Monday, June 4, 2012

[CPSI NewsWire: ASX Listed Newera Resources Signs Agreement to Acquire Coal Project in Mongolia]

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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Newera Establishes Mongolian Bridgehead 

May 30, Newera Resources Limited (ASX:NRU) --


      Binding agreement executed for the acquisition of up to a 100% interest in the Shanagan Project located in Central Mongolia

      Ideally located ~ 50km from existing rail siding which connects to the trans-Siberian railway servicing China and Russia

      Greenfield exploration opportunity with outcropping Late Permian coal seams in the north-west of the tenement 

      Several historical trenches expose shallow dipping  coal seams of consistent thickness between 1 – 5m

      Recent trench sampling by Newera confirms bituminous coal 

      Immediate exploration program planned for coming months including a 5 hole drill program

Newera Resources Limited (ASX: NRU) is pleased to announce it has executed a binding agreement to acquire an 80% interest, with the option to acquire the remaining 20% interest, in the Shanagan Uul East Project ("Shanagan Project"), located in Central Mongolia. 

The Shanagan Project comprises of one exploration license covering an area of approximately 2,223 hectares in a known coal bearing region, 140km southeast of Ulaanbaatar. The Shanagan Project is ideally located approximately 50km from an existing rail siding that services a nearby lignite coal deposit, Maanti Mine, and connects to the trans-Siberian railway that services China in the South to Russia in the North.

Limited modern exploration has been undertaken at the Shanagan Project, although numerous outcropping Late Permian coal seams exist. Trenching has been completed at several sites within the north-western part of the project area to increase the understanding of dip, strike and thickness of the coal seams. Newera believes there is an opportunity to extend the already identified coal seams to increase the resource size and possibly the coal quality. 

"The Shanagan Project acquisition represents months of project review and time spent in Mongolia, with the assistance of our geological consultants, to identify a project with known coal occurrences, and ideally located near to suitable infrastructure in Mongolia. The relatively flat lying coals seams and outcropping nature gives us further confidence that near surface tonnages may support an open cut type coal operation" Newera Executive Chairman, Martin Blakeman commented.

Newera recently conducted a channel sampling program as part of its due diligence investigations, with lab testing completed by SGS LLC in Mongolia confirming the bituminous nature of the coal.

The channel sampling within the Shanagan Project area was undertaken within three historical trenches dug in 2007 into outcropping coal. The apparent outcropping coal strike and extent of the trenching both within and external to the Shanagan Project area indicate extensive, untested coal measures in the locality. 

The coal samples tested by Newera within the Shanagan Project were collected from weathered at surface coal (hence coal quality is negatively impacted), however, the three samples indicate very low moisture, low sulphur, relatively high ash and high volatile bituminous coal.

Further commenting on Newera's initial sampling at the Shanagan Project, Mr Blakeman acknowledged that the samples contained high ash levels, however he stated "it is important to note that the samples were taken from surface at the very margin of the coal measures and the opportunity is there to conduct further exploration with the expectation that the quality and widths of coal should improve as drilling steps back into the basin. The opportunity is also there to discover further seams deeper in the Late Permian coal measures."

Just as important is the fact that Newera has managed to negotiate a bridgehead into Mongolia, at the same time establishing important local contacts which have extensive knowledge of the Mongolian geological environment and access to information on many other projects in Mongolia that are potentially available for acquisition.  A number of those projects are currently under close review by Newera.

Newera plans to immediately commence a geological surface mapping program on the Shanagan Project, to be followed by a five hole diamond drilling program which will assist in the understanding of coal emplacement and look for potential repeats – at depth, of the known at surface coal seams. 

The successful capital raising earlier in the year  strengthened Newera's balance sheet so that it is sufficiently funded for the acquisition and the immediate exploration program. In addition to the exploration program,

Newera is adequately funded to aggressively review  additional coal opportunities in Mongolia.

Terms of the Acquisition

Newera has executed a binding agreement for an option to acquire an 80% interest in the Shanagan Project on the following terms:

      An option fee of AU$50,000 will be paid for 6 months exclusivity on the Shanagan Project, Newera will also have the right to conduct further due diligence on the Shanagan Project for a period of six months, including any geological mapping and diamond hole drilling;

      Should Newera wish to exercise the option to acquire the 80% interest in the Shanagan Project, a further AU$1,000,000 consideration must be paid; and

      Newera holds the right to acquire the remaining 20% interest at a value to be determined by an independent expert.

The Shanagan Project provides a strategic base for  Newera to build and develop a portfolio of licenses in Mongolia. This acquisition is exciting for the future and growth of Newera as it has a clear development path forward.

Newera has been working closely with Nordic Geological Solutions LLC who are highly experienced in the Mongolian coal sector, and welcome the opportunity to draw on the significant in-country experience. 

The Mongolian coal sector is widely seen as a rapidly growing sector. The vast reserves of high quality coal and its close proximity to China, the world's largest consumer of coal, have contributed to making Mongolia a growing contributor in the global coal market.  

Newera acknowledges the recent changes to Mongolian Law and transactions involving foreign ownership, however the Company is of the opinion that these laws will not materially impact on its projects, nor its ability to explore and operate in country.

Link to release



31 May 2012 (BDSec) – Stocks fell Thursday on the Mongolian Stock Exchange, dragged down by the coal mining companies. Both MSE Top 20 and BDS indexes dropped 1.14%. The share prices of MSE-listed coal mining companies suffered with Aduunchuluun (ADL:MO) down 14.97%, Sharyn Gol (SHG:MO) down 5.26%, Baganuur (BAN:MO) down 4.08% and Tavantolgoi (TTL:MO) down 1.41%.

Eermel soared 13% to MNT 2,600, erasing its yesterday's 11% loss. The leading local bakery and confectionary manufacturer Talkh Chikher (TCK:MO) gained 2.35% to close at MNT 12,999.

Trading volume was light at 62k shares worth of MNT 48.3m (US$36.7k)

Local News in Brief

Mongolian stock market will be closed on Friday, June 1, in observance of the International Children's Day.

Prophecy Coal Corp. (TSX: PCY, OTCQX: PRPCF, Frankfurt: 1P2) has announced that the Energy Authority of Mongolia has entered into a Cooperation Covenant with Prophecy to bring the 600 MW Chandgana Power Project online by 2016.

Link to article



Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 4 /MONTSAME/  Four stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange on May 28-31. In overall, 313.4 thousand shares were sold of 48 joint-stock companies totaling MNT 468.9 million.

