Thursday, April 11, 2013

[OT talks ongoing, mine still on track for summer startup, inflation down to single digits, and EBRD invests in a Samsung hospital]

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CoverMongolia NewsWire

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Cover Mongolia-г Орлогожуулах Санаанууд

Эрхэм уншигч/захиалагч танаа,

Дараах 3н аргаар мэдээллийнхээ энэ үйлчилгээг орлогожуулах санаанууд дэвшүүлж байна:

1)    Баннер зар: Албан байгууллагуудад сурталчилгаагаа энд байршуулах боломж олгож байна. Дээр анзаарсанчлан Top Banner-с гадна дараах тодорхой байршлуудад зарын баннераа байршуулах боломжтой: 1. Гадаадад зах зээл 2. Дотоод зах зээл 3. Эдийн засаг 4. Улс төр 5. Бизнес 6. Гадаад харилцаа болон 7. Нийгэм, байгаль орчин, бусад. Үнийн саналууд доорх байдлаар:

a.     Top Banner дугаар бүрт 50,000,

b.    Middle Banner 1 дугаар бүрт ₮45,000,

c.     Middle Banner 2 дугаар бүрт 40,000,

d.    Middle Banner 3 дугаар бүрт 35,000,

e.    Middle Banner 4 дугаар бүрт ₮30,000,

f.      Middle Banner 5 дугаар бүрт 25,000, болон

g.    Middle Banner 6 дугаар бүрт 20,000.

2)    Хувь хүмүүс хандивлах: Ойрын хугацаанаас захиалагч хувь хүмүүс өөрт нь болоод ажил төрөлд нь хэрэг болдог үнэлэмжээрээ тодорхой хандив өгөх, Википедиагийн зарчмын дагуу. Удахгүй гадаадад суугаа хүмүүст зориулж PayPal данс нээх болно, харин дотоодод байгаа хүмүүст дотоодын данс нээн бэлдэх болно.

a.     5-р сараас эхлэн 2 ангилалаар мэдээгээ хүргэж эхлэнэ. Нэг нь хандив/төлбөр төлсөн хувь хүн, албан байгууллагуудад зориулсан одоогийнх шиг бүтэн хувилбар. Харин ямар нэгэн төлбөр/хандив төлөөгүй хүмүүсд зориулж зөвхөн гарчиг болоод эхний хэдэн догол мөрүүд багтсан хувилбар.

b.    Хандив нь улирал бүрээр байхаар төсөөлж байна.

3)    Албан байгууллагын захиалга: Албан байгууллагуудад төлбөртэйгээр мэдээлэл хүргүүлэх болно. Дээр дурьдсанчлан мэдээгээ бүтэн, бүтэн бус гэж 2 ангилан явуулах учраас хувь хүмүүс байгууллагынхаа удирдлагад хандан байгууллагаараа CoverMongolia NewsWire-г захиалахыг санал болгоно гэдэгт найдаж байна.

a.     Үнийн саналын хувьд тухайн байгууллагын хэмжээ болон тухайн мэдээлэлд өгөх ач холбогдлоос шалтгаалан сар бүр ₮100,000-₮500,000 байхаар төсөөлж байна

b.    Байгууллагын хувьд захиалах эсэх талаар шийдвэр гаргахад бодох гол зүйл бол зах зээлийн судалгаа хийх хүн хөлслөвөл ₮500,000-с хавьгүй илүү өндөр зардал гаргах болов уу.


Overseas Markets

AKM closed +7.69% to 7c on Wednesday

Aspire's Northern Railways LLC Receives Rail PFS Revision

April 10, Aspire Mining Limited (ASX:AKM) --

      Rail Pre-Feasibility Study Revision incorporating a new Southern Alignment confirms potential construction cost savings of $200m as against original Pre-Feasibility Study completed in February 2012.

      Additional capex cost savings possible from a de-rating of haulage capacity from 22 mtpa to initial starting capacity of 10–12 Mtpa (to reflect Ovoot and nearby smaller mine requirements) and optimisation of the eastern half of the alignment.

      Potential operating cost savings of $50m per annum.

      Attractive rail economics across a range of reasonable minimum rail volumes and tariffs supported by the Ovoot Project and four other nearby resource projects.

      Government of Mongolia leadership have recognised the need for more economic growth and infrastructure investment in Northern Mongolia and in particular Khuvsgul Province.

      Preparation to commence Rail Bankable Feasibility Study now underway.

Link to release


Mogi: a company who just recently changed their name to "Mongolian" Resources going to Sri Lanka? Mongolia Investment Group for that matter too.


April 9 -- The Board of Mongolian Resources Ltd (ASX:MRF) ("the Company or MRL") is pleased to announce it has reached agreed terms for the acquisition of an exciting additional project for the Company.

As outlined in the Company's prospectus, the Company would be conducting a number of due diligence programs with a view to identifying further projects on assets in Mongolia and other parts of the world that will add to shareholder value.

The Company has reached agreed terms with The Supreme Group of Sri Lanka for the acquisition of 45km2 of graphite exploration licences representing 45 Grids. The terms of the acquisition are:

1.    Payment of a refundable US$100,000 deposit at the time of entering into a Heads of Agreement.

2.    Upon completion of documentation and transaction finalisation;

a.     An additional US$400,000 to be paid; and

b.    5,000,000 vendor shares in MRL to be issued. These shares will be subject to escrow for a period of 12 months from the time of the issue of the securities.

3.    Issue of a further 5,000,000 vendor shares in MRL on conversion of any of the areas to a mining licence.

4.    Payment of US$500,000 at the time of commencement of commercial mining activities.

MRL expects to execute the Heads of Agreement within the next few days.

Link to release


MRF last closed at 14c


April 9 -- The securities of Mongolian Resources Limited (the "Company," ASX:MRF) will be suspended from quotation immediately, at the request of the Company, pending the release of an announcement in relation to a proposal acquisition.

Link to release


UPDATE 1-Rio Tinto says talks with Mongolia ongoing, productive, mine on track reach commercial production in summer

April 9 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto Plc is having productive talks with the Mongolian government over the investment agreement for its Oyu Tolgoi project in the Central Asian nation, the chief executive of the global miner's copper division said on Tuesday.

Rio and Mongolia are at loggerheads over the future of one of the world's largest untapped copper deposits just as the mine ramps up output and the Rio subsidiary that owns it tries to line up $4 billion for the next stage of development.

The mine is operating under a temporary budget after the two sides failed to agree on a deal last month, having disagreed over taxes and rising costs that Mongolia fears will erode prospective earnings.

"While there are complex issues that need to be resolved, constructive progress is being made," said Jean-Sebastien Jacques, speaking as part of the CESCO/CRU copper conference in Santiago. "We continue to have productive discussions with the government on a range of issues."

The mine is due to start selling in June and could make up a third of Mongolia's economy by 2020, producing 425,000 tonnes of copper and 460,000 ounces of gold a year.

Jacques said on Tuesday that the mine is on track to reach commercial production during the summer.

Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi owner Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ.TO, TRQ.N), formerly known as Ivanhoe Mines, signed an investment agreement with Mongolia in 2009. The government stood by the deal despite calls from politicians to amend it.

Shares of Turquoise Hill rose 6.5 percent to C$6.56 on Tuesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock is down nearly 17 percent so far this year.

Rio's London-listed shares closed up almost 5 percent on Tuesday, but are down more than 10 percent so far this year.

Link to article


Rio Tinto Says Mongolia Copper Production May Start in Summer

April 10 (Bloomberg) Rio Tinto Group is aiming to start commercial production at its Oyu Tolgoi copper project in Mongolia in the northern Hemisphere summer as talks advance with the government on permitting.

Rio Tinto is in a "clarification" process with the government over the project that will be built over two stages, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, head of the London-based company's copper unit, said yesterday in an interview in Santiago.

Oyu Tolgoi, whose development costs and schedule have been the subject of debate in Mongolia, is the primary driver of the country's $10 billion economy and by 2020 is expected to make up one-third of Mongolia's gross domestic product. Rio controls 66 percent of the $6.6 billion project with the remainder controlled by the government.

"Subject to ongoing support from the government we are cautiously optimistic that we will have first commercial production during the summer," Jacques said. "There is no dispute whatsoever as we speak."

The mine in the South Gobi desert is operating on a month- to-month budget and requires approval from the board of directors. The board agreed on March 29 to continue to fund the project through April, Mining Minister Davaajav Gankhuyag said.

Rio is positive on long-term prospects for the copper market as China and developed nations continue to demand more of the metal used in power cables and electrical wire and new supply faces mounting challenges, Jacques said.

"People throughout the world want to have iPads and iPhones and you need lots of copper to do so," he said.

Link to article


Mongolia Scolds Rio Tinto on Costs as Mine Riches Replace Yurts

April 10 (Bloomberg Markets) Outside, it's minus 30 degrees Celsius as a February wind blasts across the Central Asian steppe and through the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar. Inside Government House, President Tsakhia Elbegdorj delivers a televised speech that simultaneously warms his people and chills foreign investors.

The country's 76 legislators have convened to debate the future of one of the planet's richest copper and gold mines, Oyu Tolgoi, which is 66 percent owned by London-based Rio Tinto Group (RIO) and 34 percent owned by the state. Elbegdorj tells them Rio Tinto has let the project's total cost balloon by $10 billion. The higher expenses, which Rio Tinto disputes, would diminish and delay profits the government shares in, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its May issue.

"The time has come for the Mongolian government to take Oyu Tolgoi matters into its own hands," Elbegdorj says to cheers from the lawmakers. His demands include giving Mongolian employees more management positions on the project, which is scheduled to begin exporting copper concentrate by June.

Few things matter more today in the political and economic life of this landlocked country of 2.8 million people than foreign investment to develop its mineral wealth. Mining money has spawned gleaming office towers, pricey gated communities and luxury-car dealerships in the capital. And yet, half of all Mongolians still live like their nomadic ancestors in circular felt yurts that can be dismantled and moved.


Minegolia, to use a nickname that's become more common during the mining boom, remains a poor country. About 30 percent of the population lived in poverty in 2011, according to the government, although that was an improvement from 40 percent in 2010, before the start of payouts funded by mine proceeds.

Puntsag Tsagaan, the president's chief of staff, says he doesn't want to see his country turned into Minegolia. Mineral wealth should be exploited cautiously and benefit the people, he says. "It does not have to be unlocked in a generation."

Mongolia's gross domestic product expanded 12.3 percent last year to $10 billion. Economists expect 15 percent growth this year. Oyu Tolgoi, which means Turquoise Hill, will be the largest contributor to the economy once it's fully operational. With fees, royalties and the government stake, as much as 71 percent of profits will go to Mongolians, the International Monetary Fund estimates.

"There is scope for Mongolia to vastly develop if it gets everything right," says Vidur Jain, a strategist at Monet Capital, an investment bank based in Ulaanbaatar.

Government Complaints

At the moment, much appears to be going wrong. Instead of basking in new mineral riches, Elbegdorj is sparring with Rio Tinto. In addition to the complaint about a cost blowout, the government says the company should have paid taxes last year and needs greater financial transparency.

In his speech to parliament on Feb. 1, Elbegdorj wasn't just bluffing. A few days later, his government briefly froze Rio Tinto's bank accounts, according to three people familiar with the situation who asked not to be named because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.

"I'm concerned by recent political signals within Mongolia calling into question some aspects of the investment agreement," Sam Walsh, Rio Tinto's chief executive officer, said in a webcast on Feb. 14. "This undermines the partnership we've built and the stability on which a project of this size and scale depends."

'Fully Transparent'

Rio Tinto, through its Oyu Tolgoi unit, says it has pre- paid taxes and wasn't obligated to make payments in 2012. The company says phase-one construction costs are on budget, at $6.2 billion, and in line with estimates it gave the government in December 2010. "We have always been fully transparent with all our shareholders regarding our project finances, costs and operations," Oyu Tolgoi CEO Cameron McRae said in a Feb. 7 statement.

