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Happy Fourth of July!
Rio's Oyu Tolgoi Shipment Deadline Slips Amid Mongolia Feud (1)
(Updates with Entree Gold comment in seventh paragraph.)
By Michael Kohn and Yuriy Humber
July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Oyu Tolgoi, the $6.6 billion mine jointly owned by Rio Tinto Group and Mongolia, is awaiting government support before it can start shipments that were due to begin by the end of June.
"All necessary permits have been received and the mine is ready to commence concentrate shipments," Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., a Vancouver-based unit of Rio Tinto that holds its Oyu Tolgoi stake, said in a statement June 28. "Shipping will begin as soon as the Mongolian government indicates its support for Oyu Tolgoi to do so."
Shipments of copper concentrate from the mine to Chinese smelters were due to begin before the end of June and were twice postponed last month. The second delay, on June 21, was at the request of the Mongolian government, London-based Rio said. The mine is operated by Oyu Tolgoi LLC, which is 34 percent owned by Mongolia and the rest by Rio's Turquoise Hill unit.
The two sides have yet to resolve the government's request that sales from the mine are handled by Mongolian banks, Mining Minister Davaajav Gankhuyag said in Ulaanbaatar, the country's capital, on June 28. He also said they have yet to reach agreement on the government's contention that the mine overshot its budget, as well as financing for its second stage and management fees accrued by Rio.
Oyu Tolgoi is the biggest foreign investment in Mongolia, expected to account for 35 percent of the country's economy when fully operational in 2020. Rio and the government clashed in February over the mine's costs, tax payments, and the number of locals in management. The government temporarily froze Rio's bank accounts in Mongolia in February over the tax disputes, two people familiar with the matter said at the time.
Oyu Tolgoi spokesman Tsend Ganzorig, and Rio Tinto spokesman David Luff in Melbourne, declined to comment on the delays to the shipments.
"The longer the delay continues the greater the cost to the people of Mongolia," Michael Howard, deputy chairman of Vancouver-based Entrée Gold Inc., which owns part of the Oyu Tolgoi area via a joint venture with Rio Tinto, said in a phone interview from London on June 28. Howard is a former leader of the U.K. Conservative party.
Mongolia may lose $2 million in taxes every day that the mine's shipments are delayed, independent Ulaanbaatar-based analyst Dale Choi said in a June 23 note to investors.
Rio hasn't shown the Mongolian members of the Oyu Tolgoi board the sales contracts it has struck with Chinese buyers, mining minister Gankhuyag said.
"If the product sales agreements are not introduced to the Mongolian side, the sales revenue must be transferred via Mongolian banks," Gankhuyag told reporters at a briefing. The value of the sales contracts is $8 billion and need to be ratified by Oyu Tolgoi's board under Mongolian law, he said.
Rio has also agreed to lend $225 million to Turquoise Hill as a bridge facility to finance the mine's operations, the Canadian unit said in its statement. Oyu Tolgoi has so far produced 40,000 tons of copper concentrate, according to the statement.
The government and Oyu Tolgoi are in talks to resolve the various issues between them, said Entree Gold's Howard. "It is of the interest of everyone in Mongolia, including all those Mongolian citizens who can benefit from the unlocking of wealth that lies buried underneath the soil of Mongolia," he said.
Sam Walsh, chief executive of officer of Rio, said in a May 9 briefing that the company planned to begin first shipments in the first half of 2013. "We've moved well down the path in terms of resolving the issues the government had tabled with us, enabling us really to move forward with the project," Walsh said at the time.
Wolf Petroleum encouraged by oil potential in deepest basin in Eastern Mongolia
July 2 (Proactive Investors) Wolf Petroleum's (ASX: WOF) geophysical survey at its Sukhbaatar Block in Mongolia has indicated that the oil generative sediment pile is up to 9,600 metres thick, the largest and thickest in Eastern Mongolia.
This is up from the previous estimate of 4,000 metres and has led the company to suggest that the sub basins at Sukhbaatar are a potential main petroleum generation source in the region.
The average depth of current producing basins in Eastern Mongolia, a proven petroleum producing region, ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 metres.
Wolf has completed preparation works to shoot 441 kilometres of 2D data on Sukhbaatar and has received the necessary approvals from both the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia and the regional administrations.
In addition, the company plans to collect more than 7,350 new samples from all the shot holes for the seismic program at a target depth of 15 metres and analyse every eight shot hole, or about 920 samples.
The first exploration well is currently scheduled to spud towards the end of 2013.
Sukhbaatar covers an area of 23,047 square kilometres of which more than 60% of the surface outcrops are Cretaceous in age and have a high potential for source reservoir rocks.
Wolf had previously noted that all four sub-basins within the block had have areas of high heat flow, which can enhance hydrocarbon cracking and migration, while alteration minerals commonly found near petroleum seep areas have also been identified.
MMC: COMMISSIONING OF COAL HANDLING AND PREPARATION PLANT MODULE-III
July 2 -- Reference is made to the announcements dated 10 June 2011 and 20 February 2012 issued by Mongolian Mining Corporation (the "Company," HKEx:975) in relation to the commissioning of the first module and the second module of the Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (the "CHPP") at its Ukhaa Khudag coking coal mine (the "UHG mine") . The board of directors (the "Board") of the Company is pleased to announce that the third module of the CHPP at the UHG mine has been successfully commissioned by the State Commission comprised of representatives and specialists from various government agencies of Mongolia on 13 June 2013 for coal processing operations, and full production capacity is expected to be available from the third quarter of 2013.
The CHPP capacity expansion work under design, procurement and construction management contract has been undertaken by Sedgman Limited, Australia, one of the world's leading engineering companies in coal processing and material handling technology. All inclusive capital expenditures for the third module of the CHPP totaled to approximately USD76 million, in line with the Company's original estimations.
The third module of the CHPP has the capacity to process around 5.0 million tonnes of run-of- mine ("ROM") coal per annum based on the design capacity at around 850 tonnes per hour ROM coal in-feed operating rate for minimum 6,000 operating hours per calendar year. Thus, the third module of the CHPP will enable the Company to boost its coal handling and processing capacity to at least 15.0 million tonnes per annum.
This announcement is a voluntary announcement made by the order of the Board which is not pursuant to the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited. The directors of the Company individually and jointly accept responsibility for the accuracy of this announcement.
Aspire Mining up 80% since election day, gets ASX speeding ticket
July 1 (Proactive Investors) Aspire Mining (ASX: AKM) shares have soared 80% to $0.063 intra-day today, compared to their closing price on Wednesday 26th June, with the company receiving an ASX price query.
The Mongolian coking coal company said in a reply to the ASX that the company is aware of the announcement on Thursday 27 June 2013 of the re-election of the incumbent President of Mongolia, and the consequent demonstration of a return to political stability.
President Tsakhia Elbegdorj received just over 50% of the vote, and in doing so was re-elected for a second four-year term.
The re-election is a positive for mining and resource companies operating within Mongolia, which in recent years has seen an influx of money from foreign mining companies.
Elbegdorj's re-election is viewed as a reassurance to foreign investors that conditions will remain basically stable in the country.
Elbegdorj is likely to continue on with his growth policies that have seen the country's economy expand by 12% last year and 17% in 2011, along with an anti-corruption agenda.
Aspire's Ovoot hosts Mongolia's second largest coking coal Reserve
Aspire owns 100% of the Ovoot Project, which is the second largest coking coal Reserve in Mongolia at 219 million tonnes. Aspire has received its mining licence.
Aspire said in a response to the ASX: "The company is continuing to work on completing its own developed modeling of the Ovoot coal deposit with the aim of identifying opportunities to significantly extend Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves estimates within the Ovoot Coking Coal Project.
"That work remains ongoing, and it remains uncertain as to whether it will result in any material change to the current Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves estimates in relation to this project."
Ovoot has robust economics with a NPV after tax estimated US$1.7 billion, and a Net Cash Surplus after tax US$8.3 of billion.
Resources and Ore Reserves estimates
Aspire included in its ASX response: "The company is not in a position to determine whether there will be any material change to the Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves estimates for the Ovoot Coking Coal Project until it completes this modeling work.
"Any potential change would also need to be signed off by a competent person before there is sufficient certainty to publicly announce such a change to the existing Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves estimates."
Erdene Provides Highlights of AGM and Project Update
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - July 2, 2013) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company"), is pleased to announce its shareholders voted in favor of all items of business brought before them at the Company's Annual and Special Meeting of shareholders ("AGM") held 27 July 2013 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and to provide a summary of the CEO's address to shareholders.
A copy of the AGM presentation is available on the Company's website here.
Results of AGM
Appointment of Board and Executive
At the AGM, shareholders voted in favor of Erdene management's nominees to the board of directors, with Peter Akerley, William Burton, John Byrne, Chris Cowan, and Philip Webster re-elected to the board. Details of the vote are as follows:
During the 2nd quarter work commenced on the Company's Altan Nar gold project, the Khuvyn Khar copper porphyry project and a regional program focused on our gold-copper targets in the Trans Altai region of south western Mongolia. Surface mapping and rock sampling was completed to further define the targets identified at Altan Nar. This work has provided additional control for defining the next phase of drilling. Results indicate that in addition to the Discovery Zone, the Union South, Union North, Southbow and Riverside Zones offer the highest prospectivity (click here to access project maps). In addition to ground exploration, metallurgical work was also recently completed (click herefor Erdene June-27 press release) which has confirmed the majority of gold mineralization identified to date is highly amenable to cyanide leach recovery based on bottle roll testing. These results will now be considered in conceptual mining scenarios for the Discovery Zone.
A surface exploration program to define drill targets is underway at the Company's Khuvyn Khar copper porphyry prospect, located 40 kilometres west of the Altan Nar gold project. The program, consisting of detailed mapping, core re-logging and geophysics, is a follow-up to drilling completed by the Company in 2011 which intersected 34 metres of 1.3% copper and 9 g/t silver. Over the past several years, Erdene has carried out regional exploration in an area of southwestern Mongolia designated as the Trans Altai Project Area generating multiple gold and base metal targets. The Teck-Erdene Alliance is now evaluating both the Khuvyn Khar and Trans Altai areas.
Guildford Coal Mongolia Update
July 4 -- Guildford Coal Ltd (ASX: GUF) is pleased to advise that progress at our South-Gobi open cut coking coal mine project in Mongolia is continuing as planned.
The photograph below shows overburden removal activities adjacent to the completed Test Pit #3
The equipment currently in use comprises relatively small capacity excavators and trucks but production rates being achieved are satisfactory and consistent with the overall project schedule. Larger equipment including a Caterpillar 300 Tonne excavator and Caterpillar 777
(80 Tonne) dump trucks will start arriving this month.
In other developments:
• The excavation of the two (2) additional standard type test pits for further validation of coal quality specifications is complete, enabling more samples to be taken for metallurgical analysis.
The illustration below depicts the physical location of the test pits, noting the distance between Pit 1 & Pit 3 is approximately 1.5km.
