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NRU up 14% in early hours
Newera Resources' coal from Shanagan East project in Mongolia is readily washable
September 9 (Proactive Investors) Newera Resources (ASX: NRU) has received results of coal washability tests from bulk samples conducted on its Shanagan East Project in Mongolia.
Detailed washability tests under a coal quality and test work plan supervised by Sedgman Limited (ASX:SDM) demonstrated the coal to be washable through a standard and common coal handling and processing plant
Coal quality analysis confirms previous results indicating a semi-anthracite, low-volatile, low moisture bituminous coal, with high calorific and ash values.
Shanagan coal could be mined to produce a lower energy product without washing, and if used for power generation would be considered a 'clean coal', with minimal flue gas and hence pollutants generated.
High ash deformation temperatures of over 1400°C allow high temperature boiler operations, delivering greater efficiency and lower capital cost in future power plant construction.
Sulphur and nitrogen levels were normal, whilst a high hardgrove grindability index of over 100 lowers power station pulverising requirements.
The range of potential uses for both as-mined and washed coal allows flexibility in resource development, as the products will be suitable for multiple potential customers.
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. Files its Q2 2013 Financial Statements
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. ("MGG" or the "Corporation") (TSXV: YAK) announces that on August 28, 2013, it filed its second quarter interim financial statements and MD&A on SEDAR. Investors are invited to go to SEDAR to read the filings. In addition, the Company has filed second quarter 2013 supplementary information on its website in the Investor Center section under "Corporate Presentations" and on SEDAR under "Other".
To view the presentation, please follow the following link;
MONGOLIAN RESOURCES LIMITED: NOTICE OF GENERAL MEETING
September 6, Mongolian Resources Limited (ASX:MRF) (TO BE RENAMED MRL CORPORATION LIMITED) --
Origo: Interim Financial Report for the six months ended 30 June 2013
September 5, Origo Partners Plc (LON:OPP) --
Highlights for the six months ended 30 June, 2013 ("the Period"):
· Total investments of US$4.2 million in existing portfolio companies
· Investment loss of US$37.1 million (30 June 2012 investment loss: US$38.6 million)
· Loss before tax of US$40.1 million (30 June 2012 loss before tax: US$37.3 million)
· Net asset value of US$131.2 million (31 December 2012: US$171.5 million, 30 June 2012: US$204.2 million)
· Net asset value per share of US$0.38 (31 December 2012: US$0.49), equivalent to 25 pence (31 December 2012: 30 pence)*
· Closing net cash position of US$8.9 million
In general, the underlying performance of our portfolio during the first half of 2013 has been satisfactory, in spite of the continuing economic and political challenges in both Mongolia and China.
However, the Directors' estimate of the fair value of Origo's portfolio of investments decreased to US$174.5 million from US$209.0 million as at 31 December 2012, after total investments of US$4.2 million in existing portfolio companies during the Period. The decrease principally reflects a reduction in the fair value of two key investments.
We reduced the carrying value of our investment in Gobi Coal and Energy by 50 per cent from US$53.6 million to US$26.8 million, reflecting the depressed valuations of junior mining companies across the world, pricing developments at the Chinese/Mongolian border, and negative investor sentiments towards Mongolia.
Strategy and outlook
The re-election of the incumbent Government in Mongolia has been positive, and there are encouraging signs that the Government will take a more pragmatic approach to resource nationalism. The implementation of the New Security Law, recent announcements regarding the development of Oyu Tolgoi and proceeds from Sovereign Bond issues may prove to be key catalysts for future economic growth and foreign investment. This may in time lead to improved prospects for exits and other value creating transactions, however, despite these positive steps the Mongolian economy remains in a fragile state, as evidenced by the Tugrik's depreciation this year. The situation in Mongolia is improving.
1733 up 10% in early hours
WINSWAY: EARLY RESULTS AND MODIFICATION OF TERMS OF TENDER OFFER AND CONSENT SOLICITATION FOR THE OUTSTANDING 8.50% SENIOR NOTES DUE 2016
September 9, Winsway Coking Coal Holdings Limited (HKEx:1733) --
This announcement is made by the Company pursuant to Rule 13.09(2)(a) of the Listing Rules and the Inside Information Provisions under Part XIVA of the SFO.
The Company announces that, as of the Early Tender Deadline which ended at 5:00 p.m., New York City Time, September 5, 2013, the Holders have validly tendered and not validly withdrawn an aggregate principal amount of approximately US$165.1 million Notes, representing approximately 35.85% of the total aggregate principal amount of the outstanding Notes.
The Company announces, with immediate effect, the following modiﬁcations to the Offer to Purchase:
1) Holders that validly tender their Notes and deliver the associated Consents after the Early Tender Deadline but on or prior to the Expiration Time will also receive the Consent Payment of US$25 for each US$1,000 of Notes;
2) the Expiration Time has been extended to 11:59 p.m., New York City Time, on Monday, September 23, 2013; and
3) the Commercial Condition (as discussed below) has been waived.
Shareholders of the Company and potential investors are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the securities of the Company.
GLOBAL MONGOLIA HOLDINGS AWARDED ₮10.1 BILLION NEW AIRPORT SUB-CONTRACT
September 5 (MSE) Global Mongolia Holdings (MSE: HML) JSC executed the Sub-Contract amount of 10.1 billion MNT with the main contractor, to build 'Temporary Facility Works' on New Ulaanbaatar International Airport which is located on Hushigt hundii, expected to be built by 2016.
The first part of the "Temporary Facility Works" would be executed by November, 2013 and the company is going to cooperate with the main contractor for 4 years till 2016.
NatSec MSE Trading News: Top 20 -0.48%, Turnover ₮12.9 Million
September 5 (National Securities) The MSE TOP-20 Index dropped -0.48% to 13,845.45. 37,773 shares in 18 JSC's traded with a value of 12.9m MNT. 4 shares were up, 7 shares down and 7 shares were un-changed.
The biggest gainer was Mongolian Development Resources (MDR), which plays on foreign merchandiser and investment, and which went up +8.86% to 860 MNT. UB BUK (BUK), closed up +7.65% to 24,760 MNT. Conversely, Mongol Shevro (MVO), plunged -11.50% to 1,301 MNT. Other major losers were Khukh Gan (HGN), Mongolian Development National Union (HAM) and Eurofeo Asia (SOI). The volume leader was Hermes Centre (HRM) in which 21,000 shares were traded with a value of 2.3m MNT. The company's market capitalization is 8.6 billion MNT. It's price was un-changed.
Please click here to see the detailed news
Montsame MSE News: Top 20 -0.45%, Turnover ₮16.4 Million
Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ At the Stock Exchange trades held Friday, a total of one thousand and 548 shares of 15 JSCs were traded costing MNT 16 million 352 thousand and 036.00.
Rates of shares of four companies increased, of three decreased and share price of eight were stable.
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 351 billion 773 million 644 thousand and 078. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 13,783.81, decreasing by 61.64 per cent (Mogi: again "points") against the previous day.
Moody's: Mongolia's economy still susceptible to volatility
September 6 (news.mn) Moody"s Investors Service says that Mongolia"s B1 sovereign bond rating and stable outlook hinges on the absence of significant fiscal pressures, relative macroeconomic stability, and the maintenance of a favorable investment climate in the mining sector.
Moody"s assessment was contained in its just-released "Credit Analysis Mongolia" which serves as an update to investors and is not a rating action.
Moody"s looks at four, overall methodological factors and scores them as follows for Mongolia: economic strength -- low; institutional strength -- low; government financial strength -- low; and susceptibility to event risk -- high.
Moody"s notes that the country"s credit strengths include its strong growth, which is based on rich natural resources, but also underscores credit challenges, stemming from a narrowly-diversified economy, pro-cyclical fiscal policy, and an unpredictable investment regime.
While GDP has moderated to 12.4% in 2012 from the 17.5% pace seen in 2011, overheating pressures are still present, with inflation remaining high, and credit growth elevated. A heavy dependence on global commodity prices and demand from China leave the country vulnerable to growth volatility. Coupled with policy uncertainty, these factors have increased the economy"s susceptibility to boom-bust cycles.
Recent fiscal performance is a credit constraint. Preliminary data suggests that the government is unlikely to meet targets set out by the country's Fiscal Stability Law. Another constraint is transparency. This is evident in off-budget spending largely channeled through the Development Bank of Mongolia, which also detracts from fiscal discipline.
Event risks are high, driven primarily by economic factors. Over the past two years, large current account deficits were easily financed through debt and FDI inflows. However, with the first phase of the Oyu Tolgoi mining project coming on stream, and flagging investor sentiment, FDI flows have dwindled considerably, imparting a moderate degree of pressure on the balance of payments.
The recent insolvency of the country"s fifth-largest bank, Savings Bank -- which accounted for 8% of banking sector assets -- adds to asset quality concerns and highlights risks related to cross-ownership; a feature common among Mongolian Banks.
Bank of Mongolia Official Exchange Rates: 6 September
BoM holds FX auction
September 5 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on September 05th, 2013 the BOM has received bid offer of USD and CNY from local commercial banks. BOM has sold 8.0 million USD and 129.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 271.0 to the local commercial banks.
On September 05th, 2013, The BOM has received bid offer of 59.0 million USD for Swap agreement from local commercial banks and accepted the offer.
Total outstanding 1-week bills at ₮909.6 billion, down from ₮1.11 trillion from September 4
BoM issues 1-week bills
September 6 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 433.8 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
First 44 Days of New Mortgage Program
September 6 (Cover Mongolia) Bank of Mongolia announcement dating September 6 (in Mongolian only) reports that commercial banks have so far received requests to refinance ₮794.6 billion (₮794.6 billion on 43nd day) worth of old mortgages and accordingly have converted ₮439.1 billion (previously ₮437.8 billion) old mortgages of 15,380 citizens (previously 15,336) to 8%.
₮403.8 billion (previously ₮₮393.7 billion) worth of new mortgage requests were received and ₮350.2 billion (previously ₮327.7 billion) out of these of 6304 citizens (previously 5,945 citizens) were issued at 8%.
Link to release (in Mongolian)
Shenhua's cross-border railway to start operating in 2014
September 6 (China Daily) Shenhua Group Corp Ltd, the world's largest coal distributor, is accelerating the pace of construction of a cross-border railway project as an independent transportation passageway to further explore international resource opportunities.
"Constructed by Shenhua Group, the Ganquan railway linking the Sino-Mongolian border port to Baotou city in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region will start operating in January 2014," Wang Xingzhong, president of Shenhua's Baoshen Railway Co Ltd, told China Daily.
Total investment in the Ganquan railway by Shenhua is around 7.5 billion yuan ($1.22 billion). The project was defined as one of main drivers of economic and trade cooperation between China and Mongolia.
De Facto: Returning to socialism
By Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa
September 8 (UB Post) We often talk about how Mongolia spent 20 years making a transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. However, if you really think about it, it might cross your mind that we went around in a huge circle only to get to where we were before – back to socialism. During this long roundabout journey, we have seen an enormous expansion of state property, plenty of billionaires who came from the government and increased government control in every economic sector. Furthermore, it has recently been observed that the government is setting the commodity prices. It does not really differ from socialism now, does it?
One third of the population of Mongolia is living below the poverty line and our economy has become hugely dependent on our two neighboring countries. The "third neighbor" countries are taking less interest in Mongolia and foreign companies are halting their investment. As a consequence, our economy has started to struggle.
Expansion of state property
D.Tsogtbaatar, the newly elected chairman of the State Property Committee, states that there are currently 94 state-owned enterprises and they will all eventually be privatized. It is reported that a total of 37 state-owned enterprises ran deficits last year. Furthermore, 14 of the deficit-ridden enterprises each had a shortfall of more than one billion tugrugs, and the total deficit between them reached 50 billion tugrugs. Thermal power plants No. 3 and No. 4 topped the list with a deficit of more than eight billion tugrugs, followed by Baganuur coal mine (5 billion), Shivee-Ovoo coal mine (4.2 billion) and MIAT Mongolian Airlines (4.1 billion). Also, the deficit run by the "Ulaanbaatar Railway" Mongolian-Russian joint venture almost reached one billion tugrugs. The total assets owned by state-owned enterprises in 2013 have amounted to 14 trillion tugrugs, which is equivalent to about 10 billion U.S. dollars. In other words, Mongolian state owned companies own a huge amount of assets as big as the size of our economy. The size of property under state ownership has been multiplied compared to the time when privatization began.
