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Mogi: My sincere apologies for lack of newswires the past week. Mogi's little trip out in the country went a little off track but nevertheless well over-adventurous than expected
Mongolian dinosaur returns to hero's welcome
July 12 (Al Jazeera) A new exhibit at Mongolia's most popular museum has attracted more than a year's worth of visitors in just five days. The star attraction is 70 million years old and has just been at the centre of a custody battle with the United States. Mongolia, where one in five dinosaurs of the world were found, is now trying to preserve its rich fossil heritage more consciously. Al Jazeera's Divya Gopalan reports from Ulaanbaatar.
Miss Mongolia 2013
Miss Mongolia 2013 Accepting Partnership Proposals
Miss Mongolia Association has started Mongolian delegation audition from Miss international contest since 2004 and it is Non-Government organization with the purpose of to promote Mongolian Beauty and cultural values all over the world, to improve the knowledge, education, communication skills of Mongolian youth especially young girls. For this purpose this association organize traditionally "Miss Mongolia" contest every year. And this is the 10th year anniversary.
Miss International contest is one of the biggest contests in the world with competitors about from 80-90 countries and it has history of 62 years. There is a tradition that International Beauties and Peacekeepers get together for this contest and they contribute for world humanitarian assistance. Our association has a right of selecting delegation for world's biggest contests such as "Miss International", "Miss Intercontinental", "World Miss Universe" "Miss Tourism World" etc..
We are planning to organize 'Miss Mongolia 2013" for delegation audition of international competition from July to September 2013. There will be 5 special nominations such as Miss Model, Miss photogenic, Miss Talent, Miss Sport, Miss Bikini. Also there can be named awards from sponsor companies.
We are pleased to offer our cooperation and request for sponsor of "Miss Mongolia 2013" contest in favor of "Miss Mongolia Association"
We look forward to a successful cooperation with anyone interested to work with us!
Executive coordinator Urangoo Altangerel
firstname.lastname@example.org 99110629 98884000
Rio faces more hurdles at Oyu Tolgoi, Mongolia shareholder says
ULAN BATOR, July 17 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto faces lingering disputes with the Mongolian government over its Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, said a director of the state company that owns a third of the mine, highlighting risks confronting the massive project.
According to Tserenbat Sedvanchig, executive director of Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi, the government still has 22 points of dispute with Rio Tinto, operator of the project which is expected to boost the country's economy by 35 percent by 2020.
Grievances include "four issues related to violations of Mongolia legislation and the investment agreement," he said, adding that capital expenditure was the biggest issue.
"If we don't make clear what was the amount of initial investment, resolution of some of the other 21 issues will be hindered," Sedvanchig told Mongolian online news service News.mn in an interview released on Tuesday.
Rio Tinto, whose Turquoise Hill Resources subsidiary owns 66 percent of Oyu Tolgoi, declined to comment on his remarks.
Oyu Tolgoi, one of the world's five biggest copper mines, began exporting copper to China on July 9 after two delays in June. It won the all-clear to export after Rio Tinto agreed to notify Mongolian authorities of all foreign and local bank accounts that it would be using to deposit Oyu Tolgoi revenue.
"Any action aimed to tax evasion will be strictly prosecuted under our law and Rio Tinto and the company management team probably understand this well. We requested Oyu Tolgoi to register all its domestic and foreign accounts with relevant state agencies," Sedvanchig said.
He said exports were pushed forward despite the unresolved disputes because the project needed the cashflow and stockpiles were getting full.
"All parties agreed that exports should commence immediately to let Oyu Tolgoi have a source of income," he said.
Mongolia will receive at least $100 million in royalties from Oyu Tolgoi this year, he said.
The Mongolian government has said the $6.5 billion project is at least $2 billion over budget. Other issues that remain to be resolved include the government's demand for equal pay for Mongolian and foreign workers, concern about high management fees and fair representation of Mongolians in management.
The company has blamed delays in attaining permits, industry-wide cost increases over the three years of development and inflation in Mongolia for the cost overruns above its early estimates.
Two auditing teams are investigating costs incurred during phase one development of the project, one appointed by the Oyu Tolgoi board and the other by Mongolia's parliament.
"The (Oyu Tolgoi-appointed) working group worked for three months. Some initial conclusions are already emerging. Soon they will be finalized. After that, the parties will discuss them," Sedvanchig said.
The government and Rio Tinto will need to resolve the dispute over the costs of the first phase of the project before agreeing on funding for the second phase, an underground development expected to cost more than $5 billion.
Turquoise Hill Resources Announces Second Quarter 2013 Production
Kay Priestly, Turquoise Hill Chief Executive Officer, said, "Oyu Tolgoi recently commenced concentrate shipments, which was a significant milestone. Over the past three weeks, the concentrator has averaged more than 70,000 tonnes of ore processed per day and is continuing to improve."
Oyu Tolgoi will progressively ramp up during the second half of 2013 and expects to produce between 75,000 and 85,000 tonnes of copper in concentrates for the year.
Turquoise Hill will continue to report production data on a quarterly basis. Production reports will be issued in the middle of the month following quarter end.
Turquoise Hill Production Data
All data represents full production and sales on a 100% basis
Ore Treated ('000 tonnes)
Average mill head grades:
Copper concentrates produced ('000 tonnes)
Average concentrate grade (% Cu)
Production of metals in concentrates:
Copper in concentrates ('000 tonnes)
Gold in concentrates ('000 ounces)
Silver in concentrates ('000 ounces)
Sales of metals in concentrates:
Copper in concentrates ('000 tonnes)
Gold in concentrates ('000 ounces)
Silver in concentrates ('000 ounces)
Second quarter 2013 operations review – Rio Tinto, July 16
Mogi: another clueless post by Emmett
Rio Tinto's Mongolian Saga Brightens: Outlook Going Forward
By Emmett Kodesh
July 11 (Seeking Alpha) On Tuesday morning July 9, the first shipment of copper concentrates from the rich site at in southern Mongolia left for China fifty miles to the south. It was an exciting day and perhaps an inflection point for Turquoise Hill Resources () which owns OT 66-34% with the GOM (Government of Mongolia). One must mention politics and the government up front in discussing these matters for resource nationalism (Mogi: not resource nationalism) has been a large part of OT's development for years. Mining giant Rio Tinto () bought a in OT from Robert Friedland and Ivanhoe Mines in January 2012, in July 2012 and . RIO controls OT through its 51% share in TRQ.
is expected to produce 330k tons of Cu (copper) / year and 495k oz. gold. When Phase I development is complete it will become one of the world's top-five copper sites, vying with the Escondida mine in Chile and Freeport McMoRan's () Grasberg District in Indonesia.
A recent instance of the project's sensitivity to Mongolian politics was the June 20 request from the government of President Elbegdorj Tsakhia (Mogi: The President does not run the government) that while the Presidential campaign entered its last week. There also had been demands that RIO deposit funds from exports inside Mongolia. RIO has rejected the latter demand but agreed to delay shipping the concentrate. An understanding may have been reached with the President about exports (Mogi: not the president, but with the government) and freedom in depositing proceeds if he was returned to office (Mogi: No, Rio conceded to depositing revenues in Mongolia). On June 26 of the vote in a three-way election and has begun his second term. His Democratic Party also controls the legislature and the Prime Minister is a member (Mogi: also the head of DP). This should facilitate clarity in policies including those on foreign investment and exports.
Events at the end of 2012 and early 2013 indicate how things have gone previously for RIO and TRQ regarding OT. Last December 27, at a joint government - Company press conference, officials from the Mongolian Mineral Resources Authority and the President lauded RIO and TRQ's commitment to creating value for Mongolia and maintaining the traditions and land. Five weeks later, January 31, TRQ produced the first ore concentrate at OT. Within a week, President Tsakhia was in the news (Mogi: no he was not, he was demanding Mongolia take control of its stake in OT seriously), expedited development and Mongolians on the board of RIO. Everything slowed down and TRQ sagged from a high above $10/share early in January. At the end of February, Mongolia of Entrée Gold (), a Canadian junior that has the rights to explore and develop the Hugo North mineral vein at OT. EGI said negotiations were proceeding and hopes to be producing gold from its property by 2019. Streaming company Sandstorm Gold (), RIO and TRQ own 12%, 11% and 9% of EGI respectively. also has copper and molybdenum properties in Nevada. Its Chairman of the Board is , former head of Britain's Conservative Party. At .38/share it, like TRQ and RIO is near the bottom of its 52-week trading range.
While the shipping of copper concentrate boosts prospects for TRQ and which wishes to diversify away from , there is no simple relation between share price and operational progress. TRQ rose the week of July 1 from about $5.20 to $6/share after Elbegdorj was reelected and the shipment approached and then occurred. A day later, July 10 TRQ sold down 3.52% to close at $5.75. Initial excitement may already have subsided ("buy the story, sell the news") and experienced observers know that the possibility of 11th and 12th hour surprises from the GOM can occur. It will take a couple of years of steady operation and political stability until potential and current TRQ investors can stop looking over their shoulders, waiting for the other shoe to drop and selling while still in profit. TRQ investors must assess their personal situation and see how much volatility they can tolerate and the level at which they would withdraw. Buy TRQ at the next downdraft but be mindful that global growth is slowing and the monetary system is loaded with snags.
RIO's prospects with OT exporting certainly improve. If operation and development at OT continue, and and loans will help, its output now is diversified. will grow to $9 billion/year, from a fourth to more than a third its $24.5 billion iron revenues, and it is becoming a significant producer of gold. Remember, in FCX's enormous copper and gold mines at Grasberg. But in judging RIO's outlook one must consider two different scenarios for global economies in the next few years.
The sunny scenario requires that the major economies formulate a coherent reserve system and fiscal policies not based on debt creation, currency wars and leveraged derivatives. They will need to reduce taxes and the power of governments to stifle and distort business and markets via regulation. They would need to strike a balance between development and environmentalism based on science not hysteria or selective political agendas that target certain Western corporations while leaving Asian nations and companies to pollute at unprecedented and unmanaged levels. Discouragement of procreation will need to relax even to mitigate much less avoid demographic collapse that by itself is taking down economies and nations in tandem with unsustainable credit expansion.
If changes in these areas begin, organic demographic-economic development and growth based on coherent fiscal policies will encourage and reward the productive capacity of producers and suppliers of basic goods like the major mixed commodity miners, RIO, BHP Billiton (), FCX and Vale (). Energy companies like Exxon (), Chevron () and Shell () also will thrive. So will Halliburton (), Caterpillar () and Nucor () as will other companies in mixed industrials, basic materials and commodities. Except for the oil and gas giants, most have had great pain the past two years with the mixed commodity miners suffering most. VALE has been worst of all (-30% YTD) as it steadily has lost market share for six years to BHP and RIO as the latter two companies increased production even in the face of falling prices. If aspects of the "sunny scenario" occur, the long-lagging miners will thrive.
However, it would require a revolution in cultural dynamics and perhaps in human nature for the gigantic financial-diplomatic-social managing systems that modern states have become to diminish themselves. Tradition says that the Creator did this to enable creation, in all its myriad and marvelous particulars to proceed. But we are considering the State, what Nietzsche termed, "." The interlocked major economies do not so much cooperate to maximize the world's miraculous wealth and productive promise as they facilitate and manage crises. One could write a trilogy on this process covering just the past century. They prefer to expand their power.
Thus, though one hopes for sun, the darker scenario is more likely. Currency wars and debt creation continue to cripple organic economic recovery and bring volatility to all asset classes. Demographic collapse engulfs Japan, disorders and hamstrings Europe and America as increasing immigration, legal and illegal creates or exacerbates socio-economic problems. Real net worth, income and spending slow and shrinking demand initiates deflationary pressures. Basic material producers like the miners create more but make less: eventually they produce less, too.
