Monday, May 13, 2013

[OT expects go-ahead for export soon, Great Khural finally full house, and EBRD invests in cement plant]

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US To Return More Illegally Smuggled Dinosaur Fossils To Mongolia
May 11 (International Business Times) The United States said it will return more than a dozen illegally smuggled dinosaur skeletons, including two Tyrannosaurus bataars that are 70 million years old, to Mongolia. The announcement follows the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's handing over of a 70 million-year-old T-Rex skeleton to the Mongolian government officials at a ceremony in New York on Monday.
The latest group of skeletons includes at least six fossilized Oviraptors, one Saurolophus Angustirostris skeleton, several Gallimimuses and one restored composite egg nest display piece made of composite dinosaur egg fossils, apart from the two Tyrannosaurus bataars, U.S. officials said on Friday.
The T-Rex skeleton, handed over on Monday was sold at an auction in New York for more than $1 million before it was seized by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The auction was completed, despite a restricting order from a Texas court at the behest of Mongolian government, prohibiting the auctioning, sale, release, or transfer of the bataar. The United States Attorney's Office seized the bataar and initiated a forfeiture action.
"Through this investigation, HSI special agents around the country have seized numerous dinosaur skeletons that are pending repatriation to the government of Mongolia. We simply cannot allow the greed of a few looters and schemers to trump the cultural interests of an entire nation," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent-in-Charge James T. Hayes, Jr. said in a statement.
Since 1924, private ownership and export of fossils is banned in Mongolia, whose Gobi Desert is rich in dinosaur fossils. Nevertheless, several fossils are smuggled out of Mongolia to the U.S. and are openly traded in the auctions and trade fairs, Reuters reported.  
Mongolian government has announced its decision to open a dinosaur museum to display the fossils and lauded the ICE agency for returning the skeletons.
"The recovery of this treasure trove of dinosaur fossils is the latest significant step in returning missing pieces of the Mongolian people's history that were literally dug out from under them. One cannot put a price tag on cultural artifacts or overstate the importance of their role in a country's history, and we are delighted to be moving the process of returning these fossils to Mongolia forward," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
Most of the fossils now being handed over were recovered from Eric Prokopi, a fossil preparer and dealer in Gainesville, Florida. Prokopi pleaded guilty to smuggling charges in December. Prokopi faces up to 17 years prison sentence if found guilty. 

Overseas Market
UPDATE 2-Rio Tinto expects Mongolia nod for copper exports soon
* Rio Tinto CEO rejects idea of a fire sale of unwanted assets
* Says awaiting Mongolia approval to ship copper concentrate
* Should offset impact of disruption at copper mine in Utah
* Defends plans to expand iron ore mining as market softens
SYDNEY, May 9 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto could be two weeks away from gaining Mongolian approval to ship copper from its Oyu Tolgoi mine, helping offset a slide in revenue from its U.S. copper business as it faces pressure to slash costs and sell non-core assets.
A landslide at the firm's Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah in April, which could result in over $700 million in lost sales revenue based on Reuters calculations, was unlikely to force a rethink on assets sales, Chief Executive Sam Walsh told shareholders at the annual meeting in Sydney on Thursday.
There has been speculation that moves by Rio Tinto to sell its Northparkes copper mine in Australia could be delayed until full production resumed at Bingham Canyon.
"We are not expecting that that (the landslide) will have a difference" on divestment decisions, said Walsh, adding the firm would also not be draw into a "fire sale" of businesses.
Rio Tinto hired Macquarie Bank to sell its majority stake in Northparkes, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. Rio Tinto and Macquarie declined comment. Japan's Sumitomo Corp. own 20 percent of the mine.
Walsh said the board was reviewing a number of non-core businesses, in addition to those already earmarked for divestment such as Pacific Aluminium and diamonds units.
Rio Tinto's share of Northparkes' copper output in 2012 was 43,100 tonnes - less than half the forecast 100,000 tonnes Rio Tinto will lose at Bingham Canyon this year.
Walsh, named chief executive in January promising an era of belt tightening, said he expected approvals from the Mongolian government within two weeks to transport copper out of its huge Oyu Tolgoi mine, which is costing $6.2 billion to build.
"We are still looking for some approvals in relation to exactly how we transport and ship the material....that we expect to receive in the next couple of weeks," Walsh said.
"I think we have moved well down the path in terms of resolving issues the government had tabled with us, enabling us really to move forward with the project," he added.
The approvals cover use of rail lines and shipping schedules and could enable the mine to start shipping copper to customers slightly earlier than an original mid-year target date, according to Walsh.
At present, copper concentrate is being stockpiled at the mine awaiting the approvals.
Oyu Tolgoi could help offset lower output from the Bingham Canyon mine, where force majeure has been invoked on deliveries of copper cathode.
An increase in copper supply would comes as the price of the metal has climbed despite worries about demand in China. The London Metal Exchange copper price stood at $7,346 a tonne on Thursday, up 8 percent on this year's low of $6,742.
Oyu Tolgoi, run by Rio Tinto and two-thirds owned by its Turquoise Hill Resources unit, is a vital new source of growth for the company, which is dependent on iron ore for two-thirds of its revenue.
Oyu Tolgoi is expected to make up a third of Mongolia's economy by 2020, and at full tilt produce around 450,000 tonnes of copper and 330,000 ounces of gold a year.
Walsh was speaking after hosting his first annual meeting in Australia since taking over from Tom Albanese, who was dumped after the company suffered $14 billion in writedowns on its Alcan and Mozambique coal acquisitions.
Rio Tinto Chairman Jan du Plessis was forced to defend plans to expand in iron ore. The world's No.2 supplier is targeting an annual production rate of 290 million tonnes this year and up by a further quarter to 360 million tonnes by mid-2015.
Fund manager BlackRock and other shareholders want Rio Tinto to slow spending and pay higher dividends.
Analysts have also suggested a pull back in iron ore expansion plans might shore up iron ore prices and counter a looming supply glut.
But Rio is one of the most efficient producers and with iron ore prices of around $130 a tonne , the firm enjoys, enjoys a margin of around $80 per tonne.
Du Plessis told shareholders the company would not be "trapped into under investing in iron ore."
He also said Rio Tinto would stick to paying a steady increase in dividends rather than a fixed payout ratio. There have been calls for a 60-80 percent payout of profits.

Aussie export credit agency to back Rio Tinto Mongolia mine
May 13 (The Sydney Morning Herald) Australian taxpayers will help Rio Tinto to fund a $US5.1 billion mine expansion in Mongolia, after Australia's export credit agency decided to continue its controversial habit of lending to multinational corporations.
Despite pleas for it to focus on small and medium exporters that cannot source loans elsewhere in the market, Australia's Export Finance and Insurance Corporation confirmed that it would participate in financing the second stage of Rio's Oyu Tolgoi mine.
A spokeswoman for EFIC would not reveal the size of the loan, but the organisation typically lends in the tens of millions, or hundreds of millions of dollars.
Rio has reportedly secured at least half of the $US5.1 billion in finance required to build the expansion, with the World Bank's International Finance Corporation among those committed to the project.
EFIC's decision to lend money to Rio comes despite Australia's Productivity Commission urging the organisation to ''substantially reorientate'' its focus toward small exporters, rather than big companies that can easily source money elsewhere at low interest rates.
That view was given qualified support by the Gillard government, and a bill to reform EFIC will soon be presented to federal Parliament.
Rio is listed on both the London and Australian stock exchanges, and its local shares boast a market capitalisation of almost $92 billion.
Though it has a large presence in Australia and ranks as one of the nation's biggest taxpayers, its global headquarters are in London, as are about two-thirds of its shareholders.
Jubilee Australia executive director Carmelan Polce criticised the decision, saying there would be no shortage of lenders in the market that would be happy help Rio finance Oyu Tolgoi.
It is believed that Australian commercial banks like ANZ and NAB have already pledged support to the mine expansion, which will increase the volumes of copper and gold produced. A review of other recent funding decisions shows that large corporations have often benefited from EFIC loans.
A joint venture led by American giant Exxon Mobil secured a $350 million loan in recent years to build a gas project in Papua New Guinea. Leighton Holdings was also the recipient of multiple loans.
During its recent deliberations, EFIC had ranked Oyu Tolgoi as a ''Category A'' project; a classification reserved for proposals which have ''potential for significant adverse environmental and/or social impacts.''
There have long been concerns that Oyu Tolgoi could disrupt the lifestyle of the nomadic herders that inhabit Mongolia's South Gobi desert, and Ms Polce said she was disappointed that approval was granted without more being known about the region.
Rio has long argued that the mine is tipped to provide half the impoverished nation's exports by 2019. Rio and the Mongolian government have recently been at loggerheads over the cost of building the second stage and the share of royalties that will flow to the government.
But Rio chief executive Sam Walsh said last week that good progress had been made, and first production from the first stage of the mine was expected before June 30.

Oyu Tolgoi announces new Executive Committee members
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, May 9, 2013 (Oyu Tolgoi)  - Oyu Tolgoi LLC today announced the expansion of its Executive Committee with four new members: Munkh-Ochir Tsogoo, General Counsel for Oyu Tolgoi and head of Legal & Compliance; Munkhsukh Sukhbaatar, Head of Power Strategy Development; Tserenkhuu Tserevsuren, Head of Corporate Affairs, and Dulamsuren Begzjav, Head of Business Analysis and Planning. Munkh-Ochir Tsogoo will assume his role as General Counsel from 1 June 2013.
President and Chief Executive of Oyu Tolgoi, Cameron McRae said, "The expansion of our Executive Committee goes hand in hand with the evolution of Oyu Tolgoi from a development and construction project to an operating business. The vast experience and expertise of the new members will strengthen the Executive Committee and I look forward to their contribution."
These appointments are effective immediately. Please visit at the Executive Committee page for more information.

May 9 (BDSec) According to the director of Strategic Planning Department at Ministry of Mining, highly anticipated OT shareholder's meeting will be held within 2 weeks' time. On the last OT shareholder's meeting, GOM has expressed 6 concerns, the main one being the cost overrun. GOM working group has been auditing OT to come up with conclusion on the cost overrun since the last meeting.
However, working group claims to be auditing till today without any apparent results. /
OT has 7,5k tons of concentrate packaged and ready for export as of today. /
- National committee is inspecting OT concentration plant today and tomorrow to verify the operation. If the committee verifies, the plant is fully ready to operate. Out of total 10k tons of concentrate, 7,5k tons of concentrate is packaged and ready for export as of today.
- OT had planned to export 400k tons of copper concentrate in 2013, but the number is likely to be around 350k  due to the extra time consumed to receive necessary approvals.
GOM officials, including president Ts.Elbegdorj, announced their assets & holdings. /udriin sonin p.1/
- According to his assets & holding report, President's 2012 income  increased 7-fold since 2011  and became MNT 118,4 mn. He also owns 60,000 shares of Genco Tour Bureau JSC (JTB: MO) , and 100,000 shares of Remicon JSC (RMC:MO) and some shares in 3 private companies. Also, we must mention his livestock positioning-- 3 cows, 20 sheep, 25 horses, and 15 goats.
- According to the report, parliament members D.Bat-Erdene ("Ajnai Corporation") and B.Choijilsuren ("Gobi Resource Hill," "Khurd" LLCs) were the wealthiest officials with 2012 income of MNT 20.06 bn and MNT 6.27 bn respectively.
MPRP will announce their presidential candidate today /unuudur p.A5/
- MPRP is holding a conference a little late compared to other parties and the candidate will be chosen by today's meeting. Possible candidates are: D.Terbishdagva, Ch.Ulaan, N.Udval, L.Tsog, and Ts.Tsolmon.  

Audit on Oyu Tolgoi cost overrun still inconclusive
May 9 ( According to a report to local media by Ch.Otgochuluu, Director General of the Department of Strategic Policy and Planning in Mongolia's Ministry of Mining, the shareholders meeting of Oyu Tolgoi is expected to be held in two weeks
The 7th shareholders meeting of Oyu Tolgoi is to resolve disputes that began in February this year. The Mongolian Government raised some issues regarding project costs, revenue, taxes and management. Three times attempts have been made to negotiate over the issue, but have ended in failure over the past period. 
Currently the shareholders' meeting is on a break. Ch.Otgochuluu, Director General at the Department of Strategic Policy and Planning in Mongolia"s Ministry of Mining said that "the shareholders meeting might be held in two weeks. The reason for the project cost increase is being inspected via an audit. 
The feasibility study of Oyu Tolgoi outlined the start-up investment at 4.7 billion US dollars. But the initial project cost increased to 6.1 billion US dollars. 
The next project investment is expected to take this increase into consideration after the reason behind the Oyu Tolgoi project cost overrun has been determined.
Due to the issue a joint working group of the State Specialized Inspection Agency, Ministry of Mining, Ministry of Finance and Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Rio Tinto group has been established to find the precise reasons of the cost increase.
The joint working group began the audit last month, but the final conclusions have not been made yet."

