Saturday, August 25, 2012

[CPSI NewsWire: Oyu Tolgoi Temporary Power Agreement Reached With China]

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.

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Manas Petroleum starts drilling in Mongolia

August 23 (Proactive Investors) Switzerland-based Manas Petroleum (CVE:MNP) (OTCBB:MNAP) said it has started drilling in Mongolia.

The company's subsidiary, Gobi Energy Partners, spud its first well in the region, and plans to drill this first well, known as Ger Chuluu A1, to a depth of 1,200 metres and into Jurassic/Paleozoic formation.

Target horizons in Ger Chuluu A1 are Lower Zuunbayan and Tsagaantsav formations, the company said.

Manas expects the well to cost around US$1.8 million, with the well reaching target depth and being logged in mid-September.

If there is a discovery, Gobi plans to test the well with a workover rig and move the rig to the site of the second exploration well - around 170 kilometres northeast of the first well.

"Ger Chuluu A1 represents the next step in the evaluation of our Mongolian assets and a major step in the company development," said Manas president, Werner Ladwein.

The 2012 seismic survey, for a total of 335 kilometres, will be finished in the next few days, the oil and gas explorer said. The detailed prospect seismic will form the base for the 2012 and 2013 drilling locations.

Shares of Manas Petroleum rose 8 per cent to 13.5 cents Thursday afternoon.

The international oil and gas company is primarily focused on exploration and development in South-Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Mongolia.

In Mongolia, Manas owns a 74 per cent working interest in two production-sharing contracts covering Blocks XIII and XIV through its Gobi Energy Partners unit.

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Actively applying for uranium mining licenses, negotiating for JV with Mongolian government


August 23, CNNC International Limited (HK:2302) --

The Board of Directors (the "Board") of CNNC International Limited (the "Company") is pleased to announce the unaudited condensed consolidated results of the Company and its subsidiaries (the "Group") for the six months ended 30th June, 2012 (the "Period"), together with comparative figures for the corresponding period of 2011, as follows:


Following to the disposal of the entire interest in United Non-Ferrous (Overseas) Limited and its subsidiaries ("Disposal Group") (the "Disposal") previously held by the Company in 2011, during the Period under review, the Group's main activities were the exploration and trading of uranium mineral properties.

Business review

The Group continued to develop the two uranium resources projects. For the Mongolian project, the Group has been actively applying for mining licenses for with aim of obtaining those licenses from the Mongolian government authority within the year. Currently, negotiations were conducted between the Group and the Mongolian government to form a joint venture company to develop the Mongolian project. The allocation of equity for the Mongolian project will be in compliance with the relevant policies for strategic investment of resources in Mongolia. The Group will own 49% of the joint venture company. The Niger project has begun trial production and its production process is being refined and adjusted for full production. The Group has continued to search for optimum opportunities for the uranium trading business and had identified a buyer for the uranium mineral properties currently in stock. The sale transaction is expected to complete in the second half of 2012.

Future strategy and outlook

The focus of the second half of 2012 will be the review and appraisal of the feasibility report and the environmental impact assessment report required for the application of the mining licenses of the Mongolian project. It is hoped that the entering into of the joint venture agreement, the execution of the articles of association and investment agreement, and the approval of mining licenses for uranium application will be completed by the end of 2012. The development for this investment project is expected to commence in 2013.

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Mogi: Hmmm, the same MPs who passed this resolution, passed the OT agreement as well

Mongolia mining minister seeks bigger Oyu Tolgoi stake -report

By Michael Kohn

Aug 24 (Reuters) - Mongolia should seek to raise its stake in the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project, the country's new mining minister said, adding weight to concerns among foreign investors about rising resource nationalism following a June election.

That election resulted in the formation of a coalition government, during whose administration the major risk for mining firms -- the engines of economic growth in Mongolia -- will be the influence of lawmakers who want Mongolia to have greater control of its resources.

Davajav (Mogi: Davaajav) Ganhuyag , speaking to the Odriin Sonin (Daily News) newspaper on Thursday, said he hoped his government would implement "Resolution 57" passed by parliament, which states that Mongolia should acquire 50 percent of Oyu Tolgoi once the principal investors -- Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill Resources -- have recouped their start-up investment.

Ganhuyag was not available to comment when contacted by Reuters, but his office confirmed the accuracy of the newspaper report.

Oyu Tolgoi, located 80 km north of Mongolia's Chinese border, is expected to become one of the world's three largest copper and gold mines when it reaches full production in 2018. The mine is expected to begin commercial production in the first half of 2013.

The deposit contains an estimated 41 billion pounds of copper and 21 million ounces of gold. It is anticipated that revenue from the mine could boost Mongolia's GDP by one third.

By the end of the first quarter of 2012, total capital invested in Oyu Tolgoi stood at approximately $4.6 billion, according to Ivanhoe Mines, which is now known as Turquoise Hill.

According to the 2009 Investment Agreement the government can increase its current stake of 34 percent to 50 percent only after an initial period of 30 years Of commercial production.

"The 57th Resolution of Parliament related to the Oyu Tolgoi agreement is a law of Mongolia but its implementation is weak," Ganhuyag told the newspaper.

Analysts said a move to increase the government's stake in the project could be viewed favourably by the country's lawmakers.

"We believe there is a likelihood that a number of MPs from all parties could be sympathetic to this position," Ulan Bator-based private equity firm Origo Partners said in a note to investors.

"As a result there is risk of a further attempt by these MPs and possibly the government to renegotiate (the) Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement."

In 2011, Ganhuyag was one of several lawmakers to sign a letter urging Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hills Resources -- then known as Ivanhoe Mines -- to renegotiate the 2009 agreement. Ivanhoe refused the request and said it expected all parties to honour the existing deal.

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Rio 'Confident' Of Securing China Power Supply For Oyu Tolgoi

August 24 (Bloomberg) Rio Tinto Group (RIO), developing a $6.2 billion copper-gold mine in Mongolia, is certain of reaching a power-supply agreement with China  for the project scheduled to start production next year.

"The negotiation is going well," Andrew Harding , chief executive officer of the London-based company's copper unit, told reporters today in Parkes, Australia . "I'm very confident the negotiation will deliver the outcomes that I need. The power supply line is ready to go."

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ), a unit of Rio Tinto, said Aug. 15 it expects talks with the Mongolian and Chinese governments for a power agreement to be expedited and supply to be available during the third quarter. Should talks fail, Oyu Tolgoi, located close to the Chinese border, would need to build its own power plant, delaying the start, it said.

Oyu Tolgoi may produce 60,000 to 70,000 metric tons next year, Harding said, without mentioning when he expects a power supply agreement. The mine, due to start during the first half, will have an average annual output of 425,000 tons of copper and 460,000 ounces of gold. Rio produced 520,000 tons of copper last year, according to its annual report.

Rio this month reported a 22 percent drop in first-half profit and is assessing spending plans on new operations, joining rivals BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Xstrata Plc.

"We've taken and are taking a full look at the portfolio and being very sensible about the rate of spend at some of the projects," Harding said, specifying there are no changes planned for Oyu Tolgoi .

Chop, Change

For mines yet to reach production stage, such as Resolution in the U.S. or La Granja in Peru, "you have the ability as the manager of the projects to chop, to change the delivery dates of particular packages of work," he said.

Rio expects global copper demand to grow 25 percent to 25.5 million tons by 2020, it said on its website. The global copper outlook remained positive, driven by industrialization and producers struggling to bring on new supply, Harding said.

Increased copper production from Oyu Tolgoi will help diversify Rio Tinto's income stream. Iron ore  provided 78 percent of profit last year, followed by copper with 12 percent.

"By 2014, we estimate copper will make up a quarter of Rio's earnings and iron ore 60 percent, so Oyu Tolgoi certainly helps," Lyndon Fagan , a Sydney-based resources analyst with JPMorgan Chase & Co., said by phone. "We're certainly positive on the outlook for copper as supply from existing mines falls as grades decline."