However, in the darker and at this juncture more plausible path, it is precisely the major producers and suppliers who will survive, albeit at impaired capacity. In this and others who believe the secular bull in commodities has years left to run although I believe it may be at lower levels than in its first decade. Companies that survive this era of constraints will be diversified major players. Indeed, a process of consolidation and acquisition could occur. This would accord with 130-year trends in industries as diverse as oil, gas, railroads and media.
RIO is a deep-pockets company with a whose expertise and collegial affiliations will navigate and help shape the coming decades, a world whose fiscal, monetary and social regimen will be quite different than today's. The same is true of BHP, British Petroleum () and other major producers like those noted above. The mixed commodity miners have been hammered for years, they pay good dividends, are diversified in materials and geography and the best of them, RIO, BHP and FCX are strong value and contrarian buys in my view. Because of their depressed values, essential products and enormous upside they almost are as strong in defensive positioning as Consumer Staples () or investment companies tied to food and energy like Sprott Resources () profiled . The only more secure sectors to my eyes are Health Care () and, for wealth preservation, short term corporate bonds (). Health Care, however is at the top of its range and while it will do well in either the sunny or shadowed paths the value buys are in the better mixed commodity miners including precious metal miners like Goldcorp (). In the mid-tier space, consider First Majestic Silver () whose output in silver, gold, lead and zinc and , has little debt and keeps a careful rein on costs, and Eldorado Gold (), a low debt, dividend paying mid-tier with fine properties. I discussed them and .
While or FCX which, with its recent acquisitions is now a balanced mixed mining and energy behemoth with , I believe RIO too is a sound investment now and going forward. It closed July 10 at $40.54 and has a 12-month consensus target of $70 (75% above its current price) with a preponderance of . For those with patience and aware of its history of political surprises it is good to enter TRQ at about $5.50.share. But note that the rest of this year and probably 2014 will be stormy as monetary and debt issues shake bond and housing sectors and thus markets and entire economies.
Prophecy Extends Loan Agreement With Waterton Global Value, L.P.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - July 15, 2013) - Prophecy Coal Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY)(OTCQX:PRPCF)(FRANKFURT:1P2) announces that it has entered a letter agreement dated July 15, 2013 with Waterton Global Value, L.P. ("Waterton") (the "Amendment"), pursuant to which the parties have amended the Senior Secured Credit Agreement originally entered into on July 16, 2012 as amended on February 1, 2013 by a Waiver Agreement (such credit agreement as amended by the waiver agreement and the Amendment, the "Amended Loan Agreement").
Prophecy has agreed to a partial pay down of the principal loan amount from $10m to $6.5m (the "Loan") from restricted cash-on-hand amounting to $3.5m and extending the maturity date from July 16, 2013 to October 31, 2013. The Amended Loan Agreement facility is a non-revolving facility, and any repayment under the facility is not available for re-borrowing.
As consideration for entering into the Amendment, Prophecy shall pay Waterton, in cash, a non-refundable restructuring fee (the "Restructuring Fee") in four (4) equal, consecutive, monthly instalment payments (each, a "Restructuring Instalment"). Each Restructuring Instalment shall be in an amount equal to two percent (2%) of the outstanding principal of the Loan as of the date of the execution of the Amendment. The Restructuring Instalments shall be due and payable on the following dates: the date of the execution of the Amendment; August 29, 2013; September 27, 2013; and October 31, 2013. No Restructuring Instalment(s) will be due or payable following repayment, in full, by Prophecy to Waterton, of all amounts owing under the Amended Loan Agreement. For example, if Prophecy repays all amounts owing under the Amended Loan Agreement in full on September 15, 2013, then Prophecy will not have to pay Waterton the Restructuring Instalments due and payable on September 27, 2013 or October 31, 2013.
As additional consideration, the Amendment also provides that each prepayment and repayment in full or in part of the principal amount outstanding under the Amended Loan Agreement must be increased as follows:
i. if such payment is of the entire outstanding principal amount of the Loan, Prophecy shall pay to Waterton an amount in cash equal to the quotient of the entire amount outstanding under the Loan and the applicable Discount Metric (as set out below); and
ii. if such payment is a partial payment of the outstanding amount of the Loan, Prophecy shall pay Waterton an amount in cash equal to the quotient of the partial payment amount and the applicable Discount Metric;
iii. where "Discount Metric" means (i) 1.00 from the date of the Amendment up to and including August 16, 2013; (ii) 0.98 from August 17, 2013 up to and including August 31, 2013; (iii) 0.96 for the calendar month of September, 2013; and (iv) 0.94 for the calendar month of October, 2013.
Prophecy shall also bear all costs and expenses reasonably incurred by Waterton in connection with the preparation, negotiation and execution of the Amendment.
SouthGobi Resources Announces the Appointment of Enkh-Amgalan Sengee as President and Executive Director of SouthGobi Sands LLC
HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - July 16, 2013) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HKSE:1878) ("SouthGobi" or "Company") today announced the appointment of Enkh-Amgalan Sengee as new President and Executive Director of SouthGobi Sands LLC ("SGS"), the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, effective July 15, 2013.
Mr. Enkh-Amgalan joins SGS from Clean Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Newcom Group, where he was CEO and led the successful development of the first commercial scale wind farm in Mongolia. Prior to this, he gained extensive experience in the extractive industry through a number of senior management positions at the MCS Group of companies. Most recently this included Chief Executive Officer of Nordstar Resources LLC and MCS Petro Mongolia LLC. Before this, he was Vice President, Corporate Development at Mongolian Mining Corporation.
Mr. Ross Tromans, President and CEO of SouthGobi said: "I am extremely pleased to welcome Enkh-Amgalan as SGS's new President and Executive Director and a member of the senior executive team. Enkh-Amgalan is not only a seasoned executive with extensive management skills but he also brings with him in-depth knowledge of the Mongolian mining and energy industries. All of us at SouthGobi look forward to working with and benefiting from Enkh-Amgalan's strong leadership and experience as we focus on strengthening the Company's core business performance and realizing its production potential."
Mr. Enkh-Amgalan said: "I am excited to be joining SGS at this important time for the business. The coal industry in Mongolia has experienced a difficult market environment and there have been leadership changes within the Company as it refocuses its business. I look forward to being a member of this team and contributing to improve its overall performance."
Mr. Enkh-Amgalan has a Master's degree in International Economics from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a graduate school of Middlebury College in the United States, and holds a BA in International Affairs from the National University of Mongolia.
Mongolia awards coal mining licence to Modun Resources
JOHANNESBURG, July 11 (miningweekly.com) – The Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia (MRAM) has approved Australia-listed coal explorer Modun Resources' (ASX:MOU) application for a mining licence for the Nuurst thermal coal project, 120 km south of Ulaanbaatar.
The mining licence had been granted over an area of 2 497 ha, covering the planned openpit mine, an area for surface infrastructure and the resource area, which remains open to the north of the planned mine.
"This is a significant achievement and critical milestone for Modun, as we move towards first production of coal," MD Rick Dalton said in a statement.
He stated that the Nuurst project met all the key criteria - technical, economic and environmental sustainability - as set out by the MRAM.
"The approval of the mining licence provides us with greater certainty over the timeframe to progress with the development of a mine. This enables us to further advance discussions with potential customers and to aggressively pursue other commercial opportunities we have been exploring. This includes the negotiations for the off-take agreement as a preferred supplier of briquettes to the Mongolian government as part of their clean air initiative," Dalton added.
Modun would start the feasibility work for the Nuurst project, which would expand on the initial mining study and would seek to confirm the overall infrastructure and mine costs and the final mine plan to maximise the economic benefits from the mine.
The feasibility work was also an important step in obtaining the financing required for the mine development.
The initial mining study identified the potential for an 84.7-million-ton sub-bituminous thermal coal mine with a 30-year mining life, with production ramping up to tree-million tons a year by the fourth year of operation.
Market opportunity contributed to Modun's interest in Mongolia, as demand for energy there and in Northern China continued to grow rapidly. Chinese thermal coal imports for the first quarter of 2013 increased by 33% to 53-million tons, up from the first quarter of 2012.
MEC: UPDATE ON THE CONTRACTUAL DISPUTE WITH LEIGHTON
The Court ruled in favour of the Company in the Summary Application made by Leighton at the hearing held on 10 July 2013.
July 11 -- Reference is made to the announcement of Mongolia Energy Corporation Limited (the "Company," HKEx:276) dated 31 May 2013 (the "Announcement") in relation to MoEnCo LLC's ("MoEnCo") contractual dispute with Leighton LLC ("Leighton"). Unless otherwise defined, terms used in this announcement shall have the same meanings as defined in the Announcement.
Under the Summary Application made by Leighton, it asked the High Court of Hong Kong (the "Court") to determine:
1.1 whether the Company Guarantee given by the Company in favour of Leighton pursuant to the Mining Agreement entered into between MoEnCo and Leighton is a performance bond (in the nature of a contract of indemnity under which the obligation to make payment by the Company is autonomous and has been triggered by Leighton's demand), or
1.2 whether it is a guarantee in the true sense (so the Company, as surety, may rely upon the defences which may be available to the 'Principal', namely MoEnCo); and
1.3 final judgment be entered for Leighton against the Company for the amount of MNT12,162,710,117(Mongolian Tugrik) (approximately HK$65,037,587) with damages and interest to be assessed.
After hearing from the legal representatives of both sides at the hearing held on 10 July 2013, the Court ruled in the Company's favour that the Company Guarantee given by us to Leighton is a guarantee in the true sense with liability of the costs of the Summary Application to be decided. As such, final judgment in 1.3 above is required to be determined in full trial.
Accordingly, the Company will then file its defences for the 1st Writ and the second writ with the Court within the prescribed period or such period to be ordered by the Court.
The Company will keep the shareholders of the Company and public investors informed of any further material developments in connection with the above actions as and when appropriate.
Shareholders of the Company and potential investors are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the shares of the Company.
Anglo American shows interest in Mongolian copper and coal deposits
July 14 (UB Post) It's already been six months since one of the biggest mining companies in the world, Anglo American PLC, opened an office in Mongolia. On July 4, the company presented ways to efficiently implement social responsibility in mining to other companies in the sector. It was the first time that Anglo American PLC had spoken publicly and it announced that it will be studying opportunities to make investments and it also showed interest in mostly copper and coal deposits in Mongolia.
President and Chief Representative for the Anglo American office in Mongolia, Graeme Hancock, expressed that the company hopes to be a good partner to Mongolia and looks forward to cooperating with various social groups and province administrators, as well as non-governmental organizations.
In late 2012, the representative office in Mongolia reported that it had formed a team to conduct first stage research projects. According to the responsibility indices of Bloomberg and Dow Jones, Anglo American PLC is known for its socially responsible mining operations. It has operations in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.
The company invested 154 million USD in investment projects and 96.7 million of which was provided to Africa. Out of 96.7 million USD, 66.2 million was invested to social development projects while the remaining 32.9 million was invested in education and training projects.
Anglo American PLC's capital flow for business support reached 130 million USD in 2012 and it pledged to operate under socially responsible standards in Mongolia. Graeme Hancock stated, "We have created 6,500 work positions apart from mining. As we are not able to create many job opportunities in mines in the operating area, we try to support entrepreneurs in the area. Likewise, we are planning to implement the social responsibility of Anglo American company in Mongolia, ensure sustainable development of the long-term, and create vacancies in order to operate under a win-win situation."
Asia Coal Annual Report 2012/2013
July 16, Asia Coal Limited (HKEx:835) --
During the year, the Group continued to engage in coal mining business and distribution of beauty products and services.
