Friday, March 30, 2012

[CPSI NewsWire: Guildford Discovers Fluorite in its Middle Gobi Coal License]

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.

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GUF closed +1.44% to 70.5c


March 30, Guildford Coal Limited (ASX:GUF) --

Ø  Fluorite mineralisation discovered outcropping on Mid Gobi exploration licence in Mongolia

Ø  Laboratory results of field grab samples reveal fluorite mineralisation with potential ceramic grade

Ø  Magnetic survey preliminary findings shows a feature overlaying the area of outcrop and grab sampling location with an approximate size of 3km in length by 1km in width

Ø  Initial drilling and further field mapping is scheduled to commence in April to confirm the nature, quality and extent of the mineralisation  

Ø  This exploration will also help determine if there are any other valuable minerals which are often found associated with fluorite deposits such as galena, barite and sphalerite (lead, barium and zinc)

Link to release


BRD closed flat at 0.7c,  traded +14.29% to 0.8c

Black Ridge Mining: Rare earths exposure in Mongolia close to becoming a reality

March 30 (Proactive Investors) Black Ridge Mining (ASX: BRD) has commenced due diligence at Rare Earths project in Mongolia, under a Heads of Agreement signed earlier this month.

The main ore body at the Mongolia project is contained within an alkaline, igneous, elliptical shaped intrusion that is 550 metres long and 200 metres wide.

Previous work indicates the potential for Heavy Rare Earth Elements at grades of between 300 and 400 parts per million, with an exploration target of between 20 and 25 million tonnes. Meanwhile, the topography appears to be favourable for an open cut operation.

Samples assayed at the project in mid-2011 confirmed encouraging concentrations of lanthanum, scandium, yttrium, cerium and other elements.  

Importantly, the project has also demonstrated potential for vanadium, tungsten, chrome and scandium, complementing Black Ridge's Unaly Hill vanadium project in Western Australia, where the company has a maiden Inferred Resource of 86 million tonnes at 0.42% vanadium.

Samples have been submitted for assaying, and once the results are confirmed, Black Ridge will proceed to drilling with the aim of establishing a JORC Resource for the deposit.

Close to transport infrastructure

The availability of well-developed infrastructure in the area is a plus for the company, with the project licence is located in the Tuv Province, 80 kilometres east of Ulaanbaatar, and is easily accessible via paved roads.

Ulaanbaatar is known as Mongolia's road and rail transport hub, with the city's rail connected to systems in Russia and China.

Rare earth ore from Black Ridge's project could be transported by rail through Russia to the international port of Vladivostock, enabling the company to export to numerous international markets.

Black Ridge plans to target manufacturers in the United States, Japan, South Korea and India among others.

Developing a rare earth project in Mongolia, China's northern neighbour, will enable Black Ridge to help fill the gap left by China's diminishing export quotas for the in demand resources. 

Heads of Agreement

Early in March Black Ridge signed a Heads of Agreement to develop the 7,750 hectare rare earths project that gives the company the right to earn up to 80% in the project.

Consideration for the deal comprises projected expenditure of $5.5 million over the next three years along with a final payment to the vendors of $750,000.

In addition, Black Ridge agreed to issue 10 million shares as an introductory fee. Black Ridge's last price prior to the announcement of the deal was about $0.005, valuing the share issue at about $50,000.

Link to article

Link to BRD release


Fluorite, Mongolia press rare earth buttons

March 30 (The Australian) THERE'S nothing like the convergence of two hot stories - in this case Mongolia and rare earths.

Add some fluorite (also in Mongolia) to the news mix today and we start pressing a lot of buttons.

Black Ridge Mining (BRD) was trading at 0.8 cents this morning after reminding the market that it has a rare earth project in the northern Asian country. Caution is needed: these are very early days, rare earths projects are devilishly difficult to bring on line and - if successful - that will take a very, very long time. (Remember, the Mt Weld mine now coming into production in Western Australia was discovered in 1970. The Dubbo zirconia-rare earth project, now in an advanced stage, has been continually worked on since the mid-1990s.)

The positive thing about BRD's deposit - if it passes the due diligence process now under way - is that early data suggests it has the more valuable heavy rare earths, including yttrium (the latter looking to be in deficit at least until 2016).