Rio Tinto also owns copper operations in the U.S., Papua New Guinea, Australia, Peru andSouth Africa .

Northparkes, located in Parkes, New South Wales state, last year produced 50,000 tons of copper. Rio owns 80 percent of the operation and Sumitomo Corp., the remainder.

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August 24 (InfoMongolia) The Vice Chairman of the Autonomous Region People's Government, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Mr. Pan Yiyang has made a two-day working visit in Mongolia at the invitation of Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Gonchigzeveg TENGER on August 23-24, 2012.

Within the visit, the Vice Chairman Pan Yiyang made an official negotiation with spokesmen of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding was inked by the State Secretary of the Ministry Badamdorj BATKHISHIG, following the Vice Chairman met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Luvsanvandan BOLD, Deputy Minister Gonchigzeveg TENGER and the Deputy Prime Minister Dendev TERBISHDAGVA accordingly.

In the scope of the Memorandum, it was resolved temporarily to import the electric power from China and implement immediately in order to supply with power the Oyu Tolgoi project. Also, it was exchanged opinions on developing the border port mining trading into international scale level. Moreover, within the up-building in border port territory, working groups from two sides are to work in implementing the investment procedures from China in Zamyn-Uud Free Trade Zone and the road of 1.1 km between Zamyn-Uud and Ereen (Erlian) cities will be accomplished with China assistance.

The Permanent Consultation working groups' meetings are decided to be held annually between Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and the Autonomous Region People's Government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous  Region, China to discuss further mutual economic and trade collaborations.

Free Trade Zones of Mongolia

Establishing Free Trade Zones is another way of facilitating the freer flow of trade and businesses. For the purpose, "The Concept of Establishing Free Economic Zones" was approved by the State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia by Resolution No. 87 in 1995.

For the purpose of regulating relations with respect to the establishment of free zones and their forms, powers of governing bodies, monitoring mechanisms and determining the legal basis for and the realization of special tax and customs conditions, the "Law on Free Zone of Mongolia" was approved by the Parliament in June of 2002.

"Free Zone" shall mean part of the territory of Mongolia under special conditions for business and investment that should be considered to be outside the territory in terms of customs and taxation.

Mongolia has established a basic legal framework for Free Zones and specific laws on the legal status of Free Trade Zones in Altanbulag (northern border), Tsagaannuur (western border) and a free economic zone in Zamyn-Uud (southern border). The implementation work on these free zones has commenced.

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MIG Lists Historical Resolutions Unsupported by Un-Reelected Directors Enebish & Lim

August 23, Mongolia Investment Group Limited (HK:402) --

Reference is made to the announcement of Mongolia Investment Group Limited (the "Company") dated 3 August 2012 in which the Company announced that Mr. LIM Siong, Dennis ("Mr. Lim") and Mr. ENEBISH Burenkhuu ("Mr. Enebish") were not re-elected as executive directors of the Company at the annual general meeting of the Company (the "AGM") held on 3 August 2012. In various meetings of the board of directors of the Company (the "Board") held since 26 August 2011 (the date of the AGM held in 2011) and 3 August 2012, there were disagreements between these 2 outgoing directors and the Board on a number of matters including those particularized below:

Date of each Board meeting

Issues which were disagreed by Mr. Lim and Mr. Enebish

12 September 2011

Appointment of a consultant for the Company; and


Authorization for Leung, Chung Tak Barry, an executive director of the Company, to sign off the letter of representation to the auditors of the Company in connection with the annual audit of the Company and its subsidiaries (the "Group") for the financial year ended 31 March 2012.

8 December 2011

Approval of the memorandum of understanding referred to in the announcement of the Company dated 12 December 2011 and incidental matters.

28 March 2012

Extension of the settlement date of a promissory note issued by the Company.

16 April 2012

Engagement of a mining expert.

26 May 2012

Non-adjournment of the Board meeting; and


Execution of the sale and purchase agreement referred to in the announcement of the Company dated 7 August 2012 and incidental matters.

19 June 2012

Revision of the production schedule of the Mongolian mines; and


Making provision for a smokeless coal plant.

29 June 2012

Approval and publication of the draft audited consolidated financial statements of the Group for the financial year ended 31 March 2012;


Approval and publication of the draft annual report of the Group for the financial year ended 31 March 2012;


No distribution of dividend;


Approval of annual results announcement of the Group for the financial year ended 31 March 2012; and


Re-appointment of auditors.

In each of the Board meetings mentioned above, Mr. Enebish's view was communicated to the Board via Mr. Lim. In respect of the retirement of Mr. Lim and Mr. Enebish, the Board takes the view that there is no other matter that needs to be brought to the attention of holders of securities of the Company.

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August 24 (InfoMongolia) The irregular plenary session meeting of the State Great Khural (Parliament) is announced to be held on Wednesday, August 29, 2012.

Within the session it is planned to discuss the Local Administrative Election Law and amendments on 2012 State Budget. The list of other issues is to be released by the Consultative Council under approval of the Speaker of the Parliament in the beginning of the next week, informed the Press and Promotion Department of the Parliament.

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Fitch Withdraws XacBank's Senior Notes Expected Rating

HONG KONG, August 24 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has withdrawn the expected rating on Mongolia-based XacBank LLC's (XacBank) foreign currency senior unsecured notes and Recovery Rating assigned on 27 March 2012. This is because the issue has been put on hold indefinitely.

The senior notes, a draw-down from Xacbank's USD300m medium-term notes (MTN) programme, had an expected rating of 'B(exp)' and a Recovery Rating of 'RR4'.

XacBank is the fourth-largest bank in Mongolia with a 9% market share in lending and a 7% share in deposits. The bank experienced a 66% annual loan growth in 2011, but Fitch expects this to slow down due to an absence of planned refinancing for the bank's market funding.

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Bechtel Corporation Introduces:

Sainshand Industrial Park, Mongolia: An Approach to Materials Handling for a very large Industrial Complex

August 24 (Bulk Solids Handling) A large, integrated industrial park being planned at Sainshand in the southern Gobi. Major primary transformation industries will be located there to supply the country's basic needs, as well as earn export revenues. A central material handling and storage facility is being planned to serve all the plants.

Coal will be brought in from the Tavan Tolgoi fields to feed the coal gasification plant, the cement plant and a metallurgical coke pellets plant. The coal gasification plant will generate synthetic fuel gas that will supply the energy needs of the power plant, the iron ore pelletizing plant, and the iron reducing plant (DRI/HBI). Iron ore will be brought from the Tomertei mines to manufacture iron pellets, and hot briquetted pellets. Copper concentrate from the Oyu Tolgoi mine will supply a copper smelter, which will produce copper anodes and also substantial quantities of gold and silver. The copper operation will also generate industrial quantities of sulfuric acid. A cement plant will receive trainloads of limestone and various other minerals to produce bulk cement on a national scale. The power plant will also provide high, medium and low pressure steam to the coke oven, the copper smelter and the iron reducing plant.

A central material handling and storage facility is being planned to serve all the plants. It will have multiple rail loops for both unloading (rotary dumpers) and loading (towers) unit trains. The storage facilities will have stockpiles for several grades of coal, iron ore, and copper as well as for the coke and iron pellets being produced. Stockpiles of several other minerals used by the cement plant and some other processes will also be included. Storage and distribution will be handled by several large stacker/reclaimers and a complex network of conveyor belts connecting the plants to the central facility.


Mongolia is well endowed with mineral resources, which are at various stages of exploitation. Erdenet has one of the largest copper mines in the world and produces a significant amount of molybdenum. Dornod has significant reserves of uranium ore which have been exploited since the soviet days. Large deposits of iron ore are found around Tomortei and are being exploited and some are processed locally.

