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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Frontier Securities to Host 9th Annual "Invest Mongolia" Ulaanbaatar Conference on September 8-9

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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Frontier Securities to Host the 9th Annual 'Invest Mongolia' Conference, Ulaanbaatar, September 8-9 2015

Ulaanbaatar, June 22, 2015 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Frontier Securities are pleased to announce this year's "Invest Mongolia", Frontier's 9th annual Conference 2015, to be held on September 8th & 9th in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Two Day Program:

This year, the conference will be held over two days and the main discussion themes will be:

- The election outlook and how the Government will make sure that the current investor friendly policies will be succeeded at the next Government

- How Mongolia will cope with the huge debt which will mature in 2017?

- Whether and when the project finance of Oyu Tolgoi will be announced? And, how much will be the impact of the Underground project to the real economy?

The two-day conference will consist of presentations & panel discussions. There will also be a segregated area for exhibitors. The brochure for this year's conference and the summary report from last year's conference are attached along.

You can access our brochure here: http://www.abnnewswire.net/lnk/W7H35D7Y

and post conference report here:  http://www.abnnewswire.net/lnk/G3KNHDN5

Sponsor/Exhibitor & Delegate Participation

Sponsoring, presenting, exhibiting and partnership opportunities are available for those wishing to gain visibility and expand their network with Mongolia's most prominent leaders. Also, for online registration, please click below.

See the sponsorship opportunities: http://www.frontier-conference.com/index.php/en/features

See the partnership opportunities: http://www.frontier-conference.com/index.php/en/press-and-partners

Register online: http://www.frontier-conference.com/index.php/en/register

About Frontier Securities

Frontier Securities is the first local Mongolian Securities firm with a global network and international expertise. Established by Masa Igata, Frontier has been given full-service securities related license by the Financial Regulatory Committee (FRC) of Mongolia. Frontier also has brokerage, dealing and underwriting licenses that are regulated by FRC. Since its establishment, Frontier's primary area of  focus has been the cross-border investment banking business.

Contact

Conference Coordinator

E: conference@frontier.mn

Frontier Securities

Masa Igata

T: +976-7011-9999

F: +976-7011-1991

Ariuna - Ariunbolor Kheeshig , IR DIRECTOR

T: +976-7011-9999

F: +976-7011-1991

E: staff@frontier.mn

WWW: www.frontier-conference.mn

Link to release

 

Further Prominent Speakers Confirmed for 'Invest Mongolia' Conference Ulaanbaatar 2015

Ulaanbaatar, June 29, 2015 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Frontier Conferences are pleased to send you the third update letter for this year's "Invest Mongolia", Frontier's 9th annual Conference 2015, to be held on September 8th & 9th in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Two Day Program:

The two-day conference will consist of presentations & panel discussions. There will also be a segregated area for exhibitors. The brochure for this year's conference which includes the preliminary agenda and the photos taken last year can be found in the following link: http://www.frontier-conference.com/index.php/en/download/category/40-brochure

Confirmed Speakers

Prominent speakers confirmed to speak at 'Invest Mongolia' Ulaanbaatar include: 

Bayartsogt Sangajav Secretary of Cabinet, Parliament Member
Amarjargal Rinchinnyam Parliament Member, Former Prime Minister
Oyun Sanjaasuren Parliament member, Former Minister of Environment and Green Development 
Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal CEO, Erdenes Mongol
Graeme Hancock President and Chief Representative, AngloAmerican
Graeme Knowd Associate Managing Director, Moody's Investors Services 
Ed Jager Ambassador, Embassy of Canada
John Johnson Chief Executive Officer, CRU Group
Hiromi Sawada Senior Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency
Angar Davaasuren CEO, Mongolian Stock Exchange
Bold Magvan CEO, Xac Bank
Bank of China
Chris Melville Partner, Hogan Lovells
Douglas Bingeman Counsellor and Senior Trade Commissioner, Canadian Embassy in Mongolia
Hidetoshi Nagata General Manager Head of Global Listing, Tokyo Stock Exchange, INC
Irmuun Demberel Deputy Director, Invest Mongolia
John Lee CEO and Chairman, Prophecy Development Corp
Keith Spence President, Global Mining Capital Corp
Khashchuluun Chuluundorj CEO, Mongolia Oil Shale Association
Masa Igata Founder & CEO, Frontier Securities
Matthieu D. Le Blan Head of Mongolia Residence Office, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Michael Richmond Economic/Commercial Section, Embassy of the United States of America
Nick Cousyn Chief Operating Officer, BDSec
Tsogtgerel Bayanjargal Senior Advisor to State Minister of Mongolia
Tumentsogt Tsevegmid Chairman, CEO Club
Tuyen Nguyen Resident Representative, International Finance Corporation 

Early bird discounts for Sponsorship and Exhibition

Sponsoring, presenting and exhibition opportunities are available for those wishing to gain visibility and expand their network with Mongolia's most prominent leaders and investing communities. The details for the packages are in the link below. 

http://www.frontier-conference.com/index.php/en/features

Enjoy 20% discount by making payment by July 15. Also, additional 10% special discount is available for those who would like to be sponsors for both UB and Tokyo event. Invest Mongolia Tokyo will be held on Dec 9 in Tokyo and it has become the biggest Invest Conference on Mongolia in Japan. The details of the Tokyo conference is available at: http://www.frontier-conference.com/tokyo/index.php/en

For further questions, please email us at, conference@frontier.mn

Link to release

 

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

[BREAKING: Mongolia will comply with Khan decision but hard to predict when says Saikhanbileg in NY]

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- BREAKING NEWS -

Friday, June 27, 2015

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Mongolia to Pay Khan Resources Award of About $100m: Prime Minister

By Sangwon Yoon

June 26 (Bloomberg) -- Khan Resources Inc. dispute will be “resolved accordingly” because Mongolia respects rule of law and will carry out all its obligations as ordered by intl arbitration court ruling in March, Mongolian Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed says in interview with Bloomberg News in New York.

* “We’re not ignoring, we’re respecting. We will comply.”

* Saikhanbileg says he asked Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting last week in St. Petersburg for the Russian company to pay its 21% stake in ~$100m award

* NOTE: ARMZ Uranium Holding OAO holds the 21% stake

* Putin promised Saikhanbileg that he will address this issue with the proper Russian organizations

* Saikhanbileg says hard to predict when full resolution will happen

* “Having these kinds of arbitration cases doesn’t mean that Mongolia is treating all investors in this way

* Khan Resources dispute gave Mongolia chance to improve its overall business environment

(BFW)

 

Khan Resources Inc.: Bloomberg Reports That US$100M International Arbitration Award Will Be Paid

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 26, 2015) - Khan Resources Inc. ("Khan" or the "Company") (CSE:KRI) reports in respect of the March 2, 2015 international arbitration award in favour of Khan, Mongolian Prime Minister Saikanbileg stated that "we're not ignoring, we're respecting. We will comply." The Prime Minister's statement was in response to a Bloomberg News question during an exclusive interview in New York today. At the current time, the award aggregates to approximately US$104 million. Khan confirms that has not yet received any direct communication from Mongolia on this matter.