BRD's plan - like those of most of the emerging rare earth producers - is to offer an alternative to China, now a source of 97 per cent of the world's rare earths. The junior would use its Mongolian deposit to target customers in the US, Japan, South Korea and India. Japan recently signed a free trade agreement with Mongolia to ensue supplies of minerals including rare earths.

The other bit of news out of Mongolia this morning is that Guildford Coal (GUF) has discovered fluorite - also called fluorspar - at its Middle Gobi exploration licence area.

Fluorite is used in metallurgy, ceramics, glass, aluminium and fluoro polymers. In 2009, the world reserves of fluorite were estimated at 230 million tonnes, and the largest deposits were in South Africa. About 6m tonnes are traded on the market every year, and China produces half of that and is also the greatest consumer. Since 2009, China banned the export of fluospar and prices have tripled to about $US600 a tonne.

Also in today's news, we might soon start getting greater transparency in the rare earths space.

Toronto-based REE Stocks Co has launched three indices.

The REE Global Index will be calculated by Standard & Poor's and will hold the 30 largest rare earth companies outside China, including Australian players Lynas Corp (LYC) with its Mt Weld project, Dubbo owner Alkane Resources (ALK) and Northern Minerals (NTU), which is building a large heavy rare earth inventory in Western Australia.

There will also be the REE Leaders Index calculated by FTSE International - the 15 largest companies outside India and China - and, also managed by FTSE, the REE Shariah Index for those companies compliant with Shariah rules.

Link to article


HAR closed +1.09% to 46.5c

Haranga: Board Appointment

March 30, Haranga Resources Limited (ASX:HAR) --

Haranga Resources Limited (Company) is very pleased to announce that Mr. Daniel Crennan has joined the Board of the Company as a nonexecutive director.

Mr. Crennan is a barrister who practices primarily in Melbourne and Perth.

Mr. Crennan's areas of expertise include Corporations Law, Commercial Law, Trade Practices and Intellectual Property. 

Mr. Crennan is a former non-executive director of Mongolian coal explorer Hunnu Coal Limited and is a current director of Castillo Copper Limited.

Link to article


ERD closed -2.38% to 41c

Erdene Provides Project Updates and Reports Year End Financial Results

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - March 29, 2012) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. ("Erdene" or "Company") (TSX:ERD), today provided an update on the Company's principal projects in conjunction with the release of its year-end financial results.

Project Highlights and Year-end Financial Results 2011

·         NI 43-101 compliant technical report received on Donkin Coal Project pre-feasibility study

o    Project NPV of $1.06 billion (8% discount rate); supports project advancement

·         Donkin Coal Project Environmental Assessment process underway

o    Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines for Environmental Assessment received

·         Erdene receives 30-year mining license for Zuun Mod molybdenum-copper deposit

·         Updated NI 43-101 compliant Zuun Mod resource report

o    Measured and Indicated Resource includes 274 million pounds ("M lbs") of contained molybdenum ("Mo") metal and 330.7 M lbs of contained copper ("Cu") metal; Inferred Resource includes an additional 191.8 M lbs of contained Mo metal and 240.5 M lbs of contained Cu metal.

·         Altan Nar gold-silver epithermal mineralization discovered in south-western Mongolia

o    Discovery Zone with numerous significant drill intersections including 29 metres of 4.3g/t gold and 24.1g/t silver; multiple targets remain untested over a 2 kilometre by 3 kilometre area

·         Aggregates USA completes construction phase on Granite Hill construction aggregates royalty project

o    Commercial production commenced January 2012

·         Erdene's 2011 expenditures directed toward the advancement of the Company's primary projects; ends year with $3.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Link to report


North Asia Res updates on Shanxi coking coal resources buy

March 27 (ET Net) North Asia Resources (00061) said it is in contemplation of entering into a memorandum of understanding to give a binding mutually exclusive period of 30 days for further negotiation of the terms and conditions of the possible acquisition of a Shanxi coking coal resources. 

The discussions regarding the possible acquisition and a possible disposal of certain mining resources are still ongoing. North Asia Resources is also engaged in discussions with a creditor regarding certain settlement arrangements of the outstanding amount due to that creditor. 

Link to article


Bestway (00718) places up to 500m shares for HK$24.4m

March 27 (ET Net) Bestway International (00718) said it agreed to place, on a best effort basis, up to a total of 500 million new shares at HK$0.05 apiece, representing a premium of about 8.7% to the closing price of HK$0.046. 