This photograph shows the random sampling and bagging of coal extracted from Test Pit 2
For completeness the results of all three (3) test pits is described.
Sample Pit #1 (~2m)
Quality Range of Specifications
5% - 10%
23% - 28%
60% - 70%
0.3 - 0.5
7,700 - 8,200 Kcal
5.5 - 7.5
80 - 95
20 - 24
Sample Pit #2 (~4m)
Quality Range of Specifications
Air Dried Basis
10% - 14%
25% - 28%
60% - 65%
0.8 - 0.9
7,000 - 7,500
3.5 - 5.5
91 - 99
Sample Pit #3 Upper Seams (~2m)
Quality Range of Specifications
Air Dried Basis
6% - 8%
28% - 29%
60% - 67%
0.5 - 0.9
8,000 - 8,200
4.5 - 5
93 - 96
Sample Pit #3 Lower Seams (~1.5m)
Quality Range of Specifications
Air Dried Basis
16% - 20%
25% - 26%
55% - 58%
0.8 - 1.0
6,800 - 7,100
2 - 3
71 - 75
The quality specification parameters are encouraging and coupled with efficient mining techniques will mean the operation, when stabilised, will produce predominantly a coal type close in specification to Prime Coking Coal.
• Discussions with potential off-take parties regarding coal supply agreements are continuing. Some potential customers have expressed a desire to visit the mine site. This will be facilitated and visits are expected to commence in August. Off-take negotiations can then be concluded, enabling unit coal price and revenue estimations to be made.
• Negotiations with suppliers and constructors of mine support facilities including accommodation camp, workshops, fuel bay, offices and crushing plant are proceeding satisfactorily. Construction activities remain scheduled to commence in July.
CAML: H1 2013 Production and Operations Update
Kounrad on track to meet 10,000 tonne production target for 2013
July 2 -- Central Asia Metals PLC (AIM:CAML), a copper producing company focused on base metals in Central Asia, today announces a production update for its Kounrad SX-EW Copper Project in Kazakhstan and an update on its Alag Bayan exploration licence in southern Mongolia.
· Q2 2013 production of 3,081 tonnes
· H1 2013 production of 4,857 tonnes
· 5,000 tonnes of copper sold via off-take contract with Traxys SA
· Kounrad on track to meet 10,000 tonnes production target for 2013
· Kounrad expansion options continue to be assessed
· Alag Bayan exploration licence cancelled
In 2008, the Company acquired the exploration licence at Alag Bayan in the Southern Gobi region of Mongolia. From that time a significant amount of exploration work has been conducted by the Company, including 10,171 metres of diamond drilling and several geophysical surveys.
The geophysical surveys were undertaken by Goviex Mongolia LLC, and more recently by IBEX Mongolia LLC ("IBEX") with drilling largely concentrated on areas identified by these surveys. In 2012, as part of the earn-in deal concluded in 2011, IBEX drilled a further 3,260 metres.
These exploration efforts defined a small oxide resource in the center of the licence, and several mineralised intersections on the western boundary of the licence. However, the size and grade of these were insufficient to justify conversion to a mining licence, and consequently the Company has now received notification from the Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia that the exploration licence has reached the end of its renewal period, and has been cancelled.
Nick Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, commented:
"We are pleased to have reached a total production of 4,857 tonnes of copper at Kounrad in the first half year, following a new monthly record in April. Kounrad continues to operate in line with its design, as demonstrated by H1 2013 production.
The cancellation of the exploration licence at Alag Bayan is a disappointment. However, the Company will continue to look for new opportunities in Central Asia and elsewhere, whilst focussing on further developing its core asset at Kounrad to deliver growth and value to our shareholders."
Shanagan Coal Project Phase 3 Drilling Analytical Results Received
July 4 -- Newera Resources Limited (ASX: NRU) is pleased to advise that it has received the coal quality analysis results for the recent phase 3 drilling program conducted at the Shanagan East Coal Project ("Shanagan Project") in Mongolia.
Shanagan Phase 3 drilling analytical results
§ Newera has recently successfully drill tested the northern extremities of the known coal seams within the Shanagan Project area producing excellent coal intercept results. The drilling program was an "open hole" (PCD) program, not core, however a total of four samples were collected and sent to SGS Laboratories in Ulaanbaatar for coal quality analysis. The results of that analysis are listed in Table 1 below.
§ The analysis of the Shanagan phase 3 drilling program samples indicate a bright black coal with a high calorific value, low moisture, low sulphur and high ash, which is generally in line with previous sampling from Shanagan phase 1 and phase 2 drilling programs.
§ The intersection of significant coal seams in SHDH31, 32, 33 and 35 has given confidence that the Exploration Target (as defined under Section 17 of the JORC Code) of 64 to 111 million tonnes* of coal previously calculated to exist within the central and southern portions of the Shanagan licence may be extended.
Shanagan bulk sample shaft sinking update
§ Significant progress has been made to date on sinking an inclined, bulk sample extraction shaft proximal to Newera's drill hole SHDH14.
Eumeralla: Application for Tin, Tungsten Concession in Myanmar, Chuluun Khoroot additional exploration commencing in next four weeks
July 1, Eumeralla Resources Limited (ASX:EUM) --
· Eumeralla Resources and local partner Myanmar Energy Resources Group have jointly applied for a 400km2 exploration lease in Kayah State, Myanmar.
· Kayah State is well known for the historical Mawchi Tin and Tungsten mine.
· This exploration lease would be one of the largest foreign held concessions in Myanmar.
· Upon approval EUM will be one of the first foreign mining companies to enter into large scale mineral exploration in Kayah State, Myanmar.
Chuluun Khoroot Tungsten Project
Additional exploration work will be commencing in the next four weeks during the Mongolian summer period.
MRF: GENERAL MEETING AND CAPITAL RAISING -UPDATE
June 28 -- Further to the update made on 19 June 2013, the Directors of Mongolian Resources Ltd (MRL or Company, ASX:MRF) provide the following update on the corporate actions of the Company.
A shareholder meeting will be convened to approve the acquisition of the Sri Lanka graphite projects (Transaction) and other associated resolutions. It is anticipated the notice of meeting will be despatched to shareholders shortly.
Subject to shareholder approval of the Transaction, a further capital raising will be required to fund exploration and development work and allow recompliance with the ASX Listing Rules.
The Company proposes to issue up to 2,500,000 New Shares at an offer price of $0.20 with a free attaching option exercisable at $0.20 on or before 5:00pm (WST) on 17 October 2016 which will seek to raise up to $500,000.
The Company will also raise up to $2,000,000 by way of an issue of Convertible Notes, further details of which will be included in the notice of meeting.
Proposed Capital Structure Post Transaction Approval and Capital Raising
The capital structure of the Company following completion of the Transaction and the capital raising is anticipated to be as follows:
Listed MRL shares (ASX:MRF)
Listed options (each exercisable at 40 cents on or before 5:00 (Melbourne time) on 31 December 2014 (ASX:MRFO))
Listed options (each exercisable at 20 cents on or before 5:00 (WST) on 17 October 2016 (ASX:MRFOA))
Unlisted options (each exercisable at 20 cents on or before 5:00 (WST) on 17 October 2016)
Shareholders will also be asked to consider resolutions in relation to;
• the change to the nature and scale of activities of the Company for the purposes of Listing Rule 11.1.2;
• the name of the Company being changed to "MRL Corporation Limited"
• Director participation in the capital raising; and
• other associated statutory resolutions.
Further information including an indicative timetable and other disclosure regarding re-compliance with Chapters 1 and 2 of the Listing Rules will be set out in the notice of meeting to shareholders and the capital raising prospectus.
BDSec: MSE DAILY MARKET REPORT - JULY 3, 2013: Top 20 -0.14%, Turnover ₮3.8 Million
July3 (BDSec) Market has been much settled after the presidential election. In the last two weeks, MSE TOP20 index has been changing less than 1% a day. Today (Jul 3), in total of 3.8 mil MNT worth of stocks were traded. Telecom Mongolia (MCH) gained the most value from "A" board, whilst coal miner Aduunchuluun (ADL) and cashmere producer Gobi (GOV) slipped roughly 2% to close at 2,500 MNT and 5,100 MNT respectively.
• RPT-Fitch: Mongolia Election Makes Space for Greater Policy Clarity. Incumbent Tsakhia Elbegdorj's victory in last week's Mongolian presidential election creates space for the authorities to reduce policy uncertainty, particularly around foreign investment in mining and macroeconomic management, Fitch Ratings says.
• This could potentially result in higher growth and improved fiscal performance and external finances, which would support Mongolia's sovereign credit profile.
· The government of Mongolia to Borrow 8 billion Japanese Yen from the JBIC. Minister of Economic Development N.Baybayar submitted the draft bill to ratify the General Agreement of Credit Line to the Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Z.Enkhbold on July 02, 2013.
· The Government of Mongolia and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation have established the General Agreement of the Export Credit Line in support of Japanese companies' exports to Mongolia amounting to the equivalent of 8 billion JPY on June 06, 2013.
· During submitting the draft bill, Minister N.Batbayar noted the importance of the approval of the document to ratify the General Agreement, explaining it would allow the conditions for Mongolia to implement important projects for the economic development of Mongolia.
Trading Value Leaders
Tavan Tolgoi (TTL)
Telecom Mongolia (MCH)
Sharyn Gol (SHG)
Naco Fuel (NKT)
NatSec MSE Daily Trading News: Top 20 +0.13%, Turnover ₮7.9 Million
July 2 (National Securities) The MSE TOP-20 Index rose +0.13% to 14,414.50. Just 7 companies traded a combined volume of 7.9 million MNT. The intra-day volume was 27,699 shares.
The broker-dealer strike started yesterday continued today and can be seen as the core reason for the extreme lack of trading volume and value. We are expecting that the Stock exchange and brokerage companies will find a solution by tomorrow.
Remicon (RMC), which manufactures 5 types of concrete, was up today's biggest gainer by 174 MNT or 2.38%. RMC was also the volume leader with 26,700 shares traded, worth 4.6 million MNT. APU (APU), the largest MSE-listed company that has 60% of the beverage market in Mongolia, rose 0.67% to close at MNT 3,625. Bayan-Aldar (VIK), a rent and merchandise play, dropped -2.33% to 1,050 MNT on the B-board.
Please click here to see the detailed news
NatSec MSE Daily Trading News: Top 20 +0.22%, Turnover ₮15.1 Million
July 1 (National Securities) The TOP-20 Index rose slightly by 0.22% to 14,395.11. Only 3,355 shares in 9 companies were traded with a value of 15.1 million MNT.
This was lack of trading was because most brokerage companies went on strike today over annual fees and other related on-going issues with the MSE. 3 share prices increased, 3 shares decreased and one share was stable.
Auto Zam (AAR) was limit-up 15% to 2,668 MNT. Trading volume was just 19 shares. Next, Max Impex (MMX), which is producer meat & meat products, rose to 1,800MNT, up by 5.26%.
