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Close: Mongolia Related ASX Listed Companies, September 1, 2011
S&P/ASX 200 RESOURCES
TVN closed 0.1c higher to 5.7c. Intraday high 6.2c
TVN: Significant Coal Seam Development Extends West
September 1, TVN Corporation Limited (ASX:TVN) --
· 177.9 m thick down hole coal sequence intercepted
· Cumulative down hole seam thickness 134.4 thick
· Coal seam development from 68 m depth
Mongol Makh Corporate Bonds in Mongolian Stock Exchange
September 1 (InfoMongolia.com) Just Agro LLC is engaged in Mongolian meat processing industry which was established in 2007, a subsidiary of the Just Group and the company plans to issue the “Mongol Makh” corporate bonds from September 2nd 2011 in the Mongolian Stock Exchange.
The company will become the second company in Mongolia which issues corporate bonds in the preliminary market of the Mongolian Stock Exchange. Just Agro LLC aims to generate 30 billion MNT by issuing its corporate bonds and the generated revenue will then be used for ensuring its meat processing plant operation with full scales.
The company’s production volume provides 22.8% of Mongolia’s meat export to overseas (4,518.9 tons of meat export in 2010), 04% of domestic meat processing volume and one third of state meat reserve of Mongolia on annual basis.
Report: Mining has damaged nearly 4,000 hectares
August 31 (news.mn0 The Mineral Resources Authority has released a report on mining’s environmental impact and the results are worse than expected.
It is the first time the Authority has calculated the amount of land used or damaged by mining operations, including exploration and production.
The report says a total of 3984.46 hectares (9845.8 acres) of land have been badly damaged. And they’re still not done counting.
The final tally won’t be known until surveys are completed in Uvs and Bayan-Ulgii aimags by the end of the year.
Surveys have already been completed in Govi-Altai, Bayankhongor, and Khovd aimags. Experts expect another 1291.9 hectares (3192.3 acres) of land to be counted as damaged.
Human Development Fund to give each student MNT 500,000
August 31 (news.mn) At today’s meeting of the Cabinet it was decided that each university, institute, correspondence, and evening course student in Mongolia will receive a MNT 500,000 grant for tuition fees from the Human Development Fund.
There had been concerns among students that the grant would be reduced or eliminated this year, since Parliament passed a law shortly before Naadam that grants qualifying students in Mongolian universities MNT 70,000 per month.
Yo. Otgonbayar, the Minister for Education, Culture and Science, had also suggested that the grants from the Human Development Fund should not be awarded in direct cash payments, but his proposal was not accepted by the Cabinet.
Home buyers to get MNT 1 million each from government
September 1 (news.mn) The Government is implementing an ambitious program to build 100,000 new housing units in the capital. An apartment block with 15,000 units is already under construction on Yarmag hill. To make owning a home easier, the Government says it will pay MNT 1 million toward the purchase of a new housing unit. The money will be paid directly to the company building the home, and home buyers will still need to make a down payment. Our correspondent spoke with Ts. Gankhuu of the Land and Geodesy Authority.
- What is required for a citizen to obtain the MNT 1 million transfer from the Human Development Fund to the construction company?
- The National Committee headed by the first deputy prime minister is to monitor the 100,000 homes program. The Committee developed rules for issuing MNT 1 million via the Human Development Fund to a citizen who wants to own a home. Citizens who are interested in the program should ask district or khoroo officials to order them a home in the 100,000 homes program. After the request is considered by aimag or city authorities, the Social Welfare Authority and the Apartment Finance Corporation will transfer the MNT 1 million from the Human Development Fund to a construction company.
- The 100,000 homes program is still not completed. What if a citizen would like to get a loan from a commercial bank to buy a home now?
- Citizens who take out loans from commercial banks can also be involved in this program. By providing citizens with comfortable homes, the Government hopes to reduce air pollution in the city.
- Even MNT 1 million is not enough money to buy a new home. Is it possible for family members to join together and each use their MNT 1 million to buy a home?
- It is possible. How many people could pool their shares to buy a home is a family matter.
- Demand for homes is increasing rapidly. Will the 100,000 homes program be enough? Won’t some citizens be left out?
- Currently 24,600 homes are being built in Ulaanbaatar. Over 20,000 new homes are expected to be built every year. We are doing our best to meet the needs and demands.
NUCLEAR WASTE NOT TO BE BURIED IN MONGOLIA
August 31, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia /MONTSAME/ Although the Nuclear Energy Agency had to report on its activity to the Cabinet meeting, it postponed for one week due to the health condition of S.Enkhbat, the head of the agency.
However, officials of the agency attended the meeting to answer questions put by members of the cabinet.