Turquoise Hill Resources to Announce First Quarter Financial Results on May 13, 2013
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 8, 2013) - Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX:TRQ)(NYSE:TRQ)(NASDAQ:TRQ) will announce its first quarter financial results on Monday, May 13, 2013 after financial markets close in North America.
The company will host a conference call and webcast to discuss first quarter results on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm EST/10:30 am PST. The conference call can be accessed through the following dial-in details:

Turquoise Hill And Rio Tinto In Spotlight As Oyu Tolgoi Gets Ready To Rumble
May 10 (Gary Bourgeault via Seeking Alpha) The rough and tumble conditions associated with the gigantic Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia are about to pay off for Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) and Rio Tinto (RIO) as approval to ship copper from the mine may be as close as two weeks away.
We are still looking for some approvals in relation to exactly how we transport and ship the material ... that we expect to receive in the next couple of weeks.
I think we have moved well down the path in terms of resolving issues the government had tabled with us, enabling us really to move forward with the project.
Commercial production was previously expected to launch near the latter part of June, but Walsh says that copper may be able to be shipped by that time.
Turquoise Hill
On April 11 I wrote that Turquoise Hill was going to take off, and after falling to as low as $5.08 on April 17, it has soared to close at $7.57 per share on May 9. That's a big move by any metric, and I think it's just getting started.
Turquoise Hill is much easier to analyze than Rio Tinto, having fewer elements to take into account or to weigh it down.
Trading at $1.72 per share on November 17, 2008, Turquoise Hill then climbed to over $28 per share by the end of January 2011. While the initial hype and mysterious allure of the mine is over, the reserves there are very real, and even though Turquoise is majority-owned by Rio Tinto, it still has a lot of things going for it, including owning the majority stake in the mine.
With that in mind, it's easy to project the trajectory of the share price of Turquoise, based solely on the start of commercial production at the mine. Other factors could be talked about and dissected, but they will be more important after the initial jump in the price of Turquoise Hill shares, and it gets some quarterly reports under its belt.
If anticipation of production at the mine produced a share price of over $28 for the company, I see no reason why actual production at the mine couldn't do the same over time.
At the current share price Turquoise Hill could be a 3-bagger, and over time probably much more than that.
This is a unique situation for Turquoise and Rio Tinto, and Turquoise especially will easily overcome the current weakness in commodities by the launch of commercial production at Oyu Tolgoi, and the inevitable boost in news coverage as it gets under way.
Turquoise Hill already has momentum on its side and has been outperforming other miners of gold and copper. Many of them have yet to rebound from the punishing plunge in share price and sector outlook.
Turquoise Hill:
<![if !vml]><![endif]>Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi
For Rio Tinto, Oyu Tolgoi is only part of its portfolio of mines, although an extremely important one.
What is currently happening at the mine in general is a period of austerity, as evidenced by the hiring of Sam Walsh in the early part of 2013. He promised a period of cost cutting at the mining giant.
The most obvious drag on the company now is the recent landslide at the company's Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah. It could cost the company over $700 million in revenue. Rio projects losses of about 100,000 tons at the mine in 2013.
That could take some of the shine off of commercial production starting soon at Oyu Tolgoi, but again, since it's such a highly anticipated event, it could help drive the share price of Rio Tinto up significantly. Even so, it's unlikely to get the type of traction Turquoise is sure to get. It's also questionable how long the bump up in share price will hold.
Northparkes Copper Mine
Questions have arisen in light of the Bingham Canyon landslide as to whether or not Rio would continue to shed assets.
According to Walsh, the landslide won't have an impact on divestment decisions. He added the company also won't panic and be pressured into selling at below market rates.
Macquarie Bank has reportedly been retained to sell the stake held by Rio Tinto in Northparkes, but the company refused to comment on that story. Copper production at Northparkes in 2012 for Rio's share in the project was 43,100 tons.
U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group has submitted a bid for the mine, according to Dow Jones.
Other non-core businesses are in the process of being reviewed by the board, added Walsh, some of which are in addition to those already earmarked to be sold. That means commercial production at Oyu Tolgoi is even more important in the near term for Rio Tinto than originally anticipated.
Rio and Iron Ore
In spite of resistance from shareholders and opposition from analysts, iron ore continues to be a good revenue source for Rio Tinto, with a margin of about $80 a ton.
Rio Tinto Chairman Jan du Plessis said to shareholders the firm won't be "trapped into under investing in iron ore." The company has plans in place of raising annual production to 290 tons in 2013 and increase production to 360 million tons by the middle of 2015.
Some analysts have stated it would be a good idea for Rio to cut back on its iron ore expansion in order to try to get the price to increase. That has been rejected in lieu of volume.
Other shareholders are pushing to use capital to pay out higher dividends while lowering spending.
Iron ore, for now, will continue to be a growing part of the Rio Tinto story. Iron ore accounts for about two-thirds of the revenue generated by the mining giant at this time.
Rio Tinto is much more than we're talking about here, but this gives a snapshot of the company and some of the existing conditions and challenges it faces as the highly anticipated start of commercial production at Oyu Tolgoi approaches.
With Walsh stating "I think we have moved well down the path in terms of resolving issues the government had tabled with us, enabling us really to move forward with the project," it appears the red tape issues are being resolved in a timely manner, which has already started to raise anticipation of production starting at the huge project earlier than believed.
As official approval is being waited upon, the company is stockpiling copper concentrate to get ready for shipment.
Another positive sign is the price of copper has jumped since reaching a low in 2013 of $6,742 a ton. It now sells for $7,346 a ton as of May 9. If copper prices hold or increase, that would help Rio and Turquoise Hill as production gets nearer.
Long term this is an extraordinary opportunity for the two miners. Expectations are when the mine is in full production, 450,000 tons of copper and 330,000 ounces of gold will be produced annually.
There remains some risk to the project though, with the biggest being if the Mongolian government throws another curve ball in the mix, resulting in the project being put on hold again. If that doesn't happen, then it's game on.
The second risk is in funding the project. The initial investment of $6 billion is being funded by Rio Tinto and the Mongolian government. The second round of financing, which is estimated to cost $5.1 billion, has Rio on its own.
Either one of these miners are a good pick. Rio Tinto is obviously the best for the more cautious investor, and it includes a decent dividend. Over time Oyu Tolgoi will pay off in a big way for them. It's the opportunity of a lifetime.
The same goes for Turquoise Hill Resources. It's a little more risky, but the immensity of Oyu Tolgoi overcomes most of that risk. That also means the rewards are potentially more substantial as well.
Both of these companies are going to perform strongly for a long time, and it would make sense to invest in both of them. If I had to choose one over the other, it would definitely be Turquoise Hill Resources. Based upon percentages, over the next several years it's sure to outperform Rio, although it's bound to be more volatile as well.
Turquoise Hill will be releasing its quarterly results on May 13, 2013, with a follow up conference call on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm EST/10:30 am PST. This will be a good opportunity for investors to see how the company is positioned close to the launch of production.

May 13 -- Haranga Resources Limited (ASX:HAR) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mongolian national Mr Erdene Tsengelbayar as Managing Director of the Company following the resignation of Dr Robert Wrixon from this position.
Mr Erdene has previously been employed as Director of Operations for the Company and remains Executive Director of the Company's Mongolian subsidiaries. He is a Mineral Economist with an extensive network in the mining and resources sector in Mongolia, having worked with both the Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia and the former Ministry of Industry and Trade. Mr Erdene assisted in the acquisition of the Selenge Iron Project. Mr Erdene's insight and expertise from his extensive operational, management and project evaluation expertise in Mongolia will be of great benefit to the Company. Mr Erdene's significant experience and expertise will assist greatly in the future funding and successful development of the Company's Selenge Iron Project.
Mr Erdene is employed as Managing Director under a 24 month service agreement for an annual amount of $210,000. There are no performance incentives nor termination benefits provided under the service agreement.
Haranga Resources Limited advises that Dr Robert Wrixon has resigned as Managing Director of the Company and from the Board of the Company. The resignation is effective from today. The Company wishes to thank Dr Wrixon for his significant contributions to the growth of the Company over the past three years and wishes him every success in his future endeavours.

Newera Resources' South Gobi coal exploration license renewed by Mongolian authority
May 13 (Proactive Investors) Newera Resources (ASX: NRU) has had a key South Gobi exploration license renewed for a three year term from January 2013.
The Minerals Resource Authority of Mongolia has renewed the license, while Newera undertakes due diligence over the Ulaan Tolgoi project. 
In March of 2013, Newera entered into a binding MOU towards completing a formal Joint Venture agreement covering an Exploration Licence for the Ulaan project in the South Gobi region of Mongolia.
The Ulaan Tolgoi project is located in the South Gobi province of Mongolia – 100 kilometres from the Chinese Border.
In southern Mongolia, over the past ten years significant discoveries and mine developments have taken place within the South Gobi province, including the large Tavan Tolgoi, Mak and Ovoot Tolgoi projects. 
The giant Oyu Tolgoi copper mine development is also located within the province.
Significantly for the Ulaan project owned by Newera, projects with proximity and access to the Chinese border and internal Chinese transport infrastructure have found support. The Ulaan Tolgoi project is less than 100 kilometres from the Chinese border.

Entree Gold Reports on First Quarter 2013
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 9, 2013) - Entrée Gold Inc. (TSX:ETG)(NYSE MKT:EGI)(FRANKFURT:EKA) ("Entrée" or the "Company") has filed its interim operational and financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2013.
Greg Crowe, President and CEO commented, "Entrée successfully closed an approximately $55 million financing package with Vancouver-based Sandstorm Gold during the first quarter of this year. This financing has provided Entrée with strategic flexibility for existing and future business operations. We are in a position of financial strength and Entree's management and directors are committed to striking a balance between cash management and the continuing advancement of the Company's assets. The first quarter also saw us initiate discussions with representatives of the Mongolian Government, including the Ministry of Mines, as well as Oyu Tolgoi stakeholders, in order to resolve the temporary restriction on the transfer of the joint venture mining licences. In Nevada, we began critical path baseline environmental studies at Ann Mason, and we recently commenced a modest exploration program focused on high priority targets that could further enhance the economics of the project."
Highlights for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 and beyond include:
Sandstorm Gold Financing Package
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>On February 15, 2013, Entrée announced a comprehensive financing package with Sandstorm Gold Ltd. ("Sandstorm") for gross proceeds of approximately $55 million consisting of three key components:
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Equity participation and funding agreement providing a $40 million upfront deposit and ongoing payments from Sandstorm. Entrée will use future payments received from its mineral property interests to purchase and deliver metal credits in amounts that are primarily indexed to Entrée's share of gold and silver by-products and, to a lesser extent, copper production from the Company's joint venture property in Mongolia.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>CAD$10 million private placement, completed on March 1, 2013, pursuant to which Entrée issued 17,857,142 shares to Sandstorm at a price of CAD$0.56 per share. Sandstorm now holds approximately 12% of the issued and outstanding shares of Entrée.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>$5 million payment for a 0.4% net smelter return ("NSR") royalty on the Ann Mason Project in Nevada.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>The financing provides an endorsement of Entrée's assets by a sophisticated third party investor with a long term perspective while limiting shareholder dilution and retaining a substantial majority of the proceeds from future production. The funding also allows for the advancement of the Company's key assets and the consideration of future partnerships and other transactions that could enhance shareholder value in the future.
Mongolian Joint Venture Update
On February 27, 2013, Entrée received notification from the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia ("MRAM") advising the Company that the Entrée - Oyu Tolgoi LLC ("OTLLC") joint venture mining licences MV-15225A and MV-15226A have been put under a temporary administrative suspension. The suspension extends only to the sale, transfer or lease of the licences. The licences have not been revoked or cancelled. Entrée is in active and productive discussions to resolve this temporary suspension.
Technical Updates
Lookout Hill, Mongolia      
On April 2, 2013, the Company filed an updated technical report titled "Technical Report 2013 on the Lookout Hill Property" ("LHTR13") prepared under the management of AMC Consultants Pty Ltd in Adelaide, Australia. The Company's updated technical report, dated March 28, 2013, is available on SEDAR at
LHTR13 discusses the impact of the updated mine plan on the Entrée-OTLLC joint venture property (the "Joint Venture Property") as well as future development options for the Entree-OTLLC joint venture assets. The underground mineral reserves for Lift 1 of the Hugo North deposit, including Lift 1 of the Entree-OTLLC joint venture's Hugo North Extension deposit, were updated. The probable reserve for Hugo North Extension - Lift 1, effective March 25, 2013, totals 31 million tonnes grading 1.73% copper and 0.62 grams per tonne ("g/t") gold.
Highlights of LHTR13 include:
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>NSR value of the Hugo North Extension - Lift 1 reserve increased to $95.21/tonne from the $79.40/tonne reported by the Company in March 2012. The NSR calculation reflects the net value per tonne received for the ore by the mine after all treatment and transport costs and charges. Hugo North remains the most significant value driver for the Oyu Tolgoi mining project.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>The mineral reserve tonnage on the Joint Venture Property increased from 27 million tonnes to 31 million tonnes compared to the amount previously reported in March 2012, while the copper grade decreased from 1.91% to 1.73% and the gold grade decreased from 0.74 g/t to 0.62 g/t.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>After factoring in projected increases to capital expenditures and operating costs and a delay in production, the net present value (at an 8% discount rate) of Entrée's 20% interest in the Hugo North Extension - Lift 1 decreased to $110 million from the $129 million reported by the Company in March 2012.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Underground development on Hugo North Extension is planned to commence in 2016, with Lift 1 development production commencing in 2019 and commercial production in 2023.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>At the new lower base case cut-off of 0.37% copper equivalent ("CuEq"), the inferred resource at the Heruga deposit has increased in size from 910 million tonnes to over 1.8 billion tonnes. Concurrently, the grade has decreased to 0.38% copper, 0.36 g/t gold and 110 parts per million ("ppm") molybdenum from the previously reported base case of 0.48% copper, 0.49 g/t gold and 141 ppm molybdenum at a 0.6% CuEq cut-off.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>A significant portion of the mineralization on the Joint Venture Property has not been included in the updated mining plan and remains in the mineral resource category, including the Hugo North Extension - Lift 2 and the Heruga deposit.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Expansion alternatives are under consideration and an updated Phase 2 feasibility study is expected by mid-2014. Further design work and optimization may result in changes to the joint venture development schedule that could bring joint venture production forward relative to the current plan.
LHTR13 uses the same mineral resource estimates previously reported in the Company's March 2012 technical report. The base case CuEq assumptions for each deposit were determined using operating cost estimates from the mineral reserves and from mining operations exploiting similar deposits.
Oyu Tolgoi Project Development
In December 2012, the Oyu Tolgoi concentrator was commissioned and first copper-gold concentrate was produced in January 2013. OTLLC is on schedule for first commercial production from its Southern Oyu open pits in mid-2013, subject to resolution of certain issues between the Government of Mongolia, OTLLC and Rio Tinto.
On March 25, 2013, Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. ("Turquoise Hill") announced that project financing for the Oyu Tolgoi mining project continues to progress with the boards of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation approving their respective participation in late February. Bids have been received from a number of banks that would allow Turquoise Hill to achieve its project financing target of $3 billion to $4 billion and discussions are ongoing with the lenders to finalize the terms of those offers. Turquoise Hill anticipates the closing of final binding documentation and project financing funding to occur by mid-2013.

