CPSI NewsWire brings you market updates on Mongolia, compiled by CPS International, a Mongolian marketing arm of CPS Securities, a Perth, Western Australia based stockbroking and corporate advisory firm, specialising in capital raising for mining and junior stocks.
Aspire Mining Director Further Buys on Market
August 20 (Mogi) In a director's interest notice released today, Mr. Neil Lithgow, Non-Executive Director of Aspire Mining (ASX:AKM) bought a further 258,501 shares for A$33,174.03 through 14-17 August, making the average price bought at 12.83c.
MMC buying apartments from MCS in Tsogtsetsii soum for ER employees
MMC: CONNECTED TRANSACTION
August 17, Mongolia Mining Corporation (HK:975) --
On 17 August 2012, Energy Resources, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, entered into the Apartment Sale and Purchase Agreement with MCS Property whereby MCS Property agreed to sell and Energy Resources agreed to purchase the Apartments for a total consideration of MNT22,803,479,766 (equivalent to approximately US$16,737,113).
MCS Property is a subsidiary of MCS Holding which is in turn wholly-owned and controlled by MCS (Mongolia) Limited which directly owns a 100% shareholding interest in MCS Mining Group Limited, a substantial Shareholder. Therefore, MCS Property is considered as an associate of MCS Mining Group Limited and hence a connected person of the Company within the meaning of the Listing Rules. Accordingly, the transaction contemplated under the Apartment Sale and Purchase Agreement constitutes a connected transaction of the Company and is subject to the reporting and announcement requirements but exempt from the independent shareholders' approval requirements under Chapter 14A of the Listing Rules as the applicable percentage ratios is less than 5% pursuant to Rule 14A.32 of the Listing Rules.
Mogi: I wouldn't go so far as to saying he's a resource nationalist. He's tough on foreign investment, but he also is a successful businessman
Mongolia picks resource nationalist Ganhuyag as mining minister
Aug 18 (Reuters) - Mongolia has confirmed resource nationalist Davaajav Ganhuyag (Mogi: Gankhuyag) as the minister of mining, a move that has sparked speculation over whether the new government intends to review existing mining investment deals for its massive mineral resources.
Ganhuyag, 49-year old chemical engineer and ruling Democratic Party member, previously demanded that some contracts with foreign mining companies in Mongolia be renegotiated to give the state a larger stake in the biggest mines.
He was confirmed by parliament in a late session on Friday.
In 2011, Ganhuyag was one of several lawmakers to sign a letter urging Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill Resources to renegotiate a 2009 agreement for the $13 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine and increase the government stake to 50 percent from 34 percent.
At the time Turquoise Hill Resources was known at Ivanhoe Mines. Under the original 2009 agreement, Mongolia can only increase its share to 50 percent after 30 years.
An analyst in Ulan Bator greeted Ganhuyag's appointment with caution.
"Ganhuyag is known to investors for having been tough on the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement. However, we view that his position was motivated by a political battle against the government of the time," Origo Partners analyst Dale Choi, told Reuters.
"Now he is part of the new government himself and does not have to continue with this hardline position. Possibly now he will be bound only by the election platform of the Democratic Party."
Invest HK: Helping Promote Mongolian Stocks on HKEx
August 17 (UB Post) The Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion, Invest Hong Kong, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Andrew Davis and the head of Transport and Industrial Benjamin Wong Spoke to the UB Post.
-Did you arrive in Ulaanbaatar through the direct flight from Hong Kong?
Andrew Davis: -We took a direct flight to Ulaanbaatar. I was pretty amazed when I saw that there was no spare seat in the plane from Hong Kong to Ulaanbaatar.
-Direct flights which are full between Hong Kong and Ulaanbaatar show that the economic and business relationship of the two countries is developing, as well as cooperation. You came to Mongolia this time to bring cooperation in the investment sector into a new stage?
Andrew Davis: -Well, if we see the permanent weekly direct flights between two countries at the macro level, it shows that the business interest between the two countries is expanding. Several Mongolian companies that operate in Mongolia also sell shares in the Hong Kong stock exchange. For example, SouthGobi Resources has raised 460 million USD since the company started to sell shares at our stock exchange. This time, we came to meet representatives of companies that are interested in selling shares in Hong Kong stock exchange.
Benjamin Wong:- Our purpose here is to attract Mongolian investment to Hong Kong. This will positively influence our market and create an opportunity to introduce Mongolia in the Asian market as well. Mongolian companies have an opportunity to not only to sell shares in the Hong Kong stock exchange, but they also have a chance to set up international business cooperation.
-Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi (ETT), Company which owns vested coking coal in Mongolia, is planning to sell shares in Hong Kong stock exchange. Some sources insist that the date to release the IPO has been delayed due to the issues related to documents and papers. Is this true?
Andrew Davis:- We are discussing with the representatives of state and private owned companies the issue of raising money from the Hong Kong stock exchange. I doubt that ETT has document problems related to the release of the IPO in Hong Kong stock exchange. For example, today several companies that operate in Mongolia, such as Mongolian Energy Cooperation and Mongolian Investment Group, have been successfully raising capital and releasing IPOs at the Hong Kong stock exchange.
-ETT has planned to release the IPO in the upcoming month in the Hong Kong and London stock market at the same time. In order to release the IPO in the Hong Kong stock market, the companies should submit their documents and introduction six month before. Has the Hong Kong stock exchange receive the request by ETT to release the IPO?
Andrew Davis:-As you know, we need to keep the information we have secret in the case of the IPO release. The information should be kept private.
-I understand your carefulness and the leaks can affect further share rates. How could it cause a positive influence if ETT information, which is the center of attention, will release the IPOs in your stock markets?