Link to release

 

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Two Days Left Until Mongolia Business Summit 2015, President Elbegdorj to Join Erdenet Tour

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

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Two days left till Mongolia Business Summit 2015

President Elbegdorj is to give keynote speech on 2015 Mongolia Business Summit in UB, June 18-20; updated agenda includes panel discussions on "Macro Economic Environment and FDI", "ASEM 2016 and its economic impact" “What’s the next big project”. The event is free for all overseas registrants.

For enquiries regarding participation, sponsorship and other opportunities contact at 11321051,  info@meforum.mn or visit bizsummit.mn. Registration will be closed at 6pm, June 15th. Please, register at http://bizsummit.mn/registration/.

H.E President Tsahiagiin Elbegdorj has just announced that he will be joining for the Erdenet Site Tour. This tour is still available for those who are interested in visiting to Erdenet city.

 

AGENDA

 

 

APU+Gobi Cashmere / Erdenet Mining Corp. / Sharyn Gol Tours Itinerary

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Monday, June 8, 2015

[GoM proposes 34% Gatsuurt stake & swap; MNT continues rollercoaster; positive FDI in April; and businesses demand less populism]

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Monday, June 8, 2015

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Jump to: Overseas Market - Local MarketEconomyPolitics & LegalBusinessUlaanbaatarDiplomacy - Social, Environmental & Other

Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

Mongolia Pitches Plan to Acquire 34% Stake in Gatsuurt Mine

By Michael Kohn

June 5 (Bloomberg) -- The Mongolian government has submitted to Parliament a proposal to acquire 34% of the Gatsuurt gold mine owned by Toronto-based Centerra Gold Inc., according to parliament website.

* Proposal submitted by Minister for Mining Jigjid Rentsendoo to Parliament Speaker Enkhbold Zandaakhuu: statement

* According to tentative agreement, if determined that special purpose mineral royalties will replace government stake, amount of royalty will depend on price of gold: statement

* Mining to occur over a nine year period, with estimated state dividends of 70b tugrik ($37m): statement

* "I give credit to Government for trying to keep up momentum of positive constructive development and proceed with long overdue development at Gatsuurt," Dale Choi, founder of Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research, wrote in an e-mail.

* NOTE: Government task force and Centerra have held negotiations since March 25 to determine state stake and royalties, further negotiations to determine royalties and payments due to the state, according to separate government statement

(BFW)

Similar:

Resolution on Gatsuurt Gold Deposit SubmittedMontsame, June 5

Back to top

Local Market

MSE Weekly Trading Report: MSE ALL +2.99%, Turnover 98.2 Million Stocks, 30 Billion T-Bills

June 8 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 4 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT3.0 billion with daily average transaction of MNT7,5 billion between 2 June 2015 and 5 June 2015.

Share trading:

77,941 shares of 42 joint stock companies worth of MNT98,183,850.00 were traded.

Most actively traded securities

 

Securities Name

Value /MNT/

1

APU

APU

26,142,010

2

MIE

Material impex

14,198,000

3

TTL

Tavan tolgoi 

11,138,418

4

TEE

Teever darkhan

8,291,400

5

GTL

Gutal

6,552,030

 Most active brokerage companies 

 

Company Name

Value /MNT/

1

BDSC

BDSec

59,570,883

2

STIN

Standart investment

50,884,540

3

DRBR

Darkhan broker

16,765,266

4

ZRGD

Zerged

15,146,903

5

TABO

Tavan bogd

12,105,500

Government retail bonds trading:

300,000 Government retail bonds worth of MNT30,000,000,000.00 traded through one trading session.

Most active brokerage companies in government securities trading 

 

Company Name

Value /MNT/

1

GLMT

TDB Capital

25,665,800,000

2

BDSC

Golomt Securities

2,909,700,000

3

BZIN

Daewoo Securities Mongolia

900,300,000

4

ALTN

Tenger capital

316,000,000

5

SECP

Altankhoromsog

77,000,000

As of June 2015, market capitalization was MNT 1,298,599,074,524.00 which indicated increased of 3.56%, and MSE ALL index reached 949.30 units which indicated increased  of 2.99% from the previous week. 

Link to release

 

Mongolian Stock Exchange Offers Window of Opportunity to SMEs

June 5 (Mongolian Economy) We interviewed Mr. Angar D., Acting CEO of Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) on activities at the MSE.

What has the MSE been up to lately?

We have been regularly organizing open door events in Ulaanbaatar. A lot of people come. The latest open door event took place in February when we hosted over 6,500 people. There is clearly an interest in the stock market. Hence, we have decided to hold this event in other localities. The first one to take place outside of the capital will be held in the city of Erdenet.

What will you discuss at the local events?

The MSE focuses on supporting small- and medium-sized businesses, and we have done much in this regard. In order to give them a wider reach for raising capital at the stock exchange, we managed to make the legal environment friendlier, as well as more cost- and time-efficient. So, the number of companies coming to the stock exchange has been rising. One example is Binse. We give information to local businesses about attracting investment from the stock market. Companies are usually eager to attend the event. So, we show them what opportunities there are. But it's their choice whether to use this knowledge or not.

What updates have been made regarding the operations of the MSE?

We have made some changes lately. For example, we lowered the trading fee for secondary market trades. The fee used to be 0.4 percent, but now it is 0.15 percent, a 60 percent decrease. The one-time registration fee and other fees related to total turnover were decreased by over 40 percent. Trade settlement after an order is placed has been changed to one day, where it used to be three business days. Time is money. If you were to place an order today, it would typically settle by tomorrow. In other words, it's changed to T+1 – trade date plus one day. Also, the Mongolian Stock Exchange now registers new companies within 20 days whereas it used to be 60 days.

The MSE is doing a lot to provide the public with information. Organising trade is your main role, isn't it?

This market, as with any market, is based on reliable information. One of the many reasons behind the weak development of the stock market is the lack of information. What we are trying to do is let people know what opportunities this market can offer and the doors that it can open for them. Almost all transactions will continue to be through banks unless our capital market develops. The economy will crash if one of the few big banks goes under. This is why it is essential that the capital market be developed. This is what we are trying to do right now.

In Mongolia, businessmen seeking to find start-up capital for their company cannot meet the strict lending criteria of banks. Big companies raise capital from large exchanges abroad. Is there any possibility to raise money at the MSE for those who cannot meet the requirements of neither domestic banks nor big exchanges?

We lowered the high threshold for businessmen. When we had two boards, the fixed capital requirement was a minimum of MNT one billion and 10 billion at the highest, and the business had to be operational for at least three years. Due to these former requirements, the public has the misconception that the MSE is a place for big companies. Now we have opened a third board, where start-up businesses can come. There, investors can choose profitable projects and invest in them.

Isn't it too risky an option for investors?

Investors won't suffer losses by doing this. Thresholds have been lowered, but requirements have been raised. We are paying extra attention to information transparency. To provide an example, we signed an agreement with the top 20 companies to make them more transparent. Now an MSE inspector can attend the board meetings of those companies. The inspector will make sure the financial reports released are accurate and handed to investors on time. Through all these activities, the Mongolian Stock Exchange's policies are becoming more complex. On top of that, we not only enforce others but also provide information on ourselves in greater detail to public. We are the only stated-owned company that has received the "Company with good governance" award by the Independent Authority against Corruption. That is one piece of proof. We even report our employees' salaries online. All the information on income and spending is available to be checked online. We have nothing to hide.

