Bay, Red Lake, Rouyn-Noranda and Sudbury, in Canada; in Santiago, Chile; in Dortmund, Germany; in Jakarta and Tembagapura, in Indonesia; in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; in Johannesburg, South Africa; in Lusaka, Zambia; and in Reno, in the US.
In Africa, Redpath has been involved in projects in Burkina Faso, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.