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Friedland takes issue with Rio Tinto
TORONTO, September 21 (miningweekly.com) – Tensions between the owners of the massive Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia, diversified miner Rio Tinto and Canada's Ivanhoe Mines, appeared to flare up again on Wednesday, after the smaller firm accused its partner of making unauthorised statements regarding the asset.
Ivanhoe CEO Robert Friedland said his firm had become aware of "dissemination of what it considers to be unauthorized and incomplete information concerning the Oyu Tolgoi project by members of Rio Tinto's senior management during a briefing for investors this week".
The company did not specify what information it was referring to, only saying it "will provide further details in a future statement following communication directly with Rio Tinto on the specifics of its concerns".
Earlier this week, Mongolian press quoted finance minister S. Bayartsogt as saying the government wanted to alter the 2009 agreement with Ivanhoe for the development of Oyu Tolgoi.
According to Reuters, Rio Tinto copper head Andrew Harding told an investor briefing in London on Tuesday that the project had already generated large amounts of wealth for the country.
"I've had discussions with many (Mongolian) ministers and they fundamentally understand that it is not only about the value that is being gained now," Harding said.
Earlier this month, Rio Tinto made a presentation in Mongolia, which showed how much Oyu Tolgoi will contribute to the country.
The project will account for around one-third of Mongolia's economy by 2020, and will have led to an increase of a similar magnitude in the size of the Asian country's economy by the same time, CEO of the mine Cameron McRae said.
This is not the first time Friedland has bumped heads with Rio Tinto.
Ivanhoe this year implemented a shareholder rights plan that would prevent the bigger firm from increasing its stake even after the agreement expires next year, unless it makes an offer to all shareholders.
Rio Tinto disputed the shareholder rights plan and the two parties headed to arbitration over the issue, and no settlement has yet been announced.
Oyu Tolgoi is expected to produce more than 1.2-billion pounds of copper and 650 000 oz of gold a year in the first ten years of operation, and the mine would produce around 1.7-billion pounds of copper and one-million ounces of gold at its peak, in year seven.
The first openpit phase is set to start commercial production in 2013, with underground production set to arrive two years later.
Australia- and London-listed Rio Tinto owns 48.5% of Ivanhoe, which in turn owns two-thirds of Oyu Tolgoi. The Mongolian government owns the remainder.
Related: Rio ready to pounce on $10bn acquisitions – The Australian, September 21
Ivanhoe: No Talks With Mongolia On Changes To Oyu Tolgoi Pact
September 20 (Dow Jones) Canada-listed Ivanhoe Mines Ltd (IVN.T, IVN), the majority owner of the massive Mongolian Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project, said Tuesday there have been no talks with the Mongolian government to change the terms of the 2009 investment agreement.
"There have been no discussions between Ivanhoe Mines and the Mongolian government about potential changes to the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement," an Ivanhoe Mines spokesman said in response to media reports that Mongolian politicians are mulling possible changes.
Reuters had cited an interview on Mongolian news portal www.news.mn in which the Mongolian finance minister S. Bayartsogt said the country's Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Policy has been discussing changes to the terms and length of the agreement.
The 2009 agreement gave Ivanhoe Mines a 66% stake in the project while the Mongolian government retained a 34% stake. Rio Tinto is the project operator and is an indirect shareholder in Oyu Tolgoi through a 48.5% equity stake in Ivanhoe Mines.
Andrew Harding, chief executive of Rio Tinto's copper division, said during Rio Tinto's investor day conference Tuesday that have been general discussions among Mongolians about the investment agreement, during the run-up to next year's elections. But he noted that Mongolian ministers have indicated that they're aware of the wealth that the project has generated for the country.
"I've had discussions with many ministers and they fundamentally understand that it is not only about the value that is being gained now," he said. "It has triggered a great many [other] companies looking for investment opportunities," he noted, citing Tavan Tolgoi as an example of a Mongolian project that has attracted large amount of investor interest recently.
The Mongolian government also has an option to increase its stake in Oyu Tolgoi to 50% once the initial 30-year term on the investment agreement expires.
Cameron McRae, Oyu Tolgoi LLC CEO and Rio Tinto's Mongolia country director, said in a presentation last week in Ulaanbaatar that he expects the Mongolian government to stand by the investment agreement and prevent it from being altered.
"We are confident that Mongolia will not let this happen, that stability and the rule of law will prevail, and that Mongolia's long-awaited economic promise will become a reality," he said.
He estimates that Oyu Tolgoi will account for about one-third of Mongolia's economy by 2020 and will cause Mongolia's economy to grow at an average rate of 12.7% a year between 2013 to 2020, compared with 7.7% in the absence of Oyu Tolgoi.
Rio Tinto has so far invested several billion dollars into the project and says the project is developing according to plan. Harding expects the first phase of the project to start commercial production in 2013.
Oyu Tolgoi is forecast to produce more than 650,000 ounces of gold, 3 million ounces of silver and 1.2 billion pounds of copper annually during the first 10 years of commercial production.
Harding, however, noted that securing power for further expansion is a key issue.
"While we are pleased with the site production progress...[it] requires a power solution," he says. Rio Tinto is currently in talks with the Mongolian government and China to find that solution.
"The original thinking was that power would be supplied by power line from China," he said, but the investment agreement of 2009 requires a power station be built in Mongolia for the provision of power four years after the start of commercial production at Oyu Tolgoi.
More than 14,000 people currently work on the Oyu Tolgoi site and the project is committed to getting 90% of its workers from the local population by 2013.
Press Statement from Oyu Tolgoi CEO Cameron McRae
Benefits of the Investment Agreement include more than 50 per cent of cash flow to Government of Mongolia, says Oyu Tolgoi CEO
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. September 19 (ot.mn) – Oyu Tolgoi CEO Cameron McRae today highlighted the benefits of the Investment Agreement that governs Oyu Tolgoi, pointing out that the Government of Mongolia will receive more than 50 per cent of all cash generated by the business over the lifetime of the project. He added that both side are meeting all obligations under the agreement.
McRae said that in 2011 alone, the Government will receive more than US$300 million from the project. Before the first truckload of product leaves the mine gate in 2013, the project will have contributed US$700 million in tax revenues and prepayments to the Government.