On the decliners side, APU declined just 0.25% to 3,601 MNT. The volume leader was Gobi (GOV), which produces wool clothes, with intra-day volume of 2,348 and a value of 12.1 million MNT.
Please click here to see more detailed news
EBRD: US$ 5 million EBRD loan to Remicon to produce more concrete in Mongolia
Mongolian producer of ready-mixed concrete expanding to service booming building sector
July 1 (EBRD) Mongolia is today one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The country is entering a "cement-intensive" phase in its development as it prepares for large infrastructure projects. The EBRD continues its support of local manufacturers of building materials with a new US$ 5 million loan to Remicon JSC, a Mongolian producer of ready-mixed concrete.
The loan will finance the expansion of the company's production facilities, namely the instalment of a second production line and a mobile concrete batching plant, including distribution mixer trucks.
"Remicon is just the type of company we want to see grow in Mongolia: a local, dynamic medium-sized business which takes advantage of the mining boom to increase production and create jobs," said the EBRD's First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Phil Bennett, signing the deal in Ulaanbaatar. "Mongolia is ready to build and produce more locally; the EBRD is supporting that drive, with the highest number of our projects in the country being in the manufacturing sector," he added.
Remicon JSC is a leading ready-mixed concrete producer, based in the capital Ulaanbaatar, which started operating in 2008. It is a subsidiary of Hera Holding LLC, a construction and mining holding company, and is publicly traded on the Mongolian Stock Exchange.
The Chairman of Remicon JSC, Mr. Kh. Gankhuyag, said during the signing of the loan agreement: "With Mongolia consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, we're seeing a commensurate demand for construction materials in the building and infrastructure sectors. With the support of the EBRD we will be in a position to expand our production capacity and invest in training of additional skilled workers, which will enable us to make an even more significant contribution to our country's development."
Since commencing its operations in Mongolia in 2006, the EBRD has invested almost US$ 1 billion in 56 projects in various sectors of the Mongolian economy, of which the majority were in the non-mining sectors, and 18 individual projects were in the manufacturing and services sector. All of the projects have been in the private sector, engaging with companies owned by Mongolian businessmen and women.
The EBRD last week approved a new country strategy for Mongolia which emphasises diversification and private sector participation in infrastructure projects.
Mongolian investor heads for the final frontier
By Terrence Edwards
July 3 (bne) A small yet bold Mongolian firm is preparing to launch a new oil enterprise in North Korea. It's an unlikely pairing, but the firm is betting it has the key ingredients to make such an unlikely gamble pay.
As Mongolia sputters away from frontier-economy status into the territory of middle-developed, Mongolian Stock Exchange-listed HBOil has hopes to tap into one of the world's last remaining true frontier markets. The company is counting on Mongolia's close relations with the neighbouring hermit kingdom to help serve as a base to launch the country's first home-grown multi-national.
"It's a big opportunity, especially having ownership in a foreign company," said Ulziisaikhan Khudree, HBOil's chief executive. Valued at just $2m, HBOil is chiefly involved in oil-waste recycling, but it has thus far found its digs at home less than fulfilling; Mongolia sports just one producing oil well and no refineries.
North Korea may mirror the potential Mongolia has in natural resources – with 24 times the reserves of South Korea and 360 varieties, according to the Korea Energy Economics Institute. A 2012 report by the Asia-Pacific-focused think tank Nautilus Institute suggests the best indicator of potential onshore production is reports from 2006 of up to 300,000 tons of crude oil a year, while Pyongyang is said to be eyeing the West Sea (the Korean name for the Yellow Sea), which is said to hold 12bn barrels of oil.
The deal will open onshore exploration, development, and production rights for HBOil via the full acquisition of Malaysian company Ninox Hydrocarbons (L) Berhad. Ninox will offer HBOil 20% in KOEC International - a joint venture with the state-owned Korea Oil Exploration Corp – as well as the option to acquire 51% of an entity with oil exploration and production rights in the Korean East Sea (internationally known as the Sea of Japan). The value of the deal has not been released, but a capital raising of $5-15m will cover the costs and also determine the acquisition of the offshore interest, according to Ninox.
Breaking the chains of energy dependence
Dependence on foreign fuel has built a strong desire in Mongolia to develop the country's own production capabilities. Petrol and diesel shortages are the norm during the summer months, when Russia typically cuts its supply, while in January 2012 Mongolia was pushed to the verge of crisis when oil prices spiked 16% overnight. Lacking in its own industries, Mongolia relies on imports to meet demand for numerous goods, including most groceries. Hikes in fuel prices therefore directly impact prices as transport costs are hit.
A key point in the deal for HBOil then is the interest it offers in the Sungri Oil Refinery at the Rason Special Economic Zone on the northeast tip of North Korea. Although the facility is under refurbishment currently, HBOil hopes it will eventually win the right to deliver all of Sungri's output to Mongolia. "From our perspective the refinery is a strategic value proposition… from HBOil's perspective, they were looking at expanding their domestic recycling business by taking it overseas and potentially looking at refineries," says Joseph Naemi, CEO of Singapore-based seller Ninox Energy.
With rail already linking Rason and Mongolia, the deal also hints at future access to North Korean ports, which would offer Mongolia's growing minerals output reach to new international markets. Currently China consumes more than 90% of the country's mineral exports, but with the giant's growth slowing, access to Japan, South Korea and India would hedge Mongolia's risks.
Such a move was advised in a report published by Japan's Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia (ERINA) last January. "Mongolia's securing of sea access to the Pacific via DPRK ports is highly strategic and could reduce its dependence on Chinese and Russian transit ports," it forecast.
Fool's errand or final frontier?
North Korea is absent from the lists of most investors due to perceptions of a regime gone rogue, the veil of mystery surrounding the governing structure, and its concerning nuclear agenda. The Eurasia Group counted North Korea as one of its top risks for 2013 for these reasons, but HBOil and Ninox say they have seen enough change to validate the move. "There's lots of foreign investment in the DPRK," says Naemi, adding industries such as tourism and telecoms to mining, where foreign investors had already made their mark.
Despite high possibilities for disruptions stemming from broken agreements and political instability, with the potential that expanded international sanctions could make it impossible to operate, neither Khudree nor Naemi appear fazed. Naemi says the companies were already in compliance with present sanctions, which he said were mostly targeted at activities related to the military and nuclear capability of North Korea.
"DPRK is neither unstable nor isolated; instead it is engaged in a complex geopolitical tension, which has become more complicated over time," Khudree insists. "HBOil takes comfort in the excellent and longstanding relationship between Mongolia and DPRK, and is confident that its planned investments are less risky than [some] that are currently being made by multinationals in certain other parts of the world."
Fitch: Mongolia Election Makes Space for Greater Policy Clarity
July 2 (Fitch) Incumbent Tsakhia Elbegdorj's victory in last week's Mongolian presidential election creates space for the authorities to reduce policy uncertainty, particularly around foreign investment in mining and macroeconomic management, Fitch Ratings says. This could potentially result in higher growth and improved fiscal performance and external finances, which would support Mongolia's sovereign credit profile.
Elbegdorj's victory should consolidate the hold on power by the Democratic Party, the largest member of the coalition government. Elbegdorj received slightly more than 50% of the vote, avoiding a run-off vote. DP members will now hold all major political posts ahead of the next parliamentary elections in 2016.
A period of political stability could allow the Mongolian authorities to clarify their plans for the country's mining regime through a new mining law, and its foreign investment regime through amendments to existing laws. These key policy areas have been subject to some uncertainty in recent months, against a backdrop of populist pressure to reassert Mongolian ownership of resource assets, especially since last year's parliamentary elections.
When we affirmed Mongolia's 'B+' rating and Stable Outlook in November 2012, we said a strengthened policy framework would support the sovereign credit profile.
Since then, some credit negative policy uncertainty has emerged. The biggest and most visible example has been the delay of copper exports from the huge Oyu Tolgoi mine jointly owned by the Mongolian government and Rio Tinto Group beyond their scheduled start date in mid-June. This has come as Rio Tinto and the government attempt to resolve various disputes about cost overruns and mine management.
Mongolia's fiscal deficit deteriorated sharply from 4.8% of GDP in 2011 to 8.4% in 2012, as revenue intake fell short of expectations and was far outpaced by expenditure growth (despite capex being under-executed). The government's ability to comply with the fiscal discipline enshrined in the Financial Stability Law, which caps the structural deficit at 2% of GDP and limits expenditure growth from this year, will be severely tested as the law implies significant tightening of spending.
The Bank of Mongolia has cut its policy rate and credit growth has begun accelerating again, reaching 34.4% in May, from 23.9% in December. This has contributed to market pressure on the tugrik, which has depreciated by 3.7% so far this year against the US dollar.
Resolving uncertainty in these areas could prove credit positive by alleviating investors' concern and sparking renewed FDI inflows, which would bolster Mongolia's ability to capitalise economically on its natural resources and lessen the pressure that lower commodity prices and falling FDI have put on the balance of payments.
We would expect an improvement in the balance of payments once the Oyu Tolgoi mine comes on stream, while further unexpected delays could intensify pressure on Mongolia's external finances. FDI inflows for the second phase of the project would help fund the current account deficit in 2013. The sovereign's fiscal position, which is heavily reliant on mineral revenue, would also get a timely boost.
Chinese coking coal imports up nearly 70% on year in May
July 1 (SteelGuru) China latest Customs data showed that China imported 6.49 million tonnes of coking coal in May, up 68% from a year earlier while 6.6% less than the previous month.
According to the data, China shipped 2.16 million tonnes of coking coal from Australia, 1.25 million tonnes from Mongolia and 979,000 tonnes from Canada.
Coking coal imports in the first five months totaled 30.62 million tonnes, up 44.5% from the same period last year.
Due to widening differences between prices at home and abroad, China saw mounting imports of coking coal and hit a monthly high of 7.58 million tonnes in December last year.
Source - www.steelhome.cn/en
Nationwide infrastructure development under way in Mongolia
July 1 (UB Post) Here is brief information for our readers regarding the development projects that are to be completed within 2013 and to begin in 2014 according to Undesnii Shuudan Newspaper.
Salkhit wind farm
The 50-megawatt Salkhit wind farm, currently under construction at Salkhit Mountain in Sergelen Soum of Tuv Province, was originally planned to go operational in April 2013, but the launch was delayed a bit. Now, a total of 31 turbines in the wind farm have been assembled and the first 10 turbines have recently gone operational. According to engineers, the wind turbines will run in shifts based on their capacities. The wind farm is set to supply five percent of the central region's power consumption which is equivalent to 100,000 households.
Expanding capacity of Fourth Thermal Power Plant by 100 megawatts
The government has issued a decree in both 2012 and 2013 to allocate 70 million USD for the project to expand the capacity of Fourth Thermal Power Plant (TPP4). In accordance with these decrees, the first of the financing which is five percent of the total budget of the project has been paid to a heavy industry plant in Yekaterinburg, Russia. A steam turbine has also already been ordered.
