Timeline of events

The timeline section shows you an overview of the most important events from 1990 – 2020. You can filter the events by theme (e.g. ‘Economy’) by clicking on one of the square buttons below. Click on an event title for more details and references.

January 1990

Democratic revolution of 1990

The revolution started with demonstrations to overthrow the Mongolian People’s Republic and to support the writing of the new constitution.

March 1990

Foreign Investment Law

Legislation was introduced to provide a framework for foreign investment. Amendments to this law took place in 1993, 1998, 2002 and 2013.

February 1991

Member of IMF & World Bank

Mongolia becomes a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the Asian development Bank (ADB). It joins the International Monetary..Read more

May 1991

New legislation passed

New legislation passed: law on economic entities and Law of Mongolia on privatisation, new banking law and banking system. These laws enabled the transition of..Read more

January 1992
January 1993

Second World Bank project

USD 20 million for an ‘economic transition project ’[1] that guides Mongolia from a state-economy to an open market.

May 1993

Amended Foreign Investment Law is passed

The amendment encourages foreign investment and protects the rights and property of foreign investors in Mongolia[1], removing restrictions on profit transfers, exemption from customs duties..Read more

January 1996

Third World Bank project

Mongolia receives USD 35 million for a coal project.

January 1996

BHP finds copper deposit at Oyu Tolgoi

BHP Minerals International Exploration Inc. obtains licenses to explore for copper and gold in the South Gobi Desert and finds porphyry copper deposits at Oyu..Read more

January 1997

Mongolia joins WTO and IMF loan facility agreed

The third IMF loan facility is agreed upon after Mongolia joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO)[1].

June 1997

Mineral Law of 1997

This Mineral law, developed with support from the World Bank, passes and provides lax regulations on obtaining exploration licenses and promotes private sector participation and..Read more

January 1999

Ivanhoe Mines becomes involved

Mining company Ivanhoe Mines signs an option agreement with BHP and in May 2000 Ivanhoe Mines secures 98% of the Oyu Tolgoi exploration license[1].

July 2001

Ivanhoe Mines discovers extent of deposits

Ivanhoe Mines drills hole ‘OTD-150’ and confirms the extent of high grade copper and gold deposits, and for the first time indicates the scale of..Read more

September 2001
January 2002

Ivanhoe Mines acquires 100% of Oyu Tolgoi

In 2002 Ivanhoe Mines acquires 98% from BHP and acquires the last 2% in November 2003[1]. Negotiations start with the Government of Mongolia.

January 2004

Ivanhoe Mines joins Entrée Gold

This given Ivanhoe mines access to another 40,000 hectares that lies next to its Oyu Tolgoi field[1].

May 2006

Windfall Profits Tax passes

The Mongolian government passes a 68% “Windfall profits” tax, the highest in the world, on copper in excess of USD 2600/tonne and gold USD500/ounce[1]. The..Read more

July 2006

New Mining Law

This law allows the Mongolian government to “acquire up to 34% of ‘strategic mineral deposits that were discovered in privately financed explorations and up to..Read more

October 2006

Ivanhoe Mines signs strategic partnership with Rio Tinto

The two mining corporations form a strategic partnership for the construction and operation of Oyu Tolgoi. [1] Rio Tinto negotiates an exit clause in case..Read more

January 2007

National Development Strategy

Millennium development goals-based comprehensive national development strategy of Mongolia[1]. Aspiration to be a middle-income country by 2021, with an industrialised knowledge based economy and high..Read more

June 2007

Initial Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement

The negotiation of an agreement results in a draft OTIA is approved by cabinet in June, but it is subsequently stalled by President Enkhbayar, who..Read more

January 2008

Global financial crisis

The 2008 financial crisis hits Mongolia as food prices go up and copper prices go down.

July 2008

Elections and demonstrations

The 2008 elections were accompanied by demonstrations, which were met with a four day State of Emergency, resulting in 4 dead and 300 imprisoned.

September 2008

Negotiations on OTIA continue

The impact of the global financial crisis on the Mongolian economy, weakening not only the Mongolian economy but also Mongolian negotiating power, forces the government..Read more

October 2008

World Bank Mining project approved

The 4th World Bank project is formally approved, after an Economic Policy Conference that is jointly organised by the World Bank and the government of..Read more

May 2009

Presidential elections

Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj is elected (Democratic Party).