It might not be a well known fact that the huge deficits run by the state-owned enterprises that poorly manage this tremendous amount of assets, are covered by the revenue collected from all kinds of taxes paid by the private sector.
Political parties appoint the directors and deputy directors of all these state-owned companies. No one is held accountable for running deficits because they simply take money out of the public budget to make up for the loss. Therefore, executive management in state-owned enterprises is more focused on increasing the size of their fixed assets and they often produce "no profit" reports after deducting depreciation. Depreciation reduces taxable income, which is likely to reduce the amount of cash paid for income taxes. This reduction in income taxes can be accumulated into a fund that can be used as a source of cash. However, the executive management of our state-owned enterprises have been using this fund for personal use or dedicating it to their political party rather than creating an accumulation.
Another instance of stealing from public property is heat and power distribution. They put restrictions on prices and have the government fill the gap created by price-setting through the public budget, which is formed by the taxes we pay. It allows them to force the power plants and distribution companies to buy equipment and other working capital they supply at expensive rates.
Other means of making money off of state property include selecting one's own private company to deliver public service, fixing public tenders and deliberately delaying progress in order to demand more money to finish a project.
Suppliers and contractor companies that provide mandatory services within different economic sectors, such as conducting environmental assessments, supplying medicine and managing waste water, are chosen based on their connection to decision makers at ministries and relevant committees.
Public service in Mongolia costs as much as developed countries in the West, but its quality is not even on par with that of underdeveloped countries in the East.
Reason why state property loses its value
The main reason why this structural flaw associated with state property cannot be fixed is that Mongolian authorities put their personal interests before public interests.
Expansion of state property and the increased number of state-owned enterprises benefit the authorities and politicians only. The ultimate goal of businesses and their connections in politics has become finding a way to acquire capital from the public budget to fund their wasteful spending.
In order to bring about change to the corrupt system that has been dominating our economy and politics for many years, we need to ensure transparency in every stage of government operations and carry on the fight against corruption regardless of which political party is being dealt with.
Political parties in Mongolia today are indistinguishable in terms of ideology. The only difference between them is how political parties and groups of business organizations can affect the government and its actions. Members of executive management in private companies in Mongolia enter political parties and get appointed to senior positions. It has been going on for so long that the connection between politics and economics has been greatly strengthened. These groups that have both politicians and businessmen in one place, have leverage against each other. Therefore, it has become almost impossible to get rid of the existing corruption network.
Neither the past governments nor the current one have been able to hold any of those groups accountable for their illegal actions, which is why Mongolia is failing to develop a long-term development policy.
State property has comprised too much of our economy and politicians have seized the right to take full control of the property, including state-owned enterprises, no matter how good their management is or the size of the deficits they run. As a consequence, only a handful of people have gotten extremely wealthy by stealing from the public. Furthermore, domination of state property that belongs to no exact owner has put our economy in a structural crisis. Although we had a similar crisis in 2008, Mongolia managed to overcome the crisis quickly when the prices of mineral resources went up on the international market.
Recent discussions suggest that the problems associated with the economic decline, weaker tugrug, reduced foreign investment and increased budget deficit could all be solved by replacing the government and making amendments to several laws.
Replacing the government or reappointing some ministers will not produce any fundamental change. Instead, we need to minimize the size of state property and make a change to the existing economic structure that benefits politicians only. In order to achieve these objectives, government involvement in economy ought to be decreased through the privatization of state-owned enterprises. Any other measure taken to solve the above-mentioned problems will not only waste time but also offer a temporary solution only. The majority of state-owned company shares need to be privatized through the stock exchange and the rest can be saved for later, when they can be sold for higher rates to make up for deficits.
In order to find a way out of the current economic decline, our parliament is going to convene for an irregular session by mid-September. This plenary session needs to be focused more on the underlying causes of the economic decline and accelerate the privatization of state-owned enterprises, as well as the fight against corruption regardless of political party affiliation. Also, the parliament should secure our geopolitical interests and implement a policy to build a narrow gauge railway to the southern border. On top of that, a law that bans members of parliament from holding a ministerial position at the same time needs to be passed, and a long term economic policy needs to be carefully discussed and developed. Unless the parliament acts seriously to carry out these tasks, the mid-September session will just be another useless spectacle.
It is time for our economy to undergo a structural change and for the government to pursue a policy aimed at privatizing state-owned enterprises. Only then, shall we be able to successfully overcome the current economic decline and ensure sustainable development in the coming years.
Economic amnesty law for Mongolia?
September 5 (Business-Mongolia) Last month, Minister of Economic Development Batbayar N. stated that his ministry is working on the draft of economic amnesty law. He believes that this law will allow the hidden and concealed savings and resources within and outside the country to enter the economic activities of the country.
Closest example would be Chairman of the Russian party LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky's statement on the similar matter. He has been advocating to pass Russia's Economic Amnesty Law for years now. He argues that in the beginning of 1990′s, when the Soviet Union collapsed, counters were emptied, people were scared and hungry, so they did what they had to do to survive. Due to the strict criminal codes at the time some 'new' Russians hid their income or left the country. Thus, passing the law would enable these resources contribute to the economy as investments and savings.
Does Mongolia has the same situation? It is true that we see politicians and government officials that never ran a business have multi-million dollar houses and hundred thousand dollar cars. Few years back in 2008, we passed the Tax Amnesty Law to give one-time break for those who had unpaid taxes. What was the effect of the law? Those entities who paid taxes in time ended up with less, and those didn't pay ended up keeping their cash. In 2008, companies weren't hungry or struggling. World financial crisis wasn't having a direct effect in the country. So, these companies ended up winning.
Then, how would the economic amnesty law should be perceived? Are we going to forgive everyone, even those that got sentenced? Does it mean that state property embezzlement and frauds will be forgiven? The Russia's law was passed last July. If we look at the income disparity in the country, it will become apparent that the majority led a life that is humble and poor. Wouldn't that anger the public? Wouldn't that create a political instability which is the last thing cabinet wants at the time when MNT is in a free-fall?
We will update our readers on the development of the law in due course.
300-400 MILLION LEFT FROM CHINGGIS BONDS, SAYS PRIME MINISTER
August 30 (InfoMongolia) Every Thursdays, the Prime Minister of Mongolia meets with the mass media to conduct the "30 Minutes with the Prime Minister". This week's meeting was organized in center of Uvurkhangai Aimag, Arvaikheer City due to his working visits to Uvurkhangai and Bayankhongor aimags.
At the beginning of the meeting, N.Altankhuyag briefed about his visiting results to the above aimags and then answered the reporters' questions afterwards.
- As of today, how much money is left from the Chinggis Bond and on which sectors will the remaining be spent?
- About 300-400 million USD is left from the Chinggis Bond. The Government will spend the remaining to support manufacturing industry. In order to decrease centralization, we have a policy to create large residential areas in aimags. The decision has been made to spend over 300 billion MNT for housing finances. Over 150 billion MNT of it will be spent on establishing residential areas in aimag centers. A residential area for 1,000 households is planned to be constructed in just Bayankhongor and Uvurkhangai aimags.
- The irregular plenary session of the Parliament will be held soon. What is the Government planning to discuss at the irregular session?
- Changes will be made in certain laws during the irregular session. For instance, the Investment Law and Investment Fund Law will be considered. By adopting these laws, we will provide investors with a sustainable environment and with secure laws. The laws must be unchangeable all the time and not to stop investments. Also, the matters to increase the state gold reserves will be revised at the irregular session.
- There was news that the work group appointed by the Government went to London to negotiate the Oyu Tolgoi underground expansion and the second investment issues. Has the work group held a meeting yet?
- The authorities to go to London were appointed. They will depart next week, as requested by the counterpart. I'm assuming this meeting will resolve the underground expansion and investment matters.
- The Government has been criticized a lot lately. As the Prime Minister, how do you handle all these?
- Everyone is being criticized all the time, I do accept all opinions and critiques. We are working within our capability and now we can see positive results.
Mogi: "unprofitable"? bit unfair no?
Unprofitable strategic mining deposits
September 6 (UB Post) Mongolia has 15 strategic mining deposits and the focus of "strategic" is connected to state involvement. The state will own a maximum 34 percent of the deposit if private funding has been used for prospecting and extraction, while if state funds are used for the prospecting, the state will own up to 50 percent of the deposit. With the exception of Oyu Tolgoi, all other strategic deposits opened after being prospected by state funds during the socialist period in Mongolia. The following is information regarding the profit of the nation's strategic deposits.
Oyu Tolgoi: Copper and molybdenum deposit
Oyu Tolgoi's prospecting was done with private funding and began operations in 2000. An investment contract for the deposit was concluded during the government headed by former Prime Minister S.Bayar and a concentration plant has already been built. As it is a strategic deposit, the Mongolian state owns 34 percent of it. Currently it has been dealing with problems with its investor company Rio Tinto and the Mongolian government being in debate about second stage investment. Over 80 percent of the deposit's fortune is deep in the ground and Rio Tinto and the government haven't yet agreed on construction investment for underground mining. The government provided its investment for 34 percent of the deposit by taking out loans. Experts believe the Oyu Tolgoi project will be beneficial only if the two parties unanimously agree on an investment strategy and the underground mining construction starts.
Erdenet: This copper and molybdenum deposit has been in use since the socialist period. It is a Mongolia-Russia joint plant. The Mongolian state owns 51 percent. Erdenet, Baganuur and Shivee Ovoo deposits are exceptions to the Law on Strategic Mining, as a clause states that state ownership in strategic deposits will be no more than 50 percent.
Baganuur, Shivee Ovoo: These deposits were also in use since the socialist period. The Mongolia state owns 51 percent. As they are state-owned, they have always supplied coal at cheap prices for heating and power plants. They operate at a loss of billions instead of making a profit. They topped the list of companies operating at a loss, issued by the Mongolian State Property Committee.
Boroo: Canadian based gold company, Centerra Gold concluded a sustainable contract as part of the Mongolian Law on Mineral Resources in 1997 and started running the deposit. Its resources have almost been depleted. This company used other strategic deposits, such as Tumurtein Ovoo and Nariin Sukhait, in this way. In other words, deposits used by private sector companies before the law introduced strategic deposit classification have now become strategic deposits.
Tumurtein Ovoo: Zinc and lead deposit. This deposit is used with investment from Mongolia and China. Each country owns 50 percent of the deposit. The deposit produces 150,000 tons of zinc concentrate per year.
Burenkhaan Deposit: This phosphorite deposit has been out of use for years due to environmental issues. Private sector companies own its permits.
Tsagaan Suvarga: Mongolyn Alt Group (MAK) owns the second-largest copper and molybdenum deposit in Mongolia. The deposit is set to be prospected again, after its reserve will be determined by JORK standards, and is planned to be operational again after taking out loans. As it is a strategic deposit, the issue of state ownership will rise before going it becomes operational.
Asgat Silver Deposit: A Russian company proposed using the deposit in 2005 and 2006. Though the deposit was under discussion for operation by the Russian company, it was halted as more than 50 percent of the deposit was likely to be owned by Russia. The deposit is located along the border next to Bayan-Ulgii Province and is known as a "polymetal" deposit instead of silver. As it is a polymetal deposit, exactly what concentrates will be produced is uncertain now. The deposit faces various issues as its reserve is located in a very complicated area for extraction and entering Russian territory is inevitable if extraction starts. No other company has proposed to use the deposit ever since.
