Wednesday, May 15, 2013

[Aspire hires SMEC to advance Erdenet-Ovoot railway, Elbegdorj officially DP candidate, and Hitachi/SMBC sign deal with Energy Ministry]

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CoverMongolia NewsWire
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Overseas Market
Announcement after market close. AKM closed +3.1% to 6.6c
Aspire: SMEC appointed as Railway Engineering Partner
May 7 -- Aspire Mining Limited (ASX: AKM, "Aspire", or the "Company") is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, Northern Railways Pte Ltd ("Northern Railways"), has appointed Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation ("SMEC") to provide a range of services to advance the planning and development of the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway.
SMEC, a global infrastructure engineering company, has been operating for over 40 years and employs approximately 5,000 employees throughout their 55 offices worldwide. SMEC has considerable rail experience throughout Asia including Mongolia where they have completed the detailed design for the 225 kilometre coal haul railway for Hong Kong listed Mongolian Mining Corporation ("MMC").
SMEC has been contracted to complete a full re-optimisation of the Erdenet to Ovoot rail alignment including site visits, risk and constraint analysis, permitting and Government approvals including a rail concession, engineering and design to allow for EPC tendering and a Bankable Feasibility Study. The work has been broken up into phases with discrete decision points and performance milestones before the next phase of work commences.
The value of the work to be provided by SMEC is approximately $9.8 million in total to be expended in two stages over 12 months. Stage 2 is at the option of Northern Railways. The cost will be funded from the $5 million Noble Group loan facility (refer ASX announcement dated 10 January 2013) and cash resources. Northern Railways also retains an option to appoint SMEC as EPC Contract Manager on behalf of Northern Railways.
Aspire's Managing Director Mr David Paull commented that "This agreement marks an important milestone in the development of the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway. We have been working with SMEC for six months on addressing critical rail project risks and it makes sense, with their in country expertise and experience, for SMEC to become our rail engineering partner for what will be a large and important project for Mongolia.

MGG CEO Harris Kupperman: Creating Ways To Invest In Unique Trends
May 7 (ValueWalk) Harris Kupperman of Mongolia Growth Group will be presenting: Creating Ways To Invest In Unique Trends at Value Investing Congress.
Harris Kupperman is the founder of Praetorian Capital, a hedge fund focused on using long-term macro trends to guide stock selection. Mr. Kupperman is also the Chairman and CEO of Mongolia Growth Group (YAK: Canada and MNGGF: USA) a publicly traded company focused on gaining leverage to the rapid growth of the Mongolian economy.
Additionally, we are offering a special two-day only 50% off discount on registrations for the Value Investing Congress taking place in September for all ValueWalk readers.
Regular Price: $4,695
Two-Day Special – 50% off: $2,345
Expiration: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Code: N13VW
Harris Kupperman Live Coverage
All times are in PST and PM
3:10: Kupperman notes that sometimes investors make the wrong decisions because there are too many people investing in the same ideas.
3:15: Kupperman thinks investors can find many great opportunities in Mongolia. He notes that in terms of the macro picture the GDP of Mongolia is expected to increase 10 fold from 2010-2020! Since Harris lives in the country he is much more familiar with the culture, economy and specific investments he is analyzing.
3:20: Harris Kupperman specifically thinks that real estate is attractive in Mongolia. One of the reasons he moved from Miami to the country was because of the opportunities he saw in this sector.
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Local Market
BDSec: E-Trans Logistics (ETR:MO) Initiation, BUY, Price Target 154, Upside 28%
May 7 (BDSec) --
<![if !supportLists]>      <![endif]>We are initiating coverage of E-Trans Logistics (ETR:MO) with a BUY rating, with one-year target price of MNT 154 per share or a potential total return of 28%.
<![if !supportLists]>      <![endif]>E-Trans Logistics (ETR:MO) is the only non government owned transloading facility at the busiest-border point of Mongolia-China at Zamyn Uud, which covers 90 percent of the country's import traffic.
<![if !supportLists]>      <![endif]>Mongolian trains run on 1,523 mm (Russian gauge), while China uses 1,435 mm (standard gauge). As trains encounter a different gauge on the Mongolian-Chinese border, freight must be transloaded.
<![if !supportLists]>      <![endif]>At the peak of traffic, cargo delivery from China is delayed up to 20 days. The port congestion is deteriorating in recent years due to enhanced Mongolia-China trade. The total value of Mongolian imports were doubled in two years, and increased tenfold in 10 years. The existing rail and transloading capacity is insufficient to meet expected output increase in the coming years.
<![if !supportLists]>      <![endif]>We believe that Zamyn Uud's location will prove even more important in the years ahead, because of increased shipping along the already-busy route along Trans Mongolian Railway, and ETR will take advantage of the growing market.

