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Friday, October 18, 2013
Copper concentrates from Oyu Tolgoi may reach China soon
October 17 (MetalBulletin) Copper concentrate from Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia may start reaching Chinese buyers soon, after customs authorities agreed to release material held at the border.
About 38,000 tonnes of concentrate was blocked at customs in July, forcing Rio Tinto to stockpile material from the new mine while its customers negotiated a solution.
Customs authorities have now agreed to release the blocked concentrate, according to two smelter sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
"After a long effort, Chinese customs finally compromised and deemed copper concentrates as special product and let the cargo go. All stuck cargo might finish customs clearance by the end of November," a smelter official told Metal Bulletin.
"The attitude from Chinese customs has softened, [so] hopefully some parcels will get approval to be collected from the warehouse early next week," a second smelter source said.
This does not necessarily mean that all material from Oyu Tolgoi is now free to pass into China but it is does confirm that progress is being made to make that happen.
Oyu Tolgoi's concentrator is running at its maximum rate, processing 100,000 tonnes of ore each day, according to Turquoise Hill Resources, the Rio Tinto-controlled company which runs the mine. Output of copper in concentrate is still expected to be between 75,000 and 80,000 tonnes this year, it added.
"Shipments of concentrate are expected to be aligned with production rates by the end of 2013," the company said.
The prospect of Oyu Tolgoi copper finally coming to the market may help smelters as they negotiate annual treatment and refining charges for 2014 with miners.
Here is what OT LLC is planning to get out of project financing
October 15 (Business-Mongolia) Our friends at OT LLC are planning to finance the underground development through project financing, as everyone has been informed. It includes IFC, EBRD, EDC, MIGA, EXIM and other commercial banks. Senior lenders will have tenors of 13.5 years in average and 5 year grace period taken into consideration of ramp up of underground development. Rio Tinto gives a pre-completion support – as it required by the lenders. Project completion is scheduled at 2021, because it will achieve the capacity stated in the term-sheet.
The sunk cost, that the government and Rio Tinto argue about is established at USD8.1 billion. When the two sides' advisers calculated NPV it also included the USD669 million paid to the government in taxes. The cash flow to the government includes royalties, fees and charges, withholding taxes, VAT and customs etc. Withholding tax is charged on shareholder loan interest – loaned to Erdenes OT, the 2% royalty payable to TRQ – that it had bought from BHP for USD37 million, and Erdenes OT dividends. However, it is not chargeable to management fees, investor dividends or the Rio Tinto guarantee. Except for US Exim, EDC and EFIC.
Financing plan includes:
IFC USD350 million
EBRD USD400 million
EDC USD750 million
US Exim USD495 million
EFIC USD100 million
MIGA USD800 million
IFC&EBRD B-Loans USD1.3 billion
Supplemental Debt USD1.7 billion
The total would be USD6 billion. Including the equity the total resource will be around USD20 billion to complete the mine.
IFC, EBRD and MIGA insured loans include 15 banks such as Societe Generale, Tokyo Mitsubishsi UFJ, BNP Paribas, HSBC, ING Hong Kong, Sumitomo Mitsui etc. each committing USD25-90 million. The guarantee of Rio Tinto is through TRQ.
We will post more in case our readers are interested in the details of the biggest project financing deal in the mining industry.
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. Publishes September 2013 Monthly Letter to Shareholders
Ulaanbaatar, MONGOLIA, October 17, 2013 /FSC/ - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK - TSXV) is pleased to announce the release of its September 2013 letter to shareholders.
September 2013 Shareholder Letter
To the Shareholders of Mongolia Growth Group Ltd.,
I'd like to start off by pointing out that this is the September letter to shareholders—there wasn't an August letter.
The big news over the past few weeks has been the extraordinary session of parliament which has led to the recent passing of the Foreign Investment Law which repeals the Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law (SEFIL) which was passed in May 2012. SEFIL was a hindrance to foreign investment—now that it has been repealed we expect to see a number of substantial projects move forward that had previously been on hold. The repeal of SEFIL after a little more than a year shows that Mongolia is capable of recognizing a mistake and rapidly adjusting in order to continue attracting foreign capital. The new Foreign Investment Law has many provisions that make the law even more advantageous to foreign firms than the pre SEFIL law and shows Mongolia's continued commitment to being a preferred destination for foreign investment.
Over the past year there has been a lot written about the macroeconomic climate in Mongolia—much of it uninformed. I felt that as an investor who is actively involved in Mongolia, I should also weigh in on the topic and I recently wrote an article for Marc Faber's Gloom Boom & Doom Report in regards to the macro climate in Mongolia and why I see it improving in the near future—this was before SEFIL passed
—We have added a copy of the article below, for your enjoyment.
Chairman & CEO
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd.
Where Did All Of The Mongolia Bulls Go?
By Harris Kupperman, Mongolia Growth Group (TSX:YAK)
October 1 (Marc Faber's - Gloom Boom & Doom Report) Back in 2011, you couldn't open a financial publication without reading about the growth prospects of Mongolia. It was the new frontier, the fastest growing economy in history—from nomad to space age in a decade—an investment mecca for every hedge fund and macro tourist. All of this growth was being powered by massive new copper and coal mines, right on the Chinese border, many of them larger than the Mongolian economy itself. As far as investors were concerned, the country was pure upside — certain growth in an uncertain world.
