Tuesday, January 29, 2013

[Chalco threatens lawsuit, Erdenes TT's Hancock "resigns", and China-Mongolia relationship at its "best" in history]

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Blue Wolf Mongolia Countdown: 83 days left till liquidation


Mongolia’s Erdenes TT COO Hancock Said to Resign on Cash Crunch

January 29 (Bloomberg) Graeme Hancock, the chief operating officer of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, has resigned as the Mongolian coal mining company faces a cash crunch that’s disrupted shipments to China, a person familiar with the situation said.

The board of the state-run company accepted Hancock’s resignation this week, the person said, declining to be named before the matter is announced publicly. Hancock was the second- highest executive at Erdenes TT, as the miner is also known, and his role included preparing the company to list in Hong Kong, London and on a domestic bourse, the person said.

The departure of Hancock comes as Erdenes TT delays a share sale to focus on securing state financing and restarting shipments, as well as negotiating better sales terms from its biggest buyer, the Aluminum Corp. (2600) of China Ltd. Erdenes stopped deliveries to Chalco, as the Chinese state company is known, on Jan. 11 after saying it could no longer pay the cost of sending the coal to the China.

Mongolia has pledged a $355 million loan to help Erdenes TT climb out of debts, the mining company’s chief executive officer Yaichil Batsuuri said last week. Still, Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag said Jan. 23 that the supply deal between Erdenes TT and Chalco must be renegotiated.

Erdenes TT spokeswoman Gurjav Enkhmanduul said she could not comment on Hancock’s resignation as it has not yet been announced internally. The former mining specialist at the World Bank is the second Erdenes TT executive to resign in the last three months. Baasangombo Enebish quit as the CEO in October, citing personal reasons.

IPO Delay

Erdenes TT, which has delayed its initial public offering several times since 2011, is not likely to seek a share sale until at least 2014, according to Batsuuri, who took over from Enebish.

The current priority is to secure better pricing from Chalco, Batsuuri said. Erdenes TT supplies coal to Chalco at $53 a metric ton, less than the $61 it costs to move it to the Tsagaan Khaad border station, he said.

Chalco International Trading President Li Dongguang said yesterday that the Chinese company will not renegotiate the accord with Erdenes TT, which began operating its first mine in 2011. Instead, Chalco is willing to help the Mongolian company solve financing problems, Li said.

Erdenes TT mines the East Tsankhi part of the 6-billion-ton Tavan Tolgoi field, one of the largest coal deposits in Mongolia. The state company also owns the rights to the untapped West Tsankhi block, which Mongolia has considered leasing to foreign miners in return for royalties.

The money Mongolia plans to lend Erdenes TT will help the company end its contract with Chalco and buy equipment to begin the development of the West Tsankhi block, Batsuuri said.

Mongolia will use part of the $580 million raised from the March 2011 bond sale by the state-owned Development Bank of Mongolia LLC for the loan to Erdenes TT, Ulan Bator-based Origo Partners Plc (OPP) said in a note on Jan. 25, citing comments made by the prime minister in the capital on Jan. 23.

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UPDATE 2-Chalco threatens legal action in Mongolia coal dispute

* Will seek compensation if Tavan Tolgoi breaches deal

* Offers to help pay Mongolian transportation costs

* Already paying $100 per tonne

By Wan Xu and David Stanway

BEIJING, Jan 28 (Reuters) - The Aluminium Corporation of China (Chalco) warned it would seek legal redress if Mongolia breaks what it says is a loss-making coal supply deal.

Mongolia's state-owned Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi (E-TT), which runs the 7.5 billion-tonne Tavan Tolgoi project, wants to renegotiate a 2011 deal with Chalco to supply $250 million worth of coal.

E-TT last week delayed an IPO of up to $3 billion, citing problems with infrastructure and the deal with Chalco.

Li Dongguang, the president of China Aluminium International Trading Co Ltd, a subsidiary overseeing the Mongolian deal, told a news conference the company would punish any breach.

"If they maliciously breach the contract in order to seek their unilateral interest and neglect the interests of the other side, in that case the compensation will have no upper limit. In that case, we would take legal action," Li said.