May 7 (MSE) According to Financial Regulatory Commission's Resolution No:143 of 10th April 2013, provisions No:58, 59.1 of the Mongolian Stock Exchange Listing Rules and "Tulga" JSC's request No:02/07 of 3th March 2013 to change its organization into Limited Liability Company, the total of 131 620 shares of "Tulga" JSC delisted from the Mongolian Stock Exchange securities list.
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Mogi: don't you hate it when supposedly reputable think tank/intellectuals pretend to know a country? Lost respect for CSIS.
China at the Gates: China's Impact on Mongolian Natural Resource and Investment Policy
May 6 (Center for Strategic & International Studies) The mining sector—driven by an influx of foreign investment, much of it from China—has been the engine of Mongolia's impressive economic growth. Hungry for Mongolia's coal, metals, and other minerals, China has dominated the Mongolian economy, stoking fears in Ulaanbaatar of even greater Chinese control. This has prompted the imposition of strict new laws mandating government oversight of foreign investment, especially from foreign sources. Ulaanbaatar has created a two-tiered system of "China-phobic" resource nationalism that could alter the future trajectory of the mining industry. 
Mongolia has risen! A burgeoning natural resource and mining sector is expected to make Mongolia's the second fastest growing economy worldwide in 2013,  building upon over a decade of rapid economic expansion.  Of course, Ulaanbaatar has not achieved such heights alone. Rich in resources yet lacking the infrastructure, human and economic capital, and technological expertise necessary to develop them, Mongolia's mining boom has been driven almost entirely by foreign investment. The importance of such investment to the Mongolian economy makes Ulaanbaatar's recent policy shifts towards greater resource nationalism all the more puzzling. (Mogi: puzzling? For a "strategic" studies guy, puzzling to me why he doesn't understand)
Reforms to laws governing foreign investment and mineral resources laws in recent months (Mogi: has this guy written this himself months ago? Didn't get the latest memo apparently) stand as an unambiguous departure from two decades of Mongolia's favorable investment climate. This shift has spooked foreign investors, with foreign direct investment (FDI) falling 17 percent year-on-year in 2012.  Yet, Mongolia's approach to its natural wealth remains seemingly inconsistent. Ulaanbaatar has lifted restrictions on private investors while deepening constraints and expanding oversight for state-owned investment (Mogi: deepening, expanding oversight of foreign SOEs? Has remained the same for a year now). This incongruity raises the question: what is driving decision-making in Ulaanbaatar? The answer can be found to Mongolia's south. The Mongolian government's recent shift towards greater resource nationalism (Mogi: no mining project has been taken over so far) has been the result of the coalescence of fears about Chinese economic dominance, leading to the development of a two-tiered policy of "China-phobic" resource nationalism.
The People's Republic looms large over the Mongolian economy, and fears abound in Ulaanbaatar about the prospects of becoming Beijing's newest natural resource appendage. Such fears are not entirely unfounded. In the two decades since Mongolia's transition to a market economy in 1990, China has accounted for roughly 50 percent of the FDI in Mongolia. No other country has even come close, with only three others (Canada, the Netherlands (Mogi: Netherlands as an offshore holding company, not directly from Netherlands, and South Korea) providing more than 5 percent of FDI each.  Moreover, economic relations with Beijing account for 75 percent of Mongolia's total economic activity  and over 90 percent of its exports, most of which are raw materials.  Combined with China's geographic and demographic dominance (China's population is 480 times larger than Mongolia's), alongside a long and troubled history that includes close to three hundred years of direct Chinese rule under the Qing dynasty and a 1919 occupation by Chinese forces that continues to stoke Mongolian fears of reintegration (Mogi: haha, reintegration? More like reinvasion from the Mongolian standpoint),  policy makers in Ulaanbaatar and the Mongolian public are understandably wary of China's massive economic clout. 
However justified these fears may be they have made for bad policy. In May 2012, Mongolia passed the Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law (SEFIL), under which the State Khural (Mogi: State Great Khural as it liked to be called in English), the Mongolian Parliament, would have to approve all foreign investment in strategic sectors, including mining, that exceeds 70 million dollars (Mogi: can't even get the fact rights. Over $75 million investments that takes more than 49% interest in a strategic sector entity).  It was a transparent – and ultimately successful – attempt to block the takeover of SouthGobi Resources, a coal mining company and Rio Tinto subsidiary (Mogi: a deal was struck not by Rio but by Ivanhoe Mines (now Turquoise Hill Resources) with Chalco, before Rio could take full control of IVN as perhaps Friedland's last jab at Rio for killing its poison pill plan), by Chalco, China's largest state-owned mining conglomerate (after five months, Chalco finally threw in the towel) (Mogi: Chalco can't have been that naïve to think it would have gone through only couple of months before a general election either). Soon thereafter the Mongolian government proposed significant changes to the Minerals Law, which would grant the state the right to take a free stake in most mining projects (Mogi: WRONG again!!!!!!!! The initial draft proposed mandating minimum local, not government, ownership in mining projects, and NOT for free. The draft has been killed thus far),  and could allow the government to mandate output targets for producers regardless of market conditions (Mogi: wrong again I believe. The draft prohibited High Grade Mining) through a "Deposit Development Agreement."  A breach of these provisions could carry a fine, or even result in the revocation of a mining license.   
In the wake of criticism from private foreign investors, the government has backed off both pieces of legislation, and repeatedly clarified that the SEFIL distinguishes between private FDI, which Mongolia favors, and state-controlled FDI, which it seeks to regulate. This distinction was codified in an amendment passed on April 19, 2013 that removes the mandatory parliamentary review of investment projects for non-state-owned investors and exempts private foreign investors from the onerous conditions and restrictions contained within the SEFIL.  The amendment also mandates government approval for all investment by state-owned enterprises, regardless of the financial stake and triggers automatic parliamentary review and approval procedures for any investment resulting in a stake greater than 49 percent in a strategic enterprise.  Furthermore, Ulaanbataar (Mogi: can't even spell the capital correctly) has chosen to defer debate on the draft Minerals Law until after the presidential elections this coming June to ensure that policy is not shaped by the nationalist fervor that could surround the issue of mining during the election (Mogi: the draft is being proposed to be killed altogether).  The now tighter restrictions on foreign investment that will remain in force should grant the Mongolian government much greater control over how, or if, state-affiliated capital from China enters the country.
In a 2009 article, Ian Bremmer and Robert Johnston  put forward a brief taxonomy of resource nationalism. Mongolia exhibits what Bremmer and Johnston call the "economic" variant of resource nationalism (as opposed to the "revolutionary," "legacy," or "soft" variations), which prioritizes state control of natural resources so that those resources may further a country's long-term economic development. Such "economic" resource nationalism is not inherently opposed to foreign investment; in fact, it often welcomes FDI, albeit on terms favorable for the state. This is exactly the policy that Mongolia has pursued – welcoming foreign investment on the whole, while also asserting control over both which investors are allowed into the country and how much they can invest. 
Even with a recent amendment which favors private investment now on the books, the strict policies enacted over the past year have been a shock to a mining industry that, since the early 1990s, has operated in an economic environment that prioritized an open investment climate to attract sorely needed foreign capital and expertise. Mongolian natural resource development policy has always been a delicate balancing act between resource nationalism and the free market. For the past two decades, beginning in the early stages of its post-Soviet economic revival, an open investment regime has largely prevailed. This does not mean that Mongolia's policy was not "economically" resource nationalist; rather, as Bremmer and Johnston write, Mongolia had, until recently, recognized that its efforts to control investment or renegotiate terms could not be "so punitive that international companies exit the country."  The version of SEFIL passed in March 2012 upended the prevailing status quo, shocking the private investors with the specter of new onerous restrictions. As outlined above, investor outrage has prompted a second rebalancing, with Mongolia pursuing diametrically opposed strategies towards private investment and investment from foreign, state-owned (read: Chinese) enterprises. 
The shift towards greater control over investment is the result of a growing desire to draw greater benefit for the state and local population from mining activities, as well as historically high minerals prices (Mogi: looks like now he's getting on track). Most importantly, however, it implies a belief that a tougher government stance on investment will not deter all, or even most foreign investors seeking to tap into Mongolia's burgeoning mining sector. Ulaanbaatar understands that foreign investment remains critical. In fact, Mongolia explored the possibility of development projects undertaken exclusively by Mongolian state-owned enterprises, but the government acknowledged that such an undertaking would proceed much more slowly without foreign capital, infrastructure, and technical capabilities.  Before the recent amendment softened the SEFIL legislation, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj argued that the new restrictions contained in SEFIL and the renegotiation that it has prompted is "tarnishing" Mongolia's reputation.   
Mongolia's turn to resource nationalism was prompted not by an aversion to foreign investment per se, but specifically by the sale that would have given Chalco a majority stake in the company that operated the strategically important Ovoot Tolgoi coal deposit.  That sale entered the public view in the run-up to the 2012 parliamentary elections, setting off a wave of public discontent focusing on China's position in the economy  and prompting politicians to seek to capitalize on it. China, and not foreign investment more generally, was the focus on this public and legislative backlash. Mongolia's swift assertion of this "China-phobic" resource nationalism has left policymakers in Ulaanbaatar scrambling to ensure that other private, non-Chinese investment flows do not dry up. But while Ulaanbaatar may have some minor success in stemming the tide of Chinese investment, Mongolia is still destined to remain almost entirely dependent on China economically for lack of other options. In the words of Battsengel Gotov, the CEO of the Mongolian Mining Corporation, "we have two big superpowers as neighbors. Virtually, we have one customer." 
Neighbor number two, of course, is the Russian Federation, which has ranked ninth in FDI with 2.24 percent over the past twenty years. That trails such economic powerhouses as Bermuda and the UK Virgin Islands. Even though Russia is right next door, it is unlikely to ever serve as an effective counterweight to China. Recent bilateral meetings between Russia and Mongolia have reaffirmed political and military ties;  however, expanded economic ties, beyond early discussions of transportation and export routes for Mongolian commodities through Russia, seem to have been given short shrift. Unlike China, the Russian Federation has little need for Mongolian coal, cooper, or other minerals, and even less desire to finance their development. Russia, rather, remains primarily concerned with the development and expansion of its own stagnating natural resources sector. Additionally, while Russia has shown interest in oil and gas investment projects throughout Central Asia in recent years, it is unlikely that they will do so in Mongolia. The oil and gas industries are practically nonexistent in Mongolia (Mogi: Mongolia is an oil exporter, see this presentation to find out how much) and the oil and gas reserves have largely not been surveyed and remain unproven.   Chinese FDI in Mongolia in 2010 dwarfed Russian FDI by a factor of close to seventy-five;  thus, even if Russian investment in Mongolia were to increase, it would have to grow at an unrealistic rate to genuinely challenge China's stranglehold on Mongolia's economy.  Together, China's existing dominance and the improbability of a massive influx of Russian investment into Mongolia's natural resources sector make it very unlikely that in the near- to mid-term Russia will provide a viable alternative for Ulaanbaatar for either exports or foreign investment. This lack of a Russian alternative is likely another factor driving Mongolia's imposition of increasingly stringent restrictions on Chinese investment.  
To ensure its future economic growth and diversification, Mongolia must reconcile its inevitable economic dependence on China with its desire to protect its economic sovereignty, especially in mining, while keeping the private investments flowing. To do so, it will be necessary for Ulaanbaatar to decouple, both in policy and in rhetoric, its support for private foreign investment from its "China-phobic" resource nationalism. While the amendment to the SEFIL, which stands steadfast against Chinese investment while encouraging private FDI, is a step in the right direction, the seed of more intense, and more detrimental, resource nationalism has been planted in Ulaanbaatar. China is not going away; on the contrary, the People's Republic will remain Mongolia's primary economic partner in both trade and investment. Consequently, the phobias prompted by China's economic dominance—and the temptation to strengthen resource nationalism—will not go away either. Mongolia's government must remain vigilant, especially with a consideration of the draft Minerals Law set to take place in only a few months, ensuring that fear of Chinese dominance does not force it to further compromise its message of openness to private foreign investment. 
Oliver Backes is a researcher with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. 
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Mogi: Yeeay! Montsame revamped their site and now their English links are not broken
Ulaanbaatar, May 7 /MONTSAME/ At its meeting ran Tuesday, the Democratic Party's (DP) Consultative Committee selected current President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj as a candidacy for the Presidential election.
At the meeting, the DP Consultative Committee members backed Elbegdorj with 100 per cent votes.
Apart of selecting the candidacy, acting Secretary-General of the DP Ts.Oyundari was appointed as the DP Secretary-General; and a rule of selecting the Presidential election candidacy was adopted.
As of present, two candidates for the upcoming election have been named from the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) and the DP. (Mogi: oh poor Montsame, MNDP nominated their head Enkhsaikhan too)

