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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

[EBRD to help strengthen ₮, MMC seeks loan extensions, HBOil closes $5m convertibles, and JICA to upgrade CHP4 ]

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Overseas Market

Mongolia's MMC seeks loan maturity extension from lenders

Mongolian Mining Corp, which accounts for 42% of the country's coal exports to China, is talking to lenders about extending its debt.

August 29 (Bloomberg) Mongolian Mining Corp. (975) is talking to lenders about extending its debt maturities after the company's profit swung to loss in the first half of the year.

MMC, which accounts for 42 percent of Mongolia's coal exports to China, is negotiating an agreement to reschedule loan repayments, Chief Executive Officer Battsengel Gotov told reporters in Hong Kong today. The company reported a net loss of $25.2 million for the six months through June 30 versus a $31 million profit the same period a year earlier, according to a statement to the city's stock exchange.

"We're talking currently about the potential of rescheduling the repayment, so pushing out the maturity," Gotov said. This will "create a window, and we believe that, for the next six to 12 months, it will allow the company to focus on building up cash reserves."

Policy makers in China, Mongolia's biggest trading partner, want to end reliance on so-called smokestack industries by boosting domestic consumption as growth in the world's second- largest economy slows. Prices of coking coal, a raw material used to produce steel, have fallen this year, with the average selling price for MMC's washed hard product sliding 29 percent in the first half versus the same period of 2012, according to a company presentation.

Bank Facilities

MMC, which is based in Ulaanbaatar and runs Mongolia's Ukhaa Khudag mine, had $934.7 million short- and long-term debt outstanding and $128.6 million cash as of June 30, according to filings to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The debt includes $20 million borrowed from Golomt Bank of Mongolia via a loan which matures next month, plus $20 million from Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia LLC which is slated for repayment by December.

MMC also has $600 million of bonds due March 2017, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The notes pay an 8.875 percent coupon and yielded 22.9 percent as of 4:05 p.m. in Hong Kong.

Net financing costs totaled about $38.6 million in the first six months of the year compared with $5.8 million in the same period of 2012. The company plans to boost its cash position by selling a road used for coal transport to the government and by focusing on reducing costs, Gotov said.

Coal prices, declining since March, have also bottomed, and started rebounding earlier this month, he said.

Stock in MMC fell 1.2 percent to HK$1.63 in Hong Kong trading today, the lowest since Aug. 2.

Link to article

 

Guildford: Resignation of Chairman

September 2 -- Guildford Coal Ltd (ASX:GUF) announces the resignation of The Honourable Peter Lindsay as Chairman of Guildford Coal. Mr Lindsay has informed the Board that the transition from Explorer to Producer and increased internationalisation associated with ramping up of activities in Mongolia are important achievements that have influenced his decision to step down as Chairman. Mr Lindsay says "The foundations have been laid. Guildford will now benefit from a new Chairman to lead the Board in pursuing the next planned phase of development intended to achieve and then grow sales of low cost, high quality coking coal from operations in southern Mongolia. At the same time the Company will continue to advance options for its vast tenements in Queensland".

Mr Lindsay has agreed to transition to a new role leading the Guildford Coal Queensland Development Committee which will oversee the development and commercialisation of mining and infrastructure proposals in North Queensland.

Managing Director Peter Westerhuis, on behalf of the Guildford Board, has paid tribute to Mr Lindsay. "The Board and Management thank Mr Lindsay for his good guidance and significant contribution to the rapid evolution of Guildford from Explorer to Producer. The time in which this has been achieved really is remarkable. We are pleased Mr Lindsay has agreed to continue with us in a new important role that will use his extensive regional experience in leading our efforts in North Queensland".

Guildford Coal has commissioned the services of Heidrick & Struggles to assist with the sourcing and appointment of the new Chairman. In the meantime, and with immediate effect, Non-Executive Director The Honourable Alan Griffiths has been appointed acting-Chairman.

Link to release

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Local Market

HBOIL JSC (MSE: HBO) ANNOUNCES CLOSING OF $5 MILLION CONVERTIBLE LOAN FINANCING AND ACQUISITION OF STRATEGIC 20% STAKE IN KOECII

September 2 (BDSec) HBOil JSC (MSE: HBO; Bloomberg Code: HBO MO) a specialty oil recycling company (hereinafter referred to as "HBO") is pleased to announce its successful placement of USD 5,000,000.00 in Convertible Loan Agreement financings ("First Placement") to effect the acquisition of Malaysia's Ninox Hydrocarbons (L) Berhad ("NHLB"), which owns 20% of the shares in the capital of KOEC International Inc. ("KOECII"), a joint venture with the national upstream oil company of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ("DPRK" or "North Korea").

HBO was established in 2000 and operates a profitable waste oil recycling business in Mongolia, whose revenues and earnings grew by 67% and 4000%; respectively, in 2012.

The First Placement enables HBO to not only complete its acquisition of NHLB, but also satisfy the initial investment requirement for the business of KOECII.

KOECII holds the rights for: exploration, development and production of hydrocarbons in all of "onshore" DPRK [120,540 Sq Km, more than 6 times larger than Kuwait in the Persian Gulf]; refurbishment of the Sungri Oil Refinery on the East Coast of DPRK; import of crude oil into Rason Special Economic Zone for processing and export of the refined petroleum products therefrom; and investments ancillary to the creation of the first vertically integrated oil company in DPRK.  

Relations between Mongolia and the DPRK have never been closer, as 2013 marks the 65th anniversary of continuous diplomatic relations between the two countries. Mongolia and the DPRK have made several bilateral economic agreements in recent years, which will likely serve to further enhance both countries' aspirations in North-East Asia.