Mardai, Dornod, Gurvanbulag: Uranium deposits. None of them are currently operating. The Mongolia-Russia-Canada joint company, Khan Resources owned the Mardai Deposit, but it became problematic as the uranium sector adopted its own legal environment. After the Law on Nuclear Energy was issued, the operation permit of Mardai was found to be in violation of the law and the state didn't register its permit. This led to owners of the deposit complaining to law enforcement and courts. As for other deposits, Western Prospectors sold its operation permit to a Chinese nuclear energy state-owned company when the related law was under discussion. Mining sector officials say they sold their permit due delays in the law. Originally, the company was preparing to start operation in 2008 when the price of uranium was at its peak.
Nariin Sukhait: Coal deposit. A Mongolia-China funded company is using the deposit. It is operating without profit as the price of coal has fallen.
Tavan Tolgoi: Coal deposit. It was under ownership by Mongolian private sector companies prior to the adoption of the Mongolian Law on Mineral Resources, enacted in 2006. The first company to have an operation permit for Tavan Tolgoi (TT) was BHP, a leading company in the worldwide coking coal market. Mining sector officials believe it was BHP that was a real strategic investor for TT. BHP conducted technical and economic assessment on the deposit before the mining boom gained international attention. At the time, Oyu Tolgoi was not in the news, coking coal prices varied between 40 and 60 USD, and Umnugovi Province had almost no infrastructure development. BHP refused to invest in the deposit as it considered TT as unprofitable. Main Info, who conducted geological research for foreign-invested companies planning to organize projects in Mongolia, took the operation permit for TT. In total, 14 companies have owned permits for TT, but later, 94 percent of the deposit went to state ownership as it was prospected by state funds. The remaining six percent of TT is Ukhaa Khudag mine and is owned by Petrovis, Shunkhlai, and MCS. As the price of coal has dropped, it has started operating without profit. The state owned fields of TT are the west and east tsanhi. They are operating at a loss as well.
Tumurtei: Iron ore deposit. Darkhan Iron Plant owns the deposit.
China agreed to build New Silk Road, Connecting Russia, Mongolia and China
September 3 (China Daily) China will enhance partnerships with its neighbors to the west, aiming to build an integrated regional communications network, a top Chinese official said on Monday.
Vice-Minister of Industry and Information Technology Shang Bing said that this network will help China, the Central Asian nations, Russia and Mongolia to accelerate their economic recoveries and promote multilateral trade.
Communications services have become one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing industries for developed nations, creating jobs in sectors such as e-commerce and logistics. A number of developing countries have also realized that this industry can be an aid to their economies.
"Developing information services will not only help countries in the Eurasian corridor reduce their heavy dependence on trade in natural resources - they will also find new ways to diversify their development modes," Shang said.
At the Third China-Eurasia Expo held in Urumqi on Monday, China Telecom Corp Ltd, China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd and China Mobile Hong Kong Co Ltd signed seven cooperative agreements and business memoranda with the governments of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Russia and Mongolia, and companies in those countries, to build communication facilities
Along with infrastructure improvements, such as road and bridge construction along the Eurasian Land Bridge (also known as the New Silk Road). "China and partner countries will share common resources in promoting trade in both regional and European markets through an improved communication network, which adopts the same signal system and service standards," said Shang.
The Silk Road came into being some 2,000 years ago. Running for 7,000 kilometers, the ancient trade route was forged by camel-driving merchants who carried silk and porcelain to western Europe and spices to the Far East. The road lost its significance as the age of seaborne commerce dawned.
"The New Silk Road consists of highways, logistics centers, manufacturing facilities, new towns and gas and oil pipelines.
"It is time to boost this region as a backward communication system can create economic burdens such as unsold goods, lack of information and erroneous investment policies in the Eurasian heartland," said Kurexi Maihesuti, vice-chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
China has built three major international communication hubs in Nanning, Kunming and Urumqi, along with five regional centers and 50 international channel gateways. Using 10 cross-border submarine cables, 35 cross-border land cables and international communication satellites, the nation's mobile roaming network covers 253 countries and regions.
Located in Northwest China, Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, became China's third international communications hub in 2011. It has more than 230 Internet technology and telecommunication enterprises, nearly half of which have business connections with the markets of neighboring countries.
The Chinese government has selected Xinjiang as the base to coordinate regional communications with countries in Eurasia passage.
In 2012, China invested 1.65 billion yuan ($269 million) to develop the communications sector in Xinjiang.
Kurexi said the region and its enterprises will focus on developing technologies for broadband, third-generation service, code division multiple access and cloud computing platforms over the next five years.
Yang Jie, general manager of China Telecom, said integrated telecommunications and Internet service networks will make regional communication and data exchange more convenient and faster. The rates will also be lower than the current charges in Central Asia.
According to a report by the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, released in June, communications capacity among China, Europe, Central Asia and Russia will expand fast over the next three years, rising to a level about 20 percent higher than in 2012.
However, this is a long-term project. Countries in Central Asia are still incapable of developing their communications industries alone.
Yang said China Telecom will help countries such as Kazakhstan and Tajikistan to expand their cross-border land cable capacities. An upgraded information service network means bright prospects for closer multinational economic cooperation.
"In comparison with international submarine cables, building cross-border land cables is more economical and reliable for China and its partner nations," Yang said.
Minimum monthly wage now varies in different sectors
September 6 (UB Post) Below is a short interview with M.Bayarmaa, official of the Labor and Social Policy Authority of the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions, regarding the newly set minimum monthly wage.
-How many citizens earn the minimum monthly wage in Mongolia?
-The number of citizens earning the minimum monthly wage in our country has been determined as a result of several inspections carried out by the National Statistical Office and the State Specialized Inspection Agency. Out of the total number of workers in Mongolia, eight to ten percent earn the minimum monthly wage, while 14 percent take a bit more than the minimum. With the increase across the main sectors of our country, the minimum monthly wage for the auto transportation sector is now 224,640 MNT, the energy sector is 307,200 MNT, the health sector is 249,600 MNT, while the construction sector is 358,848 MNT from now on.
-What is the average wage of all workers in Mongolia? The average wage amount will increase according to the increase in the minimum monthly wage, correct?
-Today, the average monthly wage of workers in Mongolia is 598,500 MNT. The percentage of individuals earning the average monthly wage was 23 percent, but it has increased to 32 percent now. Generally, the percentage must be at least 40 percent for developing or poor countries. It reaches even 60 percent in some countries.
-How will the new ordinance on wages affect private sector companies?
-The minimum monthly wage applies to all companies and workers in both the public and private sector. In other words, there must be no worker with a monthly wage under 192,000 MNT now.
Global Finance Country Report: Mongolia
SEEKING A VIABLE FUTURE
September 2013 (Global Finance Magazine) Mongolia is struggling to find the right path in making use of abundant resources to improve the lives of its citizens, while providing a stable and fair business environment for investors.
Mongolia has in recent years been the darling of frontier markets investors. It sits on huge and largely underdeveloped reserves of minerals, principally copper, gold and coal. The economy has been growing at double-digit rates since the short recession that followed the global financial crisis. In global league tables on governance, transparency and ease of doing business, Mongolia does much better than most resource-rich nations. No wonder it has been a magnet to investors.
The main engine of growth is mining, such as the $6.6 billion giant Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in the Gobi Desert, which ranks among the five largest copper mines in the world. GDP growth peaked at 20.2% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2011. Last year it was down to 12.3%—but that still makes Mongolia one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Construction has been booming, and property prices in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, have skyrocketed as foreign mining companies, financiers and consultants have poured in, provoking concerns about a bubble and the solidity of some local banks, with Moody's recently putting the banking sector on negative outlook.
Mongolia is unlike most developing countries, both in its geography and its politics. A vast, landlocked country inhabited by less than three million people—most of whom were nomadic herders a generation ago—it has the world's second-lowest population density after Greenland. It is home to a vibrant democracy.
Following this year's closely fought presidential contest, the incumbent, Tsakhia Elbegdorj, only just scraped through the first round of the June elections with a 50.9% majority. His two challengers were a former wrestling champion and the Health minister, who is also the first woman to run for the presidency.
All three candidates embraced different versions of "resource nationalism"—the widely held sentiment that the larger share of Mongolia's natural wealth should go to Mongolians and not foreign investors. Combine that with a deep-seated fear of being absorbed by China—as happened to Inner Mongolia—through Chinese ownership of mining rights and local businesses, dominance of trade and the growing number of illegal migrants, and you have a potentially explosive mixture. Such fears lay behind Mongolia's Investment Law, passed last year, imposing a 50% cap on foreign investments in strategic industries such as mining, banking and telecommunications. But this law was so broadly framed that it has deterred investors. FDI fell by 17% in 2012 and by 58% early this year, according to the Bank of Mongolia.
The government, as a 34% shareholder in the Oyu Tolgai copper mine, has also sought to renegotiate terms with Rio Tinto's subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources, which holds 66%, citing cost overruns, while also seeking a larger role in management. Negotiations have been tortuous and have delayed shipments of copper concentrate to China three times. Given that this one mine accounts for more than 20% of Mongolia's total economic activity and could provide the government with $2 million a day in royalties and taxes, the standoff has proved costly.
Shipments finally started in July, though full agreement on many points has still to be reached. All this has sent negative messages to other investors. And while parliament is moving to changing the law on investment in strategic industries, continuing legal uncertainty has curtailed exploration and caused existing projects to be scaled down. However, "the debate on how to amend the law is now going forward," according Alex Plekhanov, a former senior economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and former country economist for Mongolia, where the bank has been active since 2006. "One of the possibilities," he says, "is to preserve the idea of strategic industries but to provide equal treatment for foreign and domestic investors."
Factors beyond government control—softer global commodities prices and slower growth in its key export market, China, are also having a negative impact. But some wounds are self-inflicted: Coal exports fell by 43% in the first quarter of 2013, after the state-owned operator of the huge Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit halted shipments because it was unable to pay a warehousing company. After renegotiating a loan and contract with its main customer, Chalco, Tavan Tolgio has resumed shipments.
The World Bank has trimmed back this year's GDP growth forecast from 16.2% to 13%, and further downward revisions are likely. Foreign trade to mid-July was down 7.3% over the same period last year, with a drop in exports of 9.1% and imports shrinking by 6.2%, according to the National Statistics Office of Mongolia. Analysts at Mongolian Investment Banking Group see this pointing to an "an overall weakening of the economy," while "the decrease in imports of diesel fuel along with heavy machinery indicates that mining and exploration activity has slowed."
Last November Mongolia tapped international capital markets for the first time with its $1.5 billion Chinggis bond. "Mongolia achieved a spectacularly good rate which compares favorably with sovereign issuers in Southern Europe," observes Plekhanov. "But now, with the government continuing to run a very large fiscal deficit and the economy slowing, issuance on such favorable terms would be next to impossible."
Plekhanov says the deficit is owing to "political pressures to spend more on top of already-high spending—not only on social causes, like education and housing, but also on cash handouts to Mongolian citizens. It was very front-loaded and based on projected mining revenues. Basically, it was decided to hand out money that was still in the ground." Such public largesse, he says, "was reined in after last year's parliamentary elections, with monthly cash handouts now limited to minors." But there remains a long list of infrastructure projects, including paved roads linking regions to the capital, which "probably owe as much to pressures from parliamentary constituencies as to objective needs."
Some measures are being taken to make Mongolia a more attractive and diversified investment destination. A new Securities Law passed in May provides for dual listings on the Mongolian and foreign stock exchanges. As for avoiding the so-called resource curse, Plekhanov argues that "diversifying the economy away from natural resources depends on targeting sectors where it can be competitive. As a landlocked country, Mongolia faces serious challenges. Traditional Mongolian industries like cashmere require major investment in new technology." And despite its huge coal reserves and potential for oil exploration, Mongolia remains dependent on imports of petroleum products.
Revenues from Mongolia's copper and coal mines will enable more state-led development and infrastructure projects. But the country also needs foreign direct investment, both to expand its resources-driven economy and to partner in revenue-generating projects elsewhere. President Elbegdorj and the coalition government stand at a crossroads. Either they persist with a brand of resource nationalism that, though popular, threatens to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, or they refine the resource nationalism concept, define its limits and provide a degree of legal certainty that will bring back investors and underpin a more sustainable future.
Mongolia Joins Shale Revolution, But at What Cost?