"Since the signing of the Investment Agreement in 2009, the Government of Mongolia and shareholders of Oyu Tolgoi LLC (OT) have worked together to ensure this historic mining project comes to fruition and the benefits are enjoyed by all Mongolians. In doing so, both sides are complying with all laws and obligations," said McRae.
Resolution 57 was put in place to allow the Prime Minister to conclude the investment agreement under certain conditions. McRae said the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement and the actions of the government clearly comply with these conditions.
"Under this agreement, both the government and shareholders of OT have firm commitments. Both sides have been living up to these in a partnership that is benefiting all Mongolians," said McRae. "The agreement and the actions of the government are in compliance with Resolution 57 of the State Great Hural of Mongolia."
The Agreement has enabled the development of a resource that will provide decades of revenue to the government in taxes, royalties and dividends. In its initial years, the OT mine is projected to increase Mongolia's gross domestic product by around 35%.
Having a firm agreement gave Ivanhoe and Rio Tinto the confidence needed to assume the risks and invest in a project that will cost US$6 billion in its first phase. This investment is being made before the first truckload of product is mined and any revenue is generated. The Government of Mongolia will not need to contribute any cash to these costs.
In addition, the Agreement has boosted foreign investor confidence and provided significant economic benefits to the country in terms of jobs, infrastructure development, advanced technology, and has enhanced the career prospects of ordinary Mongolians.
The benefits of the Agreement for Mongolia are clear:In addition to the revenue the Government will receive, this project will benefit individual Mongolians in several ways:
· Jobs: Oyu Tolgoi currently employs more than 10,000 Mongolians, from every province in the country. Also, as set out in the Investment Agreement, we have agreed that 9 out of 10 workers will be Mongolian during the operations phase.
· Skills Training: We are investing US$85 million in training and education, funding the largest vocational training program in Mongolia, and building three new professional training and vocational centers, as well as upgrading four other centers and colleges.
· Expanding the Local Economy: Mongolian businesses are also benefiting from the Agreement. During the development period over US$700 million in spending has gone to over 1,000 Mongolian suppliers. Five of the major construction projects underway in the South Gobi are 100 per cent managed by Mongolian contractors.
OT and its shareholders will continue to work in partnership with the government to honour its contractual obligations so this historic project will continue to transform the Mongolian economy and deliver benefits to the Mongolian people, said McRae.
About Oyu Tolgoi (www.ot.mn)
Oyu Tolgoi LLC is Mongolia's largest copper and gold mining company and is a strategic partnership between the Government of Mongolia (34 per cent stake), Ivanhoe Mines (66 per cent) and Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto is the major shareholder in Ivanhoe Mines and the manager of the Oyu Tolgoi project. In addition to dividends from its 34 per cent stake in Oyu Tolgoi, the Government of Mongolia will receive taxes and royalties.
Oyu Tolgoi, located in the Gobi desert in southern Mongolia, will be one of the largest and highest-grade copper and gold mines in the world. It is the largest project ever developed in Mongolia, requiring a capital investment for phase 1 of more than US$6 billion.
Oyu Tolgoi is committed to contributing to a sustainable future for Mongolia. At least 9 out of 10 employees will be Mongolian once the mine is in production and Oyu Tolgoi is investing US$58 million dollars (78 billion tugrugs) in training and education and an additional US$27 million dollars (36 billion tugrugs) in the Workforce Employment Project designed to help address the general skills shortage in Mongolia.
Oyu Tolgoi's key priorities are the health and safety of employees, best-practice environmental management, contributing to sustainable communities and always doing business with integrity, for the benefit of all the project's shareholders and the people of Mongolia.
Mongolia May Revise Biggest Coal, Copper Project Agreements
September 21 (Bloomberg) Mongolia may revise ownership accords with Rio Tinto Group and other foreign companies for the nation's two biggest mineral projects ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for next year.
Guinean Mining Code
Related: UPDATE 1-Mongolia eyes changes to Oyu Tolgoi copper deal – Reuters, September 20
Haranga Resources discovers significant iron ore at Selenge Project in Mongolia
September 19 (Proactive Investors) Haranga Resources (ASX:HAR) has unearthed broad widths of iron mineralisation in all sixteen diamond drill holes completed at the Bayantsogt prospect within its Selenge Project in Mongolia.
The company is aiming to define an initial JORC Resource by the first quarter of 2012. Bayantsogt is the first of the four major targets to be drilled at Selenge.
Drilling at the Bayantsogt prospect has intersected at least five major iron lodes ranging in down hole width from 12 metres to 54 metres. Assay results have been received for seven holes. The mineralisation remains open in all directions.
Highlights from within the banded magnetite skarn formations include:
- 26 metres at 27% iron (Fe) from 32 metres;
- 28 metres at 30% Fe from 3 metres; and
- 29 metres at 24% Fe from 34 metres.
Similar banded magnetite skarn deposits in the Selenge region, such as the nearby Eruu Gol mine, have proven amenable to mining and low cost beneficiation.
The company's Selenge iron ore project consists of five contiguous exploration licences covering almost 600 square kilometres of ground in the heart of Mongolia's premier iron ore development region.
Importantly, the Selenge project area has excellent access to the main trans-Mongolian rail line and nearby rail spurs.
The Selenge province includes the 304 million tonne deposit currently being mined at nearby Eruu Gol which produces about 2.5 million tonnes of magnetite concentrate per annum and ships the product via a newly constructed 70 kilometre rail spur connecting the mine to the main trans-Mongolian rail line.
Drilling with two rigs is continuing and the mineralisation is still open in every direction including depth. The company has a third rig now drilling at other Selenge targets and is attempting to secure a further dedicated drill rig at Bayantsogt for the remainder of the drilling season.
Initial drilling has commenced at the Huiten Gol prospect (Target 2). The company plans to commence drilling at the Dund Bulag prospect (Target 3) before the end of this month.
Depending on these results, Haranga Resources may also decide to drill test at the nearby Undur Ukhaa (Target 4) prospect prior to year end.
Aspire Mining Limited (ASX:AKM) Ovoot Coking Coal Project Exploration Update
Perth, Sep 19, 2011 (ABN Newswire) - Aspire Mining Limited (ASX:AKM) is pleased to announce it has identified a new coal seam formation, located around four kilometers from the resource area at the Company's Ovoot Coking Coal Project ("Ovoot") in Northern Mongolia.