Regarding the matter, Vice-Director of TPP4 B.Tseveen said, "Russian officials reported to us that 60 percent of the steam turbine manufacturing has been completed as of June 24. The turbine is expected to expand the capacity of TPP4 by 100 megawatts. The first set of the turbine parts will arrive in Mongolia by October. Until then, we will relieve the space inside our plant and prepare it for installing the turbine. As soon as the parts arrive, we will start the assembly."
Amgalan Thermal Power Plant
Amgalan Thermal Power Plant is set to be constructed next to the US-15 state-owned heating furnace at Bayanzurkh District. The plant will have a capacity to supply heating to over 20,000 households in the east side of Ulaanbaatar. Construction of the plant is planned to begin within 2013. But land problems are now likely to delay the construction as approximately 35 billion MNT is required to relocate the households and business entities around the US-15 and relieve the land for plant construction. Unless the government resolves this case soonest, the plant's construction may not begin this year.
Fifth Thermal Power Plant and thermal power plant at Tavantolgoi
Companies such as Sojits of Japan, GDF of France, Posko (Mogi: Posco) of Korea, and Newcom Group of Mongolia have proposed to construct the Fifth Thermal Power Plant (TPP5). According to the contract, TPP5 will go operational by 2016. The plant will produce 415 megawatts of electricity and 587 megawatts of heating, supplying 50 percent of Ulaanbaatar's power consumption. A technical and economic assessment as well as other relevant studies is supposed to be done this year. (Mogi: I thought Samsung had newly entered the scene here)
As for the thermal power plant at Tavantolgoi, M.Enkhsaikhan, who is in charge of its establishment, reported, "We have proposed to many foreign companies to construct the fifth plant. We are now studying the proposals we received. Companies to conduct the assessment and other calculations will be selected within July and they will start their work soon after."
Road and construction
This year, six provinces including Dornod, Dundgovi, Dornogovi, Umnugovi, Bayankhongor, and Khuvsgul will be linked to Ulaanbaatar with paved roads. Today, all tenders are concluded and executor companies for the road construction have been selected. Some have already started while some others are transporting the equipment required for constructing roads in the provinces. Only a Korean company which is building the road between Khuvsgul and Ulaanbaatar has reported to the Ministry of Road and Transportation that it cannot open the road within 2013 as planned. The issue will be discussed at the government meeting next Saturday.
45 intersections to be redone
The Ministry of Economic Development is currently implementing the "Street" project and, as part of it, a total of 45 auto road intersections in Ulaanbaatar will be redone this year. As of today, the intersection in front of Urgoo Cinema and traffic circle of Sapporo is already a four-way intersection. The intersections at Dari Ekh and Sansar will also be redone. Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar pledged that, in this pace, one redone intersection will go operational every week.
The first ever project to be financed by the Chinggis Bond was "New Railway" with the aim to build a 1,800-km railway within 2016. Minister of Road and Transportation A.Gansukh said, "Currently, the construction of railway in the route of Tavan Tolgoi-Gashuun Sukhait has already started."
Oil processing plants
The Prime Minister said, "The construction of two oil processing plants – Darkhan Oil Processing Plant and Choir Oil Processing Plant – will begin in 2013." They will open doors in 2016 and they will be able to produce two million tons of products per year.
The cement Plant in Khutul mines 650,000 tons of chalk a year and produces 500,000 tons of cement. The plant upgraded its technology and started manufacturing dry products. Apart from that, the MAK company is jointly building a cement plant in cooperation with a Chinese company. Its construction has already started at Khukh Tsav and it will go operational in the spring of 2014. The plant will manufacture one million tons of cement.
Khushigt Valley and Khanbogd international airport
The construction of an international airport at Khushigt Valley began in April this year and it will be operational from October 2016. Construction design was formulated by the Japanese Azusa Sekkei and Oriental Consulting companies. Mitsubishi Chiyoda will construct the airport. Mongolia is financing the construction with a 40-year soft loan. The airport is able to provide service for three million passengers. Apart from it, Khanbumbat Airport will be built at Khanbogd Soum of Umnugovi Province. It will be 3,250 meters in length and 45 meters high. (Mogi: didn't Samsung "joined" up here too?)
BNP Paribas Boosts Its Global FX Strategy Team With Appointments in the US and the UK
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jul 2, 2013) - BNP Paribas Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), today announced two new appointments for the Global FX Strategy team. Daniel Katzive and Phyllis Papadavid have joined as respectively Head of FX Strategy, North America based in New York, and Senior Global FX Strategist based in London.
Steven Saywell, Global Head of FX Strategy, said: "Daniel Katzive and Phyllis Papadavid bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the firm and will considerably reinforce our Global FX Strategy team. These appointments will enable us to boost the delivery of top-class macro FX strategy to sales and trading in the US and the UK, driving the expansion of BNP Paribas' FX footprint globally."
Daniel has over 15 years' experience in the FX business. He joins from Credit Suisse where he was the lead FX strategist in New York, having previously worked at UBS and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He is responsible for contributions to the team's global macro FX views, trade recommendations and publications with an emphasis on driving forward the G10 FX business in North America. Together with Vasilis Koutsaftis, FX Volatility Strategist and Vassili Serebriakov, G10 FX Strategist, Daniel will be the voice of FX strategy for the region.
Phyllis Papadavid has over a decade of experience in FX research. Having started her career at Lehman Brothers where she was senior FX strategist and international economist, she was most recently economic adviser to the Government of Mongolia. In her London-based role, she is responsible for contributions to the team's global macro FX views, trade recommendations and publications with particular emphasis on driving the firm's longer-term Macro FX strategy.
Daniel Katzive, Head of FX Strategy, North America, said: "At such a pivotal time for the US dollar as the Fed contemplates tapering of QE, joining BNP Paribas is a real opportunity for me to be part of an exceptionally strong currency research team. In this context, I'm very excited to contribute to the bank's continuous expansion of its foreign exchange business."
Phyllis Papadavid, Senior Global FX Strategist, said: "I am delighted to join such a dynamic currency research team and look forward to launching a new series of longer-term, thematic currency research."
President directs government to draft new military service policy
July 1 (UB Post) The re-elected President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj, issued a decree on Friday giving directions to the government. According to the laws on the military duty of Mongolian citizens and on the legal status of a military servant as well as the implementing clause "to protect the motherland and to perform military service," the state must "prepare citizens in defending the motherland." President Ts.Elbegdorj, thus, directed the government to implement them.
The issued decree includes directions, firstly, to initiate and develop the relevant draft bills, to create the legal environment for male students from the ages of 18 to 25 who study in the higher educational institutes of Mongolia and who have not served in the military to have them perform military service by adjusting the leisure time of their studies, and to submit the draft bill to the Parliament.
Secondly, the decree directs the government, with the leadership of Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag, to issue the relevant amount specified in the annual state budget to be spent in the decree's implementation.
Thirdly, specific duties were given to the authorities in charge of defense and the general staff of the armed forces to annually update the President of Mongolia by December and openly provide information to the public on the status of the implementation of this decree.
Ulaanbaatar Election Commission releases report
July 1 (UB Post) The members of the Ulaanbaatar Election Commission delivered a report on the 2013 Presidential Election to the General Election Commission (GEC). The Chairman of the capital city's Election Commission, Yo.Gerelchuluun, said, "No conflicts happened during the Election Day of June 26. Some 561,288 capital city residents voted in the election out of 817,154 who registered so voter turnout in Ulaanbaatar was 68.6 percent. Some 305,760 people cast their ballots for candidate Ts.Elbegdorj of the Democratic Party, a total of 217,824 people supported the candidate from the Mongolian People's Party, former wrestling champion B.Bat-Erdene, and 4,787 electors voted for Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party candidate N.Udval. The ballot papers and the registration materials of the voters received from 368 electoral precincts have already been delivered to the GEC."
The Chairman of the GEC, Ch.Sodnomtseren, has made a statement that the capital city's Election Commission had successfully conducted the 2013 Presidential Election, and that the GEC has not received any complaints related to this commission from the citizens.
The overall positive proceedings of the elections were highlighted by Head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights election mission Audrey Glover. She noted that "voting was assessed positively in 99 percent of the cases observed," adding later that no major complaints have been filed yet. The assessment is tainted with several problems though, mostly regarding the independence of the media and the criteria for the eligibility of presidential candidates and the selection of civil servants at the GEC.
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MobiCom to Offer iPhone 5 in Mongolia from June 28
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia— June 28, 2012—MobiCom today announced it will offer iPhone 5 on a range of plans beginning Friday, June 28. iPhone 5 customers will be able to connect to MobiCom's fast DC-HSDPA network.
iPhone 5 is the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever, completely redesigned to feature a stunning new 4-inch Retina display; an Apple-designed A6 chip for blazing fast performance; and ultrafast wireless technology* —all while delivering even better battery life.* iPhone 5 comes with iOS 6.
Pricing and details for iPhone: Monthly fee reflected as net of reverse credits.
Postpaid Plan 1
Postpaid Plan 2
Prepaid Plan 1
900 min – Any Net
900 min – Any Net
500 – Any Net
Contract Term (months)
iPhone 5 16GB
MNT 430,000 + MNT 18,000/mo for 24 months
iPhone 5 32GB
MNT 500,000 upfront + MNT 21,000/mo for 24 months
iPhone 5 64GB
MNT 565,000 upfront + MNT 23,000/mo for 24 months
iPhone 4S 16GB
MNT 254,000 upfront + MNT 14,400/mo for 24 months
iPhone 4 8GB
MNT 176,000 upfront + MNT 1,834/mo for 24 months
"We are very pleased to bring iPhone 5 to customers in Mongolia," said MobiCom CEO Koichi Kawase. "We have seen the number of smartphone users in Mongolia increasing day by day and know that MobiCom customers will flock to iPhone."
* Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks, check with your carrier for details
* Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary. And sets are subject to stock availability. Prices are subject to change.
Mogi: always been skeptical of these types of "industry" reports
Research and Markets: The Insurance Industry in Mongolia, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2017
DUBLIN, July 2--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/6jdxxh/the_insurance) has announced the addition of the "The Insurance Industry in Mongolia, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2017" report to their offering.
Mongolia has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with real GDP increasing from 6.4% in 2010 to 17.3% in 2011 (Mogi: revised to 17.5%). According to the World Bank, the economy is expected to expand by 11.8% in 2012 (Mogi: huh?) and 16.2% in 2013, underpinned by developments in the mining industry.
Led by economic growth, the Mongolian insurance industry registered a CAGR of 26.7% during the review period (2008-2012). However, the industry is relatively small and in its developmental stages; indeed, its first life insurance company: National Life Insurance Company LLC was established in 2008.