The placing shares represent about 13.39% of the enlarged issued share capital of Bestway. 

The estimated net proceeds of HK$24.4 million will be applied for general working capital.

Link to article


GoConnect: Update on First Mongolian proposed ASX listing

March 29, GoConnect Limited (ASX:GCN) --

Further to the ASX releases on 15 and 19 March 2012 in which shareholders of GoConnect Ltd ("GCN") were advised of the offer of  a proportional entitlement distribution of shares ("the Offer") in First Mongolian Investment Holdings Ltd ("First Mongolian"), we wish to advise as follows: 

Sino Investment Services Pty Ltd ("SIS") advises that it has received a formal exclusive mandate to act as Lead Manager for the proposed listing of First Mongolian on the ASX. It is intended that GCN shareholders who qualify will be offered 100 million shares in First Mongolian for nil consideration. The Offer represents about 10% of First Mongolian's total issued capital upon successful ASX listing. The value of First Mongolian shares will be subject to an independent valuation.

Based on total current issued capital of GCN, and subject to the number of shareholders who will qualify for the entitlement, this Offer translates to approximately 1 First Mongolian share for about 9 GCN shares held by the GCN shareholder. However, while GCN currently has over 1,600 shareholders, a GCN shareholder will need to hold a minimum of 250,000 shares in order to qualify for the Offer ("Qualified Shareholder") by the Books Closing date to determine entitlement. The Books Closing date is still to be advised but will be before the release of the First Mongolian prospectus to be prepared for the proposed ASX listing. GCN will work with its share registry to ensure that it will receive a copy of the record of all Qualified Shareholders registered as at the Books Closing date in order to determine their entitlement to the First Mongolian shares.

Qualified Shareholders will be advised of their entitlement around the time of issue of the First Mongolian prospectus. 

Each GCN holder who qualifies for the Offer will also be provided with the right to subscribe for cash to an additional $2,000 of First Mongolian shares via a prospectus ("Subscription Right"). The Offer is not conditional on the Subscription Right being taken up by the Qualified Shareholder. The Subscription Right must be exercised in full but, if not taken up within the offer period to be advised, will be reallocated by SIS to its clients at its sole discretion. The Subscription Right offer is expected to raise $1 million for First Mongolian with an additional $3 million to be raised from professional investors under the prospectus. An Australian Competent Person as defined by the JORC Code will be commissioned in coming weeks to conduct an evaluation of the First Mongolian mining properties and provide an independent valuation of the properties.

Link to release


Hogan Lovells Advises Macquarie Capital Securities on Mongolian Mining Corporation Share Placing by Petrovis Resources 

HONG KONG, 28 March 2012 (Hogan Lovells) - Hogan Lovells advised Macquarie Capital Securities Limited (as sole bookrunner and placing agent) in respect of the placing of up to 86 million shares in Mongolian Mining Corporation (a company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange) held by Petrovis Resources Inc. (a substantial shareholder of Mongolian Mining), raising approximately HK$660 million (US$85 million).

The Hogan Lovells team was led by Hong Kong Partner Terence Lau and included Consultant Thomas Tarala, Associate Priscilla Lee and Paralegal Stella Wang, all based in Hong Kong. 

Link to release


MSE Daily Market Update

March 29 (BDSec) Stock indices retreated on Thursday, with BDS and MSE Top 20 slipping 0.32% and 0.86%, respectively. The total matching order trade reached about 62.8 thousand shares being traded worth over MNT 440 mln or $330 thousand.

One of the two cashmere manufacturers listed on MSE, Eermel (EER) gave up 9.68% to close at MNT 2,800. Telecom Mongolia (MCH) and Naco Fuel (NKT) tumbled 3.59% and 2.88%, respectively.

The largest domestic coal supplier Baganuur (BAN) recovered 3.71% to MNT 8,100. BAN has lost 35% year-to-date. Makh Impex (MMX), one of the largest meat processing plants in Mongolia, closed 1.99% higher today to close at MNT 2,000.

Local News in Brief

Tsakhia Elbegdorj, the president of Mongolia, has started his state visit in Germany yesterday.