By Michelle Tolson
Oil shale exploration is quietly getting underway. But questions surround viability and environmental costs.
September 5 (The Diplomat) This spring, Genie Energy signed an agreement with the government of Mongolia, under which its subsidiary will . Statements to the press have spun the agreement as a way for the country to achieve energy independence from Russia, as Mongolia currently from its neighbor. Estimates have put Mongolia's or more.
However, critics of oil shale contend that the costs of extracting the oil from the shale will not produce a satisfactory (EROI). While shale oil and shale gas currently dominate global energy news as the "shale oil revolution," oil shale is its poorer relative. It's more costly to extract, and in that respect has been likened to tar sands in Canada. Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, a think tank that , explained to : "Oil shale is even worse than the tight oil [shale oil] extracted with fracking. The resource has a very low energy density, so much energy and effort have to be expended in extraction and upgrading each unit of output. The tar sands of Canada offer an analogy, but oil shale is an even lower-grade resource."
After learning about the announcement of the agreement, Canadian writer and anti-tar sands activist Macdonald Stainsby traveled to Mongolia in May of this year to with local environmental activists. He told : "When I arrived only the foreign language press had even mentioned oil shale; OT Watch and other environmentalists in the country were completely unaware of either the dangers of oil shale development or that this license existed."
Sukhgerel Dugersuren, the executive director of OT Watch, a mining oversight NGO, met with Stainsby to address the lack of information on the project. "Because no one knows about shale oil or oil shale, I attempted to set up a briefing for the environmental civil society. Only one person I contacted personally came."
Mongolia is part of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which is designed to increase transparency so civil society can be made aware of licenses, taxes and royalties paid to governments. However a spokesperson for EITI Mongolia explained in a recent email they have not yet obtained .
Genie Energy, which boasts a featuring figures such as Rupert Murdoch and Dick Cheney, has experienced from its efforts to develop oil shale in Israel, and this perhaps influences its media silence in Mongolia. Genie is also connected to initiatives to develop oil shale in the U.S., which has the largest known deposits in the world but where mining is not taking place. Despite years of research, oil shale has . Success in Mongolia would likely improve the company's standing in both Israel and the U.S.
Mongolia, meanwhile, has been grappling with declining foreign investment and is more open to experimentation to bring in funds. In January of 2013, of the level of the previous year, according to the World Bank. Oil shale, according to a recent interview in the local media with the Minister of Mining D. Gankhuyag, has been earmarked as a for the country's economy.
Another Genie Energy company, American Shale Oil, lists on its website. Again, there is no guarantee of an adequate EROI. The technology involves the laying of heating coils underground to heat oil shale and extract a substance known as kerogen. David Hughes, a geoscientist with the , explained to : "It really isn't commercially viable using in-situ technology at this point. Most of it that has been mined in the world has been insignificant amounts; just 25,000 barrels a day, contrast this with world usage of 89 million barrels a day. It's a messy process, very energy intensive. The ROI, the energy spent, is worse than with tar sands, which is not great itself. Mineable tar sands' ROI are about 5 to 1 – in situ tar sands are worse at about 3:1. On the Genie website they are equating in situ oil sands production with in situ oil shale – this is untrue. Tar sands are oil; oil shale is kerogen, not oil." Huges went on to say that the possible return for oil shale .
Published reports on Genie's explorations in Mongolia have been hard to find. met with herders along the Orkhon River in the Selenge province in May who said that pastures along the river were becoming over-exploited as new herder families and their livestock displaced by Genie arrive. By the end of May, media had reported that Genie was exploring in the Lun and Erdenesant soums (districts) by the Tuul River in the Tov province. This area is where the herders were struggling. Sukhgerel and Stainsby said parliament had only released Genie's licenses during a June session.
contacted Genie headquarters in New Jersey for more information about its explorations, but the company declined to comment. Mongolia's Ministry of Environment and Green Development and investors in the country's extractive industry also had no comment.
"Hiding it from the foreign press makes a lot of sense given that Mongolia is already under environmentalist scrutiny for their lack of restraint dealing with the mining sector," said Stainsby. "Having one of the most 'topical' environmental issues in the world, wrapped in the climate struggle and "trendy" is a PR nightmare that both Genie and Mongolia would be better off avoiding. Tar sands and extreme oil (fracking as well) projects are already on the agenda for campaigners and environmentalists around the world."
Though there seems to be more questions than answers on Mongolia's entrance into the "shale revolution," a panel for the is set to discuss oil shale on September 5. Perhaps it can shed some light on the situation.
Mobicom appoints new CEO
September 5 (news.mn) The Directors` Board of Mobicom Corporation, the first mobile phone operator in Mongolia, reached the decision to appoint David Holliday as CEO of the corporation.
The appointment was effective from September 2nd 2013.
David Holliday is internationally experienced in establishing Mobile Telecommunications companies. He served as Managing Director of Uganda Telecom for the past year. Prior to Uganda Telecom Holliday was Managing Director of Goldstream for two years.
Previously, he has held the positions of Chief Strategy Officer and Advisor to Chairman & CEO at LAP-GreenN, Business Advisory Board member (Telecoms) at VoxGen and CEO of Zain, Zambia.
RPM PRESENTS ON REVIVING MONGOLIAN MINING INVESTMENT AT DISCOVER MONGOLIA FORUM
RungePincockMinarco (RPM) is set to contribute to discussions at this month's Discover Mongolia forum, speaking on how the sector can revive mining investment beyond regulatory changes.
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (September 5, 2013) Presenting for RPM at the forum will be Country Manager – Mongolia, Stewart Coates. Mr. Coates has vast experience in the screening and review of Minerals licences in Mongolia on behalf of foreign investors and is well known in Mongolian mining circles.
Mr. Coates said, "We're pleased to be returning to the Discover Mongolia forum again in 2013. I'm privileged to share RPM's experience in mining investment with the delegates at the forum."
"In my presentation, I will be discussing the status quo of Mongolia's investment situation, examining best practice government initiatives from other regions that have faced similar challenges and sharing the recipe for rapid turnaround and increase in mining exploration activity specific to Mongolia."
Mr. Coates continued saying, "In addition to sharing our thought leadership in the mining advisory space, RPM will also be demonstrating our suite of software at the event."
"Attendees will be able to get hands-on with RPM's full range of mine scheduling, equipment productivity simulation and financial modelling software, as well as our latest enterprise solutions."
Mr. Coates concluded, explaining that RPM was deeply committed to ongoing involvement in the Mongolian mining industry.
"Our commitment to the Mongolian mining industry is unquestionable. Aside from our local office in Ulaanbaatar, we have partnerships in place to extend and support our software distribution network. We also sponsor the operation of a permanent computer lab at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, enabling educators to instruct the next generation of Mongolian engineers in the use of the latest mining software.
"With so much invested in Mongolia, we're always eager to contribute to discussions about the future of mining in the region."
The Discover Mongolia forum runs from September 5-7 in Ulaanbaatar.
Belarus to mine fluorspar, brown coal in Mongolia
MINSK, 6 September (BelTA) - One of the Belarusian companies will get involved in the mining of fluorspar and brown coal in Mongolia, Belarus' Environment and Natural Resources Minister Vladimir Tsalko told media, BelTA has learnt.
The relevant agreement was reached during the official visit of the Belarusian delegation headed by Premier Mikhail Myasnikovich to Mongolia on 3-5 September.
During the talks with the Mongolian counterparts representatives of the Belarusian Environment and Natural Resources Ministry touched upon the issues of exploration and excavation of minerals which are in abundance in Mongolia. According to Vladimir Tsalko, the meetings resulted in an agreement on granting Belarus exploration concessions in Mongolia.
"Our companies will have the right to mine all minerals they explore and sell them jointly with the Mongolian side. We have agreed that our company would begin mining operations in Mongolia in late 2013. The sides will sign agreements on the establishment of a joint venture to mine fluorite, a spar which is imported by Belarus," Vladimir Tsalko said.
According to Vladimir Tsalko, the Mongolian side suggested transfering to the Belarusian partners a brown coal deposit which has not been mined. The Minister said several businessmen and some Belarusian companies, including BelAZ, have taken interest in this project. "A joint venture may be set up," Vladimir Tsalko underscored adding that the sides have already started working on this matter. The preparation of the required documentation will begin before long. Belarus hopes to start mining operations in early 2014.
"Such cooperation will benefit both the Belarusian and Mongolian side," Vladimir Tsalko said.
As BelTA earlier reported, the Belarusian delegation headed by Mikhail Myasnikovich was in Mongolia on an official visit from 3 to 5 September. The Premier held a number of talks with Mongolia's leadership. The National Exhibition of the Republic of Belarus, which will run in Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator until 8 September, was timed to the visit. Earlier Belarus and Mongolia held a joint business forum.
MTZ to ship 300 tractors to Mongolia
MINSK, 6 September (BelTA) – Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ trademark) will deliver 300 tractors to Mongolia, Director General of the company Vladimir Volchek told reporters, BelTA has learnt.
The contract to supply the machines is estimated at over $7.83 million. The contract was signed during the official visit of the Belarusian governmental delegation led by Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich to Mongolia.
Vladimir Volchek said that the first tractors will be shipped this month; subsequent deliveries will take place in 2014.
The company chief noted that this is not the only contract signed during the visit. Soon a joint venture to produce energy-efficient farm machines will be established in Mongolia. "Now we are discussing its capacities. We are deciding what kind of tractors will be manufactured there," Vladimir Volchek said. In his words, this company might be located in Erdenet, the second-largest city in Mongolia, or its suburbs. "Most of our customers live in this area. Most of agricultural companies are located there and these companies use Belarusian tractors," he added.
The project to set up the joint venture will be launched in 2013. "This year we are going to register this company," Vladimir Volchek said. Task groups will be set up; a business plan will be developed spelling out economic parameters of the project.
The company chief noted: "Mongolia's motor fleet is not big and should be expanded. Belarusian machines to be delivered to Mongolia will be used in agriculture and other sectors, including municipal engineering".
A governmental delegation led by Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich paid an official visit to Mongolia on 3-5 September. Mikhail Myasnikovich held official talks with President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag, and Chairman of the State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia Zandaakhuu Enkhbold. A number of agreements were signed as a result of the meetings. Among other things the agreements lift visa requirements, regulate cooperation in education, military and technical cooperation, as well as cooperation and mutual aid in customs affairs. Belarusian companies contracted to deliver over $31 million worth of merchandise to Mongolia.
The Belarusian officials discussed a number of promising projects with their Mongolian counterparts. They include a project to set up a joint venture to sell Belarusian oil products and equipment for gold mining companies. The parties considered Belarus' participation in oil production, exploration of fluorite deposits, humus production, and brown coal processing in Mongolia. The parties also discussed cooperation prospects in medical tourism and veterinary science.
New opportunities for Belarusian business in Mongolia soon
MINSK, 6 September (BelTA) – Representatives of the Belarusian business community, who are interested in cooperation with Mongolia, will soon be able to expect new more favorable business operation terms in the country. The statement was made by Chimed Saikhanbileg, a member of the Mongolian parliament, Minister and Chief of the Mongolia Government Office, at the Belarusian-Mongolian business forum held in Ulaanbaatar on 5 September, BelTA has learned.
The business forum was a landmark event for the Belarusian side and the Mongolian one. It gathered representatives of the largest businesses of the two countries.
Chimed Saikhanbileg remarked Mongolia was glad to welcome Belarusian guests, including representatives of MAZ, BelAZ, MTZ, and other enterprises, which merchandise is known all over the world.
According to the MP, the Mongolian government pursues a policy that supports private business. "With this in mind favorable conditions are created as well as the most intense legal base," he noted.
There are plans to pass a new bill on investments in Mongolia. The bill is expected to open up new possibilities before foreign investors, said Chimed Saikhanbileg. "The new bill will not differentiate between domestic and foreign investors. Both kinds will enjoy equal legal capabilities," noted the MP. "It will be easier to register companies. Companies will be granted new ways to calculate their earnings".
