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(Apologies for Friday, but it was a quiet Friday morning)
Tavan Tolgoi Draft Submitted to Parliament
May 28 (UB Post) Best interests for the nation will be highest priority in choosing strategic investor of Tavan Tolgoi project, reaffirmed Minister of Minerals and Energy D.Zorigt. “No any side will be given advantageous rights. Each of them will have equal chance to win,” he said. But he admitted that there is growing demand to push national producers and national-level large businesses into growth under umbrella of this project concept. ... The government submitted on Thursday a package of documents to the State Great Khural (Parliament) for approval, which includes a draft changes to the Minerals Law, draft investment agreement, and several draft resolutions of the Parliament. The package also includes draft documents of preliminary selection of potential winner.
The draft investment agreement, that has 19 articles, and 144 clauses, will be signed by Erdenes MGL, a state corporation that owns license of Tavan Tolgoi, and Minister of Finance, Minister of Nature and Environment, and Minister of Minerals and Energy from the side of Mongolia’s government with investor side. The sides may include Minister of Road, Transport, Construction and Urban Development. ... http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4900&Itemid=40
Mongol Gazar sells its share in Olon Ovoot to Just Group
May 26 (news.mn) A joint statement from the two companies has revealed that Mongol Gazar LLC has sold its share in the Olon Ovoot gold mine, the refining plant there, and its gold reserves to Just Group for USD130 million. All unpaid debts, including loans from Zoos Bank and Anod Bank, are the liability of Just Group now, following an agreement made on December 3, 2009.
Olon Ovoot Gold was equally owned by Mongol Gazar and Just Group since June 2009, and the present transaction makes Just Group 100% owner.
Polo Resources Limited - Update on memorandum of understanding with Peabody Energy Corporation and Winsway Coking Coal Holdings Ltd. for the sale of Polo's interest in Mongolian Joint Venture
TORONTO, May 28 /CNW/ - Further to the execution of the memorandum of understanding between Winsway Coking Coal Holdings Ltd., Peabody Energy Corporation and Polo, as announced on 24 May 2010, Polo is pleased to announce that on 27 May 2010 Winsway paid the non-refundable deposit of US$1.75 million to Polo.
Negotiations with respect to the sale of Polo's interests in Peabody-Polo Resources BV continue and a further announcement will be made in due course.
Oyutolgoi directors reminded of their responsibility to nation
May 26 (news.mn) The head of the State Property Committee, D. Sugar, has told the newly appointed three Oyu Tolgoi LLC Board members from the Mongolian side that their main responsibility was to ensure maximum profit for the state, so that it could spend money on national development. This was his first meeting with N. Bagabandi, P. Tsagaan, and Ch. Ganbold since their selection by the Committee for the positions. ... http://english.news.mn/content/13717.shtml
Government to sell MNT16 billion bonds to fund Development Bank
May 28 (news.mn) The Government has decided to issue bonds worth MNT16 billion to raise capital for the new National Development Bank.
The MNT19 trillion needed to implement the government’s Industrialization program has not yet been found. A survey has revealed that in 2010-2012 the government’s own income and aid from donors will total MNT10 trillion. The new Bank will be state-owned and provide capital to main economic sectors such as infrastructure and industry.
Standing committee rejects draft on agriculture stock exchange
May 27 (news.mn) The Standing Committee on Environment, Food and Agriculture yesterday refused to approve the draft law on establishing an agriculture stock exchange, and asked its initiators to redraft it in the light of the Mongolian Livestock program approved by Parliament last week.