 "E-Trans Logistics", the first Mongolian company of the new year to go public, is to raise MNT 924 mln (or around $700,000) on Mongolian Stock Exchange.

Link to article



March  29 (MSE) "Arta Invest" LLC, a Mongolian Stock Exchange member, has been permitted to change its name to "Tenger Capital" LLC by the Financial Regulatory Commission's Chairman's decree No.50 of March 27, 2012.

Link to article


Talyn Gal JSC announces 15 dividend

March 29 (MSE) --

Link to article


Japan imported 19.1K tonnes of coking coal from Mongolia in February

March 29 (Reuters) - Following is a table of customs-cleared coking coal imports for February released by Japan's Ministry of Finance on Thursday.

Figures are converted from yen to U.S. dollars using Japan Customs' official conversion rate.

Volumes are expressed in tonnes.            

   Country         Feb       Feb         Jan       Jan    M/M   Yr/Yr          YTD    Yr/Yr      YTD

      Name       Tonnes  $/Tonne      Tonnes   $/Tonne      %       %        Tonnes        %     $/T

     China      13,200    181.07      52,737    318.68   -75.0   -94.7      65,937     -79.6   291.45

  Mongolia      19,105    299.30           -                                19,105             298.84

  Indonesia  1,630,984    137.88   1,812,973    137.53   -10.0    -1.5   3,443,957      11.2   137.70

    Russia     217,422    205.53     233,828    248.06    -7.0   104.6     451,250      15.2   227.60

    Canada     386,991    295.47     390,211    293.32    -0.8   -48.9     777,202     -40.7   294.38

       USA     412,082    299.59     229,692    314.06    79.4    -7.4     641,774     -19.7   304.64

  Australia  3,071,337    234.45   3,671,552    245.61   -16.3    33.7   6,742,889      21.9   240.55

     Total   5,751,121    214.84   6,390,993    221.02   -10.0     4.3  12,142,114       5.4   218.10

Link to article


Moody's may cut Mongolian bank ratings to match sovereign

March 30 (Euroweek) Moody's is considering downgrading four Mongolian banks by one notch, bringing them in line with the rating it has given to the sovereign. Golomt Bank, Khan Bank, Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia and XacBank could all have their ratings cut. 

The review follows the release of Moody's new rating implementation guidance last month which stated that any company or bank rated above a country where it is based needs to not only be "fundamentally stronger than the sovereign", but also be insulated enough from any domestic woes that would follow a sovereign default.

The review is being done in other countries besides Mongolia, including Turkey, Brazil, India and the Philippines. But there are few banks in India and the Philippines rated higher than the sovereign, a Moody's analyst said.

Mongolian banks' exposure to the country's boom-bust economic cycles are their main credit vulnerability, given the volatility of commodity prices, according to Moody's.

The rapid growth in domestic lending — Mongolian loan volumes jumped by more than 70% last year — is another concern, it said. But while loans have jumped in a way that other Asian banking systems would envy, deposits have not kept up the pace, growing by around 40%.

"The high volume of unseasoned loans makes the banks more vulnerable to any economic dislocation that could arise in a scenario of sovereign distress," said Moody's.

The downgrade on the four banks will likely be one notch, which will bring their ratings at the same level as the sovereign, which is rated B1.

Link to article


As Mongolia booms, Germany wants a slice of the cake

March 29 (DW) Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj is in Germany. He has met his counterpart Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two countries are keen to expand their cooperation in the field of natural resources.

With demand for natural resources set to double over the next 30 years, the global race is on to secure access to much coveted minerals.

Mongolia is one of the 10 countries in the world with the most natural resources, harboring an abundance of gold, copper, iron ore, coal, oil, rare earth elements and much more under the surface of its huge land mass.

Six thousand kilometers away and four-and-a-half times smaller, Germany is one of the biggest consumers of natural resources in the world and is very dependent on imports for energy resources and metals.

This makes for a very good basis for bilateral cooperation.

10th Mongolian-German Forum

As most of the delegates at the 10th Mongolian-German Forum organized by the center-right Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin agreed on Wednesday (28.03), current cooperation between the two countries in terms of natural resources is currently at a very low level indeed. 

However, what they all hailed was the potential.

It was this potential that encouraged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit Mongolia last October, as part of the Berlin government's new natural resources strategy, which provides a supportive framework to domestic companies in their endeavor to secure the future supply of minerals.