More recently one of the largest, still untapped, coal fields in the world, at Tavan Tolgoi started development with an initial exploitation phase moving coal by truck to China. This is a rather expensive and environmentally damaging way of operating, but until suitable infrastructure is in place, it is the only feasible way. Nearby at Oyu Tolgoi, one the largest ore bodies of copper is now being developed by a major western mining company. This copper mine will also yield substantial quantities of gold and silver.

Mining and development projects are being actively promoted and facilitated by the Foreign Investment and Foreign Trade Agency (FIFTA) of Mongolia. This agency has services to facilitate incorporation of foreign investors and permitting for development projects, as well as partnering with local firms. Mining codes, investment laws, and banking have been revised and made more transparent, following the western model, to bring Mongolia into the global community as a business-friendly country.

The Government's strategy is to promote development projects that will add value to its substantial mineral resources, develop a national industry, provide for local needs through import substitution, and diversify the economy into the secondary and tertiary sectors. This will be made possible and even accelerated by allowing foreign investors to participate in these projects.


Currently, the rail network consist of the Trans-Mongolian railroad that runs north to south from the Russian border to the Chinese border and a spur off this line that runs to the oil fields at Zuunbayaan. There are also branch lines in the north to service the copper mines of Erdenet and the iron mines and industry of Darkhan. At Sainshand, there is an existing passenger terminal of the Trans-Mongolian railroad and an industrial rail yard for off-loading commercial goods and coal for the local heating plant.

The Trans-Mongolian railroad predominantly carries freight to and from Ulaanbataar from the interchange terminal of Erenhot (Erlian) in China, south of Zamin Uud (Fig. 2). Both the Trans-Mongolian railroad and the Zuunbayan spur are built using Russian wide gauge track (1520 millimetres) carrying predominantly Russian rolling stock pulled by Russian diesel locomotives. Both lines are essentially single track with passing sidings at regular intervals along the railroad corridor.

Shipments of goods into and out of China require trans-shipment to the Chinese standard gauge changes at Erenhot, south of the border (Zamin Uud). Currently, freight shipments are unloaded from Mongolian railcars and reloaded on Chinese railcars. Bulk shipment of copper concentrate from Oyu Tolgoi is now shipped by trucks in 2-tonne supersacks to both facilitate transloading at the border and to reduce product loss during transportation on Chinese rolling stock. Once the industrial park is operating, the copper concentrate will go by gondola railcars from Oyu Tolgoi to the Sainshand smelter. Mongolian rolling stock can make border crossings to Russia without transloading.

Content of the Article:

·         Page 1: An Approach to Materials Handling for a very large Industrial Complex

·         Page 2: The Sainshand Industrial Park (SIP)

·         Page 3: Bulk Handling and Storage Facility

·         Page 4: Train Unloading

·         Page 5: Train Loading

·         Page 6: Rail Marshalling Yard

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August 24 -- "We would like to thank the Government of Mongolia for its collaboration with Discover Mongolia IMIF during its 10 years of history" said Damba Damjin, a member of the Organizing Committee and the President of Mongolian National Mining Association. This will be the first time that Minister Gankhuyag Davaajav will be speaking at the Forum as the Minister of Mining. 

Currently over 800 delegates and guests are registered to attend the "Discover Mongolia- 2012" IMIF, from over 350 organizations. Online registration of the Forum will close on the 25th of August, however on-site registration will open at the Children's Palace of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar at 11 am on the 29th of August, 2012.  

For further information please visit

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China lines up supplies much closer to home

Other mineral producers are muscling in

Illustration: John Spooner

August 24 ( BHP's decision to abandon the expansion of its Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine is said to be another sign that the commodity boom is coming to an end.

Commodity booms occur when there is a prolonged increase in prices and supply cannot respond fast enough to rapidly escalating demand. Booms are destroyed when new large-scale capacity emerges to restore market balance.

Australia's mineral boom is being driven by China's apparent insatiable demand for all things mineral, but planned world-scale, low-cost mines in neighbouring Mongolia, Pakistan and even war-torn Afghanistan have the potential to destroy the boom for coking coal, copper and uranium and possibly other lesser known minerals such as rare earths and fluorspar.

In coking coal, an essential ingredient for the production of steel, Mongolia has already grabbed market share from Australian producers who once dominated the sector. Only three years ago, Mongolia supplied 11 per cent of China's demand compared with 65 per cent for Australian competitors. But as production at new mines has increased, positions have been reversed, with Mongolia now supplying 45 per cent of China's needs compared with Australia's 23 per cent. With mines yet to be commissioned and improvements in infrastructure, Mongolia's market share can only further increase.

Low cost is a feature of most of Mongolia's coalmines and is attributable to favourable geology, principally shallow, relatively thick, uniform seams of high-quality ore. Close to the border with China, the mines can deliver coking coal to Chinese steel mills for significantly less than Australian competitors.

Competition from Mongolia has driven down the price of coking coal, which 12 months ago traded for as much as $320 a tonne and now sells for less than $180. The collapse in the price has affected the profitability of Australia's coking coal producers, with BHP reporting a drop of 41 per cent in the earnings of its metallurgical coal division. This was certainly a factor in the company's decision to shelve expansion of its Peak Downs coking coal project in Queensland.

Mongolia is also home to Oyu Tolgoi, considered the world's largest undeveloped copper deposit. The mine's reserves are sufficient to support production for more than 50 years but, as with much of Mongolia, only a quarter of the country's territory has been mapped geologically and at a relatively coarse scale so reserve estimates most likely underestimate the true extent of mineral wealth.

Oyu Tolgoi, which will compete with BHP's Olympic Dam, is being developed by Rio Tinto-controlled Turquoise Hill Resources and the company is on the verge of commissioning a $7 billion mine and processing plant that will produce concentrate containing 425,000 tonnes per annum of copper, equivalent to 3 per cent of the world's copper supply. BHP once held the lease for Oyu Tolgoi but relinquished it so it could concentrate on developing other opportunities.

Large high-profile projects such as Oyu Tolgoi have attracted media attention, but Mongolia has many smaller projects large enough to dent Australia's commodity boom.

While Mongolia's mineral riches are being developed with Western money, equally rich deposits in other central Asian countries are being built with Chinese funds.

In Pakistan, a Chinese company has built the Saindak copper-gold mine and in Afghanistan the same Chinese company is developing Aynak, said to rival Oyu Tolgoi as one of the world's largest undeveloped copper deposits.

Like Mongolia, Pakistan and Afghanistan have long been known to be mineral rich, but because of their location well away from markets in the developed world they remained undeveloped. This changed, however, with the opening up of China, which now demands large volumes of minerals to sustain its relentless economic growth and being the world's largest consumer of metals, Beijing finds it advantageous to source its raw material from immediate neighbours.

Access to high-quality, large-scale mineral resources in a neighbouring country has three attractions for China. First, because of shorter supply lines regional deposits enjoy greater security than more distant suppliers. Second, being in a developing country, China is not disadvantaged by having to compete with long-established global champions. Finally, the development of new large mines can push down prices by restoring market balance - which benefits all consumers, especially one as large as China.

Western companies tendered for the right to develop Sanidak and Aynak, but lost to Chinese competitors who benefit from extensive support from their national government, which usually offers generous aid packaged as infrastructure that can support the mine and wider community. To secure access to the Aynak deposit, China offered to build a power station that could supply the mine and Kabul.

The infrastructure assistance is funded by Beijing so it does not affect the company's bottom line, while the benefit to China is that in addition to scoring political points with its neighbours the new capacity helps constrain prices. Mineral consumers encouraging suppliers to build excess capacity with the expectation it will drive down prices is not new - Australia's last mineral boom ended when Australian miners responded to ambitious demand forecasts from Japanese customers by investing in new capacity.

No sooner had the new mines been built than prices collapsed. It took another 20 years before excess capacity was absorbed. This time our mining companies seem to have learnt from their mistakes.

Michael Komesaroff is founder of Urandaline Investments, a consultancy specialising in China's capital-intensive commodity businesses.

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August 24 (InfoMongolia) The 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Australia and Mongolia marks in September, 2012.