HBO will continue raising additional capital, by placing an aggregate of up-to USD 10,000,000.00 in a second series of Convertible Loan Agreements financing ("Second Placement"), so that it may exercise its Option on or before October 16th, 2013; to acquire up-to 51% beneficial ownership of Korex Ltd ("Korex"), which holds the exclusive rights for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in all of the East Sea of DPRK. The geological succession of the Korean East Sea relates to the opening history of Japan, as such, it is on trend with Sakhalin Islands; one of the most prolific hydrocarbons provinces, not only in Russia, but also in the world. Over 60 fields have been discovered offshore Sakhalin Islands, mainly at depths of 25m and 75m, containing an estimated 45 Billion BOE. Korex has focused its exploration efforts in the Gulf of East Sea, which is the area that encompasses the shallow water portion of the Korean East Sea; sharing similarity, in water depths and other attributes, with the Sakhalin oil and gas discoveries.

Quote from the CEO of HBO, Mr. Khudree: "We are pleased to announce the successful closing of the First Placement and the completion of the acquisition of an indirect 20% shareholding in KOECII. I am proud that HBOil has succeeded in closing the only financing completed by any company listed on the MSE, so far in 2013. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to Korea Oil Exploration Corporation and other DPRK authorities, for their warm and courteous support of this transaction."

Quote from the CEO of KOECII, Mr. Naemi: "I am truly pleased that HBO has become our shareholder, and certainly looking forward to our joint success, as we proceed in unison; with the implementation of our exciting and robust business plan. Also, in my capacity as the Group CEO of Ninox Energy group of companies, I am equally delighted that one of our subsidiaries, namely, Hermes Petroleum (L) Berhad; participated in the First Placement, by subscribing to USD 2,000,000.00 of HBO's convertible loans. This type of partnership is indeed unique, as it underpins the commonality of all parties' aligned interests; ensuring a long-term commitment and a single dedicated vision towards; operational excellence, financial prosperity for our shareholders and investors, and positive impact on global distribution of energy resources."

For more information, contact:

HBOil

Purevbaatar Bayarsaikhan

Board Member

Office: (976) 8800 9111

purevbaatar@cbm.mn

BDSec Joint Stock Company

Nick Cousyn

Chief Operating Officer

Office: (976) 9400 2899

nick.cousyn@bdsec.mn

Link to release

 

NatSec MSE Trading News, 2 September: Top 20 +0.84%, Turnover 191.2 Million

September 2 (National Securities) On the MSE, the TOP-20 Index rose +0.84% to 13,774.32. 65,599 shares in 20 JSC's traded with a combined value of 191.2m MNT. Most of companies were stable. 3 companies were up and 4 companies were down. Total market capitalization was 1.34 trillion MNT.

Top gainer was Uran Barilga (UBA), which is traded on the B-board. It's price surged +7.02% to 1,600 MNT. APU (APU), which produces beverages, went up +2.16% to 3,780 MNT. Conversely, Darkhan Khuns (DHU) plunged -13.92% to 3,400 MNT. Decreasing -9.64% to 3,000 MNT, Auto Impex (AOI) was the 2nd biggest loser. BDSec (BDS), the #1 brokerage firm, was the volume leader with 59,651 shares traded at a value of 178.9m MNT. This single share presented 90.9% of whole volume and 93.5% of total trading value.

Please click here to see the detailed news

Link to release

 

Interim Results 2013

(Mongolian Stock Exchange) --

Company name

Symbol

Description

Date

Download

1

Nekheesgui Edlel

NXE

Half year financial report

2013

2

Atar-Urguu

ATR

Half year financial report

2013

3

Bayan Aldar

VIK

Half year financial report

2013

4

Remicon

RMC

Half year financial report

2013

5

HBOil

HBO

Half year financial report

2013

6

Gun Galuut

GGL

Half year financial report

2013

7

Tegsh

HAL

Half year financial report

2013

8

Khorol-Erdene

MTS

Half year financial report

2013

9

Naco tulsh

NKT

Half year financial report

2013

10

KHAABZ

HBZ

Half year financial report

2013

11

Gazar Suljmel

SUL

Half year financial report

2013

12

Darkhan Selengiin tsakhilgaan tugeekh suljee

DSS

Half year financial report

2013

13

Genco tour bureau

JTB

Half year financial report

2013

14

Dulaany tsakhilgaan stants III

DGS

Half year financial report

2013

15

Mongol Securities

MSC

Half year financial report

2013

16

Talyn Gal

TAL

Half year financial report

2013

17

Ar Bayankhangai

ABH

Half year financial report

2013

18

Asia Pacific Properties

APP

Half year financial report

2013

19

Gobi

GOV

Half year financial report

2013

20

Ar khust Shunkhlai

SUN

Half year financial report

2013

21

Gobi Financial Group

GFG

Half year financial report

2013

22

Khorin Khoyordugaar Baaz

AHH

Half year financial report

2013

23

Mongolia Infrastructure

BAZ

Half year financial report

2013

24

Mongoliin khugjil undesnii negdel

HAM

Half year financial report

2013

25

Talkh-Chikher

TCK

Half year financial report

2013

26

Hermes centre

HRM

Half year financial report

2013

Link to page

 

Mogi: wonder what the need was for a separate translation.

FRC Reviewed Translation: Securities Market Law

August 30 -- Translated from Mongolian by KhanLex Advocates law firm. Reviewed by the Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia

Link to translation

Related:

Link to MSE commissioned translation (translated by Hogan Lovells law firm)

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Economy

Official Exchange Rates, September 2 Closing

1 USD

1,622.40

1 EUR

2,143.27

1 CNY

265.16

1 GBP

2,522.59

1 RUB

48.78

Link to page

 

MONGOLIA AND EBRD TO STRENGTHEN FINANCING IN TUGRUG

EBRD and Bank of Mongolia will work together to improve local capital markets, reduce dollarisation and increase lending in local currency

September 2 (EBRD) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Bank of Mongolia have taken a key step towards the development of the country's local currency money and capital markets.