The report provides in depth market analysis, information and insights into the insurance industry in Mongolia, including:
- The Mongolian insurance industry's growth prospects by insurance segments and categories
- The competitive landscape in the Mongolian insurance industry
- The current trends and drivers of the Mongolian insurance industry
- The challenges facing the Mongolian insurance industry
- The regulatory framework of the Mongolian insurance industry
Key Topics Covered:
1 Executive Summary
2.1 What is this Report About?
3 Mongolian Insurance Industry Overview
3.1 Mongolian Insurance Industry
3.2 Key Industry Trends and Drivers
4 Industry Segmentation
4.1 Life Insurance
4.1.1 Individual term-life insurance category
4.2 Non-Life Insurance Growth Prospects by Category
4.2.1 Property insurance category
4.2.2 Motor insurance category
4.2.3 Liability insurance category
4.2.4 Marine, aviation and transit insurance category
4.3 Personal Accident and Health Insurance Growth Prospects by Category
5 Competitive Landscape
6 Macroeconomic Indicators
6.1 GDP at Constant Prices (US Dollars)
6.2 GDP Per Capita at Constant Prices (US Dollars)
6.3 GDP at Current Prices (US Dollars)
6.4 Inflation Rate
6.5 Exports as a Percentage of GDP
6.6 Construction Output (US Dollar Million)
6.7 Market Capitalization of Listed Stocks as a Percentage of GDP
6.8 Life expectancy
6.9 Healthcare Expenditure per Capita
6.10 Total Number of Air Passenger
6.11 Total Population
For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/6jdxxh/the_insurance
Two best friends from Mongolia enjoy the nail business in Chicago
GLENVIEW, July 1 – When Puje Baat moved to Chicago from Mongolia in 2002 with her husband, Batbold and their daughter, Ami, they had a few family members in the area, but no friends here.
But it wasn't long before Baat met her now best friend, Ehko Lkam, also from Mongolia. It was a friendship that not only grew personally, but that turned into a business partnership when the two opened UB Spa Nails, first in Glenview in 2008, and then in Lake Forest last year.
"She's a wonderful partner," Baat said of Lkam. "She's very smart and she's a hard worker. I know her so well, and making decisions together is easy because we think so much alike."
Baat, who studied computer programming at a college in Mongolia worked for the largest cell phone company there for four years before coming to the states.
Once in Chicago, she attended the Roza's School of Nail Technology in Lincolnwood where she obtained her license as a nail technician.
After working at various nail salons in Chicago and on the North Shore for several years, including Elizabeth Arden in Deerfield, Baat said she decided it was time to open her own salon. And no one seemed more perfect to partner with than her best friend.
"From the first day I started my career, I felt like I was good at it, and I always knew I would do this," Baat said. "I enjoy making people happy, I love talking to my customers and I love the connection I have with so many of them."
Named after Ulan Bator, which is the capital of Mongolia, UB Spa Nails offers manicures, spa manicures, pedicures, spa pedicures, polish changes, paraffin, and French manicures. The spa also does waxing.
"Women come here for a break in their day," said Baat, who with Lkam manages both salons and still has a full client list. "We make sure the salon is comfortable, tranquil, peaceful and quiet."
UB Spa, which is located on Waukegan Road at Winnetka Road employs 10 nail technicians, most who have been at the salon since the beginning.
"We have to hire people who can connect with the customer," Baat said. "People who make conversation and make the customer feel comfortable and happy."
Baat said her highest priority is keeping the salon very clean and making sure all the equipment is sanitized.
She also said it's important for her and Lkam to attend beauty shows at least twice per year to learn about new techniques, new products and about the latest trends in the nail industry.
Kathy McCarthy of Glenview has been a client since the salon opened, and said she enjoys the peacefulness of the environment.
"It's not a loud place. It's subdued," she said. "And it's clean and relaxing."
McCarthy also said she likes the fact that the spa doesn't offer gel nails, so there's no toxic fumes in the salon.
"It's my weekly treat to myself," said Sandy Sroubek of Glenview, who has been a client of Baat's since Baat was working at another salon. "Puje is friendly and nice and talkative, and I really enjoy seeing her.
UB Spa also hosts birthday parties, bridal showers, ladies nights out, couples nights, corporate parties and other private parties.
Manicures are $15, pedicures are $30, and both services together are $40. The services are less expensive for children 12 and under.
"Women have more self confidence when they feel clean and kept," Baat said. "Feeling that way makes women happy. It's important to a woman."
"I just feel better about myself when my nails are done," Sroubek said.
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Sukhbaatar Square now shines with Philips LED lights
July 1 (UB Post) LED lights which are an inseparable part of the world's big cities are now placed around Sukhbaatar Square. The official ceremony to turn on the lights was held at the square at 10 pm on June 22.
The work was commissioned by Sentino, a value added reseller of Philips Lighting products for Mongolia. In the first stage, the surrounding area of Sukhbaatar Square, Sukhbaatar Statue, Government Palace, Ulaanbaatar City Governor's Office, State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Central Cultural Palace (CCP), and Mongolian Children's Palace are all decorated by these LED lights.
Sentino will fully install the lights around the Government Palace and turn them on all at the same time in the evening of the "Mongolia in Deel" festival that will take place on July 10.
An additional 11 lights will be placed around the CCP, and they will also decorate the facade of the State Academic Theatre of Drama and State Central Library from September 1 this year.
This project cost 3.5 billion MNT in total.
LED lights are heat and water resistant. Their other advantages are that they do not malfunction in cold temperature, and battery life is 10 times longer than that of average light. Most importantly, they save power by 70 percent.
With these LED lights, the daunting problem of Ulaanbaatar in spending so much power on lights around the buildings is now solved.
Model house design for ger district redevelopment introduced
July 1 (UB Post) As part of the Ger District Redevelopment work, the design of the house to be constructed has been finalized and the model house is under construction at Yarmag for public introduction. The house will be built with a full cast skeleton and will have a power-saving system under a German assembly technology according to the Mongolian Housing Finance Corporation (MHFC).
The Isorast Mongolia company is building a 95-meter square house, insulated with German Isorast Group's foam material and concrete cast formwork, for two households in harmony with Mongolia's climate and construction standards.
Manager of Isorast Mongolia M.Tsogtgerel said, "With the purpose of introducing German quality construction to Mongolia, specifically a standard of a 'passive' house design with no heat loss from each side, this house will cost 1.4 million MNT per meter. But a branch of our factory which supplies materials for us in Germany is planned to be built in Mongolia from next year so that the abovementioned price will decline fifty-fold in the future. This house is very advantageous as its assembly work is quite simple with remarkably low heat loss."
Residents of Yarmag area are highly interested in the model house according to a construction engineer in charge of the model.
Those citizens wishing to have a house like this as part of the redevelopment project may submit a request to the MHFC. In this case, the construction of houses to be built within the project will proceed faster.
The model house is a two-storey building with a living room, guestroom, and kitchen on the first floor; with the bedroom, two children's rooms, and walk-in closet on the second. A garage will also be available.
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More than 1,700 N. Korean workers employed in Mongolia: report
SEOUL, July 3 (Yonhap) -- A total of 1,749 North Koreans are working in Mongolia with most of them employed in the construction sector, a news report said Wednesday.
The number of North Korean workers, tallied at the end of April, accounts for the second largest foreign workers' group in the central Asian country, after the Chinese, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia said, citing Mongolia's labor ministry. The figure represents North Koreans legally working in the country.
Chinese workers in Mongolia stood at 5,976 as of end-April, it said.
Given that most foreign workers in Mongolia are employed in the construction industry, the majority of the North Korean workers are presumed to also work in the sector, the report said.
A previous report by a Mongolian newspaper has quoted a North Korean laborer in the country as saying that an average North Korean worker receives US$600-700 in monthly wages there.
The report reflects the two countries' recent efforts to tighten economic ties.
The Mongolian oil firm HBOil JSC announced last month that it has acquired a 20 percent stake in the North Korean oil refinery Sungri. Mongolia also expressed its hope to rent a North Korean seaport while Choe Thae-bok, the chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly, was visiting the country in November last year.
Mongolia seeks NATO support in defence education
July 2 (NATO) A multinational team of experts from NATO professional military education institutions visited the Defence University of Mongolia from 24 to 29 June to discuss their most critical academic needs. The visit followed a request for support from the Mongolian Ministry of Defence, which would like to initiate a Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) with NATO.
As a next step, cooperation in the framework of a Defence Education Enhancement Programme will be developed based on the requirements identified by the Mongolian side and NATO during this visit.
Defence Education Enhancement Programmes are tailored programmes through which the Alliance advises partners on how to build, develop and reform educational institutions in the security, defence and military domain. They focus in particular on faculty building and curriculum development, covering areas such as teaching methodology, leadership and operational planning.
Building on cooperation in peace-support operations that has developed since 2005, NATO and Mongolia agreed to further develop relations by launching an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme in March 2012.
China vows further cooperation with India, Pakistan, Mongolia
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Tuesday that China will advance its mutual cooperation with India, Pakistan and Mongolia.
Wang spoke about the cooperation while meeting separately with his counterparts from those countries on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
During his meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, Wang said the visit to India recently made by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang laid out the strategic plan for the two countries' relations. The meeting also sent a positive signal of the cooperation and coordination between China and India to the world.
Wang said the two nations should combine China's strategy to develop its western region with India's Look East policy, which would promote the integration of Asia and link the markets of China and India, as well as East Asia and South Asia through the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor program.
Khurshid said Li's visit was fruitful and laid a foundation for further development of the two countries' relationship. China and India should strengthen all kinds of bilateral mechanisms, actively back pragmatic cooperation, and remain coordinated on important international and regional issues, he said.
When meeting with Sartaj Aziz, the advisor to the Pakistani prime minister on foreign affairs and national security, Wang said China is happy to see that Pakistan has finished a smooth transition of power.
He said China is willing to work with the new Pakistani government to implement the consensus reached during Li's visit to Pakistan and the common views shared by the two countries' leaders.
China is willing, Wang said, to deepen its pragmatic ties with Pakistan, especially on key cooperation programs, and push the strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries to a new stage.
Wang said China pays great attention to the upcoming visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Beijing and hopes to closely cooperate with Pakistan to make the visit a success.
Aziz said the new Pakistani government will continue to steadfastly develop its all-weather friendly relations with China. He said he believes that Sharif's visit will surely deepen the traditional friendship between the two countries, and strengthen the two sides' cooperation in various areas.
Wang also met with Mongolian Foreign Minister L. Bold. The two sides pledged to deepen mutual cooperation and coordination in various areas.
Mogi: funny exchange between a State Department spokesman and reporter re OSCE's election observation. I also confirm Mongolia is not in Europe
US State Department: Daily Press Briefing - June 28, 2013
Monday, 1 July 2013, 2:09 pm
Press Release: US State Department
Director, Press Office
Daily Press Briefing
June 28, 2013
12:40 p.m. EDT
MR. VENTRELL: Okay. Happy Friday. The ranks really are thinning toward the end of the week here.
QUESTION: There's no one here.
MR. VENTRELL: Well, let me go ahead and do one thing at the top and then I'll turn it over to all of you.