Back in September 15, 1972, the two countries have established the diplomatic relations and since many intergovernmental works have been done to date in order to broaden the friendly relationships of the two countries, for instance meeting the 40th anniversary, the Australian Government has opened its General Consulate in Ulaanbaatar in May 2012, also Mongolian Embassy was officially opened in Canberra in 2008 led by the first resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Tserendorj JAMBALDORJ.

According to this event Australian Ambassador to Mongolia, resident in Seoul, Republic of Korea, Sam Robert Gerovich is to deliver a lecture themed "Australia- Mongolia Relationship" at 10:00 am in Round Hall of the National University of Mongolia on September 14, 2012.

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China to help Mongolia develop mineral industry

August 24 (China Daily) China will support Mongolia in upgrading its massive mineral industry, State Councilor Dai Bingguo said on Thursday. He was preparing to make an official visit to the neighboring country, three days after Ulan Bator finished setting up a new government advocating a friendlier investment environment.

Dai made the remarks in a written interview with Mongolian media on the eve of his three-day visit to Mongolia.

Mongolia finished establishing a new government led by Prime Minister Norov Altanhuyag from the Democratic Party on Monday.

The transfer of power raised hopes of a friendlier investment climate, after former Mongolian president Nambar Enkhbayar, from the Mongolia People's Revolutionary Party, called for some major mining contracts to be reviewed to limit foreign ownership.

Enkhbayar was sentenced to four years in prison for corruption earlier this month.

"We will actively support and take part in Mongolia's strategy to rejuvenate the nation by developing the mineral industry. We support Mongolia to develop further processing of mineral products and extend the industry chain. We would like to deepen cooperation with Mongolia in that regard to help Mongolia accelerate its industry upgrading," said Dai, the state councilor in charge of foreign policies.

Mongolia is gripped by a mining boom that is set to transform its economy, but political uncertainties have shadowed efforts to attract foreign investment needed to develop mines and build essential infrastructure.

The new government has vowed to boost the country's economy, setting the goal of achieving annual economic growth of 14 to 15 percent over the next eight years.

Dai said China is interested in cooperating with Mongolia on processing mineral and energy products, infrastructure construction, clean energy and efforts against desertification.

China's Economic Observer newspaper earlier this month quoted a deputy minister of Mongolia's Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy as saying that 60 percent of investment on Mongolia's mineral resources came from China.

Today, a significant amount of Mongolia's mineral products are sold through China, he said, adding that the trend will continue for a long time.

Ulan Bator is in strong need of Chinese investment for further processing of its mineral and energy resources, he said.

"We still hope more Chinese companies come, not only to draw away the coal but to build more factories."

Dai said he also hopes to establish contacts with the new Mongolian government and discuss key international and regional issues.

Chinese Ambassador to Mongolia Wang Xiaolong said on the eve of Dai's visit that this year is a "special and important" one for China and Mongolia, as both are set to see a new leadership.

At such a critical moment, the two neighbors "need to beef up high-level communication", "properly handle problems in bilateral ties" and make plans to ensure stable growth of their ties, Wang said.

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Mongolia favors cooperation with China to seek mutual development: Mongolian president

ULAN BATOR, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian president Tsakhia Elbegdorj, in meeting with visiting Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo here on Thursday, said that Mongolia hopes to strengthen cooperation with China in various fields.

Elbegdorj said Mongolia-China relations were currently at the best time in history. He highlighted the significant consensus over further development of bilateral strategic partnership reached during a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization Beijing Summit in June.

Elbegdorj expressed his support for China's policy toward Mongolia, saying Mongolia hopes to seize opportunities brought about by China' development to promote bilateral cooperation in all spheres, especially mining, energy and infrastructure to realize mutual benefits and common development.

The president also pledged that Mongolia will continue to respect and support China's stances on Taiwan and Tibet issues.

Speaking on the same occasion, Dai Bingguo said that China and Mongolia are important neighbors and strategic partners to each other, and that China attaches great importance to developing the good-neighborly relations and cooperation with Mongolia, stressing China hopes to realize common development by cooperation with Mongolia.

Dai emphasized the two countries are facing significant historical opportunities for development. He expressed the hope that the two sides will maintain the exchange of high-level visits, deepen strategic mutual trust, expand pragmatic cooperation, and strengthen friendship between the two peoples, so that the China-Mongolia strategic partnership can be greatly enriched.

Dai arrived in Ulan Bator on Wednesay on a four-day visit to Mongolia.

Also on Wednesday, Dai met with Mongolia's State Great Hural Chairman (parliament speaker) Zandaakhuu Enkhbold and Vice Chairman Sangajav Bayartsogt, respectively.

During the meetings, Dai spoke highly of the sound development of China-Mongolia ties, noting that the exchanges between the national legislatures of the two countries are an important part of China-Mongolia ties.

Dai said that China attaches importance to developing ties with Mongolia's State Great Hural, and is willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the Mongolian side, enhance mutual understanding and trust, and make greater contribution to the China-Mongolia strategic partnership.

The Mongolian parliament leaders said that the Great Hural supports the development of the Mongolia-China strategic partnership, and that Mongolia hopes to enhance friendly exchanges with China's National People's Congress and to play a positive role in promoting cooperation between the two nations.

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Mongolia to continue expand exchange, cooperation with China: PM

ULAN BATOR, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- The new Mongolian government will continue its foreign policy priorities of developing bilateral ties with China and make efforts to expand exchanges and cooperation between the two countries, Mongolian Prime Minister Norov Altanhuyag said here on Thursday.

Altanhuyag made the statement when meeting with visiting Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo.

On the occasion of the establishment of the new Mongolian government, Dai's visit shows that China attaches great importance to developing bilateral ties with Mongolia, Altanhuyag said.

He said in recent years Mongolia-China collaborations in all spheres have developed steadily and Mongolia is satisfied with the fact that the two countries' relationship has been promoted to strategic partnership.

Altanhuyag also expressed his willingness to learn China's experience in developing the economy to help develop Mongolia's economy and improve the livelihood of the Mongolian people.

During the meeting, Altanhuyag also reiterated Mongolia's one-China policy and promised Mongolia will not allow external forces to engage in political activities against China on the Mongolian territory.

For his part, Dai said China and Mongolia share a long border of over 4,700 kilometers, their economies are highly complementary to each other, and that the two countries enjoy unique conditions to conduct cooperation.

Dai pointed out the establishment of China-Mongolia strategic partnership is a milestone in the development of the two countries' relationship, adding bilateral exchanges and collaborations are at the best time in history.

Dai said the two sides should keep the overall China-Mongolia relationship in the right direction, maintain the principle of mutual respect, deepen mutual trust, and take into account each other's major interests and concerns, without interference in each other's internal affairs.

Dai said China respects Mongolia's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, as well as the social system and the path of development chosen by the Mongolian people.

He hoped the two countries will further expand bilateral economic and trade cooperation, increase cultural exchanges and continuously enrich the China-Mongolia strategic partnership.

Also on Thursday, Dai also held talks with Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister D. Terbishdagva.

During the talks, Dai said that China and Mongolia are important neighbors to each other and developing bilateral ties meets the fundamental interest of both sides.

Dai spoke highly of the "culture month" activities held respectively in each other's country and hoped the two sides will continue to expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, among others.

China supports Mongolia's active participation in regional cooperation in Asia, Dai said, adding the two sides should strengthen coordination within the framework of the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting, and the Organization of Shanghai Cooperation to safeguard their common interests.

Terbishdagva said that the strategic partnership cemented between Mongolia and China last year is historic in the relations between the two countries.

Mongolia is willing to work together with China to constantly strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two countries, said Terbishdagva.

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Chinese state councilor stresses good neighborly policy toward Mongolia

ULAN BATOR, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo said on Thursday that he has reiterated China's good neighborly policy toward Mongolia in his talks with Mongolian leaders.