Setting the stage for a presidential election
May 7 (Julian Dierkes, Mongolia has experienced some turmoil in its relationship with international investors generally and with Rio Tinto over the Oyu Tolgoi project more specifically in the first five months of this year.
Notable events have been a February speech by President Ts Elbegdorj on some of the shortcomings in the management of the Oyu Tolgoi project that he saw in February.
This was followed by a series of meetings and negotiations with Oyu Tolgoi representatives to resolve any disagreements between Turquoise Hill Resources as the majority and the government of Mongolia as the minority shareholder in Oyu Tolgoi.
Discussions of revisions to the foreign direct investment law and the mining law have also been significant in providing a context for foreign investment in the country's rapidly growing economy.
This turmoil sets the stage for the June 26 presidential election. President Elbegdorj will likely be nominated this coming weekend (Mogi: selected this Tuesday) for a re-election campaign by his Democratic Party which currently also holds the posts of prime minister (though in a coalition), chairman of parliament, and mayor of the capital, Ulaanbaatar.
The opposition Mongolian People's Party just selected B Bat-Erdene as its nominee. Bat-Erdene has been a three-term Member of Parliament and continues to be personally famous for his status as one of the most dominant Mongolian wrestlers. While he has not been a very active legislator, his most prominent initiative was the 2009 "Law with the Long Name" (Law on the Prohibition of Minerals Exploration in Water Basins and Forested Areas).
This law was intended to restrict mining licenses in areas of ecological fragility. While clearly important and well-intentioned, the law has caused controversy for the implied expropriation of previously-granted licenses (for areas that fall within the coverage of the law) and for the risk or perceived reality of an uneven application of restrictions that gives rise to corruption.
Bat-Erdene will likely use his role in the passage of this law to bolster his appeal to Mongolian values and personal integrity as a potential president.
While Elbegdorj has been active as a DP politician for much longer than Bat-Erdene's membership in the Ikh Khural, including two stints as prime minister, there are few specific policies that are directly associated with him.
Appropriately, given the above-the-fray role of the president in addition to responsibilities for national security foreign policy, and the judicial system, Elbegdorj is thus likely to emphasize his personal charisma and lay claim to the DP's clean government credentials that have been tarnished recently by the publication of information about offshore accounts held by S Bayartsogt, a DP member of parliament who has recently resigned his vice-chairmanship of the Ikh Khural. Bat-Erdene and Elbegdorj thus look set to square off largely over personality rather than specific policy proposals.
Scandals that may erupt over both candidates might still re-configure the campaign in regards to a personality contest.
The Justice Coalition, junior partner in the current government, may nominate M Enkhsaikhan who preceded Elbegdorj as prime minister in the mid-1990s (Mogi: JC's junior partner MNDP chose its head to run, MPRP has yet to declare anything). It is not clear what leverage the Justice Coalition might expect from this candidacy and the threat of a nomination might also be a bargaining chip in negotiations with the DP, but Enkhsaikhan would be likely to try to appeal to voters who continue to be somewhat loyal to former president N Enkhbayar (Mogi: don't think Enkhbayar and Enkhsaikhan are that great of buddies) who is serving a corruption sentence in jail. Part of that appeal may be accusations against Elbegdorj and the DP that they are not claiming enough benefits (i.e. profits) for Mongolians under the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement.
The other partner in the Justice Coalition, Enkhbayar's Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party may not nominate a candidate and throw their support behind the MPP's Bat-Erdene, though a decision has not been announced.
Parties have until May 12 to nominate candidates and until May 17 to submit supporting documents. The final announcement of candidates by the General Election Commission will come on May 23.
Given the stipulation that only parties represented in the Ikh Khural may nominate candidates for president, the election may turn out to be a three-way race (Mogi: more like a two-way race with Enkhsaikhan stealing both DP and MPP votes). At this early point, it is unclear whether an Enkhsaikhan candidacy is likely to have a disproportionate impact on potential Elbegdorj or Bat-Erdene voters and thus lead to a more contested election than is expected now. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the votes, a run-off election between the top two vote-getters will be held two weeks after the initial election.
Julian Dierkes is an associate professor and the co-ordinator of the program on Inner Asia at the University of British Columbia's Institute of Asian Research. He is one of the principal authors of the Mongolia Today blog. Follow him @jdierkes.