BelTA reported earlier that a Belarus government delegation was in Mongolia on an official visit on 3-5 September. The Belarusian head of government met with the country's leaders, namely Mongolia President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag and Chairman of the Mongolia Parliament Zandaakhuu Enkhbold. A number of agreements were signed as a result of the meetings. Among other things the agreements lift visa requirements, regulate cooperation in education, military and technical cooperation, as well as cooperation and mutual aid in customs affairs. Belarusian companies contracted to deliver over $31 million worth of merchandise to Mongolia.
During the visit a National Expo of the Republic of Belarus was opened in Ulaanbaatar. The expo will stay open till 8 September. The Belarusian-Mongolian business forum was held the day before.
Myasnikovich: Belarus, Mongolia are on the same page in economic cooperation – BelTA, September 5
Mongolia most interested in cooperation with Belarus in mining industry – BelTA, September 5
Mogi: and how much is Mongolia supplying to Belarus?
Belarus to supply $31m worth of products to Mongolia
ULAANBAATAR, 6 September (BelTA) – During the official visit of the Belarusian delegation led by Premier Mikhail Myasnikovich to Mongolia the parties agreed on the supplies of Belarusian products worth of more than $31 million to the country, BelTA has learnt.
At the Belarusian-Mongolian business forum which took place in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, the two countries signed a number of contracts on the supply of equipment, component parts, pharmaceutical products, confectionery and other goods to Mongolia. The value of the contracts is estimated at $31.146 million.
"It will be a great contribution to our trade turnover," Belarusian head of government Mikhail Myasnikovich noted. Belarus-Mongolia trade has been steadily increasing in the recent years. In 2012 it reached $112 million. According to the Premier, this figure can double next year.
Thus, according to the reached agreements, OAO BelAZ will supply six rock haulers worth of over $10.17 million and component parts to the vehicles. Sixteen dump trucks (with 55t and 130t payload) will be supplied under the terms of international leasing. The products of Minsk Tractor Plant are in great demand in Mongolia. The Belarusian company plans to deliver 300 tractors (worth more than $7.83 million) to the region. There were also signed contracts on the supply of ten urban buses and 14 MAZ concrete mixer trucks under the terms of international leasing.
Agreements were also reached on the supplies of the products of OAO Bobruiskselmash, Kristall, OAO Kommunarka, OAO Krasny Pishchevik.
Belarus' government delegation led by Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich was on an official visit to Mongolia on 3-5 September. The Belarusian head of government held several meetings, including with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Mongolian Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag, Chairman of the Mongolian Parliament Zandaakhuu Enkhbold. Mikhail Myasnikovich took part in the opening ceremony of the National Exhibition of the Republic of Belarus that is to stay open through 8 September and the Belarusian-Mongolian business forum.
DBRB, Mongolia's Xacbank sign agreement on export finance
MINSK, 5 September (BelTA) – The Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus (DBRB) and Xacbank of Mongolia signed a framework agreement on export finance on 5 September, BelTA learned from the DBRB press service.
During the first Belarusian-Mongolian business forum in Ulaanbaatar representatives of the Belarusian Development Bank held talks with Mongolia's major financial institutions. Following these talks the framework agreement was signed with the Mongolian bank. On behalf of Belarus the document was signed by Chairman of the Board of the Development Bank Sergei Rumas and on the part of Mongolia by President of Xacbank Ganbaatar Jambal.
The agreement contains the arrangements on the general terms of the issue of export loans by the Development Bank to Mongolian Xacbank to finance the acquisition of goods, works and services from residents of Belarus with the insurance to be provided by Exmigarant of Belarus.
"The agreement will contribute to the strengthening of trade and economic relations between Belarus and Mongolia, including exports of Belarusian goods, works, services to Mongolia," the Bank said.
OAO Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus was created in 2011 by the relevant presidential decree. The bank is designed to focus on financing government programs and socially important investment projects. The founders are the Council of Ministers and the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.
Set up in 2001, Xacbank is one of the largest banks in Mongolia, specializing in lending to large, medium and small businesses. The Bank's shareholders are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Finance Corporation.
Ulaanbaatar conference highlights special session on "Sustainable Energy Finance"
(Asian Bankers Association) A special session on "Sustainable Energy Finance" (SEF) is being organized by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in cooperation with the Mongolian Bankers Association (MBA) and Asian Bankers Association. The special session will be held during the opening ceremony of the 30th ABA General Meeting and Conference on September 12, at the Blue Sky Tower, Ulaanbaatar.
Sustainable Energy Finance is investments and capacity building in financial institutions for the purpose of financing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. An energy efficiency project aims at reducing energy consumption for the same level of production or services or increasing productivity, and creating more products and services output with the same level of energy consumption.
These projects can be in any sector – industrial, residential housing, commercial and municipal buildings, and more. The goal of IFC's energy efficiency finance products is to help financial institutions seek market opportunities and new lending for such projects.
The session aims to raise awareness about the policy priority areas of the green economy and sustainable finance, and the role financial service providers play in this area; talk about how financial institutions can promote and discover new business opportunities in more energy efficient productions, and technologies which leads to development of the low carbon economy.
It also seeks to discuss how international financial institutions like IFC can support other institutions to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects; and share some of the best practices between policy makers, financial service providers and civil society.
Invited speakers include a representative from the Mongolian Ministry of Environment and Green Development who will talk about the "Green Civilization" program; Ms. Tanya Lozansky, IFC's regional head of the advisory services East Asia and Pacific region; an officer from Xacbank will be speaking about their experiences on their tie-up with IFC to develop their own SEF product in the local market; and Ms. Helen He, a banking specialist and operations officer under the CHUEE program. CHUEE or China Utility-based Energy Efficiency Finance is IFC's program launched in 2006, which offers an innovative market-based solution to China's energy and environmental challenges.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group focused on private sector development, has been working in the sustainable energy finance space across more than 30 countries since 1998, supporting banks grow their sustainable energy finance business. IFC delivers the CHUEE program under the leadership of and with financial support from the Chinese Ministry of Finance, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Finland and Norway.
ABA and MBA top officers invite members to 30th General Meeting and Conference
Asian Bankers Association (ABA) Chairman Lorenzo Tan and Mongolian Bankers Association (MBA) President Bold Magvan are inviting members to the 30th ABA General Meeting and Conference on September 12-13, in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia.
"Following the success of our annual gathering in Manila in November last year, I would like to once again count on all our members to extend the same spirited enthusiasm and strong support to the upcoming meeting in Mongolia," says ABA Chairman Mr. Tan.
Mr. Tan hopes that holding the annual gathering in Ulaanbaatar this year will increase the knowledge of the members about Mongolia, its economy, trade and investment potentials, banking and financial sector, and manpower resources.
The Ulaanbaatar gathering takes on added significance as it is the first time the ABA will be holding its conference in Mongolia. MBA President Mr. Magvan, also the CEO of Tenger Financial Holding, says MBA is honored to host this year's 30th ABA General Meeting and Conference. Mr. Magvan says it serves as a good occasion for the association and its members to share with other bankers from the region the investment and business opportunities that Mongolia has to offer.
Mr. Magvan is confident that MBA's cooperation with ABA will further develop and will contribute to the financial and economic expansion and prosperity of the Asia Pacific Region.
With this year's theme "Asia: Growth Engine of the Global Economy," the gathering is expected to bring together financial regulators and senior representatives of ABA member banks operating in the Asian region. The ABA and the MBA express their hopes that discussions will not only be of commercial interest to the participants, but will also be useful to both associations in their efforts to help shape policies that affect the region's development.
"With the members' support and participation to this conference, as well as the future ones, I am confident that ABA will play an even more dominant role in the region's banking community and continue to serve as the ideal forum for advancing the interest of our members," concludes Mr. Tan.
Conference in Mongolia to feature distinguished speakers
(Asian Bankers Association) The 30th ABA General Meeting and Conference on September 12-13 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia has lined up key speakers who will share their insights on various issues facing the banking and financial industry.
Focusing on the theme "Asia: Growth engine of the global economy", members and delegates can look forward to productive sessions and interactions among invited experts. The conference aims to provide a platform where delegates can exchange their views on market developments, and discuss measures that the banking sector can undertake to help sustain growth, enabling the Asia Pacific region to play a catalytic role in the global recovery.
The opening ceremony on September 12 will feature Mr. Naidansuren Zoljargal, Governor of Bank of Mongolia, as special guest speaker, and Ms. Yuko Kinoshita, assistant to the director, IMF's regional office for Asia and the Pacific, as keynote speaker.
ABA Chairman Mr. Lorenzo V. Tan, will give the opening statement, and Mr. Bold Magvan, Mongolian Bankers Association President will deliver the welcome remarks.
The conference will be divided into four sessions, covering different topics. The first session,"Global Macroeconomics: Key Factors for Asian Banks" will examine current and forecast developments in the global markets and other challenges that are expected to have a significant impact on the growth prospects of Asian economies, the financial stability in the region, and the performance of the region's banking sector.
Dr. Jim Walker, Founder and Managing Director, Asianomics Ltd.
Dr. Cheng Mount-Cheng, President, Taiwan Academy of Banking and Finance
Mr. Soronzonbold. L, Deputy CEO, Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia
Mr. John Wong, Managing Director, Group Head Transaction Banking, Malayan Banking Berhad
Session 2 will address issues on "Investment opportunities and challenges in emerging markets." The session will feature three speakers who will explore and share their insights on the investment and business opportunities that emerging markets in Asia offer to investors, and identify some of the challenges that these markets present.
Dr. Jae-Ha Park, Deputy Dean, Asian Development Bank Institute
Mr. Nicoloas Pechet, Managing Director and Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific GIA Group
Mr. Norihiko Kato, Chief Executive Officer, Khan Bank of Mongolia
Mr. Bold Magvan, President, Mongolian Bankers Association, CEO, TenGer Financial Group
Session 3 will cover the topic "Electronic channels: reshaping the financial services industry." The discussion will focus on some of the best practices in implementing successful business strategies in mobile banking and payment, as well as on issues resulting from the development of electronic banking and how they are currently being addressed by the banking sector and by regulatory supervisory authorities.
Mr. Kenny Lam, Partner, Partner, Asia Head of Digital Banking Initiative, McKinsey & Co.
Mr. Sukhdorj, CEO GrapeCity Mongolia
Mr. Noorul Huq, Enterprise Technologist, Storage/Virtualization , Dell Asia & Pacific andJapan
Mr. Daniel Wu, Vice Chairman, ABA; President and CEO, CTCB Financial Holding Co.
The fourth session, called "CEO Forum," aims to provide a platform for top executives from both the banking and non-banking sectors to share their knowledge, perspective and experience on key issues affecting global, regional and local markets.
The invited panelists, composed mainly of so-called game changers, will be requested to provide their insights on timely and relevant issues such as financial inclusion, green banking, gender-related issues; technology innovations; building a more resilient organization; gaining access to new markets; forging strategic alliances with new business partners; formulating winning business approaches; and playing greater role in the region's economic growth and development, among others.
Ms. Belinda Yeung, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Regal Hotels Group, Hong Kong
Mr. Bat-Ochir. D, Chief Executive Officer, XacBank
Mr. Ganbold G., CEO, Golomt Bank
Mr. Michael Fawcett, Director, Child and Youth Finance International
Mr. Dilshan Rodrigo, Chief Operating Officer, Hatton National Bank
The Ulaanbaatar Conference will also feature a special session on "Discover ABA" where member banks will make a presentation on the economic and financial situations in their respective countries.
ABA members invited to make the country presentation:
Bangkok Bank PCL Ltd.
Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam
Malayan Banking Berhad
Bank of Mongolia
Mr. Abdul Razaq Ali Issa, Chief Executive, Bank Muscat SAOG, and Member, ABA Board of Directors
Around 200 bank executives and representatives of leading commercial banks and financial institutions from Asia-Pacific countries are expected to gather at the Blue Sky Tower Hotel in Ulaanbaaatar, Mongolia for this year's annual conference of the ABA.