A lot can change in two short years. Today, Mongolia is nearly a pariah in the investment community. Very public disagreements with Rio Tinto, the country's largest foreign investor, have scared off FDI, which is down 42% year over year. It seems that every investor fears the worst, yet few know any of the actual facts about Mongolia. Despite the anxieties of investors, not much has changed from their original thesis back in 2011—except the prices of assets, as the GDP is still growing at double digit rates. Meanwhile, the MSE 20 Index (in local terms) has declined a full 60% from the peak while the Mongolian Togrog has declined a third from its peak in 2011. If you want exposure to the fastest growing economy in the world, now is the time to be a buyer as the thesis is very much still intact and the valuations are depressed.
Mongolia: The Facts
Mongolia is a country roughly the size of Western Europe with 2.9 million people and a 2012 GDP of $10 billion dollars. It also happens to be fabulously wealthy in terms of mineral resources. While accurate data is impossible to come by, it is assumed that there is over $2 trillion worth of stuff in the ground and every year, new discoveries are made. An added bonus is that Mongolia shares a 4,677 kilometer border with China, the world's biggest consumer of raw commodities. Unfortunately, Mongolia hasn't exactly excelled at turning mineral wealth into economic wealth—though it hasn't failed at this either.
In economic terms, Mongolia is about the same size as Fargo North Dakota. That means that small investments, in the global context, can create huge changes in the overall GDP. To illustrate this point, the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, being built by Rio Tinto, will produce approximately $7 billion worth of copper and gold each year, by the time it reaches full production scheduled for 2021. By comparison, the country's total GDP was only $4.6 billion when mine construction began just 4 short years ago. Powered by this mine, and a handful of others, the country's GDP has averaged a double digit annual growth rate for most of the last decade, making Mongolia one of the fastest growing economies on Earth.
Of course, Oyu Tolgoi isn't the only mine in Mongolia. There are dozens of other, smaller mines and many of these are either already producing, or soon will be looking to begin production. When you think about bulk commodities, it all comes down to transport cost. Why does iron ore originate in Brazil, get on a boat, go through the Panama Canal, travel 10,000 miles to a Chinese port, get on a train and then end up in a Chinese steel mill that is probably a few hundred miles south of Mongolia? Why are guys in Australia making $200,000 each year to mine coking coal? Mongolia has plenty of both. It just lacks capital and the political will to build a rail spur from their mines to the Chinese steel mills. I don't know when this supply chain will be built—I just know it will be. Economics works that way. Low cost suppliers eventually get the capital investment that they need and resource extraction involves deploying huge quantities of capital. The corollary to this is that when investors are scared, the spigot on that capital closes.
Where Is The Love?
It all started with Chalco's bid to acquire control of SouthGobi Resources' coal assets. Keep in mind that Mongolia was a Chinese province less than a century ago. Mongolia remains terrified that China will reexert control over it. China buys the vast majority of the coal that Mongolia produces. Winsway Coking Coal, a Chinese company, is already a substantial player in buying and transporting Mongolian coal. Mongolia was petrified that if the Chinese added production capacity, they would control the entire supply chain in a very critical national industry.
Playing to nationalistic sentiments, weeks before the parliamentary elections, Mongolia's politicians passed the ill-advised Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law (SEFIL) which in an instant both confused and scared foreign investors while canceling any ability for Chalco to gain control over SouthGobi Resources. The law mandates parliamentary approval for any foreign investment of over $75 million or any investment that targets a number of strategic sectors, including mining. The Mongolians closed the spigot on themselves!
Let's Talk Turquoise
Turquoise Hill (TRQ: NYSE) is the owner and operator of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine. TRQ is 51% owned by Rio Tinto and 49% owned by minority shareholders. Almost since inception, TRQ has had "troubles" with the government and it will continue to have "troubles." Nothing this large can happen in any country without constant government involvement, especially when the government owns 34% of the mine. The latest set of "issues" relates to cost overruns that exceed the original feasibility study. TRQ has a document that very clearly states what they owe the government and that the government will receive 34% of the dividends after TRQ has recouped all of its original investment plus interest on carrying the cost of the government's 34% stake. Like all mining projects, Oyu Tolgoi is over budget. This means that it will take longer for TRQ to recoup their investment and for Mongolia to see dividends— possibly decades longer than expected. The government of Mongolia is quite naturally annoyed by this. The fact that the two sides cannot even agree on the size of the cost overrun, shows the difficulty and confusion that has marked the existing relationship between the two. In the end, both sides will reach a compromise—they will each give something up—they have no choice. Despite a lot of heated rhetoric in the foreign press, the mine has moved forward and started shipping copper this July—production will ramp up rapidly from here.
The government of Mongolia has not changed any of the agreements governing the mine. Unless TRQ does something extremely foolish, the odds of a substantial change to the tax regime or the mine being nationalized are about the same as me growing a tail. Mongolia needs foreign capital and everyone in the country knows it.
No discussion of Turquoise Hill is complete without stating the obvious. There are persistent rumors that Rio Tinto has wanted to increase its ownership in TRQ from 51% to a much larger number. Over the past two years the squabbles with the government of Mongolia have cut almost 75% from the market cap of TRQ. While I won't accuse anyone of foul play, a lower market cap certainly plays into Rio Tinto's hands as they dilute current shareholders and increase their ownership.
Here Comes The Solution
The guys running Mongolia today aren't stupid. Many of the elected government officials went to Western universities. They understand the direction that they want the country to go in. In late June, the presidential elections were held—the pro-business, incumbent won. The Democratic Party now controls the presidency and parliament, which makes for efficient government. After the elections, the nationalist rhetoric is dying down and politicians are getting back to the work of governing, instead of campaigning. In the past few months, the government has;
• Passed the securities markets law, which will substantially modernize the financial markets
• Initiated an 8% mortgage program which provides 20-year mortgages at 8% fixed rates to home buyers (previously mortgages were for 5-10 years at 17-20%)
• Made substantial changes in administrative functions to reduce government bureaucracy
• Embarked upon an aggressive anti-corruption campaign that has real teeth
The government is trying to repair its public image. The new head of the company that owns Mongolia's stake in Oyu Tolgoi will soon visit London to restart the government's relationship with investors, including Rio Tinto.