This is on Mongolia. We congratulate the people of Mongolia on their June 26th presidential election in which voters re-elected President Elbegdorj of the Democratic Party. We note that Election Day was peaceful, voter participation was high, and preliminary indications are that the election was conducted in a free and fair manner in accordance with the Mongolian constitution. This was the first Mongolian election observed by the Election Observation Mission of the OSCE, of which Mongolia became a participating state on November 21st, 2012. Mongolia continues to demonstrate its commitment to the further development of the principles of democracy and free and fair elections.
After more than two decades of impressive democratic and market economic transformation, Mongolia continues to serve as a positive example for emerging democracies around the world. The U.S. looks forward to continuing our positive and constructive engagement with Mongolia and further strengthening the friendship between our two countries.
QUESTION: Congratulations to the Mongolian people. This is just a technical question.
MR. VENTRELL: Yeah.
QUESTION: What part of Mongolia actually touches Europe? Why is the OSCE involved? I don't understand.
MR. VENTRELL: Well, my information here says that they are a participating state. It doesn't look like they're a member; it looks like they're a participating state.
QUESTION: So why --
MR. VENTRELL: I am not sure why the OSCE has participating states' electoral observation missions.
QUESTION: You do acknowledge that Mongolia is nowhere near Europe?
MR. VENTRELL: Mongolia --
QUESTION: Doesn't border it, doesn't have anything to do with Europe. (Mogi: haha, doesn't have ANYTHING to do with Europe)
MR. VENTRELL: The last time I checked, Mongolia is not in Europe, no.
QUESTION: All right.
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Mongolia neo-Nazis announce a change of tack - pollution control
July 2 (Reuters) - A Mongolian neo-Nazi group has rebranded itself as an environmentalist organization fighting pollution by foreign-owned mines, seeking legitimacy as it sends Swastika-wearing members to check mining permits.
Tsagaan Khass, or White Swastika, has only 100-plus members but it is one of several groups with names like Dayar Mongol (Whole Mongolia), Gal Undesten (Fire Nation) and Khukh Mongol (Blue Mongolia), expanding a wave of resource nationalism as foreign firms seek to exploit the mineral wealth of the vast country, landlocked between Russia and China.
From an office behind a lingerie store in the Mongolian capital, the shaven-headed, jackbooted Tsagaan Khass storm-troopers launch bizarre raids on mining projects, demanding paperwork or soil samples to be studied for contaminants.
"Before we used to work in a harsh way, like breaking down doors, but now we have changed and we use other approaches, like demonstrations," the group's leader, Ariunbold Altankhuum, 40, told Reuters, speaking through a translator.
On a patrol to a quarry in grasslands a dusty two-hour ride from the capital, members wore black SS-style Nazi uniforms complete with lightning flashes and replica Iron Crosses.
They questioned a mine worker against the sound of machinery grinding stones about paper work, opting to return in a week when the owner had returned.
"Today our main goal is to save nature. We are doing things to protect the environment," Altankhuum said. "The development of mining is growing and has become an issue."
The group, founded in the 1990s, says it wants to halt pollution in the landlocked former Soviet satellite as foreign companies dig for gold, copper, coal and iron ore using cheap labor from neighboring China and nearby Southeast Asia. But a lot of the pollution is caused by local, illegal miners working individually.
"We used to talk about fighting with foreigners, but some time ago we realized that is not efficient, so our purpose changed from fighting foreigners in the streets to fighting the mining companies," Altankhuum said.
Foreign-invested mining companies contacted by Reuters either were unavailable for comment or did not want to comment.
Mongolians fear foreign workers are taking up scarce jobs in an economy where nearly 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the Asia Development Bank.
"Mining is important because it's 90 percent of our economy," said political commentator Dambadarjaa Jargalsaikhan. "But the unequal channeling of this revenue, the inequality in this country, that's the major issue."
Not helping the Tsagaan Khass environmental credentials among mainstream observers, apart from the uniforms, is Altankhuum's reverence for Adolf Hitler.
"The reason we chose this way is because what is happening here in Mongolia is like 1939, and Hitler's movement transformed his country into a powerful country," he said.
ENJOYING THE ATTENTION
Because of comments like that, some observers dismiss groups such as his as self-serving and irrelevant.
"Mongolia's neo-Nazis have been receiving too much attention from global media, and they've obviously been enjoying it," said Tal Liron, a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago who specializes in national identity. "They do not, however, represent Mongolians as a whole, any more than neo-Nazis in Britain represent the Brits.
"...Mongolians are cosmopolitan, savvy and perfectly capable of adapting many foreign ideologies and fashions to their context. For example, they have since 1990 thoroughly and vibrantly embraced representative democracy, just as they embraced socialism before 1990. I think that's the real story here: Mongolians are not and perhaps never were a remote, isolated people. And they're also quite capable of understanding irony, especially in regards to their contemporary condition."
Resource nationalism has been a major election issue in Mongolia, where the largest foreign investment is the Oyu Tolgoi project, 66 percent owned by global miner Rio Tinto and the rest by the government.
Oyu Tolgoi is expected to boost Mongolia's economy by about a third by 2020. Annual output in its first decade is expected to average 330,000 tons of copper and 495,000 ounces of gold.
But Rio has said since February it will not begin exports from the mine until it resolves disputes with Mongolia over royalties, costs, management fees and project financing.
"They are saying they have signed contracts on it and are giving some percentage of that to the people," Dorjgotov Purev-Ish, a 39-year-old manual laborer, told Reuters, describing government assurances of the advantages to flow from Oyu Tolgoi.
"But our family hasn't received any benefit."
Incumbent president Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who wants more controls on foreign mining investment (Mogi: no he does not), won a second term last week, riding concerns over the faltering economy and the growing role of foreign firms.
Colonel Tumenjargal Sainjargal of the National Police Department said the right-wing phenomenon began 15 years ago when young people grew angry at the appearance of foreign languages on signs and made threats against business owners.
"They said it was too much, that it looked like a Chinatown," Sainjargal said.
"There are complaints that some foreign-invested companies hire Mongolian employees and cheat them, use violence, over work them, or refuse to pay money owed to them. Afterwards, some of these Mongolians call the nationalist groups. There have been a few incidents with nationalists coming to companies for violent reasons to resolve the conflicts in their own way."
It seems unlikely Tsagaan Khass's new green thinking will be enough to repair its reputation after accusations of violence, such as shaving the heads of women it claimed were prostitutes serving foreign customers.
"We didn't shave the heads of the women, we just cut their hair," said Altankhuum. "But today we are changing. That was crude. That time has passed."
White Swastika: Mongolia's eco-Nazis – Asian Correspondent, July 3
In Mongolia's Gobi Desert, Increased Mining Activities Raise Pollution Fears
Rising water use by industry, deformed livestock births, exacerbate traditional pastoralists' mistrust of the government
July 1 (Earth Island Journal) In April this year, two concurrent events were reported from the Dornogobi (East Gobi) province in Mongolia. AREVA, a multinational uranium mining company headquartered in France, announced that its Mongolian subsidiary, Kojegobi LLC (Mogi: Cogegobi), had located an estimated 55,000-ton uranium deposit in the Ulaanbadrakh district. Around the same time, local media reported the strange deaths and deformities of a number of young livestock in the district.
Herders living a few miles from the exploration site were saying their lambs, goats, and camels were birthing deformed babies. In some cases the newborns were blind or hairless, in other the deformities were more extreme. There were reports of a lamb with two-heads, another with no lower jaw, and goat kids and baby camels with missing or shriveled limbs, two environmental activists, Baatarkhuyag of Gal Undesten Kholboo or "Protecting the Fire of Mongolia" and Aldarmaa of No Radiation Future, told me when I met with them recently at a café in Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar. (Mongolians usually use only one name.)
A herder named Norsuren, living about four miles from the mining camp, had lost 22 calves, lambs, and goats. So many "that he stopped counting," said Aldarmaa. Overall, about 20 herder families reported spring birth deformities in their livestock, she said.
The previous winter too, large numbers of livestock had died mysteriously. The deaths have led to concerns among the villagers about uranium radiation from mining activities in the region. They suspect the animals had died because the uranium exploration work had contaminated the local environment.
Mongolia has a long history of uranium mining dating back to Russian operations in the 1950s when it was a Soviet satellite state. Though there are no functioning uranium mines in the country currently, its significant uranium deposits continue to attract investors. AREVA, for instance, has 28 exploration licenses and is currently exploring nearly 5,400 square miles of the province for the valuable radioactive ore.
Following media reports about the villagers' radiation and water contamination fears, the Mongolian government ordered the nation's Nuclear Energy Authority to conduct tests in the region. To the herders' disappointment, the tests concluded that uranium radiation wasn't the problem. Rather it was exposure to naturally occurring selenium and copper in the soil that was killing their animals.
The government asked the herders to "stop creating a sensation," said Aldarmaa.
Skeptical about the findings, 319 herder families joined with 12 civil society groups and sent a letter to the Mongolian administration in the spring demanding independent testing of the area and the cessation of uranium exploration in the region.
Given that the Gobi region is rich in mineral resources, many water sources here already contain traces or high levels of naturally occurring minerals and heavy metals like arsenic, copper, selenium, and yes, even uranium.
A peer-reviewed study analyzing the Dornogobi's groundwater, also published in spring, found high levels of naturally occurring uranium and arsenic in the groundwater. The study noted that health officials do not normally test the water for uranium. According to the report: "Average uranium and arsenic concentrations in eight and five of the 14 soums (counties), respectively, exceeded the WHO guidelines."
However, Nuclear Energy Authority chief N. Tegshbayar maintains that uranium did not cause the livestock deaths.
This incident is yet another example of the increasing tension between Mongolia's traditional pastoralists and the country's government and multinational mining companies that are eager to exploit the country's rich natural resources.
In the past two decades, massive reserves of uranium and a host of other valuable metals and minerals, including coal, oil and gas, copper, and gold, have been uncovered in this remote nation locked between China and Russia. Much of these resources are buried under the vast Gobi desert, one of the world's last great wilderness regions where traditional herders still live a nomadic existence. The ensuing resource extraction boom has led to fears among locals and environmentalists about the survival of the unique Gobi grasslands ecosystem and a traditional way of life.
"There is often a feeling of disempowerment in the general population," said Lars Hojer, an anthropologist from Copenhagen University researching post socialist transition processes in Mongolia. "People are disillusioned with politicians and do not feel that they have any say, and they see 'big people,' politicians and oligarchs, as corrupt people who are only interested in increasing their own wealth.
"Such narratives of suspicion and conspiracy — which are not simply fictions — are difficult to counter, as any 'proof' to the opposite — such as the fact they, AREVA, did not pollute the water (if this is the case) — may be seen as yet another instance of insincerity from people in power."
Water use is a special concern since mining activities can suck up huge volumes of water — a precious resource in this arid region. (The Gobi desert is already expanding at the rate of about 1,400 square miles a year, eating up fertile grasslands that have sustained herders and their livestock for millennia.)