8 NGOs ask IAAC to investigate Bayartsogt
May 7 ( Non-profit organizations have announced their intention to sue the dismissed Deputy Speaker, MP S.Bayartsogt to be investigated due to his recently revealed Swiss bank account and offshore business on Tuesday May 7th. 
Eight NGOs delivered the request to the Anti-Corruption Authority today, May 7th. 
These NGOs believe that MP S.Bayartsogt falsely declared income in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and therefore his income declarations to the General Election Committee before 2008 and 2012 parliamentary election were deceptive to voters and in the eyes of the law.
They insist an investigation be held by the Anti-Corruption Authority with the following actions:
<![if !supportLists]>1.    <![endif]>Verify when and why S.Bayartsogt opened a Swiss bank account and confirm the purpose of it and affirm his signature. 
<![if !supportLists]>2.    <![endif]>Name his three business friends who set up the bank account. 
<![if !supportLists]>3.    <![endif]>Reveal when and how investment was made to his bank account and how and where it was withdrawn.  
<![if !supportLists]>4.    <![endif]>Derive the investment source of the bank account with evidence. 
<![if !supportLists]>5.    <![endif]>Explain the false income declaration to voters and people. 
<![if !supportLists]>6.    <![endif]>Reveal offshore real estate and derive the profit source. 
<![if !supportLists]>7.    <![endif]>Prove what nationality he is exactly and explain why he did disapproved of Independent Mongolia, its independence and sovereignty. 
<![if !supportLists]>8.    <![endif]>Clarify if S.Bayartsogt`s home address is available or not. 
The NGOs hopes they will receive reply in 5 - 19 days.

The Mongol List: Playing Catch Up
May 7 (The Mongolist) There has been so much happening in Mongolia the last few weeks. Seriously. If you have been way too self-absorbed to pay attention, as I have, you have missed some interesting stuff. Last week, for example, Mongolia played host to the fourth meeting of the Community of Democracies, which began the day after I left Ulaanbaatar after nearly three weeks in the city. So, somehow I missed that, too. But, this is what the "Mongol List" is for, to catch us up on the interesting things that we may have missed.
1. A vote of no strategy - Ah, it must be the start of a new session of parliament, because the opposition party demanded a vote of no confidence against the standing government at the end of April. I need to do some research on this, but I am fairly certain this happens at least once a year in Mongolian politics no matter which party is in power or opposition. The MPRP (Mogi: the now MPP) successfully dissolved Prime Minister (now President) Elbegdorj's government in the winter of 2006, but that was a rare case in which the opposition party actually had the votes to succeed. Given the state of the economy and self-inflicted wounds caused by the row over Oyu Tolgoi, current Prime Minister Altankhuyag actually should have been politically vulnerable. Yet, he survived his test with his coalition intact and 46 out 69 MPs present voting in his favor.1, 2 Not sure what the MPP's strategic thinking behind calling for the vote was, but they succeeded in removing any doubt over whether the PM is still firmly in control of his government. I doubt that was their aim, though.
2. S. Bayartsogt - The scandal involving now former Deputy of Speaker Bayartsogt and his undisclosed offshore company and Swiss account may not have been explosive, but it continued to smoulder throughout the month of April. After several false starts in parliament to discuss the issue, he was officially removed from his post as Deputy Speaker. The local coverage of the issue also picked up in the middle of April with several front page and page two articles reporting on the many opinions of other MPs on the issue. Mr. Bayartsogt is no longer listed on the parliament website as a Deputy Speaker (see here), so his removal is fully complete. Still no indication of whether the political pressure is mounting enough for him to also step down as an MP, but the cynical view at this point is that is not likely to happen. Stepping down would remove his legal immunity as a seated legislator. If he did step down, though, he would rise a couple notches in my esteem for setting a very important precedent for the greater good.
3. A teachable moment - President Elbegdorj is an active tweeter, and as president one might argue he has a responsibility to provide the nation "teachable moments." In a recent exchange between the president and MP Kh. Battulga that started with a disagreement over sports and ended with snarky comments about former Deputy Speaker Bayartsogt and the inaction of parliament on the issue, President Elbegdorj used the verb "гүлдийлдэх" (guldiildekh) to describe the slow progress. Well, it turns out, this is not a commonly used word, and even Mr. Battulga responded by asking what the heck the president's smack down meant. Zuunii Medee provided in-depth coverage of the mysterious word in their April 22 issue by interviewing an expert on the Mongolian language. The explanation the expert gave is that it is a sort of lethargic and cumbersome movement like a snake that has swallowed a field mouse.3 Bravo to the president for improving the nation's collective vocabulary with such an aptly descriptive term.
4. Speaking of Twitter - A recent interview with Bill Clinton on the political satire show "The Colbert Report" included the former president's oft repeated wish to someday ride a horse in Mongolia. In the interview here, he actually specifically said the Gobi in Mongolia. During the interview, the show's host Stephen Colbert taught President Clinton to tweet, and the former president has been tweeting under the handle @billclinton since then. I have taken to doing what I can to persuade @billclinton to make a date with Mongolia. If enough people express their desire to have him come to Mongolia, the rules of social media suggest he'll be unable to decline without looking totally lame. And, avoiding lameness is a powerful motivator in the social media sphere. Or, so I have heard. I'm too cool to worry about such things. Nevertheless, I'll be tweeting reasons for him to visit Mongolia over the coming weeks using the hashtag #Clinton2Mongolia, and I hope others will join the effort. Let's bring Bill Clinton to this wonderful country.
5. Speaking of Presidents - The presidential election is just around the corner (June 26), and the MPP has finally declared a candidate to challenge incumbent Ts. Elbegdorj with the selection of Member of Parliament B. Bat-Erdene. As a former wrestler in a country full of wrestling fanatics, Mr. Bat-Erdene brings established celebrity to his candidacy. He also has been an MP since 2004, and held the standing committee on legal affairs chairmanship from 2009 to 2010 according to his official bio on the parliament website here. He represents the 18th parliamentary district which encompasses Khentii province, having garnered the most votes in the district in the last election with 37.9 percent of ballots cast.4 In the coming weeks everyone will have a chance to see if he is able to articulate a compelling argument for dropping President Elbegdorj in favor of his leadership over the next four years. Julian Dierkes and Mendee over at "Mongolia Today" provide a bit more information about the presidential election here and here. More on this in the coming weeks.
6. Mongolia and Rio - It is too soon to say whether the relationship between the government and Rio Tinto is truly on the mend, but there are signs of hope as the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) mine inches towards full commercial production this summer. As reported by Reuters, the general sentiment from the investment community in attendance at the Mongolia Investment Summit in London April 16-18 was that the government is keen to reverse the damage done by its public dispute with Rio Tinto over renegotiating the OT investment agreement and the project's management.5 On the heels of the summit, another sign of improvement in the situation was Rio Tinto's announcement at the end of April that Mr. B. Bold was appointed the new president of its international copper group.6 Mr. Bold was previously a financier with JP Morgan, the CEO of Newcom Group, and a special adviser to Oyu Tolgoi (Mogi: and also Chairman of MSE).7 It is a significant appointment, because it seems likely that his selection is driven by a critical need to eventually replace Oyu Tolgoi's top management with Mongolians. It is also significant to see Mongolia represented by a native son in such a prestigious international position.
7. Brand Mongolia - Finally, to round out this "Mongol List," a look at a stunning statistic from the Oxford Business Group's (OBG) "The Report: Mongolia 2013." According to the report, the WTO found in 2011 that Mongolia spent just USD 0.30 in tourism promotion for every international arrival in the country as compared to an average expenditure of USD 5.25 per arrival amongst the other 175 tourist destinations in the survey.8 The big talk in the news and social media sphere in March (besides the government and Rio Tinto spat) was the idea of creating a Mongolia specific brand for the international market like French wine or Canadian maple syrup. The UB Post carried a lengthy article on the topic here, but there was also significant chatter in the local daily newspapers and on Twitter regarding how Mongolia should go about creating its brand. The statistic from OBG provides a pretty good argument for Mongolia making Mongolia its brand. For goodness sake, the country is spending basically nothing promoting itself to tourists, and the OBG report provides a compelling argument that promotion that leads to increased tourism has the potential of a tremendous return on investment. Take this passage:
"...Japanese tourists tend to focus on smaller routes and shorter stays of between three and seven days, but spend the most, an estimated $200 per day in total average. Tourists from the US spend slightly less, between $150 and $170 per day, although the length of the their stay is longer, at between two and three weeks. Meanwhile, Western Europeans spend less (roughly $100 daily), however, they do tend to venture further afield. Koreans, Taiwanese, and Southeast Asians generate less revenue, yet they remain more profitable than Chinese and Russian tourists, with less than $50 per day in country spend."9
This seems like another example in which a complimentary strategic approach to tourism and mining investment could produce more bang for Mongolia's buck. As covered here, the government should be making infrastructure investments that simultaneously improve business conditions for the mining industry and other sectors such as tourism whenever possible. Mongolia needs to begin work on repairing/building its international reputation among investors, and strategic promotion in the right markets could do that while also attracting lucrative tourist arrivals. As the saying goes, Mongolia could "shoot two rabbits with one arrow." Seems like a no-brainer investment. So, instead of a Mongolian brand, how about Brand Mongolia? Remember those "Incredible India" commercials from a few years ago? How about "Magnificent Mongolia"? Just a thought.
1. "Н.Алтанхуяг огцорсонгүй",,, 2013-04-25.
2. Г. Билгүүн, "Ерөнхий сайдыг огцруулах шаардлагагүй гэж үзлээ",, 2013-04-25.
3. З. Хүрэл, "Гүлдийлдсэн жиргээний тухай...", Зууны Мэдээ, 2013-04-22, pg. 3.
4. See "УИХ-н Сонгууль - 2012 он", Монгол улсын сонгуулийн ерөнхий хороо,, (accessed 2013-05-05).
5. Clara Ferreira-Marques, "UPDATE 2-Mongolia woos back miners after investment slump", Reuters,, 2013-04-17.
6. Ц. Болормаа, "Б. Болд 'Rio Tinto'-гийн Зэсийн группийг удирдана", Өнөөдөр, 2013-04-25, pg. 1.
7. Ibid.
8. "Utilising Strengths: Adapting to new trends in the market," in the Oxford Business Group The Report: Mongolia 2013, pg. 198.
9. Ibid, pg. 197.
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Hitachi, SMBC ink Mongolia electricity accord
May 8 (Kyodo) Hitachi Ltd. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. revealed Tuesday they have reached a comprehensive accord with the Mongolian Ministry of Energy on power-related projects.
Under the agreement, Hitachi will consider assisting the construction of power transmission lines and generation facilities in Mongolia.
SMBC, the core bank of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., will meanwhile examine possible financing schemes for possible projects through consultations with Hitachi and the ministry.