Four drilling rigs are currently underway to determine the resource potential of the area.
Aspire has completed 5,000 metres of exploration drilling as part of its 2011 program, in addition to infill, geotechnical and hydrological drilling. A further 5,000 metres of exploration drilling is expected by the end of calendar year 2011.
Aspire Managing Director David Paull said: "The exploration team has now intersected coal in three holes approximately four kilometres to the north east of the existing resource area. The coal was logged as hard, bright or sugary coal and we now need to understand the extent of this coal seam."
"We have pre-collared a number of the holes to start core drilling to get coal quality data and determine the extent and orientation of the mineralisation. This will indicate whether the coal shallows and thickens as we head further south towards the resource area." Mr Paull said.
Results from the three holes - which are 1.7 kilometres apart - are as follows,
- DH276: total of 2.8m of coal from 261 metres
- DH283: total of 3.1m of coal from 366 metres
- DH291: total of 3.1m of coal from 338 metres
Hole DH291 has yet to be completed into basement and is presently in a potential coal bearing sequence.
Also note that hole DH244 in Figure 1 (see link at the bottom of the release), which was completed at the end of the 2010 exploration program, intersected three metres of coal from 240 metres. This hole has yet to be followed up.
Aspire's exploration strategy is to target mapped Jurassic age sediments where the depth of potential coal is relatively shallow and to trace the base of the Jurassic sediments into deeper sections of the basin where thicker coal accumulations are expected.
A magnetics program is planned to determine the structure and shape of the Ovoot Basin and to aid in the identification of possible shallower coal seams.
David Paull said: "With this view of the coal being closer to the base of the Jurassic sediments, it is now evident that potential coal is still open to the north east and east of the existing resource area. We are currently exploring this area as part of the extensions to the Ovoot Resource area and to further determine the potential resource".
"Currently four drilling rigs from two drilling companies are on site at Ovoot with a fifth large capacity rig expected later in October. It is expected that all rigs will be available to continue drilling through the winter." he said.
A larger Coretech 1800 rig has recently arrived on site, and the holes required to be deepend can now be completed to test for the potential coal seam extensions. A change to the fleet of drill rigs at site is also being made for added flexibility in exploration drilling.
During 2010, the Company proceeded with a comprehensive seismic program to help determine the Ovoot Basin structure. Interpretations of this data suffered from excessive "noise" from seasonal wind gusts causing vibration as well as the large amount of alluvial cover which led to difficulty in accurately resolving coal seams and faulting.
Consequently, Aspire will commence a close spaced magnetics program as a supplement to the existing seismic data and to help guide interpretations. Ground versus airborne options are currently being considered to address the whole Ovoot Basin, which will provide Aspire with an effective exploration targeting tool going forward
For the complete Aspire Mining Limited announcement including figures, please view http://media.abnnewswire.net/media/en/docs/ASX-AKM-557587.pdf
Gobi Coal Seeks Buyers as Stock Rout Hampers IPO
September 19 (Bloomberg) Gobi Coal and Energy Ltd.'s owners are seeking to sell the Mongolian mining company for as much as $750 million, said two people with knowledge of the matter.
Tighter IPO Market
, which owns 11 coking and thermal coal projects in Mongolia, for A$477 million ($493 million), after buying a $45 million stake in March. Mongolian Mining in June paid $464.5 million to acquire the Baruun Naran mine in Mongolia from Kerry Holdings Ltd.
CAML: Unaudited Results for the Six Months Ended 30 June 2011
September 21, Central Asia Metals plc (LON:CAML) --
Central Asia Metals plc, a mining and exploration organisation with operations in Kazakhstan and Mongolia and a parent holding company based in the United Kingdom, announces its unaudited results for the six months ended 30 June 2011.
Kounrad SX-EW project ('Kounrad')
· $28.8 million committed and spent to date and project forecast to be completed within $47 million budget.
· Construction 60% completed on site with Mechanical Completion scheduled for late December 2011.
o All earthworks (solution ponds, collection trenches and concrete foundations) completed;
o All key infrastructure improvements (Power, Rail and Water supply) substantially completed
o All SX-EW plant equipment, structural steel and panelling fully manufactured and in the process of delivery to site for installation;
o Structural steel and panelling to be delivered to site by the end of September 2011.
· Exploration focussed on a JORC compliant resource statement for all the Kounrad dumps commenced during the period and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
· Kounrad pilot plant moved to sulphide dumps and testing commenced in July 2011.
· Negotiations at an advance stage for the sale of the copper off-take from 2012.
Mongolia (Alag Bayan, Handgait, Ereen)
· Planned exploration works at Alag Bayan completed
o IP anomalies identified by additional geophysical survey undertaken by GoviEx;
o 3 holes drilled;
o Assays returned low trace amounts of copper with no economic mineralisation intercepted;
o Negotiations remain on-going with GoviEx regarding drilling an additional two holes to test geological structures to the east and north of the licence area.
· 1,500 metre drilling programme commenced at Handgait in September
· Ereen currently in exclusive due diligence period with potential purchaser.
· Consolidated net loss down from $4.9 million (H1 2010) to $1.8 million (H1 2011).
· Group cash as at 30 June 2011 of $33.2 million with no outstanding debt.
Nick Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, commented
"This has been a productive period for the Company and I am extremely pleased with the progress made at Kounrad, where we are targeting completion of construction by the end of 2011. We have consistently remained on track to deliver the 10,000 tonne per annum SX-EW facility on budget.
The focus of management continues to be on Kazakhstan where commissioning of Kounrad will commence during Q1 2012 and we anticipate that within six months the SX-EW plant will be up to full production of 10,000 tonnes per annum of copper cathode. We expect to complete negotiations for the sale of copper cathode from Kounrad via an off-take contract, which will provide a source of cash flow for the Company from 2012 onwards."
Review of Operations - Mongolia
The Company conducted exploration activity at Alag Bayan in Mongolia as planned during the period and a second Induced Polarisation (IP) survey was also conducted on site in May by Govi Ex Mongolia LLC. Based on an analysis of the results of this survey the specific locations for a three hole drilling campaign were determined and drilling commenced in June 2011. In total 2,419m was drilled in the three holes.