In the coal mining segment, the Group continued to hold the mining rights to the Saikhan Ovoo coal deposit in the Bulgan province of Mongolia. The JORC compliant resources report prepared by independent technical advisers shows estimated resources for the Saikhan Ovoo coal deposit in excess of 190 million tonnes. The coal resources estimated (on air dry basis) based on the analytical work on 165 coal samples taken from 27 boreholes with a total of 5,222 metres drilled are as follows:
Owing to the tight cashflow and the cost-saving measures of the Group, minimal exploration work has been carried out on the mine during the year.
Mining Prohibition Law
On 16th July 2009, the Parliament of Mongolia enacted the Law of Mongolia on the Prohibition of Minerals Exploration and Mining in Headwater Areas, Protected Zones for Water Reserves and Forest Lands (the "MPL") which prohibits minerals exploration and mining in areas such as headwaters of rivers and lakes, forest areas and areas adjacent to rivers and lakes.
During the year, legal counsel of the Mongolian subsidiary has confirmed two mining rights of the Group are within the area designated, on a preliminary basis, as land where mineral exploration and mining are prohibited under the MPL, However, there has been no revocation of these licenses as at the date of approval of these consolidated financial statements. The management also considers that even if the licenses were revoked due to the MPL, the Mongolian government would pay a reasonable compensation to the Group. Hence, the management concluded that there is no impairment on the mining rights in this regard.
Manas Retains Investor Relations Consultant And Announces Resignation Of Murray Rogers
BAAR, SWITZERLAND (eTeligis via ACCESSWIRE) 7/11/2013 -- Manas Petroleum Corp. ("Manas"or the "Company") (TSXV: MNP) (OTCQB: MNAP) is pleased to announce that effective June 18, 2013, it has retained Undiscovered Equities Inc. to provide investor relations and corporate communications services. Furthermore, Manas announces that it has received and accepted the resignation of Mr. Murray Rodgers as a director of the Company effective July 2, 2013. On behalf of the Company and its board of directors, Chairman Heinz J. Scholz has expressed the Company's gratitude to Mr. Rodgers and wishes him well in his future endeavors.
Undiscovered Equities Inc. is a Florida based consulting firm managed by Kevin McKnight, an investor relations professional with over 10 years of experience providing investor relations services for public companies. Pursuant to the agreement, Undiscovered Equities has agreed to assist the Company at trade shows, liaise with the investment community and assist with the organization and presentation of roadshows. Manas has agreed to pay to Undiscovered Equities Inc. a monthly retainer of US$7,500 plus approved expenses and, effective June 26, 2013, it has granted to Undiscovered Equities Inc. options to purchase an aggregate of 750,000 common shares. Of the total, 250,000 of these options may be exercised at a price of US$0.15, 250,000 options may be exercised at an exercise price of US$0.30 and 250,000 options may be exercised at an exercise price of US$0.45. These options vest over 12 months in quarterly installments following the effective date of the option agreement. All of these options will have a term of five years from the date of grant.
The options granted to Undiscovered Equities Inc. and the shares that may be issued upon exercise are "restricted securities"; none of them have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Act"), and none of them may be offered or sold absent registration or an applicable exemption from registration under the Act.
NatSec Daily MSE Update: Top 20 +1.54%, Turnover ₮27.2 Million
July 17 (National Securities) The MSE TOP-20 Index rose 1.54%. to 14,744.21. 75,953 shares in 27 JSC's were traded worth 27.2 million MNT. 12 share prices increased, 8 share prices decreased and 7 were stable.
Top gainer was Niislel Urguu (NUR), a B-board contruction firm, which was limit up +15% to 7,475 MNT. Bishrelt Industrial (HHC) soared +14.98% to 3,300 MNT. The biggest loser was Shivee )voo (HSX), a coal miner, which was -4.06% to 7,675 MNT. Hermes Centre (HRM), dropped -11.59% to 29,000 MNT. The most actively share was Khukh Gan (HGN), an iron maker and foreign merchandiser which traded 51,066 shares that had a worth of 7.1 million MNT. The price dropped -2.77% to 139.04 MNT.
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Mongolia's inflation rates declines by 0.3 percentage to 8.8% in June
July 16 (UB Post) As of June 2013, Mongolia's inflation rate reached 8.8 percent, which shows a 0.3 percent decline from May. Food products, drinks and water product prices declined by 0.9 percent; apartment, water, power and fuel prices dropped by 0.7 percent; and transportation costs decreased by 0.9 percent, which mainly influenced the decline in inflation according to the National Statistical Office (NSO).
Mongolia's gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 26.4 percent from the same period last year. Also, the nation's monetary supply rose by 1.2 percent, or 96.2 billion MNT, in June compared to the previous month. In comparison with last year, the monetary supply rose by 952.8 billion MNT or 13.5 percent as reported by the NSO.
But Mongolia's budgetary balance has a 133 billion MNT loss as of first half of 2013 according to NSO. In detail, Mongolia's Budgetary Balanced Income and financial aid totals 2.5 trillion MNT, but expense and repayment loans total 2.6 trillion MNT.
Current budgetary expenses are 2.3 trillion MNT, and thus, the current balance earned 150.7 billion MNT in profit.
Mongolia traded goods with 120 countries, total foreign trade commodity turnover reached five billion USD, two billion of which is earned by export while three billion is of import.
Mongolia's trade balance to show profit in 2014
July 16 (UB Post) The Mongolian Parliament estimated that Mongolia's foreign trade balance will be positive in 2014, for the first time in five years. Oyu Tolgoi's extraction is expected to play the main role in positivity.
In detail, the foreign trade commodity turnover of Mongolia is estimated to be 16.7 billion USD in 2014, and 8.4 million USD of it will be of export, while the remaining 8.3 million USD will be of import according to Ministry of Economic Development's estimate.
Thus, Mongolia's foreign trade balance (FTB) will be positive and will reach 32.6 million USD. Export will rise by 31.9 percent while import will rise by 14.1 percent in 2014.
The nation's FTB is equal to 0.2 percent of Mongolia's gross domestic product, but it is estimated to be equal to 6.6 to 6.2 percent in 2015 and 2016.
Mongolia's balance of payment, directly dependent on foreign trade, is estimated to rise in 2014 and to reach five billion USD according to the Ministry of Economic Development.
Mongolia's GDP per capita may grow 18.1% YoY to 7 million MNT in 2014
July 14 (UB Post) Analysts believe that the nation's economic growth will remain high in 2014. According to projections, the GDP will grow by 14.7 percent in 2014, while it will be 11.8 percent in 2015 and 14.6 percent in 2016. Thus, in 2014 the GDP per capita may rise to 7 million MNT (5,300 USD) with 18.1 percent growth from the previous year.
Though the increase cannot surpass the 20.9 percent growth of 2013, Mongolia will be listed as a country with average income regarding GDP.
In 2014, practical sectors of the economy will see growth. Agriculture will have growth of 3.9 percent, manufacturing 24.8 percent, and the service sector will grow by 11.8 percent according to one projection, while the mining sector will enjoy 31.7 percent growth and other non-mining sectors will have 10.4 percent growth in 2014. Specifically, between 2014 and 2016, Oyu Tolgoi's manufacturing will increase by two to three times compared to 2013. Also, extraction at both the East and West Tsanhi of Tavan Tolgoi will be intensified.
What's more, the Fourth Thermal Power Plant and Khutul Cement Plant will both be expanded in 2014. As for the manufacturing sector, the Sainshand Industry Complex, as well as a powdered milk factory, will be developed.
Social and economic situation of Mongolia (As of the first half of 2013)
July 10 (NSO) --
I. Social indicators
In the first half of 2013, 38729 mothers delivered 6572 children (live births) increased by 2784 mothers or 7.7 percent, and 507 children or 8.4 percent, compared to same period of the previous year.
In the first half of 2013, at national level infant mortality decreased by 13 or 2.2 percent to 577, and child mortality aged 1-5 increased by 12 or 9.9 percent to 133. The number of unemployed reached 41.7 thousand at the end of June 2013, reflecting an decrease of 5.7 thous.persons or 12.0 percent compared to same period of the previous year.
In the first half of 2013, 641.3 thous.persons were registered as insurer, of which 423.4 thousand or 66.0 percent were those from the establishments, and 217.9 thousand or 34.0 percent from the government budgetary organization. Compared to same period of the previous year, the number of insurers increased by 55.6 thousand or 9.5 percent, of which the increased by 41.3 thousand or 10.8 percent from establishments, and increased by 14.3 thousand or 7.0 percent from government budgetary organization...
In the first half of 2013, social welfare pensions and benefits allocated to 63.7 thous.persons, 9.8 persons or 18.2 percent, total amount of the allocated fund increased by 12.8 bln.tog or 50.3 percent compared to same period of the previous year.
In the first half of 2013, a total of 111.2 bln.tog distributed for 919.8 thousand children ages below 18 by the Human Development Fund for children. A total 113.7 thousand people 15.2 bln.tog cash allowance of the Human Development Fund.
A total 4.6 bln.tog allocated to 4.9 thousand elderly and disabled for purpose of one mln.tog cash allowance of the Human Development Fund.
In the first half of 2013, the number of infectious disease cases was 21756 persons, decrease by 2449 cases or 10.1 percent compared to same period of the previous year. The decrease in the number of infectious disease cases was mainly due to the increases of 1656 persons or 2.0 times in varicella, 828 persons or 35.7 percent in syphilis although there were decreases of 2366 persons or 59.8 percent in viral hepatitis, 2124 persons or 31.3 percent in mumps, 188 persons or 8.7 percent in trichomoniasis.
At national level, 12793 crimes were registered in the first half of 2013, reflecting an increase of 1595 crimes or 14.2 percent compared to same period of the previous year. The increase in the number of crimes was mainly due to the increases in crime against the right of ownership (1146), crime against human life and health (or physical well-being) (499) compared to same period of the previous year.
In the first half of 2013, occurred crimes caused 4456 injuries and 495 deaths. The number of injuries up by 196 persons or 4.6 percent and the number of deaths down by 8 persons or 1.6 percent compared to same period of the previous year.
II. Macroeconomic indicators
In 2012, GDP by production approach reached 14012.9 bln.tog at current prices and 5498.5 bln.tog at 2005 constant prices, representing increases of 2925.2 bln.tog or 26.4 percent at current prices and of 606.6 bln.tog or 12.4 percent at constant prices compared to the previous year.
In 2012, GDP by expenditure approach reached 14588.0 bln.tog at current prices and 5529.3 bln.tog at 2005 constant prices, representing increases of 3419.8 bln.tog or 30.6 percent at current prices and of 618.8 bln.tog or 12.6 percent at constant prices compared to the previous year.
The national consumer price index in June 2013, decreased by 0.3 percent compared to the previous month, increased by 4.7 percent compared to the beginning of the year, and 8.8 percent compared to same period of the previous year. The decrease in national index compared to the previous month was mainly due to 0.9 percent decrease in food and non-alcoholic beverages and 0.7 percent in housing, water, electricity and fuels and 0.9 percent in transport.
According to the report of the Bank of Mongolia, money supply (broad money or M2) at the end of June 2013, reached to 8004.0 bln.tog, increased by of 96.2 bln.tog or 1.2 percent compared to the previous month, and increased by 952.8 bln.tog or 13.5 percent compared to same period of the previous year.
At the end of June 2013, currency issued in circulation reached 835.8 bln.tog, increased by 4.8 bln.tog or 0.6 percent compared to the previous month, and decreased by 55.7 bln.tog or 6.2 percent compared to same period of the previous year.
Loans outstanding at the end of June 2013, amounted to 8607.7 bln.tog, up by 381.3 bln.tog or 4.6 percent compared to the previous month, and up by 2289.5 bln.tog or 36.2 percent compared to same period of the previous year.