Mongolia mine tender to help secure new customers - official
May 7 (Reuters) - Mongolia's plan to develop the untapped western block of its massive Tavan Tolgoi coal mine will help raise cash from new customers to offset an exclusive but loss-making supply deal with China's Chalco, an official with the mine's developer said.
The mine's state-owned operator, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi (ETT), expects to begin exporting coal from the West Tsankhi coal field in the third quarter of this year after opening it up to tender last week, said Tsagaan-Uvgun Delgersaikhan, head of mine planning at the firm.
"The bid is for one year but we have to complete it quickly, hopefully in six months. We just want to make some coal available to sell to some other customers besides Chalco, which may give some extra cash," Tsagaan-Uvgun told Reuters.
Mongolia is under pressure to raise funds to plug a budget gap and stave off a credit downgrade.
Chalco has exclusive rights to purchase coal from the east Tsankhi coal field via a $250 million offtake agreement signed in 2011 (Mogi: actually $350 million pre-payment for coal, rather than a standard off-take agreement).
ETT suspended deliveries to Chalco in January and said it was seeking to renegotiate the deal as the cost of digging the coal was higher than the contracted price. However, it resumed sales this month after a threat of legal action.
Bids for a contract mining tender for the western Tsankhi are due on May 31.
The company hopes to produce 2 million tonnes this year from the western block, which it has said holds 888 million tonnes of reserves, but the arrangement was a "temporary measure", Tsagaan-Uvgun said.
"The government instructed us to increase the number of customers so we will go and ask some other customers to buy it," he said.
The contract mining tender fell short of expectations of major miners, who are hoping for a strategic partnership to mine the coal deposit, but Tsagaan-Uvgun said the one-year deal would not prevent Mongolia from pursuing long-term agreements.
Tavan Tolgoi, located about 300 km (185 miles) from the Chinese border, is thought to contain as much as 7.5 billion tonnes of high-quality coal. It is regarded as one of the most promising coal deposits in the world, but its development has been repeatedly delayed due to financing problems.
The west Tsankhi block has long been coveted by major foreign mining companies, including U.S. coal miner Peabody Energy and China's Shenhua Group.