Until recently, Oyu Tolgoi had billboards in the capital that touted the IMF estimate that most of the mine's profits will benefit Mongolians, illustrating the point with a loaf of bread cut into two unequal pieces.

After two decades of laissez faire, the government last year introduced regulations and laws to rein in foreign investors. These include insisting that a foreign company acquiring more than a 33 percent stake in a mine or other strategic industry get approval from a government agency. Investments above 49 percent must be approved by parliament. The government has more than Rio Tinto in its sights. St. Louis- based Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), London-based Anglo American Plc (AAL) and several smaller mining companies also operate in the country.

'Real Doubt'

"There's a real doubt in the minds of Mongolians about foreign investment," says Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, whose $1.5 billion Templeton Frontier Markets Fund (TFMAX) returned 24 percent last year. His fund has only 1 percent of its money in Mongolia. "It's very low on the totem pole," he says.

Some investors who have made Mongolia a priority may be heading for the exits, says Travis Hamilton, managing director of Singapore-based Khan Investment Management Ltd., which owns stakes in Mongolian companies. "Without legislative clarity, clear leadership and a welcoming environment for investment, the government risks a flight of capital," he says.

Even the U.S. ambassador to Mongolia has joined the fray, chiding both the government and investors for their hostility to one another. "The lack of respect is killing projects," Piper Campbell told delegates at a mining conference in Ulaanbaatar in February. "I have been in meetings with the government and businesses where both sides accuse the other of violating laws, acting corruptly and other lapses -- without thought of the impact of those kind of attacks. Both sides leave the room angry, the disputes fester, and when disaster inevitably comes, everybody acts surprised."

Market Drop

Mongolia may already be paying a price for its toughening stand. After jumping 139 percent in 2010 and 47 percent in 2011, the tiny Mongolian Stock Exchange's Top 20 Index (MSETOP) tumbled 19 percent last year. It has fallen 15 percent this year, shrinking its market capitalization to 768 billion tugrik ($545 million) as of April 8.

For Alisher Ali, founder of Silk Road Finance, an Ulaanbaatar-based investor in frontier markets, that's a buying opportunity. He says he's increasing his stakes in companies such as APU JSC (APU), a beverage maker based in Mongolia and the largest nonresource company listed on the exchange.

Genghis Kahn (Mogi: Kahn? Who's Kahn?)

"This period of underperformance is short-term," says Ali, who also invests in Myanmar and Mozambique. "Ultimately, the Oyu Tolgoi issue will be resolved because it is in the long-term interests of both Rio Tinto and the government."

For many Mongolians, national pride may count for more than investment dollars. Eight centuries ago, Mongol rulers were the world's most powerful men. Genghis Khan's empire stretched from the Mediterranean to Korea. His grandson Kublai Khan declared himself emperor of China, ruling from a fabled summer palace at Xanadu.

Elbegdorj, 50, himself a former nomad whose travels eventually took him to Harvard University, heads a mere fragment of that once-mighty realm. Entirely surrounded by China and Russia, Mongolia has been dominated by one or the other of its giant neighbors for most of the past 300 years.

The country was an impoverished satellite of the former Soviet Union during much of the last century. It still retains the Cyrillic alphabet, and many of Ulaanbaatar's 1.3 million inhabitants live in crumbling concrete apartment buildings from the Soviet era. Others live just outside the city's center in yurts -- known locally as gers -- without sewers, running water or, in most cases, electricity. Smoke from their coal fires has turned the capital into one of the world's most polluted cities, according to a 2011 World Bank report.

Turbulent Democracy

With the Soviet empire crumbling in 1990, Mongolia emerged as a turbulent democracy with revolving-door governments. Because the country is a minerals exporter, its proximity to China has been a coveted asset. Oyu Tolgoi is 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Chinese border. To best exploit that geographic advantage, though, Mongolia still must upgrade its mostly dirt roads, threadbare rail network and overloaded power grid.

Last year, it issued $1.5 billion of so-called Chinggis bonds, named for the local spelling of Genghis, and the government plans to sell an additional $3.5 billion.

Rather than simply letting investors mine ore and ship it across the nearest border, the government plans facilities such as a copper smelter, coal coking plant, oil refinery and iron pellet plant that will add value.


Mongolia is displaying newfound confidence internationally. In 2003, it sent 120 soldiers to support U.S. troops in Baghdad -- a city the Mongol hordes sacked in 1258. Today, it has small peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and South Sudan.

For now, though, Elbegdorj is consumed by domestic politics. A presidential election is due in June, and he's betting that playing hardball with mining companies will be a vote winner.

He may be right. Out in the Gobi Desert, 20 kilometers from where Rio Tinto's miners are digging for copper in shafts 1,300 meters (4,300 feet) underground, Aimtan Ulam-Badrakh, 54, stands stoically beside his isolated yurt watching his 300 sheep and 10 camels graze on tufts of brown grass.

Mine Payments

At first glance, it's a way of life unchanged since the days of Genghis Khan. Step inside the yurt, however, and a different story unfolds. These days, the stocky herdsman can afford a leather couch, a television and a computer. An iPhone 4 lies on a bed -- one of three mobile devices his family shares. His wife works part time at the airport built for the miners. His daughter teaches English at a local school, having learned the language while on a scholarship in Malaysia sponsored by Rio Tinto (RIO)'s local unit. Along with other desert dwellers, the family has been further enriched by as much as $11,000 in compensation paid by the mining company for the disruption its project has caused.

Ulam-Badrakh says he's glad Oyu Tolgoi is being developed -- but also has reservations. "Foreigners cannot just dig up the land, take away our wealth and leave us with a big hole in the ground," he says. "It has to be beneficial for foreigners and the Mongolian people."

Link to article


Goldman Sachs topic of conflict of interest discussion regarding OT

April 10 (Business-Mongolia) Senior Mongolian MPs and cabinet members had a session on whether Goldman Sachs had a conflict of interest when it advised the Mongolian government at the times when Oyu Tolgoi deal was in negotiation. The Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC was one of the advisors to the government on the economics and financial aspects, such as building a model, of the project.

The government received legal and financial advisory services on the deal from many organizations with help of The World Bank. Some of them performed the services without a charge due to project's reputation to be added into their portfolio, says a person familiar with the matter. However, Goldman Sachs charged USD 250K, according to the introduction given by Erdenes OT LLC at the session.

The Mining Minister Gankhuyag D. concluded the session by stating that it is hard to determine if the Goldman Sachs had conflict of interest, and if it did, it should be identified by the court. Which court? Traditionally courts in Mongolia prove the wrongdoing to proceed with a legal action. It is hard to find a major investment institute that hadn't invested into Turquoise Hill Resources Inc. formerly Ivanhoe Mines. Goldman Sachs is famous among the conspiracy activists that it can configure between both buy and sell sides as it dominates the investment industry with its' full service.

Last month, when Oyu Tolgoi shareholders gathered, the Goldman Sachs conflict of interest matter was in the list of the agenda. It was dropped after the government realized that it is not relevant to discuss it with Turquoise Hill Resources and Rio Tinto representatives.

If the Goldman Sachs financial advisory disassociates with all the projects and companies that its' asset managers have bought stocks, it will be impossible to perform their jobs. If the Mongolian government wants go on with this argument, it should consider bringing in S.E.C or other relevant financial regulatory agencies where the shares traded in at the time of the deal was non-public, and determine if the Goldman Sachs used insider information to take positions.

Link to article


FLO will inject Mongolia Minerals Corp. in to the capital pool company

Focused Capital Corp. Announces Transfer to TSX-Venture's NEX

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 8, 2013) - Focused Capital Corp. ("Focused Capital") (TSX VENTURE:FLO.P), a capital pool company as defined under Policy 2.4 of the TSX Venture Exchange (the "Exchange"), announces that pursuant to its press release dated January 15, 2013, Focused Capital has received approval from the Exchange to transfer its listing to the NEX board of the Exchange, effective the opening of market, on April 10, 2013 under the ticker symbol "FLO.H". The common shares of Focused Capital (the "Focused Capital Shares") continue to be suspended, pending completion of its proposed "qualifying transaction" with Mongolia Minerals Corporation, previously announced on March 15, 2013.

As part of the transfer to NEX, Focused Capital received shareholder approval at its annual and special meeting held on February 14, 2013 to cancel 2,500,000 Focused Capital Shares held by non-arm's length parties of Focused Capital that were issued at a price below the initial public offering price of the Focused Capital Shares. It is expected that upon completion of the proposed "qualifying transaction" with Mongolia Minerals Corporation, the Focused Capital Shares will commence trading on the Exchange again.

Link to release


Moody's reviews Winsway's (01733) ratings for downgrade

[ET Net News Agency, 5 April 2013] Moody's Investors Service has placed on review for downgrade, the B2 corporate family and B3 senior unsecured ratings of Winsway Coking Coal Holdings Ltd (). 

"Winsway's 2012 results were weak, reflecting negative gross profits and EBITDA margins which were worse than in the first half of the year," said Jiming Zou, a Moody's Analyst. 

"Winsway's weak financial position and lack of competitively priced supplies of coking coal puts it in a disadvantageous position, especially against the backdrop of the volatile coking coal trading industry and the surplus steel capacity situation in China," Zou added. (KL)

Link to article


GUF closed -1.96% to 25c on Wednesday

Guildford: Board of Directors Update

April 10 -- Guildford Coal (ASX:GUF) today advises that Mr Craig Ransley and Mr Mike Chester have requested temporary leave of absence from their duties as Non-Executive Directors for the duration of the current public enquiry of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Mr Ransley and Mr Chester are witnesses at the enquiry which is in connection to matters unrelated to Guildford Coal. They do not wish their commitment to the enquiry to be a distraction to their duties at Guildford Coal.

Guildford Coal's Chairman Hon Peter Lindsay said Mr Ransley's and Mr Chester's requests have been approved by the Board with immediate effect.

Hon Peter Lindsay confirms the appointment of Mr Kon Tsiakis, a commercial litigation partner in private practice, as an Alternate-Director for the period of Mr Ransley's temporary absence. Mr Tsiakis has wide experience advising directors and companies on regulatory compliance, statutory corporate obligations as a commercial litigator and having spent a number of years as a senior enforcement analyst with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Hon Peter Lindsay further advises the appointment of Mr Gary Humphrys, a chartered accountant and experienced Company Director, as an Alternate-Director for the period of Mr Chester's temporary absence. Mr Humphrys has extensive financial and commercial experience gained from many years as a Director and Executive in the mining, energy and utilities industries.

Link to release


402 last traded HK$0.255


April 9 -- At the request of Mongolia Investment Group Limited (the "Company," HK:402), trading in the shares of the Company on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited has been suspended with effect from 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 pending the issue of an announcement in relation to a very substantial acquisition and a possible placing of new shares of the Company, which is inside information of the Company.

Link to release


975 closed +3.45% at HK$2.70 on Wednesday

Od Brothers Continue Increase of MMC Shares Held Short

April 10 (Cover Mongolia) Directors' Interest Notices filed today revealed Mongolian Mining Corp (HK:975) Executive Chairman Odjargal Jambaljamts and Non-Executive Director Od Jambaljamts's short positions in MMC increased from 25.91% and 24.83 of total outstanding shares respectively to 28.61% and 27.53% respectively. These are short positions made due to MCS's stake in MMC being put as collateral for loans. Odjargal and Od control 38.44% and 36.32% of MMC respectively through its holdings in MCS and individually.