The total amount of savings deposited in banks stands at MNT 7.8 trillion. This is the amount of money which circulates in the financial market. Where the money goes depends on the products. For example, since government bonds came into the stock market, a total of MNT 235 billion worth of trades has been conducted so far. This means that a rather small percentage of the financial market's trades and transactions happen in here. What we can see though is that investors will come on their own if there are profitable securities. Nowadays, it is difficult to find investment from banks. If we look at 888 projects that sought investment, only 156 of them found investors because banks require collateral on top of other strict requirements. The active capital of banks has been declining in recent times, so now is an opportune time for businessmen and investors to seek capital from the stock exchange.

You said that state owned companies can invest in government bonds at the MSE. How is that possible?

Government bond yields are 0.2-0.4 percent higher than bank deposits of the same term. We are asking state owned companies to invest in government bonds with their leftover balances rather than letting it sit in their bank accounts. This is profitable for both sides.

Is it ethical for Mongolian Stock Exchange to act like a custodian bank, a broker or sometimes even an underwriter? You even bought securities yourself.

The stock exchange itself bought MNT 500 million worth of bonds. We have profited MNT 25 million by taking it little by little. We are renovating the facade of our building with that money. This is a good example for others to see how profitable it can be if you buy shares. At a time when no one approaches the stock market, we have to take the lead in bringing investors and businessmen together. There was a time when only banks bought and profited from government bonds which had a face value of MNT one million. Now, everyone is allowed to buy government bonds at the exchange. Some say that Mongolian Stock Exchange trades government bonds. We don't charge much. We only charge 0.00875 percent of the transaction.

Link to interview

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Economy

Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy 1,919 Sell 1,935), Khan (Buy 1,919 Sell 1,935), Golomt (Buy 1,918 Sell 1,935), XacBank (Buy 1,919 Sell 1,933), State Bank (Buy 1,917 Sell 1,936)

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, June 5 Close

 

 

6/5

6/4

6/3

6/2

5/29

5/28

5/27

5/26

5/25

5/22

USD

1,877.91

1,890.81

1,896.38

1,901.92

1,907.32

1,914.13

1,917.55

1,925.01

1,927.89

1,935.23

EUR

2,113.87

2,125.18

2,118.16

2,083.93

2,084.61

2,091.57

2,093.49

2,096.05

2,121.55

2,158.65

CNY

302.50

304.91

306.04

306.89

307.58

308.81

309.10

310.16

310.89

312.21

GBP

2,879.68

2,896.06

2,911.89

2,895.10

2,916.77

2,941.25

2,954.66

2,966.06

2,988.23

3,034.34

RUB

33.21

34.48

35.90

35.57

36.13

36.90

37.75

38.26

38.69

38.72

MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:

Link to rates

 

Mongolia Sees $38.4m FDI Inflow in April: Central Bank

By Michael Kohn

June 5 (Bloomberg) -- Inbound foreign investment to Mongolia was $38.4m in April, the first month of positive inbound FDI since December, according to preliminary data released by central bank on Friday.

* Mongolia inbound FDI shrank by $70.9 million in Jan-April this year compared to $332.3m rise in the same period yr ago

* Year-to-date current account deficit at end-Apr. was $123.8m vs $740.7m deficit yr earlier

* Year-to-date capital and financial account deficit was $125.7m vs surplus of $386.5m

(BFW)

 

BoM issues 1.03 trillion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +1.3% to ₮1.16 trillion

BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 1034.9 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

Back to top

Politics & Legal

Mongolian businesses demand government to free the economy from populism

June 7 (UB Post) Last Thursday, representatives of entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations made a public statement, calling for freeing the nation's economy without any populism.

The spokespeople said that due to decisions made by populists the nation's economic growth has fallen from 17.3 percent to 4.4 percent. The believe that because of what they identify as the mining sector's collapse, the MNT exchange rate and people's purchasing power have decreased, and the unemployment rate has reached 7.4 percent.

They believe that the illegal actions of authorities scares investors, strangling the nation's economic freedom. They underlined that they want lawmakers to cooperate with one another to establish financial freedom concerning mining and economic issues, without any populism.

The business representatives said that Mongolia has scared foreign investors for some time, but moving forward on the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine could bring back investors. They believe that Mongolia needs to work on suitable integrated policy and improve economic conditions. They demanded that the government make joint decisions with business organizations.

President of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) B.Lkhagvajav said, "The destinies of major projects are in the hands of the parliament and politicians. They began to influence economic fluctuation. Their decisions mess up the nation's economy. We need to make financial changes without wasting time. Stopping Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi impacted the macro economy. The Law on Investment was approved in order to recover the nation's economy, and the government was given the right to implement major mining projects. The government was almost about to approve Tavan tolgoi negotiations, but they got stuck. Parliament shouldn't take part in this issue, according to the law. But not moving forward the negotiations, violating the law, negatively influences the international reputation of Mongolia."

MNCCI's B.Lkhagvajav, Head of the Business Council of Mongolia D.Jargalsaikhan, Member of the Board of Directors of the Rural Microfinance Development Support Association Ch.Gankhuyag, and other business representatives spoke at the press conference.

Link to article

 

Ch.Saikhanbileg: There is a chance to lower 8% mortgage down payments to 10%

June 7 (UB Post) Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg made a statement on measures taken on housing policy at the joint meeting of the parliamentary session on Friday.

So far, the Government of Mongolia has granted ipotek loans of 2,957.85 billion MNT to 67,612 citizens, and non-refundable housing assistanance of 57.75 billion MNT to 1,657 citizens. The general rules of the housing ipotek loan were approved by a governmental resolution. Some 1.8 percent of the total mortgage loans nationwide have been past due, and 0.5 percent are non-performing loans.

Emphasizing the urgent demand for state support for the construction sector during the current economic situation, the Prime Minister noted "Even though the government stated that the down payment is set at 10 to 30 percent in the general rules of the ipotek housing loan, loans are being granted with a deposit of 30 percent from 2013. The government will issue a guarantee of up to 20 percent and a borrower will pay a down payment of 10 percent". Then he added that if Parliament supports the policy, the government will take relevant measures to lower the down payment.

On the previous day, the Prime Minister held an extended meeting of the Cabinet to exchange ideas on enhancing domestic production and on creating jobs by promoting small and medium enterprises in localities, and to make decisions with the presence of 21 aimag governors.

"In times of economic difficulty, the effort of every authorized person is vital," the Prime Minister said, adding that the governors of 21 aimags, 330 soums and 1,600 bags (smallest administrative unit in a locality) must conduct their activities in coordination with the government's decisions.

As Monstame News Agency reported, he also said that certain projects are being realized in order to eliminate the obstacles facing businessmen and to expand the domestic market, all in the frames of the Plan for Overcoming Economic Difficulties, initiated by the government and enacted by Parliament.