A Mongolian's Appointment To Rio Tinto
May 8 (Mongolian Economy) Amidst news of reduced foreign direct investment and a poor outcome from the shareholders' meeting for Oyu Tolgoi LLC, there has been at least one piece of good news regarding the appointment of a Mongolian citizen as president of Rio Tinto's copper group. It is a momentous event demonstrating global recognition of the value of Mongolian intelligence and skill. Baatar Bold has opened the door to make this dream of Mongolia come true. 
This is not the first time a Mongolian has had the opportunity to work for an international company, but Bold's appointment to the management team of one of the world's leading mining companies is a unique opportunity. He is not linked solely to operations in Mongolia, but throughout the world, as Bold will be responsible for all copper-related projects run by Rio Tinto. 
Rio Tinto owns 66 percent of Oyu Tolgoi LLC (Mogi: not exactly accurate but sure), indirectly through its majority ownership of Turquoise Hill Resources. According to some miners, the selection of a Mongolian citizen for its management team may have to do with disputes between private shareholders and the Mongolian government that has taken place through international news media outlets. The move could be a demonstration of Rio Tinto's respect and admiration of the skills Mongolians have to offer. Secondly, this could be a step towards a greater understanding of the mindset of Mongolians and help bolster development of the Oyu Tolgoi project while improving the dialogue with the Mongolian government. 
But both predictions are about responsibility and reputation. Mongolians will obviously look forward to how Bold will participate and what his stance on the project will be. His duty is not an easy one. 
J.P. Morgan's Bold 
Bold is best known for his career at the United States' J.P. Morgan as well as Newcom and Altan Dornod of Mongolia. 
He was born in Ulaanbaatar and graduated from the University of Polytechnics of Mongolia, majoring in industrial management in 1994. He first started his career at the Asian Development Bank. At the time he was fluent in Russian and spoke German. During his employment there, he improved his English during his work on two projects. It was also at the bank that he improved his knowledge regarding the banking sector.  
He went to the United States in the 1990s when Mongolians first became able to study, work and travel abroad. In the United States, he studied at the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut and pursued an MBA. After his study there, he worked at J.P. Morgan, the world's second largest investment group.
During his ten years of employment at J.P. Morgan, he specialised in the field of contracting, corporate evaluation and stock trading, and was appointed as chief executive of the representative office in London, overseeing markets in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Mongolia. He worked hard to draw J.P. Morgan's attention to Mongolia by providing consultancy for Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi and playing a leading role in issuing a public offering for Mongolian Mining Corporation on the Hong Kong exchange.  
From Newcom to Altan Dornod 
After a ten-year career abroad, Bold returned to Mongolia to work at Newcom as a chief executive. Newcom is one of the few companies in Mongolia that has gathered educated young professionals to run its mobile phone, civil aviation and wind energy services. His arrival at Newcom was seen as an attempt to expand its operations and strengthen international relations and human resources. 
It was also under Bold's leadership that some large projects were launched. Many of Mongolia's educated youth working for international organisations were inspired by Bold and returned from abroad to work in Mongolia. Some of those repatriates were employed by Newcom under Bold's management.  
Eventually he left Newcom to work for the Russian gold miner Altan Dornod, a move many saw as a mistake. When Bold partnered with T. Ganbold to buy up Altan Dornod, its reputation was scarred by millions of dollars of debt.
"Mongolians intend to take back this Mongolian company from a foreign entity, restore it, and make the company a good one. Is this such a terrible goal"? asked Bold of Mongolia. 
"Newcom's operation has been already established. But now what I aim for is to restore Altan Dornod's reputation, which was terribly tainted, and to make it the best it can be so that it's included in the Top 150 Entrepreneurs list".
It was hard to imagine anyone could restore a company that owed MNT 74 billion in back tax and had all its assets frozen. But today's success of Altan Dornod depended on the self confidence, courage, strength and hope of the young people under Bold.  
The company created more than 700 jobs in a year and became one of the most environmentally friendly and successful miners in Mongolia. It paid MNT 24 billion in taxes and was listed at 19th place on the Top 150 entrepreneurs list.
Bold will work as the president of the copper group from London beginning June 3. Both Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques and Oyu Tolgoi Chief Executive Cameron McRae have spoken highly of his abilities and what he can achieve for Rio Tinto's copper projects around the world. 
"Bold's appointment is also positive news for Mongolia and its mining industry", said McRae. "As a respected business and civic leader, his advice often is sought by government, industry and civil society organisations as they work to balance a business friendly investment environment with protecting Mongolia's interests".

Kincora Commences Field Season Activities and Adopts a New Remuneration Policy for Directors
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 10, 2013) - Kincora Copper Limited (the "Company", "Kincora") (TSX VENTURE:KCC) is pleased to announce that 2013 field season activities have commenced at its wholly owned Bronze Fox project. A staged exploration programme is planned initially focusing on geological mapping and Infra-Red ("IR") spectrum analysis across various selected target areas of the project.
Activities in 2012 confirmed and significantly advanced a number of copper porphyry targets at the West Kasulu and Leca Pass prospects in particular. The core focus of the planned activities in 2013 is to refine exploration data, conduct further analysis and specify target generation of the copper porphyry target at the West Kasulu, Leca Pass, and other new areas on our flagship Bronze Fox license (15000X) in light of positive results at depth (eg hole F62, including 37 metres at 0.8% Cu or 1.07% CuEq) and other shallower zones of bulk and higher grade porphyry mineralisation (eg hole F82, 8m at almost 1% CuEq and hole F72, highest grade of 4.06% Cu and 0.19g/t Au) encountered late 2012.
Initial activities will include a detailed mapping of veins, hydrothermal alteration and mineralised zones, advancing the project from a technical perspective via a systematic exploration programme noting that our licenses are only in their fourth year. Recent petrography and mineralogy results have illustrated bornite, chalcocite and gold mineralogy is often closely linked to the moderate and high-grade copper zones encountered at and around the West Kasulu prospect. Planned follow up work is expected to improve the understanding of these relationships and confirm a number of trends already identified, which will greatly assist future exploration for higher-grade mineralization zones and a potentially economic copper porphyry system.
Subject to Board approval these first phase activities will potentially support a deep Induced Polarisation ("IP") programme and further drilling at identified high priority targets in the second half of the year, which if successful could to lead a significant exploration target range. Given Kincora's extensive drilling below 400 metres (the limit of current geophysics), further IP analysis across the licenses and to greater depth is expected to improve target generation particularly given the recent success of such techniques at other large scale copper porphyry targets (including Oyu Tolgoi) and ability to reconcile existing drilling data to such geophysics.
The Board has recently adopted a new remuneration policy for director's fees such that there is a commitment for the on-market acquisition of shares. The Company's cash balance as at April 23, 2013 is $2,604,782 supporting board approved activities until 2014 with the management also focusing on further reducing overhead and administrative costs as evidenced by our recent internal management changes.
Commenting on today's announcement, Sam Spring, President and CEO of Kincora, said:
"Despite the uncertainties that have emerged since mid last year we see recent external events as potential catalysts for an improvement in market sentiment towards Mongolia and especially Kincora. Uncertainty relating to our lower priority two Golden Grouse licenses has undoubtedly impacted our share price and while this situation is not yet resolved we believe our planned multi-phase exploration programme for 2013 which commenced this week places us in good stead to add value at a project level whilst remaining funded into 2014.
The Company continues to review all aspects of our strategy but the new remuneration policy for non-executive directors is a clear illustration in the Boards continued belief in our flagship Bronze Fox project, strategy and current favourable valuation."

UPDATE 1-Centerra 1st-qtr profit rises on strong gold output
May 8 (Reuters) - Canadian miner Centerra Gold Inc reported a jump in first-quarter profit on strong gold production at its Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan and Boroo mine in Mongolia.
Centerra, which is in talks with Kyrgyz authorities on an alternative waste dumping plan at Kumtor, said net profit for the March quarter rose to $51.4 million, or 22 cents per share, from $9.6 million, or 4 cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose 44 percent to $192.3 million.
The Kumtor mine is the largest gold mine in Central Asia operated by a Western company and last year accounted for 5.5 percent of Kyrgyz GDP and 18.9 percent of industrial output.
However, Centerra is embroiled in a bitter row with the government, which has accused it of underpaying the state and wants it to pay $467 million in alleged environmental damages.
Centerra said last week a waste-rock dump at Kumtor had moved at a greater-than-expected rate, and warned that any delays to alternative plans would hurt its operations and results.
"We are continuing to have discussions with the Kyrgyz authorities to resolve the issues concerning Kumtor to the benefit of all Centerra shareholders," Chief Executive Ian Atkinson said in a statement accompanying the results.
Centerra said gold production rose 58 percent in the first quarter to about 115,220 ounces, while the company's average realized gold price fell about six percent to $1,619 per ounce.
Centerra shares closed at C$3.78 on Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Centerra Gold 2013 First Quarter Results
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 8, 2013) - Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX:CG) -
To view Management's Discussion and Analysis and the Financial Statements and Notes for the three-months ended March 31, 2013, please visit the following link:
Centerra Gold Inc. today reported net earnings for the first quarter of 2013 of $51.4 million or $0.22 per common share reflecting higher gold sales due to the higher gold production at both operations during the period. For the same period in 2012, the Company recorded net earnings of $9.6 million or $0.04 per common share. The 2012 results were impacted by a 10-day work stoppage at Kumtor in February 2012 and the acceleration of ice and waste material at Kumtor which required a change in the mine plan. The 2012 results have been restated to reflect the retroactive adoption of a change in accounting for stripping costs under IFRIC 20.
2013 First Quarter Highlights
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Produced 115,220 ounces of gold in the quarter, including 89,618 ounces at Kumtor and 25,602 ounces at Boroo, compared to 72,555 ounces in the same period in 2012.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Increased revenues to $192.3 million compared to $133.8 million in the same quarter of 2012.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Cash provided by operations increased to $92.0 million compared to $32.0 million in the first quarter of 2012.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Operating cash cost per ounce produced of $471 compared to $685 in the same period in 2012
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Reported all-in cash cost (pre-tax) for the quarter of $1,327 per ounce compared to $2,902 for the 2012 first quarter.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Acquired the remaining 30% interest in the Öksüt project in Turkey.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Achieved 3 million man-hours without a lost time injury (LTI) at the Boroo mine.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Experienced accelerated movement in the Davidov Valley Waste-rock Dump at Kumtor….
At the Boroo mine in Mongolia, gold production was 25,602 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 11,848 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2012. The gold production increase of 13,754 ounces was mainly due to the resumption of activities at the heap leach operation, which contributed 10,372 ounces, and the processing of higher grades of ore through the mill, which contributed 15,230 ounces, partially offset by lower recoveries in 2013. Mill head grades averaged 1.54 g/t with a recovery of 54% in 2013, compared to 0.77 g/t with a recovery of 79% in the first quarter of 2012.
The Boroo mill processed stockpiled ore in the first quarter of 2013 which was refractory in nature, resulting in lower recoveries (54% compared to 79.2%) than during the same period of 2012 when the mill processed non-refractory lower grade ore.
Operating cash costs at Boroo (see "Non-GAAP Measures") increased by $3 million in the first three months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012 due to the $2.5 million of costs associated with the heap leach operations which re-commenced in October 2012, as well as increased production taxes and royalties as a result of higher gold sales revenues.
Operating cash costs per ounce produced in the first quarter of 2013 was $535 compared to $905 per ounce in the same period of 2012. The decrease of 41% was a result of a 116% increase in production partially offset by higher operating costs resulting primarily by the resumption of heap leaching operations. Total operating cash costs per ounce produced is a non-GAAP measure and is discussed under "Non-GAAP Measures".
Boroo's all-in cash costs per ounce produced (pre-tax) for the first quarter of 2013 was $582 and included all costs directly related to gold production except for income tax paid in Mongolia. The same all-in cash costs measure for the first quarter of 2012 was $1,179 per ounce produced. The decrease in the all-in cash costs was primarily the result of the increase in production, reflecting the resumption of heap leaching operations and no mining activity in the first quarter of 2013. In the comparative quarter of 2012, mining costs accounted for $234 per ounce produced.
Including income tax, Boroo's all-in cash costs per ounce produced for the first quarter of 2013 was $782 compared to $1,311 in the comparative quarter of 2012. All-in cash cost per ounce produced is a non-GAAP measure and is discussed under "Non-GAAP Measures".
During the first quarter of 2013, exploration expenditures in Mongolia were $1 million down from $2.1 million in the same period of 2012.
Capital expenditures spent and accrued at Boroo in the first quarter of 2013 decreased to $1.2 million compared to $3.7 million in the same period of 2012. 2013 capital primarily relates to tailings dam construction ($0.3 million) and mobile component change outs ($0.4 million), whereas in the first quarter of 2012, $3.3 million was related to capitalized stripping of Pit 6.
The Gatsuurt project remained under care and maintenance in the first quarter of 2013 due to continued delays in permitting resulting from the Water and Forest Law which prohibits mining and exploration activities in water basin and forested areas. Further development of the project is subject to resolution of the impact of the Water and Forest Law on the Gatsuurt project, and receiving all required approvals and regulatory commissioning from the Mongolian Government. See "Other Corporate Developments - Mongolia".