Today, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti, The Governor of the Bank of Mongolia, Mr N. Zoljargal, and the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr S. Purev, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding under the EBRD's Early Transition Countries (ETCs) Local Currency Lending Programme.

According to the Memorandum, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Mongolia confirm that Mongolia wishes to be part of a targeted local currency risk-sharing programme for ETCs, supported by the EBRD and international donors.

The programme has two main features. First, the EBRD and the Mongolian authorities will agree on reforms and an action plan to develop local capital markets and to enhance opportunities for local currency financing in the medium to long term. Second, donors will share the loan risk, allowing the EBRD to provide local currency loans at affordable interest rates. Borrowers will be micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that sell their goods and services in local currency, and are therefore most vulnerable when borrowing in foreign currencies. The EBRD will provide loans either indirectly to MSMEs through local partner banks or directly to local corporates.

Signing the Memorandum of Understanding, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: "This agreement between Mongolia and the EBRD is a very important step in our joint efforts to deepen the tugrug capital markets. Mongolia is now the sixth country where our ETC Local Currency Programme will be able to improve access to local currency loans for local companies. With the signing of this Memorandum, the EBRD can potentially double its financing to SMEs in Mongolia."

The Governor of the Bank of Mongolia, Mr N. Zoljargal, said: "Greater use of tugrug, stronger local money and capital markets mean a more robust and stable economy. We are continuing reforms to develop local currency capital markets, and our participation in the EBRD's Local Currency Lending Programme is a big step towards that aim."

The EBRD's ETC Local Currency Programme is already active in five countries: Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan.  81,000 MSMEs have already benefited from the programme in those countries; out of these, 30,000 borrowed for the first time in local currency. Donors to the programme include the EBRD multi-donor ETC FundSwitzerland, the USA and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.

Since commencing its operations in Mongolia in 2006, the EBRD has invested almost US$ 1 billion in about 60 projects in various sectors of the Mongolian economy.

The EBRD's Early Transition Countries Initiative aims to stimulate economic activity in the Bank's countries of operations which still face the most significant transition challenges: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Mongolia, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

Link to release

 

EBRD AND KHAN BANK INTRODUCE INNOVATIVE VALUE CHAIN FINANCE IN MONGOLIA

EBRD US$ 25 million loan will also boost Khan Bank's MSME lending

September 2 (EBRD) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Khan Bank – one of the largest commercial banks in Mongolia – are teaming up to develop an innovative financial instrument for the Mongolian market under the rubric "value chain finance", to improve access to finance for small businesses and to help strengthen value chains in the country.

While a major portion of the US$ 25 million loan will be dedicated to loans for the financing of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), US$ 5 million will be invested in the development of value chain finance.

This kind of financial mechanism exists in other developing countries to support SMEs, especially in agriculture, but also in manufacturing in more developed countries.' The instrument allows smaller suppliers and distributors doing business with big corporations to obtain cheaper financing, thanks to credit enhancement support from the corporations.

During the signing ceremony in the capital Ulaanbaatar, the EBRD's President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, said: "We are proud to initiate this innovative product with one of our oldest partners in Mongolia – Khan Bank. One of the EBRD's priorities in Mongolia is to help its economy benefit from the natural resource boom in a sustainable way. This new financing instrument is expected to help MSMEs in the agribusiness and retail sectors, as well as local suppliers to large mining companies."

Norihiko Kato, the CEO of Khan Bank, said: "Together with the EBRD, we hope to improve access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that work with large corporations as suppliers or distributors. Value chain financing will promote the linkage between suppliers and distributors, and the large corporates within a value chain, and this will ultimately make the whole chain more resilient. We are also pleased to be able to offer our MSME clients more financing thanks to the EBRD loan."

The EBRD, which has invested more than US$ 1 billion dollars into various sectors of the Mongolian economy, has recently approved a new country strategy for Mongolia, which emphasises diversification and sustainable growth. Support for MSMEs will help to achieve these goals.

Link to release

 

FIRST MICROFINANCE LOAN FOR EBRD IN MONGOLIA WITH TRANSCAPITAL

EBRD provides US$ 1 million equivalent in tugrug for the benefit of micro and small businesses

September 2 (EBRD) The EBRD is supporting micro and small businesses in Mongolia with a loan to a microfinance institution, TransCapital. The loan of US$ 1 million equivalent will be provided in the local currency, Mongolian tugrug.

Signing the deal in the capital Ulaanbaatar during his first visit to the country, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: "Strengthening small businesses by improving their access to finance is one of our priorities in Mongolia, and we have already provided over US$ 107 million of financing for MSMEs directly and through credit lines to local banks. But this is our first cooperation with a non-bank financial institution dealing with microfinance in Mongolia. TransCapital's network will allow EBRD financing to reach micro-enterprises around the country – some of which, we hope, will grow into small and medium-sized companies."

TransCapital CEO, Altanzul Zorigt, said: "As an emerging economy, Mongolia has numerous MSE customers that are still un-served or underserved by banks and larger non-banking financial institutions. We plan to expand our market outreach to micro and small business owners across both urban and remote areas of Mongolia, providing more opportunities for their financial needs."

Importantly, the loan will be denominated in local currency allowing entrepreneurs which sell their goods and services in local currency to avoid foreign exchange rate risk.

The loan, which comes under the EBRD Early Transition Countries Initiative*, will be complemented by a technical cooperation programme for training, advising and assisting TransCapital's management and staff in relevant financial areas.

The EBRD has invested about US$ 1 billion in about 60 projects in Mongolia since 2006.