Benjamin Wong:-It is obvious that it will cause plenty positive influences in Hong Kong stock exchange. Definitely, it will increase investment and will catch the attention of the world financial market players.
-Do SMEs that don't operate in the mining field have chance to sell shares in Hong Kong stock exchange?
Andrew Davis:-I doubt that Mongolian companies that don't operate in mining fields have an interest in selling shares in the Hong Kong stock exchange. But during my appointment in Mongolia, I am meeting and exchanging views with service sector specialists. SMEs have opportunities to expand and develop their businesses. For example, tourism companies have chance to establish a branch in Hong Kong.
-As we know, the Hong Kong stock exchange ranks 3rd place in Asia, and 6th place in the world. What relations have your stock exchange with the Mongolian stock exchange?
Andrew Davis:-We don't have much information about the Mongolian stock exchange. What I can tell is that Mongolian companies can sell double registered shares in the Hong Kong stock exchange, after selling shares in their own stock exchange.
-I was told that the Hong Kong stock exchange has made amendments in its rules in order to increase the selling of the mining company shares. What is the amendment about?
Benjamin Wong: -The article 18 of the rules to sell shares in the Hong Kong stock exchange was renovated. The article states that if the companies reached the standard JORC, NI 43, SAMREC standard, they are able to sell shares in the Hong Kong stock market. Also, the criteria to sell shares were renovated. Accordingly, exploration companies have the opportunity to raise the capital by selling the shares. We don't require the financial archive of documents. The gate has opened for exploration companies to attend the stock exchange, however, they have not started to gain profits or identify the mine resource.
-What is the advantage of Hong Kong stock exchange compared to Toronto and the London stock exchanges? Maybe investors prefer the Hong Kong stock exchange as the Euro zone crisis has started to affect investors. What are your thought on that?
Andrew Davis: -Mongolian companies tend to be interested in selling shares in Toronto and the London stock exchange. But as you said, I wish companies would be careful in selling shares in above mentioned stock exchanges, as not only in Europe, but the economy of the North America is in crisis as well.
The latest indicators show that the Hong Kong stock exchange has overstepped the London and Toronto stock exchanges by the amount of the shares sold and the amount of currency in circulation.
-The foreign press and media are reporting that the Euro zone crisis has pushed the interest of investors to the Asian market. Is this true?
Andrew Davis: -It can't be predicted. Large amounts of money is in circulation at the Stock exchange, so it barely changes the interest straight away. It is unpredictable.
-I was told that this is your first visit to Mongolia. What is your impression on the capital market and economy of Mongolia?
Andrew Davis: -We had some previous information about Mongolia as several companies that operate in Mongolia have sold shares in Hong Kong. I had a positive impression when I arrived.
Benjamin Wong: -Our aim is to help the Hong Kong Stock exchange-based Mongolian companies to put themselves up on the international market and to raise more capital. We will implement our aim, and will meet companies and listen to their opinions and views. Invest Hong Kong Agency has branches in 30 more countries, such as Australia and Canada. We are intending to meet the authorities of Mongolian companies and to share information about the investment environment of Mongolia to our branches of other countries. This is important for Mongolia's mining companies and hopefully will expand further cooperation.
FMG Mongolia Fund: July 2012 Manager Comments, Up +2.63%
August 17 (FMG) When the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) transitioned last month to a new and advanced trading system, some glitches were expected, but no one expected trading volumes to dry up almost completely. The good news is everyone is now jubilant that the 14 month upgrade to new systems has been completed and volume has started to improve. The successful implementation of the Millennium IT trading systems in July, which is being used by the largest bourses in the world, is now on hand at the MSE, a milestone upgrade.
As often is the case, a major transition to new systems means there will be some operational kinks. Apparently because of the systems change Mongolia's licensed brokers were required to re-do paper work with their existing custodians, causing significant trading issues, which further dried up liquidity. Although liquidity is still very low even by Mongolian standards - it is improving. The Mongolian economy continues to be on track as the world's best performer with first quarter GDP up 17% from the previous year. Clearly Mongolia's economy should continue to benefit on the back of China's industrialization and economic growth. A recent report suggested that Mongolia's untapped minerals are worth a staggering US$ 1.3 trillion. This reserve of natural resources should propel export growth and generate the hard currency required to spur investment for many years to come.
5 Largest Holdings
APU, Remicon, Sharyn Gol, Tavan Tolgoi, Talkh Chikher
Silk Road Launches M3 Fund to Invest in Myanmar, Mongolia and Mozambique
August 15 -- Silk Road Management is pleased to announce the launch of Silk Road M3 Fund, the first ever investment fund to be focused on Myanmar, Mongolia and Mozambique, three resource-rich countries which we term as M3. Silk Road M3 Fund is an open-ended fund seeking to generate positive returns by gaining early exposure to the world's fastest growing economies. The Fund will primarily invest in equities of internationally listed companies with assets and operations in these three countries as well as high yield fixed income and local currency instruments.
Alisher Ali, Managing Partner of Silk Road Management stated: "We are proud of developing M3 concept as innovative investment theme for frontier markets investors. Myanmar, Mongolia and Mozambique share some striking similarities and we are confident that their economies will be among the world's fastest growing in the next decade and offer outstanding opportunities for investors.
Our M3 Fund is the world's first investment product offering investors an early, diversified portfolio exposure to these three resource-rich frontier markets".
Alisher Ali recently discussed M3 investment strategy in his CNBC interview which can be viewed at this below link: http://www.youtube.com/user/SilkroadFinance/featured
Silk Road Management has developed M3 investment theme on the basis of the following main factors:
1. M3 countries have massive, largely untapped natural resources.
2. They all formerly socialist countries and experienced failed central planning economic policies. Now governments are committed to market economic reforms and attracting foreign investments which would generate strong "catch up" phase in their economic development.