Merkel and her Mongolian counterpart Sukhbaatar Batbold signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the raw materials, industrial and technology sectors that is also supposed to promote sustainable economic and social development in both countries.

Former Mongolian President Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat confirmed on Wednesday that the agreement had "created the legal framework for cooperation."

"Now it has to be filled with life," he explained. The first democratically-elected president of Mongolia said that a lot could be learnt from Germany in terms of its experience of decentralized administration and its know-how in hi-tech and renewable energies.

An equal partnership

There is another reason why Mongolia is interested in expanding its cooperation with Germany. Wedged between superpowers China and Russia, the landlocked country is aware of its need to be more independent, as Ochirbat pointed out. This is why "third partners" are being sought intensively, he said. "And Germany is one of these 'third partners.'"

Moreover, this is an "equal partnership" said Manfred Grund from the ruling Christian Democrat Party. It is not a "one-way street" with Germany simply giving money for natural resources, he explained, but an exchange of natural resources for advanced technologies that can be of benefit to both parties.

"It's a win-win solution," he said, adding that "without natural resources there can be no technological progress."

Friedolin Strack from the Voice of German Industry, for his part, noted that another reason why Mongolia was particularly attractive to German business was the fact that it was not only mining and providing natural resources but that it wanted to attract technologies to Mongolia. "Since Germany is less specialized in mining than in processing natural resources, the two can be very good partners."

Ch Khashchulun, the chairman of Mongolia's National Development and Innovation Committee, explained Germany could offer valuable advice on a number of projects, including a coal-chemical plant for clean coal technology. Representatives of six Mongolian firms are due to visit Germany later this year to seek guidance from their German counterparts, he said.

With Mongolia's average annual economic growth rate estimated to be around 14 percent over the next decade, the government has launched a series of ambitious projects.

These include a new international airport by 2015, 2000 kilometers of railways, better highway links, a more sophisticated water supply system for the Gobi region, new housing and a tram and underground system for the capital Ulan Bator, copper plants and many factories.

Impact on the environment

There is a negative side to all these ambitious plans and the mining of natural resources and that is the potentially detrimental impact on the environment, as certain audience members at the forum pointed out.

However, the Mongolian delegates were quick to mention that sustainability and environmental protection were an important aspect of the "building a better tomorrow" project.

Khashchulun said that the goal was that 10 percent of total energy output be provided by renewable energies by 2013 and 20 percent by 2020.

"We want to adhere to European ecological standards," added former President Ochirbat. He also explained that the potential in Mongolia for renewable energies was impressive, with 300 days of sun a year, and the conditions for producing wind energy being good on 60 percent of Mongolia's territory.

With Germany's know-how and support, he hoped, newer, cleaner and technologies would be developed to protect the environment in future.

"Each important historical step promises success but also involves risks," he also said in Berlin.

Both sides clearly feel that with the promise of a win-win solution, the risks are worth taking and can be dealt with effectively.

Link to article


SA conveyance safety company awarded OT contract

March 30 (Mining Weekly) Horne Conveyance Safety, the Canadian subsidiary of South African Horne Group, has installed Levelok chairing and emergency-braking systems on a cage earmarked for Canada-based international mining company Ivanhoe Mines' Oyu Tolgoi No 1 shaft, in Mongolia.

The cage will be used to transport personnel and equipment in the shaft.

Horne's order was manufactured by the group's Johannesburg factory over six weeks, and was shipped to North America on January 14 for supervised installation on the Canadian-manufactured mine cage. The technical development of a solution for the Oyu Tolgoi application was also undertaken at the factory.

Horne management consultant Eric Bruggeman says manufacturing and transporting of the system was the easy part of the project. He identified the commissioning of the system as the biggest challenge to be faced by Horne.

This, he says, is because the Horne staff are not familiar with Mongolia or its workshops. The mine workshop will be used for the commissioning of the system.

"We are sending Horne staff from South Africa to undertake commission- ing and final testing of the system. This is expected to take place in September," he says.

He also notes that, while they will train the staff at the mine to carry out the daily checks on the system, staff from South Africa will be sent to Mongolia to perform maintenance work on the system, like the stripping and checking of parts.

"We shipped some spares along with the system but, for the next five years at least, we will be sending our staff to Mongolia to carry out the maintenance work on the system."