* The EBRD's Early Transition Countries Initiative aims to stimulate economic activity in the Bank's countries which still face the most significant transition challenges: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Mongolia, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

Link to release

 

Minimum monthly wage now 192,000 MNT

September 2 (UB Post) In April 2013, an increase to the minimum monthly wage was agreed upon by the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions and the Trilateral National Committee on Labor and Social Consensus (TNCLSC). It was decided that the increased would be effective on September 1, 2013. Thus the national minimum monthly wage hereby increases by 36.7 percent from 140,400 MNT to 192,000 MNT, in accordance with Decree 7 issued by the TNCLSC on April 11, 2013.

The minimum monthly wage is the lowest possible monthly salary, applicable primarily to citizens that are employed in service positions that don't require a certain level of education or skill specialization.

As reported by the Ministry of Labor, an official study showed that there are around one million citizens actively employed in Mongolia and 8.4 percent of them earn the minimum monthly wage. In other words, eight to ten percent of all employed citizens were receiving 140,000 MNT per month.

Thanks to the increase, the minimum hourly wage now increases to 1,142 MNT.

Link to article

 

BoM issues 4-week bills

September 2 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 4 week bills worth MNT 57.5 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.89% per annum. As a result, total outstanding 4 week BoM bills are MNT 57.5 billion.

Link to BoM release (in Mongolian)

 

De Facto: Earmarked taxes

By Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa

September 2 (UB Post) Mongolian herders brand and earmark their livestock so that they can distinguish their own livestock from herds that belong to others. Our government could learn a thing or two from this clever practice of herding. Today many types of taxes with varying names are collected from individuals and businesses by the government. However, one cannot really know for sure whether these collected taxes are spent appropriately or not. If certain taxes are earmarked by usage of their revenue and spending is regulated by law, we will be one step closer to resolving many pressing issues facing our society today.

Benefits of taxes paid should be seen

Revenue collected from property tax could be spent on protecting property from fire and flood hazards, creating good working and living conditions, and furnishing grounds with a garden. It will allow the value of the location of the property to go up and produce more benefits for taxpayers. Some countries use revenues from property taxes to fund police, fire departments and high schools.

A fire broke out at Narantuul market a few days ago. If the revenue from the property tax collected from Narantuul had been spent on frequent fire safety inspections and emergency compensation for losses combined with insurance fees, the incident could have been prevented, or the total damages would have been much less. A portion of the total fee paid to insure a property from potential hazards could be used for prevention measures implemented in cooperation with local administration. Reports on the expenditures of such a fund should be made available to the public.

Taxes collected from vehicles and fuel could be earmarked for spending on road safety, building road signs, as well as parking lots and sightseeing destinations in rural areas, improving roadside lighting and fences, and delivering better services to those who use the roads.

Insurance companies can offer products aimed to prevent auto accidents and use the revenue to repair potholes and conduct inspections to make sure that sewers are working, and that maintenance is being done on time. This way, our city will look much nicer and labor productivity will increase.

Furthermore, drivers who blast their car horns and alarms at nighttime can be charged tremendously high penalty fees. The revenue accumulated could be dedicated for the above-mentioned road improvement projects. Although it might seem like a small change, it would actually bring about big differences.

Special taxes are imposed on alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and sources of air pollution. The United States spends the revenue collected from these special taxes on improving stadiums, while Sweden uses the money to treat people addicted to gambling and alcohol.

Customs duties are levied on imported food products. Revenue received from customs duties should be spent on ensuring food safety and having independent agencies carry out required inspections.

Earmarked taxes that clearly define the expenditure of taxes will allow taxpayers to see where their money is going and not feel like they have just been robbed. In the longer term, people would understand the concept behind taxes imposed by a democratic government and be encouraged to pay their taxes.

When government neglects its duties

One of the primary responsibilities of a democratic government is to protect public and private property. In order to fulfill this duty, governments collect many kinds of taxes. However, instead of spending the collected taxes wisely, our government today just keeps expanding. This is the main reason why Mongolians avoid paying taxes.

A 2012 audit of the General Department of Taxation of Mongolia, released by the Mongolian National Audit Office, says that there were about 80,000 economic entities registered in our country in 2012 and 20 percent of them did not submit their tax returns; 45 percent of those who provided their reports did not conduct any operations (in other words, they filled out X-marked tax returns); and 16 percent of them were operating in deficit. The statistics show that approximately 50,000 companies, 60 percent of the total economic entities included in the report, did not pay any taxes. It shows that there is an immediate need to take certain measures, such as lowering the number of taxes, reducing tax rates, increasing tax thresholds, and earmarking taxes.

Value added tax (VAT) should have a higher tax threshold and it needs to be raised as soon as possible. Otherwise, Mongolia will follow the unfortunate path of many countries where an invisible economy expanded due to enormous tax pressure being applied to small businesses. At this rate, every business in Mongolia is likely move to Narantuul market. Currently, in sole trading, commodities are priced at expensive rates in order to meet tax demands, and they almost have a greater value than the traders themselves.

Our government is not even capable of managing the companies they own. The huge amounts of deficit run by those state-owned companies is being made up by the taxes paid by private companies. Those companies in the private sector did nothing wrong, yet they are taking the blame and paying for the state's deficits. This is absolutely unfair and can be seen as a crime of robbery. The State Property Committee recently released its first-ever report on the operations of state-owned companies. The report says that 34 of the biggest state-owned companies ran deficits and 14 of them had a deficit larger than one billion MNT. MIAT Mongolian Airlines had the largest deficit, followed by power plants and coal mines.

This economic decline could last for a while, and might even bring about a crisis, unless Mongolian citizens pay their taxes properly and our government spends the revenue wisely.