3. M3 countries are both geographically and economically strongly linked with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Mongolia is located between Russia and China, Myanmar between China and India and Mozambique is next to South Africa and not far from India and has strong links with Brazil thanks to both being Portuguese-speaking nations. BRICS countries are among the largest investors and trading partners for M3 countries which would strongly benefit such "anchor" proximity of economic powerhouses.
4. Based on above factors, we estimate that Mongolia, Myanmar and Mozambique will be among world's top five fastest growing economies in the next decade with Mongolia GDP growth at projected 15% p.a. while Myanmar and Mozambique expanding annually 12% and 10% respectively.
The governments of Myanmar, Mongolia and Mozambique are committed to developing functioning local stock exchanges which would spur active participation of international investors in domestic capital markets. Interestingly, M3 countries are uncorrelated, therefore, the diversified investment portfolio with exposure to M3 countries would benefit from a very low level of correlation between individual countries.
Our Firm believes that Silk Road M3 Fund is an attractive, liquid investment product and we intend to actively market the Fund among international investors such as family offices, funds of funds and high net worth individuals.
Strategically located between China and India, Myanmar is currently undergoing historical transformation from the long-isolated state with its economy crippled by sanctions into the nation that once again could become one of the most prosperous in Asia with the successful process of democratization and market reforms. Last month the US administration issued keenly-awaited approval for the American companies to invest in Myanmar which would accelerate foreign investments into the country's capital- starved economy. Endowed with significant natural resources, the second largest landmass in South East Asia and population of over 60 million, Myanmar represents one of the world's most attractive investment opportunities.
Mongolia has potential to become a natural resources powerhouse thanks to massive deposits of coal, copper, gold and rare-earth minerals. Driven by development of mining deposits, foreign investments and exports of commodities, the country is already one of the fastest growing economies in the world, generating economic growth rates of over 15% per annum. GDP per capita has risen sharply from just $500 a decade ago, when Mongolia ranked among Asia's five poorest nations, to $3,000 in 2012, and it is expected it to reach $10,000 in the next five years, making Mongolia Asia's fifth-richest country after Singapore, Japan, Brunei and South Korea.
Mozambique has been the fastest growing non-oil economy in Sub-Saharan Africa with average GDP growth rate of 8% from 1993 to 2010 driven by exports and foreign investments. The country is expected to experience economic transformation thanks to the recent discovery of massive offshore gas deposits in the Rovuma basin which would catapult Mozambique into a global LNG player in the next decade. The country also possesses world class coking coal deposits and hosts large gold, PGM, uranium, iron ore, bauxites and titanium resources.
Silk Road Management is an investment management firm focused on investments in various asset classes in resource-rich Silk Road countries, including public equities, private equity and property. The Firm manages $30m Mongolia Human Capital Fund, the first Mongolia focused venture capital and private equity fund. Silk Road Management owns seven frontier markets equity indices: Silk Road Composite Index, Silk Road Central Asia Index, Silk Road Mongolia Index, Silk Road Australia Index, Silk Road Hong Kong Index, Silk Road Iraq Index and Silk Road Iraq Oil Index.
Silk Road Management is an investment management subsidiary of Silk Road Finance, an investment bank, operating in Mongolia, Myanmar and other resource-rich frontier markets, offering merchant banking, investment banking and asset management services. Eurasia Capital, the company's subsidiary in Mongolia is a leading, award-winning investment bank providing capital raising, cross border M&A advisory, sales & trading and research services to its local, regional and international clients. Mandalay Capital, SRF's Myanmar-focused investment banking subsidiary offers corporate finance and advisory services to Myanmar companies as well as international and Asian strategic and financial investors seeking investment opportunities in Myanmar. Global Nomad Family Office, a member of Silk Road Finance group is the first multi-family office in Mongolia and the Caspian region.
Civil Will-Green Party Nominates Oyun Sanjaasuren for Minister of Environment & Green Development
August 20 (Mogi) According to GoGo News, CWGP announced in a press release today that they have nominated MP Oyun for the cabinet seat slotted for them in return for joining the grand coalition. Previously it was announced that MP Demberel, Chairman of Chamber of Commerce would be nominated but he publicly announced his decline.
Link to article (in Mongolian, English to follow)
New Cabinet Members Required To Work 12/7, Keeping Away from Pubs
August 17 (InfoMongolia) On August 16, 2012, the Premier of Mongolia N.Altankhuyag had submitted the names of the nominees for the members of the Cabinet Ministers, which are being discussed currently as of hot topics.
Today on August 17, several Standing Committees of the Parliament are having its meetings to discuss the nominees for the Ministers of the Cabinet.
However the final names of Ministers were not approved yet, the Prime Minister of Mongolia N.Altankhuyag had delivered below requisitions to the Cabinet Ministers to be elected.
1. Not to have the weekend holidays
2. Daily working hours for Members of the Government and Cabinet Ministers shall be till 09:00 pm
3. Should not attend any receptions other than diplomatic ones
4. Should not have working visits to foreign countries no more than twice a year
5. Should not go to pubs and bars during night time
6. Should not have an annual vacation during their office of term
7. Implement orders and directions given by the Premier without any delays
8. Should not be involved in fights and in other immoral actions
Mogi: Doug Schoen's next two installments in his "Enkhbayar: My Love Affair" Series
Enkhbayar Not Receiving Proper Medical Attention
By Doug Schoen
August 17 (Forbes) In an article yesterday, I highlighted the various ways in which former President Enkhbayar's trial has been corrupted by both the court system and President Elbegdorj's political vendetta. Enkhbayar was most certainly not presumed innocent until proven guilty and many of the key witnesses never testified. It is therefore unsurprising that he was convicted.