The assay results returned low trace amounts of copper with no visible mineralisation. Despite these disappointing results for the three holes drilled so far this year, Govi Ex is considering the possibility of funding an additional two holes to the east and north of the licence area. The terms and conditions of such an arrangement are yet to be finalised by the Company management and GoviEx.
During the first half of 2011 there was no activity at Handgait although a limited drilling campaign commenced in early September 2011. 6 holes are planned to a combined depth of 1,500m. They will be targeted at further proving up the resources in the area prior to management making a strategic decision on the way forward for the asset.
Following on from a strategic review of the Company's assets in late 2009 a decision was taken to sell the Ereen project. In July 2011 the Company signed an agreement with a potential purchaser to allow them exclusive due diligence for a non-refundable deposit of $250,000 and discussions are continuing with this potential purchaser.
Following a successful US$60 million fund raising in March 2011, we continued to deliver on our strategy of identifying and investing in companies active in our key target sectors of natural resources, agriculture and clean-technologies.
In addition to providing us with new funds, the issue of new convertible preference shares in March enabled us to diversify our sources of funding whilst minimising the level of dilution of existing ordinary shareholders' interests. The convertible zero-dividend preferred shares provide a protected return and the opportunity to participate in Origo's future growth.
We announced total investments of more than US$49 million in the Period across six existing and four new portfolio companies, reflecting the growing scale and strength of our business and our ability to deploy capital across our target sectors.
The successful listing of Kincora Copper Ltd ("Kincora") on the TSX Venture Exchange post the end of the Period and the partial sale of our beneficial interest in Beijing Rising Information Technology Ltd for US$2.5 million in February 2011 continue our growing track record of creating exit opportunities for our investments.
CCP will invest in privately held Chinese cleantech companies either directly, or indirectly as a limited partner through the Origo Xinxiang Renewable Energy Fund, L.P, a RMB 500 million (US$77.5 million) denominated limited partnership established by Origo and the Municipal Government of Xinxiang, with a RMB 125 million commitment from the Xinxiang Investment Group. We are delighted to have successfully raised capital from the Chinese government following a long and productive due diligence process and, subject to domestic market conditions, we expect to grow significantly our renminbi fund management business in the future.
We also recently announced the formation of the MSE (Mongolian Stock Exchange) Liquidity Fund. This new fund will invest in Mongolia and provide investors with direct exposure through one product to the Mongolian Stock Exchange via investments in primarily the top ten traded companies listed on the exchange, high interest savings deposit rates on offer at Mongolian commercial banks and 100 per cent exposure to the Mongolian Tugrik.
We expect that management of third party investment vehicles will be an important part of our business model going forward. Beyond the opportunity to generate fee based income, fund management will allow us to grow our investor base, recruit and retain talent, expand into alternative asset classes, and secure investment opportunities which would not otherwise be accessible for the Group.
In February 2011, Origo entered into an agreement to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Shanghai Evtech New Energy TechnologyLtd ("Evtech") for an initial investment of approximately US$550,000, subject to the achievement of certain operational and financial milestones. EVtech is in the early stage of commercialising a number of battery management systems and vehicle control units for the electric vehicle market.
In March 2011, we acquired an equity stake of up to a maximum of 29 per cent on a fully diluted basis in China Rice Ltd ("China Rice") for US$13 million. China Rice is one of China's leading privately held rice processing and distribution groups with an annual production capacity of approximately 300,000 tonnes and a strong resource and procurement base in one of China's largest rice producing belts. Following significant increases in the price of rice in the first half of the year and expected continued inflationary pressure on this commodity throughout the second half of 2011 and beyond, we announced a further investment of US$10 million in China Rice in August 2011. China Rice will use the proceeds of the financing as procurement funding to lock in supplies of paddy-rice at favourable prices in preparation for the high season (November to March), which Origo expects will significantly boost the company's financial performance in 2012. We view the rice sector as highly attractive given domestic food price inflation, growing demand from increasingly discerning Chinese consumers and sector profitability.
Also in March and April 2011, Origo contributed US$9 million to a US$22 million convertible note offering by Unipower Battery Ltd ("Unipower") to enable Unipower to increase production capacity to meet growing demand for the large polymer batteries it produces. Once the expansion is complete, Unipower expects to be among China's largest providers of lithium-ion batteries for the domestic electrical vehicle market. Origo continues to see enormous potential in investments in lithium ion battery firms serving the Chinese electric vehicle sector. The opening up of a new market to supply power storage solutions for China's power grid infrastructure also provides further strong growth potential.
Capping a busy month, in March Origo acquired a 9.7 percent equity stake in Celadon Mining Ltd ("Celadon"), a Chinese focused coal mining and exploration company, for approximately £8 million (US$13.1 million). Celadon owns four Chinese coal properties with a total estimated resource base (according to Chinese classification) of 260 million tonnes of a mixture of high ranked coal, including PCI and meager coal. Celadon produced small amounts of coal in 2010 and has the potential to significantly expand production to over 1 million tonnes per annum over the next 3 years, funded by existing operational cash flow. The outlook for coking coal demand in China remains very positive and we continue to be bullish on the sector, although we recognise the inherent risks in coal operations and commodity price fluctuations.
In June 2011, Origo acquired a 20 per cent equity stake in Moly World Ltd ("Moly World"), owner of an advanced stage molybdenum exploration project in Mongolia, for US$20 million and was granted an offtake covering up to 20 per cent of all future production for the life of mine. On the basis of two independent assessments, Origo believes that theproject has the potential to host a world class molybdenum resource, benefiting from high grade and near surface mineralization. Moly World will use the proceeds to fund further exploration in order to produce a JORC-compliant resource estimate by December 2011. As a late stage project we have a clear view of Moly World's significant development potential and our confidence is supported by the ongoing switch in Chinese demand from lower quality to higher quality steels which require increased levels of molybdenum.