Sewage water to be treated with Korean technology
September 6 (UB Post) Mongol Us, the state-owned water authority reported on September 3, that sewage and drinking water treatment technology is ready to be introduced to Mongolia with grant-in-aid from the Korean Government. The announcement was made at a symposium held on the same day. The project, an effort to solve current water treatment problems in Mongolia, is the result of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries. Research and experiments for the project have been carried out since January 1, 2013.
In May 2012, the project installed a water treatment system at School 58 in Ulaanbaatar and its success encouraged the project coordinators. The system installed had the capacity to clean 24 tons of water per day. The system featured a chlorine station, sand filter, and ultraviolet ray neutralizer equipment for reducing bacterial contamination.
Ts.Sosorbaram, chief of Mongol Us said, "I'm not sure how long the project will last. We are monitoring water treatment system repair service and usage, as well as water quality. As part of the project, water treatment systems with the capability of removing high levels of hardness and minerals and to treat thousands of tons of water from eroded water pipelines will be installed at UB schools, kindergartens, orphanages, and hospitals in order to solve water issues throughout the city. We are preparing the system's technology right now. The system will launch in provinces in the future."
MONGOLIA-RUSSIA'S ALTANBULAG-KYAKHTA BORDER CROSSING TO BE OPERATIONAL 24/7
September 4 (InfoMongolia) Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold familiarized with the operations of Altanbulag Port on the Mongolia-Russia border on September 02, 2013.
Minister L.Bold met and exchanged views with Selenge Aimag authorities and border control organization operating at the Altanbulag Port about making preparations to implement the mutual principal agreement to transfer the Altanbulag-Kyakhta border crossing to a 24/7 operation. He also visited Russia's Kyakhta (Khiagt) port and was introduced with the blueprints of the new exit-entry roads to connect the two ports.
Making the Altanbulag-Kyakhta border crossing operational for 24 hours a day will have a positive impact not only on the trade and economic cooperation of the two countries, but also on the foreign trade of regional entrepreneurs near the border and allow the citizens of the two nations to travel more freely.
MONGOLROSTSVETMET AUTHORIZED TO EXPLOIT GOLD AT TUIN GOL FIELD DURING RUSSIA-MONGOLIA MEETING
August 30 (InfoMongolia) On August 29, 2013, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia D.Gankhuyag met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russia Federation Igor Vladimirovich Morgulov in Ulaanbaatar and held a consultative meeting between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs.
During the consultative meeting, the sides have exchanged views on certain issues in the political and economic cooperation of the two states. Although the politicoeconomical relations and cooperation is developing steadily at all sectors, the sides expressed that the two countries are not utilizing the complete opportunities to broaden and fully develop the relations and noted the importance of developing a strategic partnership relations mutually beneficial for the people of the two countries.
After the meeting, two Foreign Deputy Ministers D.Gankhuyag and I.Morgulov signed the "2013-2014 Inter-Ministerial Cooperation Plan".
Also, Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia and Head of the Mongolian part of the Mongolia-Russia Intergovernmental Committee D.Terbishdagva received Deputy Minister Igor Morgulov. D.Terbishdagva stated that the Mongolia-Russia Intergovernmental Committee has always been the main lever to develop trade, economic, culture, education and border region relations of the two countries, therefore the upcoming XVII Intergovernmental Committee meeting is being planned to be organized in Russia at the end of this year. Afterwards, the Deputy Prime Minister informed the Russian delegation that "MongolRosTsvetMet" (Mongolia-Russia joint venture) was authorized to exploit the gold deposit at Tuin Gol field in Erdenetsogt Sum of Bayankhongor Aimag.
The previous XVI Intergovernmental Committee meeting on Trade, Economy, Science and Technical Cooperation between the Governments of the Russian Federation and Mongolia was organized in Ulaanbaatar on December 19-21, 2012.
FRANCE EXPRESSES INTEREST IN COLLABORATING WITH MONGOLIA ON PEACEFUL USE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY
September 4 (InfoMongolia) The first meeting of Mongolia-France intergovernmental working group meeting for cooperation was held in Paris, the French Republic, on September 02, 2013.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, G.Tsogtsaikhan led the Mongolian working group and the French working group was chaired by Director General of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Energy of France, Laurent Michel.
During the meeting, the sides emphasized that the Mongolia-France intergovernmental consultative mechanism was renewed and exchanged views on comprehensive issues regarding the relations of the two countries.
At the beginning of the meeting, parties expressed their satisfaction that the consortium comprising of the French GDF Suez Company won the tender to build the Ulaanbaatar Thermal Power Plant V and established a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Mongolia.
Also, the French counterparts expressed their interest to develop cooperation with Mongolia to use renewable energy and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The sides noted the full opportunity available to develop Mongolia-France relations and cooperation in energy, agriculture, and infrastructure sectors and the Mongolian sides expressed the full potentiality to cooperate in fighting soil pollution, forestation, and water management in Mongolia.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, G.Tsogtsaikhan also met with Pierre Sellal, General Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of France and Director of the Cabinet of the Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy of France, Gilles Ricono. During the meeting, two sides exchanged views in preserving the frequency of mutual high level visits and other bilateral cooperation issues in all fields. Both sides expressed their aspiration to increase the volume of the bilateral trade turnover and French investments in the economy of Mongolia, and the sides stated that both countries are ready to intensify cooperation in the agricultural sector and cooperate to spread French advanced technologies in the agricultural sector of Mongolia.
Mongolia invites Kazakhstan to join in creating Landlocked Counties Research Center
Astana. September 4 (INTERFAX-KAZAKHSTAN) - Mongolia's Ambassador Jagir Suhee urges Kazakhstan to join a multilateral agreement to establish an international research center for landlocked countries.
"Mongolia and Kazakhstan are countries with no access to the sea. We successfully cooperate in this area," he said at a press briefing after presenting his credentials to the President of Kazakhstan in Astana on Wednesday.
"In order to make a concrete contribution to the implementation of the Almaty Declaration, Mongolia initiated the establishment of the International Research Center for developing countries without access to the sea and enjoyed the support of many states. Therefore, we encourage and invite the Republic of Kazakhstan to join the multilateral agreement to establish the center," said the Ambassa
Mongolian Journal of International Affairs, No 18 (2013)
A journal published by the Institute of International Studies at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar.
Table of Contents
CD Presidency of Mongolia
Democracy in Mongolia
Sharad K Soni
Democracy in Asia
G Chuluunbaatar, Todd Landman
Middle Banner 6 (600 pixels wide)
Mongolia's Buddhist Monasteries Project
Help publish vast data on historic Buddhist temple sites and share stories of elderly Mongolians, preserving the country's cultural past for new generations.
Mongolia's Buddhist Monasteries Project
Uncovering the past, building the future
Help us publish a treasure trove of data on historic Buddhist temple sites and share the stories of Mongolia's elders, preserving a rich cultural past and encouraging young Mongolian citizens to embrace their heritage.
In the late 1930's Mongolia's Buddhist heritage was torn away when the Soviet-style Communists devastated the country's sacred landscapes by destroying all the monasteries – and exiling or killing the monks or ordering them to be nomads, factory workers or soldiers.
Today, Mongolians are actively seeking to retrieve the past, and striving to make contact with their historic cultural identity. The history of Mongolia has been captured through stories of the elderly and archeological mapping of former Buddhist monastery sites, key to rediscovering Mongolia's unique cultural heritage.
STEP 1: We visited over 1300 sites of old and revived temples
The Arts Council of Mongolia sent survey teams to every part of the country to seek out the elders and survey the sites over a 1,000 Buddhist temples. These elders, many of them young monks at the time of the destruction, told us their stories about daily life in the temples and monasteries. We also took GPS readings and photographs to preserve the elder's identification of the Monastery sites.
STEP 2: We now need to publish what we found
The hard part is done. Now, these stories, locations and photographs need to be published initially online so that Mongolians – and people across the globe – can gain access to Mongolia's rich Buddhist past.
We are so close! We need only $8,000 to complete the online publishing and make Mongolia's Buddhist history accessible to Mongolians and the rest of the world. We can do that with your help. Please help us preserve the past and build the future of Mongolia's history, and worldwide cultural understanding.
The money from this drive will allow us to pay for the programming needed to get this trove of information in a easy-to-use website. (The address will be http://www.mongoliantemples.net.)
For each of the over 1,300 sites surveyed, the web site will aim to have a dedicated page in Mongolian and English with full details collected by the surveyors: GPS coordinates, narrative description of the location, date structure was founded, number of monks in residence, date of closure / destruction, any available archive photos, photos of the site at time of the survey, transcripts of Oral Histories collected from old people who knew the site, any available site plan, and a Precis of the history of the site (taken from interviews, other local sources and extracts from the Mongolian National Archive).
The website will also contain two scholarly reports on temples in Ikh Khuree (today's Ulaanbaatar) written by Krisztina Teleki and Zsuzsa Majer. One report covers old temples. The other covers post 1990 active temples. The web site will also include an 800 word Glossary in Mongolian/Tibetan into English compiled by these two scholars.
Subject to raising needed funds, the site should launch before the end of 2013.
ACM-US maintains complete discretion over allocation of gifts. Although ACM-US cannot legally guarantee gifts will be used for the purpose specified, in all past cases we've been able to honor donor's wishes. Subject to ACM-US board approval, any excess funds from this campaign will be used for further publication efforts for this project.
Ninja miners and rural change in Mongolia
Written by Cristina Villegas
August 26 (ASX-PACE) I was recently in Mongolia to give a presentation on artisanal mining and conservation for the "Sustainable Artisanal Mining Project" ("SAM") funded by the Swiss and co-implemented with the Mongolian government. I spent some time with the country's thought leaders, international ASM experts, and some of the artisanal miners (the "ninjas") of Mongolia's vast plains.
"I am an artisanal miner working in western Mongolia. I've mined for 10 years. In the countryside, there is no industry. We have to do ASM." – Ninja miner attending the SAM conference.
There are an estimated 100,000 artisanal miners in Mongolia; in a population of less than 3 million people, they represent 20% of the rural workforce. ASM occurs in 19 provinces in Mongolia. Artisanal miners are called "ninja miners" due to their clandestine activities (causing many to mine at night), and because they often carry their sieves or pans on their backs, which resembles the ninja turtles of the US television and comic book series. Most Mongolian ninja miners (80-90%) mine gold while the rest mine for fluorspar and coal. (Fluorspar is used as an input into manufactured products such as aluminium, gasoline, refrigerants, and steel, and can also be used in jewellery.)
Climate change, diminishing agricultural returns, dramatic economic change, and the high gold prices of the last decade (pre-2012) contributed to ASM's dramatic rise in the country. As a result, many Mongolian ninja miners are ex-farmers, herdsman, ex-factory workers, and potentially even ex-bureaucrats. Both men and women mine.
"Normally we want people moving from mining into sustainable livelihoods. Right now the opposite is happening." – International conservation leader attending the SAM Conference.
Mongolia experienced a series of droughts and hard winters between 1997 and 2002. This disseminated yak populations, forcing many herders to desperately search for alternative viable livelihoods. Yak herds serve as an income, a food source, and a form of savings for rural herders; for entire herds to die in one winter can immediately impoverish rural families. At the same time, the state was undergoing dramatic economic change. From the 1920s to the early 1990s, Mongolia was a socialist country as a result of heavy Russian influence. From 1990-1993, it transitioned from a state-run economic model to a market based economy; this resulted in a dramatic GDP drop as its industry collapsed. While agriculture, mining, and service sectors are driving new economic growth, unemployment remains at 10 per cent. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) notes that rural residents in Mongolia face greater challenges to secure employment because of greater distance from city centres, fewer opportunities to train and develop new skills, and generally poor market access; this has led many to turn to ASM, timbering, or wildlife hunting to augment or provide for their incomes.
Acknowledging the large rise in ASM, the Government of Mongolia passed a temporary law in 2008 to regulate the ASM sector. The 2008 law gave artisanal miners legal rights to mine but only provided limited land rights. Ninja miners grapple with harsh weather conditions, dangerous working conditions (e.g., tunnel collapses are common), and a situation where mercury has been outlawed but it is still available and in use. Making mercury illegal does not necessarily rid a country of mercury use; it merely criminalizes those who continue to use it, leading to a problem of increased mercury poisoning incidents as miners are choosing to process mercury in small enclosed spaces, such as their cars.