Li said Chalco imported 2.37 million tonnes of coal from Tavan Tolgoi in 2012, less than the original plan for 3 to 4 million tonnes.

Chalco made an advance payment of $250 million in July 2011. Shipments to China were suspended earlier this month because the Mongolian firm was unable to pay the costs of delivery.

Chalco would be willing to provide financial help to E-TT to keep operations running, and would consider paying the company's transportation costs, but it says all offers have been ignored.

"We have proposed many solution plans, but there has been no response from them," said Liu Xiangyu, the manager of the company's Hong Kong unit, who is in direct talks with Mongolia. "All they request is to adjust the price, cut the volume, and renegotiate."


Batsuuri Yaichil, the chief executive of E-TT, last week told Reuters the prices paid by Chalco were lower than the cost of production, and that Mongolia wanted to sell its coal to other customers at international prices.

Chalco said the prices were index-based, with a 10 percent discount compared with Australian prices to account for the lower quality of Mongolian coking coal.

Li said Chalco was paying as much as $100 per tonne to move Tavan Tolgoi coking coal across the border to markets in southern and eastern China.

"The new management team (of E-TT) doesn't understand the situation," he said.

Chalco has long sought to invest in Mongolia's mines, but it has faced political opposition.

A $926 million bid for Canada's Mongolia-based coal miner SouthGobi Resources was dropped in October after it became clear the bid would not be approved.

Last year, the Chinese firm also abandoned an agreement to buy a 29.9 percent stake in Winsway Coking Coal Holdings , which delivers coal from Mongolia to China, for $308 million, as it would not be able to win approvals from Chinese and overseas authorities.

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China-Mongolia Coal Spat Heats Up

January 28 (WSJ) Escalating a standoff with Mongolia over access to a portion of its rich coal reserves, a Chinese state-run company threatened to seek legal action if its Mongolian partner fails to abide by their contract.

Executives with Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., or Chalco, said Monday that its $350 million coal-for-loans deal (Mogi: $250m is the correct amount)  with Mongolia's Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi LLC was agreed upon by both companies more than a year ago and sanctioned by both governments. Liu Xiangyu, the general manager of the Chalco unit that negotiated the deal, said Mongolian officials' recent objections to the terms of the deal are "baseless."

"A unilateral breach of the contract...could mean unlimited monetary damages," Li Dongguang, president of Chalco subsidiary China Aluminum International Trading Co., said Monday, adding that he hoped Mongolia "won't walk further and further away."

Mr. Li linked the coal spat to what he described as a wider trend in the new Mongolian government, elected in June, of attempting to revisit all its global mining deals.

A senior executive of state-controlled Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi declined to comment on the legal dispute Monday. A Mongolian foreign-ministry official said he didn't have an immediate comment.

Last week, Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi said it had halted coal exports to China and threatened to cancel the coal-supply deal. Mongolia's ambassador to Beijing, Tsedenjav Sukhbaatar, told The Wall Street Journal on Friday that the pricing terms of the deal, which he said capped Mongolia's coal exports at $70 a metric ton, were "unacceptable in the sense of normal international trade."

The dispute marks an early test in the development of what is considered one of the world's largest coal deposits. Energy-hungry China hopes to tap supplies of the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit. But Mongolia faces a surge of resource nationalism at home as well as concerns over China's growing economic sway there.

It isn't clear how the dispute might affect the mining company's planned public offer, which has been delayed repeatedly and now taken off this year's calendar while the Mongolian government focuses on putting the mine's infrastructure in place.

Separately, the board of Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi asked Chief Operating Officer Graeme Hancock to resign due to uncertainty surrounding the fundraising plans, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company needs to cut costs, the person said, and with a listing uncertain Mr. Hancock's position "is no longer as important to the company." Tsenguun Tsogt, head of the company's investment and financing department, declined to comment on the resignation.

The production under dispute represents less than 1% of the Tavan Tolgoi deposit, which by some estimates totals more than one billion tons of high-quality coking coal. Mongolia hasn't made any final decision about the development rights to other parts of the deposit after scotching a bidding process in 2011 that drew interest from China Shenhua Energy Co., Peabody Energy Corp. of the U.S. and a Mongolian-Russian consortium.

