Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.
Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Ivanhoe Mines Oyu Tolgoi Copper Mine Construction
In the arid, very remote Gobi Desert in Mongolia, Fluor provided program and construction management to Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. on their $6 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.
This mine represented the largest and perhaps most challenging engineering-construction project in Mongolia, and became one of the world’s largest copper mines when it commenced operations in 2013.
Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto, two of the world's leading mining companies, and the Mongolian Government formed a strategic partnership for construction and operation of the Oyu Tolgoi project. The project consisted of open-pit and underground mines, a copper concentrator, and supporting infrastructure to produce high-quality copper-gold concentrate.
Challenges facing the project team at Oyu Tolgoi included operating at 3,800 feet, extreme weather, and limited access to essential utilities and services. The Gobi Desert presented a brutally harsh environment, with temperatures ranging from -40 C to +45 C. The country is landlocked, with limited access via roads or rail.
The opportunity to positively impact an entire nation for decades to come made the project a rewarding one for all personnel working to build the mine.
The project was co-led by an integrated program management team composed of Fluor and Ivanhoe Mines personnel. The integrated team oversaw all engineering, procurement, and construction management services. Multiple Fluor offices supported the project, including those in Vancouver and Shanghai.
The project, highlighted by the large-scale (100,000 tons per day) copper concentrator, is a significant driver of the Mongolian economy; production began in 2013.
Using Mongolian labor with an infusion of Fluor's safety culture, plus an intern and leadership program in health, safety, environment, and sustainability, the project achieved 10 million construction work hours without a lost-time incident.
The huge scope of the project was addressed utilizing thousands of Chinese craft workers to supplement the limited Mongolian craft labor availability.