The State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia approved a resolution that gives the Government the power to sign the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) draft agreement.
The decision was made during Parliament’s general debate session on Thursday afternoon. It came shortly after the Standing Committee on Budgets unanimously disagreed with giving tax holidays to Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto – the developers of the OT Project.
The majority of parliamentary members at the session at a vote of 39 to 6 decided that the tax waive issue should be considered a significant part of the deal. The Parliament’s Standing Committees for Economics and Budgetary Affairs reconvened in the afternoon.
Along with the draft investment agreement on OT, there are some draft amendments to certain laws, including on taxation, minerals, and road infrastructures, that needed to be reviewed.
Some of the members, represented by both the DP and MPRP parties opposed the OT investment agreement, citing the change of a different investor being selected after the Rio Tinto contract with Ivanhoe expires in October.
Chinese detentions of the Australian company’s senior mining executives was discussed at the debate as Mongolian lawmakers heralded it as a “big signal”.
Whether China or Rio Tinto would be involved in the future of OT was a question some Mongolian parliamentarians expressed during the debate session.
Minister of Minerals and Energy D.Zorigt said that Rio Tinto has little possibility to keep investing in Oyu Tolgoi project if its agreement is delayed again or terms of the agreement are changed.
“I cannot say who would be sitting behind the negotiation table,” he said. “Would Rio Tinto remain or Ivanhoe Mines comes up on its own?”
Mongolian Parliament Powers Government to Sign Oyu Tolgoi Deal
The UB Post's July 17 front page story: