Wednesday, September 14, 2011

[CPSI NewsWire: NSC Rejects Cabinet's Draft TT Investment Proposal]

CPSI NewsWire brings you market updates on Mongolia, compiled by CPS International, a Mongolian marketing arm of CPS Securities, a Perth, WA based stockbroking and corporate advisory firm, specialising in capital raising for mining and junior stocks.

Wish to subscribe or unsubscribe? Let me know.

Close: Mongolia Related ASX Listed Companies, September 14, 2011



$ +/-








 0.084  Down









 1.695  Down









 0.265  Down









 0.520  Down









 0.014  No change









 0.079  Down









 0.135  No change









 1.085  Down









 0.270  Down









 0.055  Down









 0.450  Down









 17.450  Down









 68.350  Down









 36.900  Down











Index name





 S&P/ASX 200

 4,005.8  Down





 4,796.7  Down





Tavantolgoi draft proposal rejected

September 14 ( President Ts.Elbegdorj on Tuesday officially confirmed that the National Security Council (NSC) has rejected a draft proposal to award Tavantolgoi development rights to consortiums from China, Russia, and the United States.

After discussions last week, the NSC decided that the draft does not meet legal requirements. The Government submitted the draft to a working group of the NSC on July 22. It is possible that the Government will revise the draft and resubmit it to the NSC at a later date.

Link to article


Ivanhoe Energy drilling team mobilized on second planned test well in Mongolia

CALGARY, Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- David Dyck, President and Chief Operating Officer of Ivanhoe Energy Inc., and Gerald Moench, President of Ivanhoe's wholly-owned subsidiary Sunwing Energy Ltd., announced today that Ivanhoe's drilling team has begun moving the drilling rig to the site of the second exploration well in east-central Mongolia.

"Our drilling program was designed to advance our knowledge of Mongolia's Nyalga Basin, a highly prospective area with numerous potential structures that could be tested by drilling," Mr. Dyck said. "These initial wells are testing two different structures with diverse seismic characteristics."

Mr. Dyck said testing has been completed at the first exploration well, N16-1E-1A, which was drilled to a depth of 2,003 metres. The first well has been plugged and abandoned and the rig disassembled for mobilization.

"While the testing of our first well did not encounter oil shows in the reservoir, it has provided vital information that we are combining with our seismic data to help guide our continuing drilling program."

The second well is on an eight-square-kilometre structure approximately 12 kilometres from the first well. Drilling of the second well is expected to begin by the end of this month toward a target depth of approximately 2,500 metres.

"Mongolia in general, and the Nyalga Basin in particular, is in the early days of oil exploration, requiring a great deal of study to understand its full potential. We remain optimistic that our exploration efforts will enable the discovery of oil resources at our Mongolian project," Mr. Dyck added.

Sunwing Energy Ltd. is party to a Production-Sharing Contract with the Mongolian Government for Block XVI, a 12,679-square-kilometre area that encompasses the Nyalga Basin and is adjacent to the north-south Trans-Mongolian Railway.

Link to release


Petro Matad updates on licence arrangements; shares up

September 14 (Proactive Investors) Mongolia focused Petro Matad (LON:MATD) has received from the government authority the usual two year extension to its production sharing contract (PSC) on Block XX in the eastern part of the country.

The firm also told investors today that it had received approval from the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia (PAM) to relinquish parts of the original areas of Blocks IV and V in the southwest and central respectively, which have been shown to not be prospective for hydrocarbons.

In a statement, Petro Matad said that all the current conditions of the PSC remained in place during the extension, which will come up for renew again after July 19, 2013. 

Minimum work commitments for the two years total US$35,900,000, and no further mandatory relinquishments of area are required, said the firm.

It added: "The company has received approval from PAM to relinquish 25.7 percent and 34 percent. of the original areas of Blocks IV and V respectively, as required by the terms of the PSCs and Mongolian law." 

It said that Blocks IV and V are now 28,998.60 sq km and 21,149.72 sq km respectively.

Studies of surface geology, 2D seismic, gravity, and magnetic surveys confirmed that the relinquished areas are non-prospective for hydrocarbons, said the company.

This afternoon shares in the firm were up 2.22 percent - trading at 46 pence.