He said that measures have been taken for reviving gold mining operations, for increasing minerals exploitation, discovering new sources of import, as well as for promoting export-targeted industries under the free trade agreement with Japan. Then he said that the recently signed Oyu Tolgoi underground mine development and financial plan creates possibilities to attract 6 billion USD in investments, to create more jobs, and to include domestic entities in these large development projects.

Link to article

 

Prime Minister Runs Expanded Cabinet Meeting with Aimag Governors

Ulaanbaatar, June 5 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg called an extended meeting of the Cabinet on Thursday to exchange ideas on enhancing the domestic production and on creating jobs by promoting the small and medium enterprises in localities, and to make decisions.

Present were governors of all 21 aimags and of the city. The PM said that, in times of economic difficulties, an effort of every authorized person is vital, and that the governors of 21 aimags, 330 soums and 1,600 bags (smallest administrative unit in a locality) must conduct their activities in coordination with the Government decisions.

He also said that certain works are being realized in order to eliminate the obstacles facing  businessmen and to expand the domestic market, all in in frames of the Plan for Overcoming Economic Difficulties, which was initiated by the Government and enacted by parliament.

For instance, he said, measures have been taken for reviving the gold mining operations, for increasing the exploitation, discovering new sources of import, as well as for promoting export-targeted industries in regard to the conclusion of the first Free Trade Agreement with Japan.

An important approach to the overcoming of the economic problems is to forward the major mining projects, said the PM. "The recently signed Oyu tolgoi Underground Mine Development and Financial  Plan gives possibilities to attract USD 6 billion of investments, to create more jobs, and to include domestic entities into these large developments," he said.

The cabinet is confidently working to commence the Tavan tolgoi project together with its railroad construction project, the PM added. 

Link to article

 

Erdenes Mongol Signs Cooperation Agreement with Ministries of Industry, Mining and Energy

June 5 (infomongolia.com) Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Mining, Ministry of Energy of Mongolia and Erdenes Mongol (MGL) LLC have signed cooperation agreement to implement Mongolian government action program, intensify works to forward strategically important mineral deposits, promote value-added products and improve relations between government and private sectors.

In the framework of cooperation agreement, Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat, Minister of Energy D.Zorigt and Minister of Mining R.Jigjid and B.Byambasaikhan, CEO, Erdenes MGL have signed Memorandum on June 4 at the State Palace of Mongolia.

Minister D.Erdenebat noted: "Ministries develop the state policy and Erdenes MGL LLC is a government body for business. I find it more efficient to implement government projects for infrastructure, industry and mining through government business bodies like Erdenes MGL LLC with government involvement. As for Ministry of Industry of Mongolia, we will cooperate with Erdenes MGL LLC on projects for building a factory to produce liquid fuel using coal".

Link to article

 

Ministry of Industry Tasked with Developing Bill on Industrial Parks

Ulaanbaatar, June 5 (MONTSAME) At the cabinet's extended meeting on Thursday, the Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat was assigned to develop and submit to the cabinet a draft law on Industrial and Technological Parks and a list of projects on import-substituting and export-promoting industries.

This was said after he had informed the governors of all provinces about the planned measures for promoting industries in localities in 2015. He was also told to introduce financial leasing services to the light industries and small and medium enterprises, to organize events for selecting national brand products in the localities, to solve 2-3 pressing problems in the aimags in regard to the implementation of state policies and decisions on the industrial sector.

In industrial production of Mongolia reached a value of 9,299.6 billion Togrog by the end of 2014,   increasing 13.2 percent against 2013. Mining products weighed 81.9 percent of the total export. Products that have passed low-procession and primary technologies occupy 97 percent of the country's total exports. This indicates the low competitiveness of our country's industrial sector, said the Minister.

The Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan facilitates Mongolia with opportunities to expand more our export-targeted industries such as of organic products from agricultural materials and of wool, cashmere and textile clothing, and to commercialize our products on the Japanese market at relatively higher prices. The localities' authorities considered as suitable to cooperate in the development of the above industries with the Ministry of Industry, in the "Industrial and Technological Parks" framework.

Link to article

 

Detention of Former ETT Chairman G.Denzen Extended for Two More Months

June 5 (gogo.mn) Detention period of former Erdenes Tavantolgoi Chairman G.Denzen was extended.

He was accused of illegally providing MNT 17 billion bid to his wife`s company named "Gobi Power" when he was leading BoD of "Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi" JCS and Independent Authority against Corruption of Mongolia kept him in detention on May 18.

His 14-day detention period was ended on June 01 and the court decided to kept him in detention for more two months. 

Link to article

 

Mongolia makes changes to Regulation on Foreigners Settling in Mongolia

June 5 (news.mn) - For foreigners over 16 years of age, one of whose parents is a Mongolian citizen – domicile in Mongolia reduced to three years from five years.

- For a foreigner who is married to a Mongolian citizen – domicile has been extended to one year within the first two years of marriage; previously it had been within three years.

- For foreign investors – domicile has been extended from one year to three years.

 - For foreign students (and researchers) over 16 years of age - domicile is extended from one year to two years.

- For foreigners who have achieved high success in science, and have benefitted Mongolia – domicile extended from one year to five.

- For foreigners under the age of 16 who have been born of a Mongolian citizen – domicile is extended from three to five years.

- Former Mongolian citizens who have changed their citizenship – domicile is also extended from three to five years.

and foreigner who is rejected Mongolian nationality.

Link to article

 

Sinking in sewage, but talking about ASEM

By D. Jargalsaikhan

June 7 (UB Post) The authorities, especially those of the capital city, have toyed with the lives of Ulaanbaatar residents for many years. Those who were mayors of the city during transitional years were always appointed by political parties rather than being elected by the people. Wearing the masks of political parties, they and their henchmen have been stealing land and embezzling billions of tugrugs, saying that they has been fixing the problems of air and water pollution.

It has already been ten years since people first started complaining about the malfunctioning of the waste treatment facility, as well as the horrid smell coming from the Tuul River. Even I wrote several articles (http://jargaldefacto.com/) on the topic, including "Abandoned Tuul" (2011), "Where is my dear Tuul" (2012), "Capital city – a development hobble" (2013), and "Water is our unvalued treasure" (2014), offering criticisms on clean water supply, sewage treatment, the price and usage of water, and presenting ideas that could help resolve the problems.

The mayor, the minister, and related offices have always made a big commotion and said that they would take measures urgently every time there was a serious failure at the central and pre-treatment facilities. They have been saying that the tanneries would be moved out of the capital. However, we have not seen any change in the last 20 years. The only change that happened is that almost everyone who made those false promises became wealthy, were appointed to more senior positions, and saw their political parties win elections.

S.Unen, the director of the Water Supply and Sewage Authority, reported last week (on May 27) that the central treatment facility has to be shut down for three days because it needs immediate maintenance. The patience of Ulaanbaatar residents reached its limit when he said that there was no choice but to discharge raw sewage directly into the Tuul River for three days. Ulaanbaatar is about to become the world's biggest open toilet.

WHAT EXACTLY HAS HAPPENED?