Index TOP-20 was 19500.71 points decreasing 602.74 units or 3.0% against the week earlier. The decline of the index was due to decreases of stock rates of Aduunchuluun (22.7%), Baganuur (16.1%), Berkh uul (14.8%), Khokh gan (6.4%), Sharyn gol (5.3%), Mongolian Telecommunications (5.0%), Tavantolgoi (3.3%), State Department Store (3.3%), BDSec (2.8%), Genco tour bureau (2.2%) and Remikon (1.0%).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 830.8 billion decreasing MNT 59.1 billion or 3.1%.

Shares of "Avtozam arkhangai" /32.2%/, "Solongo express" /15.0%/, and "Altanduulga" /15.0%/ increased, but shares of "Aduunchuluun" /22.7%/, "Baganuur" /16.1%/, and "Boonii khudaldaa" /14.9%/ decreased.

13 stocks closed higher, 25 shares declined and 10 shares remained unchanged.

Shares of "Remikon" /156.9 thousand units/, "E trans logistics" /41.3 thousand units/ and "Avtozam arkhangai" /34.0 thousand units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume and in terms of trading value--"Sharyn gol" (MNT 243.2 million), "Avtozam arkhangai" (MNT 66.5 million), and "APU" (141.8 million).

Link to Montsame


Explanation of the legal framework of Mongolia's mining sector by an international law firm

Welcome to Minegolia

A look at the development of the mining sector in the country

May 30 (Holman Fenwick Willan) --

June 2012


Mongolia, the landlocked country between China and Russia, currently rests on the brink of economic transformation, as it celebrates the mining sector's 90th birthday this year. Its untapped mineral wealth, coupled with its rapidly developing mining industry, have created the world's biggest resource boom. As with any boom, there are concerns about stability and sustainability. In such an environment, investors need to be armed with the hard facts, insight and pivotal developments - the focus of this article, capable of influencing the decision to partake in Mongolia's intriguing story.

And the story is indeed intriguing. Whilst current GDP growth is, by any standards, outstanding some commentators have suggested that there is still additional growth which is, as yet, unexploited - as Mongolia literally sits on mountains of minerals.

Since 1990, following the introduction of democratic elections, Mongolia has worked at establishing an equilibrium between the interests of the State and that of the private sector to tap into the additional growth. It is hoped that with recent legal reforms, aimed at promoting transparency and consistency, with particular success in the mining sector, the country will fully embrace this principle. However, as with any developing economy, investors should continue to watch the country's progress.

Mining legislation - a step into a free market economy

Initially based on the writings of Chinggis Khaan, the relatively new laws of Mongolia are now based on principles of democracy and privatisation and have emerged following the collapse of communism over 20 years ago – the aim was to create a free market economy.

The 1997 Minerals Law was a positive step in that direction, under which taxation and royalty burdens were low, making Mongolia a favourable place for investors. This law was superseded in 2006 with a new Minerals Law (This legislation is currently under review) (the New Minerals Law). The New Minerals Law attempted to try and find a balance between expansion and foreign led developments as against national interests over Mongolia's geological riches.

Licence to...drill?

One way in which the New Minerals Law safeguards Mongolia's mineral wealth is through licensing. This captures all minerals in Mongolia, with the exception of petroleum, water and natural gas. Both exploration and mining licences can be granted to only Mongolian legal entities, although it is sufficient for foreign investors to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries in Mongolia.

Exploration licences are granted on a first-come-first-served basis for a period of three years. They are extendable for two further periods of three years each, for areas of land between 25 and 400,000 hectares. Licence fees are applicable and holders are required to have a minimum spend on exploration work.

Mining licences are granted for a period of 30 years, extendable twice for 20 years each time. In addition, annual licence fees apply and mineral royalties are payable on the sale of coal (and common minerals (Common minerals are those as prescribed by the Government)) and other minerals (e.g. gold, copper, zinc) at 2.5% and 5% respectively. These are standard flat rate royalties.

Use it, don't abuse it or lose it

There is a set process for applications for exploration and mining licences. Applications are made on a special government agency approved form together with supporting documents, detailed in the New Minerals Law. Once submitted, the application is registered and processed, with the decision being provided within a couple of weeks. Currently, there is no clear guidance on what grounds licences can be refused.

Moreover, the process of renewing licences offers no assurances, thus forcing investors to continually re-evaluate the mineral potential of their tenements. A recent trend appears to be revocation of licences. In late 2010, hundreds of licences were revoked under the 2009 Law on Prohibition of Mineral Exploration in Water Basins and Forest Areas (the Water and Forest Law) - aimed at protecting Mongolia's environment. There have been other sporadic revocations. For example, the recent sale by Ivanhoe Mines of a 57.6% interest in SouthGobi Resources Ltd to the Aluminium Corporation of China (Chalco), triggered the Government to suspend operations and revoke exploration and mining licences of SouthGobi Resources Ltd. The Government's need to review the new structure comes as a surprise, however many believe that underlying factors such as the perceived reliance on the Chinese market (or reduced government take on account of onward sales) has played a significant role - and some may say, justifiably so. In sum, like many resource-rich areas, the Government has adopted an approach of 'use it, don't abuse it or lose it'.

Concerns over licences?

Many commentators have expressed concerns over the outright ban on the issuance of new exploration licences, which began in 2010 - a ban that has now been extended until the end of 2012. However, there may be legitimate reasons for the ban since the newly anticipated law in this area, will aim to address public concerns over environmental degradation as well as regulate and curb certain undesirable activities such as:

·         Trading 'licences as commodities'.

·         Illegal mining.

Gaining access to the upside - Mongolia's early missteps

An instrument, which may have discouraged certain investors from participating in Mongolian mining projects and yet was geared at protecting Mongolia's mineral wealth and maximising revenue, was the Windfall Tax. It imposed a 68% tax on the sale of metal. This was applied on copper (above $2,600/ton) and gold (above $500/ounce). After much criticism, this tax was repealed and replaced by a new Surtax Royalty Scheme, incorporated into the New Minerals Law.

The rates of the Surtax Royalty vary from 1% to 30% and depend on the market price, the type of mineral and the scale of processing of the minerals. All are applied in addition to the standard flat rate royalty, namely 2.5% on coal (and common minerals) and 5% on other minerals including but not limited to zinc, copper and gold. It is unclear at which stage of the process the Surtax Royalty rates will be imposed, how the market price will be determined or how the tax will be collected. For obvious reasons, this development remains a positive step but only time will tell how it works in practice.