Principals in arrears at the end of June 2013 reached 149.7 bln.tog, increased by 3.3 bln.tog or 2.3 percent compared to the previous month, increased by 97.9 bln.tog or 2.9 times compared to same period of the previous year.
At the end of June 2013, the non-performing loans over the bank system reached 316.6 bln.tog, showing decrease of 1.4 bln.tog or 0.4 percent compared to the previous month, increased by 8.8 bln.tog or 2.8 percent compared to same period of the previous year.
In Securities trading of the first 6 тonths of 2013, the 22.0 mln.shares valued at 12.3 bln.tog were traded. The Securities trading was decreased by 48.6 bln.tog or 79.8 percent and shares decreased by 86.2 mln or 79.7 percent compared to same period of the previous year.
In the first of half 2013, total equilibrated revenue and grants of the General Government Budget amounted to 2504.9 bln.tog and total expenditure and net lending amounted to 2637.9 bln.tog, representing deficit of 133.0 bln.tog in the equilibrated balance of General Government Budget.
Current revenue of the General Government Budget amounted to 2504.5 bln.tog and current expenditure reached 2353.8 bln.tog. Thus, the budget equilibrated current balance was in surplus of 150.7 bln.tog.
Compared to same period of the previous year, tax revenue increased by 66.2 bln.tog or 3.1 percent. The increase was mainly due to the increases of 115.0 bln.tog or 15.6 percent in taxes on goods and services, 87.5 bln.tog or 21.9 percent in income tax, 71.8 bln.tog or 22.9 percent in social security contribution, although there was decreases of 209.9 bln.tog or 43.4 percent in other taxes.
Compared to same period of the previous year, non-tax revenue increased by 90.5 bln.tog or 37.4 percent. The increase was mainly due to the increases of 53.0 bln.tog or 2.8 times in revenues from interest, 31.4 bln.tog or 2.0 times in revenues from oil petroleum, 25.5 bln.tog or 24.4 percent in revenues from budget entities, 4.7 bln.tog or 24.5 percent in navigation fee although there was decreases of 19.9 bln.tog or 82.2 percent in revenues from dividends, 4.6 bln.tog or 14.2 percent in revenues from others.
In the first half of 2013, total expenditure and net lending of the General Government Budget decreased by 292.2 bln.tog or 10.0 percent to 2637.9 bln.tog compared to same period of the previous year. This was mainly due to increases of 347.4 bln.tog or 37.1 percent in in expenditure of goods and services, 37.0 bln.tog or 67.0 percent in interest payments although there was decreases of 353.6 bln.tog or 58.3 percent in capital expenditure, 313.0 bln.tog or 24.2 percent in subsidies and transfers, 10.0 bln.tog or 24.2 percent in lending minus repayments.
In the first half of 2013, Mongolia traded with 120 countries from all over the world and total external trade turnover reached 5094.5 mln.US dollars, of which exports made up 2023.7 mln.US dollars and imports made up 3070.7 mln.US dollars.
Foreign trade balance showed a deficit of 1.0 bln.US dollars in the first half of 2013, reflecting 13.1 mln.US dollars or 1.2 percent decrease compared to same period of the previous year.
Total external trade turnover decreased by 472.0 mln.US dollars or 8.5 percent, of which imports down by 242.5 mln.US dollars or 7.3 percent, and exports down by 229.4 mln.US dollars or 10.2 percent, compared to same period of the previous year.
Mineral products, natural or cultured stones, precious metal, jewelry, coins, raw & processed hides, skins, fur & articles, animal origin products, textile articles and auto & air transport vehicles & their spare parts thereof accounted for 97.4 percent of the total export value amount.
III. Economic sector indicators
In the first half of 2013, at national level natural losses of animals up by 638.4 thous.heads or 2.3 times to 362.8 thous.heads compared to same period of the previous year. Out of the losses of animals, 29.5 thousand were horses, 63.1 thousand were cows, 0.9 were camels, 278.0 thousand were sheeps and 267.0 thousand were goats.
In the first half of 2013, the total industrial output increased by 59.1 bln.tog or 5.7 percent to 1104.8 bln.tog (at 2005 constant prices) compared to same period of the previous year. The increase in the industrial output was mainly due to 12.8-76.1 percent, increases in mining and quarrying products such as copper, with concentrate, crude oil, gold and 2.1 percent to 6.5 times industrial main products of manufacturing sector such as soft drinks, beer, steel casting, kind of sausage, sawn wood, carpet, flour, wooden building door and windows, combed down, concrete mortar, green tea.
In the first half of 2013, 19.0 mln.t freight and 181.3 mln.passengers (double counting) were carried by way total transport.
Compared to same period of the previous year, the number of carried freight decreased by 1.4 mln.t or 6.9 percent. But and the number of carried passengers increased by 31.6 mln.persons or 21.1 percent.
In the first half of 2013, 10066.3 thous.t freight and 1886.9 thous.passengers (double counting) were carried by railway transport. Compared to same period of the previous year, the number of carried freight incresed by 174.1 thous.t or 1.8 percent and the number of carried passengers decreased by 72.9 thous.persons or 3.7 percent.
In the first half of 2013, 1916.9 t freight and 346.1 thous.passengers (double counting) were carried by air transport. Compared to same period of the previous year, the number of carried freight increased by 40.5 t or 2.2 percent, the number of carried passengers increased by 24.8 thous.persons or 7.7 percent.
According to the report of the Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, maximum precipitation was registered in Darkhan-Uul aimag (125.0 mm) of Darkhan soum in June 2013. Khanbogd soum of Umnugovi aimag had the highest air temperature (37.5°C), while Renchinlhymbe soum of Huvsgul aimag had the lowest air temperature (-6.4°C). Wind speed reached 28 m/sec in Altai soum of Govi-Altai aimag and Undurkhaan soum of Khentii aimag.
Daily average concentration of nitrogen dioxide exceeded 30 times around the 13th micro district of Ulaanbaatar city, 23 times around the West crossroad, 1 times around the 32nd Toirog, daily average concentration of sulphur dioxide exceeded 18 times around the West crossroad, 14 times around Kharkhorin market, 10 times around the 32nd Toirog and 6 times around the 13th micro district, particulate matter less than 10 micrograms exceeded 5 times around the 13th micro district, particulate matter less than 2.5 micrograms exceeded 2 times around the West crossroad from the maximum allowable concentration of air quality standard in June 2013.
In the first half of 2013, 2587 disasters and accidents occurred. As a result, 79 people died, 232.1 thous.livestock and animals had lost. By the types of disasters, 2282 fires of construction, 124 fires on forest, 44 cases of domestic animal madness, 29 times floods and river and lake accidents, 3.5 magnitude earthquake 27 times, 23 severe storm, 12 times floods and pour, 11 times chemical substance usage and emergency calls, 7 times artisanal mining and rock falls and malignant catarrhal fever and incendiary bullet respectively, 3 times thunder and break down severe storm, 2 times anthrax and industrial accident, 1 times glaze and maedi and visna and animal infections and food poisoning in the first half of 2013. In the first half of 2013, estimated damage caused by the disasters and accidents fires of construction amounted to 6.8 bln.tog, fires on forest amounted to 3.0 bln.tog, severe storm amounted to 609.5 тln.tog, cases of domestic animal madness amounted to 13.6 mln.tog, anthrax and malignant catarrhal fever and break down severe storm and industrial accident amounted to 8.6 mln.tog.
In the first half of 2013, fires of construction 38 people, floods and river and lake accidents 30 people, artisanal mining and rock falls artisanal mining and rock falls 6 people, fires on forest 2 people, floods and pour and severe storm and industrial accident 1 people died.
Compared to same period of previous year, disaster and accidents occurred up by 265. A loss and deaths of livestock and animals increased by 224.8 thous.heads in the first half of 2013 compared of the previous year.
Special report: In tax case, Mongolia is the mouse that roared
By Anthony Deutsch and Terrence Edwards
AMSTERDAM/ULAN BATOR | Tue Jul 16, 2013 (Reuters) - Turquoise Hill Netherlands is a little-known Amsterdam-based company with three employees, no office, and not even its own mailbox. To the government of Mongolia, though, the company represents billions in taxes that it will never see.
Turquoise Hill was created in 2009, five years after Mongolia and the Netherlands signed a tax treaty to avoid double taxation and boost investment in Mongolia. But in 2011, Mongolia decided to cancel the pact, arguing that it would cost the country income from one of the most lucrative gold and copper mines in the world.
The move was rare - tax experts say only a handful of such deals between countries have ever been cancelled - and it highlights a big contradiction.
The Netherlands, which has more than 90 such treaties globally, spent roughly 13 million euros ($17 million) on three aid programs to Mongolia in 2009 and 2010. Globally its aid budget is about $5.5 billion - the fifth most-generous rate among rich nations at 0.71 percent of Gross National Income, according to the OECD. At the same time, Europe's fifth largest economy hosts some 12,000 companies like Turquoise Hill through which multinationals channel about $10 trillion both in and out of the country largely to avoid taxes, according to a June report by Amsterdam University.
The Netherlands may help countries like Mongolia with aid, but it also undermines development in poor countries by making it easier for companies to cut taxes.
In the Mongolia case, a big beneficiary was Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto. Toronto-listed Turquoise Hill Resources, named after the giant Oyu Tolgoi open pit mine in the Gobi Desert, is 51 percent owned by Rio Tinto. Oyu Tolgoi means turquoise hill, and the Toronto company in turn owns 66 percent of the project, with the government holding the rest.
The mining unit has so far spent $6.49 billion on the mine, which Rio Tinto believes will become the third largest for copper in the world. That investment amounts to more than half the size of Mongolia's $10 billion a year economy.
Mongolia's decision to unilaterally end its tax deal with the Netherlands - it also broke off similar deals with Luxembourg, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates at the same time - was based on a reassessment of the fairness of the agreements. "We started to question why these countries would have greater advantages in Mongolia than us," said Vice Finance Minister Surenjav Purev.
Under normal circumstances, Mongolia would levy a 20 percent withholding tax on dividends paid by mine companies. But the dual taxation agreement allowed Dutch-registered firms to channel income from dividends, royalties and interest earned in Mongolia through their Dutch company, so pay no withholding tax. Other Dutch treaties with states that charge little or no tax, such as Bermuda, let companies move that money on from the Netherlands to tax havens.
Terminating the treaty means firms that use countries like the Netherlands to channel tax-free earnings from Mongolia could lose the tax benefits, or be forced to seek a different low-tax route.
However, a Rio Tinto spokesman told Reuters in an email that the cancellation of the Dutch treaty will not affect Oyu Tolgoi's use of its Dutch holding company, because the firm has a separate investment agreement with Mongolia which "stabilizes" treaties that were in force in 2009. Rio Tinto said it has and will continue to pay all taxes due under Mongolian law.
Mongolia's termination was noticed in tax circles at the time but not more widely, and comes as developing nations are increasingly concerned about the help that rich countries give big firms to avoid taxes. Last year, Argentina terminated treaties with Switzerland, Spain and Chile. Zambia's new government is also reviewing bilateral treaties.
The Dutch say they strive to be fair on tax. Their latest tax policy, outlined in 2011, calls for "a fair fiscal system" in developing countries. "Good taxation plays an important role in strengthening the legitimacy of the recipient government," it said. The Dutch Ministry for Foreign Development says its tax treaties help developing countries attract investment and "can lead to significant economic effects."
But for people like Dendevsambuu Onchinsuren, Country Managing Partner at accountants Deloitte-Onch LLC in Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator, the Dutch are part of the problem. "In general, if there are more companies working in Mongolia through the Netherlands, there is the risk of losing tax revenue," she told Reuters in the sail-shaped Blue Sky Tower in the city's financial district. "In terms of the amount of investment, it's significant to our economy."