Finally, and most importantly, it is expected that SEFIL will be substantially modified in September along with a new streamlined foreign investment law that further increases foreign investors' rights. According to the World Bank's 2013 ease of doing business survey, Mongolia now ranks 76th in the world, ahead of countries such as Barbados (88), Uruguay (89) and China (91). It's getting better from here. Mongolia is now re-opening the spigot and it's going to gush.
If You Blinked…
While investors focus on the Turquoise Hill disputes, they are missing the bigger picture. In the first half of 2013, Mongolia's GDP grew by 11.3%. Inflation is finally coming under control at just 8.3% as of July. More importantly, big investors have not been scared off by jaundiced articles in the business pages. In August, POSCO announced that they will build a $2 billion dollar coal to liquids facility while GDF Suez SA was selected to build a new $1.2 billion dollar coal power plant for the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. $3.2 billion dollars sounds small, until you realize that it is a third of last year's GDP coming from just two projects. There are dozens of large projects announced each quarter. They aren't usually as big, but at tens of millions each, they add up fast in Fargo-On-The-Steppe. The TRQ dispute has not scared off foreign investors with long term views on Mongolia—instead it has simply scared off the 2 and 20 crowd. They're off chasing Myanmar right about now. They'll be back, and they'll wonder how they missed the asset price shakeout in a country where the GDP is supposed to increase roughly five-fold by 2020.
How Do You Play It?
This is the same dilemma that I faced when I first visited Mongolia as a hedge fund manager in 2010. It is the same dilemma that faces all other investors when they visit. What they want is GDP exposure, liquidity, transparency and appropriate corporate governance—what they normally end up with is mining exposure and all of the associated risks—exactly what they don't want.
In a frontier economy, property is normally the most liquid asset class available to investors. It is also one of the segments most exposed to changes in GDP. In broad strokes, you have two ways to win— your rents go up as the economy improves and your cap rates go down as the banking system matures. Our company is currently experiencing both of these tailwinds.
Harris Kupperman is Chairman, CEO and largest shareholder of Mongolia Growth Group (YAK: Canada & MNGGF: USA) a fully integrated and self-managed real estate investment company, focused on owning high quality retail and office properties in downtown Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. Learn more at www.MongoliaGrowthGroup.com
BDSec: MSE DAILY MARKET REPORT - OCT 16, 2013: Top 20 +0.62%, Turnover ₮34.9 Million
October 16 (BDSec) Mongolian stocks ended the session in green for the second day in a row, heading for the highest close in 2 weeks. MSE Top 20 finished 0.62% higher at 14,077.18 points on Wednesday. MNT 34.9 million or US$ 21.0 thousand worth of 29 companies' stocks traded on the bourse. Coal miners led the charge with Aduunchuluun (ADL) up 9.12%, Baganuur (BAN) 6.79%, Shivee Ovoo (SHV) 4.84%, and Sharyn Gol (SHG) 4.46%.
Hermes (HRM), an indoor market for hardware, plumbing, construction materials and furniture, came down 2.58% to close at MNT 151.
Rio reaffirms Oyu Tolgoi guidance. Rio Tinto Ltd has reaffirmed full-year production guidance for its Oyu Tolgoi mine but is still in discussions with Chinese customs officials to allow customers to collect copper concentrate they have bought. In a statement, Rio subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources, which owns 66 per cent of the Mongolian mine, said it produced 30,600 tonnes of copper in concentrates in the third quarter of 2013. (http://www.bdsec.mn/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5229&Itemid=1)
Mongolia and Great Britain signed MOU of Power plant project at Shivee Ovoo mine. Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State, William Hague visited Mongolia by the request of Foreign Minister, L.Bold. They signed MOU of Chevening Scholarship program and MOU between Erdenes MGL and "IM Power" LLC on power plant project at Shivee Ovoo mine. (Source: Zuunii Medee) MSE listed Shivee Ovoo (SHV:MSE) is believed to have as much as 2 billion tonnes of thermal coal resources.
Mongolian and Chinese First Mining Supply convention was held. Mongolian and Chinese Mining Supply convention was held in Erlian, China. In the convention, 150 Chinese companies and over 50 Mongolian mining companies participated, including Shivee Ovoo JSC (MSE:SHV), Erdenet plant, Monpolimet LLC, Bayan-Airag LLC, Energy Resources LLC, and Hera Equipment LLC. (news.mn)
Marubeni, GDF Suez Among Final Bidders for Mongolia Power Plant. Mongolia short-listed companies including Marubeni Corp. (8002) and Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co. (047040) among the final bidders to build a $1 billion power plant in the Gobi Desert. Kansai Electric Power Co. (9503) also made the short list, along with a joint bid made by GDF Suez (GSZ) SA and Posco Energy Corp, according to a statement on the website of the state-owned Tavan Tolgoi Power Plant. It doesn't indicate when a winning bidder will be named. (http://www.bdsec.mn/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5228&Itemid=1)
Trading Value Leaders
Khuns Arkhangai (HAH)
Bayangol Hotel (BNG)
Mogoin Gol (BDL)
Please visit following link for MSE stock quotes: http://www.bdsec.mn/mseIndex.php?lang=&Itemid=23
BDSec: MSE DAILY MARKET REPORT - OCT 17, 2013: Top 20 -1.02%, Turnover ₮34.4 Million
October 17 (BDSec) APU (APU), the largest MSE listed company in terms of market capitalization, plunged 2.56% to MNT 3,800, pressuring the index down by 1%. APU, which gets about 50% market share in beverage in Mongolia, is valued at MNT 282.3 billion (~US$ 170m). Coal miner Baganuur (BAN) fell 4.26% after rising 6.79% yesterday.