Link to article

Link to MATD release


Management Update 

September 14, Aspire Mining Limited (ASX:AKM) --

Recently Appointed Chief Geologist Receives Mongolian Geologist of the Year Award

Aspire Mining Ltd (ASX: AKM, “Aspire”) is pleased to announce the formal appointment of Mr Barsbold Tserenpuntsag (“Barsaa”) as the Company’s Chief Geologist

Barsaa, who is credited with the discovery of Aspire’s world-class Ovoot Coking Coal Project (“Ovoot”) in northern Mongolia, was previously contracted by Aspire on a part time basis.

Barsaa will help oversee the current exploration programme at Ovoot and will be responsible for identifying potential for new coking coal discoveries in northern Mongolia.

Earlier this month, by order of Mr Zorigt D., Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy in Mongolia, Barsaa was awarded the Geologist Medal for 2011, in recognition for his outstanding contribution in the development of the Mongolian geological sector.

In 2008, Barsaa planned and executed the initial Ovoot exploration programme that made the initial discovery holes. The programme was conducted by a Mongolian syndicate, the members of which are now significant Aspire shareholders.  

Barsaa also had significant involvement in Aspire’s 2010 exploration programme, which culminated in the establishment of Ovoot’s maiden 330.7 million tonne JORC-Compliant Resource.

Barsaa will report to Aspire’s Exploration Manager, Mr Iestyn Broomfield.

Appointment of General Manager, Marketing

Aspire is also pleased to announce the appointment  of Mr Scott Southwood to the role of General Manager, Marketing.

A qualified process engineer, Mr Southwood has significant coal industry experience, beginning his career at Kembla Coal & Coke Pty Ltd in Wollongong NSW before moving into coal marketing and logistics roles with Shell and Anglo Coal. For the last eight years, he has been employed by Ensham Coal where he was responsible for coking and thermal coal sales into North Asia.

Scott will be responsible for marketing Ovoot Coking Coal to global markets and working on rail and port capacities.

Scott will be based in the Aspire marketing office in Brisbane, Queensland, and will report to the Managing Director.

Link to release


Banpu should benefit from Hunnu acquisition

Credit Suisse maintains its "outperform" rating to Banpu Plc, following the Australian dollar acquisition of Mongolia's Hunnu Coal Ltd.

September 13 (The Nation) Banpu announced a tender offer for the remaining 87.6 per cent stake at the cost of A$423 million. Combined with the 12.4 per cent stake at the cost of A$1.5 per share, the total cost for the 100 per cent stake is A$468 million, "equivalent to the enterprise value per resource of US$0.53 per tonne, lower than the valuation of any Mongolia-based listed companies in Hong Kong of between US$3-US$19 per tonne".

"We maintain our outperform rating. Its balance sheet could handle the acquisition costs given the proceed of US$669 million from sale of Daning in the first quarter. The deal is too small to make us change our positive view on Banpu," the house said.

Banpu expects production at Hunnu to ramp up to 3-5 million tonnes in 2015 and will provide more detailed guidance after November when the deal is completed. Banpu said that the costs related to Hunnu will be capitalised and not affect its bottom line. The management also expects its net debt to equity ratio to rise from 0.7 time to 0.8 time.

Credit Suisse noted that the Hunnu's acquisition comes sooner than expected but suggests that Banpu is eager to take the development risks of the Mongolian resources before acquisition price gets too expensive. To Banpu, the size of this acquisition is close to its acquisition cost into China in 2008 (Daning and Gaohe) but much lower than the cost of Centennial Coal (US$2.5 bn).

It noted that capital expenditure for Mongolia should be less than US$500 million with priority to develop two mines called Tsant Uul and Unst Khudag, which are located around 200 km from the border with China. Main transportation route to the border is the public highway. Coal sold is likely to be unwashed, at least in the initial stage. Banpu has stationed two personnel in Mongolia since early this year. Banpu will send staff from its Daning mine to operate Hunnu while the Managing Director of Hunnu, George Tumur, will continue to work at Hunnu after the transaction.

Credit Suisse expects Banpu share price to rise to Bt885, which offers a 41 per cent upside gain from the Sept 12 closing of Bt626.