The proposed stock exchange will trade in animal products to help raise herders’ income. Raw materials from all over the country will be listed in the exchange to be set up in Ulaanbaatar and will be traded online. ... http://english.news.mn/content/13919.shtml
Statistical Office releases data
May 27 (news.mn) All figures in the following social and economic data released by The National Statistical Office are for the four months ended April 2010, unless otherwise specified, and all comparisons are with the same period in 2009, unless, again, mentioned otherwise. ... The national consumer price index in April 2010 increased by 2.1 per cent, 9.7 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively over March, the end of last year, and April, 2009. The m-o-m rise was mainly due to the 4.3 per cent increase in food prices. ... Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2010 stood at MNT 663.4 billion at 2005 constant prices, increasing 7.6 per cent over the same period in 2009. This was mainly because of increased industrial and construction output and more taxes. ... The number of registered unemployed people rose 3.8 percent.
... Tax revenue rose 73.2 percent over the same period last year. Revenue from the windfall profits tax was 9.0 times more, from corporate income tax 2.3 percent more, and from VAT 67.9 percent more. Non-tax revenue increased by 3.1 percent. ... Total turnover from trade with 112 countries reached USD1,552.2 million, a rise of 58.1 percent. Exports accounted for USD729.4 million, a rise of 64.2 percent, and imports stood at USD822.8 million, 53.1 percent more than in the first four months last year.
... In 22 trading days in April of this year, 5.8 million shares valued at MNT 6.2 billion were traded at the stock exchange. The number of shares was half of the March figure, and 2.7 times less than in April 2009.
MPs said the original Oyutolgoi investment agreement called for employment of 1,009 Mongolians in 2009 and of 4,331 more in 2010. Neither of the two figures has been reached. The Minister of Social Welfare was asked to post on the Internet all information related to employment related to the Oyutolgoi project. Ministry officials said they had discovered this clause only recently.
May 27 (news.mn) Cafés and restaurants serving liquor, and all shops and supermarkets selling alcohol have been ordered by Mayor G.Munkhbayar to install cameras. The move comes in the wake of persistent complaints that the rule prohibiting sale or serving of alcohol after 12 midnight was being flouted. A recent check found 27 night clubs and restaurants had been regularly breaking the law but continuing to do business after paying a fine. The Mayor has ordered all 27 establishments to be shut down. ... http://english.news.mn/content/13924.shtml
Victory Nickel and Prophecy Complete Reciprocal Private Placements
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 28, 2010) - Prophecy Resource Corp. ("Prophecy") (Mogi: Prophecy and Red Hill merged to form the new Prophecy) and Victory Nickel Inc. ("Victory Nickel") (TSX:NI) (www.victorynickel.ca) have completed reciprocal private placements announced on May 13, 2010.
May 28 (news.mn) MIAT resumed its international operations with the 2.20 a.m. flight to Beijing on Friday. Earlier, prolonged negotiations had led to all the 94 workers of the technical department agreeing to withdraw their resignation letter and return to normal duties. This means the only two persons to go are the head of the department, Yo.Enkhtur, and his deputy, Ch.Bayar, both of whom have been dismissed. ... http://english.news.mn/content/14113.shtml
Non-performing loans fall, but still higher than in 2009
May 28 (news.mn) The Mongol Bank has reported that money supply (broad money or M2) at the end of April rose to MNT 3163.0 billion, an increase of MNT 188.5 billion or 6.3 percent over March, and of MNT 821.1 billion or 35.1 percent over April last year. ...
Loans outstanding at the end of April amounted to MNT 2764.9 billion, a fall of MNT 3.7 billion or 0.1 percent from March, but MNT 184.6 billion or 7.2 percent more than in April, 2009. Principals in arrears were MNT 139.0 billion at the end of April, MNT 14.3 billion or 9.3 percent less than in March, and MNT15.2 billion or 9.8 per cent less than in April last year.
The amount of non-performing loans stood at MNT416.0 billion at the end of April, a drop of MNT15.8 billion or 3.7 per cent from March, but MNT142.1 billion or 1.5 times more than in April last year.
NSO official says cash distribution has not led to inflation
May 28 (news.mn) The Director of Macroeconomics at the National Statistical Committee, B.Badamtsetseg, traces the 9.7 percent inflation to the dzud that killed 8.1 million livestock and thus led meat price to rise 15 percent over the same period last year. The official saw “little relation” between the distribution of money from the Human Development Fund and the inflation as the money is being distributed over a period of time.