The Horne Levelok system was chosen for Oyu Tolgoi because it provides controlled deceleration when operating on the steel shaft guides used in the project.

Additionally, Mongolian mining regulations require an emergency braking system that can arrest the fall of a mine cage carrying personnel if rope failure occurs.

Levelok satisfies both stipulations and further provides a chairing function to overcome the challenge of stretch in the winder rope when heavy materials are loaded.

The ability to provide safe, controlled deceleration on steel guides is unique to this product. Competing technologies have been able to provide safe deceleration only when used with shaft guides made from timber.

The Levelok system has additional enhanced safety features and a proven 30-year record. Amongst these features is the fact that no part of the system pro- jects out into the shaft, thereby eliminating the danger of shaft interference or obstruction.

Further, interlocking with the hoist circuit prevents inadvertent activation of the cage, and prevents the danger of the system activating while hoisting is taking place. Conveyance is secured firmly at the front and rear of the cage, and all clamps are applied simultaneously to eliminate the risk of the chair, chain or lug becoming disengaged.

Oyu Tolgoi, or Turquoise Hill, is an openpit and underground project located in Mongolia's south Gobi desert, about 550 km south of the capital city, Ulaanbaatar.

Oyu Tolgoi has been identified as the world's biggest undeveloped copper/gold project, and is being developed as a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, Rio Tinto and the Mongolian government.

Commercial production is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2013.

Link to article


Koreans will supply petroleum to Mongolia

March 29 ( Ministry of Mineral and Energy have a signed long term agreement with South Korean company SK Energy on petroleum supply. Koreans will supply for Mongolia petroleum with European standard. By the agreement in first phase Koreans will supply 1000 ton.

Mongolians importing petroleum from Russia, Kazakhstan and China.

Link to article


Sinovac Reports Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Preliminary Full Year 2011 Financial Results (won Government contract in March)

BEIJING, March 29, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (Nasdaq:SVA), a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China, announced today its unaudited fourth quarter and preliminary full year financial results for the period ended December 31, 2011.

Recent Business Highlights

In March 2012, Sinovac was awarded the government tender in Mongolia to supply Healive to Mongolia. The total ordered quantity is approximately 191,000 doses.

About Sinovac

Sinovac Biotech Ltd. is a China-based biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the research, development, manufacturing and commercialization of vaccines that protect against human infectious diseases including hepatitis A and B, seasonal influenza, H5N1 pandemic influenza (avian flu) and H1N1 influenza (swine flu) as well as animal rabies vaccine for canines. In 2009, Sinovac was the first company worldwide to receive approval for its H1N1 influenza vaccine, Panflu.1, and has manufactured for the Chinese Central Government pursuant to the government-stockpiling program. The Company is also the only supplier of the H5N1 pandemic influenza vaccine to the government-stockpiling program. Sinovac has been developing a number of new pipeline vaccines including vaccines for enterovirus 71 (against hand, foot & mouth disease), pneumococcal conjugate, pneumococcal polysaccharides, mumps and rubella, etc. Sinovac sells its vaccines mainly in China and is exporting selected vaccines to Mongolia, Nepal, and the Philippines.

Link to report


IFC preparing emerging-market public fund mandate

The International Finance Corporation is considering issuing mandates to third-party managers to bring $2.5 billion to frontier and emerging public markets.

March 30 (AsianInvestor) The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector arm of the World Bank, is preparing a $500 million fund to invest in the public equities and debt of up to 50 emerging markets, according to documents seen by AsianInvestor.

The 'N-50' RFP indicates that this is the first time the IFC is establishing a fund to invest in public equity markets in over two decades.

"The documents forwarded to you represent the very early stage of RFPs, and any decisions and investments by IFC would need to go through due process and board approval," says an IFC spokesman in Washington, DC.

"IFC is seeking preliminary proposals from asset managers interested in sponsoring a fund that would invest predominantly in publicly traded equity securities of private sector firms in a set of emerging market countries. IFC is fully committed to increasing capital flows into emerging markets in order to bring about growth and create jobs, and is often the first private equity investor is some of the world's poorest countries, such as Sierra Leone and Liberia." 