Link to article


MICC: Banpu to takeover HUN 100% - Hunnu Update

September 13, MICC --

§  Banpu bid at A$1.80: lower than our target price (TP), but highly compelling.  For a 100% takeover we had expected a price closer to our TP. However the bid is highly compelling given that 1) it’s an all cash off market offer  2) it represents a 30% premium to HUN’s last closing price of A$1.39/sh (Sep 8, 2011), 53% to one month volume weighted average price (VWAP) of A$ 1.18/sh, and  41% to three month VWAP of A$1.28.

§  Offer is likely to complete. The Board of Directors unanimously recommends that HUN shareholders accept the offer. This is not surprising given the current unstable market conditions. The issues revolving around the US and the EU have hit global markets, and HUN’s price had dropped 26% since its April high of A$1.75. We also believe that an entrance of a competing bidder is unlikely due to “no-talk, no-shop” agreement and Banpu’s 12.2% blocking stake in the company.

§  HUN’s acquisition by a leading strategic player highlights the potential for further M&A in Mongolia. So far there are few major global miners who have set a foothold in Mongolia. Peabody and Shenhua are most likely will grab a piece of Tavan Tolgoi’s bid, now Banpu is offering all-cash to takeout Hunnu Coal. Major miners such as Xstrata, BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Teck Resources and many others are yet to set their presence in Mongolia. Given Mongolia’s mineral wealth and prime location, we expect that these global players may enter the Mongolian mining industry in the near future.

§  Who’s next? The remaining coal players in the Mongolian market include Southgobi Resources, Aspire Mining, Xanadu Mines, and Prophecy Coal. Other potentials include Voyager Resources and Haranga Resources, which are also led by HUN’s Chairman, Matthew Wood. His success at creating a coal company worth $500m in just two years shows Mongolia’s resource potential. 

Link to update


GMM: Annual Financial Statements 2011

September 14, General Mining Corporation Limited (ASX:GMM) --

Link to report


Mongolia Per Capita GDP to Hit $5,000 by 2012: Govt Minister

September 13 (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.

If it were to hit the $5,000 mark next year, Mongolia would overtake Indonesia in terms of per capita GDP and become as rich as China and Thailand.

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.

“We had forecast losses this year, but revenues have been much higher than we had projected, we are on target for a surplus,” he said.

The country’s ruling party faces an election, due to be held around June 2012 and it has been spending the country’s newfound wealth on education and social programs.

Hutagt said the government planned to issue its first sovereign debt early next year, despite running a budget surplus, in order to invest in infrastructure projects such as airports and roads.

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.

But Hutagt said the country was seeking to diversify its risks by exporting not just coal but also copper, oil and uranium and targeting other export markets such as Russia.

Link to article


Domestic consortium to invest in industrial complex

September 14 ( A consortium of ten Mongolian companies says it will help finance the Sainshand industrial complex, which will consist of nine factories, including a coal washing plant, a copper enriching factory, and a crude oil refinery.

The ten companies, including the Bodi Group, Monnis, Magnai Trade, and the Just Group, have created the National Development Corporation and they say they are ready to move forward on the project. 

Preliminary estimates say the Sainshand complex will cost USD 11 billion to build. Investors from China, Japan, and South Korea have already expressed an interest in financing the project.

The former adviser to the Minister for Road, Transportation and Urban Development, Ch.Ganbat, who has worked on the Sainshand project since its inception, will serve as the executive director of the National Development Corporation

Link to article


MNT 108 billion in bonds sold so far

September 13 ( Deputy Minister for Food, Agriculture and Light Industry Kh.Zoljargal tells our correspondent that MNT 108 billion in bonds have been sold so far as part of a MNT 300 billion bond issue for economic development.  

The bond sale began on August 9. The bonds are being sold on the Mongolian Stock Exchange every Tuesday.

The bond issue was approved by Parliament last July. Of the MNT 300 billion to be raised, MNT 150 billion will go toward developing small-to-medium-sized business enterprises, MNT 100 billion will help support the producers of wool and cashmere products, and MNT 50 billion will go to herders who sell camel and sheep wool to domestic factories. 

Kh.Zoljargal says the money that goes to businesses will be in the form of loans through commercial banks which must be repaid. 

Link to article



September 14, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia /MONTSAME/ The Mongolia-Germany mining and mineral resources cooperation group discussed at its third meeting September 12 an implementation of the protocol, released at its last year's meeting, and exchanged information and ideas on further trends of the mining development in the two countries.