May 28 (news.mn) The Mongol Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Khan Bank and Trade and Development Bank on an integrated payment card clearing system to come into effect on June 16. Golomt Bank is expected to join the system by the end of the year. At the end of 2009, the number of card holders in Mongolia was over 2 million, of which 476,000 were termed active, indicating that they used their card at least 5 times a month. Some 27% of the total card holders and 32% of active users reside in rural areas. Khan Bank and TDB together cover 70% of the market share in terms of number of transactions.
May 28 (news.mn) G. Ankhbayar, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, has said Discover Mongolia 2010 will offer international mining investors a resourceful base to launch and expand businesses, establish new contacts, and learn of the latest developments and make deals. After a year’s absence, the founding members of the Forum have come together again and this year’s meeting, scheduled to be held in Ulaanbaatar from September 8-10, will have more value. ... These will include a mining conference; the Government Hour, where Government officials directly discuss Government policies in the mineral industry with participants; an investors’ exhibition; a mine tour and a fishing tour. ... http://english.news.mn/content/14107.shtml
Wen Jiabao arrives on June 1
May 26 (news.mn) Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrives in Mongolia on June 1 and will leave the next day, according to the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He will hold wide ranging talks with his host, Prime Minister S. Batbold.
May 29 (China Daily) China and the Republic of Korea (ROK), two of Asia's largest economies, are expected to kick off formal talks on establishing a free trade area (FTA) this year or in the first half of next year in a bid to boost trade ties and regional integration, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Friday. ... (Mogi: As you know, China also announced in May that it has initiated feasibility studies for a FTA with Mongolia: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2010-05/12/content_9838829.htm)
May 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Friday, capping off their worst month in over a year as a downgrade by Fitch of Spain's credit rating reignited worries about euro-zone debt issues.
... For the month, the Dow fell 7.9 percent, the S&P shed 8.2 percent and the Nasdaq lost 8.3 percent. The declines were the worst for the Dow and S&P since February 2009 while the Nasdaq suffered its worst monthly drop since November 2008. ... The downgrade follows similar cuts in ratings earlier this month of Greece and Portugal as those nations attempt to grapple with debt problems by implementing austerity measures. ... Volume was light with about 9.06 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, below last year's estimated daily average of 9.65 billion. ... http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE64R54R20100528
Sovereign wealth rewrites old-world rules
May 27 (Reuters) - Sovereign wealth funds -- national vehicles created to grow state wealth for the future -- have long experience investing in exotic and lesser-known lands. To these funds, many of which originate in what the West calls the "frontier" region, it's a local market.
This year alone, countries including China, Singapore, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Abu Dhabi have invested easily more than $1 billion (688 million pounds) in frontier markets, in such projects as mines in Mongolia and companies in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. ... Just as in the 17th century it was European corporations that laid the grounds of modern global finance, today the sovereign wealth funds are driving the world towards a new financial order.
May 26 (news.mn) A team of journalists was last week taken to Khustai where N.Enkhbold, chairman of the board that runs the Khustai complex, said that at latest count, the number in the country of the Mongolian wild horse, or the takhi, stood at 240. Once common on the Mongolian steppes, the animal ended up in the Red Book of endangered species some decades ago.
A rehabilitation program began in 1992 when 87 takhis from zoos in the Netherlands were sent in three groups and their number has been growing steadily. This summer around 40 foals will be born. Seven of the nine foals born this spring are doing well. The success of the program owes much to Jan Bauman, a Dutch billionaire who is now buried in Khustai according to his wishes. His widow Inga continues to support the Khustai Complex with an annual donation of USD20,000.