After the end of the Period, and following an initial agreement in April 2011, TSX Venture Exchange listed Brazilian Diamonds Ltd acquired Origo's 25 per cent equity stake, the right to subscribe for a further 50 per cent of the issued share capital of Kincora Group Ltd and a US$500,000 loan extended to Kincora Group Ltd. On completion of the transaction, Origo held a 34.8 per cent interest in the enlarged listed entity, renamed Kincora Copper Ltd (KCC: CN), which in turn held a 75 per cent interest in the Bronze Fox copper-gold deposit in Mongolia. Bronze Fox is an advanced copper gold exploration project, located close to the Oyu Tolgoi mine and the Chinese border. In August 2011, Kincora announced that it had successfully acquired the remaining 25 per cent holding in the Bronze Fox deposit which it did not already own in return for Kincora shares equivalent to 20 per cent of its value. Post this transaction, Origo now holds a 28 per cent stake in Kincora. Kincora also recently announced positive exploration results significantly extending the potential zone of copper mineralization and underlining its potential.
The Group recorded a profit after tax of US$19.3 million in the Period, significantly higher than the US$2.0 million profit achieved in the corresponding period of 2010. This increase was driven by a rise in investment income to US$25.4 million, primarily as a result of significant positive movements in the fair value of our portfolio.
Revenues were broadly stable at US$1.3 million compared to US$1.4 million in the first half of 2010 although administrative costs rose to US$5.9 million, of which US$2.4 million is due to one-off, non-cash based charges in the form of the reversal of accrued interest loans extended to aportfolio company.
The Directors' estimate of the fair value of Origo's portfolio of investments rose to US$222.6 million compared to US$113.4 million at the end of the corresponding period of 2010 and US$163.0 million at 31 December 2010. A large part of this increase - US$49 million was due to investments completed during the course of the Period. We have however written up the value of a number of holdings, including Gobi Coal & Energy Ltd to US$65.8 million (31 December 2010: US$52.7 million); Celadon Mining Ltd toUS$24.4 million (cost of US$13.1 million); and Kincora Group Ltd toUS$11.6 million (31 December 2010: US$2.9 million). The increases in the estimated value in these holdings were partly offset for a total of US$12.1 million write down in value, including a write down in the value of our positions in IRCA Holdings Ltd by US$7.4 million and inRising Technology Corporation Ltd by US$4.3 million.
At the end of the Period the Group had cash and cash equivalents of US$51.9 million compared to US$47.4 million at 30 June 2010 and US$33.4 million at the end of 2010. The increase is mainly a result of US$57.3 million in net proceeds following the issuance of the convertible zero-dividend preference shares in March 2011 offset by US$49million of new investments and operating cash-flow of (US$0.6 million) during the Period.
Despite renewed concerns about the health of developed economies, we remain confidentthat the Chinese economy is increasingly resilient to external crises and that it will continue to experience sustainable economic growth over the medium-term.
Domestic Chinese demand is increasingly important to the country's GDP growth compared to export demand and although the Chinese Government is currently taking steps to slow the economy, investment in domestic infrastructure such as housing and water infrastructure remains strong.
As a result, we remain committed to our existing investment strategy and have also begun to seek greater exposure to consumer markets to enable us to benefit further from emerging trends in the Chinese economy, such as our investment in China Rice.
We believe there is the potential for a number of revaluation and capital market events in the second half of the year, most notably of Gobi Coal & Energy Ltd which is expected to enter production later in the year or early next year.
As a Group, we will continue to build our asset management business bylaunching third-party funds, in particular RMB-denominated vehicles, launched in partnership with various Chinese local governments. We are presently in the late stages of evaluating a number of regional and sector specific fund opportunities, and we expect to be in a position to announce at least one more such partnership before the end of the year.
Mongolia continues to provide significant opportunities as a still largely untapped source of resources to feed China's growth and development, therefore wewill continue to target new investments in the country utilising our growing team on the ground. The next year may prove to be transformational for Mongolia with the expected entry into production of Oyu Tolgoi, the potential privatisation of TavanTolgoi and significant reform of the country's stock market.
Recent events have shown the risks of investing in Chinese companies, in particular for those investors who do not have an on the ground presence. Whilst we can never completely mitigate all such risks, we are confident that our approach to investing, with a focus on rigorous duediligence combined with active ownership, provides us and our shareholders with a safe and profitable way of investing in privately held Chinese businesses.
Garrison Closes Private Placement
East Asia Minerals Announces Change to Board
September 18 (Invest in Australia) Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), the Australian Government's export credit agency, has provided a US$81.7 million loan to facilitate the lease of mobile mining fleet and equipment by Leighton Asia, for use in its contract mining operations in Mongolia.
Leighton Asia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leighton Holdings Limited, has operated the Ukhaa Khudag coal mine in Mongolia since 2009. As a result of the company's strong performance, Leighton Asia is expanding capacity, creating a requirement for additional mining equipment.
To enable Leighton Asia to acquire the equipment needed and deliver the expanded capacity, Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), the Australian Government's export credit agency, provided a US$81.7 million loan to BNP Paribas to facilitate the lease of mobile mining fleet and equipment by Leighton Asia.
"This transaction with the Leighton Group demonstrates EFIC's ability to tailor our solutions in supporting Australian exporters," said Peter Field, Executive Director, Origination and Portfolio Management at EFIC. "To facilitate Leighton's fulfilment of these contracts, which in turn has the potential to generate further revenue to Australia, we've structured a solution to enable the lease financing of mining equipment to Leighton Asia.
"Major projects like Leighton Asia's Mongolian mining operations have significant and complex financing needs which cannot all be met by the commercial market. EFIC will work with all parties involved to provide the necessary support the Leighton Group requires to continue to expand its mining services business in Mongolia," said Mr Field.
According to Chief Financial Officer Peter Gregg, "EFIC's understanding of the fundamentals of Leighton's business and support of the Ukhaa Khudag mine project will enable Leighton to further cement its position in the Mongolian mining industry.
"EFIC recognised Leighton's track record of delivery and our diversified portfolio of work," said Peter Gregg. "The direct loan facility will help us to deliver world class mining solutions to our clients, both through the quality of our people and the safety and reliability of our operations."
* Mongolian worried about pollution from mining
* Tough negotiations continue over coal project
NEW YORK, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Mongolia's law banning mining in the country's river and forest areas is necessary to protect the mineral-rich Asian country's environment and herdsmen's livelihoods, President Tsakhia Elbegdorj said on Monday.