As international pressure mounts for countries to stem tax avoidance, the Dutch are now considering whether their treaties do more harm than good. Dutch State Secretary of Finance Frans Weekers said he was already reviewing tax treaties with five developing countries to determine if they may be unfair, and will re-negotiate if they are. So far he is not looking at the Mongolia case, but Finance Ministry spokesman Remco Dolstra said that Weekers plans to visit soon and will discuss the matter.
Tax evasion was never the aim of the tax treaties, Dolstra said. "It was meant to bolster trade ties."
"The use of a Netherlands-based investor (Turquoise Hill) was entirely transparent at the time," Rio Tinto said in a statement. "It was done with full knowledge of the government of Mongolia."
SPECIAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
The Netherlands started cutting treaties on tax in the 1950s. The country which four centuries ago produced one of the first multinationals, the Dutch East India Company, would often include tax breaks that were attractive to international firms.
Dutch corporate income tax, at 25 percent, is relatively high. But exemptions and bilateral deals reduce it sharply. Today the Netherlands is a centre for "treaty shopping" - where multinationals pick and choose locations depending on the tax benefits, which can often reduce effective tax rates to below 10 percent.
Those deals have attracted thousands of firms, including 80 of the world's largest, to set up brass-plaque companies in the Netherlands, according to the report by Amsterdam University's Centre for Economic Research (SEO), which was commissioned by the business community to measure the sector.
Most have no material presence, factories, advisers, or employees. Some, such as Turquoise Hill Netherlands, don't even have their own brass plaque. Officially known as Special Financial Institutions (SFIs), they perform financial roles like holding assets for multinationals, channeling funds into foreign investments, or shifting profits to tax havens.
Rio Tinto has used the Dutch shell structure to channel investments into Mongolia: Turquoise Hill and a subsidiary, Oyu Tolgoi Netherlands B.V., are among financial holding companies it has used. Regulatory filings show that Oyu Tolgoi Netherlands has built up nearly $1.5 billion in financial assets since 2009, even though the first trucks laden with copper concentrate only left the mine earlier this month. Oyu Tolgoi has not been operating long enough to generate profit, so no dividends have been paid out yet on which it could save tax.
The use of the tax treaty with the Netherlands does not affect the taxes that Oyu Tolgoi pays to the Mongolian Government, a spokesperson for Turquoise Hill said. By the end of June 2013, Oyu Tolgoi had paid over US$1.1 billion in taxes, fees and other payments. "It created more jobs than any other company in Mongolia, and was the second highest taxpayer in the country in 2012," Rio Tinto says on its website. "The benefits for Mongolia will be even greater now that shipments have commenced as royalty payments and increased income from taxation flow to the government."
That said, "the cancellation by Mongolia of its tax treaty with the Netherlands will have no impact on any dividends paid by Oyu Tolgoi in the future," Rio Tinto said. The Mongolian government agreed with Rio Tinto in 2009 to "tax stabilisation measures that included the stabilisation of tax treaties then in force."
A handful of other Dutch-registered holding firms also hold hundreds of millions of dollars in assets associated with Mongolia.
$1 BILLION A YEAR
The registered address of Turquoise Hill Netherlands Cooperatief U.A. is in a concrete and glass-fronted tower on a busy traffic junction between a suburban rail station and a motorway entrance in Amsterdam. The building is also the official address for companies with names such as CM Balkans, CMI Africa Holdings and Tiger Global PIP Holding.
Like 75 percent of Dutch SFIs, Turquoise Hill's affairs are looked after by a trust company, Intertrust Group, which declined comment. Rio Tinto said Intertrust provides three contracted employees dedicated to Turquoise Hill, but when Reuters visited, Intertrust's receptionist knew nothing about them. No employees for the other companies could be located for comment.
The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), an Amsterdam-based group that campaigns against tax avoidance, found in another recent study that multinational corporations in 28 developing countries, from Brazil to Kazakhstan, used the Dutch tax system to save $1 billion a year on dividends and interest payments alone. That is money that would otherwise be paid to those countries in withholding tax, and is equivalent to around one-fifth of the Netherlands $5.5 billion budget for development aid this year.
"We provide aid to developing countries, but at the same time we make it impossible for them to generate their own income," says Jesse Klaver, a member of parliament for the Green Left party. "It's harmful and unacceptable for us to help multinationals make profits at the expense of developing countries."
For the Dutch, too, the benefits are ambiguous. The sums involved in its network of brass-plaque companies may sound enormous - money flows are more than 10 times annual Dutch GDP - but the country is little more than a means of transit for most of that. The 12,000 Special Financial Institutions contributed 3.4 billion euros to the Dutch economy, the SEO report said - that amounts to less than half a percent of Dutch GDP. They account for 13,000 full-time employees.
With the benefits flowing to just a select few, the sector is raising questions at home. "In the Netherlands, ordinary citizens pay an average of 39 percent in taxes," said MP Klaver. "It's a hard sell, during a time of belt tightening, to have workers or greengrocers pay such high taxes when a large corporation pays almost nothing."
The stakes are even bigger for impoverished Mongolia, a former Soviet state of 2.8 million people (Mogi: 2.9m now), 30 percent of whom lived below the poverty line in 2011, according to the Asian Development Bank.
Mongolia, whose tax revenues rose sharply between 2009 and 2011, has had little experience of corporate taxation since it opened up to the outside world in 1991. Its Vice Finance Minister Purev said that as much as 10 billion euros were invested in Mongolia from the Netherlands in 2010, which at the time was already equal to more than twice the country's GDP and an increase from 4 billion euros in 2004. That wasn't because the Dutch specialise in mining, Purev notes.
"We do understand that it is vital to have double tax treaties," he told Reuters through an interpreter in his spacious office overlooking Ulan Bator's government buildings. "We need ... double tax treaties that are for Mongolia."
The Mongolian finance ministry said it was impossible to say how much tax revenue it stood to lose because of the Dutch agreement. If Oyu Tolgoi had not used Netherlands as its tax base, it could have used another centre, and taxes vary.
Mongolia first contacted the Netherlands in March 2011 to request changes to the tax agreement. Three months later, it received a reply, said Purev: No.
Mongolia then sent five different proposals to amend the treaty. In December 2011, the Netherlands agreed on one change: to allow Mongolia to tax dividends at 5 percent. Mongolia said that was too little, too late. "It was at that point that we decided to cancel," said Purev. Parliament passed the legislation needed in September 2012 and it takes effect in January 2014.
Dolstra, the Dutch finance ministry spokesman, said the Netherlands would have preferred to amend the treaty and "regretted the decision."
In 2012, the International Monetary Fund said Mongolia should consider "selectively re-negotiating" more than 30 tax treaties which are potentially harmful to tax revenue. Terminating should be an ultimate remedy to force negotiations if agreements are potentially harmful, it said. It declined to say if the treaty with the Netherlands is unfair to Mongolia, but the OECD has in the past said the Dutch treaties with poor countries may deny them important tax revenue.
"The Dutch government's claim that treaties are beneficial for developing countries is simply not true," said researcher Katrin McGauran at the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations. "Dutch tax treaties have a seriously negative impact on poor countries' revenue and there is no evidence that these tax losses are compensated with an increase in investment as a result of having DTAs," or double tax agreements.
Roel van der Meij, a spokesman for the Dutch finance ministry, said the treaties improve developing countries' finances by reducing the risk the same income will be taxed twice, as well as boosting cooperation and legal certainty for investors. "Developing countries regularly request tax treaties," he said.
Mongolia is not so sure. It is also revisiting its arrangements with other countries. "We will be implementing for Mongolia a standard tax treaty form," said Purev. "We are issuing a new investment law for foreign investors for the coming period."
Once that is in place, tax treaties may follow if "we can come to an agreement to abolish any disadvantages."
Mongolia's massive mine will reach full production by 2021. To prepare for that, it wants to seal deals on tax which do not, in the words of opposition presidential candidate Natsag Udval, make its people "weak, pessimistic, not confident or self-reliant."
Mongolia's 'wolf economy' wary of 'resource curse'
July 14 (Korea Herald) The Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue tells plenty. The 131-foot stainless steel behemoth towers over the wind-swept Mongolian steppe 30 miles east of the capital city of Ulan Bator.
Built and paid for by a private tour company, the statue honors the founder of a great transcontinental empire. It also exemplifies the newfound pride Mongolians feel about recent democratic and capitalist reforms that have transformed their country.
The sparsely populated nation of 3.2 million (Mogi: 2.9 million) discovered in recent years it had a cornucopia of iron, coal, copper and silver, even ultra-rare ore like uranium and fluorite. The estimated value of it all runs into the trillions of dollars.
Instead of jubilation, Mongolia's recent windfall from mineral resources caused a lot of hand wringing among its political class and fierce debate in recent elections. After the so-called "resource curse" laid low energy-producing nations in the 1990s, Mongolians worry resource wealth could actually hinder economic growth, as well as exacerbate corruption and atrophy in other economic sectors.
"Of course we understand the risks," said Mongolian Ambassador to Korea Baasanjav Ganbold in an interview on July 1 at his office in Hannam-dong, Seoul.
Mongolia is working hard on the country's legal framework for investment in its strategic sectors including mining. (The legal framework) should be very finely tuned so that regulations do not to scare off foreign investors but, at the same time, also establish clear limits."
From jagged 14,000-foot mountain peaks in the west and north, slopping south and east into rolling steppe, the country is estimated to have about 130 billion tons of coal.
Mongolia is getting rich quick. It averaged annual economic growth of 4.5 percent since independence and democratic reforms in 1991 but, since 2004, that number surged to 9.4 percent.
Mongolia had the fastest-growing economy in the world in 2011 with a 17.5 percent growth rate. Though it tempered somewhat, the economy still grew 12.3 percent last year, the world's fourth-fastest rate. Good times have compelled some to dub Mongolia a "Wolf Economy," inspired by the Asian Tiger moniker of the 1980s.
The country had per capita income of more than $3,000 in 2012, a huge increase from just $450 in 2000.
Fast money means the country faces tough challenges in the form of corruption ― as part of the "curse" ― and the benefits of the boom economy not being shared evenly. Some 30 percent of the population still lives below the poverty level of $1.25 a day.
Transparency International ranked Mongolia 94th out of 176 countries surveyed in its 2012 Corruption Perception Index. Among the 28 nations in TI's Asia-Pacific grouping, Mongolia was 14th.
On June 26, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj eked out reelection with 50.23 percent of the vote, just barely preventing a runoff against rival candidate B. Bat-Erdene who garnered 41.97 percent.
The election was essentially a referendum on Elbegdorj's pro-foreign investment strategy to develop the country's mining sector and his campaign against corruption. Ganbold said Mongolia could avoid the resource curse.
"Mongolia's advantage is that the general public is very aware and conscious of what is happening in the economy. Mongolia's press is free and the legislature is careful," Ganbold said. "So, together these three factors ― public awareness, an aggressive press, and an active legislature ― will guarantee that the economy will go in the right direction."
Mongolia is a landlocked nation closed in by China and Russia. Since the 1990s, it has tried to counterbalance the influence of its two big neighbors against so-called "third neighbor" countries.
"Mongolia has always emphasized developing relations with those countries that lie beyond our immediate geographical borders, countries such as Japan, the U.S. and European and Southeast Asian nations," he said.
As director-general of the Asia-Pacific Affairs Division of his country's foreign ministry, Ganbold helped guide Mongolia's "third neighbor" policy from 2008 to 2013.
Ganbold is a Moscow-trained Korea expert with experience working as a diplomat in North Korea from 1989-1993. He arrived here at his current posting in February, and described South Korea as one of Mongolia's most important "third neighbor" countries.