Members considered there is a need to improve and ensure the transparency in activities of the Nuclear Energy Agency and the “MonAtom” company.
The Prime Minister S.Batbold said “Information about burying nuclear waste on the territory of Mongolia has widely being spread without ground. It is banned by the law of Mongolia."
Thus, he obliged related organizations to make an official statement on the groundless rumor.
ROUND TABLE MEETING OF MONGOLIA AND CANADA TO BE HOSTED
August 31, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia /MONTSAME/ The fifth round table meeting of Mongolia and Canada will be held in Ottawa of Canada on September 8-9.
The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday approved directives of Mongolian representatives and ordered the head of the Mongolian side, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy to assign the delegation members.
The meeting serves to exchange views on strengthening of bilateral political and economic relations and promote mutually beneficial cooperation.
Mongolian side will express interests in introducing latest technical and technological achievements and experiences of Canada in the mining, mineral resources, agricultural, roads, transport, construction and environmental spheres.
It is expected to exchange information on cooperation in the fields of commerce, economy, investments, education, culture, defense as well.
ABOUT GOVERNMENTAL WORKS AND ACTIVITIES
August 31, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia /MONTSAME/ The cabinet has got acquainted with a report on implementation of the governmental activities.
According to it, by the first half of 2011, implementation course of the governmental activity program is going with 73.4 per cent, showing an increase of 12.4 per cent against the previous year.
Indicators of the macro economy had good results by the end of 2010, and so income from the mining industry has been increased.
In addition to it, private and budgetary investments soared, and the biggest projects have started, with intensifying of the construction sector works and campaign of providing people with apartments.
Real incomes of people have been increased, and the industries of foods and agriculture have been intensified as well.
Related Ministers and heads of agencies were obliged to intensify realization of some measures and programs that are being implemented in a delay.
A course of the governmental activities done in July of 2011 also has been introduced to the cabinet. According to this, the cabinet met four times in July, discussing 72 issues and getting acquainted with 23 matters.
British judge to visit Mongolia
August 31 (news.mn) There are reports that a British judge will visit Mongolia in connection with the case of B. Khurts, the Chief of Administration at the National Security Council who has been charged with abduction and dangerous bodily harm in Germany. Mr. Khurts was arrested in London in September 2010 and extradited to Germany on August 19.
Mongolian judicial officials invited representatives of the British and German courts to Mongolia in May. The Germans accepted the invitation and visited Mongolia. Now the British say a judge will visit Mongolia on September 17 – the anniversary of Mr. Khurts’s arrest.
Finland talks business and human rights in Mongolia
September 1 (YLE) Finnish President Tarja Halonen has made the first high-level official visit to Mongolia, accompanied by a delegation of business executives. Finnish companies are setting their sights Mongolia's mining business.
The Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar put on a warm welcome for Finnish guests, having just said goodbye to a number of high officials from other countries. The Indian, South Korean and Chinese leadership, as well as the US vice president, have recently visited this fast-growing nation.
Mongolia’s mining industry is driving interest in the country. Major copper and coal mines are springing up in the Gobi desert under the guidance of big international companies.
Finnish companies are hoping to secure lucrative contracts. The delegation also included Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Alexander Stubb, who said that Finnish companies could bring environmental values to the area.
Meanwhile President Halonen said that, for her, promoting interest in democracy and human rights is an equally important goal.
Her Mongolian counterpart seemed to agree.
“When I talk about valuable relations, I talk about respecting human rights, rule of law, transparency, more inclusive government,” said Mongolian president Tsakhia Elbegdorj. “I think Finland is going to be a great role model for Mongolia.”
MONGOLIA-FINLAND BUSINESS FORUM RUNS
September 1, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia /MONTSAME/ A Mongolia-Finland business forum was held on Wednesday, August 31 in Kempinski hotel, UB in frames of the state visit of the President of the Republic of Finland to Mongolia.
Opening speech has been given by T.Gandi, the Minister of Social Welfare and Labor and head of the Mongolian side of the Mongolia-Finland intergovernmental commission.
The Minister T.Gandi underlined that the Republic of Finland is one of the partners of Mongolia at trade sector.
In this year, Mongolia imported products of USD 12.9 million from Finland, and exported products costing USD 24.7 million.
The trade turnover reached USD 13 million by end of 2010, reflecting an increase by 3.5 times against 2009.
T.Gandi highlighted the bilateral business collaboration is approaching a proper condition to widen in times of increasing of Mongolian economic growth and intensifying of sectors in mining and other spheres.
She believed that Finnish businessmen would interest in business sector of Mongolia and would develop mutually-beneficial business activities.
FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Mongolia
BEIJING, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Mongolia sits on vast quantities of untapped mineral wealth, the exploitation of which is likely to turn it into one of the world's fastest growing economies over the next decade.