Getting a fair share

It comes as no surprise that with growing revenues and a developing economic environment the Government has been keen to carve out what it would consider a 'fair share'. The resulting approach, has been the introduction of revised state equity participation rights. These rights, which were introduced under the New Minerals Law, allows the Government a right to a 34% equity stake in projects, where it provided no funding and a 50% stake in projects involving state funding. The affected projects are those involving minerals of 'strategic importance'. This was defined, for the first time by reference to national security, in addition to other factors including economic and social development, as well as, production levels. The existence of a strategic deposits list brings certainty and ensures the Government is not getting more than a 'fair share'.

And yet a dialogue

In light of this changing regulatory market, the Government has been and is willing to enter into a dialogue in relation to the form and amount of state participation. One instrument facilitating this dialogue has been the Investment Agreement (IA), which is available to mining licence holders undertaking an investment of more than US$50 million during the first five years of a project. The IA will set out agreed tax rates, mineral royalties and financing arrangements, all of which are dependent upon the duration of the project and the investment size. More importantly, a well negotiated IA can override legislative provisions, bring stability to investors already exposed to considerable physical and project risks and provide a tailored approach key to sector development. This should put the Government in good stead to enter into IAs in the future.

Still, it is important to remember that any agreement with a sovereign state will not eradicate the fight for control parties may have internally, against which investors should also protect themselves at all costs.

Putting up fences or bringing stability?

In its quest to find a balance between the rights of all stakeholders, has the Government gone too far with the introduction of its most recent law? The Law on the Regulation of Foreign Investment in Business Entities Operating in Sectors of Strategic Importance (the Strategic Foreign Investment Law) was passed by Parliament in the last couple of weeks, with the purchase by Chalco acting as the catalyst. The Strategic Foreign Investment Law introduces a scheme of approvals necessary for acquisitions in relation to state-owned and private investments, with the former being more onerous.

The most notable provision requires investors for any acquisition to obtain approvals from the Government and subsequently Parliament, to acquire a stake of more than 49% in businesses in 'strategic sectors' where the transaction is worth in excess of US$76 million (100 billion tögrög). These 'strategic sectors' include: minerals, banking and finance, media and telecommunication, according to the draft read to Parliament.

With investors breathing a sigh of relief at the latest version of the law, which has a narrower scope than initially anticipated, commentators have suggested that the Strategic Foreign Investment Law is in fact a positive development for Mongolia by bringing it closer to the developed mineral-wealthy economies by injecting stability and clarity.

Raising capital...raising Mongolia's presence

To become a mining powerhouse and compete with the more mature resource-rich economies, Mongolia must take one more step - this time in the sphere of capital markets. Until recently, this was not quite possible; despite the establishment of the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) in 1991 and the enactment of the Securities and Exchange and Corporate Laws in 1994 and 1995 respectively (the Securities Laws), the MSE has been slow to develop and today remains one of the world's smallest bourses.

The recent set up of a partnership with the London Stock Exchange (LSE), aimed at utilising LSE's experience to modernise the MSE. Spurred by specific trading requirements on mining licence holders for minerals of 'strategic importance' (10% of shares to be traded on the Mongolian Stock Exchange), the Parliament is keen to push through the New Securities Markets Law, hoping to gain a bigger proportion of the benefits stemming from Mongolia's rapid development.

Under the proposed law, companies issuing securities in Mongolia no longer have to be registered in the country, thus removing the burden of dual compliance of laws in Mongolia and the jurisdiction of incorporation. Moreover, the law allows companies with securities in other jurisdictions to list and trade securities on the MSE.

Depository receipts - financial instruments issued by custodians or institutions holding securities which carry rights in the underlying securities - are also a prominent feature of the proposed law. Under the New Securities Markets Law, the issuance of these financial instruments is permitted, where underlying assets are traded in foreign markets, simplifying secondary listings on the MSE. To enable this to work, the new law also addresses the distinction between the legal and beneficial interests, which will assist with the practicalities of setting up trustee and broker services for those holding beneficial interests.

It is hoped that these laws will attract investors encouraging listing and capital raising on the MSE and lifting Mongolia's capital markets presence, which may be accomplished in part by the highly anticipated public listing of Tavan Tolgoi in London, Ulan Bator and Hong Kong later this year.


It is well recognised that a stable legal infrastructure will be key in promoting Mongolia's mining sector. Mongolia's laws have undergone major transition in recent years and arguably this has incentivised investors to engage in the country's most prominent business sector. In fact, it was the mining sector which increased the country's GDP by a significant 28% in 2011 (Mogi: 28% in nominal, 17% in real). However, Mongolia's legal framework is still a work in progress. It is hoped that the proposed and newly implemented laws will strive to put Mongolia on equal footing with other mineral-rich markets, and the current review of the New Minerals Law, which it is anticipated we will hear about sometime following the June 2012 elections, will endeavour to find a balance between the interests of the Government and investors, whilst simultaneously protecting Mongolia's unique environment and benefitting the ordinary people.

Investors should not be deterred in making advances into Mongolia, but instead do their homework and be prepared to balance the risks against the unparalleled benefits, which may ensue if they partake in this unique opportunity to unlock the vast natural resources of one of the planet's fastest growing economies.

Link to release


Interview video with Travis Hamilton of Khan Investment Management

Mongolia's growth potential under scrutiny

June 1 (BBC News) The outcome of Mongolia's parliamentary elections this month will be closely watched by investors.

Due to its massive and largely untapped mineral potential, as well as its proximity to China, Mongolia could see the size of its economy double every three or four years.

That growth is largely fuelled by foreign investment. But continued investment could be hit by a proposed law that requires government approval for any major foreign investment in strategic sectors such as mining.

Some foreign companies are calling it resource nationalism. But Travis Hamilton, of Khan Investments, says investors should not be too concerned just yet.

Link to interview

Ex-president N.Enkhbayar's trial postponed for the second time

June 4 ( Former president of Mongolia Nambar Enkhbayar's  trial postponed for the second time. The first scheduled trial was postponed on May 24 because he failed to arrive at court. Today he was due to stand trial Sukhbaatar district court on charges of corruption and of misusing property and government power. But judges reached to postpone trial until June 12 after he turned down his attorneys at Sukhbaatar district court today. He accused  the authorities in his country of waging a politically motivated legal campaign against him to stop him contesting a parliamentary election on 28 June. 

Previous trial postponed because of N.Enkhbayar`s critical health condition. 