Link to article

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Politics

Chairman of Budget Committee: BUDGET CLARIFICATION NOT NEEDED, MONGOLIA'S ECONOMY IS NOT IN CRISIS

Ulaanbaatar, September 2 /MONTSAME/ The MP and head of the Standing committee on budget Ts.Davaasuren Monday stated as such in interview to the "Zuuny Medee" daily.

By this he denies some observers' expectation that the irregular spring session of parliament, scheduled September 16, will make clarifications to the 2013 budget.

Such a need is groundless, because, by a law on budgetary stability, clarifications are made when the budget deficit exceeds  five percent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), "but the first seven months' reality is that this deficit stood at 145 billion MNT--even less than one percent of the GDP," he explains.

However, Mr Davaasuren admits that some economy, budget and finance indicators have not reached the levels planned, "but it does not mean that our economics has gone to a crisis," he stresses and highlights some ways of avoiding possible crisis. Firstly, parliament has allowed the cabinet to issue over 800 billion MNT worth bonds to be used in case of severe budget deficit, secondly, 300 million USD has been accumulated in the Stability Fund for overcoming budgetary difficulties, thirdly, a policy may be adhered to add tax incomes in a way of activating the business sector by directing to it budget expenditure and financing so that its sales income rises.

If to chat about cutting and lessening, there would be a danger of giving a wrong alarm to the market, spoiling the business environment and losing the taxes, he says.

Regarding the Rio Tinto he says that if this company, as the partner in such a grand project, will respect our laws and maintain mutually beneficial principles, no problems will occur in a future.

"It will be really improper of Rio Tinto to try to dictate its policy and to worsen our economic state of affairs by reducing its investment," he says. Actually, there is no country in the world that depends on this or that company, Mr Davaasuren stresses. 

Link to article

 

MPP reform group demands Prime Minister's resignation

September 2 (news.mn) Members of the biggest opposition Party in the Mongolian Parliament, the Mongolian People's Party (MPP),have demanded Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag`s resignation during a press conference on Friday,  August 30th with reporters. 

Members of the Committee for Reform movement in MPP are demanding the Prime Minister"s resignation in 14 days because of the leadership role of Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag during the past year of the Reform Government. They claim the country is facing economic decline posing risk to national security and the worsening of people`s livelihoods.

The Committee for Reform movement in MPP also blames the Prime Minister for the uncertainty surrounding the biggest deposits of Oyu Tolgoi and Tavantolgoi, the 10 thousand jobless people resulting from coal mine closures, an inconvenient business environment and the wasted investment of the Chinggis bond. Members of the Committee for Reform movement stated in the press conference that there is enough cause for the Prime Minister to resign.

Link to article

 

MP Uyanga Wants OT's Mongolian Directors to Testify in Parliament

Ulaanbaatar, August 29 /MONTSAME/ A parliamentarian G.Uyanga is confident that members of the Oyu Tolgoi LLC's Board of Directors must deliver to parliament a fundamental truth about nowadays situation with the Oyu tolgoi project.

She expressed it in official letter to the Speaker of parliament on Thursday.

The Great State Khural must gather the members of the Board of directors P.Tsagaan, N.Bagabandi and Ch.Ganbold to hear the factual information and reports on a present situation with the Oyu Tolgoi project, its investments, results and future issues.

Ms Uyanga requests the Speaker to organize such a meeting before or at the beginning of the irregular session of parliament.

Recently, both domestic and foreign media are spreading a false information that Mongolian  economical situation is worsening and that foreign investments are dramatically declining. This lie is negatively influencing the psychology of the society, she writes.

A preparation for the irregular session is seen by the public as the confirmation of the above false information. "But if to dig deeper into the matter, it is obvious that the agenda of this session is directly or indirectly is connected with the OT investment," Ms Uyanga writes.  

Link to article

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Business

Belarus businessmen, scientists to visit Mongolia

MINSK, 2 September (BelTA) – Nearly 60 businessmen and scientists of Belarus are set to visit Mongolia, BelTA learnt from the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).

The Belarusian delegation will include top managers and heads of Gomelagrocomplect, Gomeltorgmash, Norel, Bank BelVEB, OAO BelAZ - the management company of BelAZ Holding, OAO MAZ – Management Holding Company BelavtoMAZ, Minsk Tractor Plant, Mozyr Machine-Building Plant, Bobruisk Plant of Tractor Parts and Units, Bobruiskselmash, Mogilevliftmash, Torgmash, Minsk Bearing Plant, Stroycomplex, Mogilev Plant Stroymachina, Minsk Bakery, Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange, OAO Promagroleasing. It is expected that on the behalf of the healthcare Ministry partaking in the visit will be Borisov Plant of Healthcare Products, Minskinterkaps, Belmedpreparaty. Taking part in the business trip will be also representatives of the State Science and Technology Committee, Belarusian State University, the Education Ministry and the National Academy of Sciences.

The program of the visit envisages the first Belarusian-Mongolian business forum on 5 September with the participation of Belarus Premier Mikhail Myasnikovich. The parties are expected to sign a number of agreements, memorandums of understanding and contracts. The Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is expected to sign an agreement on cooperation with the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mongolia. OAO Promagroleasing and Mongolia's National Leasing Service LLC are set to ink international leasing agreements. National Leasing Service LLC is a subsidiary of Hera Equipment LLC that specializes in the sales of quarry and construction equipment.

"We plan BelAZ rock hauler supplies as well as the equipment of Minsk Automobile Plant as part of pilot international leasing transactions," the BCCI said.

Belarusian and Mongolian businessmen are expected to hold a business matchmaking session and discuss issues related to bilateral trade and investment cooperation, supplies of Belarusian products to Mongolia. 

