MONTREAL, March 16, 2020 /CNW/ - Since January, the movement of goods and people within Mongolia has been restricted within and across its borders to prevent the spreading of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Following the first positive test for COVID-19 in Mongolia on March 10 2020, the Government of Mongolia increased its restrictions on flights in and out of the country and on the movement of goods and people within and across its borders. Oyu Tolgoi LLC is complying with all of these directives and is working closely with the Mongolian authorities to prioritize the health and safety of all its employees and the wider community.
During this time of heightened uncertainty, the Oyu Tolgoi Business Resilience Team is meeting on a daily basis and taking a considered and risk-based approach to managing our response and actions for the prevention of COVID-19. As part of a range of broader measures, we have temperature and health screenings in place, and a dedicated hotline for employees who are on or off site to call in for advice or information sharing.
To assist with the battle against COVID-19, Oyu Tolgoi LLC has donated MNT100 million to the Government of Mongolia, and through the Oyu Tolgoi-sponsored Gobi Oyu Development Support Fund, we further committed MNT200 million to the Umnugovi emergency committee, and MNT10 million to the Khanbogd Emergency Commission for prevention support. We are also sharing our prevention and hygiene controls we have in place with local companies as they prepare to resume their operations and border crossings.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the open pit of the Oyu Tolgoi mine continues to operate and deliver shipments of copper concentrate to its customers across the border.
Work on the underground project continues, however there is restricted access for teams from Oyu Tolgoi, Rio Tinto and our construction partners to oversee development and provide specialist technical services. The availability of specialist service providers at the site is essential to safely continue work on technical activities including but not limited to such projects as the headframe commissioning of Shafts 3 and 4.
The full impact of the slowdown on the underground project is unknown at this time and the company will update the market once more information is available. The mine plan for the Underground Project currently remains on track to be finalized in the first half of this year, with a definitive estimate to be provided for the development of this world-class orebody in the second half of 2020.
"We fully support the Government of Mongolia's decisive actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19," stated Ulf Quellmann, Turquoise Hill's Chief Executive Officer. "The health and safety of our employees and the wider community is our first priority. We will continue to work with our employees, local communities and the Government of Mongolia to manage the situation."
Certain statements made herein, including statements relating to matters that are not historical facts and statements of the Company's beliefs, intentions and expectations about developments, results and events which will or may occur in the future, constitute "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation and "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements and information relate to future events or future performance, reflect current expectations or beliefs regarding future events and are typically identified by words such as "anticipate", "could", "should", "expect", "seek", "may", "intend", "likely", "plan", "estimate", "will", "believe" and similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or statements regarding an outlook. These include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the potential impact of COVID-19 on the underground development schedule and contracts of the Company, information regarding the timing and amount of production and potential production delays, statements in respect of the impacts of any delays on the Company's cash flows, expected copper and gold grades, liquidity, funding requirements and planning, statements regarding timing and status of underground development, the development options under consideration for the design of the Panel 0 and the related cost and schedule implications, timing and status of the Tavan Tolgoi-based power project, capital and operating cost estimates, timing of completion of the definitive estimate review, mill throughput anticipated business activities, planned expenditures, corporate strategies, and other statements that are not historical facts.
Forward-looking statements and information are made based upon certain assumptions and other important factors that, if untrue, could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements or information. There can be no assurance that such statements or information will prove to be accurate. Such statements and information are based on numerous assumptions regarding present and future business strategies, local and global economic conditions, and the environment in which the Company will operate in the future, including the price of copper, gold and silver and projected gold, copper and silver grades, anticipated capital and operating costs, anticipated future production and cash flows, the anticipated location of certain infrastructure and sequence of mining in Panel 0 and the status of the Company's relationship and interaction with the Government of Mongolia on the continued operation and development of the Oyu Tolgoi mine and Oyu Tolgoi LLC internal governance. Certain important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements and information include, among others, copper; gold and silver price volatility; discrepancies between actual and estimated production, mineral reserves and resources and metallurgical recoveries; development plans for processing resources; the outcome of the definitive estimate review; matters relating to proposed exploration or expansion; mining operational and development risks, including geotechnical risks and ground conditions; litigation risks; regulatory restrictions (including environmental regulatory restrictions and liability); Oyu Tolgoi LLC's ability to deliver a domestic power source for the Oyu Tolgoi project within the required contractual time frame; communications with local stakeholders and community relations; activities, actions or assessments, including tax assessments, by governmental authorities; events or circumstances (including public health crises, strikes, blockages or similar events outside of the Company's control) that may affect the Company's ability to deliver its products in a timely manner; currency fluctuations; the speculative nature of mineral exploration; the global economic climate; dilution; share price volatility; competition; loss of key employees; cyber security incidents; additional funding requirements, including in respect of the development or construction of a long-term domestic power supply for the Oyu Tolgoi project; capital and operating costs, including with respect to the development of additional deposits and processing facilities; and defective title to mineral claims or property. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements and information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. All such forward-looking statements and information are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company's management in light of their experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors management believes are appropriate in the circumstances. These statements, however, are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements or information.
Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information or statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve numerous assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, which contribute to the possibility that the predicted outcomes will not occur. Events or circumstances could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those estimated or projected and expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements are included in the "Risk Factors" section in the Company's Annual Information Form dated as of March 13, 2019 in respect of the year ended December 31, 2018 (the "AIF") as supplemented by our Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019 (MD&A).
Readers are further cautioned that the list of factors enumerated in the "Risk Factors" section of the AIF and in the MD&A that may affect future results is not exhaustive. When relying on the Company's forward-looking statements and information to make decisions with respect to the Company, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events
SOURCE Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.
For further information: Investors and Media, Roy McDowall, + 1 514-848-1506, [email protected], Follow us on Twitter @TurquoiseHillRe