Link to article


EU Urges Mongolia To Treat Ex-President's Corruption Case Fairly

June 1 (RTTNews) - The European Union on Friday urged authorities in Mongolia to ensure that the case of former president Nambaryn Enkhbayar, who is accused of corruption, is treated fairly with full respect to democratic principles.

"We have been closely following the developments in the case of the former President of Mongolia, Nambaryn Enkhbayar. We trust that this case will be treated transparently and with full respect for democratic principles, the rule of law and human rights," said a statement issued by the office of EU foreign policy chief on Friday.

In the statement, the European bloc reiterated its "full support to the strengthening of democratic processes in Mongolia," and noted that Mongolia is a new and vibrant democracy that shares many values with the European Union.

Enkhbayar, who was Mongolia's president from 2005 to 2009, was arrested on April 13 for failing to appear for questioning on charges dealing with instances of corruption. Enkhbayar was released on bail last month after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his detention. Nevertheless, charges against him have not been withdrawn.

The charges against Enkhbayar reportedly include stealing a donation of television equipment worth about $113,000 meant to go to a Buddhist monastery in 2000 and not paying duties to ship eight volumes of a book he authored from South Korea to Mongolia.

In a statement released on May 12, London-based human rights group Amnesty International said Enkhbayar's detention "appears to be arbitrary" and breaches human rights standards.

Further, Enkhbayar and his family insist that the arrest was part of an attempt by the government to prevent him from attempting a political comeback after losing the May 2009 elections to current President Elbegdorj Tsakhia.

Incidentally, Enkhbayar's arrest came less than 2 months before the upcoming parliamentary elections in June. Enkhbayar's newly formed Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) is contesting in the polls in which the former president has proclaimed himself a candidate.

Link to article


Mongolia's ex-leader lashes out from hospital

June 3 (FT) In room 304 of Ulan Bator's Hospital No 2, Nambaryn Enkhbayar, former president of Mongolia, lies hooked up to a drip. Wearing white hospital-issue pyjamas and still wan after a 10-day hunger strike that doctors say nearly killed him, one of the country's most influential politicians is awaiting a trial on five counts of corruption.

Mr Enkhbayar, whose trial is expected to begin on Monday, insists the charges are fabricated by opponents who want him sidelined during parliamentary elections he planned to contest this month. Mr Enkhbayar lost the presidency in 2009 to Tsakhia Elbegdorj, a one-time political ally (Mogi: ?!?) and another leading protagonist of post-Soviet Mongolian politics.

If his own administration failed to contain corruption, Mr Enkhbayar says, managing to raise a chuckle, then Mr Elbegdorj's government has let it run wild. As billions of dollars flood into the vast, mineral-rich country, Mr Enkhbayar says, a hefty proportion of the national budget is being stolen.

"It's like a camel and a goat," he adds, comparing the massive, mining-driven corruption of today to what he says was the more modest graft that went on during his presidency. Since then, Mongolia has slid down corruption watchdog Transparency International's annual rankings from about 90 to 120, though defenders of the current administration say that is simply because there is more money sloshing around. Western diplomats deem Mr Elbegdorj himself relatively clean.

As money has started to gush into Mongolia, a treasure house of coal, copper and rare earths on China's doorstep, its institutions face the danger of corrosion, observers warn. Western governments have lauded Mongolia as a free-market democracy wedged between Russia and China. Many had hoped that Mongolia could prove the ability of an open economy to handle rapid development and avoid the "resource curse" that has plagued other countries.

The stakes are high. Mongolia's $10bn economy is growing at nearly 20 per cent annually. Although its per capita income is just $3,000, economists say Mongolia's 2.7m people could plausibly become as wealthy as inhabitants of the Gulf. There are concerns, however, that less well-educated Mongolians, hundreds of thousands of whom are crowded around Ulan Bator in nomad tents known as gers, could be left out and that politicians and their cronies may grab the lion's share of the mining bonanza.

Outside the hospital, sympathy for Mr Enkhbayar, among elites at least, is less than overwhelming. His image has been tarnished by the recent broadcast of footage in which he was seen lambasting doctors and seemingly in better health than many had imagined. Some Mongolians are scornful of foreign media reports that, they say, portray Mr Enkhbayar purely as a victim and his arrest as a blow to Mongolia's fragile – though in some ways remarkable – democracy.

"It's not like he's the only one who's corrupt and everyone else is clean," says the head of one non-governmental organisation. "But you have to start somewhere."

Mr Enkhbayar was arrested in an April dawn raid after hundreds of police surrounded his house. In images broadcast live, he was seen being bundled into a van, shoeless and with a sack over his head.

Defenders of Mongolia's anti-corruption agency say the strong-arm tactics were necessary because Mr Enkhbayar had repeatedly refused to appear for questioning. He had also employed thugs to resist arrest, they say. Mr Enkhbayar says he refused to testify against himself in accordance with the constitution. The authorities say that did not exonerate him from appearing.

In prison, Mr Enkhbayar says he had only restricted access to family and lawyers. He was, he says, never questioned. After 14 days, he was charged. Subsequently, he began his hunger strike. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner, in what he describes as "soft torture", prison guards brought out meat, noodle soup and fried dumplings. Amnesty International, among others, took up his case.

Ten days into his hunger strike – by which time he had been transferred to Mongolia's best hospital – his organs began to fail, doctors say. He faced the threat of being force-fed, he alleges. "I said: 'This is torture, inhuman treatment. I suspect you even want to murder me.' " It was his anger at this threat that was filmed and broadcast, he says.

Mr Enkhbayar sees his treatment as the culmination of a campaign against him by Mr Elbegdorj who, he claims, stole the 2009 presidential election although it was declared fair by international observers. He also alleges that the anti-corruption agency is stuffed with presidential appointees, though the government says officials are approved by parliament.

Mr Elbegdorj, the current president , presents himself as a strong democrat leading the campaign against graft. Legal authorities, he insists, act independently. The president told the FT: "The principle of appearing before court and being fairly tried by the court is applicable to all Mongolian people. No one has preferential rights."

Lord Goldsmith, the former UK attorney-general representing Mr Enkhbayar, said there was insufficient time to prepare "given the unseemly rush to trial" and the volume of documents – no fewer than 50 binders. Government officials say the anti-corruption agency had no choice but to act swiftly before Mr Enkhbayar won parliamentary immunity. Lord Goldsmith questions the urgency given that some of the charges go back 10 years.

Just months before Mongolia's mining boom gathers pace with the start of production at the world's third-largest copper mine, Mr Elbegdorj says corruption poses the main threat to the nation's well-being. "Mongolia is not poor because we don't have money. It is poor because we don't have justice."