Two-way trade between Mongolia and South Korea totaled $500 million in 2012, making Korea Mongolia's fourth-biggest trading partner after China, Russia and Japan. Korea is also Mongolia's seventh-largest investor with cumulative investments of $300 million.
Korea is involved in major projects including Samsung E&C's plan to build a new international airport in Ulan Bator scheduled to be completed in 2016. POSCO is now putting the finishing touches on a deal to build Ulan Bator's fifth coal-fired power plant.
Korean companies will also get a piece of a sprawling $10 billion development project in Sainshand that will include coking coal plants, a copper smelter, factories producing iron pellets and cement and facilities to process food and make clothes.
Located in the eastern Gobi steppe, 300 miles southeast of Ulan Bator and halfway to Beijing, China, the thinly populated Sainshand looks to be transformed into a mammoth industrial park that will also include a power distribution network and a wastewater facility.
Ganbold said bilateral relations got a boost when former President Lee Myung-bak visited in August 2011. Lee upgraded ties to a "comprehensive partnership."
People-to-people exchanges are at a moderate level with about 100,000 people traveling between South Korea and Mongolia in 2012. Some 26,000 Mongolians live and work in South Korea and an additional 5,000 study here at universities around the country. About 3,000 Koreans live in Mongolia.
Mongolian and Chinese coal sector delegates meet
July 14 (UB Post) Since the spring, Inner Mongolian coal sector organizations have requested to hold a meeting with Mongolian mining and coal export company delegates. The meeting eventually took place on July 1 and July 2 at Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.
Twenty Mongolian delegates from the Ministry of Mining, Mongol Coal Association, Mongolian National Mining Association, Mineral Resources Authority, General Customs Office, Border Protection Office, Ministry of Road and Transportation, Mongolia Immigration Agency, Mongolian General Department of Taxation, and Umnugovi Province Governor's Office and other coal-related administrators and experts attended the meeting.
Below is an interview with L.Davaatsedev, director of a managing board of the Mongol Coal Association.
-What Chinese companies attended the meeting and what was their position? What was the main agenda of the meeting?
-From China, delegates from both government and non-governmental organizations as well as private sector companies attended the meeting. Participants stressed that Mongolia's stance on the Chinese market has been diminishing. Mongolia seemed to have lost standing in the Chinese market as it didn't want to sell our coal at low prices.
A while ago, Mongolia had a very important role in the coal market of China. But now we can't even get listed in the top ten of China's coal importer list. Though the world coal market has been suffering from recession lately, which affected our position, other countries are still exporting their coal to China. Now Canada, Australia and Russia have begun playing major roles in the world coal market. Basically, countries are looking to be a sustainable partner to China.
-How can those countries are keep exporting coal when price of coal has dropped significantly on the world market?
As I said just now, countries are exporting their coal cheaply to China, aiming to become its sustainable partner. They are spending more tight budget in coal mining and transportation so that they don't suffer from losses even when they sell their coal cheaply. For instance, they transport the coal without many phases of transit or stages, but also directly to Chinese border via railway. Also, they support their coal export companies by taking less tax or fees. But our country spends a great sum of money and time in only transporting the coal. Thus we can't recover our loss.
-Recently, Mongolia stopped transferring the coal at Tsagaan Khad by reloading, and launched a direct customs formalities clearance system. It is a significant way to save travel expense, isn't it?
-Indeed. For us, the first step to saving expenses is to deliver the coal after forming the customs formalities right at the mine. As export declined, our domestic private companies were not able to continue operating. Thus, we have to support them by easing the tax and fees from domestic coal export companies in order to save transport expense.
-I presume participants discussed your coal price. Is there any forecast for Mongolia's coal price increase?
-Generally, we noticed that the Chinese delegates' speech implied they will not lack coal import even if Mongolia doesn't export coal. Thus they also implied that Mongolia should decrease its coal price. I think an increase in Mongolia's coal's price is unlikely in the near future.
Mongolia to host Greater Tumen Initiative
July 16 (UB Post) Between October 29 and October 31, 2013, a consultative meeting of the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI) – originally the Tumen River Area Development Programme (TRADP) – a regional cooperation mechanism between China, North Korea, Mongolia, South Korea and Russia, is scheduled to be held in Ulaanbaatar.
As part of the GTI program, the establishment of consolidated structures of trans-border transportation passages and the simplification of border entrance stages, as well as projects on tourism packages and easing trade will be discussed.
Each year, one of the member countries hosts the meeting, and this year, it is Mongolia's turn.
This year, the meeting will focus on the legal status of the GTI program, assess projects implemented by the GTI and discuss 2014's budget as well as prospective projects.
Over 100 delegates from China, Russia, South Korea, the United Nations, World Bank and Asian Development Bank are expected to come to Mongolia for the meeting.
Mongolia president sworn in pledging rapid development
July 10 (AFP) Mongolia's re-elected President Tsakhia Elbegdorj was sworn in today, promising rapid development amid a resources boom.
The ceremony was held outdoors for the first time, in front of a huge statue of Genghis Khan in Ulan Bator.
Several thousand supporters cheered after Elbegdorj, 50, wearing a long white traditional deel and white hat, took the oath before the image of the warrior who unified the nation 800 years ago and went on to build an empire stretching across Asia.
The Soviet-trained former military journalist and Harvard graduate helped overthrow Mongolia's 70 year-old one-party system in 1990, and has twice served as premier. He was first elected president in 2009.
Mongolia is one of the world's most sparsely populated countries but is enjoying a huge resources boom. In his speech Elbegdorj promised years of rapid development to come, including cheap ecologically friendly power and a new railway.
Roads would be built from each region to Ulan Bator, and the capital would have highways and a metro. "New towns will be built in Mongolia," he added.
Elbegdorj, of the Democratic Party, won last month's poll with 50.23 per cent of the vote, ahead of wrestling champion turned lawmaker Badmaanyambuu Bat-Erdene on 41.97 per cent.
The country's first female presidential candidate Natsag Udval took 6.5 per cent.
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MIAT airplanes to use Korean fuel
July 14 (UB Post) MIAT Mongolian Airlines imported fuel for its airplanes for the first time. As Mongolia imported fuel from only Russia, the Ministry of Road and Transportation decided to import fuel for airplanes not only from Russia but also from other countries with aim to dismiss the dependence on imported fuel from only Russia and prevent any fuel shortage.
MIAT's airplanes will soon run with Korean fuel. This is of significance for preventing fuel shortages, improving competition among exporters, stabilizing fuel prices and ensuring the sustainable operation of aviation companies.
MIAT Mongolian Airlines and SK Corporation of Korea have signed a contract and imported 200 tons fuel in the first stage.
Chinggis Bonds to finance leather factory upgrades
July 14 (UB Post) A Government meeting has recently concluded to review the financing of a leather factory complex to be established in Darkhan-Uul Province, as well as projects to upgrade the technologies and infrastructure of existing leather factories.
Ministers from related sectors were also instructed to use buyers' investments to reform technologies or develop the infrastructure needed to support domestic manufacturers, along with soft loans and industry organization assistance.
The Minister of Industry and Agriculture of Mongolia, Kh.Battulga, reported that Mongolia has the potential to earn an income of one trillion MNT from leather industry sales.
He said, "Our country is capable of introducing technology from Italy, Spain and Turkey, the countries that are leading in the technology sector, by 2016 and producing leather products domestically."
According to calculations, 80 percent of raw material of leather will be produced as end product and the remaining 20 percent will be exported as semi-processed leather. Nearly 24,700 jobs could be created by these investments in the leather goods industry. Nationwide, there are 35 leather processing factories and over 170 leather product manufacturing factories.
Out of all leathers prepared in Mongolia, only 25.8 percent (10.3 million) of raw leathers is processed domestically. The remaining percentage of raw leather is exported to China, which many analysts consider a great loss for Mongolia.
For now, domestic manufacturers will continue to face the challenges of insufficient profits, and limited distribution networks, which leaves them no other option but to halt operations for five to six months as they struggle to store raw material.
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Mongolia: Another possible CHP5 delay
July 9 (Oxford Business Group) Delivery of a key new 450-MW combined heat and power plant known as CHP5 continues to face implementation uncertainties, with competing projects likely causing a delay in the final investment decision in the near term. Foreign participants who spoke to OBG remain interested in offering technology and expertise. However, progress appears to be stalling as a result of an internal debate over project viability.
All parties recognise that the energy infrastructure is inadequate and more power generation capacity needs to be installed to avoid a crunch in supply further down the road. In the Central Energy System (CES), which serves the capital and most of the population, the generation units are outdated and overly polluting: CHP2 was built in 1961, CHP3 in 1968, CHP4 in 1983, Darkhan in 1965 and Erdenet in 1987. CHP4 is estimated to be about 40% efficient and CHP3 38%.
A jump in demand is seen as mining projects come on-line and as general economic activity follows. According to a May 2013 report by Prophecy Coal, which also has a power plant in planning, Mongolia will be 100 MW short in 2013, 228 in 2014, 425 in 2015 and 525 in 2016. The CES and the Western Energy System are connected to the Russian grid via 220-kV and 110-kV lines, respectively, but that electricity is expensive and cannot make up for long-term shortfalls.
In February 2012 the State Property Committee (SPC) issued a request for proposals for CHP5 and received bids from two consortia: Samsung C&T and Korea Southern Power Co; and France's GDF Suez, Korea's POSCO Energy, Japan's Sojitz Corp and Mongolia's Newcom (with a planned 30:30:30:10 split). The Asian Development Bank came on board as an advisor to the government in June 2011, and in July that year the SPC informed the GDF group that it was the preferred bidder.
Meanwhile, in June 2012, elections were held, and a coalition government was formed in August. After that, tendering was moved from the SPC to the Ministry of Economic Development, a new ministry. A joint working group was also formed between the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Energy.
In October, the proposed location of CHP5 was moved from the CHP3 site to an area in the east part of Ulaanbaatar. It was changed again in December to another location. Strictly speaking, this could have put the deal in jeopardy, as coal-fired plants can usually get international and multilateral support only if they are used to replace an existing coal plant. However indications are, according to a source close to the deal, that the re-positioning of CHP5 would not scare away the committed participants.
In February 2013 the joint working group asked both bidders to submit their best and final offers. Press reports indicated that the GDF consortium was still favoured, and in March the working group issued a report saying much the same. However, Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag made public comments that month that suggested the deal may not happen at all. He said that a new CHP was not the way to go; he preferred a mine-mouth solution.
Chandgana Power is a planned 4x150-MW project next to the 1bn-plus-tonne Chandgana mines. It is being developed by Prophecy Coal, the Canadian company that owns the mines. The group has already received permission to build the power plant and has submitted its power purchase agreement application to the government. Another project, a 4800-MW plant at the Shivee-Ovoo mine that will sell power to China and supply the domestic grid, has been in discussion since 2008.
In presentations to the government, the GDF consortium has argued that the CHP project makes the most sense for the country. It is not only more efficient (at 60%) and clean, with emissions at or under standards set by the World Bank, but it also offers a number of clear advantages over a mine-mouth project. A power plant at a mine site requires laying high-voltage, direct-current transmission lines, which are expensive and will result in the loss of energy over distance. It would also, the GDF consortium argues, lack the advantage of being able to produce both electricity and heat for Ulaanbaatar. If the government chooses a mine-mouth solution, a heat-only boiler will have to be constructed in the city to provide the heat that CHP5 would provide directly.
In early April, the joint working group suggested that the two consortia work together, but this is not possible due to the strict requirements of some of the lenders, including the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. They cannot be involved unless the project was won in a competitive and transparent bidding process. Foreign observers with a strategic interest in CHP5 project recognise that the new government faces a difficult balancing act of scrutinising the rationale and details of projects that were initiated under the old government. At the same time, it faces a credibility test abroad, with Mongolia struggling recently to attract FDI into key sectors such as energy and mining. Apart from weighing on investors' confidence, further delays in delivery of key power projects will likely result in power shortages that the government is trying to avoid.