Endangered species of horse increases in size at Calgary Zoo
May 27 - An extremely endangered species of horse just added several members to its family with the birth of three foals at the Calgary Zoo. Keeper Rick Wenman says the Asian wild horses were once extinct in the wild. The species is classified as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union. The horses live in the wild only in Mongolia, where they were reintroduced in the 1990s.
Mongolia: Brewer Receives USD25 mln Loan to Diversify its Beer Business
May 24 - The EBRD is providing $25 million loan to APU, a private brewery operating in Mongolia, to support company's drive to expand production capacity and diversify its product range. ... This project will help APU double its beer production capacity by 2014 and create new jobs. Additionally, due to the implementation of advanced technology, APU will be able to significantly improve its energy efficiency, cutting emissions and production costs. ... http://www.flex-news-food.com/console/PageViewer.aspx?page=30253
FRONTIERS-Doing business in Mongolia a tightrope walk
(Reuters journalists have produced a special multimedia package on frontier markets including stories, video reports, pictures, research and graphics. To see the full package click here)
Fast-growing economic ties are contributing to a new interest in things Chinese among Mongolians – and to manifestations of hatred.
Central Asian energy resources and transport links have become crucial elements in China’s long-term economic and security strategy, even as Chinese imports now dominate many Central Asian markets. This is the third in a series of articles on the manifold impacts of China’s growing presence in the Central Asian region.
May 25 (Trading Room - Australia) The Rudd government should take heed of Mongolia's failed attempt to impose a hefty windfall profits tax on mining companies, Ivanhoe Australia Ltd says. ... Peter Reeve, chief executive of Ivanhoe Mines' Australian arm, said domestic miners felt "kicked in the teeth" by the heavy-handed Resources Super Profit Tax proposal.
Parliament Adopts National Reform Plan for Livestock
May 25 (UB Post) Mongolian parliament last week adopted a national reform plan worth MNT1.4 trillion for the entire livestock industry.
According to the government-level program called “Mongol Mal” or National Livestock Program, more attention would be given to restore and preservation of quality of the core structure, selective breeding of the livestock industry, main backbone of the economy, and veterinary services of international standard to prevent and combat infectious diseases. ... http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4883&Itemid=36
Trade Union Urges Gov’t to Stop Manpower Export
May 25 (UB Post) Trade Unions last week appealed the government not to send migrant workers to South Korea as the country’s major mining projects would soon create tens of thousands of homeland jobs.
Thousands of Mongolians lined up last week at the outside of Ulaanbaatar’s social insurance offices, hoping to get job that will be paid by the minimum wage of Korean government standard, around US$1,000 a month. More than 20,000 applicants got registered in few days for the vacant position of 3,100 jobs in South Korea’s small and medium sized enterprises. ... http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4885&Itemid=36
CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open lower on weaker commodity prices
May 25 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index is expected to open lower on Tuesday as commodity prices were hammered by worries over Europe's banking sector and North Korea's threatened military action against the South. ... Industrial metals slid on Tuesday, with copper falling more nearly 3 percent on the back of a stronger dollar and worries the euro zone debt crisis could derail the region's already-fragile economic recovery. [MET/L] ... http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKN2511916520100525
Bold move from Ivanhoe despite tax uncertainty
May 26 (Business Day - Australia) IVANHOE Australia is no fan of the Rudd government's proposed 40 per cent resource rent tax. But it is the first of the shell-shocked resource companies to commit to a ''new'' mine, despite the uncertainties surrounding implementation and the eventual form of the controversial tax.
Belarusian and Mongolian scientists to cooperate in materials science
MINSK, 24 May (BelTA) – Specialists of the materials science center of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of Mongolia are expected to implement a number of joint research projects, BelTA learned from Alexander Zubets, the academic secretary of the materials science research center.
May 24 LONDON (SHARECAST) - Coal specialist Polo Resources has signed a memorandum of understanding to sell its half stake in its Mongolian joint venture to Winsway Coking Coal for $35m.