The central sewage treatment facility was first built in 1964 with a capacity of treating 45,000 cubic meters of sewage per day. Its capacity was enhanced in 1979, and again in 1985, to be brought to 65,000 cubic meters. However, approximately 175,000 cubic meters of wastewater currently comes to the facility every day. This facility receives wastewater from the residents of Ulaanbaatar, treats it, and pumps the treated water back into the Tuul River. Despite being fully aware of the ongoing expansion of the city, the mayors have done nothing more than just talk about improving the central treatment facility and building a new one.

Waste from tanneries and water with chemical contamination are supposed to be treated at the Khargia pre-treatment facility before being sent on to the central treatment facility. However, this facility does not work now because they installed the wrong technology, despite investing billions.

Although an audit report explains where things went wrong (http://www.city.audit, mn/images/pdf/audit/guit-setgeliin_audit/2013/Uridchilsan_ TsB_web.pdf) and who is to blame, no follow-up action has been taken, as the culprits are closely associated with the authorities of the city.
Due to the absence of the pre-treatment process, poisonous silt is currently disposed of at Moringiin Davaa, whereas toxic fluid waste is directly discharged into the central treatment facility. It is said that the fluid waste that did not undergo any pre-treatment compromises the effectiveness of the treatment process.

In other words, sewage that is barely treated has been directly discharged into the Tuul River for many years. It explains the unpleasant smell that comes from the river. The city has been sinking in its sewage for some time now. It did not happen only recently – they just did not announce it before.
If you want to double check, I would suggest going near the Tuul River north of Biocombinat (the bio-industrial complex). You will be reminded of the history of the "Great Stink" in London. There is a 60-year-old, wooden bridge (Songino Bridge) that could collapse at any time. If you stand on the bridge and have a peek into the river, you will see the flow of dark blue wastewater.

WHO LET IT HAPPEN?

The Water Supply and Sewage Authority, the central treatment facility, and related departments of the city authority are all saying that the current facility needs some repair, a new one must be built urgently, and there is no choice but to discharge sewage directly into the Tuul River. It looks like there really is no choice.

We, the people of a democratic nation, have the right to know who let this situation get as serious as it is, understand how it can be prevented from happening again in the future, and keep it under scrutiny. Even though we cannot do investigations and question people, we have the right to ask questions of all government organizations, find the culprits, and hold them accountable.

We must ask the Director of the Water Supply and Sewage Authority, currently S.Unen, why the central waste treatment facility has not received any maintenance and repair. He would probably say that the previous directors could answer that question. But we still have to ask him what he has done to fix this problem. Also, the senior officials in this organization have repeatedly been rewarded by the government. We need to ask, "For what?" The government that rewarded them should also answer this question.

We must ask the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, currently E.Bat-Uul, whether or not he knew that the city was about to sink in its sewage and what actions he took to try to prevent it from happening. Obviously, he will point his finger at the previous mayors. However, if he had started imposing fees on "Zasianed" (illegally traded) land as soon as he was appointed, the city would have already accumulated enough funds to build a new treatment facility. At the very least he could have imposed fees on the land stolen from us and received payment if he could not reclaim the land.

We need to ask the government (currently led by Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg) how they are viewing the current situation, who they are holding accountable, and how they are going to solve the problem. The government approved national programs named "Water" and "Khatan Tuul" in 2010 and in 2011 respectively. In 2012, they revised the law on water and passed the law regulating fees for polluting water. None of them have been implemented so far. Why bother making all these plans and programs if they cannot implement them?

We also need to ask the minister (currently D.Oyunkhorol, the Minister of Environment, Green Development, and Tourism) what particular measures are being taken. During ITB Berlin, Minister Oyunkhorol announced that Mongolia would receive one million tourists. But, do guests come to a home where a toilet is overflowing? While attending a discussion, she recently came up with a recommendation to build a new treatment facility. However, the events attended by a minister of the government should produce decisions rather than recommendations. What is her decision? What is her solution? What does the Tuul River Basin Authority actually do?

We need to ask the President (currently Ts.Elbegdorj). During international conferences, our president calls for having an international organization specialized in water issues. But, who is in charge of water in Mongolia? The president has been telling the whole world how to save water. What about the situation in his home country and the capital city? Can a city that is about to sink in its own sewage host the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in a year? Is Mongolia ready if a disease breaks out due to water pollution? Mr. President, action is needed more than words.

The government exists to protect our lives, freedom, and property. The local government has the same responsibility in provinces. We hold democratic elections to select both central and provincial government officials so that they can better fulfill their primary responsibilities. We do not ask them to put their personal interests above everything else, do a poor job, or fail to fix errors made before their time.

Having been unable to treat its wastewater, Ulaanbaatar is sinking in sewage. Having been unable to clean its dirty political parties, Mongolia is sinking in corruption.

You can catch a fish, gut it, scale it, and fry it in a pan. The fish will not make a sound, but the people are not like fish.

Trans. by B.AMAR

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Business

Khan Resources v The Government of Mongolia: how to assess compensation for expropriation 

By Kent Phillips, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

United Kingdom | June 4 2015

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in arbitration cases in the resources sector arising from the direct expropriation of property and assets into state ownership as well as the indirect expropriation through regulatory and fiscal measures such as increased taxation or restrictions on imports and exports.

Arbitration against states is generally only a last resort, with the stakes being high. The recently published arbitral award in Khan Resources v The Government of Mongolia (PCA Case No. 2011-09) is a good example of investment treaty mechanisms in action.

The dispute

Khan Resources had entered into a joint venture with a Russian state-owned company and a Mongolian state-owned company in order to develop a uranium exploration and extraction project in Dornod, Mongolia. In 1998, the joint venture company obtained mining and exploration licences for the project.

In August 2009, Mongolia enacted provisions that provided for Mongolia to take ownership, without compensation, of no less than 51% of stake of joint companies where exploration of uranium reserves had been conducted with state budget. Khan Resources' mining and exploration licences were subsequently suspended and ultimately cancelled. Khan Resources claimed that these actions were intended to exclude them from the project and to allow the formation of a new Mongolian-Russian joint venture.

In January 2011, Khan Resources commenced an arbitration against Mongolia alleging, amongst other things, a breach by Mongolia of its obligations to protect investors under its Foreign Investment Law and Article 10 of the Energy Charter Treaty 1994. Khan Resources sought more than US$326m including interest.

Liability

In March 2015, a Tribunal constituted under the UNCITRAL rules found that:

1.    Khan Resources' rights in the licences were protected as "foreign investment" under the Mongolian Foreign Investment Law.

2.    Khan Resources were substantially deprived of their investment by the suspension and subsequent cancellation of the licences.

3.    The invalidation of licences was not lawful.

The Tribunal concluded that the Government of Mongolia breached their obligations under the Foreign Investment Law of Mongolia and that this breach constituted a breach of Article 10(1), the so-called "umbrella" clause in the Energy Charter Treaty.