Other losers of the day were Mongol Nekhmel (-14.95%) and Eermel (-10.31%). Sharyn Gol (SHG) added 1.27% to MMT 7,595, rallying for third-straight session. Out of 19 stocks traded on the bourse, prices of 7 increased, 7 fell, and 5 remained same. Trading value of the day was MNT 34.4 million (~US$ 21k)
- Mining companies to partner up for local development (UB Post). Local communications officials of mining companies operating in Umnugovi Province had their consultative session on October 11 and 12 at Oyu Tolgoi deposit. Oyu Tolgoi LLC's Regional Development and Society Division organized the session and over 40 local communications delegates of Mongolian National Mining Association (MNMA), Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, Energy Resources, Tavantolgoi (TTL:MSE), Umniin Govyn Els (Mogi: SouthGobi Sands), MAK, Hunnu Coal and Khuree Del attended the session.
- Minister of Economic Development, N.Batbayar "Nations thrive on debt". (Politics Briefing) Mr. Batbayar submitted Amendment to the Budget Stability Law to increase debt ceiling from 40% to 60% of GDP. He said that nations successfully use debt to finance infrastructure projects and same goes for Mongolia.
- Italian companies expressed interest to build cashmere& wool factory. (news.mn) Parliament speaker Z.Enkhbold received the Head of Mongolian and Italian Business Association Mr. Armando Branchini yesterday. He said in the meeting, "We value high quality products and Mongolia has it. Mongolian cashmere and wool production capacity shall grow immensely. However, there's lack of manufacturing, marketing, and management. " He then expressed an interest to undertake project and build Mongolian and Italian joint cashmere& wool factory. Mr.Enkhbold said working group shall be created with representatives including GoM, ministries, and private sector from both countries. Also, he added that if necessary, making appropriate changes in the related regulatory environment was possible.
Trading Value Leaders
Genco Tour Bureau (JTB)
Sharyn Gol (SHG)
Talkh Chikher (TCK)
Mogoin Gol (BDL)
Mongol Nekhmel (MNH)
FMG Mongolia Fund lost 3.1% in September
October (FMG Funds) Sentiment remained sour for Mongolian assets and the Fund was hit by further losses in the off-shore listed Mongolian mining stocks as well as further depreciation of the currency the Tugrik. The Fund's losses was mitigated by minor gains from a few core holdings listed on the MSE.
On a very positive note, the passing of the new Investment Law was finally announced. The new law is crucial in attracting foreign investment back into the country. In 2011 Mongolia registered GDP growth of an astonishing 17.5%. Subsequently a year-long election cycle elevated the degree of resource nationalism, taking a toll on investor confidence and eroding growth prospects. Confidence hit an all-time low earlier this year when the Mongolian government and giant miner Turquoise Hill failed to agree on terms of the expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi which lead to huge layoffs at the mine.
With the new law we expect that investor sentiment will turn more positive and we have over the past weeks seen rising stock prices and declining government bond yields. With many Mongolian asset prices at multi-year lows and a potential recovery and stabilization in stock prices, we see a brighter future for Mongolian equities ahead.
BoM Exchange Rates: October 17 Close
Total outstanding ₮1.72 trillion
BoM issues 1-week bills: ₮687.6 billion
October 16 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 687.6 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
RESULT OF GOVERNMENT SECURITIES AUCTION: ₮20 BILLION 28-WEEK BILLS
October 16 (Bank of Mongolia) Regular auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 20 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 20 billion /out of 35.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 8.40%.
BoM holds FX auction: $12 million, CNY76 million
October 17 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on October 17th, 2013 the BOM has received bid offer of USD and CNY from local commercial banks. BOM has sold 12.0 million USD and 76.0 million CNY to the local commercial banks.
On October 17th, 2013, The BOM has received bid offer of USD for Swap agreement from local commercial banks and sold 100.0 million USD.
BoM Monthly Statistical Bulletin, September 2013
October 16 (Bank of Mongolia) --
BoM Consolidated Balance Sheet of Banks, September 2013
October 17 (Bank of Mongolia) --
Harvest at near completion
Ulaanbaatar, October 17 /MONTSAME/ The Farm Support Fund (FSF) has received 17.2 thousand tons of wheat from 161 enterprisers since this autumn's harvesting started.
By October 15, the country harvested 344.2 thousand tons of grain, 185.7 thousand tons potatoes, 100.0 thousand tons vegetables, 38.3 thousand tons fodder plants and 31.8 thousand tons oil plants. The harvesting of grain is running with 90 percent, of potatoes--95.2 percent and of vegetables--with 99 percent.
By a preliminary balance of this year, the country is to gather 423.4 thousand tons grain, of which 404.6 thousand tons are wheat, also 211.8 thousand tons potatoes, 103.4 thousand tons vegetables, 65.2 thousand tons oil plant and 21.0 thousand tons of fodder plant.
Almost 500 servicemen and 230 students from universities are engaged in the harvesting.
MPs demand recall over proposed amendments to "Long Name Law"
October 17 /www.news.mn/ MPs O.Baasankhuu, B.Bat-Erdene and S.Ganbaatar have made a demand to recall proposed amendments into the regulations related to the implementation of the "Law to prohibit mineral exploration and mining operations at headwaters of rivers, protected zones of water reservoirs and forested areas" to be discussed during the session meeting of parliament today on October 17th.