Peabody-Polo Resources, the joint venture with US firm Peabody, currently holds all of Polo's coal and uranium assets in Mongolia. Under the MOU, Winsway will pay a non-refundable deposit of $1.75m and will get exclusivity to conclude a deal until 20 July 2010.
The initial consideration is $15m cash plus a further $20m payable over 12 months in cash or Winsway shares.
May 23 Ulaanbaatar, /MONTSAME/ Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange (MSE) during the week from May 17 to May 21. Overall 4.8 million shares of 44 JSCs were sold totaling 838.1 million MNT trade.
Index top-20 is 9620.15 points was increased by 74.71 units, or 0.8% against the previous week. The total market capitalization was set at MNT 802.9 billion, decreased by MNT 0.6 billion or 0.07%.
Shares of "Mogoin gol" JSC (45.4%), "Monit buligaar" (32.0%) and "UBBUK" (21.6%) were increased, but shares of "Hermes center" (37.5%), "Dornod khudaldaa" (15.0%), and "Erdenet khuns" (16.7%) JSCs were decreased at the MSE. A total of 44 shares were sold. Of them, rate of 18 shares were increased, rate 18 shares was decreased, and rate of eight shares were stable.
Shares of "Khokh gan" JSC (2.8 million units), "Berkh uul" (1.7 million units) and "Genco tour bureau" (98.7 thousand units) JSCs were actively traded in terms of trading volume, but in terms of trading value "Khokh gan" (MNT 423.1 million), "Berkh uul" (MNT 249.7 million) and "APU" (MNT 41.7 million) JSCs were actively traded at MSE last week.
Mongolian mining companies to attend event at London Stock Exchange
May 20 (news.mn) The London Stock Exchange will hold a Mongolian Mining Companies’ Day on June 28. Northernsec is behind the event and its Director, B.Ulziibayar, gives more information on the planned day. ... http://english.news.mn/content/12642.shtml
Parliament allows certain imported equipment to be stored longer
May 21 (news.mn) Parliament has approved changes in the Customs regulations to allow certain equipment and machinery imported into the country to be stored with the Customs for a longer period. At present they can be so stored for one year at the most, but MPs decided, after along discussion, that anything to do with petroleum exploration work authorized by the Government, and also with aircraft can be kept for 3 years and 6 months. ... http://english.news.mn/content/12999.shtml
Rio Tinto says tax makes Australia top sovereign concern
May 24 (Reuters) - Global miner Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) (RIO.L) said it is reviewing all investments in Australia due to a proposed new tax, describing the country as its No.1 sovereign risk concern and sending a weak Australian dollar even lower.
... Albanese's comments helped drive the Australian currency down against the greenback and the yen by more than 1 percent, on mounting concerns that Rio, BHP, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG.AX) and other miners could deliver on their threats to pull billions of dollars of investments. ... Shares in Rio rallied along with the rest of the Australian stock market .AXJO, rising 3.5 percent. ... http://uk.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUKTRE64N0A320100524
NEW YORK, May 21 (Reuters) - Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) said on Friday it has signed a preliminary agreement with two international financial institutions that are evaluating a major financing package for the construction of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in southern Mongolia. ... The EBRD and the IFC will consider providing up to $300 million each in project financing, while mobilizing a further $1.2 billion from commercial lenders, Ivanhoe said in a statement. ... http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKN2116716120100521
Khan Resources Acknowledges CNNC's Decision to Allow Its Offer to Expire
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 21, 2010) - Khan Resources Inc. (TSX:KRI) ("Khan") announced that it was informed today by CNNC Overseas Uranium Holding Ltd. ("CNNC"), a wholly-owned private subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation, China's state-owned leading uranium development and nuclear fuel company, that it has failed to obtain regulatory approval for its offer to acquire all of the common shares of Khan at C$0.96 in cash per share (the "Offer") and, accordingly, will allow its Offer to expire at the scheduled expiry time of 5:00 p.m. (Toronto time) on May 25, 2010. ... http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Khan-Resources-Acknowledges-CNNCs-Decision-to-Allow-Its-Offer-to-Expire-TSX-KRI-1264679.htm
Manas Petroleum Announces First Quarter Financial and Operational Results
BAAR, SWITZERLAND--(Marketwire - May 21, 2010) - Manas Petroleum Corp. ("Manas") (OTCBB: MNAP) is pleased to report that it has filed on EDGAR and on SEDAR its first quarter report on Form 10-Q. The complete document can be viewed at either www.sedar.com or www.sec.gov.