More innovative, creative Skytel expands mobile access and plans 4G roll-out
March 2013 (Worldfolio) Holding a quarter of Mongolia's telecom market and the largest CDMA 3G network in the country, Skytel Group is one of the industry's leaders and going to great lengths to get Mongolians connected. In an interview with World Report, CEO D Bolor discusses the country's rapidly expanding ICT sector, Skytel's emphasis on rolling out new technology, its heightened customer service, ingrained CSR ethos, and the company's mission to deliver smart products and services to every corner of the country.
Mongolia is experiencing a wonderful period right now with 17.3% GDP growth (Mogi: 2011 GDP growth was revised up to 17.5%) and projections of 12.5% this year (Mogi: must've been 2012 when the interview was held). Obviously, the world is really looking at the Mongolian economy right now. A lot of people have stated that infrastructure is going to be one of the major challenges for Mongolia, which includes energy, road transport, railways and telecoms in particular. What does the future look like for the telecoms sector here in your opinion? 
Mongolia's ICT sector has been growing very fast since the middle of 1990s. Mobile phone penetration has grown to 116.4% so competition is very high. In recent years, mobile phone subscribers have grown to be much more sophisticated, demanding better customer service and better products to help them simplify their lives. With the growing economy we expect that consumer demand for innovative products and services will grow, therefore the need to introduce next generation technologies will rise.  
The number one mobile operator in Mongolia is Mobicom. Unitel have got a very aggressive marketing campaign which they have been continuing for several years. How are you looking to maintain your position within the market? How are you going to continue being the number two player in the market, and how are you going to increase revenue per user?
Our experience in this sector and support from partners, coupled with being more innovative and creative, suggests that Skytel is well positioned and set to grow. Following our company's mission we will deliver smart products and services to our customers.
We will change our employee attitude and the company culture, which we have already started to do in 2012. In addition, given our new management team, the changes to our organisational structure, and a renewed focus on the fundamentals of our business – particularly friendly and effective customer service – I am confident that Skytel will be Mongolia's leading mobile operator in the near future.  
Along with our emphasis on the latest technology, we are also placing greater attention on customer service, opening new customer service branches, revamping our customer service training, and communicating our marketing messages that are simple and acceptable by the market. In this regard, we have retained the services of an outside consulting group, Victors Mongolia Leadership, to overhaul our internal and external communications as well as to improve our customer service training program. It is a very exciting time at Skytel and we are already beginning to reap some of the benefits from our change management program. 
Mongolia is very spread out and there are many remote locations. How does Skytel plan to satisfy demand for telecom services in these areas? What do you feel most needs to be addressed in order for this sector to evolve?
We have deeply analysed the business situation for Skytel over the past period in order to expand our coverage to the rural areas. Current penetration rate in rural areas is very low for Skytel, just 20%. Although, experience says that the penetration ratio for the sector in these areas and the capital city is 50:50, which reveals the need to expand our business in rural areas. This year, we rolled out a CDMA 3G technology network in all the provincial centres and in some large numbers. For Skytel, broadband services are our future business so we are focusing on this area for both rural and urban markets. We are happy to provide high-speed internet services, and we will continue to deploy WCDMA technology networks. We also plan to open additional service branches nationwide. 
Skytel is now a 100% Mongolian-owned entity. Do you think 4G will come to Mongolia any time soon?
Yes, you are right. Skytel is a 100% Mongolian-owned national mobile service provider (Mogi: taken over by Shunkhlai Group) and we have opportunities and advantages relating to stable investment on the technology side. We are actively looking at 4G now and we plan to roll out these services. It is important for Skytel to deploy next generation technologies, as the results will bring us opportunities for equal competition in the market, which will derive from the elimination of technology differences. Our target is to start launching 4G from 2014. 
In terms of partnerships with mobile technology vendors, how do you think new technology will adapt to the Mongolian people? You mentioned that the mobile telecom industry here is very young. Do you have any schemes coming up to show Mongolian people, especially those living in rural areas, the power of a mobile phone and everything they can do with it?
Every year we are increasing data usage in Mongolia and users are requesting increased data speed and data broadband services. Currently, most of our revenue comes from CDMA voice and other traditional services. There is however a general trend in Mongolia, same as global trends, that data services created from broadband, IPTV, WIMAX services and 4G technologies will become the main revenue drivers in the near future. 
You have been in this sector for many years and are viewed as one of the professionals of Mongolian telecom industry. As a Mongolian, what do you think will be the biggest hurdle you will have to overcome over the next few years?
The competition.
Who is making the decisions quicker? Whose customer service is better? Whose product is better? Who is innovative and creative? Who adds value to its customers? Who is most cost efficient? 
The business concept must be win-win.
There were elections last year (Mogi: ok, so it WAS actually 2013), and you now have a new prime minister and cabinet. As a private-sector businessman, what are your expectations for the new government?
I believe that the government should support the private sector (Mogi: founder of Shunkhlai, which also owns majority of APU, Batkhuu is a Democratic Party MP), aid to its growth and not compete with it. 97% of telecom traffic and 70% of its revenue is generated by four mobile operators and they all pay considerable tax contributions to the government. I expect the new government will ensure fair competition in all sectors. 
As a national company, you have got a huge responsibility as you employ so many people and you generate so much wealth here. How does Skytel give back to the Mongolian people and do you engage in any CSR activities or are you working with any foundations to help those people in need?
When I worked at Mobicom, the CSR activities were focused on education, and Mobicom has implemented various programmes, such as the School Lunch Meal initiative in 2006 and E-learning programme in 2010. Now, here in Skytel a new CSR direction has been adopted which is focused on preserving nature. 80% of Mongolian land is facing the danger of desertification, which is crucial to Mongolian people's future. We chose it as our new CSR direction as desertification is one of the greatest environmental challenges today and a major barrier to meeting ecological and human needs in dry lands. We are working on several environmental programmes and to reflect this, A green colour is included in Skytel's logo. Our environmental programmes include a conservation project that promotes green technologies in order to decrease power consumption. We also have a waste management project where we have started collecting old phones, batteries and recycle them, as they are very harmful for the environment if disposed improperly. Programmes related to animal and steppe land protection have also being planned. 
If we were to come back to Mongolia in 25 years' time (for the 75th anniversary for UK-Mongolian relations), where would you like to see this company? What changes would you like to make, and what vision do you have for this company and this economy?
I am confident that Mongolia's economy will continuously grow and so will the telecom industry. I want Skytel to be number one. I am very ambitious and I believe that all businessmen should be ambitious and visionaries.  
What message would you like to send to international readers about Mongolia? 
Mongolia's reputation is growing worldwide very fast and there are many economic opportunities. We used to be known across the world for Genghis Khan (Mogi: Chinggis Khaan please Mr. Bolor), and now for our natural resources. Business in Mongolia is growing rapidly and Mongolia is open to foreign investment. We need to introduce international standards, and best business practices and tools. Here in Skytel we are starting to implement ISO standards. 
Twenty years ago Mongolia has adopted a market economy. Although many businesses have grown in this business environment, we still need to learn from international experience and I believe Mongolian companies are open to foreign businesses to create valuable partnerships.  