From the very first day of the Autumn session meeting of Parliament an amendment into regulations of the law on the prohibition of extraction at water basins and forested areas has faced protests and rejections.
However legislators claimed that there would no alteration or repeal made to the controversial "Law to prohibit mineral exploration and mining operations at headwaters of rivers, protected zones of water reservoirs and forested areas" by discussing the regulations related to its implementation.
But several MPs are suspicious that this prevention law on mineral exploration is likely to be repealed or significantly altered during the upcoming discussion by Parliament.
A task force to study the law, including MPs O.Baasankhuu, B.Bat-Erdene and S.Ganbaatar, has been in Bayankhongor, Uvurkhangai and Arkhangai provinces conducting observation and monitoring. As reports on the studies emerge, it becomes obvious that violation of the law and environmental damage is still prevalent.
The Government prompted an emergency session of Parliament to make amendments into the law in order to increase the gold trade. But some groups in Parliament agreed to review the opinions on whether or not to make amendments into the law and delayed the decision until it was reviewed.
Former Environment Ministers' illegal land allocation case dropped
October 17 /www.news.mn/ Law enforcement officers were investigating the controversial cases on the illegal allocations of large areas of land along Zaisan valley and the Tuul River in Ulaanbaatar City by the former Ministers of Environment. However the cases have now been dropped. The controversial cases on the illegal land allocation involved politicians and MPs of leading political parties MPP, DP and MPRP.
The former Head of Office of the Ministry of Environment and directors of several companies were also investigated as suspects. The companies said that a travel complex center would be built when they applied for the large land allocation but instead those companies built residential apartment blocks to sell at high prices.
The State General Prosecutor"s Office recalled and remitted the whole case under the cover of a review. The investigation process on the controversial case was only in the early stages.
Premier Holds Online Meeting with Mongolia Ambassadors
Ulaanbaatar, October 16 /MONTSAME/ On Tuesday, the Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag held an online meeting with Ambassadors of Mongolia to foreign countries and heads of diplomatic missions abroad.
The previous meeting which ran last May discussed the cabinet's policies, priority actions and main criteria for evaluating Ambassadors, and some obligations were given to them, but elaborated by nine departments initiatives and proposals on the matters are not all satisfactory, the Premier stressed.
He warned the Ambassadors that their mission must be more dynamic with responsibilities enhanced. He also informed them about adoption of laws that improve the investment environment, national economy indicators, intensify the great construction and increase jobs and and number of factories.
The PM also admitted that the country has not resolved yet the problems related to foreign currencies fluctuation and foreign investments reduction. "Information about implementation course and results of such important works has been sent to you all, so you must exploit it in your mission," the Premier said. "The policy of Mongolia must be delivered abroad through one line," he underlined.
In response, the Ambassadors said it is vital for us to deliver to foreign world official news about improving and stabilizing of the investment environment and the government's position on the biggest projects such as Oyutolgoi and Tavantolgoi projects.
Our agencies and Ministries tend to cancel or slacken bilateral talks and negotiations at the final stages, they are losing much time, the Premier noted.
After this, the Premier shared views with the Ambassadors and diplomatic mission heads to Sweden, Canada, USA, Poland, the Czech Republic, India and Hong Kong on other urgent problems. He emphasized an importance of the Ambassadors' effort to drill national export products into the foreign market, noting that 270 billion MNT has been allotted from the "Chingis" bonds for creating national brands. Then he requested them to send proposals and information through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The online meeting gathered some 30 diplomatic missions.
Transportation Ministry to Cooperate With Lufthansa Consulting on Reforming Civil Aviation Standards
Ulaanbaatar, October 16 /MONTSAME/ The Ministry of Road and Transportation will collaborate with Germany's Lufthansa Consulting company in the air transportation.
A related cooperation memorandum was established Tuesday in Frankfurt, Germany. Accordingly, our Ministry will study the German experience in the air transportation expecting that it will help reform its service standards of civil aviation. In addition, the sides will collaborate in supporting the current policy of this Ministry on the air transportation and in developing the new transportation infrastructure.
The Lufthansa Consulting is international aviation consultant for airlines, airports and related industries. The company is an independent subsidiary of the Lufthansa Aviation Group and provides services and solutions to the air transportation industry worldwide.
MAK Cement Plant to Complete Domestic Cement Self-Sufficiency
Ulaanbaatar, October 17 /MONTSAME/ The Minister and the state secretary of the Construction and Urban Development Ministry Ts.Bayarsaikhan and R.Erdeneburen have visited Dalanjargalan soum of Dornogobi aimag to see a process of erecting the cement plant in Khukh Tsav place.
A president of Mongolyn Alt Corporation /MAK/ B.Nyamtaishir said the plant will be able to produce two million tons of PC42,5 PC52,5 and PC62,5 cement a year from 2014 "but specialized workers will be needed because we must install high tech in the plant" and asked the officials to give a quota of foreign labor force.
The technology to be set up is the Danish "Flsmidth" company's products, he added.
When the plant is opened, the domestic needs in four tons of the cement will be fully satisfied. Two tons will be provided by this plant, one ton--by a Khutul Cement-Lime factory, and the rest--by smaller companies.
MPs meet with Russian transportation officials
Ulaanbaatar, October 17 /MONTSAME/ During their working visit to Russia, a Mongolian delegation led by G.Batkhuu MP Wednesday met V.I.Morozov, a First Vice-President of JSC Russian Railways, and Aleksey Tsydenov, a Deputy Minister of Transportation of the Russian Federation.