Link to article


Mongolia ex-leader Nambar Enkhbayar condemns trialBBC News, June 3


"In today's law, there is only one article on exporting minerals on foreign markets"

June 4 (UB Post) The following is an interview with D. Galsandorj, President of Mongolian Exports Association.

-Most of Mongolia's export income comes from mineral resources. But it is known that a lot of profit is lost as the minerals are always in an unprocessed, raw state. You mentioned a number of concerns on this matter during Mining Mongolia 90 Conference, will you please elaborate?

-Over 90% of our exports are from the mining sector. The majority of minerals are made up of copper, coal, alabaster and zinc. There are approximately 1,000 mining licenses but only about 300 – 400 companies are actively mining and exporting minerals.

Our country exports a total of 10 different minerals. Copper with 99.99% content, exported by Erdmin Mining Company, is priced at 7,000 – 8,000 USD per ton. Instead of exporting in ores or as a concentrate, pure copper would triple or quadruple the initial price.

Currently, coal is making up 30 – 40% of Mongolia's income, and the coal exported is not processed in any way. Yet in Australia for example, the country washes and processes its coal and fulfills adequate world standards, selling its coal at around USD 200 dollars a ton. In other words, Australia's coal is worth twice as much as Mongolia's coal. If we can refine our coal, we can immediately double or even triple the income we get from coal exports.

In a Government resolution, it is stated that 19 types of exports are considered as final products, which include washed and enriched coal, smelted and purified copper, and high concentrates of alabaster. If companies are to export some of the above named 19 products, they will be free of excess tax. It is a Government strategy on supporting value-added products. The Government does not have any other methods to support companies on this matter.

Currently there are discussions on export taxes for coal and iron ore. For every mineral exported, 5% tax is taken as tax for land usage. There is also another specific tax, which goes in effect when the market price of a certain mineral is suddenly increased.

The Government may support companies with loan offers with comfortable, long-term conditions, if they are willing to export value-added minerals.

Another problem is that coal exporting companies are selling their coal at different prices. Some of them range from USD 30 – 40 dollars per ton, while others sell for USD 60 -70 dollars. Another example is Energy Resources LLC, selling its coal at USD 100 – 120 dollars. But everyone comes from the same house; the quality of the coal is essentially the same. In other words, we need to unite our strategy and management on how much coal is being sold at what price.

-What other difficulties do mining companies face? Can we say that the jurisdiction surrounding the mining industry is satisfactory?

-The Law on Mineral Resources only manages companies with permissions to explore and mine in Mongolian territory. But there is nothing in this law that concerns mineral processing and refining and metallurgy. Thus there is a need to further develop this law and fulfill world standards.

Another example is that it is not fully possible to manage open pit and underground mines, employee safety, ore refinery, mine opening and closing procedures. By today's law, there is only one article on how to export minerals to foreign markets. But both on the Presidential and Mineral Resource Authority levels, there are proposals being developed. Once that is done, mining company representatives will be invited to discuss and contribute to the proposal.

-What is your position on the law regarding foreign investments for strategically important mining companies?

-This is nothing new. There are such laws in Australia, Canada, the US and China. We see to it that if a foreign investor is purchasing more than 49% of the concerned company, permission from the Mongolian Government would be needed. But it seemed that this would apply to only three or four sectors in Mongolia.

-Oyu Tolgoi construction has reached 85% and is due to begin extraction very soon. What will be its effect on the copper market?

-Within the first year, Oyu Tolgoi will extract copper equal to the amount of the copper mine in Erdenet. Today, Erdenet accounts for 1% of world's copper supply, and once Oyu Tolgoi becomes fully operational, Mongolia will supply a total of 5% to the world market. This is a very big statistic.

-You said that it is more of a 'strategic product' than a 'strategic mining site or reserve.' Can you please elaborate on this?

-The State Great Khural determined 15 mining reserves to be strategically important. But there are 30 others besides those. To be honest, the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy is only working with Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi. It is important that the strategy and aim for the rest of the mines be developed.

Only Mongolia uses the term strategic site or strategic reserve. In other countries, they are termed 'strategic raw material' or 'strategic mineral.'

Also, if it is really strategically important, they should be heavily supported by the State. For example, technically there is no electricity at Oyu Tolgoi. In the case of a strategic mine, the Government should fund the construction of a power plant as soon as possible.

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Azerbaijani, Russian and Mongolian railway workers sign cooperation agreement

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 1 / Trend, E.Ismayilov /

Railway authorities of Azerbaijan, Russia and Mongolia signed a cooperation agreement in Sochi within improving passenger services, CJSC Azerbaijan Railways spokesman Nadir Azmammadov told Trend on Friday.

From the Azerbaijani side, the agreement was signed by CJSC Deputy Chairman Alirza Suleymanov.

According to Azmammadov, the signed document envisages exchange of experience and cooperation in the sphere of tariff policy, the development of ticket sales system and improving the legal framework.

The two sides reached an agreement on cooperation in the fields of repair, maintenance and leasing of rolling stock, reduce delays of passenger trains at the border, he said.

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Hazy days: Berkeley lab tackles pollution in Mongolia

June 1 ( -- Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are known for designing high-efficiency cookstoves for Darfur and Ethiopia. Now they are applying their expertise to the windswept steppes of Mongolia, whose capital city, Ulaan Baatar, is among the most polluted cities in the world.

The scientists are working with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. foreign aid agency, to improve air quality in the capital city by lowering emissions from outdated stoves and boilers. MCC has a five-year project in Mongolia to reduce poverty and promote sustainable economic growth. In 2010 the agency approached Berkeley Lab's Ashok Gadgil, the driving force behind the Berkeley-Darfur stoves, to lend vision and technical expertise to solving Mongolia's air quality problem.

Through an interagency agreement between MCC and the Department of Energy, a small team of Berkeley Lab scientists led by Maithili Iyer and Larry Dale has been providing technical guidance and support to MCC on the implementation and monitoring and evaluation of the program, respectively. Their focus has been on the coal-burning stoves used for heating and cooking that are found in every ger, a round, tent-like structure that is a common form of housing in Ulaan Baatar.

"Since we have expertise in developing and testing stoves, MCC asked us to provide technical oversight of their program—from assessing the stove performance to providing feedback on the appropriate subsidy levels and other aspects of implementation," said Iyer. "In the long run, Mongolia would benefit from moving away from coal-burning stoves altogether, but in the short term, promoting cleaner stoves is the most cost-effective way to maximize reductions in PM."