Highlights: ... - In Mongolia, Manas has planned an upcoming gravity survey to prepare a 300 KM seismic campaign on blocks 13 and 14. ... As an operator, Manas has geological and geophysical commitments for the next 12 months in Mongolia amounting to $1,650,000. Manas is expecting to spend in total $2,500,000 for capital expenditures and Geological & Geophysical work. ... Data from a total of 451 existing wells drilled in the Zuunbayan and Tsagaan Els oil field areas and in the company's prospects has been collected. All well data was translated from Russian and Mongolian into English for analysis by international experts. ... http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Manas-Petroleum-Announces-First-Quarter-Financial-and-Operational-Results-1264502.htm
Garrison Announces Approval of Social Impact Study of Tovshiir Gold Project
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 20, 2010) - Garrison International Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:GAU) ("Garrison") is pleased to announce that the Mongolian Government has formally approved the Social Impact Study of the Tovshiir Gold Project prepared and submitted by Garrison. ... The detailed study was conducted by Usny Erchim LLC on Garrison's behalf and reported the Tovshiir Gold Project's economical viability, planned ore extraction and processing methods, as well as social and environmental impacts on the surrounding area. With the Social Impact Study having been approved, Garrison may now commence mining operations within the area covered by the Tovshiir mining leases.
Construction of a processing plant on this project will also commence shortly, with all pre-fabrication having been completed and all of the concrete footings and steel beams required for construction already on site. A 500 ton per day capacity ball mill is being shipped from China, and the customs clearance process for that shipment is already underway.
May 21 (People's Daily) China is planning to alter the taxation structure on the profits that companies make from energy products on a trial basis in Xinjiang, participants at the Xinjiang work conference said on Thursday.
The conference has suggested that the prices of resource products should be taken into consideration when levying the taxes, rather than the existing system that takes into account the actual output.
There were no indications as to what the tax rate would be. Analysts are, however, of the view that it may be 3-5 percent for resource products like oil. ... The government may include one or two more inland areas rich in resources, such as Shanxi province and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region in the pilot plans at a later stage, he said. ... http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90778/90860/6993254.html
Culture, Sports, Religion, ...
PONTIFF PRAISES LIBERTY IN MONGOLIA
VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is assuring his appreciation for efforts to protect religious liberty in Mongolia, since he says authentic development must take into account man's spiritual nature.
Ivanhoe Says $4.6 Billion Project May Get New Partner
May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., building a $4.6 billion copper and gold mine in Mongolia with Rio Tinto Group, said it may bring in another partner after receiving interest in the Oyu Tolgoi project.
“This is likely to have another participant before it’s all over,” Deputy Chairman Peter Meredith said today at a conference in London. “We’ve had a lot interest from other majors but our partner is Rio Tinto so we have to be respectful of what their dreams and desires are.” ... http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a3c3Re0DLqZA
Wide interest in Ivanhoe project stake-exec
LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) - Major mining firms have shown strong interest in buying a stake in the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia, majority owner Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) said on Wednesday.
Mining Profit Tax ‘Contagion’ Set to Spread From Australia
May 20 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s planned 40 percent tax on mining profits has set a benchmark for other countries weighing higher levies, reducing earnings forecasts for BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group and the attraction of mining stocks. ... BHP, the world’s largest mining company, Xstrata Plc and Rio said they are reviewing projects in Australia, the No. 1 exporter of coal and iron ore, after the government unveiled the tax this month, saying a country’s resources belong to the people. Citigroup Inc. Sydney-based analyst Craig Sainsbury said Canada, Peru and Chile may be next.
... Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., Australia’s third-largest iron ore exporter, has dropped 16 percent and BHP’s Melbourne-traded stock has fallen 9.3 percent, while the Australian currency has slid 7.6 percent since the government announced the tax on May 2. Fortescue this week placed $15 billion of projects on hold, citing the tax. ... Rio, the world’s third-largest mining company, this month said it will spend $401 million to boost iron ore output in Canada, citing the “attractiveness of investing” in the North American nation. BHP has said the tax would stymie investment. ... http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aEVmLz1wyaGw&pos=5
PM wants outsiders on boards of State companies
May 20 (news.mn) Prime Minister S.Batbold instructed State Property Committee chief D.Sugar on Tuesday to include representatives of civil organizations, professional associations, academics and researchers on the board of directors of state owned organizations and companies. The Prime Minister referred to the widespread criticism that state organizations are not sufficiently open and to rumors that many officials have commercial links with these organizations. Inducting neutral outsiders would improve the current governance practice.
Sugar told the Prime Minister that, as part of the program to develop the capital market, the committee is pushing state organizations to have their own web sites and also to have more independent members in their boards.
May 20 (news.mn) Sensitive financial issues were discussed at a “secret” meeting on Monday attended by members of the Standing Committee on the Economy, and representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the MongolBank, and the National Statistics Office. They talked mainly about the budget deficit and the threat of inflation. ... The IMF, which has lent money to keep the budget deficit within manageable limits, is strongly recommending austerity measures. There seems to be rethinking in the Finance Ministry and Parliament seems to have suspended further discussion on the revised budget. These are likely to resume on Monday, after MPs will have considered what was discussed at the meeting.
Senior CPC official vows to enhance exchange with Mongolia's Democratic Party
BEIJING, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Wang Gang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Wednesday pledged to enhance exchange and cooperation with the Mongolian Democratic Party (MDP).
A work-for-cash program, financed with a $1.5 million grant from the United Nations, pays herders to gather the carcasses and bury them in pits.
May (NYT Op-Ed) SOUTH HANGAY PROVINCE, Mongolia — They call it the zud, a prolonged period of heavy snows and paralyzing cold that adds to the challenges of living on a treeless expanse nearly the size of Alaska. But this year’s zud followed a punishing summer drought that stunted the grass and left Munkhbat Lkhagvasuren’s herds emaciated and his family in debt after borrowing money for fodder.
Asian Stocks Fall on Europe Concern; Commodity Shares Advance
May 20 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks fell for the fifth straight day amid concern the Europe’s debt crisis will hurt the global economic recovery. Commodity companies advanced.
... BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, gained 0.7 percent in Sydney after commodity prices gained. ... The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.5 percent to 114.17 as of 9:52 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge has declined 12 percent from a 52-week high on April 15 on concern debt problems in countries from Greece to Spain will spill over into other European nations. Germany this week introduced a temporary ban on naked short selling to calm the region’s financial markets.
“Germany’s short-sale restriction is spurring suspicion that the situation is actually worse than investors think,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees the equivalent of $450 million in Tokyo at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. “The global economy is improving and corporate earnings are good, so there are investors who see the recent slump as the best opportunity to buy.” ... http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ahGyD1sRQQF0&pos=2
Canada Stocks Fall as Euro Rebounds, Weakening Gold Futures
May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks fell for a fifth day, led by gold producers, as the euro gained against all other major currencies a day after Germany put a temporary ban on certain types of bearish trades. ... “It may be perceived that it’s going to cool out speculation in gold,” said Brendan Caldwell, chief executive officer of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. in Toronto, which manages about C$1 billion ($955 million). “It might be the only thing they can do to prevent a continued run on everything European.” ... S&P/TSX gold stocks retreated as the metal declined 1.8 percent to $1,193.10 an ounce. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest producer, slumped 3.6 percent to C$44.46 to contribute the most to the S&P/TSX’s decline. Goldcorp lost 4.3 percent to C$44.11. Gammon Gold Inc., which mines in Mexico, tumbled 9.4 percent, the most in five months, to C$7.29. ... An index of base-metal and coal producers fell for a fifth day as zinc futures dropped from a seven-month low and copper declined. ... Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., which is building a $4.6 billion copper and gold mine in Mongolia with Rio Tinto Group, retreated 4.8 percent to C$14.38.