Mr Batkhuu noted that they formed a working group from the parliament-seated political parties members to develop a proposal on perfection of the legal environment for transportation businesses, which include establishment of railway, road and airway passenger transition networks and cargo transportation system, pipe lines, communication and electric lines, transportation logistics, and management of transit traffic flows. Furthermore, he briefed on the planned jobs of the working group and shared views with the Russian part on the matters.
Present at the meeting were members of parliament N.Battsereg and Ts.Tsolmon, the Ambassador of Mongolia to Russia Mr Sh.Altangerel, and a head of Mongolia's Railway Association L.Purevbaatar.
Mongolia losing its resources luster as Ulaanbaatar scares investors
October 14 (Platts) As some tell it, the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar used to be full of bankers and consultants all trying to get a piece of the action in a country expected to become a serious resources player.
But the landlocked central Asian country has noticeably lost its allure in recent times. Delegate numbers at two Mongolia's flagship investment conferences held in September -- Invest Mongolia and Discover Mongolia -- were well down on previous years, according to sources who attended the events.
While investment appetite in global commodities has been subdued generally over the past 18 months or so, Mongolia has its own set of discreet problems, some of which appear to be self-inflicted.
These have undermined investor confidence in the country's resources sector and are curbing development of its metallurgical coal and iron ore sectors.
Analysts say foreign investor confidence in Mongolia will not fully return until the deadlock is broken regarding Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, which is widely regarded as the country's bellwether resources project.
Rio Tinto mothballed development of the major (stage 2) underground component of the mine in August because it was unable to agree investment and revenue terms with the Mongolian government.
ResCap analysts said in a September research note that Mongolia's options for receiving significant injections of foreign direct investment (FDI) would be "extremely limited" until the Oyu Tolgoi issues had been resolved --"particularly given the current weak coal price environment, depreciating currency, long list of other issues and the global economic environment."
According to Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research, FDI has plunged 45% -- August 2013 versus August 2012 -- and Mongolia is burning through its foreign reserves to keep the economy afloat. (See related chart: Mongolian foreign direct investment (mil mt): January 2011 - July 2013)
David Paull, managing director of Aspire Mining, which is developing the Ovoot coking coal project in northern Mongolia, described Rio's Oyu Tolgoi project as the "single biggest driver of sentiment" on Mongolia, and said the lack of progress had hurt the share price of all miners operating in the country. But he said the government has been broadly supportive of Aspire's project, which could become a 5 million mt/year operation in 2017.
Other important issues that need resolving include proposed changes to the country's mining laws and the status of 106 license holders, who at the start of 2013 lost their rights to undertake exploration work on the affected areas.
This latter case has affected 66 local and 11 overseas companies, and is understood to include international metallurgical coal companies such as SouthGobi Resources and Gobi Coal & Energy.
The 106 mining licenses -- which cover an area six times the size of that already subject to active mining licenses -- were deemed by the new government to have been awarded illegally by officials belonging to the previous administration, and therefore must be resubmitted for competitive tender.
At this stage there is no timeline for when this may occur and it leaves the current owners of the licenses in a state of limbo, unable to advance their projects.
Sam Spring, who covered a number of Mongolian projects as an analyst before taking on the role of president and CEO of Kincora Copper, said companies affected by the halt to exploration had been "caught up in a criminal court case that is treating [the situation] like an administrative court matter, and acting outside of its jurisdiction."
"Security of tenure and a transparent legal system are key cornerstones for both domestic and foreign investment and as such this matter has far greater potential repercussions than just the exploration activities on 106 licenses, or the possibility of incorrect or corrupt activities of a few former government officials," he said.
"No one knows what's going on and it means a whole season of exploration will be lost," Spring added.
While the outcome for the 106 mining licenses remains fuzzy, the market is hoping for more positive news on the contentious mining law changes when the Mongolian parliament returns for its autumn session.
President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj told the World Economic Forum Strategic Dialogue on Future of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar in September that he had decided to "take his hands off the law on minerals."
This was interpreted by some as acknowledgment that the mining law drafted in January -- which included proposals to raise the tax rate on strategic deposits above 50% and give the Mongolian government ownership of up to 34% of projects -- was unworkable and deterring investment.
Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research analyst Dale Choi said in a September 16 note that the existing minerals laws, dating from 2006, were likely to be retained.
But an irregular parliamentary session that ran from September 16 through September 27, which was expected to address the issues and calm investor nerves, came and went without any changes being made.
Shanghai-based CLSA analyst Ian Roper believes the Mongolian government became too arrogant and demanding of mining firms. Its populist stance resulted in a strong statements that scared off potential investors.
"It's not a stable investment environment when you don't know what the mining regulations or changes to taxes will be from one year to the next," he said.
Elemental Drives OTT and Advanced TV Services for Skymedia
Mongolian pay TV operator selects video processing solutions from Elemental to supply premium multiscreen content for nationwide distribution
PORTLAND, Ore., October 16--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Elemental Technologies, the leading supplier of video solutions for multiscreen content delivery, today announced that its video processing systems have been selected by Skymedia, the leading broadband service provider in Mongolia, to power over-the-top television (OTT) and advanced television services nationwide.
Skymedia is using Elemental® Live systems to process content for delivery over the operator's broadband and mobile networks. Skymedia services make live linear and on-demand content available to subscribers on iPhone, iPad and Android devices as well as PCs and IP set-top boxes. The Elemental deployment processes content for more than 80 channels broadcasting 24x7.
"The encoding density, rich feature set, and unmatched ability to output content in multiple formats make Elemental video processing systems vital to providing premium multiscreen services to our customers," said Gantogoo Zundui, CTO of Skymedia. "Easy system integration with Skymedia middleware and OTT workflows, flexible support for our IPTV headend migration, and strong local support from Elemental are all key to meeting rapidly changing viewer demands and growing our subscriber base."