The organizer of the business trip is the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry jointly with the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mongolia. The visit will make part of the Belarusian national expo due in Ulan-Bator on 5-8 September.

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Ulaanbaatar

Japan to assist with upgrading the Fourth Thermal Power Plant

September 2 (UB Post) The state-owned Fourth Thermal Power Plant (TPP4), the largest in Mongolia, is in urgent need of technology and tool upgrades. The equipment and tools of the plant, which meets most of the state's demand for energy, have been in use since 1983 and are reported to be faulty.

The Mongolian Government has formulated a proposal to implement a project to raise the efficiency of TPP4 with a soft loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). A government meeting on August 30 discussed the issue and ended in a decision to consult with Parliamentary Standing Committees. The total loan will be 42.5 million USD and is supposed to be repaid within 40 years at 0.3 percent interest per year.

As part of the renovation of the facility, an ash blowpipe will be installed in the plant's furnaces, which will save coal consumption and reduce operational failures, and changes will be made to reduce black oil consumption used for turning on plant turbines. The changes being launched this year and reportedly finish by 2017, are an effort to minimize the expense of Ulaanbaatar's energy supply, ensure safe operations, and reduce carbon dioxide emission.

Energy consumption is expected to rise by five to seven percent over the next five years, with further increases in demand likely. Thus, the government is following policy to improve the efficiency of its currently operational power plants.

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Diplomacy

Cabinet Backs Bilateral Visa-Free Agreement With Belarus

Ulaanbaatar, September 1 /MONTSAME/ The cabinet meeting on Friday backed a draft intergovernmental agreement between Mongolia and Belarus on exempting people of the countries from visa requirements.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold was authorized to sign this agreement.

Holders of all types of passports will travel to each other without visa up to 90 days a year.

As of today, Mongolia has established such agreements with 15 countries.  

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Mogi: about time, but finding a good land in central UB now?

KAZAKHSTAN WANTS TO OPEN EMBASSY IN MONGOLIA, ASKS MAYOR FOR LAND

Ulaanbaatar, August 27 /MONTSAME/ The Republic of Kazakhstan plans to establish its Embassy in Mongolia, and has received positive response from the Mongolian government.

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Mongolia Mr K.Koblandin Tuesday said it at a meeting with E.Bat-Uul, the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city. He asked the Mayor to issue a land for the Embassy.

Mr Bat-Uul congratulated Mr Koblandin on being appointed the Ambassador to Mongolia. He  emphasized that two our counties have a long-year cooperation, especially the capital cities in  developing a good neighborhood ties, and promised to tackle all matters related to opening of the Embassy of Kazakhstan.

Mr Koblandin thanked for this and said his country intends to name of one the Astana's streets after Ulaanbaatar, and added that cultural days of Astana will be co-organized in Ulaanbaatar very soon.  

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Talks between Minister of People's Security of DPRK and Minister of Justice of Mongolia Held

PYONGYANG, August 30 09:25 KST (KCNA) — Talks between Choe Pu Il, minister of People's Security of the DPRK, who is heading the delegation of the Ministry on a visit to Mongolia and Temuujin Khishigdemberel, minister of Justice of Mongolia, were held on Wednesday.

Present at the talks from the DPRK side were members of the delegation and the DPRK ambassador to Mongolia and from the Mongolian side the secretary of State of the Ministry of Justice, the Mongolian ambassador to the DPRK and personages concerned.

At the talks both sides exchanged views on the issue of further developing exchange and cooperation between the security organs of the two countries and matters of mutual concern.

The talks took place in a friendly atmosphere.

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Social, Environmental and Other

Back to School Backpack Project marks a special start to the school year

By Michelle Borok

September 2 (UB Post) The International Women's Association of Mongolia (IWAM) serves many purposes. It offers an inclusive community to newcomers to the country. It organizes social outings and events for its international members and supporters. And perhaps its most meaningful work, it brings together the collective creativity, resources, and generous spirit of its membership to enrich the lives of their Mongolian neighbors. This year, the women of IWAM created the Back to School Backpack Project, getting more than 200 Mongolian children off to a great start for the new school year.

The Back to School Backpack Project was made possible by the ambitious fundraising efforts of IWAM. With the work of its members, IWAM raised enough funds locally and overseas to buy over 200 brand new backpacks filled with essential school supplies for primary school children. As the backpacks were being filled, project organizers worked with local contacts to make sure the backpacks would end up in the hands of children who needed them most.

The first recipients of IWAM's Back to School backpacks were 40 children in Darkhan's Batilion Mangert ger district. Susan Durrant, IWAM's Events and Programs coordinator, joined by IWAM members Robyn Howell, Elaine Tromans, Joan Wayment, Kinna Mills, Lucie Blais, Bev Lawson and their Mongolian friend, Oyuka, presented backpacks to children under the supervision of an area social worker. They made the backpack delivery part of a member's train excursion to the Russian border, organizing a social and charitable weekend. The Darkhan children were all students of the ger district's primary school, but due to a variety of challenges facing them at home, they lacked the resources to purchase supplies for the upcoming school year. The women of IWAM were able to provide these children with a much needed head start for the academic year, and not only delivered backpacks, but smiles.

The Back to School Backpack Project continues in Ulaanbaatar this week, and IWAM hopes to add it to their list of annual endeavors. In an interview with Susan Durrant, we learn more about IWAM, its membership, and the scope of work that it does with Mongolian non-profit organizations and projects for giving.

How did you become involved in IWAM?

My involvement with IWAM began when I first come to Mongolia nearly a year ago. It was a good starting ground for people who need info and to meet others. They had an events coordinator  opening,  so I took it on and I organize trips around UB and to places of interest that newcomers haven't seen. That's how the train trip came about, then we had the opportunity to help with the backpacks.