Link to OJ notice

Link to Od notice


61 closed -1.43% at HK$0.345


Reference is made to (i) the announcements of North Asia Resources Holdings Limited (the "Company") dated 27 August 2012 and 8 April 2013 in relation to a claim filed by Mountain Sky Resources Holdings Limited (the "Claimant") on 21 August 2012 in the High Court of Justice of the British Virgin Islands against Mountain Sky Resources (Mongolia) Limited, Ultra Asset International Ltd., the Company and Guang Cheng Group Limited (together, the "Defendants"); (ii) the announcements issued by the Company dated 8 October 2012, 29 November 2012, 14 December 2012, 28 February 2013, 13 March 2013, 18 March 2013 relating to, among other things, (a) the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Lexing Holdings Limited; (b) the disposal of the entire issued shares of, and the shareholder's loans due by, North Asia Resources Group Limited and Good Loyal Group Limited; (c) the subscription of ordinary shares and convertible preference shares of the Company by Business Ally Investments Limited; and (d) the alteration of the terms of the existing convertible bonds of the Company (together, the "Transactions"); and (iii) the circular of the Company dated 25 March 2013 (the "Circular") in relation to, among other things, the Transactions. Capitalised terms used herein have the same meanings as those defined in the Circular unless otherwise specified.

At the ex-parte injunction hearing of the application filed by the Claimant in the BVI on 9 April 2013 (BVI time) (the "Application") for an injunction to restrain Mountain Sky and Ultra Asset from entering into or completing the Transactions, Mountain Sky and Ultra Asset have respectively given undertakings to the Claimant dated 9 April 2013 (the "Undertakings"). Pursuant to the Undertakings, Mountain Sky and Ultra Asset have undertaken that they will not, for a period of 28 days or until after the judgement on the hearing of the Application under the Action, whichever is earlier, enter into or procure the entry into of any agreement, assignment, transfer, transaction or series of transactions the effect of which would cause the divesture of the legal and/or beneficial interest in the Shares and the CPS which Mountain Sky holds in the Company, including but not limited to the completion of the Mountain Sky Agreement and the Disposal Agreement. In light of the Undertakings, the High Court of Justice of the BVI adjourned the hearing of the Application to 1 May 2013 (BVI time) and ordered the Defendants to file evidence in answer by 19 April 2013 (BVI time) and the Claimant to file evidence in reply by 26 April 2013 (BVI time) and the parties to file at the High Court of Justice of the BVI and exchange skeleton arguments by 29 April 2013 (BVI time).

For the avoidance of doubt, the SGM will proceed on 12 April 2013 in any event.

Further announcement will be made by the Company as and when appropriate if there is any material development of the Claims.

Link to release

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Local Market


8 April 2013, Monday (BDSec) – Mongolian stocks benchmark index MSE Top 20 declined 0.46 percent on Monday to sit at 14,987.32 points.

Telecom Mongolia (MCH), Mongolia's only state-owned telecom company, advanced 3.53 percent to close at MNT 1,760, followed by Aduunchuluun (+3.45%), Darkhan Nekhii (+3.02%), Talkh Chikher (+2.86%), Gobi (+2.27%), Remicon (+2.08%), and Genco Tour Bureau (1.18%).

State Department Store (UID) and Mongol Savkhi (UYN) gave up 9.21 and 6.60 percent, respectively, wiping out its gain from last trading session. Tavantolgoi (TTL) kept dropping today to MNT 5,000. 

Download the whole report in PDF 

Link to report



9 April 2013, Tuesday (BDSec) – Trading value for Tuesday reached MNT 487 million or USD 345 thousand. HBOil (HBO) was the most active traded stock on the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) with more than 2.6 million shares traded.

Tavantolgoi (TTL), which weighs more than 20% in the MSE benchmark index, dipped another 4 percent, dragging the index down. MSE Top 20 declined 1.09 percent or 163.27 points to 14,987.32 points.
Other big losers of the day were Hotel Mongolia (-15.00%), Moninjbar (-8.73%) and Baganuur (-4.76%).

Zoos Goyol (ZOO) was the biggest gainer and closed up 11.11% to MNT 1,000 followed by State Department Store (+4.78%) and Aduunchuluun (+3.33%).

Download the whole report in PDF

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Mongolian Inflation Slows Below 10% for First Time in Two Years

April 9 (Bloomberg) Inflation in Mongolia slowed to below 10 percent for the first time in two years at the end of the first quarter, Sandagdorj Bold, chief economist for the nation's central bank, said in an interview today.

Consumer prices rose 9.8 percent from a year earlier at the end of the quarter, compared with a pace of 14 percent at the end of December, Bold said by telephone today. Inflation in March rose 0.8 percent from February, compared with a pace of 2.2 percent in March 2012, he said.

The Bank of Mongolia last week cut interest rates for a second time in three months after economic growth slowed to 12.3 percent last year from a record 17.3 percent in 2011 and foreign investment fell 17 percent. Mongolia's MSE Top 20 Index of stocks fell to a two-year low today.

Mongolia's government has reduced its social welfare payments by half as compared with last year, helping rein in inflation, Bold said. Authorities distributed 1 trillion tugrik ($709 million) last year, he said.

The government under the Mongolian People's Party increased payments last year ahead of June elections to fulfill an earlier promise to share Mongolia's mining wealth with the nation's population. The Democratic Party won those elections to take control of the parliament.

The government has also taken steps to stabilize the price of fuel and consumer goods, Bold said.

Mongolia's central bank has set a target to reduce inflation to 8 percent by the end of this year.

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BoM holds FX auction

April 9 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on April 9th, 2013 the BOM received from local commercial banks total bid offers of 76.5 million USD and 97 million CNY. BOM has sold 34.5 million USD as closing rate of 1410.50 and has refused for bid оffer of CNY.

On April 9th, 2013, The BOM received MNT Swap agreement bid offer of 65.9 million USD 20 million CNY from domestic commercial banks and BOM has accepted all the offers for swap agreement.

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BoM issues 1-week bills

April 10 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 106.5 billion at a weighted interest rate of 11.50 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

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О.Chuluunbat: Mongolia has lost its reputation abroad

April 9 ( Interview with O.Chuluunbat, Deputy Minister of Economic Development. He was moderator of the public discussion on 2013 Investment report of Mongolia held by UNCTAD for the first time in the last week.

-This is the first collaborative event of the government of Mongolia and UNCTAD to report on foreign investment conditions of Mongolia. What are perspectives of the investment policy and conditions?

-This event or discussion is characterized that UNCTAD assessed independently on Mongolian investment environment, its policymakers' consistency for ensuring current accelerated growth and evaluated what are the advantages and setbacks of Mongolian FDI conditions. UN's team of analysts assessed preliminarily on our condition and held broad discussions on its findings. The discussion was held openly for the public and among the related government officials of the ministries and agents, researchers from international and domestic institutions and its significance was high. Mongolia's investment environment is generally favorable and Mongolia is one of the developing countries too. The most favorable tax policy we have and FDI is in good shape, supports domestic investment as well.  As a result, economic growth reached 17 percent from 13 percent of the last year. And we have promising perspective in this year. However, in recent years, some economic indicators showed insufficient performances as we expected for, for instance, budget revenue declined. The valuation of all Mongolian projects which are listed in foreign stock markets reduced up to 70 percent in the last year. There are 30-40 big projects such as "Oyu Tolgoi", "SouthGobi Resourse", "Centerra Gold", "Energy Resource" and "Hunnu Coal" is being exchanged in foreign stock markets. We should not think this reduction is just reflection of their valuation. However, it shows defame of Mongolia. It is like "we have $US 1000 of salary, but in reality we have to work for only $US 300 which are suitable for our capability."

-How is the condition in domestic stock market?

-Let's assume that Mongolia lost its reputation in abroad. But in Mongolian Stock Exchange, security trading went down by 11 percent in the first three months. Even though the economy has been growing, security trading has been declining at the same time which means capital outflow is taking place in here. There is stagnation in renting offices from bigger companies and foreign companies. In fact, our biggest banks lend mortgage loan for 40-50 people annually in total, however, they lent for 400-500 people in time. Now, a bank's borrowers do not exceed 10-20 people. This is not good indicator. Investors are reputable in creating jobs. If investors are flowing into, at least they are using houses, cars and foods. And their demand for the biggest mining equipment will boom and thus many jobless people will get jobs and paid. If they are leaving us, the unemployment will increase. That exactly happened in here. People who have income have already got their mortgage loan. But newly recruited people should get their mortgage loan. But they are not. These are just my explanation of benefits on FDI.

-Then what are the reasons behind capital outflow and FDI from Mongolia?

-The last year, we approved hastily the new FDI law. (Referred as the law on regulation of FDI in strategically important sectors) Then we are having disputes with Oyu Tolgoi and Chalco which in turn the market itself assessed its evaluation for Mongolian economic policy. This is not my comment. It is high time to revise our FDI conditions and its legal environment. It does not mean to spend extravagantly like happened in 1997. Today we are discussing that those enterprises/person that have special permission to use our wealth have to pay for the country, to transfer the licenses for those who have money and for professionals. Otherwise, current situation of keeping and re-selling of mineral licenses is not the development of mining. Professionals get started their work as they get the licenses which in turn they will create a lot of jobs.

-Is the reason behind FDI decline is related to the completion of Oyu Tolgoi project? And there is no bigger investor like it?

-Yes. However, the FDI stagnated and some of them mainly explained by our treatment with OT. We are not only the country who has wealth. We think ourselves pompously but there are a lot of them like Myanmar and Mozambique, Mexico, Bolivia, and some African countries. We should not have to exaggerate our wealth. Our country once was listed in the countries with the most favorable FDI conditions. Therefore we are trying to build stable but not favorable conditions for the FDI inflow. The investor who has $5 million USD would not work with Mongolia, but let them work at least for 4-5 years in protected stable legal condition. But, currently we have the conditions that some ministries have made contracts and pushed the government to approve and also this process of approval was no open and transparent to the public. Then the public wreaked havoc on this agreement. That is why there is need to regulate by the law.

-The government submitted the draft amendment on the new FDI law. Is that sufficient enough?

-This is appropriate step for the right path. But it is not big decision but just amendment to the new FDI law of May. Under the amendment, there would not be benchmark on total amount of FDI, and the government and parliament shall approve for the FDI where foreign state owned company will enter the country. There would not be forbidden legal provisions for foreign investors. The key criticism on our FDI conditions from abroad is that the foreign party always is on attack after the agreement made between two parties.  The foreign party is looking for its benefits from the agreement and we are also as well. Mongolia people are responsible so that both agreed parties will receive their benefits from the agreement. If we think that Mongolia suffers a lot, then we should charge the responsibilities for officials who made the agreement with the foreign party. However, those people are silent and thus it created havoc in the society. They should promulgate that "No, we have protected rights of Mongolians" but not to push the foreigner. This is my wish for them.

-Do you think that Oyu Tolgoi agreement should continue to work?

-Their production should be started. Let's see at least for the first 2-3 years. Oyu Tolgoi investors have not received their benefits. If it is approved that they get more than ours, we can talk with investors in many different ways.  The managers who leading OT are also clever and perceive that they have to share the country's wealth with its citizens as they are utilizing the wealth.

-Then why people discuss it even at parliament level: "Oyu Tolgoi is not paying the taxes"? And even it is further discussed at the Government level, conflicting each other and have not reached any consensus. The Minister of Economic Development always reminded that this agreement should be amended as well as the Mining Minister when they were the parliamentarians.  Have their opinions been changed when they became ministers?

-In my opinion, the attempt of stopping OT projects is not from Mongolian heart also is not reflection of Mongolian state policy. But I do not know where does it come from? But I should emphasize that Oyu Tolgoi made agreement with the government and is taking responsibility for Mongolian people. They declared publicly about their responsibility that 70 percent out of Oyu Tolgoi's wealth will be distributed to Mongolian and 30 percent will be part of the investors. This is the best expression from them. Isn't it their responsibility taken on behalf of the Mongolian people? The ownership is not very important. Even though the Mongolian Government has no ownership in it, it will own the most of its revenue. However, now it has indebted because of its ownership.

