Mongolia sees solution to Oyu Tolgoi dispute before elections

Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:33am EDT
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LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) - Mongolia expects to resolve its differences with Rio Tinto over the $6.2 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine within as little as several weeks and before elections due in June, a senior government official said.

The government and Oyu Tolgoi's owners have been at loggerheads over issues including mine costs and tax, but Ochirbat Chuluunbat, deputy minister for economic development, said on the sidelines of a London conference that he expected differences to be resolved within "a few weeks, months".

"There is no big problem," he said.

Chuluunbat also said Mongolia was seeking to woo back foreign investors after regulatory concerns and uncertainty over key projects prompted a slide in cash coming into its crucial mining sector.

He said the government was preparing a new law on investment, based on legislation seen in Chile, Canada and Australia, that would guarantee stability.

That law, which follows a law on foreign investment in strategic sectors, could be put to parliament by July.