Mongolian Cashmere on Kickstarter
May 7 (Julian Dierkes, Mongolia Today) I recently came across an announcement of the first Mongolia-linked Kickstarter project (at least as far as I'm aware). Kickstarter, of course, is the website that offers entrepreneurs and others an opportunity to crowd-source funding for projects and business ideas. The project is called Naadam Cashmere and they are still raising funds for their initial production. Fascinated by the project, I asked Matthew Scanlan, one of the founders, a couple of questions about their project:
- Why Mongolia? What's your connection with Mongolia?
We were philanthropists before we were designers. My business partner Diederik (and college roommate) was traveling around Asia while studying economics in Beijing  during a semester abroad. He eventually made his way to Mongolia where he stayed with a family of Nomadic herders…and thats where it started. He fell in love with the country and the people but he also learned the struggle of the nomadic Mongolian herder. Their lives depend on their herds and their herds depend on the climate conditions. Unfortunately the climate it changing drastically and its becoming harder for them to sustain this nomadic life style. Mongolian herders herd goats that produce the best natural cashmere fibers in the world. Their superiority is largely due to the climate and the cultivated expertise of Mongolian herdsman. It was a perfect storm from which Naadam Cashmere grew organically out of.
- Conventional wisdom on Mongolian cashmere (manufacture) is that a) Mongolian raw cashmere is the best in the world, but b) Mongolian cashmere manufacture was destroyed by Mongolia's WTO entry in 1997. Do you share that analysis?
I think that in 1997 the cashmere manufacturing industry went through some major changes and for a time was inferior to other great cashmere manufacturing countries such as Italy or Scotland; however, a lot has changed in a decade. Our Mongolian manufacturing partners produce extremely high quality, luxury garments. The technology around the world has innovated and Mongolia, maybe not as a whole but certainly its major players, have adapted. The garments that come out of Mongolian manufacturing are on par with Italian manufactures. They are different garments though, employing differentiated techniques.
- Cashmere manufacture is always mentioned as one of the potential economic diversification strategies for Mongolia beyond natural resources, but then typically dismissed with, "It'll never work.". What makes Naadam Cashmere different?
The manufacturing side of the cashmere industry in Mongolia is relatively small, there are only a few players and even within that small group only a few have the capacity to compete on an international level. For Naadam Cashmere our manufacturing partners operate on the perfect scale. There is a lot of opportunity to grow using current logistics. It is our goal to brand ourselves as Mongolian made. It is important that we expose the capacity and capability of their operations. We support vertically integrated manufactures and the Mongolian economy.
- How are Mongolian herders involved in the project and, ultimately, the manufacture and fortunes of Naadam Cashmere?
Mongolian herders make up the very base of our supply chain; all our raw cashmere fibers are sourced in the outer planes of Mongolia. These are the herders that Diederik lived with while he was there and these are the people (beautiful people I might add) we vowed to protect with our micro-economic investment strategy. We use 10% of our profits to buy livestock insurance premiums for the herders we buy our raw fibers from. So, our business model works cyclically, where we take from the top to support the bottom. It is good business but more importantly it's about helping people maintain their values and traditions, the very essence of their culture. At Naadam we diversity our investment strategy by working to educate nomadic herders on the market landscape but also the physical landscape. We support programs that use satellite and people on the ground to show herders what areas are over grazed. We also work with educators who show herders the intricacies of cashmere market values.
- Do you have Mongolian business partners? Why? Why not?
Technically, we have no law binding partnerships in Mongolia. We like doing business the old way…on a handshake. However, we work exclusively with our Mongolian manufacturer. Additionally, we work  on a local level with banks and the IBLIP (the Index Based Livestock Insurance Program) to pay out insurance premiums and continue to protect the nomadic lifestyle. There is no particular reason for not have official Mongolian partners. I think down the line we work to make our arrangement more official. It has more to do with the stage of our business rather then the state of Mongolia.
- One of the challenges for Mongolian cashmere has been branding. Industry and fabric experts know about the qualities of the raw wool, but there is no strong brand presence for cashmere sourced from Mongolia. Do you see this as a challenge? How do you distinguish yourself from other Mongolian cashmere brands?
I actually view this as a strong positive. We have an opportunity here to differentiate through our supply chain. We are using the best fibers in the world and produce amazing quality garments using a vertically integrated Mongolian manufacture and supply chain. I don't think that this is a challenge at all because at the end of the day the products will speak for themselves. Naadam Cashmere will distinguish through our branding and design concept. We are developing a contemporary brand built on contemporary ideas that resonate with a generation of people that are beginning to demand more from the brands and products they buy and support. Are key design differentiators will be knit, color, and style and we are in the process of working on a new collection. There are no other Mongolian cashmere brands that work off of a triple bottom principle and a cyclical business model but that is who we are and why we exist.
- The designs of your initial collection strike me as fairly conservative (as much as I personally welcome the arrival of the cashmere hoodie) and don't hint at Mongolia with any design references. Why not?
We designed our initial collection in response to our friends; the style was never going to be linked exclusively to Mongolia. That just was not our idea or aesthetic. To expose the issues and promote the Mongolian cashmere industry we wanted to make things that were inspired by the people that would buy them, a different type of nomad, and Urban Nomad.
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Irish Trade Minister visits Mongolia to discuss business opportunities
Minister examines possible trade links with Mongolia
May 7 (The Irish Times) Despite some setbacks because of a slowdown in China hitting exports, one of the world's fastest growing economies is Mongolia, where GDP is expected to expand by 13 per cent this year.
Trade and Development Minister Joe Costello became the first Irish Minister to visit the country last week when he attended an international conference in Ulan Bator as part of an Asian tour that also included China and Abu Dhabi.
New found wealth 
He attended the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies, alongside Burmese opposition leader and democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, Thailand's prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and EU high representative for foreign affairs and security, Catherine Ashton.
"There is a great sense of excitement about development and how to maximise newfound wealth from mineral extraction. It's a country very much in transition," said Mr Costello, who used the opportunity to discuss business opportunities for Ireland with Mongolia's foreign minister, Luvsanvandan Bold.
"We discussed various commercial opportunities between the two countries, in areas including pharmaceuticals and education. We looked at how we might develop relations in terms of the state sector and the private sector. They are in need of expertise and they see us as a friendly country."
Also on this visit, Mr Costello travelled to the northeastern port town of Dalian in China to officially launch the Puyang VanSun Tower, a €300 million, twin high-rise tower development in the new East Port area of downtown.
Irish architecture
Cork-based Wilson Architecture beat tough international competitors to win the contract to design the structures, which are possibly the two tallest buildings ever designed by an Irish architecture firm.
While in China, the Minister also discussed with authorities the possibility of forming an Irish chamber of commerce in China. This has long proven a challenge, as getting permission to set up such an organisation legally is difficult. Mr Costello said there remained legal areas to be cleared.

Mongolia offers Turkey's TOKI to build its satellite cities
Mongolia's State Secretary said "We want Turkey to build at least one or two of the satellite cities."
May 7 (World Bulletin) Mongolia takes as an example the mass housing model of Turkish Prime Ministry Housing Development Administration (TOKI).
According to the statement made by TOKI, Acting State Secretary of the Mongolian Ministry of Construction and Urban Development Ravjikh Erdeneburen visited the Chairman of TOKI Ahmet Haluk Karabel.
Reminding of the Mongolia visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in April, Ravjikh stated that sharing TOKI's experience in Mongolia's reconstruction process was on the agenda of the talks.
Ravjikh explained that he came to Turkey upon Turkish Premier Erdogan's call on Mongolians to come to Turkey with his words "We have great experience thanks to our successful contractors. We advise you to establish the mass housing system as ours."
Appointed as the Mongolian coordinator of urban transformation, Ravjikh said "Our contractor companies are as strong as to build 10 thousand housing per year. We are preparing the infrastructure to increase the capacity. We plan to build five or six satellite cities and we want Turkey to build at least one or two of them."
Ravjikh also noted that they would invite a delegation from TOKI to Mongolia for further talks on technical, financial and legal details, pointing that they would like to get loans from Turkey for housing production.
Chairman of TOKI Karabel also told that they could give technical assistance to Mongolia for an equivalent institution of TOKI