Centerra Gold Announces Election of Directors
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 10, 2013) - Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX:CG) announced that the ten nominees listed in the management information circular for the 2013 Annual Meeting of Shareholders ("Meeting") held on Friday May 10, 2013 were elected as directors of Centerra Gold. The vote was conducted by a show of hands. The detailed results of the votes received by proxy are set out below:
% Votes
% Votes
Ian Atkinson
Richard W. Connor
Raphael A. Girard
Karybek U. Ibraev
Stephen A. Lang
John W. Lill
Amangeldy M. Muraliev
Sheryl K. Pressler
Terry V. Rogers
Bruce V. Walter
* These figures do not include the votes attached to the shares owned by Centerra's 32.7% shareholder, Kyrgyzaltyn JSC (Mogi: wow, CG is basically a Kyrgyz company now it seems), who expressed concern regarding the re-appointment of KPMG as Centerra's auditors and the re-nomination of Bruce Walter as a director of the company.

Mogi: liked the part about development progress not being reflected on share prices for many and all Mongolia stocks and that "Risk is in the eye of the Beholder!"
Aspire Mining Investor Presentation to Proactive Investors Forum: Ovoot Coking Coal Project
May 8, Aspire Mining Limited (ASX:AKM) --

Genie Energy First Quarter 2013 Results: Exclusive oil shale deal with PAM
NEWARK, N.J., May 7--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Genie Energy Ltd. (NYSE: GNE, GNEPRA) reported revenues of $85.3 million, income from operations of $2.6 million and a net loss attributable to common stockholders of $1.8 million for the first quarter, the three months ended March 31, 2013.
"IDT Energy continued to benefit from the net meter and RCE increases achieved in 2012. Looking ahead, we expect that our significant investments in geographic expansion and the deployment of new offerings and services will help drive long term growth."
Genie Energy will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.1594 per share of Series 2012-A Preferred Stock (NYSE: GNEPRA) for the first quarter on May 15, 2013 to preferred shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 8, 2013. The ex-dividend date was May 6, 2013. The distribution will be treated as a return of capital and not as a dividend for tax purposes.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Also in April 2013, a Genie subsidiary entered into a five year, exclusive oil shale development agreement with the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia to explore and evaluate the commercial potential of oil shale resources on 34,470 square kilometers in Central Mongolia.
Genie Oil and Gas (GOGAS)
On April 19, 2013, Genie Oil Shale Mongolia, LLC (Genie Mongolia), and the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia entered into an exclusive oil shale development agreement to explore and evaluate the commercial potential of oil shale resources on a 34,470 square kilometer area in Central Mongolia.
The five year agreement calls for Genie Mongolia to explore, identify and characterize the oil shale resource in the survey area and to conduct a pilot test using in-situ technology on appropriate oil shale deposits. Genie may seek to proceed to commercial development via a production sharing agreement in accordance with Mongolian law.

May 9 -- The Board is pleased to announce the re-designation and appointment of Ms. Enkhzaya Nyamdorj from her current position of Chief Financial Officer to be the Chief Audit Executive of the Company with effect from 9 May 2013.
The board (the "Board") of directors (the "Directors") of Mongolian Mining Corporation (the "Company" and together with its subsidiaries as the "Group," HKEx:975) wishes to announce the re- designation and appointment of Ms. Enkhzaya Nyamdorj ("Ms. Nyamdorj") from her current position of Chief Financial Officer (the "CFO") to be the Chief Audit Executive (the "CAE") of the Company with effect from 9 May 2013 (the "Re-designation").
Ms. Nyamdorj, aged 38, joined the Company as a Deputy CFO in August 2011 and was appointed as the CFO on 4 November 2011.
Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Nyamdorj was a senior manager at Ernst & Young LLP's Chicago office where she had been working since 2000. With over 10 years of experience in public accounting, finance and business development, Ms. Nyamdorj is a Certified Public Accountant in the United States and a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants. Ms. Nyamdorj was awarded a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Economics and Marketing by the National University of Mongolia in 1997 and a master's degree in Business Administration in International Business and Finance by the Schiller International University, United States.
Upon the Re-designation, Ms. Nyamdorj will serve as the CAE of the Company, the principal independent internal auditor monitoring the function and improvement of the Group's systems for internal control, efficiency of operations, reliability of financial reporting, and observance of relevant laws and regulations. The CAE will report directly to the Audit Committee of the Board and to the Chief Executive Officer (the "CEO") of the Company in day-to-day administrative matters.
The Board wishes to express its gratitude to Ms. Nyamdorj for her contributions to the Company during the tenure of her position as the CFO of the Company and welcomes her in her new role as the CAE of the Company.
The Company will initiate the process of identifying a suitable replacement for the position of the CFO of the Company, and Dr. Battsengel Gotov, an executive Director and the CEO, will assume the duties and responsibilities of the CFO of the Company during the interim period.

Ivanhoe Energy Reports First Quarter 2013 Financial Results
CALGARY, May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Ivanhoe Energy Inc. (TSX: IE; NASDAQ: IVAN) reported today its financial results and operating highlights for the first quarter of 2013. 
Capital Expenditures
Capital expenditures were $7.5 million in the first quarter of 2013, which include the following highlights:
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>The Canadian operation invested $4.9 million on a winter data acquisition program that included seismic and drilling activities.  The data will provide further information for initial development, including determining optimal well pair locations.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>The Ecuadorian operation invested $1.8 million on environmental and road work in preparation for drilling a new appraisal well.
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>In Mongolia, the Company exhausted a credit held with a seismic service provider and conducted a 106 kilometer 2-D seismic program, without the expenditure of cash.
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Local Market
NatSec Daily MSE Update: Top 20 +0.98%, Turnover 38.6M
Thursday, May 8 (National Securities) MSE TOP 20 Index increased 0.98% today to 13,323.04 points. However trading volume was medium at MNT 38 590 297.
Telecom Mongolia (MCH) lost as much as 4.64% to finish at MNT 954.55. Eermel (EER) dropped 2% to MNT 2,450. Gobi (GOV), the largest Mongolian cashmere producer, lost 0.87% to MNT 4,560. Tavan Tolgoi (TTL) slid more than 13% to MNT 2,188 and was the biggest drag on the MSE TOP 20 Index. As B board, Azik (ALD), Ereentsav (ECV), Selenge sureg (SES) gained 8-15% on low volumes.
Please click here to see the detailed news

NatSec Daily MSE Update: Top 20 -0.74%, Turnover 86.8M
9 May 2013, Thursday (National Securities) Trading value for today reached MNT 86,780,134 and the shares of 24 companies were traded.
Tavan Tolgoi (TTL) was the most active traded stock on the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) with more than 34,996 shares traded.
MSE Top 20 declined 0.74% to 13,221.17 points. Other big gainers of the day were Mongol Nekhmel (14.20%), Chatsargana (10.20%), Gutal (14.82%), Khishig Uul (14.71%) and Zoos Goyol (7.26%).
Mongol Savkhi (UYN) was the biggest loser and closed up 12.63% to MNT 1,162 followed by Ikh Barilga (-7.69%) and Makh Impex (-6.37%).
Please click here to see the detailed news
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Ulaanbaatar, May 10 /MONTSAME/ The Bank of Mongolia (BoM) issued Friday one-week bills worth MNT 150 billion at a weighted interest rate of 11.50 per cent per annum.

Ulaanbaatar, May 9 /MONTSAME/ On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on May 9th, 2013 the Bank of Mongolia (BoM) received from local commercial banks bid offers of USD 11.3 million and 33 CNY million and ask offer of USD 5 million. The BoM accepted all the bid offers of USD and CNY at a closing rate of MNT 1435.5 and 233.20, respectively, and refused for ask offers of USD.
The same day, the BoM received MNT Swap agreement bid offer of USD 10 million from domestic commercial banks and BoM refused all the  offers for swap agreement.

Mongolia Economic Forum reaches provinces
May 9 (UB Post) Last week, the annual Mongolia Economic Forum which takes place every March in Ulaanbaatar, was held in Orkhon Province for the first time.  The Economic Forum works to analyze and create solutions for current economic issues by giving business owners the opportunity to voice their opinions, and thereby increase their involvement in policy making.
"Economic development issues are only talked about in Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia cannot have just one development center. Every province center will be a development point," said Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag in his opening speech to the forum.
He added, "Within this framework, the government has initiated projects to establish an analytics center in every province, as well as connect [the provinces] with Ulaanbaatar through hard paved roads."
The Prime Minister spoke with administrators of Orkhon Province earlier last week, during his official visit. The administrators told N.Altankhuyag that the province circulates nearly 3.5 billion MNT in its small and medium enterprise development fund. The Prime Minister said he would hear the issues regarding these funds to find out what debts are owed, and how much has been accomplished with the help of the development fund.
Private sector and government representatives discussed whether Orkhon Province should be called Erdenet City, as it was previously known. They also reviewed the region's economic competitive capacity, state and private sector cooperation, and issues related to Erdenet factories.
Civil representatives and provincial heads thanked the Prime Minister for organizing the Economic Forum in Orkhon Province. They said that they hope to see the event take place in other provinces in the future to encourage more provincial involvement in government activities.

Government seeks way to decrease apartment prices for the youth
May 10 ( The National Youth Committee under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Mongolia held a forum on "Apartments for young people" along with the Mongolian Youth Federation
At the forum urgent problems in the construction sector, existing condition and future prospects, policy directed by Government and resolutions to provide young people with apartments were discussed. 
Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag arrived at the forum and gave a speech. 
The Prime Minister stressed that the core of Government directed policy on public housing is to provide civilians with new apartments granting construction companies free land and supporting infrastructure. The Government had deals on the terms with construction companies and construction work of the first 1560 homes apartments started.
The 500 apartments that are built in Buyant-Ukhaa will be available for residents in November and the remaining 1000 homes will be available in May 2014. 
The Prime Minister also said that the Government seeks to decrease apartment prices, recovering the apartment building industry that was designed decades ago in order to provide civilians with lower price apartments. 
Further the Prime Minister said that the Government intends to increase the number of rentable apartment buildings for the elderly and young people. 
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May 10 (InfoMongolia) On May 10, 2013, at 07:00 pm during the afternoon plenary session of the State Great Khural (Parliament) an unscheduled issue to approve two candidates' memberships of the Parliament was submitted after the disputes continued to date since the 2012 Parliament Elections.
One of the candidates D.Zorigt was promoted from Democratic Party (DP) and the other one D.Sumiyabazar from Mongolian People's Party (MPP).
The first candidate's issue was not resolved yet at the court of Uvurkhangai aimag to prove as an authorized winner in this electoral district, but the General Election Commission of Mongolia (GEC) explained that it was not necessary to wait the next court's decision, because the GEC had already granted a validation card of Parliament membership.
As for other candidate, DP was postponing to approve D.Sumiyabazar's membership, who had won in the re-voting of the 26th Electoral District (Songinokhairkhan District of Ulaanbaatar).
Consequently, despite of MPP's irritation, who were expected S.Chinzorig (MPP) instead of D.Zorigt (DP), members of the Parliament approved the 75th Parliamentarian as D.Sumiyabazar (MPP) and the 76th member as D.Zorigt (DP), after which these two candidates took their oaths and this time before the Presidential Election, the Parliament of Mongolia will work with its full authorized 76 members from next week after a year-round continued disputes.

MP R.Gonchigdorj elected as Deputy Speaker
May 10 ( During Friday`s plenary session meeting of Parliament the issue of the appointment of Deputy Speaker was discussed. However MPP members suggested to delay the appointment of Deputy Speaker until a new MP was elected from the revote in Songinokhairkhan. Speaker Z.Enkhbold said there was no need to delay so the discussion was held. 
Views and opinions on the issues that were discussed in previous meetings continued. 
After MP's finished their exchange, a poll on the decree issued by the Standing Committee to appoint a new Deputy Speaker was conducted. MP R.Gonchigdorj was elected as Deputy Speaker with 53.7 percent of the votes of 31 MPs
R.Gonchigdorj, a mathematician at the National University of Mongolia, started his political career in 1990 as a member and the chairman of the lower house of Parliament. R.Gonchigdorj was elected in the State Great Khural in 1992-2000 while he was in charge of the Social Democrat Party. In 2000 he became Speaker of parliament. In 2012 R.Gonchigdorj was elected for the 6th time as a Member of Parliament.