ADB President Visits Mongolia
ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA, July 16 (ADB) – Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao today expressed ADB's full support for the Government of Mongolia's vision of modernizing its capital city and applauded its intention to invest in infrastructure that directly improves the lives of citizens.
"As in other rapidly-growing Asian countries, the primary challenge of growth is to ensure that its benefits are shared broadly including those living in cities and in the countryside. The key will be to ensure that standards of living and especially job opportunities are well balanced across the country," Mr. Nakao said at the official opening of the Takhilt Road, a seven-kilometer road linking the gerdistrict and the center of Ulaanbaatar.
Since Mongolia joined ADB in 1991, Ulaanbaatar's population has almost tripled, placing great strains on the city's ability to cater equally to its citizens. To help alleviate this problem, ADB is working with the Mongolian government to provide safe, sustainable and reliable water supply, sanitation, and solid waste collection.
Commending Mongolia's rapid economic growth, Mr. Nakao said he agreed with and encouraged the Government's progressive policies for improving macroeconomic stability, investment climate, private sector development, and deepening of the financial sector. He also noted that the country was on track to achieve Millennium Development Goals on education and health.
During his two-day visit, Mr. Nakao met with President of Mongolia Tsakhia Elbegdorj, Chairman of the State Great Khural of Mongolia Zandaakhuu Enkhbold, Deputy Prime Minister Dendev Terbishdagva, ADB Governor and Minister of Finance Chultem Ulaan, Minister for Economic Development Nyamjav Batbayar and other senior government officials, as well as civil society groups and think tanks. He also visited the Tuul River, the gerdistrict in Ulaanbaatar and ADB-sponsored health and education projects.
Since joining ADB in 1991, Mongolia has received 50 loans totaling $954.6 million, and 12 Asian Development Fund grants for $172.2 million, and a technical assistance portfolio consisting of 22 projects totaling $24.2 million. ADB is the largest source of multilateral official development assistance.
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Mongolia takes ties with China as top priority: PM
ULAN BATOR, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag said Wednesday that Mongolia always takes its relations with China as one of the top priorities of its foreign policy.
Altankhuyag, who is also chairman of the ruling Democratic Party, made the remarks while meeting with Zhao Leji, head of the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Altankhuyag said Mongolia firmly adheres to the important consensus that Mongolian leaders reached with Chinese President Xi Jinping on consolidating strategic mutual trust and promoting pragmatic cooperation.
He said Ulan Bator will collaborate closely with Beijing and work out and implement a mid- and long-term development plan for the Mongolia-China strategic partnership and push forward the advancement of bilateral ties comprehensively.
The Mongolian Democratic Party is ready to continue to consolidate and deepen friendly exchanges and cooperation with the CPC at various levels in all fields, the prime minister said.
Zhao said the China-Mongolia ties are important to each other.
The CPC and the Chinese government pay close attention to consolidating and boosting the strategic partnership with Mongolia, and are willing to keep close exchanges with the Mongolian side to enhance political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation, activate cultural and people-to-people exchanges and realize a mutually beneficial win-win, Zhao said.
The CPC will further beef up friendly exchanges and cooperation with the Mongolian Democratic Party and other main political parties in Mongolia and commonly promote an in-depth development of the strategic partnership between the two countries, he said.
During his visit to Mongolia, Zhao also met with Deputy Prime Minister Dendev Terbishdagva and other political leaders.
India offers partnership in renewable energy and HR development with Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 10 (IBNS): India on Wednesday offered to cooperate with Mongolia in developing its renewable energy sector as well as in human resources development.
Indian Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah made the offer to Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj here.
Abdullah is in Ulaanbaatar to represent India at the inaugural ceremony of the President of Mongolia Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who has been re-elected to a second four-year term.
Abdullah also handed over a letter of felicitation from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, lauding the personal vision and commitment of Elbegdorj to the comprehensive partnership between India and Mongolia and extending an invitation to the Mongolian President to visit India.
He also met Mongolia's Foreign Minister Lu Bold and Minister of Environment and Green Development Sanjaasuren Oyun.
Elbegdorj's oath taking ceremony was attended by members of Mongolia's parliament and government as well as representatives from several countries, including Ministerial level delegations from Russia, Japan, China and France.
"India and Mongolia have close and warm ties underpinned by civilisational and cultural linkages with this predominantly Buddhist nation. A large number of Mongolians travel to India for spiritual, educational and medical purposes. Indian cuisine and cinema are becoming increasingly popular in this landlocked nation of nearly three million people," India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said in a statement on Wednesday.
Bilateral relations have expanded over the past few years to cover cooperation in defence and strategic issues in addition to cultural and educational exchanges.
Elbegdorj had made India the destination for his first overseas visit after taking over as President of Mongolia for his first term in 2009.
"The government's decision to depute a senior Cabinet Minister to the President's inauguration underlines the importance that India places on further strengthening its bilateral relations with Mongolia," read the statement.
Indian Renewable Energy Minister visits Pethub Monastery in Mongolia, pays respects to Kushok Bakula
Srinagar, July 14 (Rising Kashmir News) Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Farooq Abdullah today visited Pethub Monastery at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and paid his respects there.
He also interacted with the monks and visited a photo exhibition displaying the life and times of 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche.
Recalling Himas, India's Ambassador in Mongolia, senior statesman, international diplomat and one of the best-known lamas of Ladakh, Abdullah also remembered his contribution of fostering better ties between India and Mongolia and his efforts in furthering Buddhism in Mongolia. He also praised his contribution as an MP and his deep engagement with welfare and education issues.
Later in the day, Abdullah, attended the Nadaam- the National Festival and the biggest festival in the Mongolian calendar.
Nadaam festivities include a colorful parade of athletes, monks, soldiers, musicians, and people dressed as ancient warriors. It is also known for competitions in the country's most popular sports- the 'manly sports' of horse racing, archery, and Mongolian wrestling.
Abdullah was in Ulaanbataar on a two-day visit to represent India at the Inaugural Ceremony of the President of Mongolia, Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who has been re-elected to a second four-year term. Abdullah also met Foreign Minister Lu Bold and Minister of Environment and Green Development Sanjaasuren Oyun.
Korea rights body urges greater safeguards for illegal aliens' children
SEOUL, July 15 (Yonhap) -- An independent human rights body called on the government Monday to overhaul the existing law on immigration to prevent children of immigrants living here illegally from being deported without due regard to their right to education.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) made the request to Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn after a 17-year-old boy surnamed Kim from Mongolia was forcibly repatriated to his home country last November, a move condemned by human rights activists as a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that calls on governments to make education free and accessible to all children.
After interrogating him for mediating a fight between his classmates at a Seoul high school, police found that Kim had been staying illegally in South Korea.
The Mongolian student, who had attended the high school under a Korean alias, was subsequently sent to the immigration service, but his teacher was not notified of his detainment there, the NHRC said.
The police also failed to consider the kind of protection he would be entitled to in Mongolia in making the decision to deport him just four days later, the commission added.
"Children of illegal immigrants, including those that live with their parents, are forced to leave the country once their illegal status is revealed," an NHRC official said. "We have asked the government to stop deporting these children, which violates their right to education as stated in the U.N. Convention."
Lukashenko sends National Day greetings to Mongolia President
MINSK, 11 July (BelTA) – President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has sent National Day greetings to President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, BelTA learned from the presidential press service.
"I am convinced that the development of bilateral dialogue and expansion of productive cooperation in trade and economy will help raise the wellbeing of our people," the message of greetings reads.
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Meet the sea buckthorn: Mongolia's Super-plant
- Good for the people, good for the environment, good for the economy -
By CHRISTINE WESTGATE
July 16 (UB Post) The waitress shook her head, there was no soda water to be had at Loving Hut today. I quickly scanned the menu for a back-up beverage choice. I ordered sea buckthorn. I had no idea what it was, but was soon to find out. It arrived quickly…a steamy liquid thicker than hot chocolate but thinner than a milkshake or frappe. Its color was beautiful: a circle of deep mango framed in the white mug. Sitting on a sage-colored table covering, I felt as though I was out in nature instead of in a crowded lunchtime restaurant in UB. As it turned out, by sipping the wonderful flavor of the hot sea buckthorn drink I was a lot closer the countryside than I thought.
My lunch companion informed me that sea buckthorn is a hearty native plant that was traditionally used in Mongolia and is gaining popularity. Some people are now growing it as a viable cash crop on land not too far away from UB. I thought that sea buckthorns sounded a bit like two of our own native crops in the Northeast region of the United States that grow naturally but are also cultivated, and prized for their healthy properties as natural foods: the cranberry which grows in bogs, and the blueberry which prefers alpine climates. Because I have an interest in homeopathic medicine as well as natural foods, I was intrigued by the sea buckthorn. Moreover, I had been feeling a bit of an infection coming on and after drinking the sea buckthorn, this feeling went away. Back home, I would have headed for pure cranberry juice for similar relief.
Known botanically as hippophae rhamnoides, sea buckthorn has many medicinal properties: anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, pain relief, and promoting regeneration of tissues. It is rich in vitamins C and E, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. Both the berries and the leaves are made into beverages, jams, cosmetics and animals feeds as well as pharmaceuticals that have been tested via clinical trials not just recently but also in Russia in the 1950′s. More than ten different drugs have been developed from sea buckthorn in Asia and Europe and are available in different forms such as liquids, powders, plasters, films, pastes, pills, liniments, suppositories and aerosols. The drugs produced from sea buckthorn have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and analgesic qualities, and moreover promote tissue regeneration.
A legend tells how the ancient Greeks used sea buckthorn leaf in a diet for race horses, hence its botanical name "hippophae" – shiny horse. According to another legend, sea buckthorn leaves were the preferred food of Pegasus – the flying horse and were allegedly helpful in getting him airborne! The medicinal value was recorded as early as the 8th century in the Tibetan medical classic Rgyud Bzi. And to think, all I cared about is that it tasted good!
When I came to Mongolia, I expected to experience traditional beverages such as milk tea, airag, vodka and boiled aarts. Sea buckthorn was not on this list. Even though this plant is found in Russia, Canada and northern parts of China it has a traditional Mongolian character. The plant adapts itself to different climates and there are approximately thirty different forms of sea buckthorn, although there are characteristics that apply to all sea buckthorns regardless of geographical variation. Many of these characteristics present some obstacles to commerical harvest. As is typical in commercialization of crops, science is seeking to modifiy these characteristics to improve profitability.
First of all, as suggested by its name, the sea buckthorn is thorny. Almost all Hippophae species start to develop thorns (2–5 cm) on two- or three-year-old plants. This characteristic is undesirable if harvesting is done by hand. Testing for new selections without thorns are underway in combination with selection for fruit size, yield, nutraceutical value, and oil content.
Secondly is the berry's firm attachment to the plant, even through harsh winters. The total labor cost estimated for harvesting a sea buckthorn orchard of four hectares was 58 percent of the total cumulative production costs over 10 years in one study. Investigations are being conducted to use a chemical substance to reduce berry removal force in sour cherries and many other fruit crops which may also be effective in the harvest of sea buckthorn. A related issue is the timing of harvest. The sea buckthorn requires both male and female plants, and only bears fruit when branches are at least two years old. Since mechanical mass harvesting requires cutting off the wood, this means a commercial harvest can only occur every two years. This schedule is unacceptable for most large producers. In Canada, the most successful methods of mechanical harvesting have involved shaking the individual branches of the shrub in situ to dislodge the berries, without any damage if the berries are not overripe, causing them to fall into a catcher placed around the base of the tree. The berries must be harvested at just the right time and if not stored or processed properly will spoil rapidly.