"Half of the territory is covered by exploration licenses. I think that's enough," he said in an interview in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
"We have to save our wealth (for) our next generation," he said of his 2009 suspension of approvals of all new mining projects until comprehensive new regulations are drawn up. [ID:nL3E7H323M]
Elbegdorj said fish were dying off, biodiversity was threatened and the nomadic herdsman of Mongolia were suffering illness from drinking water polluted by mining.
"I usually listen to our public. If they see something critical, we have to check that," he said.
The need for more public consultation also governs Mongolia's handling of the Tavan Tolgoi project, believed to be the world's largest coking coal deposit. Mongolia is negotiating over a disputed decision to award the mine to China's Shenhua 1088.HK, U.S.-based Peabody BTU.N and a mysterious Russian-Mongolian consortium.
"(After) we checked with our laws and drafts of the agreement and checked our interest, we decided to look at it more carefully, and now we are beginning that process ..., the negotiation with foreign countries," said Elbegdorj.
He declined to give a timeline for the negotiations or say whether any of those three firms would be among final bidders.
An initial public offering of as much as $15 billion for the mine's eastern block was still on track, Elbegdorj said.
"They are now doing some paperwork. I think it will be done soon," he said, adding that New York was under consideration as one of the cities where the initial public offering would be held, along with London, Ulan Bator and Hong Kong.
Hundreds of foreign firms have coveted Mongolia's rich and mostly untapped deposits of coal, copper, gold and uranium. But legal and political uncertainties cast a shadow over their investments, and analysts worry that the country could lose out. [nL3E7K7354]
Elbegdorj acknowledged that shifting policies had created problems and dented the confidence of foreign investors.
"But losing the confidence of your people is a bigger problem," he said.
Mongolia's President Says Human Rights 'Universal'
Elbegdorj adds country's growth can't rely solely on mineral resources
NEW YORK, September 19, 2011 (Asia Society) — Mongolia's head of state made an impassioned case for universal human rights, justice, free media and clean government today, warning that his country's vast mineral resources alone cannot guarantee its long term success as a nation.
President Tsakhia Elbegdorj told an Asia Society audience that strong democratic values were not incompatible with Asian ways, economic development or its relations with neighboring giants, Russia and China.
"Freedom, human rights, justice, the rule of law, those values can be enjoyed, even by the poor people, even by poor herdsman in Mongolia," he said.
"It can be enjoyed everywhere. Some people say that's a political issue when you talk about human rights. I say it is universal. Some people say it is a cultural issue. I say it is universal.
"I think God has planted in every heart desire to live in free(dom). That desire is always there. Sometimes that desire can be crushed by tyranny. But it will rise again. That is Mongolia."
Elbegdorj, who is pushing hard for judicial reform in his country, said many democracies had failed after decades because of corruption.
He pointed to escalating GDP figures and growing wealth thanks to the nation's mineral wealth.
"But we are very concerned about these mineral resources. If you have bad government, if you have corruption, if you have lot of money, the nation is in trouble, the country is in trouble," Elbegdorj said.
"There are many countries endowed with natural resources. They failed badly, most of them. Few of them succeed."
He listed Canada, Australia and Norway as successful resource-fueled economies because they are open and democratic.
The president said Mongolia, for about 70 years "a socialist satellite" of the Soviet Union, is able to develop its democratic way while still maintaining good relations with Russia and China, which both have long land borders with it.
He likened his nation to that of "a small freedom-loving pony between two big elephants." However, both Moscow and Beijing "understand our people's choice and our way of life" and there were "great advantages" to have these two neighbors.
Mongolia has benefitted directly from China's fast growing economic boom. "Everything we have in Mongolia, they actually need in China. We also have great economic ties and traditions with Russia. We would like to continue that," he said.
However, Elbegdorj stressed the importance of finding other sources of investment and trade in what he said was a "third neighbor policy."
"If we got more investment from a third neighbor, third partner, our pie would be bigger. And if that pie grows everyone would get that advantage. You know, it is good for everyone … it is also good for Russia and for China," he said.
He said investors in the United States, Europe and Japan were also vying for a place in Mongolia's investment future. This has delivered a "tough challenge" of how to "balance those big interests and also to get the benefits. Of course, always we put our national interest first."
September 20 (CNBC) Mongolia's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is on target to hit $5,000 by the end of 2012 from $2,470 currently, the country's Vice Finance Minister, Ganhuyag Chuluun Hutagt told CNBC.
The country's economy grew 14.3 percent in real terms and 29.1 percent in nominal terms (including inflation) in the first half of this year. Mongolia is one of the world's fastest growing economies and is currently classed as a low-middle income country by the World Bank.
The country's growth is being driven by a booming mining sector and its large reserves of coking coal. Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Dalian, China, Hutagt said Mongolia had become the largest coal exporter to China in August, surpassing Australia.
But that rapid growth is coming at a price. Inflation in the country surged by 10.1 percent in July over the previous year, forcing the central bank to raise its policy rate to 11.75 percent on August 29th.
However, Hutagt suggested there would be no slowdown in government spending in the near-term which could help ease inflation. He said government spending was up 50 percent over 2010 but the country was still on track for a budget surplus.
The big risk for Mongolia, however, remains its dependence on mining exports, especially to China. A crash landing for China's economy forecasted by hedge fund investors such as Jim Chanos and economist Nouriel Roubini, could set back the country's ambitious GDP growth targets.
September 20 (Department of International Relations & Cooperation, South Africa) Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim I Ebrahim, is to undertake an official visit to the Republic of Mongolia on 23 September 2011.
Deputy Minister Ebrahim's visit to the Republic of Mongolia will take place within the context of expanding bilateral and multilateral relations, and to increase economic cooperation between the two countries, especially in mining-related fields.
Deputy Minister Ebrahim will meet with his Mongolian counterpart, H.E. Mr. Bayarbaatar Bolor, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as the Mongolian Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, H.E. Mr. Tundev Enkhtaivan.
Deputy Minister Ebrahim will be accompanied by a small business delegation and a meeting will be facilitated with the Business Council of Mongolia (BCM).
Mining capital equipment and mining services, energy technology and increased trade are expected to feature in future expanded relations between South Africa and Mongolia.
September 19 (Lenz Blog) Says this .