In Berlin the sides have considered the issues concerning the collaboration between the enterprisers, a realization of joint projects, and difficulties arising.

During the meeting, the sides highlighted a progress of a joint coal-processing project of Nariin Sukhait co-realized by Germany's MBE-Coal & Minerals Technology LLC and the Mongolian MAK Company.

Implemented with an investment of the MAK company, the project's technical and economic justification has been worked out by the MBE-Coal & Minerals Technology LLC, and the construction of mining will start in 2012 and put into use a year later.

In addition, they have talked about some projects proposed by a metallurgical factory of Darkhan-Uul aimag and the Energy company located in Sharyn gol, and another project of the Erdenet Mining Construction.

With some 33 representatives from the two sides, the third meeting was co-chaired by B.Batkhuu, a head of the mining and heavy industry policy department of the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, and by Dr. Mager, a head of the energy research, renewable energy and coal department of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

Germany's mining companies are interested in running business in the Mongolian mining sector, moreover, the Federal Ministry expressed its willingness to establish Mongolia-Germany intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the raw materials sector.

The working group's next meeting will take place in 2012 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Link to article


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: responsAbility Invests $2.5m in Microfinance Institution Asian Credit Fund of Kazakhstan, Bank Eskhata of Tajikistan, XacLeasing of Mongolia

September 13 ( responsAbility Social Investments AG, a Swiss investment company that manages four microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs), recently reported to MicroCapital that it has made debt investments totaling the equivalent of USD 2.5 million in microfinance institutions Asian Credit Fund LLP of Kazakhstan, Bank Eskhata (Eskhata) of Tajikistan and XacLeasing, a sister company of Mongolian microfinance institution XacBank [1]. The investments have been made through three MIVs: responsAbility Global Microfinance Fund (rAGMF), responsAbility Microfinance Leaders Fund (rAMLF) and responsAbility Mikrofinanz-Fonds.

In Kazakhstan, rAGMF made a local-currency debt investment equivalent to USD 501,000 in ACF, a micro- and small business development finance institution. As of 2010, ACF reported to MIX total assets of USD 4.8 million, a gross loan portfolio of USD 2.6 million, approximately 4,539 borrowers, ROA of -1.75 percent and ROE of -16.4 percent.

In Tajikistan, rAGMF and Mikrofinanz-Fonds made a combined debt investment of USD 1 million in Eskhata, a commercial bank that lends to micro- and small businesses. As of 2010, Eskhata reported to the US nonprofit data provider Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) total assets of USD 78.3 million, a gross loan portfolio of USD 47.4 million, approximately 9,500 borrowers, return on assets (ROA) of 2.62 percent and return on equity (ROE) of 22.5 percent.

In Mongolia, XacLeasing, which provides equipment leasing services to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, borrowed USD 1 million from rAGMF. As of 2010, XacLeasing reported a paid-in capital of MNT 2 billion (USD 1.6 million). TenGer Financial Group is the parent organization of both XacLeasing and XacBank.

As of September 2011, responsAbility reported total assets under management of approximately USD 1 billion.

Link to article


China, Mongolia vow to further promote ties

BEIJING, Sep. 13 (Xinhua) -- China and Mongolia vowed to further promote bilateral ties as Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang met with his Mongolian counterpart Tuesday afternoon.

"China and Mongolia share broad common interests. A neighborly relationship is in the fundamental interests of both countries and their citizens," Li said during his meeting with Mongolian First Deputy Prime Minister Noroviin Altanhuyag in Beijing.

Li proposed four methods for promoting bilateral ties, including maintaining high-level contacts and enhancing strategic mutual trust, strengthening substantial cooperation, increasing communication between the two countries' legislative bodies, political parties, trade unions and women and youth organizations and strengthening multilateral coordination.

Li, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, also called for closer exchanges and cooperation between the CPC and Mongolian political parties.

He said the CPC will expand its ties with Mongolian political parties by exchanging experience in managing state affairs and party-building.

Altanhuyag, who is also chairman of the Mongolian Democratic Party (MDP), said that frequent high-level exchanges and increased mutual political trust between China and Mongolia have laid a solid foundation for expanding bilateral communication and cooperation.

The MDP hopes to learn from China's experience in creating a more open government and play a positive role in the development of the Mongolia-China strategic partnership, Altanhuyag said.