June 2009

World Bank Policy Development Credit

Mongolia receives Development Policy credit worth USD 40 million, as a response to the economic downturn and the dramatic fall of commodity prices.[1]

July 2009

Ivanhoe-Entree joint venture expands

Ivanhoe’s deep exploration drilling on the Ivanhoe-Entree licence finds high-grade copper and gold presence, resulting in the discovery of the Heruga Deposit and the Heruga..Read more

August 2009

Windfall Profits Tax on copper and gold is repealed

Ivanhoe and Rio Tinto successfully negotiate that the Mongolian Parliament repeals the Windfall Profits Tax of 68%, so the Oyu Tolgoi project can proceed. Along..Read more

October 2009

Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement is signed

The Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement[1] is signed by Rio Tinto, Ivanhoe Mines and the Mongolian government. It lasts for 30 years with a possible additional..Read more

December 2010

Rio Tinto gets rights over OT mine in exchange for financing

Rio Tinto becomes the operator of Oyu Tolgoi and with Ivanhoe seeks to complete an international project-finance package of up to USD 3.6 billion.

December 2010

World Bank Policy Development Credit

Mongolia receives the second World Bank Development Policy credit worth USD 29,7 million

December 2010

Phase 1 of OT open pit construction begins

The first phase of Oyu Tolgoi open pit construction begins[1].

February 2011

Global copper prices peak

Mongolia experiences a mining boom. Global copper prices peak.[1] The copper prices reach USD 4.50/lb in April 2011. In January 2009 this was still USD..Read more

March 2011

Mongolia cancels its tax treaty with the Netherlands

Turquoise Hill Netherlands is a little-known Amsterdam-based company with three employees, no office, and not even its own mailbox. To the government of Mongolia, though,..Read more

April 2011

Mongolian economy fastest growing in the world

Mongolia experiences 17.3% GDP growth,[1] making it the economically fastest growing country in the world.[2]

April 2011

World Bank provides mining support

The World Bank provides Mongolia with a Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project worth USD 25 million.[1]

May 2011

Oyu Tolgoi shareholders agreement signed

An ‘Amended and Restated Shareholders Agreement’ (ARSHA) is signed by Erdenes, Ivanhoe Oyu Tolgoi, Oyu Tolgoi Netherlands B.V., and Oyu Tolgoi LLC (formerly known as..Read more

December 2011

Rio Tinto wins arbitration case about take-over

Rio Tinto wins in an arbitration case from Ivanhoe Mines, which tried to prevent a Rio Tinto take-over.

March 2012

World Bank governance project

The World Bank provides a ‘Strengthening Governance Credit’ worth USD 1,2 million.[1]

May 2012

New Foreign Investment Law passed

The ‘Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law’ (SEFIL) / ‘Business Entities Operating in Sectors of Strategic Importance’ is passed. This law limits foreign investment and ownership..Read more

June 2012

Legislative elections

The Democratic Party wins the elections for the Mongolian parliament (State Great Khural) with 35% of the cast votes.

August 2012
Rio Tinto acquires a majority stake in Ivanhoe Mines

Rio Tinto acquires a majority stake in Ivanhoe Mines

As Rio Tinto acquires a majority stake in Ivanhoe Mines in January 2012,[1] the name of Ivanhoe Mines is changed into Turquoise Hills Resources (TRQ)..Read more

October 2012

Mongolia tries to amend the 2009 Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement

Mongolia aims to raise the government stake in the Oyu Tolgoi mine from 34% to at least 40%, change the set royalty rate of 5%..Read more

February 2013

President openly questions Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement

President Elbegdorj questions the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement (OTIA) in a speech, and raises the question about the need for its revision, so that export..Read more

March 2013

Rio Tinto suspends the USD 5.3 billion Oyu Tolgoi expansion

In response to a possible tax increase, dispute over costs, and increasing political will to renegotiate the Investment Agreement, Rio Tinto halts Oyu Tolgoi operations..Read more

June 2013

Presidential elections

Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj is re-elected (Democratic Party).

November 2013

The Investment Law of Mongolia passes

This new Investment Law reverses the 2012 Investment Law (SEFIL), provides foreign investors with the same protections as domestic investors, and eases regulatory approval requirements..Read more

January 2014

Mongolia adopts the Minerals Policy

Otherwise known as “The Policy,” this new policy on the minerals sector serves as a framework for further amendments to the existing mining law and..Read more

August 2014

Agreement signed to provide Oyu Tolgoi with power from Tavan Tolgoi

An agreement is signed between the IFC, the ERBD-financed Oyu Tolgoi LLC, and the Mongolian government for the purchase of power domestically, as well as..Read more