Visiting the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator in late August, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden praised the landlocked nation's transition to democracy after years languishing on the fringes of the Soviet bloc.
The priority for Mongolia now is the development of its tiny economy, and foreign investors want to know if the government can maximise growth while handling the pressures exerted by impatient citizens as well as its two giant neighbours, Russia and China.
Following is a summary of key political risks to watch:
TAVAN TOLGOI FALLOUT
The Tavan Tolgoi or "Five Hills" coal mine is the world's biggest untapped deposit of its kind, and along with the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, will help drive growth for decades.
Concerns about the ownership of the mine have caused delays, and Mongolia needs to act fast if it is to complete a much-anticipated initial public offering next year and fulfil pledges it made to voters before 2012 parliamentary elections.
Erdenes MGL, the mine's state-owned operator, has chosen banks to list the eastern part of the property , but timing will depend on the results of an auction for the western block.
In July, the government selected China's Shenhua , Peabody of the United States and a Russian-Mongolian consortium, but it then backtracked, saying the omission of Japanese and South Korean firms was an "oversight" and that nothing had been decided yet.
The confusion drew attention not just to the geopolitical pressures facing Mongolia, but also to its chaotic and opaque approval procedures.
What to watch:
-- Whether the government can produce an investment agreement for Tavan Tolgoi that will satisfy foreign partners and keep the public happy, and whether it can do it in time.
-- Whether foreign investors will be deterred by Mongolia's less than transparent approval procedures.
As elections loom, members of the ruling coalition want to get the deal done as soon as possible in order to deliver on expensive promises made to voters four years ago.
The government has vowed to use mineral wealth to pay for public education and health, and to use mining sector earnings to build infrastructure and modernise the country.
Still, many Mongolians have accused the government of selling mineral reserves cheaply to make quick cash.
A 2009 decision to hand a majority stake in the $6 billion Oyu Tolgoi project to Canadian miner Ivanhoe led to uproar, but many smaller foreign-invested projects have also raised the hackles of activists and lawmakers alike.
Biden's visit also brought concerns that Ulan Bator would sign a deal to store U.S., Japanese and South Korean nuclear waste. It could be a step too far for an electorate already unhappy about the growing role of foreigners in its economy.
What to watch:
-- How Mongolia uses the proceeds from its mining projects. It has set up education and fiscal stabilisation funds, but it has also promised direct dividends for Mongolian citizens.
-- How it deals with rapid economic change as foreign investment transforms the country's mainly rural economy. Overall investment in Oyu Tolgoi alone will stand at roughly the equivalent of the country's entire GDP in 2009.
-- How the government handles growing nationalist sentiment, and fears about the role of foreign firms and workers.
Many of Mongolia's 2.7 million citizens are concerned about growing Chinese and Russian hegemony, and their fears were not allayed by the plan to hand the majority of Tavan Tolgoi's western block to Chinese and Russian interests.
China already dominates Mongolia's economy, buying 90 percent of the country's exports in the first half of 2011, mostly at discount. But if Mongolia is going to stand a chance of easing its long-term dependence, it needs cash -- and that will only come from trade with its southern neighbour.
Mongolia's growing dependence on Russia and China for fuel, power and transportation also poses a major risk to its mining sector. Russia has been known to turn off supply taps, and China is not averse to closing crucial railway links .
Mongolia also depends on Russia's railway network to fulfil plans to deliver coal to Japan and South Korea.
What to watch:
-- Will efforts to ease dependence on China merely increase Russia's hold, and vice versa? Is the Chinese market for coal and other minerals its only option in the short term?
Nomads No More: Mongolia's New Urbanites Hunt for Homes
When Enkhtuya's family moved from frigid northwestern Mongolia to the capital city of Ulaanbaatar six years ago, it was more than a seasonal migration.
It was a permanent escape, a leap of faith away from a cold, hard life into what the family hoped would be a new era of opportunity.
The decision to pack up everything and drive three days across mountains and steppe wasn't made lightly.
The family's job prospects were bleak, and a round Mongolian felt tent, called a ger, would be the only thing keeping them from homelessness.
The wheels of their vehicle barely touched paved roads as they crossed a bare landscape that has changed little since Genghis Khan roamed it more than eight centuries ago.
Sitting in her new brick home on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar with a stove radiating heat to keep out the February cold, Ms. Enkhtuya remembered one of the main reasons she left the west.
"You couldn't spit because it would be ice falling on the ground," she told GlobalAtlanta with a smile. The housewife had just come in from doing chores as the sun dipped behind mountains. The temperature had dropped to about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. She wore a tanktop.
