The Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine is a joint venture between Turquoise Hill Resources (which is 50.8 per cent owned by Rio Tinto), and the Mongolian Government.
The Mongolian government has not been satisfied by the result of the joint venture and has concerns that increasing development costs of the Oyu Tolgoi project has eroded the economic benefits it anticipated receiving.
“It is calculated that Mongolia will not receive dividend payments until 2051 and will incur debts of US$22 billion,” said Mongolia’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, Solongoo Bayarsaikhan. “In addition, Oyu Tolgoi is estimated to pay profit taxes or corporate income taxes only in four years until 2051.”
The Mongolian authorities has put forward proposals to coordinate and lower management services received from Rio Tinto and increase Mongolia’s benefits by reducing shareholder loan interest rates.
On December 23, 2020 the Mongolian Tax Authority issued a press release concerning the results of a completed transfer pricing audit of Oyu Tologi LLC.
“The Mongolian Tax Authority has recently completed an audit of Oyu Tolgoi LLC’s 2016-2018 tax returns and identified a number of violations and breaches of relevant laws and the International Rules. As a result, Oyu Tolgoi LLC was notified of MNT 649.4 billion (approximately US$228 million) of additional taxes, inclusive of penalty and default interests, that are due to be paid in cash to the Government of Mongolia. In addition, the MTA has reduced Oyu Tolgoi LLC’s operating loss carry forward balance by MNT 3.4 trillion (approximately US$ 1.2 billion).
The Mongolian Tax Authority concluded that certain transactions between Oyu Tolgoi LLC and Rio Tinto and its affiliates were not done at an arm’s length basis and were in violation of the International Rules. Accordingly, the value of such transactions was adjusted, for tax purposes, to reflect the actual value that would have been paid had the transactions occurred between unrelated parties dealing at an arm’s length basis. Major adjustments were made to a series of transactions between Oyu Tolgoi LLC and affiliated entities of Rio Tinto whereby economic value was transferred.”
The 2016-2018 audit of Oyu Tologi LLC follows up on a previous assessment for FY 2013-2015. According to an announcement from Turquoise Hill Resources, the previous assessment has now been referred to international arbitration.
Turquoise Hill Mongolia 2020-12-23-trq-nr