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Turquoise Hill says Oyu Tolgoi financing pledges extended

TORONTO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd said on Monday that parent Rio Tinto had secured extended commitments from the banks that have agreed to finance the underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia.

Turquoise Hill, which owns 66 percent of the mine, said the commitment letters from the 15 banks now expire on March 31. It had said in June that they would expire Dec. 12 and that funding would be delayed until it could resolve issues with the Mongolian government.

Rio, which owns 50.8 percent of Turquoise Hill and operates Oyu Tolgoi, put the mine's more than $5 billion expansion on hold in July, saying the Mongolian government wanted parliament to approve the project's financing.

Mongolia hopes to resolve the dispute by early 2014, a government source told Reuters last month.