How did the Back to School Backpack Project come together?

This is just one of the projects that has come to surface before the start of the school year. IWAM donated money towards the purchase of 200 bags, then we fundraised for stationery to fill them. The donations came in from our families and friends in Australia. This was a huge success for me, as my family and friends were so overwhelmed by what we were doing to help those in need that money was being deposited in our accounts at home to help raise funds.

In total, there were well over 300 bags. In addition to the bags we brought to Darkhan, there are still more to be distributed today. Backpacks will also be delivered to 80 children at School 29 (a school for disabled children), 60 children at School 65 in the Songino-Kharikhan District (in Tolgoit, a northwest area ger district), and to 60 children attending School 117 in the Chingeltei District (in Salkhit, a northeast area ger district). We hope to do the Backpack Project again next year, reaching even more children throughout Mongolia.

Are you often able to meet the recipients of IWAM's efforts?

A rewarding part of IWAM is being able to see a project through to the end. It is wonderful to be able to collect warm blankets in Australia, and then to actually hand the bundle to a new mother and her baby. You get to see both ends of the spectrum. You are making so many people happy. People who want to give, really enjoy knowing what they give will get to someone who really needs it. Giving a beautiful blanket, knitted with love, to a new mother who does not have much is such a rewarding experience. 

We really enjoy getting feedback from the groups we help. We always invite the groups we assist to give us updates on their projects. It is good to know our efforts have made a difference in people's lives. 

IWAM also recently supported Caritas Organisation, a group that provides skills training for more than 100 women and girls affected by issues such as domestic violence, trafficking and unemployment. IWAM provided funding to buy a leather embosser, felt comb and loom, equipment that will enable them to manufacture products such as felt slippers, leather products and felt art to sell.

We found out about Anand, a Mongolian baby boy in urgent need of heart surgery. We provided funding and facilitated fundraising for him to receive his life saving surgery. We were also able to provide support for Solongo, a cerebral palsied child who is being helped by a student at the International School of Ulaanbaatar. IWAM supported the project with a collection of educational toys and mobility support equipment, as well as a pram for the family. IWAM also provided funding for a sewing machine for Solongo's family so that they can generate income by sewing clothes.

Our members regularly visit the Police ID Center, where homeless children are housed. IWAM members play puzzles and do crafts with the children.

What kinds of events and programs occur throughout the year?

We are engaged in a variety of programs all throughout the year. Streams in the Desert is an organization that provides skills training for former trafficked women and children, and street workers. It empowers individuals by teaching skills like cooking, hair dressing, language lessons, jewelry making and sewing. IWAM provided funding for washing machines for their new laundry business and lamps for their jewelry making business.

My Family Children's Home is an independent, underfunded orphanage in UB. IWAM has provided it with funding for furniture, a sewing machine, and organizes a continual collection of non-perishable food donations for its residents. There are numerous projects we contribute to that benefit ger district residents, prison inmates, area maternal hospitals, and the under-served disabled and elderly communities that we encounter through our partnerships with local non-governmental organizations.

For ladies to meet up on a social basis, we have events like the weekly IWAM Coffee Mornings,  weekly Mongolian language lessons, the IWAM library, bowling once a week, organized tours and trips, and monthly lunches and dinners. We also have a monthly general meeting where we invite various vendors, mostly from NGO groups, to sell their goods and raise funds for their group. We also invite speakers to talk about subjects revolving around Mongolia, and we give members updates on what IWAM will need for future projects and what projects we are currently involved with. We also have separate groups within IWAM, for example HIWAM, where ladies get together once a week to knit, pack, and bundle up donated items for the Maternity Hospital and the women's prison. We have recently had several heartwarming donations from schools and rotary clubs abroad. We are currently organizing a drive for winter coats that will be distributed to children throughout Mongolia.

If you would like to be a part of IWAM, or be involved in helping, please contact iwamboard@gmail.com or check out our website, iwam-mongolia.webs.com. Follow us on Facebook, at International Women's Association of Mongolia, to get up to date information on events and our current projects.

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Domog Band Wins World Folklore Grand Prix 

September 2 (UB Post) Mongolia is now delighted with another brilliant news. Domog Folk Band has won the Grand Prix of "Golden Orpheus," which is a gold medal and certificate of "Absolute World Champion of Folklore" from "World Folk 2013" World Championship of Folklore. The event took place from August 22 to September 1 in Nessebar, Bulgaria. The band magnificently awed the world audience with Mongolian folk art and raised the Mongolian flag to the highest. The band also brought with them Mongolian traditional dancers, long song singers, and contortionists.

What's more, State Prized Artist of Mongolia D.Sosorbaram, who directed the six performances in the championship, is set to obtain the rank of "Maestro" from the World Folk Academy.

The championship was organized by the World Association of Folklore Festivals, European Association of Folklore Festivals, World Folklore Academy, and other organizations under the support of UNESCO and the involved municipalities.

It has been organized for the third time this year with 98 folk bands from 24 different countries participating.

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Mongolia Bike Challenge: Wallace and Williamson take stage 1 in Mongolia

September 1, Stage 1: Chinggis Khan Statue - Chinggis Khan Statue Complex 120km

Kona rider continues where he left off last year

September 1 (Cycling News) Stage 1 of the Mongolia Bike Challenge was a 120-kilometer loop from the Genghis Khan Statue in Tuv Province with 3,000 meters of climbing. The heat of the Mongolian sun combined with the seemingly endless short steep climbing sections challenged the pros and age-groupers alike.

Defending champion Cory Wallace continues his dominance in Mongolia regaining the pink jersey which has held since stage 1 of 2012. He did so in impressive fashion, leaving a talented group of riders at the 90km mark solo-ing to a seven-minute victory over his nearest competitors Mark Frendo, a former Australian U23 cross country champion, and Antonio Ortiz (Selle SMP) of Spain.