Under the deal, Chalco had lent $350 million to help fund Tavan Tolgoi's operations (Mogi: $250m), which was to be repaid in coal. Mr. Sukhbaatar said Friday that more than half the loan had been repaid but the Mongolian government now wants to completely renegotiate the deal. Mr. Sukhbaatar had said Mongolia was now keen to deal with Shenhua rather than Chalco on all bilateral coal matters, a move that could set up a potential contest between two Chinese companies. Shenhua has said it still needs to study the issue.

Chalco officials said they weren't aware if Shenhua had opened talks with Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi but expressed confidence that Shenhua won't break ranks with another Chinese company.

Ms. Liu, general manager of the Chalco unit that negotiated the deal, said the terms of the deal pegged Mongolia's coal price to market movements and weren't capped at a single price. She declined to disclose specifics on pricing but said the contract price was higher than the market price at the time the deal was signed, though the term price declined in line with the global coal market last year.

Chalco was continuing to reach out to the Mongolian government, and was willing to consider more loans to tide over its operational needs if necessary, said Mr. Li of China Aluminum.

Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi last year exported 2.37 million tons of coking coal, which is used to make metals, out of a planned three million to four million tons. China's total coking-coal imports reached 19 million tons last year.

Link to article


China-Mongolia relationship at its best in history: ambassador

ULAN BATOR, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- China and Mongolia have made great efforts to deepen their strategic partnership established in 2011 and their relationship is currently at its best in history, Chinese ambassador Wang Xiaolong told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Wang made the remarks days ahead of a scheduled visit to Mongolia by Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress.

It is the common aspiration of both countries to consolidate their friendship, deepen bilateral cooperation and continuously push forward bilateral ties so as to promote development in both countries and bring more benefits for both peoples, Wang said.

China and Mongolia have maintained frequent exchange of high-level visits, the Chinese ambassador said, adding that such factors have greatly contributed to the deepening of political mutual trust between the two neighbors.

In June 2012, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj met respectively with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, and Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the 12th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Beijing.

During the meetings, the leaders mapped out the route for further development of the China-Mongolia strategic partnership and reached various agreements on trade, economic cooperation and cultural exchanges, Wang said.

In August, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo visited Mongolia soon after the country installed a new parliament and government in order to consolidate the smooth development of bilateral relations, Wang said.

Both countries have viewed their bilateral ties from a strategic perspective and showed respect for each other's core interests and major concerns, Wang said, adding that the two sides have also maintained thorough communication on global and regional issues of common concern.

On the economic front, the two countries have seen rapid growth in two-way trade in the past decade, from 360 million U.S. dollars in 2002 to 6.6 billion dollars in 2012, among which 3.9 billion dollars were Mongolian exports to China, said Wang.

China has been Mongolia's biggest trade partner and top investment source country for several years, he added.

Alongside enhanced political trust and booming economic ties, people-to-people exchanges between the two countries have also become more active in recent years, Wang said.

According to the ambassador, more than 6,000 Mongolian students are studying in China and most of the Mongolian universities now have Chinese language courses.

The reciprocal hosting of culture month by China and Mongolia in 2012 also yielded positive results, Wang added.

The Chinese ambassador believed there are new opportunities for the development of China-Mongolia relations and the two countries could realize win-win results and common development as long as they properly take advantage of complementarity of the two economies.

Link to article


Altan Rio Proposes Shares for Drilling Settlement

VANCOUVER, Jan. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Altan Rio Minerals Limited, TSX.V: AMO ("Altan Rio" or the "Company") announces that, subject to acceptance by the TSX Venture Exchange, it proposes settling a debt for drilling services of $245,860 to Erdenyn Erel LLC ("EEL" or "Erdenyn Erel"), a private Mongolian company, by issuance of an aggregate of 1,606,928 common shares in the Company. As per the agreement dated June 19th, 2012, with EEL, shares will be issued at a 15% discount to market price. The Company's shares closed on January 25th, 2013, the last closing price prior to this release, at $0.18; therefore a 15% discount from this price yields a settlement price of$0.153. The proposed shares to be issued in this settlement of debt will be subject to a hold period of four months and one day from the date of issuance.