Methodologies for Determining Quantum

Both parties accepted that the amount of compensation should be determined by the fair market value of the investment as at the agreed valuation date immediately prior to the expropriation in 2009. However, they disagreed on the most appropriate methodology to be used to assess the fair market value of the investment and called expert accountants to give evidence. The tribunal was presented with three methodologies:

Discounted Cash Flow ("DCF") (advocated by Khan Resources). This method takes the cash flow generated in the future and discounts it to derive a present value. In this case, this involved calculating the reserves in the mine and using the future price for uranium to estimate the mine's future earnings. This resulted in a fair market valuation of US$264.8m.

Market Comparables (also advocated by Khan Resources). This method estimates a valuation based on the market capitalisation of comparable companies or transactions. This resulted in a fair market valuation of US$245m.

Market Capitalisation or Quoted Market Price ("QMP") approach (advocated by Mongolia). This values the investment by reference to the share price in the company at the valuation date. The relevant claimant was essentially a single-project company so the market capitalisation of that company should reflect the value of the investment. This would have resulted in a fair market valuation of between US$13.4m and US$16.6m.

The Tribunal concluded that none of these methodologies was satisfactory in this case.   The DCF method may have been appropriate for a mine with proven reserves but, in this case, there were too many additional factors and uncertainties. The difficulty of finding truly comparable companies or transactions made the Market Comparables method unattractive. The QMP approach was rejected due to concerns that it produced a valuation that was lower than assessments of the value of the project in 2009.

Having discounted these methods, the Tribunal was left with various offers made between 2005 and 2010 to buy shares in the project. The Tribunal concluded that an offer made in February 2010, adjusted to take account of the impact of Mongolia's actions, was the best way to estimate the fair value of the investment in July 2009 taking into account the challenges and uncertainties Khan Resources would have faced in realising the value of the reserves. This resulted in a valuation of US$80m and the Tribunal awarded this sum.

Interest

The Tribunal followed recent practice amongst ICSID tribunals and awarded interest on damages at a commercially reasonable borrowing rate over the relevant period (in this case LIBOR plus 2%) compounded annually from 1 July 2009 until the date of payment of the award. It rejected claims for interest based on Mongolia's own borrowing rate, being 7.14%.

BLP View

This case is of interest because:

·         It is a timely reminder that investors facing expropriation have recourse.

·         It confirms the benefits of structuring investments from the outset so as to take advantage of treaty protection; while Khan Resources is listed in Toronto, the relevant claimant was incorporated in the Netherlands which (unlike Canada) is a member of the Energy Charter Treaty with Mongolia.

·         The award demonstrates some of the limitations of the traditional methodologies involved in assessing compensation, the Tribunal preferring to rely on evidence of actual offers.

·         As part of the legal costs awarded Mongolia was ordered to pay the Claimants for a substantial 'success fee' they had agreed to pay their lawyers.

It is understood that Mongolia may intend to challenge the award. Foreign investors in the resources sector and beyond will no doubt watch Mongolia's response with interest.

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PMI Director sees high potential in Mongolia for Project Management

June 5 (gogo.mn) We interviewed with Wagner Maxsen Director of 2015 PMI Board of Directors on Project Management in Mongolia and organization of the second annual international project management conference.

- What were your first impressions of PMI Mongolia chapter with arriving here?

- I was very much impressed by the chapter. Because even though it is my first time in Mongolia and I am used to go to many different conferences in the world, I thought that everything is so much well organized. Even before I came to Mongolia, I look for the website and there is a hot site for the conference you have all of the presenters here, everything that we will be talking about, the organization, information about presenters as well. Also here I am the logistics for the conference. For me, it is perfect and I see people really engaged. I see a lot of volunteers here which came to give that contribution to make this successful conference. I am really very well impressed. 

- Thank you so much. What the PMI itself can do Mongolia? Is there much to do in Mongolia?

- Actually, that is a very good question. Thank you for that. I think, PMI can do a lot not only for Mongolia but to many other places as well. Because there is much to do. When it comes to project management we see that if you talk about the situation the world by now we do not have a labor shortage, we have a talent shortage. What we can do is to continuously provide support to local chapters such as the one in Mongolia. So that the chapters can be our voice to the project management community not only the PMI members but also to all of those who are interested in project management as well. Provide support, provide knowledge, provide expertise. There is a projectmanagement.com which is website anyone can go in and sign up for. We have there many webinars, we have there many forums for discussion for group discussion so there is a whole media available. You can connect with people from pretty much all over the world. Whenever you have specific subject you can go online and look for the solution or ask interact with others project management who can help us improve the results of own project.

- So Mongolia is now stepping into mega projects starting to be implemented in Mongolia especially in the mining sector. So how does the expertise of the PMI institute being the part or being the member of PMI itself can help Mongolians to embrace all those mega project management?

- To start with one thing that we have is we have a community deals with mining as well. I think that this is one very good resource. As I was saying, there is a way to e chat and connect with other people who are not necessarily only Mongolia but everywhere in the world where we can find other people who are working with the mining industry. So that is one possible resource.

- How much capacity do you see in Mongolia?

- I have just arrived in last night. So I do not have the exact answer for that. I see the potential. Before coming to Mongolia, I study little bit about the country. I know that the country has steady growth an average ten percent every year. That is a very relative growth. I see that Mongolia has a very good potential to grow in project management. There is a talent shortage in the world if people really dedicate and learn the profession there will have much more opportunities for the professions.

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Ulaanbaatar

Mayor Meets ADB Director on Ulaanbaatar Projects

Ulaanbaatar, June 5 (MONTSAME) The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city E.Bat-Uul Friday met a delegation led by Mr Robert Orr, an Executive Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

They have exchanged views on ongoing projects and programs being implemented in Ulaanbaatar city, and planned projects and programs.

Mr Bat-Uul said he is thankful to the ADB for financing the biggest projects and programs on a development of the capital city.

Joining 67 member states, the ADB is an international organization which has 12 executive directors representing the members at the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors' main responsibility is to approve all activities related to assistance, loans and technical aid.

As of present, the first stage of an investment program on developing ger areas is being implemented successfully with a financing of USD 320 million from the ADB. In addition, parliament adopted an investment program on developing the public transportation in April of 2015.     

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E.Bat-Uul Receives Deputy Mayor of Vienna

Ulaanbaatar, June 5 (MONTSAME) A governor of Capital City and the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul received the Deputy Mayor of Austrian Vienna in charge of finance and public services Ms Renate Brauner.

While talking about the "Vienna Night" show, which will run Friday evening in the UB city, and the cooperation between the two cities, the Mayor thanked Ms Brauner for attaching such a great importance to this show, "it has become possible thanks to Your support".

He recalled his last year's meeting with the Mayor of Vienna Mr Michael Haupl. "We discussed the possibilities to expand cooperation between our cities, and I am also grateful for the efficient training received by our public transport team. There is a lot to learn from Your city," he said and expressed an interest in sending a team to study practices of conducting housing fund.

In response, the Deputy Mayor of Vienna expressed a willingness to cooperate with Ulaanbaatar in all fields. She said Vienna will assist the UB in public transport renovation, and expressed a confidence in the further deepening of cooperation between the two cities. 