May 7 (InfoMongolia) Mongolian National Basketball Union has announced that Mongolian National Team is to participate in the 3rd East Asia Championship to take place in Incheon Metropolitan City of South Korea on May 16-21, 2013.
Along with this upcoming event, Mongolian All-Students Team is also preparing for the XXVII Summer Universiade to be organized in Kazan city of the Russian Federation in July of 2013.
In conjunction, the National Basketball Union has invited the North Korean team "April 25 Sports Club", named after establishment day of the North Korean Army to conduct joint trainings in Ulaanbaatar.
Previously, Mongolian Volleyball Association invited the "April 25 Sports Club" to attend the "Spring Best" open volleyball tournament held in March of this year.
This time, North Korean basketball team has arrived with its 15 athletes and tomorrow on May 08 they will have a friendly match with Mongolian All-Students Team and on Friday, May 10 with Mongolian National Team respectively.
In the 3rd East Asia Championship, Mongolian National Team is withdrawn in a Group "B" with Teams of China and Hong Kong (China), where Mongolia's first game is scheduled against China Team on May 18, 2013.
At the previous two East Asia Championships, South Korea Team took the championship title in a row.
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Social, Environmental and Other
NHRCM submits its 12th report on human rights and freedom in Mongolia
April 11 (NHRCM) National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia submitted "12th report on human rights and freedoms in Mongolia" to Mr. Enkhbold Zandaahuu, Speaker of the State Great Khural on 5 April 2013.
This report is composed of 4 chapters, namely "Mining and human rights," "The Rights of children," "Situation of human rights of LGBT people in Mongolia," and "Implementation of the recommendations given by the United Nations human rights mechanisms."
Through its 12th report the Commission has delivered the following proposals and recommendations to the State Great Khural on urgent and emerging human rights issues:
On human rights affected by the impacts of mining industry:
<![if !supportLists]>1.    <![endif]>To clearly define the rights to a remedy and the type of remedy in the event of loss of life, and where psychological and physical damage have occurred due to mining activities;
<![if !supportLists]>2.    <![endif]>To strengthen mechanisms to hold license-holders accountable for failing to make technical and biological reclamation and violating the Law on Mining, to allow, integrate, and feedback about the appropriateness of the reclamation process and outcomes by local residents through a participatory process, and to allow independent monitoring by qualified members of the public and civil society organizations;
<![if !supportLists]>3.    <![endif]>To improve licensing regulation by ensuring that infrastructure issues, including railway and roads, have been fully resolved to the satisfaction of local residents prior to the exploitation of large scale mineral resources such as coal and iron ore, in particular the sufficient load-bearing capacity of roads to allow mining trucks and all related transport without damage to the surrounding environment;
<![if !supportLists]>4.    <![endif]>To ratify the 176th Convention on "Safety and Health in Mines" of the International Labour Organization on creating safe work places for workers in the mining sector, to run mechanism to prevent people working in mining industry from having accidents at work place and/or occupational diseases, and to exert public service to improve accessibility and quality of health service, to improve health education of people and to provide them with the required information
<![if !supportLists]>5.    <![endif]>To ratify the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention) to ensure public access to information on the environment, public participation in decision-making and to remedy already violated rights and to create a domestic legal framework that allows meaningful and active participation of the Governors of the Province, the Soum (administrative unit of Province), the Citizen's Representative Khural, and the public.
On the rights of children:
<![if !supportLists]>1.    <![endif]>To accede to the Third Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the rights of Children;
<![if !supportLists]>2.    <![endif]>To make analysis in the national legislation guaranteeing the rights of children and improve relevant laws and regulations;
<![if !supportLists]>3.    <![endif]>To establish schools of religious education that provides all the essential resources and conditions to give general education by regions at the national level;
<![if !supportLists]>4.    <![endif]>To provide constructions, technical facilities, and other relevant equipments for the specialized schools of the children with disabilities in conformity with their specialties, to establish new school complexes consisting of general education school and vocational training centers with kindergarten and dormitory that fit children with disabilities at the national level, and to take effective and efficient measures in ensuring their demands of educational, social, hygienic, and safety requirements satisfied.
<![if !supportLists]>5.    <![endif]>To install clear regulations in the relevant legislation in protecting the rights of child jockeys.
On LGBT issues:
<![if !supportLists]>1.    <![endif]>To take certain effective measures to implement recommendations on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people's rights given by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Committee against Torture, and Human Rights Committee to the Government of Mongolia;
<![if !supportLists]>2.    <![endif]>To implement efficient policy of educational and promotional activities aimed at negative attitude and wrong stereotypes on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
On implementation of the recommendations by United Nations human rights mechanisms: 
To annually consider the implementation of the recommendations given by the United Nations human rights mechanisms at the Government sessions.

Research: Supporting Women During Mongolia's Mining Boom
Start Date: May 2013 End Date: Jun 2015
(Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland) Mongolia's mining boom is threatening the sustainability of herder livelihoods through social changes stimulated directly and indirectly by ecological impacts. Often these threats impact women greater than their male counterparts due to a lack of gender-orientated awareness and safeguards. Consequently, research that examines both the social and ecological impacts of mining from a gendered perspective is necessary to understand how mining affects both herder livelihoods and their dependent natural resources. Through socio-ecological research, which maps both natural resource use of mining and herding (via GIS technology) and social impacts between the mine and the community (via ethnographic methods) this research will establish and transfer knowledge that will improve and hopefully create current and future safeguards for both regulatory bodies and herder empowerment.
Specifically, the research questions:
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>What contribution and role do women have in sustaining Mongolia's traditional livelihoods?
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>How do herding and large-scale mining interact with one another?
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Do large scale mining projects influence or alter current gender roles and responsibilities in traditionally herder   communities?
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>What policy safeguards exist and can be recommended to better address herder-mine interactions?
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>What future socio-economic and environmental impacts may result from interaction between herding communities and large scale mining? 
Project Aims
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Establish a multi-stakeholder cross-disciplinary committee focussed on socio-ecological issues of mining in Mongolia 
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Build knowledge on the under-researched multi-faceted impacts of mining on the socio-economic position and gender dynamics of households in Mongolia 
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Identify potential barriers and challenges that currently exist to prevent women from harnessing the benefits from large scale mining 
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Explore how the environmental degradation of mining impacts on traditional herder livelihoods and the role of women and girls in the community 
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Produce a GIS database that establishes the environmental impacts caused by mining activities, and that can be used by our research partners and other Mongolian researchers, to communicate impacts from mining and promote future research
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Produce a toolkit for stakeholders in Mongolian and English outlining socio-ecological tensions and mining with recommended safeguards for sustainable livelihoods
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Formulate a two-week intensive training with partners and stakeholders, building capacity and transferring knowledge on socio-ecological impacts of mining on herders and safeguards for future sustainability 
Funding Body / Partners
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Australian National University
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Funded by AusAID through the Australian Development Research Awards Scheme
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Gender Centre for Sustainable Development
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>National University of Mongolia
Associated CSRM Staff / Students
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Mongolian contortionist breaks Guinness World Record for longest mouth hold
May 7 ( A Mongolian dancer, Tsatsral Erdenebileg, has successfully set the new Guinness World Record for "Longest time to hold the Marinelli bend position". She achieved the record in the theatre of the Circus Maximus in Budapest, Hungary on April 9th 2013.  She gained the new Guinness World Record by holding the position for two minutes and 34 seconds.  Contortionist Tsatsral Erdenebileg took third place in a competition for young circus artists in Paris, France in 2006.
The record was previously held by another Mongolian woman, Oyungerel Luvsandorj, who set the Guinness World Record for "Longest time to hold the Marinelli bend position" for 33 seconds, breaking the old world record by 11 seconds, in Great Britain in 2008. Oyungerel then updated her record to 50 seconds in Italy

Mogi Munkhdul Badral Bontoi
Cover Mongolia
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Cover Mongolia · Sukhbaatar District · Ulaanbaatar, Ulaanbaatar 14200

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