Erdenyn Erel drilled 3,030.35 m at the Company's Chandman-Yol copper-gold porphyry project in western Mongolia in 2012. For more information on the recently released drill results please see the Company's news release from January 18th, 2013.

Link to release



January 28 (BDSec JSC) --


      After 7 consecutive weeks of gain, Mongolian bourse closed at negative value: MSE Top 20 index went down by 0.97% to close at 18,112.9 points whilst BDS index lost 1.11% to 3,954.2 points. Total market cap reached 1,299.3 mil USD, which is 0.63% lower than the previous week.

      Despite the short term risk aversion, we are bullish in a year of 2013 in terms of macro-economic wise considering preliminary statistics released by National Statistics Office: GDP grew 12.3% in real terms, foreign trade turnover reached 71.2 billion USD, which is 7.1% higher than the previous year and total loan outstanding hit 6.8 trillion MNT (~4.9 bil USD) that is 21.7% higher than the same period of the previous year.

      Beverage producer APU (APU), concrete manufacturer Remicon (RMC) and coking coal exporter Tavan Tolgoi (TTL), which are one of the most liquid stocks, stayed relatively flat throughout the week and collectively constituted 60% of the total trading value of the last week.

Link to report


Nexia International welcomes new member from Mongolia

January 28 (Nexia) We are pleased to announce the addition of a new member firm from Mongolia, Sevillia Audit LLC.

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January 28 (InfoMongolia) On January 25, the Government Chairman Norov ALTANKHUYAG hosted a regular monthly on-line meeting, namely “Responsibility, Implementation and Control”, with authorities of the Ministries and Agencies to sum up and give directions on utmost importance to be resolved matters.

At the beginning of the meeting Premier noted that some Ministries and Agencies have accomplished their duties for the past month pretty well, but besides well-doings  there other misunderstandings being aroused that had to be clarified and informed openly. Particularly, in recent days complaints have been heightened that the large number of public servants being fired from their jobs, or the Government Bonds’ interest causing to balance the state economical situation of Mongolia, mentioned Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag.

Thereby, Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag in order to clarify stated the following, ”The Government is working to eliminate the immoral deeds happening in public service and in its system, before some detailed information regarding the state activity was not introduced to public, which consequently it causes some misunderstandings among public, hence from now on I want all authorities to inform their actions open via press and media. Though, several authorities from state-owned companies being fired were a group of people that accused laundering money from state properties who used civil servants’ sovereignty. These officials were removed under reasonable grounds.

For instance, the State Bank of Mongolia’s head was abdicated; in connection with its six members of the management board of the Bank each defrauded 90 million MNT under the reason of “Worked Profitably”. Civilians are in line to get a 9-million long term loan, where a few authorities in the Bank just awarding themselves from state money.

Another sample, Chairman of the “Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi” JSC was fired, the company most expected to be the nation’s “cash cow” instead become nearly to bankruptcy, besides the Company’s Agreement made with Chalco is not profitable causing great loss so far.

Also, MIAT Mongolian Airlines authorities were removed. One example to say is the company spent 3.8 billion MNT (approx. 2.7 million USD) last year for a “household support” and 14 billion MNT for last 5 years, moreover 1.2 billion MNT for a business trip.

The latter money is enough to supply with complete computer tomography equipments for an aimag hospital, hence aimag residents are coming for diagnosis to the capital city.

There are several same samples in other state entities such as General Customs and Taxation. Therefore the Government will protect its civilian’s rights and renew the system; we will not allow anymore laundering money from state properties”.

Link to article


Speculation on withdrawal of MNDP from Government

January 29 ( A rumor has started that MPRP-MNDP (Mongolian People`s Revolutionary Party- Mongolian National Democratic Party) Justice coalition is to withdraw from the Government. 

There is speculation that the Justice Coalition will withdraw from the Government after Enkhsaikhan Mendsaikhan, the head of MNDP was dismissed from the post as the head of the Mongolian Railway joint venture.

But Enkhsaikhan Mendsaikhan, the head of MNDP spoke to journalists saying that “the MNDP membership discussion meeting was held today. We discussed and shared opinions on the issues about geopolitics, geo-economics and Mongolia. We also discussed the current Government`s main policies.

During the meeting members of MNDP reached a decision to hold a plenary meeting of MNDP in the next few days. But we cannot give more details.”