The group has a long track record of financing third-party private-equity and other specialist investors in emerging markets, via affiliate IFC Asset Management. In the 1980s it was an early investor in Korea and Mexico public equity funds; that experience succeeded in both generating profits, and in catalysing co-investment by institutions into these markets, and the IFC wants to do the same broadly across the frontier and emerging-markets world.

It is not clear whether this new initiative is from the asset-management company or directly from IFC.

Although the documents say the IFC is not beholden to investing in 50 markets, it is aimed at the frontier end of the universe: "We might contemplate a proposal that has a cap on the 14 larger EM countries" if that helps the fund become larger and attract third-party institutions to come in as co-investors; the IFC ultimately can assume no more than 20% of the fund's raised capital.

That assumes its $500 million is meant to catalyse total investments of $2.5 billion or more. "We concluded the absorptive capacity of the N-50 markets as a group is significantly larger than the fund size," says the IFC document. "Our goal was to have the total capital be large enough to be impactful to the N-50 markets and to be attractive to large institutions.

"In this respect, larger funds presumably would have lower fees and greater secondary market liquidity…Existing funds investing in N-50 or frontier markets have not been successful in attracting significant interest from large institutions and that a new fund is required, tailor-made to address needs of these investors."

Although fund managers may be active or passive, the IFC's objective is to seed strategies that will be attractive to co-investors, such as large pension funds. The IFC intends a minimum of 75% of the funds to go to equities, as it has concerns about the liquidity of corporate bonds – although this is flexible, if manager proposals argue strongly for a greater weight to bonds.

A limited carve-out is also possible for investments into companies that are not listed in the N-50 universe, but whose primary business is conducted there. But the IFC's objective is to develop emerging capital markets.

Similarly, its preference is to invest in funds that are listed and closed-end, so that it provides liquidity to secondary markets.

Link to article



National Geographic races to solve an 800-year-old mystery in forbidden tomb of Genghis Khan

March 29 (National Geographic) The location of Genghis Khan's tomb is an archaeological puzzle that has stumped researchers, historians, and archaeologists for the last millennium. Premiering on Sunday, 1 April at 20:00 on National Geographic Channel (DStv channel 260), Forbidden Tomb of Genghis Khan follows National Geographic emerging explorer Albert Lin on his quest to solve this 800-year old mystery.

How does one begin to locate, without a shovel or directions, the ancient, buried tomb of the man who ruled one of the largest empires ever known? According to legend, anyone who witnessed the funeral procession was killed on the spot and 10 000 horses trampled the ground where he was buried to ensure it was never found. 

Lin's research leads him to target a lost mountain — the Burkhan Khaldun — in the heart of Mongolia's "forbidden zone". Considered hallowed ground, the Forbidden Zone has remained protected territory since the time of Khan's rule. It is speculated that Khan believed the mountain range to be full of power that he did not want others to misuse, and consequently restricted access to it. To this day, few have gained entrance to the area and no detailed maps of the region exist. 

The odds are stacked against Lin and his team as they tackle this 12 000 square-kilometre landscape without references or being able to dig. Encountering a series of obstacles along the way including harsh terrain, swollen rivers, and violent storms, Lin faces seemingly insurmountable odds throughout his pursuit. Equipped with 31 men, 14 horses, four goats, historical texts and legends, and an arsenal of cutting-edge technology, Lin and his team make their way across the challenging terrain.

With the help of advanced technologies including ground penetrating radar (GPR), Lin's team excavates without ever having to break ground. GPR allows them to see deeper and with higher resolution into the earth, producing 3D images that they then use to reconstruct the buried layers of the past. Additionally, the team uses satellite imagery to identify possible traces of ancient structures along the Burkhan Khaldun mountain range.

As ancient graves are pillaged for valuables to be sold on black markets in Mongolia's capital, the team must act fast to uncover what would be one of the most spectacular archaeological finds in modern times. Forbidden Tomb of Genghis Khan chronicles Lin's exploration from the dream that sparked the hunt for a legendary tomb in a forbidden place to a remarkable discovery that just may reveal Mongolia's best-kept secret and cause waves in the archaeological community for decades to come.

Forbidden Tomb of Genghis Khan is produced for National Geographic Channels International by National Geographic Television (NGT). For NGT, executive producer is Pamela Caragol Wells. For National Geographic Channels International, global head of programming is David Lyle.

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