Enkhbayar's maltreatment in prison has continued. He fell in his cell on Wednesday night and was unconscious for upwards of fifteen minutes. He bears a cut on the left side of his face now and although he was given a medical examination, the examiner has yet to release the results to his lawyer or family. (Mogi: amazing how he knows this)
While they work around the clock to ensure that Enkhbayar can get to a hospital and see a doctor outside the system, I feel that it is important to highlight the continued abuse in this case.
Enkhbayar was a public servant and a man who did a great deal for Mongolia. He has been woefully mistreated in both the courts and now, again, in prison. It is shameful that his case has not attracted more attention and that the international community is willing to stand by while the former president of a democratic nation is ill-treated to this level.
I will continue to write until something is done and it must be done quickly, for both Enkhbayar and the health of democracy in Mongolia.
Mogi: wow, another one right the next day
A Test For The West
By Doug Schoen
August 18 (Forbes) Things have gone from bad to worse. Former President Enkhbayar's condition is deteriorating and still nothing is being done. The Mongolian Ministry of Health sent doctors to evaluate Enkhbayar and their recommendation is continually ignored: Enkhbayar must be taken to a hospital.
In his condition, he cannot be cared for in prison. Law enforcement agencies and the prison authorities have all the facts concerning his health and, despite this, persist in carrying out President Elbegdorj's political vendetta against Enkhbayar, no matter the consequences.
Indeed, Mongolians have taken notice of this injustice, but yet the government ignores the voice of the people. Further, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party sent a letter to President Elbegdorj requesting that he respect Enkhbayar's contribution to Mongolia by protecting his health. The outcome was as one would expect from a corrupt regime: nothing. Enkhbayar is still held in his cell while his family fight to get him the proper medical attention and care he needs and, most importantly, deserves.
Enkhbayar is no ordinary man. His career, his trial and now his continued fight from behind bars for the future of Mongolia sends a clear message about the strength of his character and the will of those that are true supporters of democracy and the rule of law. (Mogi: (eyes rolling))
With each day that passes, the West's general indifference to Enkhbayar's situation becomes more worrying. It calls into question how far we are really prepared to go to protect and foster democracy. To be sure, Enkhbayar's case provides a test for the West and our dedication to the core values we extol and market to nations across the globe.
If Enkhbayar's condition continues to decline and he remains in prison without access to proper medical care, we will all be responsible. The international community has the power to influence this situation and it must.
Though it hasn't been given its due attention thus far, this case will surely be remembered. And it would be best for it to be thought of as a victory not only for Enkhbayar, but also for those Western nations that went out of their way to protect democracy.
HH Amir of Kuwait arrives in Mongolia on private visit
KUWAIT, Aug 19 (KUNA) -- His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah arrived on Sunday in Mongolia on a private visit.
HH the Amir is accompanied by Deputy Chief of the National Guards Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
His Highness the Amir was greeted upon arrival at Chinggis Khaan International Airport in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator by office manager of the Mongolian President Tsagaan Bontsk, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Mongolia Mubarak Mohammed Al-Suhaijan and embassy staff.
Video: Gold mining in Mongolia 'like a prison camp'
August 17 (BBC News) Miner Craig Notman travels from Staffordshire to Mongolia to experience mining in some of the toughest conditions in the world.
He meets local miner, Sukhbaatar, who digs tunnels into the Mongolian Steppe searching for gold buried deep underground.
It is dangerous work and it is not known how many have died trying to earn just a few pounds a day.
BBC Two's Toughest Place to be a Miner is broadcast on Sunday 19 August 2012 at 2100 BST. Or watch afterwards on BBC iPlayer.
Risking life in the Mongolian gold rush
August 18 (BBC News) Mongolia, one of the most remote and desolate places on earth, is in the middle of a gold rush. But with 40% of the population living in poverty, around 100,000 people work in deadly unregulated mines in order to survive.
"When I look at families with horses, I feel so sad tears well up in my eyes."
Sukhbaatar used to be a nomadic herder - the ancient way of life in Mongolia.
"That was when I was a real man with horses", he says. Now he is a miner.
Two years ago, all of Sukhbaatar's livestock - 300 horses, yaks and goats - were killed in a long harsh winter known as a Zud.
Severe droughts and Zuds in recent years have devastated Mongolia's livestock herds, killing an estimated eight million animals.
"Nothing was left, everything was dead and that's why we moved here," he explains.
His destination was Uyanga, a mining town on the Mongolian Steppe, a rolling grassland that stretches hundreds of thousands of miles in a large crescent around the Gobi Desert.
The mining boom in Mongolia has given the country the fastest-growing economy in the world. Billions of dollars of copper, gold and coal flood over the border to China.
While this has created a new class of super-rich, more than a million people live in acute poverty, risking their lives for a few pounds a day working in these unregulated mines.
Every day, whatever the weather, Sukhbaatar and his wife Gansuvd ride on motor bikes two miles across the Uyangen valley - past yak herders, a reminder of their former life.
Their destination could be described as the middle of nowhere.
Rolling grassland stretches as far as the eye can see - not a tree or bush in sight.
People are working at holes in the ground, that look a little like craters on a moon. Smoke is rising out of some of them, adding to the otherworldly feel of the landscape.
The smoke is from dung fires lit by the miners to melt the layers of permafrost, permanently frozen land. Each hole has been dug by a different family.
One person can fit into each hole, being lowered down into it by rope. But there is nothing in the holes to support the walls.
