EBRD says arranges $1.2 bln syndicated loan for Mongolian mine

Dec 15 Development bank EBRD said on Tuesday it had arranged its biggest ever syndicated loan, a $1.2 billion facility that will contribute towards an overall $4.4 billion package of financing for Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.
The overall financing deal was announced earlier in the day by mining giant Rio Tinto, for which the Mongolian mine is one of three big growth projects it is working on in the face of a commodity price downturn.
The project is 66 percent owned by Rio's Turquoise Hill arm and 34 percent owned by the Mongolian government.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said in a statement that $400 million of the syndicated loan would be provided on its own account, while the rest would come from 15 commercial and development banks.
The $400 million loan is also one of the biggest in the bank's history, a bank spokeswoman said.
Set up initially to invest in eastern Europe's ex-communist states, the EBRD started operating in Mongolia in 2006. Since then it has committed over $1 billion to the country's economy, it said.
The EBRD has been criticised in the past for lending to big fossil fuel and mining projects.
But it said in its statement that "once fully operational, the underground mine is expected to provide for up to a third of Mongolia's gross domestic product and contribute to rising standards of living in the country". (Reporting by Sujata Rao, editing by Estelle Shirbon)



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