During an interview with Mongolian media, Dai said it is entirely groundless to doubt that China would one day change its good neighborly policy towards Mongolia.

He reiterated that China would as always respect Mongolia's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and respect Mongolian people's choices of political systems and the path of development.

China would never do anything that hurts Mongolia, or aims at regime change and interference in other country's domestic affairs, Dai said, adding that China and Mongolia would always be good neighbors, friends and partners.

Mongolian leaders also stressed in the talks that they would unswervingly pursue a good neighborly policy toward China and are willing to jointly maintain and develop bilateral relations, Dai said.

Dai reviewed the development of relations between China and Mongolia, noting that the two neighbors, linked with a deep historical origin and cultural tradition, should only further their good relations as they have done in the past, which serves the fundamental long-term interests of the two countries and peoples.

Dai also said the two nations have been enjoying satisfactory trade cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.

With the global financial crisis still lingering over, bilateral trade reached 6.4 billion U.S. dollars last year, a 60 percent increase, he said, adding that Mongolia has also maintained a 16 percent to 17 percent economic growth rate, which was quite fast and rare in the world.

The Chinese state councilor urged the two countries not to miss historic opportunities, which if lost, would be gone for good.

The two sides need to work together to promote economic and trade development, as well as pragmatic cooperation, and to remove some obstacles to create the best possible conditions, he added.

He said there is still a huge potential and broad prospect for China-Mongolia trade cooperation, which will benefit the peoples of the two countries.

It is possible that various problems may emerge over the course of development, said Dai, adding that "no matter what the problems would be, we shall resolve them."

He also warned that inaction and overcaution may be the biggest problems of all, which would lead to the loss of all opportunities.

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Mongolian politicians juggle economic nationalism with dependence on China

August 24 (Vancouver Sun) It is no surprise that one of the first foreign officials on the plane to Ulan Bator last week after a new Mongolian government was finally put together after June's election was China's State Councillor and national security adviser Dai Bingguo.

In a three-day visit Dai did the rounds of the new government, including Prime Minister Norov Altanhyag of the Democratic Party, with the message that China is a friendly and dependable partner for its northern neighbour.

Very many of Mongolia's nearly three million people are not so sure and politicians frequently echo the fears that China's passion for Mongolia's extraordinary reserves of mineral resources is only the tip of the iceberg of imperial ambitions in Beijing.

Previous governments have taken several steps to try to curb Chinese investment in mineral deposits, which have had a chilling effect on all foreign investment.

But the reality which Mongolian politicians and the public cannot ignore is that China is now Mongolia's top trade partner, taking over 90 per cent of its exports.

About 60 per cent of investment in Mongolian mining enterprises comes from China.

But economic nationalism in Mongolia remains strong and politicians of all stripes cannot ignore it.

Even though markets welcomed the coming to power of a Democratic Party government, which is judged to be less extreme in its suspicion of foreign investment than other parties, it only has 31 seats in the 76-seat parliament.

Altanhuyag has had to form a coalition with smaller parties such as the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, which is in favour of nationalizing resources.

The new prime minister's move to placate the economic nationalists in his camp was to appoint as minister for mines a man with a record of calling for greater state ownership of Mongolia's natural resources, Davaajav Gankhuyag.

Gankhuyag did not disappoint the resource nationalists.

In one of his first media interviews last Thursday with the newspaper Odriin Sonin (Daily News), Gankhuyag said he hopes the new government implements Resolution 57 previously passed by parliament. This calls for the state to acquire 50 per cent ownership of the massive Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine being developed in southern Mongolia. (Mogi: this resolution was passed before OT agreement was signed, and calls for PM at the time S. Bayar to come to agreements with investors to increase government stake to no less than 50% once the initial investment is recouped. So what should really be discussed is when TRQ will recoup that investment. Link to the original resolution here)

The Oyu Tolgoi reserves, estimated to be 41 billion pounds of copper and 21 million ounces of gold, were identified by the Vancouver company Ivanhoe Mines, now called Turquoise Hill.

Turquoise Hill has passed much of the project to Rio Tinto, which now controls 51 per cent of Oyu Tolgoi (Mogi: Rio controls 51% in TRQ, which in turn controls 66% of OT) and expects to invest $6.2 billion in the mine and begin production next year.

Long-term contracts have been signed with Chinese customers for the copper.

Under the current agreement the Mongolian government owns 34 per cent and can only increase its stake to 50 per cent after 30 years of commercial production.

Implementation of Resolution 57 would significantly reduce that timetable. The Mongolian government could increase its stake to 50 per cent after the companies have regained their investment in the project.

So China's State Councillor Dai is unlikely to have been encouraged by the flavour of the new government.

Of immediate concern for Beijing is the unwillingness of the Mongolian government to approve a $926-million bid by the Chinese state-controlled company Aluminum Corporation of China (Chalco) for a 58-per-cent controlling interest in the Ovoot Tolgoi coal mine.

Ovoot Tolgoi is now owned by SouthGobi Resources, whose majority shareholder is Turquoise Hill.

Turquoise Hill says it needs to sell some of its stake in Ovoot Tolgoi to raise cash to fulfil terms of its agreement with Rio Tinto over Oyu Tolgoi.

But in May, before the June 29 election, parliament moved to block the deal with Chalco and other politically sensitive agreements by passing changes to the Foreign Investment Law.

The new regulations limit foreign companies from owning more than 49 per cent of companies involved in mining, finance, media and telecommunications. (Mogi: not true, parliament approval is needed for investments above 49% and above 100B)

In addition, a government panel must rule on any proposed investment in those four sectors by a foreign state-controlled company regardless of the percentage ownership the deal would produce.

Over the election period there has been an understandable delay by officials to address the Ovoot Tolgoi deal, but Turquoise Hill chief executive Alex Molyneux (Mogi: Alex is CEO of SouthGobi, not TRQ) recently told the Reuters news agency that the government has done everything in its power to block the Chalco purchase.

But China does have a significant lever in its favour and time will soon tell whether Dai applied it during his visit last week.

For the first few years of development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill will require imported power from China 80 kilometres to the south.

So far there has been no agreement in talks that have been going on for about a year.

Mongolia's economy grew at 17 per cent last year and this year looks just as good.

But the Ulan Bator government needs its share of the revenues from mining projects to provide the jobs, education, house and health services Mongolians are demanding.

The impetus to get projects like Oyu Tolgoi moving is considerable and doubtless some accommodation with the Chinese will be found to avoid any stalemate.

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Equine Products UK finds a new market in Mongolia

August 24 (The Journal, UK) AN equine food supplements company is set to ship its first order to East Asia in time for one of the longest and toughest horse races in the world.

Newburn-based Equine Products UK has struck the £10,000 deal with EuroPharma – Mongolia's largest pharmaceutical importer.

Five pallets of supplements will be leaving the North East for the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator in the coming weeks, destined to be used on horses across the country.

Horse racing is being developed in Mongolia, with the country's jockey club buying a number of brood mares and horses in training in the UK.

Equine tourism in the country is thriving and the Mongol Derby, known to be one of the most demanding horse races in the world, uses more than 700 horses during the 14-day event. However, the majority of the products will be used by herdsman taking part in an ancient Mongolian festival to celebrate heroism and masculinity.

Described as the Kentucky Derby, the Olympics and Christmas rolled into one, Mongolia's "Naadam" is an eight centuries-old celebration devoted to the three "manly sports" – horse racing, wrestling and archery.

The 17-mile horse race hasn't changed since the 13th century and the days of Genghis Khan.

Equine Products commercial director Justin Ridley said: "We made contact with EuroPharma at one of many international trade fairs that we attend throughout the year.

"To my knowledge, we're the first equine supplement company to break into the Mongolian market.

"Horses are sacred in Mongolia and there is new wealth in the country, which is being invested in the equine industry.

"We're looking forward to developing a close relationship with EuroPharma to explore other regions where our products can be used as we continue to grow the business."