"The ground collapses. Some people are saved and some have died buried in the ground," Sukhbaatar admits.
It is not known how many have died in the massive network of tunnels that now cover the valley.
British miner Craig Notman could not believe what he was seeing when he travelled from Staffordshire to Mongolia to experience Sukhbaatar's life.
"This is Victorian mining I can't get my head round it. The hole looks like a grave. It's like going into your own tomb," he says.
In the UK, mining is done by big machines, with stringent health and safety rules. Sukbhaatar, Gansuvd, their daughter and son-in-law use pick axes and shovels, which is gruelling work.
Digging down to the gold seam on the ancient river bed can take days.
They bring up nearly half a ton of soil every day. The earth then has to be sorted, the larger stones removed and then the rest panned to hopefully reveal gold flakes.
They are lucky to make £5 a day.
The government in this part of Mongolia refuses to issue licences for people like Sukhbaatar because they claim that they damage the environment. But further up the valley, big companies have been given licences to mine gold on an industrial scale.
They have pledged to make good the environmental damage when they have finished mining in the area. But Sukhbaatar believes they will take what they want and move on.
"It makes me sad. Before there was a large river running along the valley. There used to be herders all up this valley."
In 20 years of mining, the Ongin river here has all but dried up.
The Mongolian people have a deep connection to their land and digging it up runs counter to their beliefs. Every few weeks, Gansuvd and their young son Samya visit the Buddhist temple on the edge of town to pray for forgiveness from the land.
In the UK, Craig has been a miner for 15 years, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, and he believes mining is a brotherhood.
But he finds that it is every man for himself on the Mongolian plains.
One day they return to find three families have dug tunnels into Sukhbaatar's hole to take the gold from it.
"The owner of one of them is a friend - I can't believe they would do this," Sukhbaatar whispers.
Safety is Craig's highest priority and he is upset and frightened that people work like this. He is determined to help Sukhbaatar to mine more safely.
Wood is expensive and Sukhbaatar is worried any props to support the sides of the holes would be stolen. Craig eventually persuades him to use props that they take home every night.
He is "chuffed to bits" that they are taking on his advice but admits that he found his visit "hard and upsetting", seeing the risks they were taking.
Back home in the UK, Craig is determined to help the miners in Mongolia.
"If a miner is struggling, another miner is going to help him and that's what's happening, it's a brotherhood."
Craig describes Sukhbaatar as a "good honest man, with a heart as big as a lion", and mining teams around the UK are now planning fundraising to buy him cattle.
"I want to pull up outside his place with a big lorry full of cattle and drive out to the countryside and park up and leave them [Sukhbaatar's family] to it - to where he should be.
"I will achieve that and I'm looking forward to that day so much."
Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar Signs Up Nature's Engineers to Restore River
By Pearly Jacob
August 17 (EurasiaNet) Ulaanbaatar is importing foreign experts to combat falling water levels in Mongolia's third longest river. Qualifications include sharp incisors, flat tails and webbed toes.
Meet the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber). If all goes according to plan, the task of restoring the headwaters of the Tuul River will be left to these rotund rodents, with extra thanks to Germany and Russia. At home, due to poaching, their numbers have declined sharply in the past 20 years. But in May, Germany gifted 14, and Russia another 30—just for this special task.
With their sharp, ever-growing teeth, beavers fell trees and build dams to flood areas for protection from predators. Many scientists believe beavers can contribute to river ecosystem regeneration and restoration because their natural dams help maintain river levels during dry spells, while the flooded areas help nourish the soil and promote plant growth.
"Beavers are diplomats of the environment," says Delgermaa Yunger, director of the Nature Protection Agency's office at Ulaanbaatar's City Hall. The agency is in charge of the beaver introduction program. Water levels in the Tuul have been declining since the late 1990's, she says. A 2003 survey conducted by the City Council revealed 22 of 72 tributaries of the Tuul had dried up. Sections of the riverbed often dry out each spring.
"Fifty to 60 percent of Mongolia's population lives along the Tuul. It's a very important river and we have to do what we can to make sure we protect it for the future. The beavers will be the cheapest and most effective natural method," says Yunger.
According to her office, one billion tugriks (about $740,000) have been earmarked for the project. The plan is to breed the beavers from Germany in captivity. Sixteen of the Russian beavers – which are better adapted to cold Siberian winters – were released into special zones along the headwaters of the Tuul in early August. They will be monitored and provided food and shelter if required, Yunger says.
Beavers are no strangers to Mongolia. A rare indigenous sub-species of the Eurasian beaver known as Castor fiber birulai inhabits the Bulgan River in Hovd Province in the west. But if the project is successful, this will be the first beaver colony on the Tuul. A previous introduction attempt in 1984 failed, says Samjaa Ravchig, an animal expert at the National University of Mongolia.
In 1984, a Mongolian prime minister was so impressed with Canadian beavers during a trip to North America that he ordered four beavers from the Bulgan River to be released into the Tuul. None survived. "There was probably little scientific backing [for the project]. The beavers were probably too few and couldn't breed with each other," says Ravchig, who has been studying the Bulgan beavers since 1974.
Ravchig was invited to head the scientific team overseeing the current beaver introduction project. The government's willingness to spend money on natural rehabilitation was a welcome opportunity for him. "It was like a star in the day sky," he says. He believes beavers are more appropriate than artificial dykes or dams and will pose no threat to local wildlife. "The vegetation along the Tuul headwaters is well suited to beavers."
Citing a beaver reintroduction project in Bavaria, he cautions this is a long-term project with little hope for immediate success. "They hunted their last beaver in Bavaria in the 1960s. After they re-introduced beavers from Russia in 1966, it still took nearly 10 years for the beavers to successfully adapt and build their dams," he says.