April 2015

Mongolian currency continues to weaken

The Mongolian currency (tugrik) has weakened nearly 40% against the US Dollar since 2013[1] [1] https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2015/cr15109.pdf retrieved 7 September 2018

May 2015

‘Dubai Agreement’ on Oyu Tolgoi phase 2 is signed

The finance agreement for a USD 4.4 billion underground expansion of the OT mine (OTUMDFP) is signed in Dubai. Not only is it largely publicly..Read more

January 2016

Mongolia’s debt nears 80% of GDP

Mongolia’s national debt is nearly 80% of its GDP[1] 

January 2016

Phase 2 of Oyu Tolgoi construction is projected to begin

This phase includes the Hugo North lift 1 underground mine and the Southern OT open pit[1]

June 2016

Legislative elections

Mongolian People’s party wins the Mongolian State Great Khural elections with a landslide result: 46% of the votes.

February 2017

IMF and Mongolia agree upon a 6th loan facility

The IMF agrees with Mongolia on a USD 434 million three year Extended Fund Facility (EFF), which is part of the larger USD 5.5 billion..Read more

April 2017

Banking Regulation

Mongolia puts in place a new Banking regulation: obligation to use local bank services. The law requires all foreign multinationals to use local commercial banks..Read more

May 2017

Rio Tinto responds to new regulation and taxes

Rio Tinto files a complaint against the IMF, which consequently delays the release of the first IMF bailout payments[1]

May 2017

Mongolia reverses its stance on the banking regulation

In response to Rio Tinto and IMF, the government of Mongolia retracts its banking regulation.

May 2017

IMF approves 6th loan facility

After the government of Mongolia has retracted the banking conditions the IMF Executive Board on May 24th approves Mongolia’s 6th loan facility. [1]

June 2017

Presidential elections

Khaltmaagiin Battulga (Democratic party) is elected.

June 2017
Entrée / Oyu Tolgoi Joint Venture construction begins

Entrée / Oyu Tolgoi Joint Venture construction begins

The Joint project includes the Hugo North Extension and Heruga deposits. Rio Tinto is managing the construction. [1]

June 2017

Rio Tinto / TRQ embark on new mining area

TRQ and Rio Tinto have acquired a license to start a drilling programme for fields unrelated to Oyu Tolgoi.

January 2018

TRQ faces a USD 155 million Mongolian tax bill

Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) receives a USD 155 million tax bill from the Mongolian Tax Authority, as a result of a tax audit covering 2013..Read more

January 2018
Publication of SOMO report ‘Mining Taxes’

Publication of SOMO report ‘Mining Taxes’

The publication “Mining taxes” explains how the mining giant Rio Tinto, and its Canadian subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources, avoided nearly $470 million in Canadian taxes..Read more

February 2018

Major shareholder questions governance structure

Majority shareholder Sailingstone Capital demands more transparent corporate governance, questioning the independence of TRQ management from majority shareholder and operator Rio Tinto. Shareholders receive little..Read more

April 2018

3 ministers accused of corruption

Former Mongolian finance minister Bayartsogt Sangajav is arrested early April by Mongolia’s Independent Agency Against Corruption. This happens after a Swiss federal court ruled legitimate..Read more

April 2018

Rio Tinto under fire from shareholders during Annual General Meeting

Simon Thompson, chair of Rio Tinto on 26 November 2018: “We do face some intractable problems, including our reliance on coal-fired power in Mongolia and..Read more

December 2018

Power agreement signed on Tavan Tolgoi

The Power Source Framework Agreement is signed between the government  and Oyu Tolgoi LLC, in order to develop Tavan Tolgoi Power plant. Tavan Tolgoi, the..Read more

April 2019

Parliamentary Working Group recommends revision of Investment Agreements

The parliamentary Working Group appointed to review the implementation of the Investment Agreement, submits a report to the National Security Council in March. It recommends..Read more

May 2019

Shareholders vote against re-election of TRQ Board

Shareholders reject the re-election of board members supported by Rio Tinto and blame Rio Tinto for delays, as shares value drop by 44%.[1]

July 2019

Rio Tinto announces further delays of production

Rio Tinto announces that production is projected to start at least a year later than expected (between May 2022 and June 2023), and subsequent costs..Read more

November 2019
Mongolian Parliament votes to revise Oyu Tolgoi

Mongolian Parliament votes to revise Oyu Tolgoi

The parliament voted to replacing the 34% interest with a special royalty and to bring forward the date to receive dividends from the mine, currently..Read more

February 2020

Rio Tinto posts biggest profit in eight years

Rio Tinto announces its biggest profit since 2011, on the back of booming iron ore prices.