Link to article



September 13, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia /MONTSAME/ President Ts.Elbegdorj banned the cabinet from dealing with nuclear waste issues on Tuesday.

His decree and directives for the cabinet were released the same day prohibiting it from cooperating on behalf of Mongolia with any countries or international organizations, making agreements and contracts, holding talks and creating documents without a decision of the National Security Council (NSC).

Such a ban is based on the Constitution, laws on President and on the National Security Council (NSC).

The directives concern maintaining related laws about prohibiting of keeping nuclear waste, importing it for burying, transporting through territories of Mongolia.

Having received the decree, the PM S.Batbold has signed it.

Link to article


Why All Roads Lead to Mongolia

Mongolians have long dismissed their country as a pony between two elephants. But a wealth of natural resources could change that.

September 14 (The Diplomat) In the past month, Mongolia has played host to an impressive succession of visiting world leaders, including senior officials from China, the United States, South Korea and Finland. Movers and shakers in government and business from around the world are taking unprecedented interest in Mongolia. Why?

As industrialized countries scour the globe for increasingly scarce raw materials, Mongolia is seen as a generously endowed partner that is eager to do business. The physically massive but undeveloped country is enjoying the attention as it extends its brand of resource diplomacy. All recent visitors left with plans to extend ties and get their piece of Mongolia’s mineral pie.

The recent meetings were feted by their participants and in the Mongolian press with some gushing rhetoric, with much talk of ‘historic’ agreements and ‘special relationships.’ During his meeting with Zhou Yongkang, a senior official of the Chinese Communist Party, Mongolian Prime Minister S. Batbold spoke of a coming ‘golden era’ in Mongolian-Chinese relations, which have historically been antagonistic.

Batbold also referred to South Korea Mongolia’s ‘third neighbour.’ Shortly after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s visit, the country’s state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) announced the signing of a contract with the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM) to manage DBM for four years.

Under the deal, inked on August 30 in Ulan Bator, KDB will remake the bank’s operating system and take control of its development financing side. An official from KDB stated that the contract would be extended ‘if necessary,’ though what might constitute necessity wasn’t explained.

US Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, praised Mongolia’s democracy by calling the country an emerging leader in the worldwide democratic movement.’ The United States plans to share its expertise in high technology in return for deals related to Mongolia’s natural resources.

On the same day as Finnish President Halonen's visit, the Mongolian government announced plans to raise $300 billion (Mogi: typo?) by privatizing Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, the company in control of one of the world’s biggest coal deposits. The company will be listed on the stock exchanges of London, Hong Kong and Ulan Bator. This spreading of associations perhaps sends the message that Mongolia wishes to keep a range of partnerships, rather than being seen to rely on one partner.

Mongolians have described their country as a tiny pony stuck between two huge elephants, namely Russia and China. Mongolia became a Soviet satellite after it looked to the victorious Bolsheviks for protection from China. The Chinese government at the time wanted to claim both Inner and Outer Mongolia as Chinese territory. Much of Mongolia’s history is therefore comprised of being pulled between larger powers. Now, though, the country is using its mineral wealth to carve out an independent global position.

Mongolia’s economy has been predicted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to grow by 9 percent this year, and 12 percent in 2012, as a result of increased activity in the mining sector.

Yet despite such impressive numbers, the capital of Ulan Bator doesn’t look much like a prosperous city. The city centre is rife with abandoned buildings and a huge, growing slum sits on its edge. More and more Mongolians are finding it impossible to continue with their traditionally nomadic way of life, while extremely harsh winters have killed herders’ animals, leaving them with no option except to migrate to the city, where they generally fail to find work and end up living in poverty.

‘Once they get here, they’re stuck. They can’t go back to being a herder,’ says Troy Tvrdik, who with his family runs the NGO Flourishing Future in Ulan Bator’s ger (traditional Mongolian hut) district. ‘Then all of a sudden they wake up and have nothing to do. They lose all sense of purpose.’

On August 27, Mongolian Finance Minister S. Bayartsogt announced that the government plans to invest the budget surplus into welfare measures designed to improve employment and health. In July, revenues were MNT 248.8 billion ($199.8 million) more than projected, due to big increases in industrial and mining production.