In the elite women's field, 2013 Cape Epic Winner Catherine Williamson (Bizhub-Energas) of the UK put in an strong first stage giving her a commanding lead of 30 minutes on her nearest rivals American Sonya Looney (Topeak Ergon) and Erin Greene (Endura NZ) of New Zealand.

Stage 2 will take racers 125km to the Khan Khentii area on the bank of the Tuul River via the Zamt Hills to Jalman Camp.

Click here to watch a video from today's stage.

Full Stage 1 Results and general classification after stage 1:

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'Projects Abroad' Takes Ward Melville Grad to Mongolia and Back

Joseph Suk, 18, completed a high school medical observation program and taught English overseas.

September 2 (Three Village Patch) At a time when many of his classmates were getting ready to head off to college or into careers or the military, Joseph Suk was in search of a different kind of opportunity.

Suk, 18, who graduated from Ward Melville High School in June, decided to take a year off in between high school and college to pursue volunteer and educational opportunities abroad – and landed in Mongolia through the program Projects Abroad, which has connected students and adults with volunteer opportunities all over the world for more than 20 years.

Suk recently returned from a monthlong stay in Mongolia, a country that sits between Russia and China, where he spent two weeks in a high school medicine program.

"We shadowed doctors and got to learn about the health care and medical system within the main capital," he said, adding that he got to experience close-up observations of a gall bladder removal surgery as well as surgeries on an eye, heart and prostate.

He noted that the country's health care system "is very understaffed."

"They have to meet the needs of many thousands within one district," he said. "They do depend on a lot of foreign aid to acquire technology, a larger staff. The city itself is still structurally very underdeveloped. It was interesting to see a culture developing like that."

After the medical component of his trip, Suk spent two weeks teaching beginner-level English for children and adults at a small school while staying with a host family. 

"I learned a lot about how the country is still developing," he said. "A lot of progress is needed for the country to become modernized, particularly with the medical system." 

Overall, he called the trip "a huge cultural shock experience." 

Suk said he plans to study medicine when he does enroll in college. But for now, he said he will continue looking for volunteer opportunities locally, possibly at Stony Brook University Hospital, and may even pursue an EMT program. 

"It's interesting helping people," he said. "It fosters a lot of communication between people. You get to learn a lot of things."

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Mongolian trees tip off WVU researchers to secrets of Genghis Khan

August 28, 2013 (West Virginia Public Broadcasting) West Virginia University is well known for its research in the energy fields of coal and natural gas, but for the past several years, trees in another country have taken the spotlight for SOME researchers. One professor is using dendrochronology to come up with new ideas about the rise of Genghis Khan.

Associate chair of the geography department at WVU, Amy Hessl says her interest in Mongolia came after a visit there while she attended some workshops. The country between China and Russia is mostly dominated by wide arid grasslands, but Hessl explains that in the north the landscape is more mountainous with forests. 

"If you landed in Mongolia magically," Hessl says, "you might think you landed in Montana or Idaho—particularly the northern part of the country. It's very similar in terms of the forest, grasslands, and climate."

In fact, initially, Hessl went to study climate change and forest fires. While she was there, she and her team came upon trees growing on an 8,000-year-old lava field. It was there where she discovered what are essentially preserved natural records of times gone by.

"We are looking at a cross section of a log called sinus siberica—so Siberian Pine that we collected from a lava flow in central Mongolia. And the inner ring date of this tree is 96BC. So the first year of this tree is 96BC. And this was the first piece of wood that we dated that broke the BC/CE boundary so we were pretty excited about that."

So how do you date rings of a tree? Hessl says the technique, called crossdating, was developed in the 20s and it's pretty much the foundation of dendrochronology.

"The idea is that you match periods of contemporaneous growth, times when trees were growing at the same time, and they have unique ring width signatures over multiple decades that overlap with each other. So it's sort of like finding the same piece of music in a concerto. The trees were listening to that same piece of music, so their rings reproduce that tune. "

So collecting hundreds of samples of cross sections of logs, and studying the patterns there, Hessl and her team noticed an anomaly. Around the 13th century there was a period of about fifteen years when it must have been exceedingly wet in Mongolia.

"And it just so happens that that really wet period coincides with the initial growth of the Mongol Empire when Genghis Khan amassed his armies and started his conquering of inner Asia."

Not much is known about how Genghis Khan rose from obscurity to lead an army that claimed more territory in 25 years than the Romans conquered in 400. Hessl explains that for centuries historians have hypothesized that it was variable climate and drought in particular that drove the development of the Mongol empire.

"The Mongol economy is traditionally based in nomadic pastoralism. They were able to capitalize on that wet period, we think, and increase the number of grazing animals, particularly horses."

Hessl says historians guess one key reason the empire spread so effectively might have been because of their horses. It's speculated that each warrior had three to five at their disposal.

Warriors could travel long distances and would drink mare's milk or dry it out to a paste, keep it in a pouch and then simply add water when they needed it, or even make a small cut on one of the horse's veins and drink the blood or mix it with the milk for emergency nourishment. Ultimately, their horses gave the Mongols military might, creating what one historian called "the intercontinental ballistic missiles of the thirteenth century."

"In order for that to happen they would have had to develop large herds of horses. And they wouldn't have been able to do that given variable climate. So we have hypothesized that this period of really wet conditions might have allowed them to develop these really large herd sizes and literally use that horsepower to expand their empire."

Hessl says now armed with this dendrochronological data, she hopes to collaborate with European and Mongolian archeologist to date various sites throughout Mongolia.

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Munkhdul Badral Bontoi

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Email: mogi@covermongolia.mn

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