They don't lead a charmed life, but it has been a remarkable turn of events for the family of four, which includes husband Bat-Amgalan, 13-year-old son Barkhas and 5-year-old daughter Uurtsaikh.
After arriving in the capital, the family was so poor that the kids had to be sponsored by World Vision, a Christian relief organization.
What they didn't know was that World Vision's charity would eventually lead them to an Atlanta-based organization that would help pull them up by their bootstraps: Habitat for Humanity.
Founded in Americus, Ga., Habitat builds affordable homes around the world for low-income families or those hit by disaster.
It's not a charity; the homes are built by volunteers, but the families must buy them, usually with money loaned on more generous terms than they would get from a bank.
With future residents and teams of foreign volunteers including U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Addleton pitching in, Habitat held its first Blue Sky Build in 2009. The effort resulted in 30 new houses in the Bayanzurkh district on the eastern outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. Many of the $4,000 homes sit empty as the organization recruits new families.
The pool is large. Thousands of Mongolian migrants have flocked to Ulaanbaatar in the 20 years since the country shirked Soviet-style socialism for free-market reforms. Few can afford homes of their own. Habitat has already built more than 1,500 homes around the country.
Enkhtuya's husband makes $220 per month hauling products in a cart at Naran Tuul, the city's bustling outdoor market. She thought the family would be scrimping and saving for years. Now, thanks to Habitat, they will have the house paid off in five years if they maintain a $50 monthly payment.
"It's a dream come true," Ms. Enkhtuya said.
This gratefulness is partially responsible for the 80 percent payback rate on microfinance loans provided through Habitat, said Charles Jolliffe, country director for Habitat for Humanit Mongolia, who believes a lack of opportunity and capital is only thing keeping most Mongolians from moving up.
Banks have traditionally been reluctant to offer loans to those with little collateral, though that is changing slowly, he said.
"I think the people are very ambitious. They want to move forward. They want to keep improving their life, no matter what their economic status," said Mr. Jolliffe, an India native who took up his post 10 years ago.
When they arrive in the city, most migrants pile into apartments with family or set up their gers on a relative's land. The result is an overcrowded capital for one of the least densely populated countries in the world.
Mongolia's constitution guarantees each citizen a plot of land called a hasha, a symbol of each family's independence. But they're often claimed on the outskirts of cities, separated from nearby plots only by fence pieced together with wood scraps.
In Ulaanbaatar, property developers are finding profits in high-end residential developments geared toward Mongolians and expatriates cashing in on the country's growing mineral wealth, but soaring construction costs have left lower-income families with fewer options.
More than half of the city's population lives in settlements informally called ger districts, which are connected to the city's power grid but aren't hooked into other utilities like water and heat. The districts are mostly to blame for the gray cloud that settles over the city in winter as people burn coal (and anything else they can find) to stay warm.
The Mongolian Ministry of Roads, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development estimates that in 2010 126,000 families in Ulaanbaatar were living in structures that remain disconnected from water and heat, according to a report by M.A.D. Investment Solutions.
The ger is a symbol of national identity for all Mongolians, from herders to the highest government officials. (Vice President Joe Biden's recent meetings with Mongolia's president and prime minister were staged in a ceremonial ger inside the capital building.) But most modern-day Mongolians value practicality over nostalgia, Ms. Enkhtuya said.
"The ger is the dwelling of the old days. We were not settled for a thousand years, so we had no need for a house," she said.
Most people stay in gers simply because they're cheap and portable, said Adam Saffer, CEO of Gateway Development International, a Virginia-based company that matches building technologies with construction needs in developing countries.
"There's a lot of people living in gers because they cost $50 or $150 but most people in the city would like to live in an apartment or a house," Mr. Saffer told GlobalAtlanta.
Mr. Saffer has spent the last year trying to gain traction for products that will help address the country's need for affordable, energy-efficient housing.
One such solution is Gateway's ThermoBlock, a polystyrene form that can be stacked and filled with concrete to create insulated walls. The houses can be built quickly, an advantage given Mongolia's limited building season, and provide instant insulation. Each house would cost about $10,000.
The problem? Outdated building codes, an industry resistant to change and cumbersome bureaucracy has so far kept ThermoBlock from receiving the government's go-ahead.
"In a word, we need to be approved by the Mongolian authorities for us to really make a difference here. As we meet all the U.S., Canadian and international codes, we remain hopeful," Mr. Saffer said in an email.
Gateway recently started producing the blocks in country with special equipment designed and shipped by National Foam & Equipment, a Rutledge, Ga.-based provider of spray-foam insulation.
As for Ms. Enkhtuya, she counts her blessings every time she walks into her home.
"Thousands of families have come to the city over the past 20 years looking for a better life. We still have many dreams to go for," she said.
Next on the list?
"Decorating my house."
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