That might be correct, but seems rather misleading, since Mongolia is of course getting and probably many other countries as well.
Still, good to know if you are interested in the WTO and in Mongolia, as I happen to be.
IMF official: Budget should not be revised
September 21 (news.mn) Steven Barnet, the head of an IMF working group, answered our correspondent's questions.
-The IMF started the Stand By program in Mongolia to help the country deal with the global financial crisis. Why is the program ending, and why is the IMF closing its Permanent Representative Office in Mongolia?
-The IMF working group has discussed the Stand By program and has decided to close the permanent representative office. There are two reasons. First, the Mongolian economy has recovered from the crisis rather quickly, thanks to good macroeconomic decisions by the government. Also, the economy has benefitted from strong copper prices and the commencement of two large coal mining projects. The closing of the Permanent Representative Office is related to budgetary issues at the IMF. Mongolian issues will now be handled through the Tokyo office.
-Economists say that, while the Mongolian economy is rapidly developing because of the mining sector, there are many risks. What is your advice?
-The working group has exchanged opinions with many people involved in this issue. There are possible risks to the economy, such as overheating and inflation. Besides, the domestic economy can still be negatively affected by the worsening of the global economy. If the price of raw material were to plummet, Mongolia's budget and exports would be negatively affected. That is why the IMF working group believes Mongolia should limit state spending and strengthen its monetary policy.
-The Government is submitting a draft proposal to parliament that would increase state spending. What do you think of that?
The IMF working group believes revising the budget is unnecessary. The mineral resources sector accounts for two-thirds of Mongolia's economy, and it has grown 30 percent. If the budget is revised, state spending would increase by 6.5 percent of GDP for three months. That would increase inflation, but not economic growth in those three months.
-What can be done to reduce state spending? What can be cut?
-Well, that's a difficult question. It is clear that allocating allowances to citizens increases inflation. Therefore, the monthly payments of MNT 21,000 should be allocated differently. The money should be allocated to vulnerable people, and the remaining capital should be spent for building new schools and kindergartens or apartment and road construction. The Government and Parliament should reliably schedule expenses to guarantee macroeconomic stability.
-The IMF is advising the Government to reduce expenses. Do you think the Government will follow that advice?
-The Government receives economic recommendation and takes measures along those lines. Food prices are fluctuating dramatically because of supply issues. Inflation is rising. The IMF working group approves of the Mongol Bank's interest increase, and advises further increases to reduce inflation. The budget should not be revised because it is not the proper macroeconomic policy.
-What about the Development Bank (DB) issue?
-The Government's global bond issue was a good decision, but spending that revenue is a significant issue. If that money is spent for projects that would have an economic benefit, that would be the right decision. Remember, interest will accrue on those bonds. If the DB's capital is spent on road projects, no cash will be earned. That would mean the DB's money would be going in the wrong direction.
-Does Mongolia have a risk of a natural resource "curse"?
-Yes, Mongolia is at risk for a natural resource curse. Other countries have experienced this curse when their state spending increases too much and salaries rise too fast. Salary increase should follow production growth. In the worst case, Mongolia's non-mineral resource sectors will see their income much reduced.
IMF: World Economic Outlook – Slowing Growth, Rising Risks
Mongolia GDP growth forecasts: 11.5% in 2011, 11.8% in 2012, 15.6% in 2016
September, 2011 --
September 19 (InfoMongolia.com) According to "Zabaikalya" agency report on September 18, 2011, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Mongolia Victor Samoilenko announced that an agreement on Russia-Mongolian border cooperation would be approved by the end of 2011.
By approving the agreement, it will open opportunities to implement several projects on trade and economic relations between the two nations. The project on building new roads along the borders, restoring the old ones, and providing Khyakta and Altanbulag border ports with the latest equipments has been drawn up, said the Ambassador.
Furthermore, Victor Samoilenko emphasized that reciprocal visa-free travel regulation is currently negotiated and expected to enter into force by January 01, 2012.
MP suspected of embezzlement
September 21 (news.mn) The Anti-Corruption Authority (ACA) says MP Kh.Narankhuu is suspected of embezzling state property, and the case has been forwarded to the Ulaanbaatar Prosecutors' Office for prosecution.
Our correspondent asked an ACA official about the matter and was told that the prosecutor to whom the case was forwarded is on vacation.
One potential witness in the case is Mongol Bank President L.Purevdorj, who was head of the State Property Committee when Kh.Narankhuu worked as director of the Erdenet factory. The ongoing investigation will reveal if the two men were accomplices in the embezzlement.
Ambassador resigning to work for Rio Tinto
September 21 (nesw.mn) The Special Deputy Ambassador for Nuclear Energy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, A.Undraa, is resigning to take a job with Rio Tinto. She spoke with our correspondent on Tuesday.
A.Undraa said she will work as a non-staff adviser for Rio Tinto. She will also have another full-time job but declined to speak about that.
She added that her resignation is not related to rumors that nuclear waste will be stored in Mongolia. She said those rumors are false and that the president has clearly stated that.
Mongolia: Building for the boom
September 19 (Oxford Business Group) Economic growth linked to Mongolia's huge mining potential has raised the prospect of long-awaited funds arriving for the construction of badly needed infrastructure projects in power, transport and other municipal sectors.
While much of the rest of the world suffered from market turmoil in the summer of 2011, Mongolia's economy grew by 17.3%, with copper and coal industries the greatest single contributor by far. Foreign direct investment rose to $1.2bn in the first five months of 2011, while industry and construction expanded 10.1% year-on-year in real terms.
As Chinese, Korean, US and Russian firms compete for rights to develop the vast Tavan Tolgoi coal project, estimated to hold some 6.4bn tonnes of coal, their countries' political leaders are offering Mongolia enhanced cooperation in construction and infrastructure. The government has said a final decision on development rights for the mine will be made by October. The Chinese firm Shenhua, the US firm Peabody Energy and the Russian government-owned company Russian Railways are said to be shortlisted, along with Japanese and Korean interests.
During an August 23 visit, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak signed an "action plan" with Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj calling for expanded South Korean investment in Mongolia's infrastructure and construction sectors. The plan included South Korean firms' participation in a project to build 100,000 apartment units in Ulan Bator, Mongolia's capital.