IMF’s Lipsky Says Euro Exchange Rate Near Equilibrium
May 19 (Bloomberg) -- The euro’s current level is close to an “equilibrium” value and its decline to the weakest in four years against the dollar may help Europe’s exports, the International Monetary Fund’s No. 2 official said.
2010 on track to be hottest ever - US climate data
LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) - This year is on track to be the hottest ever after data published by America's climate agency this week showed record global temperatures in April and the first four months of 2010.
... "Cooler-than-normal places included Mongolia, Argentina, far eastern Russia, the western contiguous United States and most of China," NOAA said, adding global snow cover was the fourth-lowest on record.
Interview: Esther Jacobson-Tepfer on the Hidden Archaeology of Mongolia's Altai Mountains
May 17 (Heritage Key) Archaeology and Landscape in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia is an ambitious project designed to provide the first ever in-depth survey of the cultural landscape of one of the most remote regions of the world.
May 18 (Financial Post) The mining industry is still reeling from an announcement in early May that the Australian government plans a massive tax hike on resource profits. If it goes into effect, Australia would have one of the world’s highest mining tax brackets. ... “The scale of Australia’s proposed change will encourage a range of countries to revisit their mining tax take, in our view,” they [UBS Securities] wrote.
The analysts completed a country survey, and identified a handful of them that could impose higher mining taxes: Brazil, Mongolia, Chile, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Canadian companies are active in all of these places.
On the other hand, they also pointed out some countries that see opportunities to steal market share away from Australia, and are thus unlikely to increase mining taxes. That group includes Canada, Russia and Kazakhstan. ... Despite the new Australian tax, they still rate Aussie giant BHP Billiton Ltd. as a top pick in the mining sector, because of its high-quality resource base and its ability to take advantage of increased M&A potential.
Factbox - Most and least friendly areas for world's miners
May 18 (Reuters) - Following are recent results from an annual poll by the Fraser Institute, an independent public policy research organisation based in Canada, which measured jurisdictions worldwide on the most and least friendly policies for miners. ... * Areas seen as having friendliest policy towards miners.
Clear directions on mining needed, feels Ministry official
May 18 (news.mn) A senior official at the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, B.Batkhuu, has said Parliament needs to give a clear direction on the extent and nature of State participation in mining, and on the status, quality, and exact nature of private-public partnership. The 2006 Minerals Law has laid down the general concept, but “now we need to establish specifics so that foreign and local investors know exactly where they stand and what to expect”, he said, according to The Mongolian Mining Journal. ... He regretted that the “irresponsible behavior” of a few companies taints the popular perception of the entire mining sector. People are also unhappy when proceeds from taxes are not utilized for the benefit of local development. The minerals sector has been making wide and rapid expansion in the last few years and deserves a research institution to serve its needs.
MONGOL BANK SIGNS MEMORANDUM WITH COMMERCIAL BANKS
May 18 Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, /MONTSAME/ The Mongol Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Khan Bank and the Trade and Development Bank with aims to start the piloting the integrated payment card clearing system in May 15, 2010 and to officially put in operation in June 16, 2010.
May 18 Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, /MONTSAME/ President Ts.Elbegdorj received Tuesday Mr Andrew Ellis, a Director of the International Institute of Democracy and Election Assistance for Asia and Pacific Affairs.