Elemental Live provides real-time encoding for linear pay TV broadcast as well as live streaming to new media platforms. The system is designed to integrate seamlessly into an end-to-end workflow, eliminating configuration complexity and optimizing video for multiscreen viewing. With unprecedented density, Elemental Live performs simultaneous processing and encoding of multiple adaptive bitrate outputs, delivering high-quality, high-efficiency live video streaming to any device.
"We are thrilled to provide a fully optimized multiscreen video processing solution that directly and efficiently supports Skymedia's advanced television services today – and a roadmap that assures their ability to effectively meet consumer demands in the future," said David Godfrey, VP sales Asia Pacific for Elemental.
Elemental will be featured in breakfast and panel discussions at the CASBAA Convention 2013, October 21-24, Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong. CEO and co-founder Sam Blackman will be joined by executives from The Walt Disney Company and Verimatrix in a discussion about multi-network content and security on October 22. Blackman and Verimatrix CEO Tom Munro will address "Solving the Future of Video" in a breakfast panel on October 23. Please register here to reserve a seat for the breakfast panel. Appointments with the Elemental team can be scheduled here.
Elemental Technologies is the leading supplier of video solutions for multiscreen content delivery. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the company pioneered the use of graphics processors to power adaptive video streaming over IP networks. Providing unmatched solutions for more than 300 leading media franchises worldwide, Elemental helps pay TV operators, content programmers, film studios and sports broadcasters bring video to any screen, anytime – all at once. The company has offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, China, Russia and Brazil. To learn more, please visit http://www.elementaltechnologies.com and follow @elementaltech on Twitter.
Italian Entrepreneurs Seeks Cooperation in Wool and Cashmere Production
Ulaanbaatar, October 16 /MONTSAME/ Speaker of the State Great Khural Z.Enkhbold Wednesday received Mr Armando Branchini, a president of the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance (ECCIA) and head of the Italian-Mongolian business council.
Mr Branchini said the Italian large-scale companies are interested in cooperating with Mongolia in manufacturing and retailing wool and cashmere products.
"Italians prefer the highest quality found in the Mongolian wool and cashmere products only. However, a lack of good marketing management to manufacture and sell these kinds of product is taking down the industrial capacity of Mongolia," he said. Mr Branchini also added that Italian part would like to open an Italy-Mongolia joint factory in their country as a part of the cooperation in the sector.
Attending the talks, a General Director of "Buyan" cashmere company Mr B.Jargalsaihan said," Mongolia at the moment is not able to invest in raw materials and foreign trade, therefore this project suggested should receive a support from the state". He requested the Speaker to form a working group on the matter, with an aim to improve the legal environment of the industrial cooperation.
Responding to this, Mr Enkhbold said that a working group can be formed to make proper amendments to the related laws, but under this working group, a subgroup with Ministries and business federations of the two countries must have their representation.
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Made in Mongolia trams to be put into use by 2018
Ulaanbaatar, October 17 /MONTSAME/ Engineers at the Electric Transport Company are working on trams equipped with the latest hi tech.
They want to introduce the tram with rubber wheels. Such a type of transport is called the bus rapid transit (BRT) system, and is similar to trolleybus by using electricity. Tram is faster, more convenient and makes less noise than trolleybus does, and can transport 300-450 passengers.
It is projected that the 36 km tram track will be laid from a "7 buudal" station to the new international airport. "The trolleybuses in the UB city are operated through a couple of electric cables, whereas the tram works by one cable, and the tram is faster," the engineers say.
An introduction of the new transport vehicle has been reflected in the Action Plan of City's Mayor for developing the public transport. Some 212.0 million US dollar loan has been taken from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The tram is expected to be put into use by 2018.
Narantuul fire caused by electrical fault says inspection
October 16 /www.news.mn/ The grocery section at Narantuul market caught fire in August causing one death and damages to 441 rented areas. Last week the investigation into the origin and cause of the fire was completed and the cost of damages and the reason behind the fire were revealed.
The cause of the fire, as determined by the analysis, was an electrical fault.
It estimated that the damage caused by the fire cost 12 billion, 300 million MNT and that goods and properties worth five billion 430 million MNT were saved.
The question whether or not the owner of Narantuul market, Sh.Saikhansambuu, will repay for the damages is still open. Over 400 renters at Narantuul market are still hoping that their compensation will be covered.
The fire case has now been transferred to the prosecutor. When the Court rules on the final decision over the case the condition for compensation will be determined.
Renters evaluated their goods at higher than the market price, but related agencies estimated the market price to calculate the compensation.
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Mongolia, UK celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations with Shivee Ovoo Power Plant deal
October 16 /www.news.mn/ On the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold the UK Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State, William Hague, paid an official visit to Mongolia. The UK Foreign Secretary landed in Mongolia on Tuesday October 15th.
This high level state visit to Mongolia by the UK Foreign Secretary comes at the same time as the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the UK. It is 17 years since UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Malcolm Rifkind visited Mongolian in 1996.
During a press conference the Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold and Foreign Secretary Hague emphasized the key formal discussions between the two countries and exchanged views on bilateral relations and international affairs during the visit.
Mongolia expressed its willingness to boost cooperation with the UK in key sectors such as mining, global financial relations and infrastructure and to pursue policies to support each other in the international arena.
Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold stated that Mongolia agrees with the call by Foreign Secretary Hague for international action against mass rape in conflicts.