The government says it will increase spending by up to MNT 92.6 billion ($74.4 million), with MNT 30 billion to be allocated for programmes to boost employment, MNT 10.3 billion ($8.3 million) to be used to improve transportation and health for vulnerable Mongolians, and MNT 1 billion ($8 million) set aside to help Mongolian athletes prepare for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Of course, despite the recent interest and pledges of investment, Mongolian officials have a long way to go in trying to create a broadly successful society while relying on industries that employ few people and are often foreign-owned. Still, the decisions and relationships now being made in Mongolia will determine whether it can become one of the big elephants of the global economy, or if it is destined to remain a tiny pony.

Link to article


Notes From an Expedition: Across the Mongolian Steppes

September 13 (World Policy Blog) ON THE BANKS OF THE HURH RIVER, Mongolia—To understand the power, the indomitable spirit, the sheer toughness of the Mongolian soul, it’s only necessary to spend four days in remote Hinti Province, up by the frontier with Siberia, one of the most remote corners of our planet. Even today, with the raging winds and snow, the sub-zero temperatures of winter still weeks away, the herders and their families that form the backbone of this nation are preparing for those hard times ahead.

Chinedkhand Tumenbayar and her family expect to break camp in a matter of days to move from their summer on the banks of the Hurh River to their winter shelter. They will knock down and load on a truck the two gers, round felt tents called yurts in neighboring Kazakhstan that have sheltered Mongolian herders for a thousand years or moreand now house three generations of Tumenbayars. Outside, more than 1,000 sheep and goats graze alongside scores of cows and horses. Together, they provide the meat and milk that feed the family. Indeed, a large side of mutton, freshly slaughtered, sits where it’s been thrown casually on one of three sofa-beds where American visitors are welcome inside the ger. Eventually, the mutton will become the meal for several days for the family, together with the milk that is boiling in an immense pot on the stove in the center of the ger as Chinedkhand lifts ladlefulls repeatedly over her head and dumps them back into the pot to prevent the liquid from curdling.

Their lives revolve around the herd, she explains. It provides food—meat and dairy products—as well as substantial revenue from the fur the cashmere goats shed each year, which currently fetches $72 per kilo (nearly $33 a pound). Each goat produces about 11 ounces, or a third of a kilo per year. The fruit of the revenues are all around us. Across the fields beyond their gers are three spanking new tiny log cabins with bright red roofs. Each cost $5,000 to build, and they are planning to rent them out—at $7 a day—to city folk who want some fresh air and to access the pure stream at their doorstep.

For some $300, the family purchased a 15-inch flat panel television that sits proudly between the two sofas, connected to a satellite dish and solar array outside the ger. They can receive 18 channels, including the BBC, and to prove it she switches it on to scenes of Egyptian protestors torching the Israeli embassy in Cairo, half a world away.  She doesn’t speak English, but the family does not lack for intellectuals.

Indeed at that moment in swaggers her father, Dambindombin. He’s visiting from Ulaanbaatar and is happy to tell us his life story. Dambindombin is a translator, it seems—from Russian to English. Indeed, he is the Mongolian translator of the entire Harry Potter series, not to mention Jules Verne and some 40 books a year, all translated from Russian editions into Mongolian. Life is better in some ways these days for Dambindombin than under the Soviet regime that ruled the nation during his youth. Still, he has mixed feelings. On the one hand, “during the communist era there was a central plan, a five-year plan and that was great for the country,” he observes. “But if you look at this society nowadays, democratic society, unemployment is so high, people don’t have enough jobs, there is no sense of planning.” On the other hand, after he received his language training in Irkutsk as a young man and returned to Mongolia in the 1970s when the Soviets ruled, he was allowed to translate just one book a year.

Indeed, this nation, even the herders who comprise nearly half the population and have a reputation as a profoundly conservative, independent lot, are profoundly divided. Even inside this ger there are divisions. “Oh we all vote Democratic (party) around here,” Chinedkhand says archly sweeping her hand across the landscape. “Not me,” her sister finally pipes up quietly from the corner, “I voted communist.” Everyone bursts out laughing. Indeed, there are some powerful pockets of support for the MPP [Mongolian People’s Party] as the old line communist party, now restyled as socialists, calls itself. 