Dornogobi, just one province in the southern Gobi region, is home to 1.3 million livestock and 60,000 people. According to World Bank estimates, the entire Southern Gobi region, consisting of the Dornogobi, Omnogobi, and Dundgobi provinces, has 3.8 million livestock and 150,000 herders and town residents. The livestock need an estimated 31,600 cubic meters of water a day, while residents need 10,000 cubic meters daily. Meanwhile, the combined existing mines in the Southern Gobi Region use an estimated 191,230 cubic meters of water a day — almost five times amount of the water that livestock and people use, according to the 2010 World Bank water assessment for the Southern Gobi Region.
A 2009 World Bank map shows almost the entire Dornogobi province to be covered in mining exploration licenses, lending credence to herders' fears for their livelihood in an already difficult and harsh environment. Based on World Bank projections, groundwater resources will run out in 10 years unless alternative sources are found.
Asked if water sources in the area could potentially be impacted by AREVA's exploration work, a company spokesperson replied via email that government testing had shown selenium, copper and strontium, "three naturally occurring elements in the Mongolian subsurface and neither used nor produced by our activities" had caused the cattle to die. "The analyses are still going on by independent entities regarding the possible presence of natural heavy metal in the water," the spokesperson said. AREVA maintains they did not use sulfuric acid to determine concentrations of uranium in the soil, as local activists allege. Rather, the exploration drilings were utilizing "mud (bentonite + water), nothing else."
AREVA said their communications team is working with locals to help them understand the results of the testing. However, activists like Aldermaa, Baatarkhuyag, and other civil society groups still want "neutral" (independent) testing to be conducted in the region.
Since transitioning to a democratic government and market-based economy, Mongolia has sought to build relationships with other democratic countries, in part to protect itself from the hegemony of its authoritarian neighbors, China and Russia. But it seems that democratic investors do not necessarily garner more trust. As Hojer pointed out, even if independent tests reveal naturally-occurring arsenic, selenium, copper, and uranium in the groundwater, because of the intense competition for resources, the herders' stance against foreign-operated mines, uranium, copper or otherwise, isn't going to soften.
Michelle Tolson has an MSc in community development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has worked on research projects in New York City and Cambodia. As a journalist, she has contributed to publications such as the UB Post of Mongol News Group (Mongolia), the Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia), and international publications such as Inter Press Service and Global Post.
Zamyn-Uud: Living on the border
July 1 (UB Post) Mongols have a saying, "Uudlukh ail uudneesee." This means that a well-to-do family started with their doorstep. If Mongolia as a country could be thought of as a family, surely the border would be its doorstep.
I recently visited the Mongolia-China Zamyn-Uud border point, the biggest one in the country. When the train arrived at the doorstep of Mongolia, the place was thriving with people and businesses. Sadly, the Zamyn-Uud station was prone to dust storms.
As soon as I got off the train, there were women waiting at the station with Mongolian fast food such as banshtaitsai (milk tea with meat dumplings), tsuivan, and buuz. They sold food in jam jars which costs around 3,500 MNT. They told me that they sell around 50 jars of food per day. Their revenue is around 175,000 MNT a day and they make a profit of 100 to 125 thousand MNT, which means that they make more than three million a month. But this is one of the smallest businesses at Zamyn-Uud, so it is no surprise that the place is thriving.
The doorstep of our dear nation, although much criticized for the dust and its lack of infrastructure, is a place like no other in the country. The currency and value of money is different at Zamyn-Uud compared with any other province or city in Mongolia. During my short visit, it seemed that money flowed in and out very quickly.
Once you've arrived at Zamyn-Uud, there are several ways you can travel across the border. You can take a bus, which itself has many options in size, shape, and cost; or you can hire a car ranging from UAZ-469 jeeps made of old Russian hunks of steel, to Toyota Land Cruisers. There are several choices with varying costs. To take a bus to cross the border will cost you around 30 yuans (approximately 7,000 MNT). To take the cheapest car, the UAZ-469 instead, will be more expensive at around 50 yuans. The price can increase to a range of 80 to 100 yuans a journey when the demand is high.
According to a UAZ-469 driver, he makes at least two trips a day and five trips tops, each time with six passengers. If he makes 300 yuans a trip, he makes a profit of 250 yuans for every trip. If he makes three trips a day, his profit is around 750 yuans. But let's not forget that he also does a return trip which boosts his profit for the day to around 1,500 yuans which is approximately 345 thousand MNT, so his monthly profit will be around 10.35 million MNT.
While this estimate is my own and maybe flawed, even if the profit is twice as less, it is much more than the average income of Ulaanbaatar residents. If we look further, there are also the land cruiser drivers who don't bother with lining up as they know the "right" people. Their profit must be much, much higher than that of the Russian jeep drivers. There are also owners of hotels, restaurants, shops, as well as landlords and who not whose profit must be through the roof for average wage wielders like myself.
The rumor is that the border inspector makes the most profit, with much of it through "shady" means. Of course, this claim cannot be proven as they are only words passed from mouth to mouth. Although Zamyn-Uud doesn't look like much of a city on the surface, Mongolians can work and profit there to make a better living.
The purpose of this article is not to brag about the people living in Zamyn-Uud. On the contrary, Zamyn-Uud demonstrates a pressing issue that is the development of border points. Mongolia has a total of 11 of them with China, through which it conducts trade, but none is as busy or thriving as Zamyn-Uud. Indeed, the border centers of Dayan, Baitag, Bulgan, Burgastai, Khavirga, Bayankhoshuu, Sumber, Shiveekhuren, and Gashuunsukhait are deserted places with hardly anyone living there. National security is important to Mongolia since we are sandwiched between two great nations; therefore, we cannot leave the border unprotected and open. But the contrast between the busy lifestyle in Zamyn-Uud with the other border centers' lack of development is gaping.
The government has been talking about developing two strategic border centers for many years – Gashuunsukhait and Shiveesuren, both located in Umnugobi Province. The government has approved several projects there and already issued the financing, but the two border points are still a deserted countryside. They are only used by mining trucks exporting coal and other minerals. No trader or businessperson roams these lands.
On the other hand, China has developed a sizable settlement near Gashuunsukhait and Shiveesuren, though not as big as the one in Erenhot near Zamyn-Uud. If the government makes a real effort to develop these border points to the level of at least Zamyn-Uud, the possibilities for business and trade are limitless. Mongols will "live, work and profit" just as the government keeps boasting of this.
A decade or two ago, Erenhot was a small settlement but, now, its infrastructure and development is astounding and all because the city has become a hub for enterprising Mongolians – both men and women alike.
Mongolia has a lot of wealth, not just minerals but also livestock and all of the products that come from it such as dairy, wool, cashmere, and leather. These products are of great value, but Mongolia cannot trade much of them because it is believed that living can only be made in the center that is Ulaanbaatar. It is the home of around half of Mongolia's entire population.
In my short trip, I have come to understand the significance of foreign trade. China, on one hand, is one of the top traders of the world and its policies are reflected in the lives of its over a billion people. Mongolia, on the other hand, has tremendous wealth and a small population. Why can't fewer than three million people live healthily, wealthily, and happily with all the riches and opportunities surrounding us?
Mongolia: Home Away From Home
Winter 2013 (The ARCH) ALLYSON SEABORN has never been one to resist the call of adventure. The Bond alumnus moved to Mongolia last year and has been captivated by the stunning landscape, intriguing history, and welcoming people. The Bachelor of Laws she completed at Bond University has assisted her work as a writer for Mongolia's largest English newspaper and helped her navigate a country in the midst of dramatic economic, political and social change.
Here Seaborn explains to The ARCH that life really does happen when you're busy making other plans.
WHAT WERE YOUR CAREER ASPIRATIONS DURING YOUR TIME AT BOND UNIVERSITY?
I undertook a Bachelor of Laws degree at the beginning of 1990. The main reason I studied at Bond is because it has one of the best law schools in Australia. I cannot for the life of me remember where I left my car keys, but I can still remember my Bond University student ID number!
I was quite certain I would be a lawyer for the rest of my life. Like so many of my fellow friends, however, I veered off the beaten track, always knowing that my law degree was a valuable asset in any chosen field.
After I was admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland I worked as a criminal lawyer. I never in a million years thought I would be living in Mongolia editing and writing for Mongolia's largest English newspaper. I had planned on always being a lawyer in Brisbane, but as the saying goes, life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
I have also had the wonderful opportunity to teach ESL (English as a second language) to students at Ulaanbaatar's finest school, the American School of Ulaanbaatar.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO MOVE TO MONGOLIA?
I've always had the travel bug and a keen interest in visiting exotic places, so when my husband was offered a role with Leighton in Ulaanbaatar, there was no doubt about going on the adventure of a lifetime.
When I was younger I read a remarkable book called Beasts, Men and Gods by Ferdinand Ossendowski and I promised myself then that I would come to Mongolia one day. I was also very inspired by Ewan McGregor's TV series Long Way Round. I knew I had to one day see Mongolia's spectacular countryside with my own eyes. It's even more beautiful than I ever imagined it could be. The history of this country is also truly fascinating.
YOU WORK FOR THE LARGEST-SELLING ENGLISH NEWSPAPER IN THE COUNTRY, UB POST. HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT?
Well, I have always loved writing and editing. I was published by the Weekend Australia Review, which gave me a boost of confidence and also had a weekly column in the Northwest Star Newspaper.
When I arrived in Ulaanbaatar there were so many things I saw and felt I had to write about. The first article I had published here was an editorial called Teachers Breaking the Law about corporal punishment in Mongolian schools. It is against the law to hit kids in class, but it still happens.
I was the Editor of the UB Post for nearly a year, but am really focusing on being their columnist now as it gives me time to do what I love most – write.
I was recently invited to the State Great Khural (Parliament) to interview the Chairman of the Mongolian Parliament – Chairman Enkhbold. It was a surreal experience and very exciting to be in such a grand building, seeing what goes on. Parliament House is a palatial building with an ominous monument of Genghis Khan (we call him Chinggis here) guarding it.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORK INVOLVE ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
I have two columns. One is called UB Expats where I interview foreign ambassadors, volunteers and businessmen. It has proven to be very popular. There is now talk of compiling a book of all of my interviews. People come to Mongolia for such a wide variety of reasons and their stories are fascinating.
My other column is called Personal Viewpoint – A Mongolian Perspective. This is by far my favourite feature as I actually find Mongolians are far more interesting than foreigners. I'm now able to converse in broken Mongolian which makes it easier for me.
This week I'm tracking down a Mongolian cosmonaut who speaks very little English. Learning to speak Mongolian has been very handy- it also shows Mongolians I'm not a tourist.
HOW ARE YOU INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY OUTSIDE OF YOUR WORK?
I'm a member of the International Women's Association of Mongolia (IWAM) which does many wonderful things for people in need. I also regularly take my two kids to orphanages armed with boxes of fresh fruit and clothing.