The project, which began in April, is estimated to cost MNT800bn ($645m), of which MNT467bn ($376.6m) would be allocated to the construction sector. The Ministry of Roads, Transportation and Urban Development is working on a draft construction law to meet the project's requirements. Economic progress means the construction sector is also benefitting from the capital's rapidly growing population, which has doubled to 1.2m in the last decade.
On August 26, Elbegdorj met with Zhou Yongkang, a senior official of the Chinese Communist Party. During the meeting the president said he hoped cooperation with Beijing would be expanded in regard to infrastructure development. China is Mongolia's biggest trading partner, accounting for about 90% of the country's total exports, of which 75% is comprised of coal and other mineral exports.
During his August 22 visit, US Vice-President Joe Biden noted the "Millennium Challenge Corporation" compact commits the US to providing another $285m in critical infrastructure development assistance across Mongolia, with a particular focus on making the important north-south corridor more accessible.
Mongolian and US officials have also reportedly been discussing a $1bn underground coal gasification gas-to-liquids project that would create 3000 construction and 150 permanent higher salaried jobs. The project's backer, a US firm named Envidity, however, is involved in a legal dispute with the government (Mogi: legal dispute with local partners, not the government) over how to push the project forward.
There are similar plans for infrastructure cooperation with Russia, which shares a 3441-km border on Mongolia's north-west. In 2010, Russian Railway agreed to invest $250m into the Ulaanbaatar Railway, and to grant long-term tariff rebates to Mongolian transit freight passing through Russian territory. A year earlier, cooperation by Russian and Mongolian specialists resulted in work being completed early on 108 km of the Mandal Davaany line's continuously welded track.
Investment reports estimate $1.7bn will be needed for the construction of a new rail line to the Tavan Tolgoi coal mines, with $500m necessary for modernisation and the purchase of rolling stock up to 2015.
Meanwhile, construction work is also needed for the $6bn Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine, of which Canada's Ivanhoe Mines owns 66%. It is expected to be producing gold and copper by the fall of 2012. The mine's construction will cost $2.3bn and employ 14,200 people. Analysts estimate the mine will produce 1.2m pounds of copper and 650,000 ounces of gold annually.
In August, Ivanhoe awarded Mongolian companies contracts to build the mine's power transmission line. Tower construction is scheduled for completion during the fourth quarter of 2011, with line stringing expected to commence spring 2012. The transmission line is planned to extend south of the border, with Chinese contractors tying their lines into the Inner Mongolian electrical grid.
That grid is also raising the prospects of Mongolia exporting electricity to China, with Sükhbaataryn Batbold, Mongolia's prime minister, saying in June he expects Mongolia to issue a debut sovereign bond by autumn, aimed at developing enough capacity to export power to its neighbour.
Batbold said the sovereign bond's proceeds could be used for the landlocked country's plans to build railway lines and roads to neighbouring China and Russia, plus links between power plants.
"We have a demand for power and electricity, and we have a plan to build a major power generation system in the mineral development areas," he said. "There is growing demand inside Mongolia and also huge demand inside China, so we could export energy to China."
Global Insider: India-Mongolia Relations
Indian and Mongolian troops in Mongolia, following a visit by the Indian army chief to the Central Asian country. In an email interview, , an assistant professor of Mongolian and Central Asian studies at the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, discussed India-Mongolia relations.
WPR: What is the recent history of India-Mongolia relations?
Sharad K. Soni: The two countries, known as "spiritual" neighbors, have been in close contact not only on the basis of their historical relationship, but also on the basis of post-Cold War realities. The Treaty of Friendly Relations and Cooperation, signed in 1994, laid a solid foundation for improving relations. However, the 2009 visit of newly elected Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj to India changed the extent and pattern of India-Mongolia relations. The move from bilateral ties to a comprehensive partnership reflected the ways in which both sides have redefined their geostrategic interests. Mongolia is critical for a rising India's Asian strategy, while India figures prominently in Mongolia's external relations, now characterized by its "third neighbor" policy. This pragmatic approach recently got a fillip when Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil visited Mongolia on July 27-30, the first visit by an Indian president in 23 years.
WPR: What is driving the recent push to improve relations, especially defense ties?
Soni: The recent push to boost India-Mongolia relations is driven by strategic concerns. Mongolia perceives its proximity with India as not only a window to the outside world, but also as a factor to balance China. The Mongolians want to translate their strong cultural relationship with India into a strategic partnership. And India, for its part, has been patiently expanding its defense and security links with Mongolia as part of an effort to build strategic ties with China's neighbors, in line with New Delhi's "Look East" policy.
Since 2001, defense ties have been moved forward by training, bilateral visits and joint military exercises. India has been providing training to Mongolian defense personnel in English language skills, peacekeeping and military operations. In addition to the ongoing bilateral exercise, known as "Nomadic Elephant" and organized alternately in Mongolia and India since 2004, the two sides participate in the annual multinational "Khan Quest" military training exercises, held in Mongolia since 2006. A defense cooperation agreement was also signed during the Indian president's visit to Mongolia in July, ahead of the visit by Indian Army Chief Gen. Vijay Kumar Singh in early September.
WPR: What are the areas of opportunity for deeper trade ties, and what are the major obstacles?
Soni: Bilateral trade stood at $16.9 million in 2010, an increase of nearly $3 million over 2009, which points to a slow but steady growth in trade between the two sides.
Mongolia's ongoing mining boom offers vast opportunities for Indian industry. The country's coal, gold, copper and uranium reserves hold much promise for India, and implementation of mining-related projects will generate significant demand for construction and mining equipment as well as in areas such as power generation, water supply and rail transport. As India's demand for imported natural resources grows, Mongolia may prove to be a natural and long-term economic and trade partner. Exploration of uranium in accordance with the 2009 India-Mongolia pact on civil nuclear energy will prove beneficial, given India's energy needs. There are also opportunities for trade in Mongolian dairy products as well as sea-buckthorn products. In return, Mongolia can benefit from India's IT and telecommunications products.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that because Mongolia is landlocked, its goods must be shipped through ports in China or Russia, increasing freight rates and also causing delivery delays. This is the primary reason why bilateral trade between India and Mongolia has not yet developed to the extent desired.
"Mogi" Munkhdul Badral
CPS International LLC
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