From its fully licensed facilities in Newburn, Equine Products formulates and manufactures a range of nutritional horse supplements aimed at safeguarding equine health and helping the horse achieve its maximum genetic potential.

Used in every sphere of equestrian activity throughout the world, the Equine Products range includes nutritional support products for joints and soundness, hooves and skin, respiratory health, digestion and behaviour, support of the immune system, as well as a broad spectrum of vitamin and mineral supplements.

The company, which employs 12 people both here and as overseas representatives, says it is looking to expand its £2m annual turnover in the next year and has identified the Far East as its biggest growth market.

Ridley said: "China is investing heavily in its gambling facilities and is pumping a lot of money into building new race tracks over there and buying Thoroughbred horses out of Newmarket and having them shipped over. We've just returned from a trade fair in Beijing and we received a lot of positive feedback and interest in our products.

"We export to around 40 different countries and we're seeing a big interest coming from former communist countries who now have excess money to spend on leisure facilities such as riding.

"If you want to grow your company you have to look to the export market, because the UK market is already oversubscribed."

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Number of Seats Held by Women in Mongolia's Parliament Triples

August 23 (The Diplomat) While the arrest of Mongolia's former president Nambaryn Enkhbayar on corruption charges has been dominating headlines, another quieter, but very significant event took place earlier this summer on June 28, when nine women won seats in the country's parliamentary elections. This is triple the number of women elected just four years ago.

The newly elected women MPs representing four different political parties were sworn in on Friday, July 6. While women still constitute only 12 percent of the 76-member parliament, a strong sense of optimism emerged that the new MPs would help unify across parties and have a significant impact on decisions affecting all Mongolians, including critical issues for families such as maternal and child health, schools, hospitals, and daycare.

This rise in the number of women elected to parliament was due in part to a new election law passed this year that introduced proportional representation for 28 of the 76 seats. It also specified that a minimum of 20 percent of the candidates nominated and approved must be women. There is no quota for women parliamentarians – just the proportion of women as candidates on each party list, but this change was nonetheless positive for women.

Five female candidates were elected directly: D. Oyunkhorol (MPP), Ts. Oyungerel (DP), G. Uyanga (MPRP), S. Odontuya (DP), and L. Erdenechimeg (DP). Another four were elected based on proportional representation: R. Burmaa (DP), M. Batchimeg (DP), Z. Bayanselenge (MPRP), and S. Oyun (CWGP). This is certainly good news, but still leaves Mongolia well below the world average of 19.5 percent women parliamentarians.

Last month, I attended the International Women's Leadership Forum in Ulaanbaatar, hosted by the Community of Democracies and organized by The Asia Foundation, which brought together over 100 participants (including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who addressed the Forum) to discuss ways to promote women's entrepreneurship, access to natural resources, and leadership in the private and public sectors. I spoke with several of the new female parliamentarians who were attending, and they shared their enthusiasm for what this could bring for women's participation in Mongolia, but also expressed concern about ongoing, stubborn challenges.

Hillary Clinton, remarking about the nine newly elected women in Mongolia's Parliament during her speech at the International Women's Leadership Forum said, "these women are blazing a path for all Mongolians who have the drive and desire to serve, to follow."

Ms. Batchimeg, one of the new MPs from the majority Democratic Party told me that people are starting to see some of the negative side effects of being a resource rich country, such as the high-level of spawned corruption and growing wealth gap between the rich and poor. "There is a perception among the electorate that women are less corrupt than men – there is a strong mandate for women MPs to work to make government more transparent, provide equal opportunities for the people, more equitable growth, and clean politics," she said. She hopes that even more women will run for parliament in the 2016 elections.

Ms. S. Oyun, who has been an MP for 14 years and was reelected in June, said "there is so much energy and potential for women of Mongolia in medium and low levels of public service and the private sector. Men dominate at the decision-making level, but if you look at education, women tend to be better educated; at the university level women are 60 percent of the graduates, so women shoulder as much work as men, but men still dominate in decision-making. Now we have to prove that an increase in the number of women will make some change and impact before the next elections."

Ms. Oyungerel who was elected from the Democratic Party, said that this was the third time she ran for parliament. "The first time, I ran I got 12 percent of the vote. The second time, I got 42 percent of the vote. This time, I won." Oyungerel, who was previously an advisor to the president, told me that the financial barriers to women being elected to parliament are enormous. She said that parties have internal "taxes" for people who want to run and it is very hard for women to raise the money required to be a candidate and this is a huge deterrent for women. When she became an MP she made a big promise to her constituency to address land issues. "The land law says every citizen has the right to free land, but they can't meet the requirements of putting up a fence or building (to secure a title) and often the land office won't accept their applications."

The nine newly elected women MPs face significant challenges both in unifying across parties to achieve common goals, as well as in forming alliances with their male colleagues to pass legislation. The women I interviewed were optimistic on both fronts – enthusiastic about forming a women's caucus and identifying men in the parliament with whom they can work.

While the newly elected women MPs are clearly savvy politicians, it will be important for them to have opportunities to network with their counterparts in other countries to learn how to utilize the lessons learned by other women MPs. The international community needs to ensure that peer-to-peer networking among the world's female MPs includes these nine courageous women from Mongolia.

Carol Yost is director of the Women's Empowerment Program at The Asia Foundation, where this piece first appeared. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and not those of The Asia Foundation.

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Stoves and Land Empower Women in Mongolia

By B. Tsolmon and L. Gerelmaa

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, August 22 (Millenium Challenge Account – Mongolia) — Severe winter air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, has become a major concern for the city's 1.3 million residents, which is nearly half the country's population. A majority of Ulaanbaatar's air pollution comes from districts populated with gers, traditional Mongolian houses where lower-income households live.

Women head many of these ger households. They rely on burning raw coal in inefficient stoves to heat the poorly insulated gers — a primary source of the city's air pollution, which fuels environmental and health risks and causes economic impacts. To address this concern, a facility was established within the scope of the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation's compact with Mongolia to fund financial incentives and technical assistance for adopting cleaner, more efficient technologies for use in heating the gers.

The project's impact on gender issues recently gained international attention with the July 2012 visit of Melanne Verveer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, as part of a women's empowerment conference held in Mongolia.

Verveer paid a visit to Norovkhand, who uses one name, and her family in the Bayanzurkh district outside Ulaanbaatar. Norovkhand obtained a subsidized energy-efficient stove through Millennium Challenge Account–Mongolia, the local entity managing compact implementation. Norovkhand, a single mother of three and a grandmother of one, shared her experiences on how much coal she has saved in using her new stove, compared with the traditional stove she used previously.

Most importantly, the energy-efficient stove, she said, simplifies routine housework since it requires less fueling, generates less ash and is easier to clean.

"It is very affordable and accessible, especially for female-headed households like us, given the subsidies provided by the project," she said.

Norovkhand's family is also among the potential beneficiaries of the hashaa (yard) plot privatization and registration activity under the compact's Property Rights Project. With their land formally registered, Norovkhand's family and many others will have an opportunity to access bank credit, enabling them to make more productive use of their plots.

MCA-Mongolia is tracking the long-term impact of increased asset ownership through its monitoring and evaluation work, which includes a survey on how increasing asset ownership among women affects household dynamics.

To track the difference the compact is making for Mongolians at the household and national level, a number of gender-responsive actions are under way across the program to ensure that women and men benefit equitably from the compact, which is key for sustainable development and economic growth of benefit to all.

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Change in Democratic Mongolia

Social Relations, Health, Mobile Pastoralism, and Mining

Edited by Julian Dierkes, University of British Columbia

Some 100 years ago, Mongolia gained independence from Qing China, and more than 20 years ago it removed itself from the collapsing Soviet Bloc. Since then, the country has been undergoing momentous social, economic and political changes. The contributions in Change in Democratic Mongolia: Social Relations, Health, Mobile Pastoralism, and Mining represent analyses from around the world across the social sciences and form a substantial part of the state of the art of research on contemporary Mongolia. Chapters examine Buddhist revival and the role of social networks, perceptions of risk, the general state of health of the population and the impact that mining activities will have on this. The changes of patterns of nomadism are equally central to an understanding of contemporary Mongolia as the economic focus on natural resources.