Today, Bavarian beavers are exported across Europe, to areas where the animals had been hunted to near extinction, for reintroduction programs. In Mongolia, following the Communist collapse in 1991, the Bulgan River sub-species were poached till numbers plummeted to about 1,000, says Ravchig. While the population is making a comeback, it's still listed as critically endangered in the Mongolian Red Book—a reason why these indigenous beavers were not deployed for this experiment.
In Yunger's office at the City Council, a furry artificial flower sits among her pens on her desk. "It's beaver fur," she admits sheepishly—a gift from a beaver farm in Russia she visited while scouting for donors. But this, she insists, will never happen in Mongolia, because local community support for the project will deter illegal hunting. "These beavers are strictly here to help restore our rivers," she said.
Malaysian Mission In Beijing To Hold Mini Expo In Mongolia
BEIJING, August 17 (Bernama) A mini exposition highlighting Malaysian education, trading and tourism will be held in Ulan Bator, Mongolia from Sept 17 and 18.
It is part of activities to promote bilateral relations between Malaysia and Mongolia, said Malaysian ambassador to China, Datuk Iskandar Sarudin.
"Some of the participants plan to explore business opportunities in Mongolia, especially mining, hotels, construction, consumer products and the power sector," he told Bernama here.
He said several Beijing-based companies had agreed to participate to promote Malaysian products.
The envoy said Malaysian tourism officers would promote the country's tourist attractions, encompassing its cultural heritage, culinary delights as well as its famed 'teh tarik' to woo potential visitors from Mongolia.
Turning to the education sector, Iskandar said efforts would be made to attract Mongolian students to opt for Malaysian education institutions.
Among the institutions taking part are Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) and University of Management and Technology.
Noting that LUCT and the Albukhary Foundation offered scholarships to Mongolian students, the envoy was optimistic that this would contribute in increasing the number of Mongolian students in Malaysia.
On another note, he said the embassy planned to organise a National Day reception in Mongolia's capital, Ulan Bator, on Sept 17 in conjunction with Malaysia's 55th Independence anniversary.
Since 2010, the Malaysian envoy in Beijing is concurrently accredited to Mongolia.
Khaan Quest '12: Multinational partners conduct staff training
FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia (DVIDS) – A conglomeration of U.S., Mongolian, and various international forces took part in a staff exercise (STAFFEX) during Khaan Quest 12 to enhance their ability to operate in a multinational environment.
Khaan Quest is a regularly scheduled, multinational exercise sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and hosted annually by the Mongolian Armed Forces. Khaan Quest 12 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security. This exercise marks the tenth iteration of this regionally significant training event. Among those on hand for this year's exercise was Secretary of the Army John McHugh.
In a world of different cultures, customs, and languages, learning to transcend these differences and work together for a common cause is imperative to the success of any multinational endeavor.
"This exercise gives us an opportunity to train in an environment that exposes us to different ways of conducting peacekeeping operations," said Maj. Mark Binggeli, executive officer, 1st Battalion, 297th Cavalry (Reconnaissance and Surveillance Squadron), Alaska Army National Guard. "It benefits us in getting a whole new perspective."
"The importance of Khaan Quest," said McHugh, "is we've found over the last ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan that coalition building and partnership is the best way to build capacity and capability."
In the staff exercise, the various participants are tested and trained by putting them in a fictional scenario where they have to plan missions, react to situations that arise, and interact with external entities like the media and the Red Cross. Elements of the exercise are tasked with role-playing as these external people and organizations.
"The purpose here is to exercise the staff and allow them to work with government and non-government organizations," said 1st Sgt. Stephan Young, operations non-commissioned officer, 1st Battalion 297th Cavalry (Reconnaissance and Surveillance Squadron) Alaska Army National Guard.
As the situations unfold in the fictional nation created for the exercise, the staff must navigate through various problems to meet the needs of the nation's population, explained Binggeli.
The complexity of the individual pieces moving simultaneously as the fictionalized scenario evolves challenges the staff exercise participants to consider potential situations that may otherwise be overlooked. This kind of training gives the staff the ability to anticipate and prepare for conceivable variables in future peacekeeping missions.
Another benefit to multinational training is that it helps build stronger relationships between nations. In this year's exercise, more than 10 nations have come to train together in the vast countryside of Mongolia, strengthening the bonds between one another.
"It brings our soldiers together with soldiers of other nations," said McHugh. "This is how you make friends."
By Brandon Miliate
August 18 (Small Matters Blog) I thought that I would close my summer in a retrospective, but tastefully non-nostalgic post on 3 ideas that have I have been playing with regarding Mongolian culture, society, and language. These thoughts seem slightly underdeveloped, but I suspect that they will be thought provoking, nonetheless. I will not attempt to make my statements over diplomatic, and I trust, therefore, that this post will be read as a real-life experience, but not necessarily as an authoritative/definitive account.
Ever since I have first came to Mongolia, I have been asked by professors, colleagues, family, and, perhaps most important of all, myself: "So, what is it about Mongolia?" The simple answer is say simply that I research small state foreign policy and am interested in how small actors make decision on the international stage. Most of the time this is sufficient. Indeed, it is very true and is a great reason to be in Mongolia; however, it does ignore an important fact: I became interested in small state foreign policy through my time in Mongolia and then only towards the end of my second trip. Let there be no confusion, I am sincerely interested in small state foreign policy and security objectives, but that interest came rather late in my Mongolian adventures. In conversations with other visitors to Mongolia, long and short-term alike, the idea of a certain "pull", "connection", or "charm" has often come up. This summer, I think I may have gotten a step closer to understanding exactly what this charm might be.