Ulaan Baatar's concentrations of particulate matter, or PM, are among the highest in the world. And the highest concentrations of PM, according to a 2011 World Bank report, have been measured in the ger districts, on the outskirts of the capital, inhabited largely by formerly nomadic families. "A lot of Mongolians are migrating to the cities for jobs and better schools for their children," said Dale. "They continue to live in their tents and heat them when it's minus 40 degrees outside with traditional stoves. Now half the city of 1.6 million, maybe more than half, is living in these ger districts."

PM is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets. The smaller the particle, the higher chance it has of being inhaled and affecting the heart and lungs. PM is usually grouped into two categories: PM10, for particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter, and PM2.5, for particles less than 2.5 micrometers. PM in Mongolia is most strongly associated with stoves for heating and cooking, which burn mostly coal with some wood on top for lighting, according to the World Bank study. Other sources for PM emissions include dry dust from open roads, power plants, heat-only boilers and vehicle exhaust.

The negative health impacts of PM can be serious, including adverse birth outcomes, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, development of chronic bronchitis and premature death due to heart or lung disease. There is a direct correlation between decreasing PM concentrations and reducing mortality and hospitalization.

According to the World Bank study on air quality in Ulaan Baatar, PM concentrations are "alarmingly high," reaching as much as 10 times higher than the Mongolian air quality standard for PM10 and 25 times higher for PM2.5. The U.S. standard deems PM10 concentrations exceeding 150 micrograms per cubic meter (mg/m3) to be a health hazard. Winter days in some parts of Ulaan Baatar can see concentrations exceeding 4,000 mg/m3, according to the World Bank study.

"Getting off the airplane in UB is shocking in wintertime," said Henrik Wallman, a scientist on the implementation team. "It's not only soot, there's VOC [volatile organic compounds], so you smell the air, and the winds carry it throughout the city. "

The MCC began looking for cleaner-burning stoves in 2010. With assistance from the Berkeley Lab experts, two were identified as good candidates, with one in particular showing stellar improvements of five-fold reduction in PM emissions in laboratory tests. Using a better combustion system, the Silver Minis, manufactured by a Turkish company, burn the coal from top to bottom, while the traditional stoves burned from bottom to top. "With a factor of five, you can make a real impact on UB air quality measurements," Wallman said.

Distribution of these stoves began around spring of 2011, and by the end of last year, approximately 50,000 of the Turkish stoves had been sold. Thanks to the subsidy provided by the MCC stove program and an additional government subsidy, the stoves cost families only 50,000 tugriks, or about $40. "They had a good distribution system, with kiosks set up in various neighborhoods," said Jim Lutz, another researcher on the team. "In addition to burning cleaner, the new stoves are also more efficient, so families buy less coal."

To monitor and evaluate the new stoves, a separate team led by Dale went to Ulaan Baatar to collect data from 20 households. They also imported the Turkish Silver Mini to Berkeley and set it up in the lab to replicate local conditions. "The testing setup was created just for this stove. A chamber at the top helps to replicate the meteorological conditions of Mongolia," said Agnes Lobscheid, who worked with Dale.  "We're trying to test it according to how people are actually using the stove, and capture the emissions at different stages."

Dale and Lobscheid found potential challenges associated with consumers' lighting and refueling the new stove compared to the traditional stoves. "There's an important role Berkeley Lab can play in understanding, and making sure that consumers understand, the relationship between proper stove operation and maintenance and air pollution reduction so that emissions gains will be realized and sustained," said Dale.

The next project for the implementation support team is overseeing the replacement of eight heat-only boilers, which are large boilers for heating schools and office buildings outside the central core of the city where steam heat from power plants is not available. "They're old coal-fired boilers, like in Dickens' London," said Lutz. "UB has about 40 or 50 of them, many from several decades ago."

The project will also research commercially available low-pressure boilers (LPBs) for heating homes and gers. "We're investigating if any of them are cleaner than the traditional LPBs, with the intent to increase their market penetration, if they are," said Iyer.

"While there's much work to be done, the Lab is helping MCC take real steps towards improving air quality in Mongolia," said Iyer. "It's only a matter of finding the right technology and scaling it up in a rational way."

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Legal framework to comply with business

May 31 (Mongolian Economy) The legal forum "Fostering Inclusive Economic Growth Through Legal Reform" started its second day with the round-table discussion under the theme "Public Private Partnership".

Public Private Partnership

In this session Ch.Khashchuluun (Chairman, NDIC), N. Zoljargal (Deputy Director of Bank of Mongolia), I. Batkhuu (expert at the State Property Committee), Robert Schoellhammer (Country Director of ADB), and Alex Wong (Hogan Lovells) discussed public private partnership's framework, and budget policy. The projects under concession list to be implemented through the public and private partnership principles in Mongolia require investment of USD 7-8 billion.

Ch. Khashchuluun introduced about founding the Guarantee Fund that would support the investors of the public sector. It means issuing guarantee for the repayment of the investor's capital. The Credit Guarantee Fund for the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises was recently established. The Guarantee Fund would support the investors of the private sector within the framework of public and private partnership projects. The session participants agreed that the Budget law approved by end of the year as well as the mechanisms for private investment use should be enhanced.

Law on Petroleum to be Revised

The session "Oil and gas regulations" was held. Mongolia will have soon several oil processing factories. The session attendees noted although the government pays attention on oil and gas exploration, the implementation process is still insufficient. Minister of Natural Resources and Energy D. Zorigt said: The Law on Petroleum is one of the few laws that are followed well. It indicated the law's good elaboration . Yet, some of the attendees disagreed with this statement. Board Director of Petrovis J. Oyungerel: The petroleum law was untouched for over 20 years. Now it will be revised. We disagree with most of the amendments. Because the law suppress the few small companies that operate in a risky sector, with too much taxes. Although Mongolia does have oil reserves, these are spread all over the land, which are risky for us. If we explore the oil by our capital and find it, then we have to give its 65-75 percent to the state. It is a hurdle for the few oil companies".

D. Munkhtuya, lawyer of Dashdorj consulting said the Law on petroleum is to be revised due to the social conditions, and it doesn't contain any pressure for the businesses. She points out the importance of the law which reflects the public interest.

It is true that petroleum sector of Mongolia misses the legal framework. The meeting debated the legal revisions, conflicts, experience of foreign countries with attendance of the international delegates.