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Is Migration a Factor in Mongolia's Recent Steep Decline in Voter Turn Out?

Guest post by Brian White

August 23 (Mongolia Today) The recent parliamentary election produced a troubling result. Voter turn out dropped to its lowest level in 6 elections in the democratic era from a high of 96% in 1992 to 65% in this election. Turn out has declined in each election since 1992, but this year marked the steepest decline from a previous election with approximately 12% fewer voters going to the polls. I recently examined voter and population data in search of evidence that voter turn out has declined in part due to voters migrating out of registered districts to seek economic or educational opportunities without updating their registration in the new district. I discovered that the decline in voter turn out over the last decade has been strongly associated with an overall increase in the voting age population.

In Figure 1 voter turn out is plotted against the proportion of voting age people within a population area, or "concentration of voters." In the 2000 and 2004 elections the concentration of voters on average increased only slightly, with the 2004 data points shifting to the right. The shift began to accelerate in 2008, and it basically exploded in 2012. On average there was a 15% increase in voter concentration from 2000 to 2012. As Figure 1 also demonstrates, this increase has coincided with Mongolia's declining voter turn out.

There has been great speculation about the causes of this decline from voter confusion over changes to the election laws to growing cynicism about the national political system. Without a direct survey of voters it is difficult to move beyond speculation, but Figure 1 is suggestive of the idea that for some reason new voters chose in large numbers not to participate in the most recent election. As mentioned above, I initially examined voter data with the intent of finding evidence that migration was a significant influence on turn out this year, and given the assumption that the young are more likely to change locations in search of economic or educational opportunities, this and other data are further suggestive of a migration based influence.

This migration hypothesis came from a few personal experiences I had on election day this year. I met two people who had traveled 30km (18mi) to the soum (county) I live in to vote because their official residence is here even though their actual residence is in the provincial capital Dalanzadgad. They moved to Dalanzadgad several years ago for better employment opportunities. Additionally, my neighbor's daughter who resides in Ulaanbaatar as a recently graduated college student still maintains official residency status here, but unlike the other two voters, decided to not make the 560km (350mi) journey in order to vote. These examples of people having to travel to vote made me start to wonder if they were unusual or reflective of an emerging trend. As people move around seeking employment opportunities far from their hometowns, are they updating their registration to reflect their actual current residences? In other words, on election day did a significant portion of the electorate not vote because they weren't within an easy distance of their official polling stations?

I compiled voter data from the General Election Commission website for the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections and voter data for the 2012 elections from media sources, as well as population data from the 2000 and 2010 national censuses, for 22 voting areas in Mongolia, which included 19 provinces and the special administrative areas of Ulaanbaatar, Orkhon, and Darkhan.[1] I constructed a simple formula for annual rate of population change in each area using the census data and estimated the populations in each area during the 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections.

The most striking feature of the populations in these areas was the 15 percent decline on average in population in all but five areas in the decade between 2000 and 2010. Not surprisingly the population increases occurred in the economically booming areas of Ulaanbaatar, Orkhon, Darkhan, Umnugovi, and Dornogovi. In spite of this, the majority of areas with declining populations were still able to add to their voting age population in the last two elections. Figure 2 shows this for the 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections with the majority of areas with declines in their full populations from 2008 to 2012 having positive increases in the voting age populations (top left quadrant). This could be explained by more people turning 18 years old than leaving an area either by death or migration each year. Without additional data it's difficult to calculate the different rates involved to see if the observed pattern is at least consistent with this explanation.

We would also see a similar pattern if people were leaving these areas without deregistering. In such a scenario people would leave the official population at a faster rate than they are leaving the voter registration lists. This would create artificially high voter concentrations in these areas, but it would also conceivably increase the percentage of voters registered but unable to vote due to being in a distant  location on election day. If the association in Figure 1 were to hold true, then if these voters were given the ability to vote, say through an absentee ballot system, and accounted for in the voter concentration of each area, then we'd expect the plotted points for 2008 and 2012 to shift upwards and to the left, increasing average turn out.

There may be more explanations that fit the patterns in the data, but at this point I can at the very least write that the pattern is odd. The concentration of voters in Mongolia has ballooned over the last 12 years, and this by itself seems to account for a significant portion of the decline in voter turnout. A reasonable assumption is that much of this is driven by young voters increasingly not participating in elections, but this may not even be a safe assumption without a better understanding of the composition of the various populations and their respective rates of change, especially if the voter concentration numbers are artificially high due to a divergence in population and voter registration numbers.

An additional piece of anecdotal evidence to support the contention that migration is a significant factor in the decline in voter turn out is that in 2010 the National Statistics Office of Mongolia counted approximately 107,000 Mongolia's living abroad for the census. Assuming that the concentration of voters in this population is the same as the average concentration for Mongolia (and for simplicity static between 2010 and 2012), this would mean 67,000 people were eligible to vote in the election and were counted on the voting registration lists. This is probably an underestimate, though, because we'd expect the population of Mongolians abroad to be mostly made up of voting age adults and the overall population to have increased in the last two years since the census. In this election for the first time Mongolians abroad were able to vote, but no more than 2,000 did given the availability of polling stations around the world. That leaves roughly 65,000 people who did not vote which represents approximately 3.5% of the 1.8 million registered voters. Unfortunately I do not have data for Mongolians abroad in 2000, so I cannot say if this is more or less than previous elections. However, it is a significant portion of the voting age population, and if it has grown significantly over the last decade, average turn out would have been negatively affected by this change. Domestic migration absolutely dwarfs international migration, so a similar pattern of being unable to vote as a result of being in the wrong polling area on election day could have an even larger effect.

Although speculations on voter turn out that hinge on voter cynicism, confusion, or apathy seem reasonable at first blush, I am left with a gnawing feeling that they may be only part of the story. If migration is having a significant influence on voter turn out, then that actually represents a more serious problem. Without an absentee balloting system, then significant percentages of the population are being inadvertently disenfranchised. I think the trend of declining turn out is here to stay, but it may be happening much faster than it should otherwise due to rapid social and economic change exacerbating a systemic flaw in the election process. A thorough survey of the voting age population would go a long way in establishing the primary causes of this year's precipitous decline in turn out, and the patterns revealed in Figures 1 and 2 suggest such a survey would potentially yield interesting results.

[1]   National Statistics Office of Mongolia, "Хүн ам, орон сууцны 2010 оны улсын тооллогын үр дүн," 2010,, accessed 7/14/2012

General Election Commission of Mongolia, " УИХ-н Сонгууль – 2000, 2004, 2008 он," 2000-2008,, accessed 6/15/2012., "Сонгогчдын ирц 65.24 хувьтай байлаа," 2012,, accessed 7/11/2012.

About Brian White

Brian White has more than 6 years direct experience living and working in Mongolia, having first come to Mongolia in 2002 as a Peace Corps volunteer. He currently resides in Umnugovi Province.

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August 24 (InfoMongolia) Within the recent amendments on higher education, the Government of Mongolia is to allocate four types of stipend to students who are studying at the accredited universities and institutes for Top 20 demanded professions of day classes, depending on their study performances with additional 50%, 75% and 100% of bonus.

The resolution to encourage with stipends was issued earlier of this year and the students are being granted with the national student's monthly stipend of 70,200 MNT since January 01, 2012.

The first type of the stipend - 70,200 MNT is allocated to each student of above mentioned with no criterions.

The second type of the stipend - 105,300 MNT (70,200 MNT + 50% or 35,100 MNT) is granted to a student who shows a great performance in his/her studies and the GPA is no less than 3.2.

The third type of the stipend - 122,850 MNT (70,200 MNT + 75% or 52,650 MNT) to a student whose GPA is no less than 3.6.