Let's take an example of "Boroo Gold" and it made stability agreement with the government in 1999. This is not good one. This project was 100 percent foreign owned. No percent of share was Mongolian but one who sold its share. However, during its implementation of 10 years, it exploited 1 trillion MNT of gold. Of which 60 percent was distributed to Mongolian. I have checked the balances. Even though Mongolia was not ownership of the project, it received all sorts of payments. It included royalty, profit tax, social insurance contribution and also paid for energy, transportation and even foods in Mongolia. They have built several infrastructures. In order to start production, they have built paved roads to Zuunkharaa and energy lines too. However, for OT case, people are competing for the Government ownership. We are seeing the results of state management in state owned company from MIAT. Even on "Erdenet" there are discussions on billions of MNT for bribes and it is certain that state management in Erdenet is the worse than MIAT. Even for the "Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi", if the state owns everything all the things will be the same as MIAT. We determined to be having efficient economy in 1991 since we embarked on the transition. However, we are trying to keep the most profitable mining project to be state owned despite the fact that all state owned companies are working inefficiently.

-People still concerned that initial investment of Oyu Tolgoi was planned to be 4.6 billion USD but it exceeded to 7 billion USD.  How did they spend this amount?

-Obviously, the majority of them spent on equipment. In addition to that, they are paying 20-25 million USD for Mongolian employees monthly for the last two years. They have spent 250-300 million USD annually, reaching trillion USD for the wage and salary long before the start of OT. This amount is not only spent for several expatriates of directors but for 10-20 thousand Mongolian employees. This expenditure is now in the form of construction and buildings in Ulaanbaatar and saved in Mongolian banks and leads to increase Mongolian money. Also, "Oyu Tolgoi" is paying money for 1000 Mongolia companies. Mongolians do not produce everything. However, Mongolians are providing with water, meat, transportation, coal and energy for them. We are providing what we can and earn what we are capable of. They are paying all eligible taxes and even paid prepayment. Therefore it shows that FDI have been flowing into Mongolia. However, the distribution of created wealth is not correct. For instance, in decade ago, per capita GDP was USD 1000, but today it reached around USD 4000, increased almost 4 times. However, the majority of the population is living still in the same conditions as in decade ago and only 5-10 percent of them are sitting on the wealth. This inequality leads to political instability. But they are trying to take measures to solve it.

- which measures?

-They are trying to implement several big project even under the debt which in turn trying to create jobs and to Mongolian get paid. It is the best way of making money which is not same phenomenon like making debt of 500-600 million USD beforehand and distribute it for the citizens happened in preceding period of election.   It is necessary to supply with jobs and get paid for people. For example, construction of 5th Power Station  and of Medical Diagnosis Center  are big projects and will be financed by the Development Bank of Mongolia in small extent will be done in offshore manner but the projects are beneficial for Mongolians and have benefits in the longer terms. However, if we build road, 80-90 percent of the construction work of roads will be left for Mongolian and in this sense we are trying to push those projects which are beneficial for Mongolians so as to monetize them. I think this is not wrong.

Translated from Newsweek

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April 10 (InfoMongolia) Following the meetings with the President of the People's Republic of China Mr. Xi Jinping in Hainan Province and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Mr. Zhang Dejiang in Beijing, Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Z.Enkhbold visited Ordos Prefecture, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China to get au fait with Shenhua CTL (coal-to-liquid) Plant activity on April 09, 2013.

Speaker Z.Enkhbold was paying a significant attention to the technology of this plant and the purpose of this visit was considered as the best way to solve the air pollution in Ulaanbaatar by producing eco energy from coal and in the frames of his recent foreign visits this was the second CTL plant introduced.

Last month, Speaker conducted official visits to the United States and Canada, meantime being in the United States he was introduced with activity of the world leading Dakota Gasification Company. The company, that produces liquid fuels from coal, uses specific liquefaction technology of indirect liquefaction (ICL) processes, whereas Shenhua CTL Plant uses direct (DCL) process liquefaction technology.

Following the introduction of Shenhua CTL Plant, Speaker visited Kangbashi New Area or Habagexi Subdistrict, a large uninhabitant area that intended to have more than 200,000 people by 2020, currently it is estimated about 70 thousand residents.

This mining well developed area's soil is similar to Mongolian Gobi region despite of gardening, where Kangbashi's state policy is to plant a tree per 10 tons of excavating coal, said district authorities. According to District Plan, community town for contractors and an auto racing track for international competitions are planned to construct.

Official visit by Mongolian delegation led by the Speaker Z.Enkhbold to China is concluded successfully and the delegation has arrived in Ulaanbaatar on April 10, 2013.

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MPP to demand Prime Minister's resignation

April 10 ( The Executive Board of the former ruling party, MPP, the Mongolian People's Party, held an expanded meeting on Tuesday April 9th. 

During the meeting members of MPP discussed the petition for the Prime Minister to take responsibility and whether they should take action as the opposition. They gave directions to the MPP caucus in Parliament to submit the petition to Parliament. 

MPP members believe that Norov Altankhuyag should resign because they claim he broke Constitution law by appointing acting Governors to some provinces instead of approving Governors. The Administrative Court ruled on Monday that it was illegal as the Prime Minister still hesitated to approve a Governor to Dornod province. 

Therefore if the Prime Minister does not revise his decision he faces fine or arrest according to law. 

MPP also blames the Prime Minister for making an irrevocable speech that could cause negative influence and bad effects to national independence, security, society and economic growth as a premier during an official meeting with the leaders of Russia and China. 

MPP also claims that the Prime Minister spends the Government's budget like water and violated the law by illegally dismissing state servants.

MPP only criticizes the Prime Minister and not the Government. Therefore the MPP caucus will submit a petition to Parliament calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag.

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GEC proposes presidential election be held June 26

April 10 ( The Standing Committee on State Structure held a regular meeting on Tuesday April 9th. During the meeting a draft resolutions on setting a date for the Presidential Election, Presidential Election budget and re-election budget were discussed. 

The Chairman of the General Election Committee, Ch.Sodnomtseren, introduced the draft resolutions to the Committee member. 

According to the law on presidential elections the voting day should be set by April 22nd. 

The Chairman of the General Election Committee proposed to run the Presidential Election on June 26th

MP O.Baasankhuu queried about the election date being set while MP R.Burmaa criticized that the election budget has been increased groundlessly.  The Chairman of the General Election Committee, Ch.Sodnomtseren, answered that the date for the election is compliant with the law. 

Members of the Standing Committee on State Structure agreed that the re-election budget should be 17.2 billion MNT according to the law on the budget passed in 2013. The Presidential Election budget has been set at 15.8 billion MNT. Finally members agreed not to re-negotiate the Presidential Election expenses that have already been planned into the Government's budget. 

Out of the 17.2 billion MNT budget, 397.4 million MNT has been planned for re-polling in the 26th electoral district and 91 million MNT for media monitoring.

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April 9 (InfoMongolia) On April 08, 2013, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Bold has attended the World Economic Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan, where more than 200 state and government heads and business leaders discussed the economic situation in the South Caucasus and Central Asia during the two-day meeting.

During the event, Minister L.Bold conveyed a speech introducing Mongolia's Government Policies on Foreign Investment and Economical Development.

Also, Minister met with the founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Dr. Klaus Martin Schwab, where parties exchanged views on preparation works of upcoming World Economic Forum to be hosted in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in September of this year. Dr. Klaus Schwab emphasized that many positive results would be expected from Ulaanbaatar Forum and consequently Mongolia would attract many foreign investors and create pleasant business environment following this most prestigious World Economic Forum.

The Baku Forum featured a strategic dialogue on the future of the South Caucasus and Central Asia. The decision to hold the Strategic Dialogue was taken at the Davos Meeting held in January, 2013.

Following the meeting, Minister L.Bold was interviewed by reporters of CNN and Azerbaijan National Televisions to give comprehensive information on current socio-economical situation of Mongolia.

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Leading Mongolian Operator SkyC&C Selects Minerva Platform to Offer Multiscreen Television Services over Broadband and Mobile Networks

SkyC&C Ltd, the leading Broadband and Mobile provider in Mongolia, has deployed Minerva iTVFusion to offer advanced pay TV services to a broad set of subscribers.

Kowloon, Hong Kong S.A.R., April 08, 2013 --( Minerva Networks, a leading provider of software solutions for the delivery of television services to connected devices, today announced that SkyC&C Ltd, the largest Broadband service provider in Mongolia, has deployed Minerva iTVFusion to offer advanced TV services within the region.

The Minerva platform, in combination with the latest adaptive bitrate technologies (HTTP Live Streaming - HLS), will enable the Mongolian operator to offer robust pay TV services nationwide over its broadband and mobile networks.

Both live and on demand content will be available to SkyC&C subscribers via PCs, Android and iOS devices, as well as IP set-top boxes. The advanced television services will enable SkyC&C to attract new subscribers and increase ARPU for existing customers. "Our solution incorporates technologies like Adaptive Bit Rate streaming, advanced data network content distribution, cross platform digital rights management and quality of experience thanks to Minerva's strong service delivery platform," said Gantogoo Zundui, CTO of SkyC&C.

SkyC&C recently added support for mobile devices including Apple's iPhone and iPad, as well as tablet and smartphones running Google's Android operating system, expanding the service beyond the traditional set-top box.

"We are very pleased that SkyC&C is enjoying strong market traction with our iTVFusion service management platform," said Mauro Bonomi, CEO of Minerva Networks. "SkyC&C searched for a solution that could leverage their existing network infrastructure, maximize the reach of their television services, and allow flexibility and service innovation. Our platform is delivering on all fronts."

"With the Minerva platform we were able to offer our customers all the latest features of a premium pay TV service," explained Byarbat Ariunbold, CEO of SkyC&C. "We are looking forward to delivering more services on more devices to our growing subscriber base."

Solution for Next Generation Television Services

The Minerva platform enables the delivery of robust television services over both managed and best effort broadband networks. With the iTVFusion back-office service providers are able to easily manage the complex business rules associated with content sources, subscribers, and devices while providing consumers with a consistent and compelling user experience – both inside and outside of the home. Providers like SkyC&C can minimize churn, while expanding the reach of their video services across both fixed and mobile networks.

About Minerva Networks

Minerva is the leading provider of carrier-class solutions for the delivery of television services over IP networks (TV-over-IP). Over 300 operators worldwide have deployed Minerva's service management platform to deliver next-generation entertainment services. For more information, visit

About SkyC&C, Ltd

SkyC&C LTD is a leading Mongolian operator that offers a portfolio of advanced telecommunication services.

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Up to US$ 13.1 million for International Medical Center in Ulaanbaatar will finance construction and equipment

April 9 (EBRD The EBRD is supporting the establishment of the first international standard private hospital in Mongolia. A loan of US$ 13.1 million (equivalent of up to €10 million) will partially finance the construction work and equipment for a new 90-bed hospital in the capital Ulaanbaatar.   

At present, Mongolians have to rely on aging healthcare infrastructure. Many patients from the emerging middle class travel abroad to seek treatment, spending an estimated US$ 100 million a year. A hospital with modern equipment and highly skilled medical staff will be in high demand.

"We are proud to support the creation of the first private hospital on this scale in Mongolia. As well as providing medical services, the project will serve as a blueprint for more private sector investment in healthcare in rapidly developing Mongolia," said Aza Ulziitogtokh, the acting Head of the EBRD Office in Mongolia.

