Ivanhoe Mines’ Chief Executive Officer and founder, Robert Friedland, and Senior Vice President of Exploration, Douglas Kirwin, observed July 17th’s 10th anniversary of the company’s first major mineral discovery at Oyu Tolgoi with a tribute to the 14,000 workers who now are building the Oyu Tolgoi mining complex in southern Mongolia. “Oyu Tolgoi already is one of the mining world’s great stories, thanks to the legions of people who have figured in its discoveries and development,” Friedland said.“It began with the perseverance of an international fraternity of geologists who believed that Oyu Tolgoi’s green-stained surface rocks were clues to deeper secrets. Ivanhoe’s geological team started working with the drillers in 2000 and successively lifted the lids on this extraordinary chain of mineral deposits that now extends over 23 km. Designs of the open-pit and underground mines evolved with experts who have incorporated some of the industry’s most advanced techniques and technologies. We listened and found common ground with aspirations of the people of Mongolia. And now the skills of a construction workforce, which surpassed 14,000 on July 15, are bringing the Oyu Tolgoi dream closer to reality with every passing day.”Friedland said that the news release issued by Ivanhoe Mines on July 17, 2001, announcing the discovery of “potentially significant gold, copper and molybdenum mineralisation” at Oyu Tolgoi (Turquoise Hill), in fact proved to be a highly significant understatement.The 2001 news release reported that Hole 150, Ivanhoe’s first deep diamond hole that tested the hypogene potential of the Southwest Oyu Zone at Oyu Tolgoi, “was drilled to a depth of 590 m and averaged in excess of 1 g/t Au and 0.81% Cu over a distance of 508 m, from 70 m to 578 m. It included a zone of 278 m from188 to 466 m, grading in excess of 1.0% Cu and approximately 1.50 g/t Au.”Kirwin said that following Ivanhoe’s initial discovery hole in 2001, the company marshalled a fleet of 21 drill rigs. “We were producing more than 1 km of drill core every day. At the time, this was the single largest drilling campaign being conducted anywhere in the world.”A total of approximately 940 km of core has been drilled since the start of Ivanhoe’s exploration program at Oyu Tolgoi in 2000. Three active rigs are continuing to expand the known resources. The current Measured and Indicated resource contains an estimated 40,600 Mlb of copper and 20.9 Moz of gold, with an additional Inferred resource of 40,600 Mlb of copper and 25.3 Moz of gold.“Oyu Tolgoi remains on track to begin producing ore around next year’s anniversary of the initial discovery and ultimately to become one of the world’s top three copper-gold mines,” Friedland said.Commercial production is scheduled for 2013. During the first 10 years of production, Oyu Tolgoi is projected to produce an average of 544,000 t of copper, 650,000 oz of gold and 3 Moz of silver every year. Highlights of this week’s progress includes:Ongoing construction at the concentrator complex, including exterior wall paneling, conveyor installation and foundation work on the tailings-thickening pondsFurther assembly of the first open-pit mining fleet Structural steel erection on the Shaft #2 temporary sinking house.