Now, before I go any further let me say that I am not one of these well meaning theorists that talk of cultural differences as if only one type of personality exists in a given society. I certainly recognize that any attempt to say Mongolians come in any one type is highly problematic and invariably open to exceptions and critique. Still, I will venture to lay out here a casual- although still informed- observation.
Mongolians are on a foundational level from a nomadic culture, and this has a tendency to express itself in a variety ways- from the most charming to the most perplexing. While I have only spent a month with herders in various parts of the country, I do have at least some experience from which to say that the traditional Mongolian nomadic/herding lifestyle values an interesting combination of individualism and fearlessness coupled with fierce loyalty. On the steppe, Mongolians lived in small family units and loyalty to friends, allies, and the family were essential to survival. At the same time, herds were more or less the private property of individual herders, and one's survival lay squarely in one's own individual hands. Mongolian society is not defined by any strict code, such as one encounters in Confucian societies and it seems to me, at least, that Mongolians overall remain unencumbered by the rigors of societal obligation, duty, or guilty/shame. Imagine a herder on a horse in the middle of the steppe with nothing around for miles and you might begin to imagine the kind of freedom I perceive in Mongolia. There is also a level of fearlessness, as demonstrated by Mongolia's history of Empire, but also in the way many people will cross a busy street with barely a glance in either direction. It is the ability to go with their immediate and short-term desires that I think I find particularly thrilling in Mongolia, be it Ulaanbaatar or the countryside.
Not to be too simple, let me problematize everything I just said. Obviously, Mongolians do not just do whatever, whenever they want. As herders they have to plan for winter, and in the city it is not an anarchic mess (although it certainly can look that way sometimes). Indeed, ask any LGBT Mongolian citizen if they have the freedom to express themselves however they wish in public and you will begin to understand the restrictions that exist. Furthermore, respect must be shown to elders in every situation, and loyalty to the family unit often means a certain level of self-sacrificing behavior.
So, returning to my original question I think that my personal curiosity about Mongolia and its people is the elusive intersection of fierce individualism coupled with moments of intense obligation and necessity. This illusive intersection continues to elude me, and I can imagine that it will continue to be part of my fascination with Mongolia for a while yet.
The Tension is UP
I cannot escape the feeling that anti-foreign sentiment is very much on the rise in Ulaanbaatar and presumably in the rest of the country. When I first came to Mongolia in 2008, I felt that the glances directed my way where based on curiosity; now these glances seem openly hostile and suspicious. To put it another way, the "Oh, I wonder what he is doing here?" has been replaced with a much more off-setting "Hmm! Another foreigner ruining my country." I recognize, of course, that this is very much based on personal perception, but other researchers in the city have reported a similar feeling to me as well.
As I have reported previously, nationalist groups and public support to them has clearly been on the rise throughout Mongolia. This has been mainly in reaction to the perceived behavior of foreign mining companies operating in the country. On one end, Mongolians recognize the foreign investment is an important component in their economic growth. On the other end, Mongolians are well informed on the exploitation that other resource-rich countries have experienced at the hands of foreign nationals. The population at large remains worried about the possibility of exploitation. In fact, to many Mongolians the exploitation has already begun. Perceptions that Mongolia should own over 50% in any mining venture and that any large mining operation will build a permanent city for its work staff (as was the case with the joint Russian-Mongolian Erdenet opened in the 1970s) around which a new economic center would be sure to emerge. Naturally, when Russia opened Erdenet Mines, it was part of a larger operation and fell into the goals of the Soviet state; however, today's mining companies clearly have different objectives.
I don't pretend to be an expert on mining, neither in Mongolia nor anywhere else, and it remains unclear to me what the best course of action would be in regards to the Mongolian state's dealings with multinational mining operations. What is clear is that there is a clear failing in Oyu Tolgoi/Rio Tinto's community relations and that the population is largely unimpressed with the current state of the game. While Rio Tinto might have hosted Mongolia's Olympic team, paid for some infrastructure projects in South Gobi Province, paid for the Cultural Naadam festivities, and put up a series of billboards proclaiming themselves the pride of Mongolia (Монголын Бахархал) all these actions seem to be falling short. While I would be happy for any company operating in the US to do so much, public perception has been slow to move. As with anything in Mongolia, anti-Chinese sentiment plays a role in negating all the positive press that OT has tried to cultivate for itself. From my casual observations and conversations, it seems that the fact that OT employs any Chinese workers is extremely damning. The truth seems to lie more in the fact that Mongolia failed to produce enough trained work staff to make initial operations possible without a large, temporary foreign workforce.
One thing does remain certain though: Mongolia desperately needs to find ways to control this xenophobic attitude and to ensure that crimes of hate against foreign nationalists are stopped immediately. Not only are investors being scared away by the violent actions of groups targeting foreigners, but tourists also seem to be on high alert. In my opinion the most prevalent problem is that of the population (as many countries certainly do) assumes that a crime committed by one foreigner means that the whole lot are criminals out to ruin Mongolia. This is best highlighted by a conversation with a language teacher, where I remarked on a some attacks against South Koreans and her reaction was that some South Koreans had trafficked Mongolian women and so the nationalist gang's actions were justified. My pleading that the crimes of a few South Koreans does not mean that the every South Korean deserved punishment. Her reaction was that one bad seem ruins the whole crop. Yes, this is a common perception on an international level, but that does not make it any more just.
