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Mongolia – Citizens Vote ‘No’ To Austerity.

11 February, 2015

 

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Mongolia – Energy & Project Finance
 

A vote against austerity measures in Mongolia is likely to allow the government to progress with major mining projects, including that at Oyu Tolgoi, according to reports. 

 

Mongolian citizens voted for investment in a referendum on austerity measures, a move that will allow Mongolia’s new prime minister, Chimed Saikhanbileg, to move ahead on major mining projects according to his spokesman, Reuters reported. The poll specifically mentioned the Oyu Tolgoi mine.

 

Out of 302,008 votes, 56.1% supported further development, including Oyu Tolgoi, a gold and copper mine, while 43.9% were in favour of “strengthening economic discipline”, Reuters said. The ballot itself was a text-message based referendum.

 

The Oyu Tolgoi project is one of the world’s largest copper deposits and the biggest mine in the country, but has suffered repeated delays. The mine is being developed by Rio Tinto and owned jointly by its Turquoise Hill Resources unit and the Mongolian government.

 

Since the text vote took place, the Mongolian government has proposed plans to swap its equity stake in the Oyu Tolgoi mining company for increased royalties, in an attempt to move forward the expansion of the mine.

 

Mining expert Kate Terry of Pinsent Masons, said that that Oyu Tolgoi mine will lay important foundations for the future success of the mining industry in Mongolia and, in turn, the development of its wider economy. 

 

“So it is important the government gets it right,” Kate Terry said. “It has always tried to balance the interests of its country and people with the need for foreign investment, which so far seems to have been to the detriment of progress and investor confidence. The text vote may have been a bit of a publicity stunt, but it could be a useful one if it gives the government an excuse to implement plans to help move the industry forward.”

 

Pinsent Masons

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Richard Laudy, Partner, Pinsent Masons

[email protected]

 

Nick Ogden, Partner, Pinsent Masons

[email protected]

 

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