First female candidate to run for Mongolian presidency, Health Minister Udval from MPRP
ULAN BATOR, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has nominated Health Minister Natsag Udval for the June 26 presidential election, making her the first woman to run for the country's top office.
Udval, a pediatrician and staunch supporter of jailed former president Nambar Enkhbayar, actively took part in demonstrations demanding his release.
Enkhbayar, who was in office from 2005 to 2009, was sentenced to two and half years in prison last year for corruption.
The ruling Democratic Party of Mongolia named incumbent President Tsakhia Elbegdorj as its candidate and two minor parties, the Mongolian National Democratic Party and the Civil Will-Green Party, said they would support Elbegdorj's reelection.
The opposition Mongolian People's Party nominated former champion wrestler Bat-Erdene Badmaanyambuu, who is popular in rural areas.
The decision late Saturday by the MPRP, which is part of the Justice Coalition with the National Democratic Party, to run its own candidate indicated a split within the coalition, analysts said.
They predict Elbegdorj is likely to win reelection.

Final Candidates for Presidential Election Decided
May 12 (UB Post) The candidates for the Presidential Election, to be held on June 26, has been finalized and announced to the public. In compliance with the law, the political parties should pick out its presidential candidates within 45 days before the scheduled Election Day. Accordingly, the political parties who have seats in the Parliament; namely, the Mongolian People's Party, Democratic Party, Civil Will-Green Party, Mongolian National Democratic Party, and Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party; convened last week and expressed their positions regarding the Presidential Election by announcing their respective candidates.
Hence, candidates from the three political parties are to run in the upcoming Presidential Election after being selected by their fellow political party members and a female candidate is included for the first time.
Powerful contester
The Mongolian People's Party (MPP) was the first to announce its candidate for the Presidential Election among the political parties who have seats in the Parliament. During the poll among MPP members, member of the Parliament B.Bat-Erdene  and MPP Chairman U.Enkhtuvshin were in a draw three times in a row and, in the fourth poll, the former wrestler, Champion B.Bat-Erdene finally won the right to be the party's presidential candidate.  B.Bat-Erdene has been elected to the Parliament for the third time from Khentii Province representing MPP.
He is running in the Presidential Election for the first time. The newly elected MPP presidential candidate stated during a press conference, "The election is the value of democracy and the expression of justice. I appeal the candidates of other political parties to participate in the election fairly and the electoral staff to organize a fair election."
Candidate with an advantage
The National Consulting Committee convened yesterday to receive the request and supporting documents from its members who are potential candidates in the upcoming Presidential Election. But during the committee meeting, no one gave any submission except for the current president of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj. He has led Mongolia for the last four years and has been the country's champion for peace. Based on his qualifications to run again for president, his current experience offers a good advantage, as he is the President of Mongolia and has served many times as a high-ranking state official.
The first female candidate
The first female candidate for the Presidential Election is N.Udval. The Executive Bureau of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and its Assembly convened and discussed whether to participate in the Presidential Election by promoting their own candidate or supporting a candidate from other political parties. At the end of the convention, the decision was made to have Minister of Health N.Udval run for president. This decision is distinctive as a female candidate is running for the Presidential Election for the first time. She was the Secretary-General of MPRP.
In terms of other political parties and their candidates, the Mongolia National Democratic Party and Civil Will-Green Party have expressed their position to support the current President and the candidate from Democratic Party, Ts.Elbegdorj.
Hence, three candidates, MPP's B.Bat-Erdene promoted, DP's Ts.Elbegdorj, and MPRP's N.Udval, are to run in the 2013 Presidential Election. The date of the Presidential Election is scheduled to be conducted on June 26.

May 10 (InfoMongolia) On May 10, 2013, the VI Assembly meeting of Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP) held at the Chinggis Khaan Hotel, Ulaanbaatar, due to regulations any political party having seats in the Parliament should announce its candidacy for the upcoming Presidential Election of Mongolia prior May 10, 2013.
Accordingly, the MNDP members following their Assembly meeting resolved its decision not to promote its candidacy instead to support incumbent President Ts.Elbegdorj, however experts were predicting that MNDP leader M.Enkhsaikhan would be nominated, moreover MNDP would run in the Presidential Election along with its fracture - Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) the two currently merged into "Shudarga Yos Evsel" ("Justice" Coalition) and having 11 seats in the Parliament, but MNDP preferred to back the President Ts.Elbegdorj.
The other party MPRP was also scheduled to announce its decision today, but under some reasons the Party postponed its Assembly meeting on tomorrow.
The fifth political Party in the Parliament - Civil Will Green Party (CWGP) that has two seats in the Parliament is currently meeting behind the closed doors, few days ago the Party leader S.Oyun announced not to run, but Party members were against her decision and they will make its final decision following their Assembly meeting.

Electing a President in Mongolia
May 10 (Julian Dierkes, Mongolia Today) --
Parties cannot spend more than T5bil (approx. C$3.5mil), candidates no more than T3bil. Individuals may donate up to T10mil (approx. C$7,000), corporations up to T50mil.
The public broadcaster provides free of charge time slots to candidates for election messages.
Campaigning ends the day before the election. (Mogi: actually I believe campaigning must stop 2 days before election day, leaving one day free of any ads, posters, or politicians being politicans)
The Election
Mongolian voters, i.e. citizens over 18 years old, pick a presidential candidate directly. They will identify themselves using biometric id cards which have been issued for the past three years and should be nearly universal by now. Voters vote in their place of residence.
Electronic vote counting machines will be in use again for this election, as they were for last year's parliamentary election.
Highlights of Voting
The candidates must be at least 45 years old and only parties represented in parliament can nominate candidates.
A run-off election between the top two candidates (if there are more than two) is held if neither received a majority of votes (i.e. 50% + 1). The run-off is held two weeks after the first round.
At least 50% of registered voters must turn out to vote to validate the election. This is a requirement by polling station, not for the nationwide vote. If this 50% threshold is not reached at a given polling place, additional voting seven days after the first round by voters who had not voted in the first round will be added to the result of the first round.
See an earlier post for the timetable of the election.

Baabar: 'The Absurd History of Legislators'
May 10 (The Mongolist) This week popular historian and former politician B. Batbayar (a.k.a. Baabar) published a rather scathing editorial entitled "The Absurd History of Legislators" directed at "resource nationalists" and the self-destructive attempts by parliament to appease them with legislation aimed at foreign investors. It struck me as a very compelling counter-balance to the usual inclination of international observers to view public opinion in Mongolia as being fantastically homogeneous and fully aligned against foreign investment. Mr. Baabar's opinion is only one, but it is an opinion read by many. He has more than 34,000 followers on Twitter, and the editorial had more than 84,000 views as of the writing of this post! It is worth a read. Here are a few choice passages I have translated from the original (see the footnotes and here) to give a flavor of his argument.
On the foreign investment law passed just before the parliamentary elections in 2012:
"It hasn't taken long to assess the impact [of the law]. Initial investment in Mongolia has exited quickly. Investments already prepared understood this to be a form of robbery and have fled. In a short period Mongolian exports have fallen by 60 percent, and the economy has begun to spiral downwards. Goods turnover has fallen by 17.3 percent. The country has run out of money. Due to the loss in foreign exchange, in order to hold the tugrik's value, the Mongol Bank has spent USD 1.5 billion in reserves. As export of mineral resources, which is the main source of [our] income, has stopped, other sectors have fallen flat on their faces. Mongolia has been declared one of the least reliable territories for investment."1
On the "windfall profits tax" in 2006:
"Just as the Mongolian economy was striving for its peak [in 2006], the so called 'windfall profits tax' appeared. There was no money found in this, and yet it frightened foreign investors away wholesale. Its immediate result was producing a 20.9 percent decline in investments in 2007. In 2008 we had a recession. Moreover, it damaged the shape of mining production and trading. The people who initiated [this law] were not sober (mentally healthy) people."2
On the swift impact internationally from declarations by hardline nationalists in the cabinet:
"[An election] promise is a promise. As soon as the friend [of those nationalists] became Minister of Mining and it was made known he would 'chase foreigners from Mongolia and realize his promise to the people,' his [declaration] had been translated into 23 languages around the world. That was a new record for a literary work in Mongolian. The old record was the 'The Secret History of the Mongols' being translated into 13 languages."3
On the ultimate fate of those who know better but remain silent:
"However [parliament] time and again has thrown the nation's economy aside deaf and dumb, and from this [demonstrated itself] a place of insane asylum patients wantonly and voluntarily causing confusion and disorder. In Dante's 'Divine Comedy' the sin worse than injury was remaining silent while next to the filthy and vile. There are many members [of parliament] who are deemed as intelligent and educated by general standards and fairness, standing before the people receiving responsibility, yet as the country is 'ladled' into confusion from the hands of morons, they silently allow it to transpire. If Dante spoke the truth, then they are sinners destined for the third level of hell."4
These are strong, bordering on strident words about an emotional and controversial political issue. The consequences of poor policy decisions affect everyone, so it should not be surprising to learn there are domestic commentators who also feel frustrated by the cyclical pattern of destructive policies derived from nationalist sentiment rather than careful deliberation on issues. As an American, I can fully empathize with that frustration. Again, Mr. Baabar is just one opinion, but his opinion is widely read. It is another data point in understanding the complexity of the domestic debate over the country's future.

2012 Declaration of assets and income of high-ranking state servants made public
May 12 (UB Post) According to the law, the declaration of assets and income of state servants should become open to the public within the second quarter of each year. Hence, the Statement of Assets and Income of the high-ranking public officials of Mongolia has been published in the information pamphlet of the government.
From an article in Udriin Sonin Newspaper, a total of 237 state servants, including the President of Mongolia, Prime Minister, Parliament, and government members declared information about their assets and income of 2012.
With regard to their declarations, President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj worked in 2012 and earned 118,462,000 MNT. His income increased seven times from the previous year, which was 17,093,000 MNT. The total income of his family members in 2012 was 6,000,000 MNT. He owns 3 cows, 20 sheep, 25 horses, and 15 goats. Moreover, President Ts.Elbegdorj has one apartment worth 417,911,000 MNT. He holds company shares of "Mushaag," "Ankh-Erdene," "ASU," "Genco Tour Bureau," and "Remicon." He also owns the stock of the Liberty Institute. He maintains 75, 459,000 MNT in his bank account. In addition, he declared that he has no private land and private cars.
The income of Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold increased in 2012 reaching 75 million MNT. Even though he doesn't have private cars and cattle, he owns three apartments and possesses shares of the company, "Inter."
The annual income of Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag is 302 million MNT. He has two apartments, a Lexus 570, and a Lexus 470. He is also the owner of four companies. The Prime Minister was the person who earned the most among the three state heads given that the 2012 income of his family was 180 million MNT.
The person who led the members of the Parliament (MP) and the rest of the government with his income is MP and Minister of Defense D.Bat-Erdene. In 2012, he worked and earned an income of 20,006,680,000 MNT, proving that he is one of the richest men of Mongolia. He owns 3 apartments and has 250 horses. He also holds shares of vested companies such as "Ajnai," "Invest Capital," and "MAK."
Minister D.Bat-Erdene was followed by MP B.Choijilsuren. His 2012 income amounted to 6,027,651,000 MNT. He is the shareholder of 15 companies such as "Gobi Resource Hill," "Gobi Goy Saikan," "Khurd Group," and "Rapid Palace."
The third highest among MPs is J.Enkhbayar. A shareholder of six companies such as "Gazar Suljmel," "Gazar," and "Gazar Partners," he has an income of 4,245,457,000 MNT. He is followed by Prime Minister S.Batbold whose 2011 income reached 17 billion MNT. In 2012, he earned 3, 242, 631,000 MNT in 2012. He owns only one car, a Mercedes-Benz, and a piece of land of with an area of 0.7 hectare.
MPs N.Nomtoibayar, B.Narankhuu, and O.Sodbileg, who are considered to belong to Mongolia's richest, did not earn much in 2012. MP O.Sodbileg holds shares of 11 companies such as "Petro Matad Limited" and "Ajigana Group." B.Narankhuu declared his seven luxury cars equivalent to 2 billion MNT such as a Mercedes-Benz and Range Rover. He has 109 racing horses.
Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold led the list with the number of his shareholding companies. He holds shares of a total of 28 companies including "Bodi Group." He was followed by MP B.Narankhuu who is a shareholder of 27 companies.
In terms of owned cattle, MP G.Batkhuu led the declaration list with his 434 racing horses.
Furthermore, the income of MP and a candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election, B.Bat-Erdene, is 25 million MNT. His family's income is 20 million MNT. He has two apartments as well as two cars and he owns the shares of the companies "Buudain Tsatsal" and "Atar Chandgana." He also has 400 horses, 20 racing horses, 60 cows, 3,000 sheep, and 350 goats.
Likewise, all the other MPs declared their assets and income. For example, the total income of Z.Bayanselenge, who used to live in the ger district, is 30,254,000 MNT. Her family's income is 6,876,000 MNT. She owns two cars. She has 28 horses, 12 sheep, and 18 cows. She has arrears of 22 million MNT from a citizen named N.Davaasuren and she owes six million MNT to Khan Bank accordingly.