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Ulaanbaatar Railway to Turn One of Its Building into a Kindergarten

June 5 (news.mn) "The Ulaanbaatar Railway Incorporative Community" decided to vacate their administration building which currently has an international ticket office and international transport center in order to make kindergarten ( 1st June 2015). "The Ulaanbaatar Railway Incorporative Community" will incur 100% of the costs by itself. The Ministry of Education Culture and Science will decide whether the kindergarten will be under the state or the Ulaanbaatar railway.

At present there are 13 thousand children who have pre-school education. This kindergarten will give 450 of them precisely that.

The chief of "The Ulaanbaatar Railway Incorporative Community" L.Purevbaatar said – This is a present to our citizens from the Mongolian railway workers. We hope that this action will be a good example to other organizations to vacate unused buildings and fulfil their social responsibility to pre-school children giving them nurseries. Also, we promise that our kindergarten will be fully modernised and will have all the modern comforts.

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Mogi: me like

UB Awards Smilie Stickers to Stores with Good Service Quality, Pig Stickers to Poor

June 5 (news.mn) The Office of the UB City Mayor is running a competition to rate the companies and entities offering the highest quality standards of efficiency, service and environmental friendliness. The best are being awarded with "Smilie" stickers.

Here are some of the ones which got "Smilies" in just one district - 21st khoroo ,Bayangol District:

- "Tushig grocery market" for constructing guttering with their own money.

- "Kindergarten 94" for their great playground including a green area with an elephant car and caterpillar from old car tires.

- "Naran Bileg Market" and the "Pizza Market"

- "Narnii Saikhan Khoroolol"  and "Selbe" Housing Maintenance Association

Conversely – entities which fell below the criteria also got stickers – "Pig" stickers! Here are some of them:

- "Tosa" marketing center for dirty, trashy environment and poor hygiene standards outside

- Citizen Batsaikhan's  Marketing pavilion (4th khoroo Bayanzurkh district)

- "Minii Delguur", "Arti supermarket", "Baynzurkh market"

- "Oto Zoog", "Royal Café', "Niislel Karaoke Club"

- "Ganga Dagshin Pharmacy", "Workclothes Shop"

- "Jin Hemjuur LLC", "National Center of Standards and Metrology"!

The "Pig" sticker recipients can be re-evaluated  - but only after correction their faults.

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Diplomacy

Minister of Industry Meets EU Delegation on Expanding Trade

Ulaanbaatar, June 5 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat Thursday received a delegation headed by Mr Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, the Concurrent Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Mongolia, and Mr Lars Gronvald, the EU Department of Development Cooperation.

The sides shared information on the Mongolia-EU cooperation. Mr Schweisgut said that an establishment of the Ministry of Industry at the new cabinet of Mongolia was an  important step and spike about several projects and programs which will be implemented within the bilateral cooperation, for example, he noted that the EU wants to collaborate with Mongolia in supporting a trade.

The Minister said Mongolia intends to increase the export of leather, wool and cashmere products to the European market, and noted a big chance to cooperate in the industrial sector, especially in coal gasification and rare minerals processing. "Mongolia is open to cooperate in the trade and industrial spheres," he said. 

Mr Schweisgut pointed out that the export of Mongolian-made leather, cashmere and wool products to the EU have doubled thanks to the EU's decision to free Mongolian products from some taxes. 

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Modi in the Gobi Desert

By M.K. Bhadrakumar

June 6 (Mainstream Weekly) A high-level visit is always best assessed the morning after. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Mongolia offers a keyhole to take a peep at his visit to China (from where he headed for Ulanbator). Modi said immediately after arrival in Ulanbator (from Shanghai) that he could experience "true friendship". We now have a fair idea what he'd missed from May 14-16 in China—"true friendship".

The highlights of Modi's visit to Mongolia are three: a) decision that the two countries would upgrade the relationship from "comprehensive" to "strategic partnership"; b) announcement of a $1 billion Indian credit line, and, c) disclosure that Mongolia forms an "integral part" of India's "Act East" policy.

Why such hype over a country with a population that is equivalent to that of Kanpur city in Uttar Pradesh? Can it be because Mughal Emperor Babur (who is a 13-year-old itch for India's ruling party) was a descendant of Genghis Khan who founded Mongolia? Can it be really all because of the "ivilizational links" based on Buddhism, a religion which Hindu zealots vanquished ruthlessly from India itself?

The clue, perhaps, lies in Modi's disclosure regarding the enhanced geographical spread of India's "Act East" policy. It's China, stupid!

Our Sinophobia is running berserk. President Xi Jinping linked his visit to India last September with a visit to Colombo. So, Modi will also have stopover at Ulanbator. Xi secured Colombo's support for China's Maritime Silk Road. Modi secured Mongolia's concurrence for India's "Act East" policy. Xi announced investment plans in Sri Lanka. Modi left behind an envelope with $ 1 billion.

Logically, when Mongolia becomes part of the "Act East" policy, India should as well include Russia within its ambit. Because, the access route to Mongolia lies through Russia. How can India pursue a robust "Act East" policy in Mongolia without Russia's cooperation?

But, given the anti-China bias of our "Act East" policy, how could Russia cooperate at the present juncture when the Sino-Russian entente has touched unprecedented heights? That poses a problem. Because, without Russia's cooperation, how does Modi implement the geo-strategic thrust in Inner Asia that aims at whittling down China's influence in the heartland? It's elemental geo-graphy. To be sure, the mandarins in South Block overlooked it.

Indeed, if India has such big money to spare, why not give it to the Central Asian states? All the Indian credit lines given to all the five post-Soviet "Stans" in Central Asia put together in all these twentyfive years since they appeared on the world map as independent states do not add up to even a quarter of a billion dollars.

What an illogical sense of grandeur! Isn't it Kazakhstan that will supply us uranium? Come to think of it, South Block just had a dignitary visiting from Central Asia, the Foreign Minister of Tajikistan. Tajikistan used to be a key country for India's regional strategies—the staging post for India's anti-Taliban resistance in the late nineties, gateway to the headquarters of Ahmed Shah Massoud in Panjshir, the only Indian military base anywhere abroad.

However, we didn't have even a token amount of $ 10 million to spare for H.E. Sirodjidin Aslov Muhridinovich. Clearly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had no money in the kitty. And yet, it is Tajikistan that will still play a key role in the geopolitics of Afghanistan and Delhi and Dushanbe are on the same page when it comes to the vital issues of regional security. Which is why a big Russian military exercise has just begun there.

Now comes the really difficult part. India must find a way to spend the $ 1 billion credit line. Maybe, it's all preordained. Some Indian corporate group eyes Mongolia's mineral resources and the amount will go into its pocket? But then, how do they evacuate the minerals? Maybe, we will speed up the Chabahar Port construction in Iran, and thereafter proceed to build a highway up north to the Turkmen border, which would cut right across the Karakum and Kizilkum and the vast steppes of Central Asia (almost the size of India) and cross the border, finally, into southern Mongolia and enter the Gobi Desert? For sure, Modi took us for a very long ride into a fantasyland.

Ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

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Social, Environmental & Other

42% of Domestic Disputes in Mongolia Over Financial Issues

By Ts.Elbegsaikhan

June 5 (Mongolian Economy) I learned of this interesting statistic while attending a lecture titled "Public finance to increase access to education." According to a World Bank survey conducted in Mongolia in 2013, 90 percent of respondents said they knew about banking services; 50 percent about insurance service; 30 percent about stock exchanges; and less than 14 percent knew what a broker does. The most interesting thing though is that 30 percent of the population did not know about loan interest and 60 percent did not know how inflation impacts savings and deposits.

"It's said that if the people are rich, the country is also rich. The citizenry are better off in countries where they have good financial knowledge. However, people remain poor if they don't have this financial education, even if the country has resource wealth," said Dr. L.Oyun, professor at the National University of Mongolia. Two-thirds of Mongolia's population has inadequate knowledge of finance. Fifty seven percent of the surveyed replied that they pay more attention to the here and now than the future.

The Bank of Mongolia, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Financial Regulatory Commission will work on a collaborative programme under the name "Improving the public's knowledge of finance". Many countries have implemented such educational programmes and some are still on-going, as part of the millennium development goals to reduce poverty.

In the past, companies in the financial sector have taken on this this task separately. However, the costs were too high for companies. It required manpower. On top of that, it was not easy to conduct research and monitor results. The key mistake made by the companies was that the information delivered to the public was rather advanced, which made people feel that it was a waste of time studying something they felt they would not understand. Even so, the private sector had made considerable progress and gained significant experience. As a result of their efforts, it became clear that it is easier to understand finance if the financial knowledge is imparted at a younger age.

As the proportion of citizens with financial knowledge increases, people falling victim to various scams will also decrease. People will: make better choices regarding the services they need; show initiative financially; and pay more attention to the future. However, it is important to consider how to achieve these goals. The programme has four priority areas: school aged children, youth, rural communities and online users. Secondary schools will teach introductory finance starting from 2018, and it will be part of university curricula regardless of field of study starting from 2017. The first institution to implement this programme will be the National University of Mongolia. A directory website will be launched and rural citizens can find information from the "Continuing Education Centre." They are even planning on publishing comic books to appeal to children.

"Just as a child must learn to walk, so too must the public be more financially literate" said E. Batshugar, Deputy President of the Bank of Mongolia. The first phase of the programme will continue until 2021. However, L.Oyun says we need to see the depositors' savings rates to quantify the results of the work.

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Eastern Steppe Meets Yellowstone

Mongolian officials on tour of U.S. national parks and national grasslands

June 4, 2015 (Wildlife Conservation Society) If you happen to be at one of several popular national parks in the next ten days, you may see a small delegation of Mongolian officials taking in the grandeur alongside you. As part of a trans-national sharing of expertise on park management issues, (WCS) Wildlife Conservation Society is hosting six key members of the Mongolian government for a protected area study tour.

Development, led by an exploding extractive industry, is on the rise and bringing big changes to the landscape in Mongolia. Because of these changes, protected areas have grown in importance for ensuring the protection of biodiversity and of threatened and endangered species. However, capacity and resources for protected area management have fallen behind the pace of expansion of Mongolia's protected area network.

In response, WCS is conducting a management capacity building tour for six members of the Mongolian government— three from the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, and three from the Eastern Steppe Strictly Protected Area. Additionally, a Mongolian Montana State University Master's program student will attend.

Accompanied by WCS Mongolia staff, the team will visit Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Badlands, and Theodore Roosevelt national parks. On the tour, they will learn how U.S. parks are managed, and how the threats the parks in both countries face (i.e., wildlife disease, poaching, fire, habitat encroachment) are mitigated.

The group will also visit the Buffalo Gap and Grand River National Grasslands, both located in South Dakota and managed by the US Forest Service (within the Department of Agriculture). These grasslands are managed for a variety of purposes including forage for wildlife and domestic livestock, fish and wildlife habitat, timber, water, and recreation resources.  The ecosystems in South Dakota are very similar to those in the Eastern Steppe region of Mongolia, and the local resource managers are eager to share their experiences with these international counterparts.

"The challenges faced by our tour participants from Mongolia in protected area management are often the same ones that we face or have faced in the past in the U.S.," said Kina Murphy, WCS Extractive Industry Project Manager and study tour participant. "The tour provides an opportunity for us to compare strategies and take the best innovations and implement them for the benefit of wildlife."

Mr. Batkhuu, a ranger from Mongol Daguur Strictly Protected Area of Dornod Province of Mongolia said, "I am travelling abroad for the first time in my life over the Pacific Ocean to learn from one of the greatest national park systems in the world and am very happy for this great learning adventure of my lifetime.

The project participants will meet with park staff, local agencies and non-governmental organizations to learn about best-practices with regard to protected area management, tourism development, environmental interpretation, community outreach and co-management opportunities, extractive industry relations, conservation finance strategies, and more.

U.S. National Park Service personnel will share experiences through meetings, lectures, on-site evaluations, and discussions with the team. Conversely, Mongolian participants will present on the Mongolian protected area system and plans to U.S. National Park Service participants.

"Whether it's grizzly bears, bison or pronghorn in the U.S. or khulan, saiga or Mongolian gazelles in Mongolia, the management concepts we are sharing with our colleagues from Mongolia are critical to the successful conservation of iconic wildlife in protected areas and finding harmony between development and biodiversity conservation," said WCS Mongolia Program Director Enkhtuvshin Shiilegdamba.

This collaborative capacity building tour was supported by the Trust for Mutual Understanding and the U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

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Why You Need to Go to Mongolia Now in 16 Stunning Photos

by Nic McCormack

June 4 (Bloomberg) Every July Mongolia's steppes come alive as the Naadam Festival celebrates nomadic sports that date back to the days of Genghis Khan. It's an exciting time to visit a country far off the beaten path. Outside Ulaanbaatar—its modern capital buzzing with copper, gold, and coal mining wealth and a new Shangri-La hotel—encounter an adventure-rich land of camel-trod deserts and vast grasslands lorded over by craggy mountains.

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Mongolia trip will sharpen up Bath judokas

June 6 (Western Daily Press) Team Bath's Ben Fletcher, Megan Fletcher and Gemma Howell are finalising their preparations for this month's European Games at a training camp in Mongolia.

University of Bath graduate Gemma Gibbons – the London 2012 Olympic silver-medalist – is also part of the group.

It is the first time the British Judo Association has gone to the central Asian country, whose judoka are considered to be among the world's best.

"They have a lot of strong players, so it is a good guarantee that we will be training at the highest level," said Megan Fletcher, who won 70kg gold at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

"I'm really excited about going to Mongolia. They are a really strong nation in judo and it's going to be a good experience to train with them in a different environment.

"Everything has been going really well. Most of the hard work has been done, it's just a case of polishing up and getting mentally ready."

Younger brother Ben added: "Mongolia are a particularly good judo nation and it is a bit different for us. It sometimes helps when you are away before a major event as you can really start to focus."

The first-ever European Games are taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from June 12-28, with the judo competition – doubling as the sport's European Championships – starting on June 25.

And Ben is looking forward to experiencing a multi-sport environment after being ruled out of the Commonwealth Games by a knee injury.

"I've not been the luckiest with major championships," said the 23-year-old, who will compete in the 100kg weight category.

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