"You can't just stop artisanal mining. ASM will continue as long as poverty persists." – Mongolian government official, SAM conference.
Ninja miners also face social isolation; predominant beliefs in Mongolia are that the land is sacred and that mining it is a spiritual offense. As a result, public opinion is fiercely against the ninja miners, though it is gradually changing with increased understanding on who the miners are and what drove them to mine.
I interviewed some gold miners in the countryside at one of the few mercury-free gold processing centres in the country. Social acceptance was a big topic of conversation. They wanted to know what I thought about artisanal mining and if I accepted them. I told them that I work with artisanal miners from around the world to help them professionalise, mine more sustainably, and improve their incomes to give people like them more options.
Some of the miners told me they were worried about what happens when they finish mining in their current ASM-designated area. They say most of the mining land in Mongolia has been given to bigger companies and there is no legal place for them to dig. With few alternatives to mining, they hinted they would be forced to become illegal again.
Artisanal mining's impacts on the environment & conservation
Natural resource depletion, water pollution, rangeland degradation, desertification, and mercury use are the main environmental concerns directly linked to artisanal miners. Reduced river levels is also being blamed on ASM; in particular the Ongiin River—a source of water for 50,000 people and 700,000 livestock—has experienced dry patches since 1999, resulting in an ecological crash and the alleged extinction of some plant species. This is likely due to the disruption of hydrological systems, water diversion, and miners' practices of melting the permafrost with wood, dung, and rubber tires in order to mine beneath it. The melting of the permafrost prevents a full spring thaw that would ordinarily replenish the river; by disrupting the permafrost, water then pours into the river via gaps of ice where it once poured through a continuous permafrost seal. As a result of these cumulative practices, the Ongiin Valley is thought to be severely impacted, leading at least one civil society movement to call for a limit on ASM to limit water extraction and for ninjas to be required to rehabilitate land.
Mercury use is a major issue in Mongolia. Despite its illegality, ninja miners are thought to use 10 tons of mercury per annum. The Boroo River is believed to be particularly impacted by mercury released by artisanal miners.
Both industrial miners and artisanal miners are also entering (or have entered) the country's protected areas in recent years. These include (or have included) The Small Gobi Strictly Protected Area (SPA), The Onon-Balji Sav National Conservation Park, Great Gobi Special Protected Area, Mon-gol Daguur Special Protected Area, and The Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area (SPA), among many others. To date, conservationists appear reluctant to find a middle ground with miners due to the illegality of those who are mining the protected areas.
Purevjav, Bolormaa (2011). Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining: Gender and Sustainable Livelihoods in Mongolia, Chapter 11 of Gendering the Field: Towards Sustainable Livelihoods for Mining Communities, edited by Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt. Canberra: Asia-Pacific Environment Monograph 6. Published by ANU E Press. The Australian National University. Available here (August 2013)
Singo, Patience (n.d.). "Supporting Artisanal Miners in Mongolia: SDC's Experiences and Lessons Learnt." Presentation for the "Sustainable Artisanal Mining Project" for the Swiss Development Cooperation Mongolia. Available here (August 2013)
United Nations Development Programme (2011). Mongolia Human Development Report 2011: From Vulnerability to Sustainability: Environment and Human Development. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: Published by the United Nations Development Programme. Available here (August 2013)
United States Geological Survey (2013). Minerals Information: Statistics and Information: Fluorspar. Available here (August 2013)
World Bank (2006). "Mongolia: A Review of Environmental and Social Impacts in the Mining Sector." An Environment and Social Development Discussion Paper. Washington, DC: World Bank's East Asia and Pacific Region. Available here (August 2013)
Cristina Villegas is a senior manager of ASM engagement and sourcing at Estelle Levin Ltd., a specialist development consultancy focused on artisanal and small-scale mining. Villegas leads ELL's corporate and community mining service area and she is lead researcher for ELL's global programme focused on sustainable responses to ASM occurring in critical ecosystems. Contact her via www.estellelevin.com.
Overgrazing Turning Parts of Mongolian Steppe Into Desert
September 5 (Science Daily) Overgrazing by millions of sheep and goats is the primary cause of degraded land in the Mongolian Steppe, one of the largest remaining grassland ecosystems in the world, Oregon State University researchers say in a new report.
Using a new satellite-based vegetation monitoring system, researchers found that about 12 percent of the biomass has disappeared in this country that's more than twice the size of Texas, and 70 percent of the grassland ecosystem is now considered degraded. The findings were published in Global Change Biology.
Overgrazing accounts for about 80 percent of the vegetation loss in recent years, researchers concluded, and reduced precipitation as a result of climatic change accounted for most of the rest. These combined forces have led to desertification as once-productive grasslands are overtaken by the Gobi Desert, expanding rapidly from the south.
Since 1990 livestock numbers have almost doubled to 45 million animals, caused in part by the socioeconomic changes linked to the breakup of the former Soviet Union, the report said. High unemployment led many people back to domestic herding.
The problem poses serious threats to this ecosystem, researchers say, including soil and water loss, but it may contribute to global climate change as well. Grasslands, depending on their status, can act as either a significant sink or source for atmospheric carbon dioxide.
"This is a pretty serious issue," said Thomas Hilker, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Forestry. "Regionally, this is a huge area in which the land is being degraded and the food supply for local people is being reduced.
"Globally, however, all ecosystems have a distinct function in world climate," he said. "Vegetation cools the landscape and plays an important role for the water and carbon balance, including greenhouse gases."
Even though it was clear that major problems were occurring in Mongolia in the past 20 years, researchers were uncertain whether the underlying cause was overgrazing, climate change or something else. This report indicates that overgrazing is the predominant concern.
Mongolia is a semi-arid region with harsh, dry winters and warm, wet summers. About 79 percent of the country is covered by grasslands, and a huge surge in the number of grazing animals occurred during just the past decade -- especially sheep and goats that cause more damage than cattle. Related research has found that heavy grazing results in much less vegetation cover and root biomass, and an increase in animal hoof impacts.
UBC Job in Asian Public Policy
By Julian Dierkes
September 5 (Mongolia Focus) The Institute of Asian Research is hiring an assistant professor (tenure-track) in Asian Public Policy. I would personally be thrilled to see applications of junior scholars who focus some or all of their work on Mongolia.
Here's the job ad:
New Position in Public Policy / Asia at Assistant Professor level
The Institute of Asian Research (IAR) and the Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia (Vancouver campus), invite applications for a tenure-track appointment at the assistant professor level, effective July 1, 2014, in Asian public policy. All policy specializations will be considered relevant (for example, governance and policy-making, economic policy, environmental policy, social and gender policy, urban policy, transportation, water, development).
The appointment is a joint position between IAR (75%) and Political Science (25%). Candidates must have a Ph.D. or be nearing completion. Experience in teaching public policy related to Asia will be an asset. The successful candidate will be expected to maintain a program of scholarly research leading to publication, effective teaching, graduate supervision, and service.
The successful candidate will teach and supervise at the graduate and undergraduate levels in the area of public policy in Asia at the IAR and in Political Science. In addition, the successful candidate will be expected to play a role in the ongoing development of a public policy degree program focused on Asia at the IAR.
The programs, faculty research interests, and general activities of the Institute of Asian Research are found at www.iar.ubc.ca and those of the Department of Political Science are found at www.politics.ubc.ca.
Applicants should apply through the UBC faculty careers website, and be prepared to upload a C.V., a description of current and future research interests, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and a sample of their ongoing research, preferably in the form of published material. Applicants should also arrange to have three confidential letters of reference sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Materials should be received by October 15, 2013.
The position is subject to final budgetary approval. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.
UBC hires on the basis of merit and is strongly committed to equity and diversity within its community. We especially welcome applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to productively engage with diverse communities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.
This Month in Mongolian Studies – September 2013
American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS) -- This is a monthly listing of selected academic activities and resources related to Mongolia. This list is based on information the ACMS has received and is presented as a service to its members. If you would like to submit information to be included in next month's issue please contact the ACMS at email@example.com and/or the editor, Marissa Smith, at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events
New Books in the ACMS Library
Call for Papers, Conferences and Workshops
Research Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants
News and Events
ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events
September 11th – Benjamin Meader
Geographer and Assistant Instructor at Middlebury College, Mr. Meader is a specialist in GIS data analysis and applications. He will be discussing how GIS technologies can be used in all fields of Mongolian studies.
September 25th – Dr. Charles Krusekopf
Dr. Kruskopf, founder of the ACMS, will be doing an overview of the ACMS' last 10 years and discuss the future of Mongolian Studies.
The Scholars Corner is an informal gathering aimed at providing an opportunity for visiting academics, resident scholars and interested individuals to meet, discuss their research and exchange ideas. The gatherings will be held on the last Thursday of each month, with additional gatherings scheduled around noteworthy events or visits.
September 19th – Prof. Julian Dierkes
Open discussion on Mongolian politics and international policy. Event will be held at the Blue Sky Hotel, 7th floor outdoor patio starting at 6 pm. Should the weather be uncooperative, we will move the event to the 23rd floor Sky lounge. Hope to see you all there.
Inter FC wins the national leg champions of Tiger Street Football Mongolia
Inter FC seized Tiger Street Football Mongolia's national championship with skills, character and the force of God
September 8 (Goal) Under the calmly watchful eyes of Fabio Cannavaro at the sidelines of the Tiger Street Football Cage, Inter FC won the national championship after an extremely intense 13-minutes battle with Continental.
The Day 1 final, which tied at 6-6 after regular time, was concluded by a single goal within the first minute of extra time.
"We've prepared so hard, really hard," said Onlitaitan Fisayo, one of the two Nigerian players in the team.
He said the whole team have practiced together for two months for this tournament. What is the feeling when those hard works eventually paid off? "We got excited," he enthused.
Among the mostly tough-playing Mongolian teams and players, Inter FC is one of those teams that played with more skills, strategies and character. They carried out strategic freekicks that were effective and their goalkeeper, Samson Dada, scored constantly and is a devoted and faithful figure in the team.
"Actually I give all credit to mighty God," Dada said as he couldn't contain his excitement and gratitude after the hard-fought win.
"Because I wasn't expecting to [be able to do all this]," he said.
"I give credit to my friends and my colleagues, too, because they really assisted me with this. Without them, I don't think I could go to the final," Dada added.
Inter FC was up 3-0 during the first few minutes of the final but Continental made an impressive comeback and stayed close till the end of the game. Continental won three penalties in the last three minutes but two of them were saved by Samson Dada.
"I tried to pray to God [when facing the penalty]. For everything, I give thanks to God, because He's my power," Dada concluded.
Tiger Street Football brings a cheerful summer weekend to Mongolia
Match day 1 of the Mongolian leg of Tiger Street Football marks an impressive new start for street football in Mongolia
September 8 (Goal) On a typical sun-bathed summer Saturday in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Match Day 1 of Tiger Street Football kicked off the beverage brand's first major international street football tournament.
Held on the public square just outside the Drama Theatre Centre on Chinggis Avenue, footsteps away from the very center of the capital, the event attracted waves of local citizens and football fans who decided to stay in the city for the short summer.
"It's the first year we're doing it," said Lester Tan, the Executive Director of Mongolian Beverages Ltd.
"Obviously Mongolia is a cold country and football is a relatively new sport. Only in the last five years it's gotten bigger."
He also said that Mongolian players are still adapting themselves to typical street football playing.
"You can see it's not futsal skills, but 11-a-side skills in a small cage," Tan said.
Thirty-one local teams took to the oval-shaped Tiger Street Football Cage to compete for the national championship. Towards the end of the day, dashing through constant battles of street-wise skills and physicality, Continental, Od FC, Inter FC and Shildeg charged their way to the semifinals, which granted them a spot in the international event on Day 2.
After beating their respective opponents, Continental and Inter FC met in the final of the national event. Fabio Cannavaro, the ambassador of Tiger Street Football this year, witnessed Inter FC winning the game with an intensely narrow score of 7-6. They took home the US$3000 cash prize.