Ulaanbaatar, May 10 /MONTSAME/ The Minister of Justice Kh.Temuujin submitted Thursday to the Speaker a draft new wording of the law on combating against crimes of money laundering and financing terrorism.
The draft new wording is submitted to the State Great Khural in accordance with specific recommendation from international organizations after monitoring the anti-money laundering and anti-financing terrorism system of Mongolia.
The same day, Kh.Temuujin presented a draft law on ratifying and approving the amendment to the agreement on foundation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Mongolia became the 61st member of the EBRD by adopting the agreement of the EBRD foundation on July 26, 2000.  
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Samsung C&T Wins $483 Mil. Project to Build TT-China Railway in Mongolia
SEOUL, KOREA, May 8 (Korea IT Times) - Samsung C&T said on May 8 it has signed an agreement to build a 217-kilometer railway in Mongolia commissioned by the Railway Authority of Mongolia.
Samsung C&T is the sole contractor to implement the US$483-million project. The project calls for installing a railroad line connecting Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, 540 km south of the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator, and the China-Mongolian borders, as well as building a rolling stock depot. 
A Samsung C&T official said, "We were given high marks for our ample experience in railroad projects, excellence in technological prowess, and best construction time schedule. With the latest project, we are in an advantageous position to win additional projects in Mongolia related to resource development." 
Samsung C&T entered the Mongolian construction market in May last year with a $273-million project to build Shangri-La Hotel in Ulan Bator. This is a third project for the company following a $56-million project to build the MCS Tower last June.

Mongolia Rail Plan to Boost Costs for Coal Exporters, Group Says
May 10 (Bloomberg) Mongolia's decision to use broad gauge rail for a new line to China will increase costs for coal exporters including Hong Kong-traded Mongolia Mining Corp. (975) over a narrower gauge option, according to a research firm.
The use of the broad gauge rail will add $3 to the cost of each metric ton of delivered coal because the fuel has to be transferred at the border to wagons that fit the smaller gauge rail used in China, Dale Choi, founder of Ulaanbaatar-based Independent Mongolian Metals and Mining Research, said by phone.
Samsung C&T Corp. (000830), South Korea's second-largest builder, was awarded a $483 million contract this week to construct the 267-kilometer railway (166-mile) from the Tavan Tolgoi coal field to the Chinese border. Mongolia's rail network is broad gauge, a legacy of its Communist era when most of its infrastructure was developed by the Soviet Union, that's 85 millimeters wider than the standard gauge used in China, the largest energy consumer.
"The business community would have preferred the standard gauge," Choi said. "The government is taking some steps to increase efficiency, such as mine site customs, so one wonders why they would choose the Russian gauge. I guess the geo-political consideration is much more important to authorities."
Mongolia's biggest state-owed coal company, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi LLC, may also use the new railroad. Both Erdenes TT and Mongolia Mining mine the giant Tavan Tolgoi coal field, with 6.4 billion tons of reserves, and currently truck their coal to the border on a paved road.
Road Costs
Even with the added $3 cost a ton of using the broad gauge, the overall cost of exporting coal by rail will be 60 percent, or $14 per ton, lower than the current method of exporting by truck, Choi said.
"Overall, this is clearly a positive development, the railway gauge is a secondary unfortunate aspect of it," said Choi. "Rail is also safer and better for the environment."
It's possible to export 8 million or 9 million tons a year to the border by road while rail can transport 28 million tons, Delgersaikhan Tsagaan-Uvgun, head of mine planning and technical coordination at Erdenes TT, said in an interview. Erdenes TT, which is planning to sell shares to global investors by 2015, aims to export 20 million tons of coal a year by 2017.
Russia developed its wider gauge in the 19th century as military tactic to prevent an invasion by rail and the broad gauge is still in use across most of the former Soviet empire.
Southern Frontier
Though economically tied to China with over 92 percent its exports heading across the southern frontier, Mongolia has attempted to buffer itself against Chinese economic overtures. Last year it passed a Foreign Investment Law to block the sale of SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (SGQ) to China's state-owned Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd.
Mongolia has 1,908 kilometers of broad gauge track with plans to expand the network by 5,600 kilometers to help mining companies export their products. The country is rich in gold, copper, coal and other minerals and is seeking opportunities to exploit its reserves and its $10 billion economy.
The 267-kilometer section from Tavan Tolgoi to the Chinese border will be the first part of this expansion, according to the Mongolian government. The next section is planned to connect Tavan Tolgoi and the city of Sainshand, the site of a $10 billion planned industrial complex.

Mogi: I'm sure RZD made sure they expressed their god given "entitlement" to any future Mongolian railway projects
President of Russian Railways meets N.Altankhuyag
May 12 (UB Post) Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag received Vladimir Yakunin, the President of Russian Railways, on Sunday, reported the Press, Media, and Public Communications Department of the Parliament of Mongolia.
At the beginning of their meeting, Mr. Yakunin expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to hold talks that will shed light on the mutual cooperation on a new railway project to be built with a horizontal alignment specification in Mongolia.
Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag emphasized that it is important to respect the interests of both sides regarding the investment in the project as well as its management. He also conveyed that Mongolia is paying special attention to the new railway project as the transportation infrastructure and logistics have substantial importance for the mutually beneficial relationship of the neighboring countries we have a strategic partnership with. Moreover, he stressed that both parties should move faster in fleshing out the partnership mechanism.
In response, Mr. Yakunin said that regardless of any improvements in the project based on this collaboration, the project's operation should still be expanded and the profit increased. The two sides noted that the conditions to operate with benefits have been created as the equity fund has been recently increased.
During the meeting, Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag expressed the government of Mongolia's willingness to pay more attention in looking at potential alternatives for implementation to develop Mongolia's railways.

May 8 (InfoMongolia) On May 03, 2013, the 6th Japan-Mongolia Joint Consultation with the Government and Private Sector on Trade and Investment was held in Ulaanbaatar, where Mr. Isshu Sugawara, the State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry representing the Government of Japan and over 100 entrepreneurs from Japan have attended.
Accordingly, authorities from Mongolia's Ministry of Mining, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economic Development have made joint statement regarding the meeting's result on May 07, 2013.
In the frameworks of the 6th Japan-Mongolia Joint Consultation, the Government of Mongolia put forward several issues to collaborate with Japan in the following sectors:
(1) to enhance the processing of mineral resources in Mongolia's mining sector, (2) to develop infrastructure, (3) to improve human resources' potentialities, (4) to broaden Mongolia's foreign trade.
Wherein, the Government of Japan expressed its interests: (1) to buy regularly high quality coal from Mongolia at reasonable price, (2) to be involved in the development of Tavan Tolgoi project, (3) to obtain certain volume of Tavan Tolgoi shares, (4) to establish Japan-Mongolia Trade Corporation that aimed to increase Mongolia's coal export.
Moreover, Memorandums of Understanding on Cooperation were established between:
<![if !supportLists]>1.    <![endif]>Ministry of Economic Development of Mongolia and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan;
<![if !supportLists]>2.    <![endif]>Ministry of Energy of Mongolia and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan in the frames of "Bilateral Offset Credit Mechanism";
<![if !supportLists]>3.    <![endif]>Ministry of Energy of Mongolia and Hitachi Company of Japan;

7.65% Yields With Trade & Development Bank Of Mongolia Short Bonds, B1 Rated, Sept. 2015
May 9 (Durig Capital LLC via This week we again turn to the far eastern country of Mongolia to find what we believe are better yielding U.S. dollar corporate bonds relative to the amount of risk that investors typically find in more common or more popular domestic U.S. corporate bonds.  Increasingly known for its vast mineral resources, Mongolia is the fastest growing country in the world with an amazing 17%-a-year growth rate.  As the Mongolian economy transitions away from a long history of oppression and into free markets, the sheer abundance of its very low cost resources has unlocked great market opportunities for their county.   The financial sector is considered as one of the most geared to Mongolia's rapid economic growth, which is being fueled by development of its world class mineral resources, and the following review shows why we believe adding these very short 29 month, 8.5% coupon, Yankee bonds from the Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia to our Foreign and Global Fixed Income Portfolio offers great cash flow and helps to lower overall portfolio risk through a broad and diverse investment strategy.
The Mongolian Economy
With a population of less than three million and a territory as large as Western Europe, Mongolia's extensive mineral deposits and attendant growth in mining-sector activities have transformed Mongolia's economy, which traditionally has been dependent on herding and agriculture. The country opened a fledgling stock exchange in 1991, and joined the World Trade Organization in 1997. Growth averaged nearly 9% per year in 2004-08 largely because of high copper prices globally and new gold production. By late 2008, Mongolia was hit hard by the global financial crisis. As a result, Mongolia's real economy contracted 1.3% in 2009.  In October 2009, Mongolia passed long-awaited legislation on an investment agreement to develop the Oyu Tolgoi mine, considered to be among the world's largest untapped copper deposits and expected to account for one-third of Mongolia's GDP by 2020. In March 2011, six big mining companies prepared to bid for the Tavan Tolgoi area, the world's largest untapped coal deposit.
Mongolia purchases 95% of its petroleum products and a substantial amount of electric power from Russia, leaving it vulnerable to price increases. Due to severe winter weather in 2009-10, Mongolia lost 22% of its total livestock, and meat prices doubled. Inflation remained higher than 10% for much of 2010-12, due in part to higher food and fuel prices.  Mongolia's economy grew by 6.4% in 2010 and 17.5% in 2011 on the strength of commodity exports to nearby countries, high government spending domestically, and very notably, the development of Oyu Tolgoi. Foreign direct investment into Mongolia is heavily skewed towards mining, and following calls by nationalist politicians to renegotiate the investment agreement with Rio Tinto and the passing of the controversial Strategic Sectors Foreign Investment Law (SSFIL) in May of last year, the attractiveness of Mongolia as a destination for foreign direct investment lost its luster. As a result foreign direct investments fell 17% y-o-y to US$3.9bn in 2012 and are down 58% in the two first months of this year, while GDP growth slowed to 12.3% last year from 17.5% a year earlier.
However, on April 19, 2013, the Mongolian Parliament passed amendments to SSFIL aimed at easing restrictions and creating more favorable conditions for foreign investors.  While the investments of state owned or state participated companies will still need parliamentary approval in cases where the investment exceeds a 49% stake, parliamentary approvals for foreign non-state owned companies and threshold of MNT100bn (US$70mn) have been removed. While the Mongolian government is still in dispute with Rio Tinto regarding the cost-overruns and some compliance matters at the Oyu Tolgoi mine, Prime Minister Altankhuyag Norov charged the Mining Minister Gankhuyag to speed-up the land, foreign labor force, customs documentation permits and take actions on solving water, environmental, power plant, third-party laboratory, and infrastructure issues.  These appear to be positive steps towards boosting the severely hit investor confidence, and we think that the new rules will prompt renewed foreign investments in this underexplored market with huge economic potential.
Standard & Poor's credit rating for Mongolia stands at BB-. Moody's rating for Mongolia sovereign debt is B1. Fitch's credit rating for Mongolia is B+.
A Look at the Issuer
The Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia LLC (TDB), the oldest bank of Mongolia (Mogi: oldest private bank), was founded in 1990 and is based in Ulaanbaatar.  It is one of the largest Mongolia banks, and together with its subsidiary, TDB Capital LLC, it has about 1219 staff providing various banking and financial services including large corporate, SME and retail lending, deposit-taking, trade finance, remittance, cash management, treasury, foreign exchange and investment banking through a network of 47 branches. TDB acts as a primary lender to most of Mongolian leading corporations as well as foreign corporations and foreign representative offices across all major industrial and commercial sectors.  Leveraging this pre-eminent position and its long-standing customer relationships, the Bank has consolidated its market-leading position in the handling international trade finance and remittance, with access to credit lines from major international lenders and correspondent banking relationships with over 150 international financial institutions.
TDB is 73.1% owned, directly and indirectly, by US Global Investment LLC, an intermediate parent company, which is in turn owned equally by an individual, Erdenebileg Doljin, and Central Asia Mining LLC (Mogi: controlled by Industry & Agriculture Minister Kh. Battulga). The latter is the ultimate parent company, and is owned by two individuals.  Goldman Sachs acquired a 4.8% stake in TDB in February 2012.  Apart from the treasury stock of 3.4%, the bank's remaining stake of 18.3% is owned by a number of individuals, who are minority shareholders.  At the 2012 "Global Banking & Finance Review" awards, Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia was awarded for the "Best Corporate Bank Mongolia 2012" from among best commercial banks in the world.
As a result of the high loan growth of 142% in 2011, TDB's Tier 1 and total capital adequacy ratios (CAR) declined to 8.2% and 12.7% at end-2011 from 10.2% and 16.3% at end-2010, respectively. Despite significant loan growth during 1H 2012, its Tier 1 and total CAR improved to 9.1% and 14.5%, respectively, as of June 2012 helped by a capital injection from Goldman Sachs in February 2012.  At the end of December 2012, TDB's total assets reached MNT 2623.0 billion ($1,851 million) and capital funds reached MNT 295.2 billion ($208 million), representing 22.9% and 30.0% market shares respectively. The Bank has had a strong earnings track record with MNT 15.0 billion ($10.58 million) in 2009, MNT 20.7 billion ($14.6 million) in 2010, MNT 48.5 billion ($34.2 million) in 2011 and MNT 64.8 billion ($45.7 million) at the end of December 2012.
At the recent Mongolia 2013 Investment Summit in London,  the President of the Trade and Development Bank, R.Koppa, stated that a total of USD 68 billion is needed to develop Mongolia in the near future. He said that 20 billion USD of it will be spent in the mining sector, 12 billion in infrastructure, 8 billion in urban development, 2 billion in agriculture, 20 billion in trade and industry, 2 billion in environmental protection, 2 billion in social development and 2 billion in finance.  He also pointed out that 14 billion USD will be raised from Foreign Direct Investment, 18 billion from internal sources, 6 billion from government bonds, 16 billion from international capital markets, 12 billion from international financial organizations and the rest, 2 billion USD, from donor countries.
Moody's states that the probability of systemic support for TDB is high, given the bank's large market presence in Mongolia. The systemic support indicator for Mongolia (i.e. the government bond rating) is B1, which leaves the bank's local currency bank deposit rating at its standalone rating of ba3. TDB's foreign currency deposit rating is B2, and is constrained by the country ceiling.  Moody's rating of B1 (stable) is underpinned by TDB's good franchise value as one of the largest banks with expertise in corporate banking in Mongolia where it held 29.5 corporate lending market shared at end December 2012.  TDB serves approximately 400 major Mongolian corporations in almost all major business sectors.  An upgrade of the sovereign rating could be positive for the banks ratings, especially if it can maintain its currently healthy asset quality, capital, and profitability metrics throughout the economic cycle.
As the leading banking and financial services provider in Mongolia, it appears that TDB is well positioned for continued growth and profitability as an integral and vital component within the rapidly expanding Mongolian economy.  Considering last week's parliamentary approval of recent amendments to Mongolia's Foreign Investment Mining Laws, it is our opinion that that the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia will benefit from the renewed interest of investment monies ready to enter the country.
Risks Considerations
The default risk is Trade and Development Bank's ability to perform.  As most rating agencies still rating Mongolian sovereign debt at single B, the country's low rating pretty much ensures a glass ceiling equivalent to the only nation it operates within.  However, considering their historical and recent performance, their sound tier one capital position, a reasonably easy access to the additional capital the may be needed for its continued rapid growth, and its good (stable) credit rating from Moody's, it is our opinion that the default risk for this very short term bond is minimal relative to its more favorable return potential.  Furthermore, it is our opinion that if or when the credit ratings of Mongolian sovereign debt rise, it increases the possibilities of a more favorable rating for TDB.
The hardest risk for us to identify is the geopolitical risk.  Perhaps the most prominent issues are Mongolia's apparent lack of stability in the legal environment that supports investment, successful project financing and the guarantee of the sanctity of contracts. However, considering how difficult it has become to understand many of the political changes and potential changes for bondholders (ala General Motors) in our own country, we again suggest that the uncertainties of changes on a foreign soil are much less formidable than in times past.  With that said, it is our opinion that diversification into other forms often serves to reduce risk.  Our strategy here, as with other Yankee bonds, is to focus on unique or required services that can be seen as adding key economic value to the society it's associated with. As a primary lender to many of Mongolian leading corporations, TDB is a key player in the development of its world class mineral resources, and is highly regarded as one of the best operators in its homeland.
TDB is relatively small compared to other financial institutions, and many factors such as presidential elections, trending populism and patriotism, China's weakening demand for coal, cheaper coal prices, positive changes from strategic investments, the draft mining law, sales of Chinggis bond and the international attention on Mongolia will all have their own impacts on Mongolia's economy.  However, it often appears that companies outside of the United States might also have an internal cash flow advantage.  Consequently, we see these TDB bonds as having similar risks and maturities to other Yankees bonds such as Bio PAPPEL (CDURQ), Vedanta Resources (VDNRF), or Mongolian Mining (MOGLF), which we have reviewed previously on our blog.
Summary and Conclusion
All things considered, it is our opinion that TDB has positioned itself as a leader within the Mongolian financial sector.  As Mongolia continues to develop its world class resources, we think these short term Trade and Development Bank U.S. dollar bonds represent both sound diversification and a high yield relative to the fiscal risks that we can identify, and believe that their lower "B" ratings are largely attributable to the sole country that they currently operate within.  Therefore, we are these high yielding Yankee bonds from TDB to our list of Foreign and World Fixed Income bonds. 
Coupon: 8.5
Ratings: B1
Maturity: 10/15/2015
Price:  ~101.8
Yield to Maturity: ~7.65%
Disclosure: Durig Capital and certain clients may have positions in TDB 2015 bonds.

EBRD provides US$ 20 million equity and considers US$ 130 million loan
May 10 (EBRD) The EBRD is supporting the construction of a greenfield cement plant in Mongolia to meet rising demand generated by a rapidly growing economy.   
Under an agreement signed at the 2013 EBRD Annual Meeting in Istanbul, the Bank is providing a US$ 20 million equity investment to the company Senj Sant which will build and operate the state-of-the-art plant. This equity investment is part of a financing package which also includes a loan of up to US$ 130 million. Half of the loan will be syndicated to other lenders.  
The investment will enable Senj Sant, owned by Mongolia's Monpolymet Group, to finance the construction, commissioning and operation of a technologically advanced and environmentally friendly dry process cement plant in Mongolia. The project represents phase I of the cement plant development with an envisaged future total capacity of about 1 million tonnes of cement per year. The dry process used at the plant is environmentally the most-advanced and friendly means of production available to date.
EBRD First Vice President Phil Bennett said: "This investment marks a milestone in our activities in Mongolia. Not only is the volume of funds we are providing significant, but it also signifies an important step in the diversification of the local economy."
Tseden Garamjav, President of the Monpolymet Group, added: "We see the EBRD's support for our project as a vote of confidence which goes beyond the provision of finance. The Bank's involvement will also boost us with a know-how transfer, the implementation of best practice and the adherence to the highest environmental standards and a strong gender agenda."
Fuelled by its vast mineral resources, Mongolia's economy grew by 17 per cent in 2011 alone. The new Senj Sant plant will be located in southern Mongolia about 450 km from the capital Ulaanbaatar in a strategic location to supply cement and clinker to nearby large mining projects.

May 10 (InfoMongolia) Mongolian Press Institute that aimed to provide current information and analysis on the Mongolian media landscape and its development trends releases its annual report and the 2012-2013 Report was officially introduced today on May 10, 2013.
The 2012-2013 Report compiles a broad range of statistical information on media sector and as of today, over 550 media organizations are working in Mongolia, whereas 135 newspapers, 99 magazines, 84 radios, 166 televisions and 68 news websites are registered.
According to statistics, over 5,000 journalists are employed that shows a 16% of increase compare to last year's report. In 2011, there were 30 websites registered and now this number reached at 68, in addition, 25.5 million newspapers were sold in 2012, which was same as previous year, but the volume of sold magazines was increased by 15% reaching at 5.4 million issues that influenced by included weekly TV programs.
About 17-18 TV channels are launched annually in Mongolia and mostly in rural territories, for instance 5 TV channels were opened in Umnugovi Aimag.
Also, the highlights of the 2012 were an opening Bloomberg Mongolia Channel and National Geographic Mongolia Magazine and "Playboy" Magazine in Mongolian language.
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Mongolian president, Chinese state councilor discuss ties
ULAN BATOR, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj held talks Thursday with visiting Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi on bilateral relations. During their talks, Yang said the new Chinese leadership attached great importance to the China-Mongolia relations of good-neighborliness and friendship.
China respected Mongolia's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity (Mogi: funny how China needed to confirm our sovereignty) as well as the Mongolian people's choice of a development path, he said.
China stood ready to maintain high-level exchanges, promote mutual trust and offer unwavering support on issues concerning each other's core interests and those of each other's major concerns, Yang said.
The two sides needed to develop a mid- and long-term program for the China-Mongolia strategic partnership at an early date and advance cooperation in areas such as the exploitation of mineral resources, infrastructure construction and finance, he said.
Elbegdorj said Mongolia was willing to strengthen cooperation with China on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit in a bid to add fresh substance to the traditional friendship between the two countries.
Mongolia would give solid support to China on issues concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said.
During his visit, Yang also met Mongolian Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyg, Deputy Prime Minister Dendev Terbishdagva and Foreign Minister Luvsanvandan Bold to discuss cooperation.

Senior Chinese, Mongolian political leaders look to build ties
ULAN BATOR, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi discussed strengthening cooperation in various fields with Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister Dendev Terbishdagva here Wednesday.
Yang said China-Mongolia cooperation was for mutual benefit, and China never sought unilateral wins for itself in international cooperation at the expense of the cooperation partner.
The economies of China and Mongolia were highly complementary to each other, Yang said, expressing the hope the two sides would outline a program for medium- and long-term development of China-Mongolia relations of strategic partnership, to promote long-term steady development of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.
Both sides needed to adhere to the policy of promoting the overall development of mineral resources, infrastructure facilities construction and financial cooperation, and explore new cooperation in such fields as deep processing of mineral products, new energy, agriculture and animal husbandry, he said.
The Chinese side was willing take an active part in the construction of railroads and highways in Mongolia, promote interconnection and mutual access between the two countries, and enable Mongolian products to go global more conveniently and more swiftly via China, Yang said.
He said the two sides needed to strengthen the construction frontier ports on their common borders, to promote the exchange of human resources and transportation of goods between the two countries.
China supported Chinese enterprises investing in Mongolia and hoped Mongolia would provide a favorable investment environment for them.
Terbishdagva said vast potential existed for cooperation between Mongolia and China. Mongolia agreed to the Chinese ideas for bilateral cooperation, and he hoped China would work out an outline for development of relations as early as possible, would improve the mechanisms for cooperation and would enrich the content of cooperation.
Mongolia hoped to further promote convertibility between the two countries' currencies and welcomed investment from China, he said.
On China's foreign policy, Yang said China was Mongolia's worry-free, trustworthy and responsible strategic partner, and the Chinese side always adhered to a foreign policy of building good neighborly relationships and partnerships with neighboring countries.
China respected Mongolia's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and respected the Mongolian people's independent choice of the development path, he said.
Terbishdagva said Mongolia lauded China's diplomatic policy with its neighbors, and would like to commit itself to strengthening the Mongolia-China strategic partnership based on the principles of equality and mutual benefit.
On people exchanges, Yang said China expected more Mongolians to come to China for business, study and tourism, and welcomed a delegation of 100 Mongolian youths to visit China.
China would continue supporting the teaching of the Chinese language and the work of the Chinese cultural centers in Mongolia, and was willing to help Mongolia build cultural centers in China, Yang said.
He said both sides would properly organize celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2014.
Terbishdagva said Mongolia hoped to enhance cooperation between people with China and supported the youth and media exchanges between the two countries.

Mining Minister traveling to meet Australian Resources & Energy Minister
May 9 (UB Post) Mongolian Mining Minister, D. Gankhuyag, said he will visit Australia this month to meet the Australian Resources and Energy Minister, Gary Gray, according to a report from Business- Mongolia.
The visit will take place amid the reported dispute between Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto, the world's second largest miner and the Mongolian government, regarding Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold projects. Mongolia owns 34 percent of the project. The remainder is held by Rio Tinto's subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources, formerly Ivanhoe Mines.
The challenges began earlier this year, after the government accused Rio Tinto of failing to pay tax and an alleged 2 billion USD. Rio Tinto claims that pre-paid taxes were paid in 2010 and 2011, and were to be credited for 2012. The two sides have yet to resolve the issue. The Mining Minister said earlier last month that Rio Tinto is currently undergoing an audit.
Last year, several members of parliament called for the renegotiation of the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement, saying that the deal was not beneficial to Mongolia. Rio Tinto refused, saying that they had already invested a substantial amount in the project. These disputes have been said to have hurt Mongolia's credibility, resulting in a decline in foreign investment.
Business Mongolia speculates that D.Gankhuyag's visit to Australia might be met with an effort from the Australian government to ease tensions, as Rio Tinto is its one of Australia's biggest contributors to their mining sector.
The ministries have established a working group to share experiences and strengthen cooperation.

Mongolian delegation pays official visit to Germany, attends railway conference
May 8 (UB Post) State Secretary of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation B.Batzaya and Head of the Ministry's Section of Railway Policy Implementation B.Artur paid a working visit in Germany from April 28 to May 5.
During the working visit, they participated in an international conference themed "The Future of Railway and the Chance for Europe to Enter the World Market," organized by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building, and Urban Development in Munich on April 29.
The conference was attended by ministers of roads and transportation, deputy ministers, and state secretaries from Spain, Turkey, Poland, Mongolia, etc. Dr. Peter Ramsauer, the Minister of the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building, and Urban Development, delivered the opening remarks and B.Batzaya gave a statement regarding the road as well as the railway development and railway policies of Mongolia.
Dr. Ramsauer then met his Mongolian counterpart B.Batzaya to discuss the railway relationship between the two countries and the possibility of railway creation between them. During the meeing, Dr. Ramsauer invited the Mongolian delegation to attend the International Ministerial Meeting of Roads and Transport, to be held from May 22 to 24 in Leipzig, Germany. Under the framework of the working visit, Secretary B.Batzaya had a meeting with the authorities of the German railway company, Deutsche Bahn, and the officials of other related manufacturing companies.
They also shared their views on bilateral cooperation in the railway transportation.

Russia asks Mongolia's support in Yekaterinburg's bid to host World Expo 2020
May 8 (UB Post) Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold received on Monday the delegation from Russia headed by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from Russia to Mongolia Viktor Vasilyevich Samoilenko at the State Palace, reported the official website of the Parliament of Mongolia.
According to the news report, Russia has sent its delegation with the Chairman of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation, Konstantin Yosifovich Kosachev, to ask Mongolia for support.
Russia has promoted its city of Yekaterinburg to be the host of World Expo 2020 which will be held in 2020 and, accordingly, Chairman Konstantin Kosachev asked for Mongolia's vote during the election among promoter cities.
During the meeting, the Russian delegation expressed their hope that Mongolia, the strategic neighbor of Russia with a history and relationship of peace for many decades now, will show support for the Russian city to be elected as the host of World Expo 2020.
Once a city has lodged a bid with the Bureau of International Expositions, other cities have six months to respond and currently Izmir, Turkey; Ayutthaya, Thailand; Yekaterinburg, Russia; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates are official candidates for World Expo 2020.
The World Expo is one of the world's oldest and largest international events that takes place every five years and lasts for six months. The best-known "First World Expo" was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde ParkLondon, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title of "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations."
The city of Yekaterinburg is being developed as the center of technological innovation. Urals Optical & Mechanical Plant, the leading Russian manufacturer of medical equipment, has created a set of machineries dedicated to the health of newborn infants and it has saved over a million infants so far, informed the delegation.
By the end of the meeting, Chairman Konstantin Kosachev handed a certificate worth 150 thousand USD of a full set of life-saving equipment for Mongolian infants.