The loan will be made to International Medical Center LLC, a company incorporated in Mongolia for the purposes of owning and operating the hospital. Strategic partners for the project are Samsung C&T, a health sector management and consultancy subsidiary of Samsung Group, and Korea University Medical Center, one of the leading university hospitals in the Republic of Korea. An Austrian leading medical equipment supplier Vamed will be equipping the hospital project.

Bolormaa Tumendemberel, CEO of International Medical Center, said: "We are delighted to have the support of such a partner as the EBRD. IMC Hospital is a major social project for us, and we believe it will bring quality healthcare and healthier lives for the Mongolian community."

Mongolia, which still has one of the highest growth rates in the world, is determined to use the recent mining boom to improve the living conditions of its citizens. The EBRD is committed to supporting the diversification of the Mongolian economy and improving the quality of people's lives.

Since the beginning of its operations in Mongolia in 2006, the EBRD has committed over €700 million to various sectors of its economy, all of it in the private sector.

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Tavan Tolgoi Seeks Gateway

April 8 (Mongolian Economy) The halt in railway transport of Tavan Tolgoi's goods has created a halt in profits. A year ago the tremendous coking coal mine was attracting huge attention from mining observers and foreign investors. But where is it now?

The operator of the mining deposit, state-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, was then expected to release a public offering on international stock exchanges beginning from this spring. Instead, it is in financial crisis and has halted its mining activities. If things continue on like this, it will be difficult for the miner to meet its 20 million-tonne target for production. The miner has already begun to fail the action plan it developed when it was established.

Tavan Tolgoi is a strategic deposit located in one of the world's richest coking coal basins. But Mongolians' expectations for this deposit are not likely to result in development, but rather in debt troubles. The company was granted a loan of USD 300 million from the Development Bank of Mongolia, and USD 131 million from Golomt Bank and Trade and Development Bank.

"This is aimed at putting the deposit in economic turnover and to recover the operating costs", said the company's management team in an explanation about the loans. Erdenes TT's debt is growing significantly while the project's progress stagnates.

The company borrowed USD 350 million from Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (Chalco). The coal deposit's available resources account for 7.4 billion tonnes. Davaajavyn Gankhuyag, mining minister, said in a statement last week that Erdenes TT's initial public offering on international stock markets would see the light of day before 2015.

"The securities cannot afford [their potential] value if infrastructure development is not resolved", said T. Naran, chief executive officer of the Mongolian Coal Association.

The reputation of the Tavan Tolgoi deposit has been discredited in the coal-mining industry in only one year. The selection of strategic investors to invest in the Baruun (west) Tsankhi site of the project is continually delayed. This is possibly explained by the sharp fall in coal prices on the global market. The company has admitted that the export of coal from the Zuun (east) Tsankhi has been halted because of financial difficulties.

The financial strain forced the company now to request funding from the USD 1.5 billion so-called Chinggis bond sold last year. The working group tasked with allocating these funds has come out to say that the development of infrastructure was most important to the project. 

"Prolonging the IPO is seen as Mongolia's voluntary refusal from the potential market. In other words, this halt in its mining activities is a voluntary deflection away from its path", said T. Naran, chief executive officer of the Mongolian Coal Association.

Erdenes TT is struggling to survive difficult conditions. It has requested from the government help while throwing a glance of trust towards investors.  However it was heavily indebted. The same mistake is hopefully not going to be repeated. The coal from Tavan Tolgoi was sold to Chalco at a price of USD 70 per tonne, while the company experienced USD 500 million in losses in 2012 after coal prices fell by over 30 percent last year. More than 60 percent of its costs that year was for the Human Development Fund to finance the government's cash allowances program.

The company attempted to initiate negotiations concerning the Chalco agreement with the Chinese government, but so far those calls have gone unanswered.

"The contract between TT and Chalco was initially made to be mutually beneficial. Therefore, our stance is to continue the contract enforcement", said Wang Xiaolong, Chinese ambassador to Mongolia. He also indicated his support for Shenhua Energy Group to participate in the Baruun Tsankhi project.

There is reason to be sceptical about whether Mongolia will benefit from Tavan Togloi. The project is now unable to recover its operating cost and faces loss it never foresaw. It is unfortunate that Tavan Tolgoi, one of the world's largest coking coal deposits, is experiencing failure because of a false start.

Tavan Tolgoi has the potential to become a powerful company to represent Mongolia. Some say that the reason the coal project is in a bad situation is due to poor management. Also industry observers claim that the Tavan Tolgoi project is preoccupied by political motives. Tavan Tolgoi has bowed its knees before enormous debt and cannot stand on its own feet.

Khishig Arvin Industrial is now conducting soil removal preparatory work at Baruun Tsankhi. In 2012 Erdenes TT's mine produced 2.5 million tonnes of coal. Yachil Batsuuri, chief executive officer, said that his company planned to mine seven million tonnes this year.

In 2011, the attentions of politics, economics and the mining sector of Mongolia were centred on Tavan Tolgoi when the bidding process for the rights to mine the Baruun Tsanki site were underway. Peabody Energy of the United States, Shenhua Energy of China, Japan's Mitsui & Co, Russian Railway, a Japanese consortium, South Korea's KORES, Australia's Xstrata Coal, Brazil's Vale and Luxembourg's Arcelor Mittal all competed for the tender.

Just one year ago, Erdenes TT was careless with its deposit, but now it is seeking a gateway. The deposit itself was a big advertisement for Mongolia's growth potential to investors as well as foreign nations.

Tavan Tolgoi really cannot step forward as it was hobbled by financial pressures and market downturn. Also clearly political influence has negatively impacted the mine. The former coalition government freely distributed money to every Mongolian citizen by tapping intoTavan Tolgoi's funds. Consequently, the miner has nothing today.

The coal mine is now playing a tiny role while under the thumb of mounting debt. Tavan Tolgoi failed to live up to the promises the former government made to get elected.

Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag decided it was best to cancel the detrimental contract with Chalco, to compensate Chalco's payment using proceeds from the Chinggis bond and enter an agreement with another company. "After all this, Erdenes TT will be able to stand on its feet", quipped the prime minister. He is quite confident in the future of Tavan Tolgoi. The mining minister said that "It is in the pursuit of a gateway".

At the same time, M. Enkhsaikhan, head of the Mongolian National Democratic Party has been appointed to head the project team responsible for constructing a new power plant for the project. The government recently released a resolution to finance the construction of the power plant with USD 50 million from the Chinggis bond. This could be considered a gateway to pulling Tavan Tolgoi out of its deadlock. Also some believe the State Great Khural will discuss management of Tavan Tolgoi in the next session.

When will it be a convenient enough time for government to take action regarding Tavan Tolgoi?

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China State-Owned Cement Plant Under Construction in Tuv Aimag

April 8 (Mongolian Economy) The Chinese Lian He Cement Corporation is constructing a cement plant with the capacity of producing one million tonne cement and 780,000 tonne clinker per year at Sergelen Soum of Tuv Aimag.

The cement plant is planned to put into operation within this year. The construction work is invested by the China National Materials Group Corporation government-administered enterprise. The plant will create 200 jobs and pay tax of USD 4.4 million annually, according to a preliminary calculation. 

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Ulaanbaatar, April 10 /MONTSAME/ April 10 in Mongolia, which is currently being built about 70 kilometres from Ulaanbaatar, is the country's first ever big step towards a sustainable energy market. The Newcom Group states that the power generated from the plant will be able to sustain more than 100 thousand households with its 50 megawatt capacity generated from 31 wind turbines.

The wind farm will produce 68.5 million kilowatt energy. It will be established completely in 2013 and will generate nearly 5% of the central zone.

The project will be the first renewable energy project and the first privately-owned generator connecting to the Central Grid in Mongolia.

Scientists view that the wind resource of Mongolia can produce an energy equal to that of seven atomic power plants. In future, the wind plant may give energy to China and other Asian countries.

A construction work, researching in wind supply and management activities of the plant have been executed by "Clean energy" LLC with co-investments of Mongolian national biggest company "Newcom Group" and world's famous "General Electric", European Bank for Reconstruction and Development /EBRD/ and the Netherlands development financial corporation.

Required MNT 160.2 billion will be financed as investment and long-term loan.

The Salkhit power station will save 1.6 million ton water, 150 thousand ton coal and prevent the emission of greenhouse gases equivalent to 180 thousand ton. World experts agree that one hectare of forestation or trees can reduce greenhouse gases by 10 ton, thus the Salkhit wind farm is equivalent to 18 thousand hectares of forestation.

Towers are 80 meters tall wit h3 sections, weighing 125 tons, 240 cubemeter concrete is used for the WTG foundation, which is the same amount used in a foundation of 9-storey building. The WTG's highest point reaches 120 meters above the ground, and is the same height as a 30-storey building.

The "Salkhit" WPP consists of 31 wind turbines producing 1.6 MW of power each, with a total installed capacity of 49.6 MW. The average wind speed in this region is 7.8 m/s.

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Oil shale: Solution to Mongolia's imported fuel dependency?

April 9 (UB Post) It is estimated that Mongolia has and 800 billion tons of oil shale reserves. But this number was deduced by Mongolian geologists by studying only 19 percent of the outlined reserves in 1990.

Oil shale is said to be an alternative fuel source which provides a vast potential for profit to businessmen and entrepreneurs. Although Mongolia hasn't even fully established its reserves of this possible miraculous mineral, foreign businesses have already begun eyeing Mongolia's shale deposits.

MAK of Mongolia, USA's Genie Oil & Gas, and France's Total have introduced to the Ministry of Mining's Petroleum Authority their pre-feasibility studies and even plans to extract petroleum from oil-bearing shale, shale deposits which contain petroleum, according to local newspapers.

Their pre-feasibility studies state that it would cost around 350 MNT to produce one liter of high quality (Euro-4 Standard of European emission standards for light commercial vehicles) diesel. When transportation costs, taxes, turnover, and other factors are added to the production, the fuel could be sold at a maximum price of 1,000 MNT per liter.

The relevant companies said that all they need from the government to produce cheaper high quality fuel is a business-friendly environment that supports the use of high tech equipment, and meets health and safety regulations.

According to the Deputy Minister of Mining, O.Erdenebulgan, the American method of extraction will be used to produce fuel from oil shale. He added that the Ministry is planning to create a production contract in the near future which will make it possible for Mongolia to use domestically-produced fuel within the next two years.

If all goes well, the production cycle can start which will make it possible to produce 6,700 tons of fuel, petroleum products, natural gas, and other synthetic materials by 2018, mentioned O.Erdenebulag.

The trial factory is most likely to be built in Tuv (Central) Province or Dornogobi Province which is already a hotspot for foreign investors due to the giant Oyu Tolgoi mine. The full mine and extraction factory facility is estimated to require around four billion USD. The companies even estimated how much they would contribute to the state through taxes, which is around 850 million USD per annum.

The project is estimated to create 5,000 job positions directly and indirectly, according to Genie Oil & Gas. The company has oil shale factories in Colorado, USA and Israel through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Genie Energy.

The oil shale processing factory will allow Mongolia to meet its own fuel demand as well as provide an opportunity to export value-added goods which will affect Mongolia's economy very favourably.

"Producing fuel from oil shale is much cheaper than extracting fuel from coals," said the Minister of Mining, D.Gankhuyag.

Experts in this matter have said that if Mongolia builds its own petroleum processing as well as an oil shale factory, it would be as if you had a Khos Mori (pair of horses). Mongolia doesn't have much practical knowledge and experience when it comes to oil shale production besides theoretical. Therefore, plans to send trainees to study shale in the USA and France are being made. If the contract for oil shale production is made, the companies will take care of training specialists.