My kids have lived in a naïve and safe little bubble their whole lives. It's important for them to see what's really out there and to realize how lucky they are just to have the simple things in life.
There is also a wonderful organization here called the Veloo Foundation which looks after families that make their living and clothe themselves with items scavenged from the rubbish dump.
They are known as the 'children of the peak' and survive in the most appalling conditions. I've been to visit the children of the peak to help out with a group of teachers and students from the American School of Ulaanbaatar.
YOU SAY YOU PLAN TO STAY IN MONGOLIA INDEFINITELY. WHAT IS IT THAT KEEPS YOU THERE?
It's the people. Quite frankly the Mongolian people are amazing, robust, warm and charming. They are also very strong and brave as they've always had to live in such harsh conditions. Recently there was a large fire in our apartment building and four cars caught on fire and exploded. Plumes of black smoke enveloped our building and playground. My kids feared for their lives and were outside crying, but the Mongolian kids just acted like it was no problem. They were running around the playground still having fun like 'no worries we'll be fine.'
This country is also changing so rapidly. It's in a period of great transition and I feel I'm part of history in the making. About twenty years ago Mongolia removed itself from the collapsing Soviet Union and since then, it has undergone the most astounding economic, political and social change. I regret not having come to Mongolia sooner. I should have been here in the '90s as soon as I graduated from Bond University!
They call this country 'Munkh Khukh Tengriin Oron' – or the 'Land of Eternal Blue Sky.' Even though I am often cursing the wind in minus 35 degree weather, hands and nose numb from the cold, sure enough the sun is always shining.
Apart from the spectacular scenery, I love the fact that adventure lurks around every corner – from dog sledding, to finding dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert to meeting former Mongolian top secret agents. That's a long story I am still writing about. I spent an hour with an infamous, former spy as he described a kidnapping job he had to do.
My car tire was popped and flattened about 80kms east of Ulaanbaatar by an 11th century iron arrow head dated to the time when Genghis Khan was uniting the Mongol Empire. It is one of my most treasured possessions. Not a week passes without me thinking "Did that just happen to me?"
The opera and ballet here are also world class, not to mention the many talented local artists. I love the Naadam Festival in summer which includes wrestling, archery and horse-racing. I also adore Mongolian food like mutton pancakes called Khushur.
The Mongolian culture is so unique and enchanting, from the colourful and ornate clothing (deels) to the music, to the beautiful poems of Dashdorjiin Natsagdorj. There is also a wonderful holiday here called Tsagaan Sar in which Mongolians celebrate the lunar new year. Many expats leave the country during Tsagaan Sar and I can't understand it. It's the best time to be in Mongolia!
Right now I am half way through a translated version of "The Secret History of the Mongols" which is the oldest Mongolian text, written twenty years after Genghis Khan died. It tells about the birth of this nation and about the life of Genghis Khaan.
HOW HAVE YOUR STUDIES AT BOND UNIVERSITY ASSISTED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
I Having a Bachelor of Laws from Bond has opened many doors for me both personally and professionally.
My degree has assisted me with my writing skills and interviewing techniques. It's also given me a wide range of contacts around the world that I would not otherwise have. Having a law degree has been an invaluable education.
I'm constantly applying things I learnt at Bond to my work in Ulaanbaatar. I see legal stories around every corner. There is a children's prison just 300 metres from where I live. Surrounding this prison are luxury apartments – but these children are guarded inside by an ominous, archaic wall. Now there's a story waiting to be told.
The photographs of Roy Chapman Andrews of early 20th century Mongolia
July 1 (UB Post) In the early 20th century, Roy Chapman Andrews blazed trails across Mongolia to share his fossil findings with the world. His second and third "Central Asiatic Expeditions" touched on Mongolian territory six times in 1919, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1928, and 1930. Those expeditions proved that Mongolia was a scientifically unique and important region with large amounts of ornithology, geology, paleontology, paleobotany and archeological resources.
The naturalist and adventurer, Roy Chapman Andrews, discovered proof that dinosaurs were hatched from eggs and that dinosaurs populated the Mongolian Gobi Desert. His expeditions came to Mongolia and discovered Mongolia in different ways. He wrote the history of the world's dinosaurs and natural history and included Asia and Mongolia in the story.
The photographs taken by Roy Chapman Andrews leave behind a unique memory of Mongolian life, and depictions of Mongolian morals and culture.
The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, the Paleontological Center at the Mongolian Academy of Science, Ulaanbaatar City Museum, Arigu Media LLC, Aisui Elch non-governmental organization, Gamma photo agency, and the Mongolian Dinosaur Study Institute have come together to present "Indiana Jones" Roy Chapman Andrews in Mongolia: Story continues…" photo exhibition at the Ulaanbaatar City Museum. The exhibit opened on June 28 and continues until October 1.
The exhibition includes around 125 photos. The photos transport you to the world of dinosaur hunting and Mongolia 100 years ago.
National Museums free during Naadam
July 1 (news.mn) There are 10 days remaining before the beginning of the National festival, Naadam, in Mongolia.
This year Mongolia is celebrating the 2222nd anniversary of the founding of the first Mongolian State, the 807th anniversary of Great Mongol State and 92nd anniversary of the Mongolian People`s Revolution.
During the main days of the Nadaam festival the national museums will be open to the public offering free access for all.
The free access to national museums covers the National Museum of Mongolia, the Winter Palace museum of Bogd Khan, the Choijin Lama Temple Museum, the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts and the Theatrical Museum of Mongolia. The program is a part of a project called Discovery Through History. This is the second year that the project Discovery Through History has been organized. The Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery will also open for free during the Nadaam holiday.
This years program goes a step further from the last with the new offerings of the Central museum in Umnugovi aimag and the Camel museum and Nature museum located in Yolyn Am that has a collection of dinosaur eggs and bones, stuffed birds and a snow leopard. These museums will also be open for free between July 11th and 13th.
Live from UB: Reflections on a Rough Cut
June 30 (Lauren Knapp) I've been editing pretty solidly for the last month and finally, my heaps of footage are turning into something that resembles a documentary film. I brought on a co-editor, Isabelle Strollo (who was amazing!), to help form the story and mold my material into something manageable.
Ahead of applying for additional grant funding, I screened the rough cut of LIVE FROM UB last week. I asked a select group of trusted friends and colleagues to highlight the weak parts, comment on what they enjoyed and what could be cut, and give general feedback on the film.
This experience was much more emotionally involved than I had ever expected. Sitting in a screening room with people who have only heard me talk about the project and subject matter in spurts and showing them a product that I know is still incomplete, I felt utterly vulnerable. I care deeply about this project and am really invested in it's success. Because of that, however, I want it to be the best it can, and I know that I will need to swallow my pride and take criticism to make that happen. Despite feeling utterly exposed, the screening was a success. I got some great feedback and will now be able to take that into consideration as I work on the second draft.
While it's clear that I still have some work to do, it was great to hear initial reactions to a subject in which I have become so intimately involved. One of the questions I asked people was "What did you learn?"
"I learned elements of Mongolia's history and the connection between music and social change that manifested in the culture."
"I learned so much about the effect of music in a global context and more about Mongolia than I've ever known or wanted to – which is a good thing."
I also asked people to write five words that describe the film. Here are some of those words:
Unique | Optimistic | Intriguing | Truthful | Curious | Well-Done | Thoughtful
Beautiful | Considerate | Pretty | Funny | Encompassing | Informative | Impressive
Educational | Inquisitive | Humorous | Colorful | Positive | Eye-opening | Insightful
Human | Scenic | Compassion | Art | Underdog story | Travel | Adventure | Historical
Not your typical story | No ego | Band with passion | Care for Identity | Transformative
Revolution | Noble | Giant Killer
All in all, I'm pretty happy with the overall reaction. I'm glad to know that Mongolian rock and national identity are subjects that have potential to reach a broader audience. Now, I just need to refine the edit to make sure that happens.
Expedition Gobi Desert 2013 Now Live!
June 17 (Impossible 2 Possible) Beginning June 23, my 'Running the Sahara' teammate Kevin Lin and I will attempt to run 2,300km across the Gobi Desert in approximately 35 days!
Mongolia is the least densely populated country on earth, and is also the world's second-largest landlocked country. The plan is to run 70-80 km a day across the Gobi Desert, to experience, share and learn about the culture of the nomadic people, the environment and all of the beauty and the challenges of the Gobi Desert. The expedition will be shared live via website, live tracking and live videoconferencing.
» Visit: gobi2013.com
New Historical Fiction Transports Readers to the Mongolian Invasion of Europe
Author Yvonne Wang Comments on Current Events Using a Story Set in the Past
Los Angeles (PRWEB) July 01, 2013 --
In her new book, "Bridge across the Land" (published by Trafford Publishing), Yvonne Wang takes readers to 1241, to the time of the Mongol invasion of Europe – a time of a giant cultural collision. The Mongolian troops slaughter scores of people in Moscow, and the people of Poland fear the encroaching army.
As the King and Prince of Poland anxiously await the Mongols' next move, they have no idea that a team of assassins have decided to assassinate the Great Khan of Mongolia. To execute their plan, they capitalized on the opportunity of escorting the Mongolian Princess, while the Princess grows up in Poland without knowing her identity before.
However, the plan falls apart as one of the assassins and the princess fall in love. As their paths merge, they discover each other's underlining identities. The assassins, the Prince of Poland and the Mongolian Princess struggle, hesitate, and grow in the cruel battlefields full of neigh, sword and fire. After spilling blood and shedding tears, they start to reconsider their missions. Does justice conflict with conscience? What is the most precious pursuit in life? They fight not only with the outer surroundings, but also with their own souls.
Along with romance, action and war, Wang uses the story to develop themes of political liberty and equality. The principles demonstrate the thoughts of self-discovery and self-reflection. As a native of China, she sees a similar awakening taking place in her home country. "In China, the awakening of individualism is emerging," she says. "Under the influence of Western culture, multidimensional value in young people's heart heads and minds lead to doubts about traditions and the pursuit of freedom. It is the same struggle my characters face."
About the Author
Born and raised in China, Yvonne Wang came to the United States as a teenager in 2007. In 2011 she graduated from University of Southern California with a B.S. degree in business administration. In the past few years she worked at The Walt Disney Company and Merrill Lynch. Meanwhile, she is a Kung Fu practitioner. As a part-time writer living in Los Angeles, Wang is dedicated to bringing out the most memorable stories with her multicultural background. She has a writing style in which she uses exquisite depictions of the environment, the physical appearance and the martial actions to create visual impacts through words.
Trafford Publishing, an Author Solutions, Inc. author services imprint, was the first publisher in the world to offer an "on-demand publishing service," and has led the independent publishing revolution since its establishment in 1995. Trafford was also one of the earliest publishers to utilize the Internet for selling books. More than 10,000 authors from over 120 countries have utilized Trafford's experience for self publishing their books. For more information about Trafford Publishing, or to publish your book today, call 1-888-232-4444 or visit www.trafford.com.
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Founder & CEO
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