| HBS Case Collection
(Revised May 2014)
Rio Tinto and Mining in Mongolia: The Oyu Tolgoi Deposit
In 2013, Rio Tinto was expected to begin commercial shipments from Oyu Tolgoi, a copper and gold mine in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Oyu Tolgoi was one of the last great unmined deposits in the world, and, once operations were in full swing, was expected to constitute around a tenth of Rio Tinto's profits and over a quarter of Mongolia's GDP. But the terms of the deal were being threatened by elections in Mongolia and a change in voter sentiment towards the project. With around $6 billion invested, Rio Tinto had to figure out how to make its investment work out. Meanwhile the Mongolian government, facing scorching economic growth rates, had to lead the country through its most significant transformation since the time of Ghengis Khan nine centuries earlier.