Observers are saying that MNDP will decide whether or not to withdraw from the Government during the up-coming plenary meeting.

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Central Bank Survey on Commercial Banks

January 28 ( The Central Bank of Mongolia conducted a poll survey of loans and saving rates among commercial banks in the fourth quarter of last year. 

The survey involved 14 senior officials from banks.  According to the survey, commercial banks issued 7 trillion MNT in loans in 2012. This is a 24.1 percent increase on the previous year. The weighted average interest rose to 18.2 percent gaining 2.7 percent

During 2000 to 2007 a good time in foreign and domestic markets caused loan interest rates to collapse. 

But loan interest has risen up to 18.2 percent since last April. Organisations say that the commercial bank interest loan rates that are near to 20 percent are too high. 

In the survey the Central bank asked: “Do you think loan interest is high”, in order to observe commercial bank’s views. 

Most of the bank officials replied that the loan interest rate is high. 

The explanation given for the high loan interest is due to scarce and high valued loan sources. According to the survey 57 percent of commercial bank loan interest is not based on the Central Banks interest rate, but instead consider expenses and other bank`s average interest and savings interest rate

The survey indicated that commercial banks make up an assessment for loans of 54 percent from savings, 24 percent from current account and 16 percent from foreign investment sources

Only one of the commercial banks in the survey revealed that it could decrease its savings interest rate in three months while 54 percent of them replied to decrease in 3-9 months and15 percent would do so in 9-12 months. 

The remaining 15 percent revealed that they would not decrease their savings rate. 

The survey indicated that when the savings rate is not decreased the fall in loan interest rates is impossible. 

Over 35 percent of the commercial banks involved in the survey revealed they would increase their loan interest in 2013 while 57 percent said they would make no changes. Only 7 percent of them promised to decrease loan interest rates. 

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Mongolia: Balance of Payments Analytic Presentation - 2012

January 28 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Link to Excel sheet


Fuel importers vs AFCCP

January 28 ( The Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection (AFCCP) has imposed a 4.9 billion MNT fine to NIC, the National fuel importer company, for allegedly intentionally creating a false fuel shortage last November. 

The Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection (AFCCP) accused the company for neglecting the ban to serve customers with vouchers when the fuel reserves are not low on 6th and 7th November, violating the regulation ruled by the AFCCP. 

The Petroleum Authority also proved the allegation that the company created a false fuel shortage through an inspection. 

But NIC refuted the allegation and sued the Administrative Court claiming the Authority imposed illegal fines. 

O.Magnai, the Chief of the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection explained that “it is not acceptable for the State to grant lower interest loans to a company that sued against a State agency. Therefore we suspended 50 billion lower interest loans that were to be issued to NIC by the Central Bank. We expect now that the Court will reach a fair decision on the case”.

Not including the 4.9 billion MNT fines to NIC, the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection also imposed 17 billion and 249 million MNT fines to eight importer companies for increasing the fuel price to 230 MNT after conspiring together in 2011. 

The Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection imposed fines of 6 billion MNT to NIC, 4.5 to Magnai Trade, 2 billion to Sod Mongol and 1 billion to Just Oil, Oin Birj, Shunkhlai Trade, M Oil and PetroJump LLC

However, last May B.Lhagva canceled the fines to fuel importers claiming the allegations were reasonless after he was appointed the Chief of the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection.  

O.Magnai again raised the issues of fines at the directors` board meeting of the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection to recover the fines due from the fuel importers after he was appointed as the Chief. 

B.Lhagva , the former chief of the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection has been questioned by the Anti Corruption Authority over the case. 

Link to article


City Mayor plans industrial town in Baganuur

January 28 ( MPs were presented with the Master Plan to develop Ulaanbaatar City by Governor E.Bat-Uul during the DP caucus meeting on Monday. 

The Master Plan is designed to focus on population centralization. According to the plan the Ulaanbaatar City Administration will consider not letting the population of Ulaanbaatar reach more than 1.4 million by 2030. Currently 1.2 million people reside in the City. In order to decelerate centralization in the City measures to build new towns are being planned. 