Competition Policy

The session "Competition Policy and Regulation" discussed about creation of the fair competition within business sector, and consumer protection. The session was led by L. Dashdorj, Advisor to the President of Mongolia, B. Lkhagva, Chairman of Fair Competition and Consumer Protection Agency, Director of Chemonics International Fernando Bertoli, and B. Temuulen, Head of Civil Law Faculty at the NUM.

L. Dashdorj criticized the insufficient fair competition and transparency, price setting through conspiracy. The reason for it is the Law on Competition and the Law on Customer Protection are too general, in conflict with each other, and the responsibility system is vague. On the other hand, the capacity, legal status of the Fair Competition and Consumer Protection Agency are inadequate, noted B. Lkhagva. The monopoly institute is titled when it takes over 40% of the market. In Mongolia, there are 30 such institutions. The participants reminded the conspiracy occurs in case of absence of responsibility mechanisms in the Law. The fuel price showed in practice already how the businesses can make profit while the citizens with low income experienced challenges. The citizens should raise voice against breach of consumers' rights, agreed the forum attendees.

Detailed reportage on the legal forum is to be issued in the magazine Mongolian Economy's second issue of June 2012.

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(Legal Assistant to President) J.Bayartsetseg: Disputes can be settled legally outside of costly courts

June 4 (UB Post) The following is an interview with J.Bayartsetseg, Legal Assistant to the President of Mongolia.

-Just before the spring session break, the parliament members ratified the draft law on court structure, initiated and submitted by the president. Does it mean that the new laws that are at the centre of the public attention have been making lots alteration in the court renovation?

-The President of Mongolia has initiated and has been developing an innovation to reform the judiciary. For his initiation, the President has developed a package of draft laws starting the reform of the judiciary. He presented six packages of laws to the parliament in July, 2011. The parliament discussed and ratified the first three packages of laws last March. These included: a law on court, a law on jurisdiction and a law on the legal privileges of lawyers. The next three packages of laws, such as a law on the court administration, law on settlement and a law on civil representatives in the court were brought into the discussion and were approved last week. These laws are very significant as the approval of them will create the basic grounding of a legal environment for the reform in jurisdiction. By creating such a legal environment, the opportunities will become further open to enforce those laws, to renovate the court and the judiciary at a practical level and to renew participants in the court operation.

-What are the main principle alterations that are reflected in these new laws?

-They will make huge changes in the jurisdiction department. According to the constitution the judiciary is an independent institution. Under the Law on Courts which was renewed in 2002, the structure and organization of the Mongolian judiciary consists of soum, inter-soum and district or the first instance court, aimag and city court or appellate court and Supreme Court or supervisory court.

The Supreme Court of Mongolia is the highest judicial organ of the State and the "Court of last resort". The Supreme Court is comprised of a Chief Justice and 16 Justices and its jurisdiction is exercised by three Chambers: Criminal, Civil and Administrative. The main duty of each is to adjudicate cases under their jurisdiction and provide professional guidance to judges. These Chambers are established by decision of the Supreme Court and their membership is approved by the Chief Justice.

At the moment the law on the judiciary of Mongolia lacks the potential to regulate and manage the social and economic demands that are growing rapidly. Furthermore, the need for jurisdiction in society is increasing. The court is not the institution that only litigates the dispute between two people and convicts people. It is the establishment that defines certain policy through its decision. Secondly, the court is the vested institution that establishes justice. Because of this we have to make big structural alterations in the courts.

Concerning the three laws that were approved last week, the law on the court administration is a brand new law that is going into force for the very first time. The orientation which provides everyday operations such as the court administration, its structure and human resources were operating in the same place, were not separated from the basic operations until today. In other words, the judge used to carry out litigation at the same time as implementing certain administrative duties as well. Because there was no independent court administration, the General Court Council couldn't fulfil certain duties related to human resources and finance. In compliance with the new law, the court administration is being established for the first time. It is becoming separate from the litigation.

-Will the operation of the General Council of Courts and its composition be amended?

-Vested renovations are being made in the General Council of Courts such as employing permanent full-time members. The members of the General Council of Courts were not full-time employees and people such as advisor of legal policy to the President or General prosecutor used to be chosen by their position. They used to solve the internal and administrative issued of the court.

-When the draft law was under discussion by the standing committee, the MPs criticised how the members of the General Council of the Courts were being appointed. What enabled the appointment issue of the General Council of Courts to be solved?

-Our position is that we are the law makers; the President appoints the General Council of Courts according to the Constitution. This means the President is the one who is giving the jurisdiction sector certain mandates and privileges. The law was made in compliance with the constitution. During the discussion of the draft law through the standing committee of the parliament the MPs expressed their views and opinions. The law was approved on the condition that the members of the General Council of Courts would be nominated by different subjects. The new law states that the President, the State Great Khural or the Parliament, the State Supreme Court and the government will nominate the composition of the General Council of the Court. There are 17 members in the General Council of Courts at the moment. According to the new law, the General Council of Courts will have 5 full-time members.

-According to the new Law on Courts, the court organizations will function using the new system, not by the administrative divisions. What will be the new procedure?

-In compliance with the Law on Courts that was ratified in March, the court is shifting to the new structure. The court will be based on the district principle instead of administrative divisions. Establishing the court using the principles of the district has great significance that will balance the burden on the court. It means that now the court will run in district principles such as by using the first second and third district of courts instead of the court of Bayan-Ulgii province or the court of Arkhangai Province. A separate map of the courts will be created and laws will be made about establishing the courts.

-The settlement law is creating a brand new relationship in Mongolia. What is the main significance of the settlement law?

-The settlement law is a brand new law and a brand new concept in Mongolia. The judges of the City court are usually overloaded with cases and they don't have time to pursue the cases that are transferred from other provinces. This is influencing the litigation and the quality of the conclusion of cases. The most common international method to reduce such an overload of cases is settlement, or solving the dispute outside the court. This is a worldwide legal technique. The new law is introducing this technique to Mongolia. The professional arbiters will operate in the court building. The two sides can solve the dispute through a settlement instead of wasting money and time on the court. Firstly, it will save time. Secondly, it saves money. If the disputing sides approach the settlement court, the decision of the settlement will have the same power as the court. The main advantage and the significance of the settlement is that the both contending parties will be satisfied with the settlement court decision. The settlement regulates the relations between business entities, family members and manages business and economic related disputes by mediation.

-How will the arbiters operate? Are they an inseparable part of the court?

-Official specialized arbiters will work on all levels of the court. Their salary will be issued by the State budget. We have estimated that 30 percent of the court work will be implemented by the settlement court.