The fourth type of the stipend - 140,400 MNT (70,200 MNT + 100%) to a student who received one of the three places from National Olympiad organized by the Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia.

The Government of Mongolia jointly with affiliated Ministries and Authorities released a list of Top 20 most demanded professions in Mongolia.

List of most wanted professions in Mongolia:

1. Road construction

2. Primary school teacher

3. Preschool education teacher

4. Natural science teacher

5. Geology

6. Hydrogeology

7. Hydromechanics engineer

8. Water reserve ecology

9. Mining technology

10. Mining machinery and equipment

11. Veterinarian

12. Information systems

13. Oil reserving and transporting

14. Plumbing, engineering

15. Renewable energy

16. Nano technology engineer

17. Biotechnology

18. Nuclear energy

19. Medical diagnosis

20. Therapy

Link to article


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Multinational forces train in Mongolian plains

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, August 23 (DVIDS) - Serving in the military offers many opportunities, including the chance to travel to distant lands and train with other nations. Khaan Quest 2012 participants are experiencing this unique opportunity during the annual multinational exercise sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific and hosted by the Mongolian Armed Forces designed to promote regional peace and security.

Approximately 600 service members with the Mongolian Armed Forces, Alaska Army National Guard, Republic of Korea, India, Japan, Australia and the U.S. Marine Corps are participating in the field training exercise portion of KQ 2012.

"The field training exercise concentrates on enhancing the capabilities of partner nations to prepare for and conduct future peacekeeping operations," said Command Sgt. Maj. Clinton K. Brown II, 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. "We are achieving that objective while bridging international gaps and creating lasting partnerships."

The multinational troops are conducting platoon-level training during the training evolution.

"In this FTX, we are conducting many different types of exercises," said Capt. Go Yoshiyuki, an instructor with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. "We are teaching disarmament, providing security for and conducting a distribution site, mounted and dismounted patrols, checkpoint operation training, and counter-improvised explosive device training."

A major consideration during peacekeeping operations is the proper use of force.

"All of your efforts to provide aid can be ruined if you (incorrectly) use force during a peacekeeping operation," said Staff Sgt. Alan J. Maria Jr., platoon sergeant with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. "If you are setting up a food distribution site and a scenario arises, which requires the use of force to defend yourself or others, people may become afraid to approach you for help. This is a difficult concept to grasp for (service members) who are not accustomed to peacekeeping operations."

The Khaan Quest FTX provides the training and exchange of techniques and procedures for peacekeeping operations between the participating nations.

"This is a great opportunity for service members from various countries to train and learn from each other," said 1st Lt. E. Gantumur, an instructor with the Mongolian Armed Forces. "Personally, I know this exercise will help my soldiers and me in upcoming deployments. The terrain is similar to the areas we will be operating in, and we are also learning new techniques for how to effectively complete peace-support operations."

Through the military-to-military exchange, participants hope for more opportunities to further build on relationships forged during the exercise.

"I would like to see this exercise continue to grow and more nations participate," said Yoshiyuki. "Peacekeeping is a very important mission and the more nations able to join in peacekeeping efforts throughout the world, the better."

Link to article


Engineers construct multinational partnerships during Khaan QuestDVIDS, August 24

Multinational medical team recognized for joint outreach successThe U.S. Army, August 22

Hawaii counter-IED experts conquer Khaan QuestThe U.S. Army, August 23

Alaska National Guard Soldier of the Year meets the Secretary of ArmyDVIDS, August 24


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August 24 (InfoMongolia) The Khaan Quest 2012 an annual multinational peacekeeping exercise, which is organized under General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces and the United States Pacific Command has concluded its military exercise on August 23, 2012.

At the closing ceremony many officials have attended, where Speaker of the Parliament Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD delivered a speech noting, "Peacekeeping is an honored duty of any military servant, showing his brave, tolerance, hardiness and high professional skills. In the scope of the participating in the International Peacekeeping Operations, Mongolia is implementing the source of its national security's guarantee based upon multinational diplomatic ways. The Khaan Quest 2012 was distinct coinciding with the 20th anniversary of establishment the diplomatic relation between United States and Mongolia; moreover, the 10 years have passed since Mongolia's participation in international peacekeeping operations."

Link to article


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August 24 (InfoMongolia) Early in the morning of August 24, 2012, the security office of the Chinggis Khaan International Airport had discovered a suspicious packet that looked like a bomb in a trash can in the Waiting Hall of the Airport.

Right after delivering an urgent situation, the experts from Police Office, Intelligence Agency, the 084th Military Unit, Authority for Border Protection and National Emergency Management Agency have conducted an investigation, securing the surrounding area; moreover all in/out flights were delayed accordingly.

Within the investigation it was determined that the "bomb" actually was not a real, but it was an explosive that makes a sound used for military exercise. Hence, all air companies started its regular flights at noon.

Following the removal, officials of the Chinggis Khaan Airport made a statement regarding the extreme situation and said that the above authorities were continuing the investigation on who might "left" the explosive in a trash can. Also, all forfeitures caused by flight delays are responsible the air companies making services, said officials.

Link to article


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The man who educated the Ninja Turtles

August 24 (Tamworth Herald) A 37-YEAR-OLD Tamworth man travelled to Mongolia to put his skills in mines rescue to the test in the gold mines.

Craig Notman, who lives in Wilnecote, is a former miner from Daw Mill colliery and now works in mines rescue near Burton on Trent.

He was chosen to take part in the BBC 'Toughest Place to be' series which featured mining when it was screened at the weekend.

Sunday's BBC2 programme showed Craig using his skills as a mines rescue worker in a gold mine in Mongolia.

He told the Herald: "We went out to Mongolia to highlight the plight of the so-called 'ninja' miners, an artisan mining community.

"Their working day is unsafe and we are safe, so we went to educate their people to improve their working environment.

"They work in such tiny spaces, where you can just get half of your body in to a tiny working space."

As Mongolia becomes one of the fastest-growing economies in the world thanks to its abundance of minerals, thousands of people, desperate for a living, head out into the wilderness to claim their own stake in the country's gold deposits.

Many are nomadic herdsmen who lost their livelihood due to severe weather conditions.

Craig stayed with husband and wife Sukhbaatar and Gansuvd, two of the unofficial miners known as Ninja Turtles because of the green bowls which they often carry on their back.

He saw how miners risked death or serious injury every day for a few pounds worth of gold, digging dangerous shafts and tunnels into the often frozen earth.

Viewers saw how when Sukhbaatar discovered that other miners had got into his hole and dug out the gold, Craig became even more motivated to rise to the challenge and join the Mongolian ninja miners, making it a matter of principle to dig his own hole, hit the gold seam and extract the precious metal to give to his host.

Craig added: "The visit to Mongolia has opened my eyes, it was upsetting but interesting and I hope something good is going to come out of it."

Back at work, Craig is one of a 13-strong mines rescue team, all former miners. They can be called out to incidents at collieries across the country where there specialist knowledge is needed.

Link to article


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Video: Mongolian Paralympian judo team at K2

August 25 (Crawley Observer) It's not very often you meet anyone from Mongolia or a Paralympian but this week members of Kin Ryu Judo Club did exactly that when they trained with them in Crawley.

Two members of the Mongolian team about to compete at London's 2012 Paralympics have been based at the K2 since last Friday. They have been completing gruelling training sessions before leaving for the Olympic Village this weekend.

Yesterday Crawley Observer sports editor Graham Carter went along to watch them in action sparring with local judo players and to find out what it is like to come up against a visually impaired judo player.

In this video the Mongolean team's chef de mission and committee secretary general Oyunbat Nasanbat talks about how the team is getting on.

Kin Ryu club coach Lisa Harrison reckons the Mongolian stars could be among the medals at the forthcoming games which start on Wednesday.

More pictures of the historic session will be published in next week's Crawley Observer.

Link to video



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