Монгол Хэл Сурцгаая (Let's Learn Mongolian)
As many of my readers will already know, I am devoted to the study of the Mongolian language. I always make a point to take language lessons while in UB, and have achieved a nice level of what I will call "functional fluency". By "functional fluency", I mean that I have the ability to discuss topics from political oppression and elections down to the newest Lady Gaga song in an understandable way. I distinguish this from true fluency by the fact that much of what I write and say remains stylistically non-native and that I have a limited vocabulary. Generally my Mongolian has been compared to that of a 10-year-old child. I'll take what I can get.
For anyone interested in studying Mongolian or already in the process of learning, I thought it might be interested to explain my problems as a native-English speaking student. I am thoroughly convinced that there is no harder language than Mongolian for the Anglophone mind to wrap around. People often say that Japanese is the hardest language, but I protest. Yes, the writing system in Japanese is anything but simple, but imagine all the grammatical complexity of Japanese compounded by much more difficult pronunciation and some words simply impossible to catch. Sorry Japanese speakers, no consonant-vowel-consonant, but rather a series of up to 5 consonants all right next to each other with vowels often reduced to little more than an after thought. Here is a small list of some of the complexities of Mongolian colloquial speech that I would cite as the most problematic for any speaker of an Indo-European language.
1. Word Order and Clauses: This whole business of subject-object-verb is easy enough when all you want to say is "I rice eat", but just wait until you get multiple subjects with multiple verbs, with multiple objects, not to mention clauses that look nothing like their English equivalents. When I read, I am often not sure which clause refers to which subject; when I speak, I sometimes forget where I am in my thought and have to back up to the very beginning to find what I had left out.
2. Contractions: Speaking word by word in Mongolia is about as common as an albino camel. Lets take a couple of examples: "I am speaking" is written "Би ярьж байна» but pronounced "Би ярьжийн.» Step it up a notch as say "Are you speaking…?" and we have the written variation "Та...ярьж байгаа юм уу?" pronounces "Та...ярьжайгаамуу?". And this is a pretty standardized example. Add native speech speed and a variety of far less predicable contractions and it is enough to make any student's head spin.
3. "Airiness": Almost every consonant in Mongolian is aspirated, plus a kh (German ch-like) and a guttural variation of "G" makes Mongolian often sound like a series of khtschshghk and so on and so forth. Add in some simple throat-clearing sounds that can express either agreement, lack of knowledge, or disagreement depending on the context and you have a language that sounds absolutely fantastic and yet completely unlearnable.
4. Lack of cognates: Mongolians have done a stellar job of updating their vocabulary and minimizing loan words. Russian scholars often accuse minority languages of being too simple to handle advanced technical and political terminology, thus necessitating the use of Russian in the Federation's republics and in Central Asia. Of course this said using non-Russian words such as лингвистика, центральная азия, теория, and any of the other numerous loan words to be found in the Russian lexicon/лексикон. By contrast, Mongolian has used Mongolian-roots to express almost any modern word. For example university is big-school (их сургууль) and democracy is expressed by the root word for a community of people (ардчилсан/ардчилал). Still, this means that non-native speakers cannot rely on the usual set of cognates to get by, and will have to work that much harder at learning and remembering vocabulary.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Let me just say that my "functional fluency" hardly that means that I speak Mongolian with ease or that I don't have constant pitfalls, the occasional unintelligible sentence, or any number of other communicative failures. Yes, Mongolian is certainly a difficult language. Still, I am completely perplexed by the fact that so many long-tern visitors, researchers, and any other category of ex-pat never get past a couple choice phrases, and even pronounce those rather ridiculously. As a student of Mongolian, I can tell you that life is so much easier in UB when you can speak even a little Mongolian. Even on the most practical, being able to clearly explain where you live and what you do in Mongolia can give your public image a boost, perhaps creating a slightly safer environment as people will be less likely to assume that you are an easily victimized foreigner who has no idea what they are doing in UB.
I knew almost instantly when I first came to Mongolia in 2008 that this was a place that I should consider devoting some time to. After 4 trips totaling 15 months in the country, I can also say that I know with equal certainty that that time has also come to branch out from Mongolia. No I am not going to stop studying the Mongolian language; no, I am not going to stop following Mongolian foreign and domestic developments. I am a long-term Mongolist and the country will remain a key part of any future research that I end up doing. At the same time, I cannot ignore that it is time for a break. My work demands a comparative perspective, and I have finally reached a level of understanding of Mongolian politics that I feel comfortable with leaving for a little while. I currently hope to return to Mongolia in about 3-4 years.
Stay tuned for more blog post about other issues outside of Mongolia.
Mongolian Paralympics Athletes Receive Special Farewell
August 17 (UB Post) Now that the XXX London Olympics had concluded, the XIV Paralympics will start soon. This year the XIV Paralympics Games will take place for ten days from August 29 to September 9, representing 21 sports categories. Over 4200 Paralympics athletes from 169 countries will be competing in 503 events with medal awards.
This year, six Mongolian athletes are attending the Paralympics and will compete in four different sports categories. On August 15, a special ceremony to celebrate and bid farewell to Mongolian athletes and team members attending the Paralympics was organized and held at the Sports and Physical Education Authority.
Mongolian Paralympics team athletes include: B.Uugankhuu in the men's 60 kg judo; International SM D.Ganbat in men's 90 kg judo; International SM B.Javzmaa and B.Oyun-Erdene in women's individual archery; Ts.Lhamsuren in women's 10 m pistol shooting; and D.Badral in men's shot put, athletics. The head coach of the para-judo team of Mongolia, Ch.Bazarsuren, and para-archery coach, N.Dariimaa, are training the team.
This summer's Paralympics is particularly special in that it will be the biggest event of its kind, having the largest number of athletes participating.
"Mogi" Munkhdul Badral
Senior Client Manager / Executive Director
CPS International LLC
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