For instance, it was decided to establish small and medium scale industrial regions by building a transport logistic center in Bagakhangai district, while Baganuur district is planned to be turned into a heavy industrial district with a student village nearby

The plan also included the idea to establish a building material industry in Nalaikh district. Building industrial centers in the districts will open a door to people to dwell in the towns near to the City. The City Administrative hopes that centralization in Ulaanbaatar city will be lessened as a result. 

The project to turn ger districts into apartment districts and the plan of development for Bayankhoshuu in Songinokhairkhan district and Doloon buudal in Chingeltei district like Darkhan – Uul aimag was already planned. 

There is a lot of speculation that the City Administration will be moved from the city center. But the City Governor said that the suggestion to remove the City Administrative from the city center to the western part of the city, in Songinokhairkhan district, is still in consideration. 

The City Governor also stated that the V Power Plant project has now reached the inquiry stage. 

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LIVE From Mongolia!: From Wall Street Banker to Mongolian News Anchor

By Patricia Sexton

Blowtorched sheep. Wash down with fermented horse milk.

Beneath a canopy of stars under the endless Mongolian sky.

Fall in love with the possibility of a future you'd only ever dreamed of.

In 2006, author Patricia Sexton set out on a journey most of us have only ever fantasized about. She quit her job to pursue her dream. Thirty years old and a rising star at a Wall Street investment bank, Patricia wanted nothing more than to work as a foreign correspondent. So, that's just what she did, moving to Mongolia after landing an internship at the country's national TV station. 

"LIVE from Mongolia!" follows Patricia's unlikely journey from Wall Street to Ulan Bator. And it doesn't stop there. Not only does Patricia manage to get promoted to anchor of the Mongolian news, she also begins to meet some very unusual people following very unusual dreams of their own. There's the Mongolian hip-hop star who worked in London restaurants to make his dream come true, the Italian textile executive who left everything behind to pursue his passion for mozzarella cheese, the German brewmaster plying his trade so lovingly that there were always tears in his eyes. And many more. 

While Patricia chronicles her own journey from what she'd been told to pursue in life, to what she actually wanted to pursue, she meets and chronicles the stories of others on much the same path. And all this while Patricia is learning the ropes of reporting the news for the first time, camping with nomads in the Gobi desert, traveling to Siberia to meet a shaman, and even crashing Genghis Khan's 800th anniversary party. 

But of course a journey like this isn't without its stumbles, and Patricia has her fair share of them, including briefly returning to Wall Street -- even after meeting with the president of CNN. 

It isn't often that the Executive Producer of CBS Evening News gives out blurbs, but what Rick Kaplan had to say describes it best: "Leaving a good job on Wall Street for the unknown in Mongolia? I've never heard of a more ill-conceived plan. But although author Patricia Sexton achieved what she set out to do -- change her life -- hers is a journey that is by no means finished."

"LIVE from Mongolia!" is the story of this ongoing journey -- from a corporate career to a dream job, one that even Patricia hadn't imagined she'd land.

Link to article


Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships Awards Mongolia 1st Place

January 28 (Huffington Post) The 23rd annual International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge is an eagerly-awaited event that brings the Colorado snow to life.

This year's first place winner of both the Artist's and People's Choice Awards was Team Mongolia, whose "Mongolian Warriors" sculpture depicted life-like 13th-century warriors and their horses striding out of a solid 20-ton block base of snow.

Team Mongolia evoked the furious energy of galloping across the Mongolian steppe,” said Jenn Cram, judge coordinator and Breckenridge Arts District Administrator. “The piece is powerful with its deliberate attention to detail and the dynamic alignment of planes. We could see that sculpture done in bronze, in marble; it was truly a sculptural piece.”

Alongside 14 other teams, Mongolia worked a total of 65 hours across five days without the use of power tools, internal support structures or colorants.

Second place was awarded to Team Catalonia-Spain for their homage to Picasso, or "Banyista Nua" piece. Team Estonia won third place with their piece titled "Koit."

The sculptures this year were built from Jan. 22-26, with some artists staying up all night to complete their masterpieces.

Last year's winner of the Snow Sculpture Championships was Team Canada-Quebec with a piece entitled, "Great Expectations."

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“Mogi” Munkhdul Badral

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