Rio Tinto to lay off 1,700 at Mongolia project
SYDNEY (AFP) - Mining giant Rio Tinto on Thursday said it will lay off up to 1,700 staff at its huge Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia after a more than US$5 billion (S$6.4 billion) expansion was halted.
The project in the Gobi desert, at one of the richest copper deposits in the world, has been years in development but has been hit by a series of last-minute delays due to political wrangling.
Its planned expansion was put on ice last month after the Mongolian government said financing provisionally secured for the underground development needed to be approved by parliament, which is in recess.
"This is a difficult time for everyone at Oyu Tolgoi, but it is especially difficult for those who work on the underground mine," a Rio spokesman said in a statement.