-Has the settlement ever been tried in Mongolia?

-For the project of the JICA, international organization, the settlement was used in Darkhan-Uul province and Bayanzurkh district over the last two years. We had progressive and positive outcomes. Initially, people didn't want to approach the arbiters and preferred the court. But then after they started to recognize the significance and convenience, their opinions changed. The settlement court eases the work of the court and has the consequence that the disputing sides conclude the case without becoming enemies, in a peaceful way. The settlement law was developed on the foundation of this project and experiment.

-The role the civilian in the court has been increasing. What kind of regulations have been made in the law regarding this issue?

-The independent law about the civil representative in the court was ratified. This is a really big regulation and a brand new relation. People must acknowledge the rights that they have. However, although we have a civil representative system in the court, it is not implemented properly. Firstly, the civil representatives who are attending the trial have no rights. Secondly, there is no specific regulation to elect the civil representative. So in order to make up the trial composition, anyone from a cleaner to a warden can be elected and asked to attend the trial.

-Is it connected with the court structure?

-Yes, it is. Other countries have a certain direction in court structure. The first one is a petty jury or marine legal structure. The other one is a land structure or Roman and German structure. But Mongolia is using none of them. The countries which have the German and Roman structure have a judge-not judge system. If this system will be introduced to Mongolia the civil representative in the court will have the same rights as the judges. In other words, the civil representatives can interrupt the trial like a judge does.

-Who will be chosen as the civil representatives?

-There are no criteria to elect the civil representatives. They will be chosen from the electoral register. The main role of the General Council of the Courts is to elect the civil representative in the court. If the person is of 25 years or above, has not been called to court and has not been connected to any crimes, they must arrive in court to attend the trial as a civil representative. It does not matter if the person is highly educated or not, or if they are disabled or not, they will be chosen as a civil representative and must attend the trial. The only thing required is the elected person should speak Mongolian. The most important factor is that the trial must be carried out publicly with the attendance of the civilians. Secondly, there will be an audit.

-Is it possible for the elected representative to refuse to attend the trial?

-If the elected representative has a reasonable explanation such as bad health or went abroad, then they must explain in paper. The employer of the elected representative should release them from work at the allotted time and should not deduct from their salary.

-When will these laws start to be enforced?

-Some will be implemented from January 2013 and some January 2014. Huge amounts money will be issued from the state budget as those packages of laws require lots of legal and structure renovations. And in terms of time it will require a lot of preparations.

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Elbegdorj: Accountability must be called on only after the citizens are given their rights

April 25 ( --

Excerpt from the speech of President Tsakhia Elbegdorj at an annual meeting with the citizens of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

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Mongolian Economy magazines series on Mongolia's tourism sector:

The Present and Future of Tourism SectorMongolian Economy, June 4

Mongolian Tourism AssociationThe Mongolian tourism sector recorded 10 percent growth from 2000 to 2011. If Mongolia can double this growth, then it would receive 1.5 million visitors from abroad, and 1 million tourists, fulfilling the objectives of the National Development Policy, and Government Action Plan. The National Development Policy aims not only to bring the number of tourists visiting to Mongolia to one million, but also to match the number of tourists with the population by 2020. Here is an attempt to summarise the challenges hindering the realisation of this big goal, and what we have to do to make it a reality.

Warriors for BeautyMongolian Economy, June 4

In recent years tourist ger camps have multiplied like rabbits in Mongolia, and it has both good and bad ones. The following are some of Mongolia's most successful ger camps, which have adopted advanced technology, not only for the comfort of the tourists but also for a balanced ecological environment.

Mongolian tourism must developMongolian Economy, June 4

Ecotourism is considered a smokeless industry. Its development in Mongolia is as important as the quickly growing mining sector. Mongolia's tourist season is short, running from May until October. Ts. Orgodol, the head of tourism at the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism shares his thoughts on how Mongolia can capitalise on this industry. 

A Ray of Light Mongolian Economy, June 4

With warm breezes, the very first raindrops and water birds comes the tourist season. Melting snow and shoots of grass are signs that the sector has awakened. The wide-open door of Mongolian tourism is already welcoming guests from abroad. However, is the the country's transportation system capable of offering glimpses of the country's vast lands and cultural heritage? If yes, it's time for a trip. 



The Perfect Flight: Champagne, a Good Blanket and Nonstop Sleep (interview with Norton Rose HK Partner)

June 4 (WSJ) Shaun McRobert's business regularly takes him off the beaten path. As a Hong Kong-based partner specializing in cross-border mergers and acquisitions for international law firm Norton Rose, he can bounce between Beijing, Zambia, Ulan Bator and Cape Town within the span of a month or two.

"It can get exhausting, but for the most part I view my work travel as a perk," says the 44-year-old Perth, Australia, native.

Mr. McRobert spoke to the Journal about where to find indoor tennis courts in Beijing, what he eats on Mongolian Airlines and how it feels to ride out in the wind in an antique airplane.

How often are you up in the air? Anywhere from two to six times a month.

Which Asian carrier offers the best air-travel experience? I love being able to get a direct flight whenever I can. I can fly direct to Mongolia on MIAT, which saves me a lot of time. They also have great pilots who can often land in very difficult conditions. For longer-hauls I take Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Qantas, all very reliable.

Which airline serves the best food? I recently had a great piece of poached Mongolian fish on MIAT. They have great freshwater lakes in Mongolia. I like Singapore Airlines for long flights – great garoupa and satays. But most of the time I like a glass of Champagne, a decent blanket and an uninterrupted sleep.

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Genetic and cultural power of the Mongols

June 4 (UB Post) Mongolia and the Mongols have a tremendous history and have played a significant role in world history.Until recently,it was unclear how the Mongol race appeared in world history, where they came from, and where their homeland was in the pre-historical time period. How and when did they come to their present day territory, settle and become a homogeneous nation after having a thousand year confrontation with other Eurasian nationalities like Scythian, Avars, Sarmats, Kipchack, Hazars, Turks and others? Is the present day Mongolian territory the homeland of Kirgiz, Uighur and Turkic khanates? Is it a frontier of confrontation between the Turkic and Mongol origin nationalities? Who isthe real owner of that territory? What did the ancient Mongols look like? How are the present day Turkic nationalities different from each other? Did this change come from historical development and interactions? How did the Mongols survive the historical mixture and confrontations? Are the Mongols genetically stronger than the other races? Who was the main player of the region? There are many questions we face today as we look for the right answer.

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