Japan's Abduction Minister looks to Mongolia for help
May 12 (Kyodo) Keiji Furuya, state minister in charge of the abduction issue, is considering visiting Mongolia as a way to kick-start negotiations with North Korea, a diplomatic source said.
It is the government's hope that Mongolia's diplomatic ties with North Korea can be used to move the long-stalled issue forward, the source said, adding that the timing for such a trip is still being discussed.
With Mongolia having a strong desire to engage in issues concerning North Korea, the government views Japan's ties with it as another "important channel" outside the six-party framework, a government official said.
North Korea's abductions of Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s remain an obstacle to the normalization of diplomatic ties. The North has yet to reinvestigate the cases as promised.

Mongolia wins over North Korea in a basketball friendly match
May 10 (UB Post) The Mongolian youth basketball team won over the North Korean team, "25 April," in a friendly match which took place yesterday at the Sports Palace with final scores of 98 and 96. The teams both showed a very competitive performance which made it necessary for the match to run on overtime two times.
The starting five players of the Mongolian team were M.Dorjdagva, G.Tsenguunbayar, A.Gansukh, D.Munkhtuvshin, and O.Ochirbat, who all played under the guidance of coach S.Tulga.
The North Korean team took the lead in the first three periods with Oh Zun Hyok scoring 22 points and Kim Chung Il scoring 26 points. These two players had also previously competed against Mongolian team in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
In the fourth period of the match, the Mongolian team equalized the scores. Mongolian team player M.Dorjdagva scored the most shots with 19 points.
The match was held as part of the "25 April" team's visit to Mongolia upon the invitation of the Mongolian National Basketball Association. The North Korean team is still here and they are playing against Mongolian national basketball team today.

Turkey & Mongolia: Partners Linked Through History
May 8 (Mongolian Economy) Many hundreds years ago, Turkish tribes settled within the territory of Mongolia, and there is still a great deal of evidence of this left behind. Anyone who travels to the vast steppe of Mongolia can vividly imagine the ancient capital of Kharkhorum and its warriors with their bows and arrows in hand, while the clatter of horses' hooves echoed in the wind. Monuments for Bilge Khan, the kind general Kultegin and the wise minister Tonyukuk still stand today as reminders of those times
Turkey and Mongolia are connected through the history of many hundreds of years. Today the two countries' relations are starting to reach new heights. 
Turkish Roots to Bear Fruit 
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan paid an official visit to Mongolia in April at the invitation of Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag. The two premiers together made a joint declaration, signing three memorandums of understandings: one to ease the visa requirements of both countries, another for cooperation in security, and the third for a 2013-2015 cultural, education, and science exchange program. 
Erdogan visited Mongolia for the first time in 2005 when he initiated the 46-kilometre highway between the Museum of Bilge Khan and Kharkhorin Soum, the site where the ancient capital Kharkhorum stood. The highway was constructed by the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) and commissioned by 2008. Modern Turkish-Mongolian diplomatic relations began in 1969. 
There are a number of valuable artifacts that remain from the time of ancient Turkish settlement in Mongolia at Khashaat Soum, Arkhangai Aimag. For instance, the script found on stone monuments in the Orkhon River valley are considered treasures of Turkish history and culture. It is for this reason of such a closely shared history that Mongolia and Turkey seek to bolster their diplomatic ties and to develop greater friendliness between them. 
Mongolian citizens have received month-long visa-free entrance to Turkey since 2007, so Erdogan proposed the same for Turkish citizens, which could benefit tourism. Direct flights, too, are now available between Istanbul and Ulaanbaatar, beginning July last year. They fly three times a week, with the capacity to hold 150 passengers each trip.  
Every year, around 35 million tourists visit Turkey, generating about USD 25 billion. Turkish Airlines plans to lead trainings on the development of tourism in Mongolia for travel agencies. The government of Turkey also proposed an increase to the number of flights each week and to launch the regular flight of a cargo plane. This would bring many types of organic fruits to Mongolia. Turkey is the sixth largest producer of fruits in the world, with goods such as apricots, olives, figs, apples, walnuts, grapes, and lemons. 
Partnership Relations 
Mongolia declared Turkey as one of its third neighbours in 2011 due to the development of historic links and the improved effort for cooperation, which formally began in 2004. During the visit, the two prime ministers agreed to bring Turkish-Mongolian ties to the next level so they could cooperate as strategic partners in the future. Mongolia made specific requests for assistance in the development of tourism, infrastructure, as well as the construction of new apartment buildings, roads, bridges and tanneries. 
There are already plans for a 20-kilometre highway that leads to the Tonyukuk monument found near Nalaikh district.
Erdogan is Turkey's 25th prime minister and has served in that office since 2003. He is a former mayor of Istanbul and is widely seen as Turkey's most influential leader. Erdogan has experience in city planning and construction, and as prime minister he has led numerous reforms including housing programmes for low-income citizens.  He helped commission some 400,000 apartments in the last decade. Thirty three of the 250 largest construction companies in the world come from Turkey, with nearly three quarters of all the construction in Kazakhstan's capital city of Astana built by Turkish contractors.
The partnership also provides opportunity for assistance in the development of Ulaanbaatar's ger districts, urban planning in addition to energy and defence strategies. Trade between Turkey and Mongolia was USD 36 million in 2012, and it is projected to reach USD 250 million by 2015.  
The two countries cooperate not only in economic capacities, but also in cultural, science and social sectors. Mongolian students study at universities in 12 cities in Turkey, learning economics, medicine, industry production, environmental studies, and hospitality. Most students receive scholarships from the government of Turkey. 
Mongolia has much to do in the way of development, so a strong, supportive partner such as Turkey is a good ally to have in its corner.
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Social, Environmental and Other
University of Alaska professors to help create Mongolian engineering school with AUM
May 6 (UAF) A team of professors from the University of Alaska Fairbanks will spend the next several years working with the newly formed American University of Mongolia to create an engineering school.
UAF recently signed contract with AUM, which is under development in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia.
Under the terms of the contract, a team of seven engineering professors, led by mining and geological engineering chairman Rajive Ganguli, will create a comprehensive design for the school. Their work will include creating curricula, identifying faculty and staff needs, exploring accreditation requirements and designing space for classrooms and laboratories. Their work will also include planning for a cold weather engineering research and training center.
The new partnership is the latest in a trend of increased collaboration between UAF and Mongolia, including an academic and research agreement with Erdenet Mining Company and an agreement that allows undergraduate engineering students to spend the first half of their studies at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology and the final half at UAF.
"Though a research-intensive university, the teaching mission is taken seriously at UAF. This is reflected in the fact that we place our graduates not only with Alaska employers, but also with large, international companies such as BP, Freeport McMoRan and BHP Billiton," Ganguli said. "With AUM emphasizing good quality education above everything else, I was very happy to participate. Just like Alaska kids, Mongolians will have access to great engineering education in their own backyard."
The new engineering program at AUM will be designed to be able to receive accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Through its four commissions ABET accredits 3,100 engineering, science and technology programs in six hundred colleges worldwide.
Funding for the project has come from a consortium of mining and mining supply companies in Mongolia. (Mogi: hmmm, wonder who these folks are)
"In this time of dynamic economic growth and expansion of the mining sector in Mongolia, the need for skilled engineers is at its highest and we strongly believe that with an experienced and committed project team supplemented by strong supporters, the project will reach its mission to provide quality education to future engineers of Mongolia," said Battsengel Gotov, CEO of Energy Resources LLC, one of the consortium members. (Mogi: oh, never mind)

Neglected Youth of Mongolia
May 9 (UB Post) Last week, I participated in a forum conducted by the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection (Mogi: Ministry of Human Development and Social Security is I think the proper English name) where ministry representatives asked young Mongolians to voice their opinions on various social issues. The survey took place on Saturday at the Flourishing Futures Community Center in the 16th khoroo of Bayanzurkh District.
The Population Development and Social Protection Ministry, is in my opinion, one of the lesser known ministries that doesn't get a lot of media attention. Hence, the public isn't too aware of their operations and direction. According to ministry representatives, the survey was part of a project to help the government take action towards improving social care for young people.
What with upcoming big development and infrastructure projects, and major mining activity, the human development aspect of Mongolia has been a tad bit neglected.
The experiences of other developed countries, such as Japan and South Korea, show that although they were not endowed with mineral riches, they succeeded greatly by focusing on human development through education, health and social care.
It was evident from the forum's first question that young people have a lot to say about various social and economic issues. Most young people in Mongolia (between the ages of 18-30) are students or newly employed, and greatly in need of support. Often, they are lacking experience -just stepping into the world, so to speak – and figuring things out for themselves, making them highly impressionable and vulnerable to unhealthy habits. But their issues are put aside, or even ignored, by society and government, as they aren't classified among needy groups in society.
One of the main concerns of young people who participated in the survey was social discrimination. A student at the National Defense University said bus conductors treat them like "pests," taking their frustrations out on them, and not stopping when bus stops are full of students, as student passes allow them to travel for free.
Another young man, Bayaraa, a student at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, said there aren't any organizations aimed at helping young people, especially those from the rural areas. He explained that thousands of young people enter the capital city each year from the countryside to opt for higher education. These people don't know anyone, or know their way around their city. Since they have very limited experience with city life, they are confused and overwhelmed, resulting in awkward public behaviour. This compounds the stereotype that people from the countryside (nomads) are rude and uncivilized, or even primitive.
"All we have are a couple of new friends we make from the get-go to guide us. We have to learn city etiquette quickly or we are ridiculed. Basic things such as crossing the road, or shopping in big malls can be difficult as we have no prior experience and guidance," Bayaraa added.
When people think of young people in Mongolia, they have an image of a sartorial youth that goes to pubs and night clubs spending their parent's hard earned money. Indeed this is a problem, but the majority of youths are not like this. The reality is, that there aren't many places for a young person to spend their free time.
People participating in the forum said, "Besides a couple of cinemas, there aren't many places for young people to hang out other than bars and pubs. The truth is that the majority of young people – students – are in great need of money and don't have much to spend on leisurely activities or go around to pubs and bars regularly."
Family planning, relationship advice and unwanted pregnancy were also talked about. With the availability of the internet and numerous organizations devoted to such issues, young people seemed to be well informed on the topics. The only problem was of giving birth in poorly managed medical environments.
Mongolian medical insurance is almost useless. According to forum participants, medical insurance only covers blood and urine tests, but all other treatments have to be paid for, that is if they are able to get appointments that don't take days to wait for. Hospitals are overloaded with people, and due to the scarcity of available hospital beds, the public (much less young people) aren't able to receive medical care. "Even once inside the hospital, you have to bribe the doctors and nurses to have them properly take care of you," said one participant.
Education and job opportunities for young people were also an issue. While it is true that Mongolia is great need of a capable work force, unemployment is still an issue. "The job opportunities are presented in very limited fields, such as construction, mining and engineering. Arts, law, media and other sectors don't pay as well, and not much is available," said law student, Gerel. "Domestic graduates are always outcompeted by foreign graduates, or foreign labor forces," she added.
Mongolia's population is relatively young in age compared to other countries, with a median age for males of 26.6, and 27 for females. We all know that young people are the ones who carry the future, but neglecting them will not fare well for us when it's time for them to step up.
The fact is, there are many ambitious, innovative and hard-working young people in Mongolia, with dreams of their own. They are well informed and capable of much, but aren't taken seriously or valued by society.
"In developed countries, the society brings individuals up and expects them to achieve big things, but here, young people are pulled back by the society and neglected. We can't shelve our future," said one forum participant.

International Freestyle Wrestling Tourney Mongolia Open starts in Mongolia
ULAN BATOR, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The third International Freestyle Wrestling Tournament opened in the National Stadium here Saturday, featuring wrestlers from China, South Korea, Japan, Bulgaria, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan and host Mongolia.
According Chinese coach Altanochir, China has brought 12 male athletes to compete in five categories. South Korea fields a total of 25 athletes, the second only to host Mongolia in terms of scale.
The annual tournament, an A-level event of the International Wrestling Federation, was launched in 2011.

Mongolians urged to plant more trees
ULAN BATOR, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian government on Friday renewed the call for public participation in afforestation to fight desertification as the country marked its biannual National Planting Trees Day.
Minister for Nature, Environment and Green Development Sanjaasuren Oyun told a public event that the government is mulling incentives for every citizen to plant trees, including land grants, fiscal subsidies and tax cuts.
In 2010, Mongolia designated the second Saturday in May and the second Saturday in October each year as National Planting Trees Day. Since then the country planted nearly 6 million trees, whose survival rate stood at 70 percent in 2012.
Pine, aspen, Mongolia sea buckthorn are among the tree species suitable for planting in the country, for they could be used for wind-breaking, sand-fixation and pest control.

Mogi Munkhdul Badral Bontoi
Cover Mongolia
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