About oil shale

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Technopark for Belarusian mechanical engineering products in Mongolia

MINSK, 10 April (BelTA) – There are plans to set up a technopark for Belarusian mechanical engineering products in Mongolia. The matter was discussed at the meeting of Belarusian Industry Minister Dmitry Katerinich and Mongolian Industry and Agriculture Minister Khaltmaa Battulga in Minsk on 10 April, BelTA learned from Sergei Shalai, press secretary of the Belarusian Industry Ministry.

The technopark will enable service and maintenance of the Belarusian agricultural machines sold to Mongolia. The sides plan to sign an investment contract. It will be signed by the Mongolian ministry on the one side and Belarusian agricultural mechanical engineering companies on the other side. Minsk Tractor Works, Gomselmash, Bobruiskagromash, and Lidselmash have expressed their interest in the project. In turn, the Mongolian side will find companies ready to work with the technopark.

Khaltmaa Battulga remarked that Belarus tractors are well-known in Mongolia. They were used in the 1950s to develop virgin lands. At present Mongolia buys tractors from several foreign companies, including Chinese ones. However, Mongolian customers are not satisfied with the quality of these machines and are considering the possibility of cooperating with Belarus for the sake of setting up the technopark and enabling all the services. Apart from that, Mongolia is interested in buying small-capacity tractors for farmers. The possibility of implementing other Belarusian-Mongolian projects is under consideration.

At present OAO BelAZ is the largest Belarusian supplier of products to Mongolia. Last year the company shipped 34 mine dump trucks to Mongolia. BelAZ plans to set up a center to sell and service dump trucks together with a Mongolian company in Ulan Bator by September 2013.

In 2011-2012 Minsk Tractor Works sold $1.5 million worth of tractors to Mongolia. In 2012 Mogilevliftmash shipped 27 elevators worth $361,000 to Mongolia. ZAO Atlant has contracted to deliver 1,500 refrigerators and freezers in 2013.

The Mongolian guests remarked that MAZ buses suit their climate and invited the holding company BelavtoMAZ to take part in tenders for the delivery of passenger automobiles.

In 2012 enterprises accountable to the Industry Ministry shipped $24 million worth of merchandise to Mongolia. In January-February 2013 the shipments reached $15.3 million, 25% up from January-February 2012. The main Belarusian exports to Mongolia include BelAZ mining vehicles and spare parts, Atlant refrigerators, iron castings made by Minsk Plant of Heating Equipment, Mogilevliftmash elevators, transformers made by Minsk Electrotechnical Plant named after V.I. Kozlov, tractors made by Bobruisk Plant of Tractor Parts and Units and by Minsk Tractor Works, equipment for processing poultry meat, nuts, vegetables made by Grodno-based OAO Torgmash, potato cultivation machines made by the holding company Lidselmash, balers and tedder rakes made by Bobruiskagromash.

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Residents select developers for ger district re-planning

April 9 ( The tender for the project to re-plan the ger districts was announced publicly according to the rules for the re-planning process for the ger district, approved by the Capital City Representative Khural. 

Over 32 entities sent 52 proposals for the tender. As a result of first stage of the tender process 30 proposals from 18 companies were selected. 

These 18 selected bidders have made their introductions during this period informing the public of their companies activities and the advantages they will provide to residents in the area where the project is planned. According to the rule approved by the Capital City Representative Khural, residents in the area to be re-planned have the right to choose the company who will take on the project for the re-planning of the ger district. 

As a result of a residents` poll 14 companies were finally selected to undertake the project. These companies are supposed to sign an agreement with the project coordinator, land owners and residents in 30 days time. 

Officials state that this is the first time that such a process for the re-planning of the ger district has been run based on residents` participation. 

According to a report by the Ger District Development Office tenders will be announced publicly to the areas where a tender has not yet been arranged for selection by residents` poll. 

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The First National Satellite CANSAT competition starts

April 9 ( The National University of Mongolia is hosting the opening ceremony for the First National CANSAT contest aimed to launch the National Satellite today, Tuesday April 9th. The Contest is being organized by the Information and Communications Technology and Post Authority of Mongolia (ICTA) with the sanction of Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag. 

Opening the ceremony, the Prime Minister made a speech saying "Young Mongolian engineers will undoubtedly elevate Mongolia with their brilliance and capability in the modern world." CANSAT is an abbreviation of the two terms "can" and "satellite". CANSAT will be a satellite that will be suited in a can. 

Such a satellite consists of only a GPS, censor to measure pressure and temperature, a tiny camera and only weighs 350 grams and can be fitted into a can. 

CANSAT is launched using a rocket or air balloon. When it reaches a limited altitude it falls slowly with a parachute. During this time it can complete orders such as taking pictures, sharing information or analysis based on image and video. 

Competing in the contest are 30 students with 6 teachers from the School of Physics and Electronics, the School of Information and Technology of the National University of Mongolia, the School of Communication and Information of MUST, the School of Computer and Information Technology of MUST, a team from the Defense University of Mongolia and the Mongolian State University of Agriculture. 

The contest winners, when they are announced in August, will be given the opportunity to participate in the International CANSAT competition representing Mongolia. 

Contest organizers plan to launch the first National Satellite by February 2014. 

A joint team NUMSAT and GAINT from the School of Physics and Electronics of NUM and the School of Mechanical Engineering of MUST successfully participated in the 3rd international CANSAT competition that was held in Madrid, Spain in July 2012 for the first time from Mongolia. 

A Mongolian team won 1st and 3rd place winning the "Gold Award" and "Bronze" in the telemetry category of the competition.

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Naadam Cashmere Kickstarting Wholesale Prices for Limited Time

The fashion brand is offering its collection of 100% Mongolian cashmere garments at wholesale prices to benefit a limited-time Kickstarter campaign.

New York, NY (PRWEB) April 10, 2013

Naadam Cashmere, the world's first socially conscious cashmere fashion brand, announced today that it will offer its entire collection of 100% Mongolian cashmere garments at wholesale prices for the duration of its recently launched Kickstarter campaign, which ends on May 15, 2013.

Naadam's signature cashmere hoodies, including the Satchel Cable ($350 is now $226), Campbell Zip ($250 is now $190), and Cadet Colby Contrast ($240 is now $160) are among the pieces that will be available at wholesale prices for a limited time.

"It's about more than sales," said Naadam CEO and co-founder Matthew Scanlan. "We're getting the word out about Naadam, but also telling the story of the Mongolian herders who carry this worldwide, multimillion-dollar industry yet find themselves struggling at the mercy of worsening local economic conditions. They benefit from every dollar we make. We make sure of it. And when you buy Naadam you're a part of that."

About Naadam Cashmere:

Designed in New York City and manufactured locally in Mongolia using 100% Mongolian cashmere, Naadam supports Mongolia's nomadic goat herders—the source of the majority of the world's finest cashmere—by investing a portion of profits in a World Bank-sponsored program that insures the herders' livestock as climate change and worsening economic conditions make it increasingly difficult for them to support themselves. When you buy Naadam, you are buying more than a luxury item—you are supporting local traditions, values, and families. Naadam is doing luxury differently! Find out more at and visit the Kickstarter page at

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Turkish Premier visiting Mongolia, April 11-12

April 9 ( The Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will make an official visit to Mongolia to meet with Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag on  April 11th and 12th.

During the official visit Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is scheduled to have bilateral talks with Mongolian Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag.

The President of Mongolia, Tsakhia Elbegdorj and the Speaker of Parliament Zandaakhuu Enkhbold, will receive him during his official visit in Mongolia.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğa, who founded the Justice and Development Party, has lead the Turkish cabinet since 2003.

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Summary of the Third Round of Negotiations for the Japan-Mongolia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

April 5 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan) --

1.    The Third Round of the Negotiations for the Japan-Mongolia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was held from Tuesday, April 2 to Friday, April 5, 2013 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

2.    The Japanese delegation was led by Mr. Jun Yokota, Ambassador in charge of Economic Diplomacy, and the Mongolian delegation was led by Mr. Ochirbat Chuluunbat, Vice Minister for Economic Development of Mongolia. Experts from relevant ministries and agencies of both sides participated in the meetings.

3.    In this round, progress has been achieved through negotiations in areas including Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures, Investment, Intellectual Property, Competition, Cooperation, Improvement of Business Environment and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).

4.    The next round of negotiations will be held in Tokyo, Japan. The details of the schedule will be arranged through diplomatic channels.

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China, Mongolia mull further cooperation in protecting intangible cultural heritage

ULAN BATOR, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and Mongolian representatives concluded here Tuesday a meeting aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in protecting intangible cultural heritage.

During the meeting, which opened Monday, the two sides reviewed the achievements made so far in this regard and discussed future cooperation programs.

The two neighboring countries share a rich diversity of intangible cultural heritages, and have maintained good long-term cooperation in protecting them.

China and Mongolia are both state parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, a treaty adopted in 2003 at a general conference of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Thanking to joint efforts by China and Mongolia, traditional Mongolian long song was recognized by UNESCO as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005.

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China's top legislator meets with Mongolia's Speaker

BEIJING, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Top Chinese legislator Zhang Dejiang met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chairman of the State Great Hural of Mongolia Zandaakhuu Enkhbold, respectively, on Tuesday.

During his meeting with Hun Sen, Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said China values its traditional friendship with Cambodia and attaches great importance to developing relations with Cambodia.

He said China is willing to promote the further development of the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries and bring greater benefits to the two peoples this year, which marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two sides and is the "China-Cambodia Friendship Year."

He noted that the NPC underscores communication and cooperation with the Cambodian parliament and senate and is willing to promote closer cooperative ties between the two countries' legislative organs.

Noting that Cambodia and China enjoy a sincere friendship and close relationship, Hun Sen said Cambodia will continue to firmly follow the one-China policy.

He also said Cambodia hopes to enhance communication and cooperation with China in all fields.

Zhang said during his meeting with Enkhbold that China-Mongolia development currently faces new opportunities and China is willing to work with Mongolia to boost mutual respect, take care of each other's major interests and concerns, increase political trust and deepen pragmatic cooperation in various fields to upgrade the two countries' strategic partnership.

He said the NPC will continue to expand communication and cooperation with the State Great Hural of Mongolia and make contributions toward promoting the friendship between the two countries and two peoples.

Enkhbold said China's rapid development provides Mongolia and other countries in the region with great opportunities.

He also voiced a willingness to deepen communication and cooperation between the State Great Hural of Mongolia and the NPC.

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Social, Environmental and Other

Video: ADB helps Mongolia Leapfrog to the Digital Future

April 5 (ADB) An ADB funded program provides IT training and facilities to a primary school in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.

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Mongolian officials eye Montana wildlife crossings to minimize impact of mining on migration

April 9 (AP) The drone of traffic created a constant roar on U.S. Highway 93 early Monday as a delegation of Mongolian government officials joined scientists in climbing an earthen bank spanning the roadway.

Animal tracks left in the mud told them they weren't alone. A few deer had moved over the crossing earlier in the morning. Moose, bobcats and bears weren't far behind.

"With underpasses and overpasses, different species have different preferences for the type of structure they like to use," said Marcel Huijser, a research ecologist at Montana State University, who joined the Wildlife Conservation Society's multiday tour. "This is a long-term vision if grizzly bears are to strengthen their existing small populations, or recolonize areas where they used to be, decades ago."

With funding provided in part by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the Wildlife Conservation Society led the team of Mongolian officials, including those in the mining and energy sectors, on a tour of western Montana's wildlife crossings before taking the tour to New Mexico.

Half a world away, copper and gold mining has boomed at Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi mine, a project so large it's expected to account for more than 30 percent of the nation's gross domestic product when fully operational.

To serve the project - the largest ever undertaken in Mongolia - government officials are planning an expansive transportation network, and they're racing to get ahead of the work.

If they do it right, they agreed Monday, the result might look similar to this network of wildlife crossings along Highway 93, with touches of a similar project along the railroad cutting Abo Canyon in New Mexico.