In another, remote part of Hinti Province, barely 50 miles south of the Siberian border, 72-year-old Tsevelna tells visitors that she has always voted communist—it’s all she knows.  She is seated in a tiny shack with a window, without glass and a doorway with no door. Flies buzz in and out through both openings, landing on the food that she bustles to set out for her guests, and with some prompting, offers a running monologue on her life and that of her parents, which is the story of much of rural Mongolia. Before the communists arrived, they had no herds they could call their own. This was a feudal society, and Tsevelna and her neighbors were, effectively, little more than serfs—indentured servants to the wealthy who owned all the cattle. Soviet communism changed that. The vast herds of the wealthy were seized and collectivized. Tsevelna and her family were given salaries to care for the animals. Education became a right, not merely a privilege, and Mongolia developed one of the world’s highest literacy rates.

Much of this changed yet again in 1992 when communism was overthrown. Suddenly, the herders became masters of their own destiny. The herds, their size, where they would live and pasture, became decisions each family would make. Today, Tsevelna’s life, it would seem, has never been better. In all, she has seven sons and four daughters as well as 23 grandchildren. One of her children runs the local hospital in Underhaan, another is a surgeon, and a third graduated from Mongolia National University and runs her own company. There are more than 200 animals in Tsevelna’s herd that are tended, since her husband died earlier this year, by her grandson and his wife, Tuya, who has been doing her best to capture an elusive cell-phone signal as we sit in the cabin.

It is just such herds and their growth that deeply concern a socialist Member of Parliament we happen across in a ger camp where we’ve spent a night. Naranhuu is the MPP parliamentarian from the Middle Gobi where we will be heading next.

“The problem of Mongolia is that half the population is still nomads,” he begins. “Where there is a strength, there is a weakness and the other way around. Because half of our people are nomads, theirs is a very rigid and conservative way of life.  It doesn’t allow you to, let’s say, be hungry and at the same time it doesn’t allow you to die. It gives you a certain stability of income but at the same time doesn’t allow you to go forward, to study.”

At the same time, there is vast potential for unpredictable catastrophe, he says. “The main source of living, during the last 20 years of democracy, is cattle, and the number of cattle has doubled, which is a negative. Now, because they are purely in private hands, people want to grow the number. We have so many cattle, when the weather is good, it’s okay.  But when the weather turns the other way around, we have a whole new layer of burden. The dzud has cost people everything.” He is referring to a fierce series of winter storms that seem to return at irregular intervals to ravage the countryside and decimate the herds. “Every seven to eight years we have these dzuds for sure. At least half of all cattle die.” And countless herders and their families suffer.

Still, he is deeply proud of his civilization and all that his nation represents—this vast buffer between two of the world’s great powers—Russia and China, both of which have variously ruled and been conquered by Mongolia. “We have existed much longer than any other type of civilization, even China,” Naranhuu smiles proudly.

What is most striking about this nation is the very vastness of this buffer state. As we head back to the capital of Ulaanbaatar, some eight hours distant, much of it over dirt tracks that form the bulk of Mongolia’s road structure, we pass through valley after valley, devoid of all human life, save for the occasional buzzard and scattered stray cattle. Broad, endless stretches of grasslands, valleys and gently rolling hills that as we go over them give way to yet more valleys and more hills. It may be perhaps the largest, emptiest stretch on the planet—this land of the eternal blue sky.

Link to article


<Mogi & Friends Fund A/C>


Mogi & Friends Fund is a tiny fund of A$23K I created in late September with a few friends to put my own (and a few friends’) money where my mouth (just mine) is.




"Mogi" Munkhdul Badral

Executive Director

CPS International LLC

CPSI Logo (Small)

Telephone/Fax: +976-11-321326

Mobile: +976-99996779


P Please consider the environment before printing a copy of this email.


Central Tower · 12th Floor · Left Wing · 2 Sukhbaatar Square

Sukhbaatar District 8 · Ulaanbaatar 14200 · Mongolia


CPS International is a marketing arm of CPS Securities in Mongolia. CPS Securities is a Perth, Western Australia based AFSL License Holder. To trade ASX and international stocks, feel free to contact me at or +976-99996779.



CPS Securities, its directors and employees advise that they may hold securities, may have an interest in and/or earn brokerage and other benefits or advantages, either directly or indirectly from client transactions mentioned in correspondence from CPS International.

CPS International advise this email contains general information only and does not include advice. In preparing this communication, CPS International did not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any person. As with any speculative mining company there are significant risks.



No comments:

Post a Comment