The first day of the tournament was also boosted by performances by DJ Zoloo, two fan-elected Tiger Cage Girls, a local hip-hop band named TATAR, a group of BMX stunt riders and a street-dance crew named Red Eggs. Amaraa, a famous local football TV host, even conducted Mexican waves among a few dozen spectators.
But it remained Cannavaro's move to work the enthusiasm of the crowd up to its peak. "Fabio! Fabio!" was chanted among the audience as he presented the trophy to Inter FC.
The Spaniards of Spain and Manchester Futsal Club of England also visited the venue on Day 1. They will join in the Tiger Street Football Cage battles with Big 1 Sports 99 from Thailand and Touch & Go from Singapore on Day 2's international event.
2013 Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge: Stage Seven
Cory Wallace of the Kona Factory Team Wins His Second Mongolia Bike Challenge Title at the 2013 Genco MBC
September 7 (Mongolia Bike Challenge) The 2013 Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge presented by Orbea concluded with Stage Seven today. The route was 86 kilometres with 1400 metres of climbing and brought the athletes to the 13th Century National Park Historical Ger Camp.
Mongolians bend over backwards to be world's top contortionists
Art of Movement is CNN's monthly show exploring the latest innovations in art, culture, science and technology.
September 6 (CNN) -- As one woman in glittering Lycra gently bends her legs backwards over her head, another balances on top, slowly twisting her own limbs into a human pretzel.
They move as one -- a fantastical insect bewitching the Las Vegas crowds in Cirque Du Soleil's legendary stage show, called simply "O."
But despite their ethereal demeanor, each petite performer possesses a rare Herculean strength and snake-like flexibility. And almost all hail from one country: Mongolia.
"When you want a top baseball player, sometimes you look in America. Where we need a contortionist we look to Mongolia," said the show's artistic director, Sandi Croft.
"When they dance they have a natural flexibility, even in their folk dance. It is just part of their culture to have this extra bend in delivery with their movement."
The bright lights of Las Vegas are a long way from the plains of Mongolia, a sparsely populated country bordering China and Russia.
But in the last 70 years, Mongolia has become a breeding ground for the world's top contortionists, who have performed everywhere from Russia's Bolshoi Theater to the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival.
Indeed, while other well-meaning parents around the world might send their little girls to ballet or piano lessons, in Mongolia they're more likely to drop them off at contortion school.
While Mongolian contortion has some similarities to ancient folk dances and yoga poses, it was the launch of the State Circus in the 1940s that saw it really take off as a professional art form.
When the contortion school's first official trainer, the now legendary Tsend-Ayush, began performing across the country, she quickly inspired a generation of girls hoping to quite literally mold themselves in her likeness.
One of those children was then-eight-year-old Angelique Janov, now the trainer for Cirque du Soleil's "O."
"We'd never seen anything like Tsend-Ayush before," she said. "It was her combination of strong technical skills and the beautiful way she moved to the music -- she made it look so easy.
"After that, every little girl wanted to be a contortionist."
Of course, training to be a contortionist is far from easy. Students as young as five train for around three hours a day, five days a week. They build up their strength, flexibility and balance through various exercises such as handstands, splits, and push-ups.
"My homework was 300 push-ups a day," said 29-year-old Nomintuya Baasankhuu, former contortionist and Arts Program director at the Arts Council of Mongolia.
"It was intense. But by eight years old I could do most of the technical moves -- I was considered a professional."
There are some risks -- Baasankhuu suffered a knee injury after falling from a human tower three meters high. But many contortionists insist that much like any sport, it is safe if done properly.
"Contortion is not dangerous," said 63-year-old Cirque du Soleil trainer Janov. "It's like yoga -- if you're stretching every day you stay young."
Such rigorous training regimes have been a huge factor in the Mongolians' success around the world. But how much of a role does genetics play?
"Some people are naturally more flexible and this is often due to genetics -- if one of our parents is flexible, we're more likely to be flexible too," said Tim Allardyce of the British Osteopathic Association.
"That said, a naturally flexible person would not be able to get themselves into positions that contortionists can without extensive training -- it is only very gradually, over many months and years, that the ligaments and muscles lengthen, allowing the joints to become more mobile."
World of opportunity
For many youngsters in Mongolia, contortion is seen as more than simply a hobby -- it's a golden ticket to the world.
"Mongolian contortion is globally competitive -- today many performers work for Cirque du Soleil and other international circus companies," said Baasankhuu, who also researched the history of Mongolian contortion at the National University of Mongolia.
"That is why so many girls would like to become contortionists and travel around world and make living from it."
So what is it about these mysterious performers that continues to beguile audiences across the world?
Janov perhaps summed up their allure best: "It's the realization that an individual can do things that seem impossible."
Path of a Tyrant: Uncovering Genghis Khan's Lost Legacy
By Frank Thadeusz
September 7 (Der Spiegel) As competing researchers race to locate Genghis Khan's tomb, discoveries by German and Mongolian archaeologists are shedding light on his son Ögödei's equally impressive accomplishments.
His end didn't begin heroically. The Mongolian ruler simply fell off his horse. His hands and legs must have lost their strength. It was an embarrassing incident from which Genghis Khan never recovered.
Shortly thereafter, a procession of slaves and warriors escorted the ruler's body, wrapped in a white felt blanket, to its final resting place. Slivers of fragrant sandalwood were placed in the grave to prevent insects from gnawing at the body of the Great Khan.
But where exactly did the subjects bury the body of this tyrant, who is still revered by Mongolians today? Over the past century, scores of adventurers and archaeologists have searched in vain for Genghis Khan's grave.
Today, expeditions with high-tech equipment are racing to make the find. Not surprisingly, Mongolians claim their national hero's grave is located within the borders of their own country. A Russian historian, though, claims to have discerned from old sources that the nomadic leader was buried near the Mongolian border -- but on the Russian side, in the Republic of Tuva.
Meanwhile, Chinese researchers have sent an expedition to the foothills of the Altai Mountains, with the assumption this is where Genghis Khan was buried after he died during his last military campaign against the Tangut, in modern-day northern China.
Can Technology Find Genghis Khan?
The surly old Mongolian would have probably found pleasure in knowing that, nearly 800 years after his death, hordes of archaeologists are still wandering the steppes and deserts in search of his final remains. And it's certainly no coincidence that the search has proven so difficult.
According to one legend, Genghis Khan's underlings were given strict orders to eliminate all evidence that could lead to the spot where the ruler was rather humbly laid to rest. His loyal followers allegedly planted a grove of trees over his tomb, then Mongolian soldiers slaughtered the slaves who had dug the grave. After they returned home, these warriors were subsequently massacred by their own military comrades so no one could divulge even the slightest clue.
The most recent attempt to track down the Mongolian's tomb has been launched by 30-year-old Albert Lin from the University of California, San Diego. Pictures show the young, American scholar galloping on horseback across the magnificent Mongolian grasslands and posing in his adventure garb.
But despite what these images suggest, Lin isn't planning on using a pickax and a spade to dig up the earthly remains of the fabled Mongolian. The researcher is using radar and high-resolution satellite imagery to comb through the area around the holy mountain of Burkhan Khaldun, in the Khentii range in northern Mongolia -- where he believes Genghis Khan's grave is located.
The use of such high-tech equipment in the field is a novelty for technophile researchers. But in this case, veteran archaeologists doubt modern gadgetry will lead to the desired results.
"I can't imagine how this could produce convincing proof. Simply finding a large burial complex in the Khentii region doesn't mean this is actually Genghis Khan's grave," says Hans-Georg Hüttel, who has been directing one of the most prominent excavation projects in Mongolia for many years.
Christina Franken, who is currently doing excavations in the medieval city of Karabalgasun, built by the nomadic Uighur people, sees the search for the grave as a "sensational treasure hunt."
The Other Khan
This opinion may also be fueled by a dash of frustration. Indeed, virtually unbeknownst to the general public, German and Mongolian archaeologists have made a sensational discovery 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of the capital Ulan Bator, where they have apparently found the remnants of the palace that Ögödei Khan built in the middle of the steppes.
Tragically for the researchers, hardly anyone has ever heard of Ögödei Khan.
This relatively unknown ruler wasn't even designated to ascend to the throne -- and his rise to power sheds light on the tangled circumstances of one of the most fascinating imperial dynasties of the Middle Ages.
As Genghis Khan's third son, Ögödei was not a prime candidate to succeed his father. This privilege was reserved for the firstborn son, Jochi. But while Genghis was exceedingly brutal and unscrupulous with his opponents, he was something of a pushover as a father.
Jochi and Chagatai clashed so violently over the planned succession that they tussled on the carpet of the Great Kahn's felt yurt, pummeling each other with their fists, while their father, the great warlord, pleaded with them to stop.
This episode ultimately led a man who, by the today's medical standards, could easily be described as a hardcore alcoholic, to become the ruler of the Mongolian Empire. Compared to his father's fiery temperament, though, Ögödei was a rather gentle soul.
'An Ingenious Reformer'
Historians see the youngest son as an ingenious reformer. He introduced paper currency and even established a postal system. But Ögödei's greatest accomplishment was building a city on the steppes that could be used to administrate his ostensibly ungovernable kingdom of nomads.
The idea dates back to his father, Genghis -- who, opulent marauder that he was, preferred to continue spending his nights in the familiar shelter of traditional Mongolian tents. In the steppes of the fertile Orkhon Valley, archaeologists have found the stony remains of the famed settlement of Karakorum, which Marco Polo mentioned in his travel accounts.
By all appearances, Ögödei envisioned the satellite town as a multicultural city right from the start. "There was a Muslim and Chinese quarter here, Buddhist temples and mosques, and even a Christian church," says Hüttel, the archaeologist.
Thanks to geomagnetic surveys, researchers have discovered that the northwestern part of the city had no permanent buildings. This was presumably an early sort of camping ground, where the Mongolian city-dwellers pitched their tents. The tent residents weren't driven to pursue a trade or work in the fields -- two activities that help develop a fledgling community. Instead, the nomads-turned-city-dwellers into a leadership clique that surrounded the ruler of the city, Ögödei.
Two Very Different Legacies
The plan to build a city in the middle of nowhere was, of course, almost absurdly ambitious. Archaeologists have found the remains of large cottage industry workshops on the banks of the Orkhon River, all built by order of the ruling Khan. Agriculture and animal husbandry were also energetically pursued on the fertile pastures surrounding Karakorum. But these initiatives were far from enough to feed the city. The Mongolian ruling elite had to bring 500 ox carts filled with food from China every day in order to keep the project from rapidly turning into a fiasco.
Experts now agree that Ögödei was at least as important as his father. With his marauding campaigns of conquest, Gengis Khan had created the vast Mongolian Empire, which extended all the way to Europe, yet it was Ögödei who first succeeded in stabilizing this complex political entity by establishing a central administration. Hüttel says: "Without Ögödei, today's Mongolia would not exist."
His father may have risked his health by riding recklessly on his conquests, but Ögödei cultivated an entirely different vulnerability: He lived the high life and manically squandered his wealth. A few years before his death in 1241, the Mongolian ruler was bankrupt.
Mogi: iTunes? Lol
Girls' Generation Ranks 1-2 on Mongolia Main Single Chart with Songs from 6 Years Ago, 'Shocking'
September 6 (KpopStarz) Girl group Girls' Generation was seen ranked number 1 and 2 on the Mongolia iTunes Main Single chart with songs that were released 6 years ago.
On September 6, the iTunes chart showed that GIrls' Generation's songs, "Another World" and "Kissing You" was ranked number 1 and 2 consecutively.
The shocking part was that both these songs were released in 2007 and were still at the current number 1-2 spot on their charts.
It was apparent that Girls' Generation was a global star, but to have songs from 6 years ago still topping charts in some countries is shocking.
SM Entertainment commented, "We are shocked and surprised to see songs from that long ago still ranking number 1 and 2 on charts. We have never done any promotions there, let alone interviews, so we are happy to see that K-Pop is expanding."
On the other hand, Girls' Generation has released their 4th album, I Got a Boy, this past January and are currently doing individual activities.
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