"We're trying to minimize the impact of mining and other development," said Buya Tulga, representing the Ministry of Environment and Green Development. "It's why we're studying here. We chose Montana because these are good examples of how to (enhance) the wildlife movement alongside the road."

Standing on the overpass with the tracks still soft in the Montana mud, Tulga expressed concern that as development races forward in Mongolia, habitat will be fragmented and the region's endangered species could be lost.

Much of that development is taking place south in the Gobi Desert and Mongolia's eastern steppe. The new Ulaanbaatar-Beijing railway may further bisect the region's prized habitat, jeopardizing the migration of several threatened species.

"Mongolia is facing a very big economic boom, which is mostly associated with mining," said Lkhagvasuren Badamjav, the leading scientist at Mongolia's Institute of Biology. "The development of this mining needs infrastructure development. But we need to build environmentally friendly, wildlife friendly roads."

Touring the stretch of Highway 93 south of Arlee, members of the delegation snapped pictures and scribbled notes, observing the crossings that offer wildlife safe passage under and over the roadway.

Yerjan Khabshai, representing the Ministry of Roads and Transportation, said that while the terrain here is different from the Gobi Desert, the tour has helped showcase what's possible in Mongolia before development begins.

"The biological diversity is different in our country than this area," said Khabshai. "We'll still learn a lot from the overpass and underpasses on this study tour. We have the opportunity to do this type of building at the same time we build our roads - not after. Learning this lesson is very important."

The Mongolian steppe remains one of the largest expanses of grassland in the world. The Gobi Desert, one of the last great wildernesses on the planet, covers 500,000 square miles, reaching across southern Mongolia into China.

It's an enormous landscape, spanning a region nearly four times that of Montana, and it's largely intact. But Mongolia is a developing nation, rich in resources that range from copper to coal. It's also rich in wildlife, with animals found nowhere else on the planet.

Kina Murphy, program director in Mongolia for the Wildlife Conservation Society, said the vast Gobi Desert and eastern steppe are home to the rare Bactrian camel, the Gobi bear, the Goitered gazelle, the Saiga antelope and Asiatic ass, among others.

Many of the species are considered threatened or critically endangered. If development takes place with no mind to habitat, some fear, the species could be lost forever.

But Murphy believes that nation's competing interests have a rare opportunity to come together and mitigate the impacts of development before they arise. The fact that members of the delegation have traveled together, landing halfway around the world to study Montana's crossings, shows the sincerity of their efforts.

In fact, Murphy added, representatives from the Oyu Tolgoi mine joined the Ministry of Environment and Green Development in helping to fund the trip. The Trust for Mutual Understanding serves as a partnership that unites U.S. and world scientists.

"They're here in a relaxed environment talking about how to put these crossings in before the problems arise," said Murphy. "Our goal is to equip the ministries and private sectors of Mongolia with the capacity to make informed decisions about what they can do to mitigate the impacts of mining and other industries."

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University of Queensland's SMI Awarded ADRAS Grant to Study Mining Impact on Herders in Mongolia

March 22 (Sustainable Minerals Institute, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland) SMI has recently been awarded the highly competitive Australian Development Research Award Scheme (ADRAS) grant, titled "Mongolia's mineral development path: Applying a gender-sensitive approach to socio-ecological metrics to evaluate and track livelihood transitions in a herder society."  The project will be conducted over two years both in Australia and within Mongolia. The major aim of the research is to build the capacity of Mongolian  government and civil society to react and engage with responsible mining practices to promote sustainable livelihoods of herder societies. The success rate of ADRAS was just 7% and this was the first time that SMI has been awarded an ADRAS.

Mongolia's mining boom is threatening the sustainability of herder livelihoods through social changes stimulated directly and indirectly by ecological impacts. The research examines both the social and ecological impacts of mining from a gendered perspective to understand how mining affects both herder livelihoods and their dependent natural resources. This project aims to establish the changing roles of herder households due to the impacts of mining and draft safeguards for government to promote sustainable development in mine affected areas.

Due to the multi-disciplinary methods necessary for the research, a collaborative engagement between social scientists at CSRM and Australian National University (ANU) with scientists from the Centre for Mined Land and Rehabilitation (CMLR) and the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry (CWiMI), will measure both the ecological and social impacts of mining to provide comprehensive data to inform development policy. This continues SMI's enhanced focus on providing effective multi-disciplinary solutions to the sustainability problems facing the global Mining industry.

Project manager Isabel Cane stated 'Frequently social and ecological impacts of mining are researched exclusively, when the two are often interlinked and overlap. Approaching the problems faced by herders from a cross-disciplinary method allows us to examine and explain the impacts more conclusively and hopefully produce succinct safeguards for improved outcomes for women and men in Mongolia.'

The research will be conducted with partnered NGOs and academic institutions in Mongolia; The Gender Centre for Sustainable Development (GCSD) and the National University of Mongolia (NUM) will provide instrumental knowledge and information for the project and will continue research and advocacy on the issues after the closure of the project.

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Democracy and Poverty: A Lesson from Mongolia

April 9 (Tuya Nyamosor, CNAPS Visiting Fellow, 2012, for The Brookings Institution) Later this month, Mongolia will host the 7th ministerial conference of the Community of Democracies (CD), an intergovernmental forum of democracies formed in 2000 at the initiative of Bronislaw Geremek of Poland and Madeleine Albright of the United States. Several civil society events will accompany it.

The CD was launched at a conference in Warsaw in 2000, and its goals were announced in the Warsaw Declaration: strengthening democratic values and institutions, protecting human rights, and promoting civil society. The effort was to be undertaken both at the national level, by supporting one another in these endeavors, and at the global level through collaboration on democracy-related issues in international and regional institutions. The Warsaw Declaration also emphasized the interdependence between peace, development, human rights and democracy.

After 2000, however, despite a sustained schedule of meetings and statements, the CD never really took off. Democracy's progress worldwide had slowed in subsequent years, as noted in a number of surveys, including one by Freedom House. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in Krakow in 2010, the CD acknowledged this state of affairs and through its Act of Recommitment to the Warsaw Declaration pledged to intensify its efforts to transform itself "into a unique forum for the world's democracies to promote and strengthen democracy on a global basis." To meet this objective, the CD began to retool itself by creating a permanent secretariat, launching a partnership initiative that focuses on assistance to specific countries and, on top of civil society, bringing young people, businesses, and parliamentarians into its dialogue on democracy.

The April 2013 conference in Ulaanbaatar will be an occasion for the CD to further reinvigorate its agenda. Mongolia, which currently holds the CD presidency, offers a number of lessons to offer that could contribute to the organization's recommitment to its objectives, especially emphasis on the interdependence between poverty, development and democracy. This emphasis is important both as an immediate goal for the host country and as a larger goal for the CD as a whole.

The case of Mongolia on poverty and democracy is instructive. The country started transitioning to democracy over twenty years ago and, for almost as long, the rate of poverty has stood at 30 percent and above. In the 1990s, much of it could be attributed to the disruptions caused by changes in its political and economic system. Harsh weather has been an intermittent factor, too. But no significant progress has been registered in later years, when the economy has grown at an annual average of 9 percent in the past decade. The latest available figure (2011) shows that poverty still stands at 29.8 percent, despite the double-digit economic growth in the past two years. The gap between poor and rich has continued to grow, and infrastructure has languished in a chronically decrepit state. Corruption, on the other hand, has continued to increase. Between 1999 and 2011, while the economy was growing, the country's corruption ranking has managed to drop from a place where it was comfortably ahead of some of its fellow post-communist countries in Europe to a dismal 120th place out of some 180 countries surveyed by Transparency International. The implications for democracy were grave: most reforms stalled, vote buying became a serious concern, and public trust in the institutions of democracy was shaken. In a survey conducted in June 2012, over 80 percent of respondents believed that government policies were "always" or "often" failing to solve their concerns, chief among them unemployment and poverty.

The lesson to be drawn from this experience is that, early on in the transition process, new democracies should put economic liberty and transparency on a par with other democratic values such as regular elections, rule of law, human rights, freedom of association and freedom of speech. Otherwise, a callous and corrupt government, sometimes voted in through dubiously "free and fair" elections, can use the trappings and rhetoric of democracy as a façade while behind the scenes they engage in rent-seeking practices that can lead to a systemic entrenchment of corruption. In such a system political power is used for economic gain and economic gain is used for buying political influence. Few or no dividends go to the general populace. This results in persistent poverty among a large percentage of the population coupled with poor social services. Public enthusiasm or support for democracy wanes, democracy is eroded, therefore human rights are violated, and eventually democracy breaks down. Such scenarios are an early and real threat to democracy because the impoverished populace does not have the necessary tools―such as education or access to information―to fight back and, in most cases, is simply unfamiliar with the concept of demanding government accountability and responsiveness.

Early on, the CD emphasized this problem by stating in Warsaw that eradication of poverty is an "essential contributing factor to the promotion and preservation of democratic development" (2000). This emphasis should now be renewed. To do so, recommitment to the concept of interdependence between democracy and poverty found in the Santiago Commitment (2005) is essential. The Commitment stressed that democracy cannot be sustained without persistent efforts to eliminate extreme poverty and, vice versa, that the strengthening of democratic governance was "an essential component" of the efforts to alleviate poverty. Rooting out corruption that "corrodes democracy," as stated in Warsaw, is a central element of these efforts, and this stance was reaffirmed in the Krakow Plan for Democracy (2010). Poverty is as much a threat to a democracy as poor institutions in that it deprives people of their political voice preventing them from holding their governments accountable and responsive, and eroding public trust in the emerging institutions of democracy. The CD's Bamako Consensus (2007) addressed the issue of public trust: "persistent inequality and poverty can lead to low public trust in political institutions and vulnerability to undemocratic practices both of which are threats to democracy." Poverty is also an assault on human dignity which is why the Bamako Consensus also emphasized that democracy, development and human rights were mutually reinforcing.

This body of reasoning serves as a good foundation for the CD to contribute to the ongoing global debate on the post-2015 development agenda. This debate presents the CD with an opportunity to pursue its position that eradication of poverty and the consolidation of democracy are interdependent. The thematic session on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that is planned for the CD's meetings in Ulaanbaatar could therefore be seized as an occasion to launch substantive discussions on collaboration, in the coming years, with international organizations and civil society on ways to incorporate democratic governance in the post-2015 development agenda, or mainstream anti-corruption efforts into it, and ensure that this agenda adopts a human rights-based approach, addresses inequality and promotes social inclusion. Discussions could revolve around the issues raised in papers and notes by UN bodies and agencies and other actors, especially civil society, that call for encompassing human rights, democracy and good governance in an inclusive development agenda focused on poverty eradication. The ideas expressed at the global consultation on governance and the post-2015 framework could also be taken up.

The experience of Mongolia could also be looked at. Mongolia is one of two countries that have voluntarily added a ninth goal to its MDGs: Strengthen Human Rights and Foster Democratic Governance. While a welcome initiative, Mongolia's MDG 9 has not been a successful undertaking either in terms of its design and implementation; one of its targets, "zero tolerance for corruption," has been, for too long, an embarrassing slogan given the deteriorating realities on the ground. The initiative did not target such central principles of democratic governance as government accountability, transparency and participation. Neither has the mutually reinforcing nature of the goals to reduce poverty, promote gender equality and improve governance been duly highlighted in the national MDGs framework. Mongolia's case strongly suggests that the design of governance goals and the methodology of assessing and monitoring their progress should be given careful consideration. The country's experience also suggests that it is important for national leaders in new democracies to fully embrace and own the goals and targets of poverty reduction and democratic governance -- and to lead. And they should be held accountable for the failures in the implementation.

