Turquoise Hill Resources released their 2016 fourth quarter production report on January 16, finishing off a year in which Oyu Tolgoi exceeded both its copper and gold production guidance.
CEO of Turquoise Hill, Jeff Tygesen reported that Oyu Tolgoi performed very well in 2016, running at record levels for material mined and ore treated. “Concentrator performance during the fourth quarter was strong with the highest throughput since production began. Oyu Tolgoi is well-positioned to sustain the 2017 grade challenges,” Tygesen noted.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, Oyu Tolgoi’s concentrator throughput increased 7.4 percent over the third quarter, resulting in a quarterly high with an average daily rate of 106,700 tons. Copper production in the fourth quarter was broadly consistent with the third quarter. Gold production in the fourth quarter increased by 32.4 percent compared to the third quarter, mainly due to the final processing of Phase 2 ore, as explained by Turquoise Hill.
The company also reported on the progress of Oyu Tolgoi’s massive underground development project. They stated that the underground project workforce has grown to 2,000 people. Progress was reported to be made in key areas, including Shafts 2 and 5, and the construction of critical on-site facilities. The company added, “The bulk excavation component for the convey-to-surface work stream was completed. Lateral development rates are progressing well with a further increase expected in 2017 when additional underground crushing capacity is added.”
Turquoise Hill forecasts that Oyu Tolgoi will produce 130,000 to 160,000 tons of copper in concentrates and 100,000 to 140,000 ounces of gold in concentrates in 2017.