Oyu Tolgoi begins sourcing power locally

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One of the world's largest copper-gold mines, Oyu Tolgoi, has started supplying power for some facilities from the Mongolian central region energy system, reported the Ministry of Energy last Friday.

In particular, sub power stations in Mandal soum and at Tavan Tolgoi and Oyu Tolgoi mines shifted to normal operating regime on August 20, allowing the Oyu Tolgoi project, based in Khanbogd soum of Umnugovi Province, to source power locally.

Since the project commenced in 2013, Oyu Tolgoi has been using power imported from China. Within the objective to secure a long-term domestic power supply for the mine and underground project, authorities have finished building three substations and an overhead power line.

As of August 20, Oyu Tolgoi is getting 1.33 megawatts from local power sources, which is equal to merely 1 percent of its total power consumption. The ministry reported that it is working to improve current power transmission network and gradually increase power supply to Oyu Tolgoi. The ministry’s energy plan is estimated to supply 40 megawatts of power when completed.

Oyu Tolgoi has been seeking an alternative for its power supply, currency sourced from Inner Mongolia, China. In late June this year, the government signed a tripartite agreement on the preferred domestic power solution for the Oyu Tolgoi project with Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill, which own 66 percent of the multibillion-dollar project.

Under the agreement, sides will build a 300 megawatts coal-fired power plant approximately 150 kilometers from the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Tsogttsetsii soum of Umnugovi Province, with construction scheduled to start no later than July 2021 and commissioning before 2025. The Mongolian sides will cover the total cost of 1 billion USD. The three parties are now finalizing a power purchase agreement, which is expected to be complete by the end of March 2021.

Dulguun Bayarsaikhan