The impending Community of Democracy discussions in Ulaanbaatar will provide Mongolian leaders both in government and in civil society with an opportunity to reflect on the current status of the country's MDGs on poverty reduction and democratic governance and commit to their acceleration. It should be noted that the latest poverty figure shows a decrease―29 percent in 2011 versus 39 percent in 2010―but it is yet to be determined if this is attributable to government's untargeted cash handouts of the past three years, or whether it points to a trend.  Whichever the case, sustaining economic growth and expanding the opportunities offered by it, especially by reducing youth unemployment, will be essential if the country is to meet its goal of reducing poverty to 18 percent by 2015. The discussion will also help the thinking on the best ways to incorporate the "unfinished business," or any unmet MDGs, into the country's post-MDGs goals in a way that is mindful of the importance of the wider governance context for any success in the key areas of poverty, gender equality and environment.

After years of stalled reform that threatened to jeopardize the country's democratic gains, it appears that the Mongolian government is now more willing to tackle its outstanding governance issues. It has laid out its plans to reform the civil service, judiciary and police, the institutions most frequently cited in past surveys as the most corrupt; wider policy deliberation and citizen feedback and participation are encouraged, including through the use of new technologies; democracy education is being debated; efforts to address corruption have been stepped up and a more robust national strategy to combat it is in the works. A recent survey showed a slight increase in the level of confidence that people place in the ability of the country's anti-corruption agency to tackle the issue. In a promising sign, in a single year, the country moved up 26 places in its ranking of the Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (the effect of changes in methodology and lesser number of countries surveyed is unclear). The government has also expressed its intent to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral transparency initiative involving governments and civil society. Its OGP Action Plan is scheduled to be presented later this month.

The government's commitment to accountability and transparency will be put to the test by its handling of the case of a former finance minister, whose failure to disclose his offshore company and a secret Swiss bank account, holding $1 million at one time, was brought to light last week by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

If sustained, reform should improve government effectiveness and create an enabling governance environment for focusing on poverty eradication which should remain the government's first priority. In the years ahead, the country's significant extractive wealth will also have to be managed in an exemplary way so that its benefits go to the entire population in an equitable way. The CD's position that eradication of poverty is essential for a healthy democracy should serve as a guiding principle for the Mongolian government for it to regain public trust and produce outcomes that ensure prosperity, justice and security for the people.

Since the next CD ministerial will take place in 2015, only a couple of months removed from the global gathering on development, the Ulaanbaatar CD ministerial is an opportunity for democracies to start working together to include the democratic principles of accountability, transparency and participation into the post-2015 poverty eradication agenda. A reaffirmation of the CD's belief in the mutually reinforcing nature of democracy and development can also help re-shape the debate in Mongolia in a way that integrates eradication of poverty, equity and social justice into the broader project of democracy.

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Mongolia shouldn't be described as 'untouched'

The GrUBe

Welcome to The GrUBe! This column is dedicated to readers' gripes (complaints) about aspects of life in Mongolia, particularly in UB, hence the name "GrUBe". Readers are invited to submit their grUBes or ideas to this email address: Submissions should be less than 900 words. The editorial staff at the UB Post reserve the right to edit and rewrite submissions. Submitters should specify whether or not they want their names printed in association with the articles. Please note: racist, sexist and other offensive submissions will be marked as spam and transferred to the bin.

Mongolia shouldn't be described as 'untouched'

By Elizabeth Bryning

April 10 (UB Post) The other morning when I was reading the newspaper I came across an article that made me almost choke on my coffee. The article said that Mongolia had been ranked 15th among the top places in the world to visit in 2013. Now, don't get me wrong, I certainly agree that Mongolia is one of the top places in the world to visit; it is definitely a country everyone should see, in any year. What made me splutter my coffee all over the newspaper was the reason given in the article for visiting Mongolia: its "untouched countryside."

Untouched? Mongolia's countryside described as "untouched?" I could only assume that the author of the article has never been here. It seems to me that the only explanation for the choice of the word "untouched" was because the author's feet have never touched Mongolia's soil.

I arrived in Mongolia several years ago and have been searching ever since for some "untouched" countryside. I have yet to find it.

There may be an "untouched" corner somewhere. I haven't been everywhere. But describing the general countryside of this country as "untouched" is, well, "creative."

The first thing you notice when you're travelling in the Mongolian countryside is the number of tracks crisscrossing the steppe. There are sections of land that have so many tracks, side by side, that it resembles a ten-lane highway. This is not my idea of "untouched."

Then you notice the many exposed patches on the steppe where the pasture has been grazed completely away and the top soil is eroding rapidly, throwing dust into your eyes as your four-wheel-drive bounces by. Nope, that doesn't seem very "untouched" to me either.

And when you get out of your vehicle and walk around, you can barely go five paces without tripping over an empty vodka bottle, even in the most remote and unpopulated corners of the country. Hell no, that's not "untouched."

And the amount of plastic waste littering the steppe makes you think "rubbish tip," not "untouched."

Then there are the polluted rivers and streams … The levels of toxic chemicals and heavy metals (arsenic, mercury, etc.) in the water also don't bring the word "untouched" to mind. And don't get me started on the lack of trees and appalling rate of deforestation in this country. You can't call the forests "untouched" either.

Travelling across the steppe for a few days you get see a few million livestock, including goats, sheep, horses, camels, and yaks. But after a while you notice that you haven't seen a single wild animal. No marmots, no elk, no wolves, no snow leopards, no deer, and barely a bird in the sky. You begin to ask yourself, "Where are all Mongolia's wildlife?"

By doing some research, I found out that Mongolia has around 700 species of wildlife, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world. But many of its wild species are endangered. Mongolia's wildlife are disappearing faster than fresh batches of buuz on Tsagaan Sar.

Mongolia's only endemic bear species, the critically endangered Mazaalai (Gobi Bear), is likely to be wiped off the face of the earth sometime very soon. At the last count, there were about 22 of these bears left. This is a tiny population, and is probably far less than the "minimum viable population" necessary to allow this species to continue to survive in the wild. Sadly, unless something substantial is done to protect these animals, and soon, the current generation of Mongolians will become infamous for being the generation that let the Mazaalai die.

While Mongolia's native horse, the Tahki (Przewalski's horse), is fairly well-known, few people in the world know that the Tahki has a cousin, Mongolia's own native donkey, the Khulan (Mongolian Wild Ass). The Khulan is not facing a very happy future. The number of Khulan remaining in Mongolia was recently estimated to be less than 20,000. The population of this endangered species has been decimated in recent decades, with the number declining by an estimated 50 percent since the end of 1990′s. The Khulan lives with the Mazaalai in the definitely-not-untouched Gobi region, so it barely stands a chance of survival. Experts believe that unless significant steps are taken to protect the Khulan, this species may be eradicated by the end of this decade. Another honor for current generation. How proud Chinngis Khaan would be.

The Khulan, Mazaalai, and other wildlife face two main threats. The first threat is habitat loss. This is caused by such things as the spread of herders into wild animals' habitats (with livestock consuming wild animals' food and water); overstocking of goats and other livestock, which leads to overgrazing and desertification of the wildlife's habitat; felling of the trees that supply shelter and maintain the water cycle for wild animals; and pollution of waterways by mining activities, adversely affecting water supplies for flora and fauna.

The second main threat to wildlife is hunting. The Khulan are mostly hunted by local herders who see this animal as a competitor for the limited natural resources (pasture and water) in the Gobi region. The Mazaalai and other wildlife are mainly hunted by psychopaths. Yes, you read that right. There is no other way to accurately describe people who kill animals for fun.

There seems to be a collective delusion in this country that Mongolia is still what it once was: a vast pristine landscape with a balanced rural socio-economic system in which people lived off nature and therefore respected nature's gifts. In this system, people hunted on horseback, with bows and arrows, in order to get the food and clothing they needed for survival. In general, they did not take more than their environment could provide.

But that was a long, long time ago. I'm sorry to be the one to say this: the Mongolian way of life is not like that anymore.

This country has a dwindling number of herders, and the herders today do not need to eat marmots to survive or kill snow leopards and wolves for fur. While herder numbers are declining, the number of livestock is growing, and there are too many for the damaged and arid plains to support sustainably. The miners are polluting the soil and water. Forests are being cut down. The massive four-wheel-drive vehicles that everyone likes to drive are destroying wildlife habitat, and crushing endangered species beneath their wheels. And the "sport" of hunting is going straight for the jugular: directly wiping out Mongolia's rare and exceptional wildlife, the natural heritage of this country.

This situation reminds me of the message presented in the fairytale called "The Emperor's New Clothes." For those of you who don't know it, the story is about two swindlers who promise an emperor a set of sumptuous clothes, telling the emperor that the clothes are invisible to people who are incompetent in their jobs or stupid. The swindlers pretend to dress the emperor in these clothes and the emperor doesn't question the fact that he can't see the clothes, as he wants to appear clever. He then parades naked before his subjects, thinking that he is wearing the new clothes. His government ministers and the general public can't see the clothes but they pretend that they do, for fear of appearing stupid. Finally, a child cries out that the emperor is naked, and the people realize they have been fooled.

Here in Mongolia, the "invisible set of clothes" is the collective delusion that Mongolia is still a pristine ("untouched") land of herders living in harmony with the land. Everyone wants to believe that this is true. And nobody wants to be the unpopular person who points out that we are all being fooled.

The Government of Mongolia claims that it wants to protect nature and encourage tourists to visit this amazing country. But many of its policies contradict that claim. I'll just mention two of those policies here.

First, the government allows Mongolians and foreigners to kill wildlife, including endangered species. "Hunters" can shoot just about anything that moves. The government claims this is a way to earn revenue. But compared to the revenue that could be earned from nature tourism, the revenue from the sale of hunting permits brings in a relatively tiny amount; an amount that will quickly dwindle as all of the wild animals in Mongolia are decimated. If the government is serious about raising revenue, it should encourage tourist "safaris," in which people photograph animals rather than kill them. That would be a far more sustainable financial strategy.

Second, the government encourages herders to breed more and more livestock, awarding the herders who produce the largest numbers of livestock with prizes and honors. The focus is on quantity and little attention is paid to quality. Herders should be awarded for producing the highest-quality wool, meat and dairy products, not the largest amount. And here's a suggestion: give herders awards for caring for the land. The prizes should be awarded to those herders who reduce desertification and deforestation, not increase it.

Whatever the government and people of this country decide to do about the issues, I have a simple request for everyone: Please stop describing Mongolia's countryside as "untouched." It's not.

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'Live from UB': free screenings of Lauren Knapp's film about Mongolian rock music scene

April 10 (Post-Gazette) How Mongolian rock music played a role in the country's development as a new democracy

You can get a sneak preview of Lauren Knapp's documentary about the Mongolian rock music scene, "Live From UB," this afternoon at the University of Pittsburgh and Thursday night at Biddle's Escape in Wilkinsburg.

The Pittsburgh-based filmmaker, who earned a degree in anthropology and worked for "PBS NewsHour" for four years, explores how Mongolian rock music played a role in the country's development as a new democracy and how a new generation of Mongolians are creating a new kind of rock.

She spent a year living in Mongolia and created 40-plus short videos chronicling the culture and music scenes in urban and rural areas. She wrote about this for the PG's The Next Page on Sept. 30, 2012.

Ms. Knapp will screen several of these shorts, talk about her experiences and share a chapter from her documentary, now in post-production. Her first session will be noon to 1 p.m. today in 4217 Posvar Hall at Pitt, 230 S. Bouquet St. On Thursday, her presentation will be from 8 to 9 p.m. at Biddle's Escape, 401 Biddle Ave. in Wilkinsburg. Both are free.

UB is short for Ulaanbaatar, which is where she lived for a time while researching her project that was supported by a Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship.

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Mogi Munkhdul Badral Bontoi

Cover Mongolia



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