Third is vulnerability to pests and diseases. The sea buckthorn is most affected by green aphids, rose leaf roller, gypsy moth, gall tick, comma-shaped scale, fruit fly, and caterpillars. Diseases reported on sea buckthorn are verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, damping off, brown rot, and scab. The pests which cause damage to sea buckthorn include deer, birds, mice, and rats. However, since sea buckthorn is a new cultivated crop, there are no registered pesticides or fungicides. Research is continuing, particularly in Canada, to find the best chemical and organic control measures.
This plant sounds so finicky, why even pursue commercialization? Besides the health benefits, the sea buckthorn is good for the environment. As reported in a report by the Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species (cgiar.org), "In large areas of Northern China and Mongolia sea buckthorn has been developed into a major environmental resource. Many areas in fact, have become virtually treeless, even though they were once forested. Soil losses have been huge, and several previousattempts to grow various trees to hold down the soil have been unsuccessful. Sea buckthorn has turned out to be useful because it withstands severe weather and grows huge root systems in poor soil (and fixes nitrogen in the soil). For many animal and bird species, sea buckthorn is an important source of food or provides shelter. In Mongolia several wild animal species have found a habitat in the sea buckthorn forest, including pheasant, hare and fox."
Cultivation of sea buckthorn is particularly useful when it comes to reclaiming rivers which have been subject to the effects of deforestation and other benefits to the environment. As described in a report by G. Ochirbat of the Institute of Botany, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, sea buckthorn in the region of the Okhindii of Selenga and Orkhon rivers basin was susceptible to flooding and fires. In this region 30 years ago there were yields of sea buckthorn up to 30 tons annually. But at the time of the report there were only reported to be a few shrubs. So there is a need for recultivation. One successful effort at recultivation to restore land to its natural balance is described by Global Nature (globalnature.org/31942/PROJECTS/Terminated-Projects/Sea-Buckthorn/02_vorlage.asp.)
Not only did the environment benefit, but also jobs were created for local families who had lost their herds.
B. Enkhmart suggests in a report on March 19, 2012 entitled "Let's Promote Mongolian Brands" (mongolianeconomy.mn/en/p/1853) that sea buckthorn could and should be branded in much the same way as, among other products, cashmere. Enkhmart reports that The Mongolian Brands in the World 2012 forum was held to allow participants to give presentations and to discuss policy for introducing Mongolian brands to the international market. Members discussed Mongolia's capacity to introduce brands for sea buckthorn, wool and cashmere products, in addition to Mongolia's tourism sector to the international market. In fact, cashmere certification and trademarking by Gobi brands is described as a "success story" by WIPO (http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/details.jsp?country_code=MN.) Statistics on the export and monetary proceeds from sea buckthorn are available from the link for Enkhmart's article. It can all be summarized as promising.
International trademarking is an important step in promoting and protecting the value of a country's resources. But there are relatively few Mongolian trademarks registered with WIPO. A search in WIPO's Global Brand database returned only 23. Of these, three are deleted, 18 are active from corporations, and of particular interest two are pending from the Ministry of Industry and Agriculture. Perhaps these have to do with sea buckthorn? Due to the holidays, UB Post was unable to obtain more information about these two trademark applications.
Another important factor in marketing sea buckthorn competitively would be certification as Fair Trade and Organic. If producers in Mongolia can follow practices to obtain these certifications, they will be more competitive in a world market because consumers are particularly concerned about product safety. The methods of overcoming profitability to buckthorn mentioned earlier in this article: mechanical harvesting that damages the plants, use of chemicals, etc. are unacceptable to many consumers. There is no sense in paying top dollar for a health-related product without the assurance that the product is indeed healthy and free of chemicals and pesticides, and produced in a way that benefits the environment with fair labor practices. This consumer behavior has been witnessed in the coffee industry.
Personally, in the United States I've found that consumers are reluctant to buy food or health products from Asian countries unless they have a recognized certification. Fair Trade and Organic are certifications that consumers recognize and contribute to the act of taking the item from the grocery shelf to the check-out register. The product can be of the highest quality and produced according to strict labor and environmental standards, but if this is not communicated to the consumer profitability will suffer.
I raise my steamy mug filled with the beautiful and tasty mango-colored treat. Here's to sea buckthorn – and to your health, the environment, and to the economy. Cheers! I will definitely miss this drink when I return to my home.
Epigraphs of ancient Turkic people discovered in Mongolia
OSAKA, July 17 (The Asahi Shimbun)--Two massive slabs of stone inscribed in ancient Turkic script have been found on the steppes of eastern Mongolia, the first such discovery in over a century, a Japanese researcher said July 16.
The epigraphs date from the mid-eighth century, said Takashi Osawa, a professor of ancient Turkic history at Osaka University's graduate school.
He said the finds may offer invaluable clues to the political systems and institutions of the Gokturk people, who faced the Sui and Tang dynasties in China in times of peace and war as they reigned over the steppes of Central Asia.
Osawa said he and researchers from the Institute of Archaeology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences discovered remnants of two giant epigraphs in May at an archaeological site called Dongoin shiree. It is near Mount Delgerkhaan, 400 kilometers southeast of Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital.
The epigraphs measure 4 meters and 3 meters, respectively.
Combined, they are inscribed with 2,832 symbols, in 20 lines of ancient Turkic script.
Osawa, who deciphered the writing, said it describes the lamentation of people who have to leave their beloved families and homeland behind when they die.
"Oh, my home!" reads one inscription. Another reads: "Oh, my land!"
Signs engraved in the epigraphs indicate the artifacts likely represent epitaphs dedicated to members of the Ashina tribe, the reigning family of the Second Turkic Empire (682-744).
The Gokturks are the oldest nomadic people in Central Asia that left records of their own language in their own writing system.
The discovery is significant as it is the first of its kind since the three most renowned ancient Turkic inscriptions (Bilge Kaghan, Kol Tigin and Tonyukuk) were discovered in central Mongolia about 120 years ago, experts said.
"Other parts that remain buried in the ground may offer a record of the lives of the individuals commemorated," Osawa said.
"Research on ancient Turkic script has centered on the re-reading of known inscriptions after a Danish linguist deciphered the writing in the late 19th century," said Takao Moriyasu, a professor of Central Asian history at Kinki University. "The latest finds could help unravel new facts."
The history of the Gokturk state started when Yili Kaghan founded the First Turkic Empire in 552.
Political maneuvering by the Sui Dynasty of China split the Gokturk nation into an eastern and a western part, with the East Turkic Empire succumbing to Tang China's rule in 630. The Gokturks regained independence from Tang China to found the Second Turkic Empire in 682, only to be brought down by the Uighurs in 744.
DJ Shaman: Mongolia provided me with more opportunities than France did
July 16 (UB Post) You may have heard his music in several clubs in Ulaanbaatar, or maybe over the radio. And yet, seven years ago, DJ Shaman had never been to Mongolia. He started turning tables when disco began. Several years later, after having settled in Ulaanbaatar for quite some time, he has prepared a new album made up of different genres, representative of his work so far.
He received me in his apartment and laughed at me for having a notebook and a pen in my hand. This meeting was to be too casual for taking notes. He took me through a journey of his songs and playlists of the past few years. What I found was music that was a blend of different genres, creating something quite unique, somewhere between France and Asia. This is not that surprising, considering his own Eurasian origins: he has a German-Swiss grandfather, a Vietnamese grandmother, a Cambodian father and a French mother. His background pushed him to travel and work in several countries, including France, Malta, Greece, Portugal, Macedonia, Cambodia, Dubai, Japan, China and now Mongolia.
DJ Shaman has been playing at Max Club, Brix, Centro Club, Sky Lounge and iLoft for several years now and has participated in numerous Daka MNG events. He named the nightclub Metropolis, which is considered to be the most stylish place in the city for a night out.
I asked him how he would describe his music, he replied that it was "a blend of commercial, techno, tech-house, progress-house, deep-house and dance". And he laughed at me again for not really understanding those terms, a kind of French humor which mainly consists of making fun of others and oneself.
"Mongolia provided me with more opportunities than France did"
Some might say that he is a sort of ambassador for the French language, as he has sung in French in several of the duets he's done with some of Mongolia's most famous (and emerging)and singers, such as pop divas Saraa, Serchmaa "Sally", Bayarsetseg and Enkhzol. DJ Shaman is Cambodian but also French, and he acknowledges the influence of the "French Touch" on his own music. He cites French artists such as David Guetta, Laurent Wolf, Justice and – of course – Daft Punk as important influences, and international DJs like Testo and Avicii. But his inspirations are as diverse as his background. He also talks about Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder and the bands Chic and Earth, Wind & Fire as significant contributors to his own musical culture.
He insists that Mongolia has offered him more opportunities than France. According to him, the electro scene in France is packed with too many people, which makes it very hard to make it through to the top. On the other hand, Mongolia provided him with an emerging nightlife scene and a very enthusiastic public. "Mongolians are very receptive to electro music. They know what is good. They have very good taste", he admitted.
When the French Touch meets Mongolian traditions
DJ Shaman did not solely want to bring the French Touch to Mongolia. "I wanted to incorporate elements of Mongolian traditional music into some house music too. It works both ways; it is by combining the best elements of the two universes that you get something exceptional." It is in that mindset that he sang the duet "Nis, Vol, Fly" with Naran, a song in Mongolian, French and English, which mixes ethnic house beats with some khomii (throat singing). The video for the song is set in the Mongolian countryside and pays tribute to traditional Mongolian culture, featuring eagles and traditional clothing. He was also very honoured to have been given the opportunity to work with famous Mongolian composer, Balkhjav, on the soundtrack of the movie Tsavchuur.com. About working in Mongolia in general, "I am immensely thankful for what Mongolia brought to me, this country will be forever in my heart."
It's now been seven years since he first set foot in Mongolia and he still has a lot of projects in mind. For example, in March 2014 he will be a juror on the TV show "Universe Best Songs" for the fifth year in a row. He is also preparing a new album, which will include his most famous songs along with several new ones. In line with his work so far, the album will be in French, English and Mongolian and will include different musical genres such as R&B, pop, techno and electro, along with a cover of the famous song, Besame Mucho. He confessed, "I would also love to do a cover of Georges Moustaki", a French singer of the 1970s and 1980s. Meanwhile, you can find him "working", as he says it, in several Ulaanbaatar clubs all year-long. "I enjoy it so much I barely consider it working, but it's true!"
5000 Bielgee dancers gather at Sukhbaatar Square for Guinness World Record
July 13 (business-mongolia.com) The Guinness World Record of the "Wonder of Mongolian National Wrestling" was registered officially to the Guinness World Record and it was announced that Mongolia held the Wrestling Tournament Record according to the official site of the Guinness World Record last year.
This year almost 5,000 traditional dancers from 21 aimags and the City have gathered at Sukhbaatar Square to perform a Mongolian folk dance in the effort to hold a Guinness World Record for the folk dance which represent Mongolians unique culture and heritage from the ancient days.
The Mongolian ethnic folk dance is undivided part of Mongolians` character, feature and personality.
The Mongolian folk dance involves over 4000 motions whereas gymnastic involves 2000 motions.
Mongolian folk dancers, including over 10 ethnic groups dressed in their own traditional costumes, have gathered to set the Guinness World Record with the unique cultural heritage. These 5000 dancers will conduct a huge performance.
Among them there are participants from three years old to eight years old who have their very own country style. According to the organizers of the event almost 80 percent of the Mongolian folk dancers are young.
The Mongolian folk dancers who believe that such an act is a historical event are planning to register to the Guinness World Record on July 10th just before the big days of Naadam.
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