Other key issues resolved during the visit were the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the Chevening Scholarship partnership between the Mongolian Ministry of Education and Science and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and a memorandum of understanding with the UK IM Power to build a power plant based on the Shivee-Ovoo coal mine in Mongolia.
During the visit by UK Foreign Secretary on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the UK, defined their perspective on bilateral political relations, economic cooperation and boosts in all fields of cooperation.
Itinerary: Governor General of Canada's State Visit to Mongolia
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 16, 2013) - At the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will conduct a State visit to Mongolia, from October 24 to 26, 2013.
All timings indicated are in local time zone (Ulaanbaatar Time - UTC/GMT +08:00)
STATE VISIT TO MONGOLIA
Thursday, October 24
Arrival in Ulaanbaatar
Upon their arrival in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, Their Excellencies and the Canadian delegation will be welcomed by Mr. Luvsanvandan Bold, Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Greg Goldhawk, Ambassador of Canada to Mongolia.
As part of Mongolian protocol, Their Excellencies will be offered a hadag, a traditional practice where the guests of honour are presented with a blue silk scarf and a silver bowl containing a dairy product.
Chinggis Khaan International Airport
Friday, October 25
Official Welcoming Ceremony
Their Excellencies will be officially welcomed by His Excellency Tsahia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia, and his spouse. Both of them will be presented with flower bouquets by young girls in traditional dress, after which the Governor General will inspect the military guard of honour.
Chinggis Khaan Square
OPEN TO MEDIA
Official Guestbook Signing Ceremony
His Excellency will be invited to sign the official guestbook, prior to his tête-à-tête with the President.
State History Museum Hall, State Palace
OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS ONLY
Meeting with the President of Mongolia in the State Ger
During this ceremonial meeting, the Governor General will have the opportunity to discuss Canada and Mongolia's strong bilateral relations with the President. The meeting in the State Ger is an important part of Mongolian protocol and draws its origins from traditional hospitality offered between senior leaders.
State Ger, 5th floor, State Palace
OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS AND POOLED MEDIA ONLY
Meeting between the First Lady of Mongolia and Her Excellency Sharon Johnston
Her Excellency will meet with Her Excellency Khajidsuren Bolormaa, First Lady of Mongolia, to discuss their mutual interests.
PHOTO OP - At the beginning of the meeting
Expanded Meeting with the President of Mongolia
An expanded meeting with the official and accompanying delegations will take place following the meeting. It will highlight Canada's numerous partnerships with Mongolia and focus on prosperity, peace and security.
Hall A, 3rd floor, State Palace
PHOTO OP - At the beginning of the meeting
Signing Ceremony and Media Statements
On the occasion of the Governor General's State visit and the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Mongolia, a number of agreements and announcements between both countries will be witnessed by His Excellency.
State Honorary Ceremony Hall, 3rd floor, State Palace
PHOTO OP - Signing ceremony
MEDIA AVAILABILITY - Following the signing ceremony, the Governor General and the President will deliver media statements and answer questions from members of the media.
Meeting with the Speaker of the State Great Khural
His Excellency will meet with His Excellency Zandaakhuu Enkhbold, Speaker of the State Great Khural, to discuss new ways to strengthen Canada and Mongolia's increasingly diverse relationship.
Official Meeting Room, 3rd floor, State Palace
PHOTO OP - At the beginning of the meeting
Address to the State Great Khural
During a special ceremonial session, His Excellency will deliver an address before the State Great Khural to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of Canada-Mongolia diplomatic relations as an important milestone in the evolving and strengthening relationship between both countries. The State Great Khural is the supreme legislative body in Mongolia's unicameral Parliament. It is composed of 76 members elected according to a mixed-member proportional system adopted in 2011.
Khural Chamber, State Palace
OPEN TO MEDIA
Visit to the Children of the Peak Sanctuary by Her Excellency Sharon Johnston
Her Excellency will visit a development aid project founded by a Canadian organization and aimed at helping vulnerable children in Ulaanbaatar. Accompanied by Ms. Julie Veloo, Vice-President of the Veloo Foundation, Her Excellency will tour the facilities and participate in reading and craft activities with children attending the kindergarten class.
The Children of the Peak Sanctuary primarily supports 40 children from underprivileged families that have recently migrated from rural areas to Ulaanbaatar. The goal is to advance the children's social, intellectual and physical development through various activities, including group play, educational games, and lessons in nutrition, basic hygiene and English. For more information, visit www.veloofoundation.com.
Ger district, Tolgoit Site
OPEN TO MEDIA
Round-table Discussion on Education
Ahead of the first-ever Canadian Education Fair in Mongolia (October 27-29, 2013), His Excellency will participate in an education round table with Canadian academics and Mongolian stakeholders. The discussion will be moderated by Mr. Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa, a well-known Mongolian figure. The participants will discuss how they can further Canada-Mongolia collaborations in the field of educational development and work across borders to better share their knowledge.
Soyombo 1 Room, 5th floor, Best Western Tuushin Hotel
OPEN TO MEDIA - Opening remarks
State Dinner Hosted by the President of Mongolia
In honour of Their Excellencies' visit to the country, the President will host a State dinner.
Dining Room, Ground floor, Khan-Uul Palace
OPEN TO MEDIA - Opening remarks
Saturday, October 26
Visit to a Rural School Dormitory and Meeting with a Herder Family by Her Excellency Sharon Johnston
Her Excellency will journey to Erdene County, outside of Ulaanbaatar, to highlight a Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) project and to familiarize herself with the customary way of life in rural Mongolia.
On her first stop, Her Excellency will visit a school dormitory that was rehabilitated with CFLI support and currently houses 141 children from herder families studying at the local school. There, she will have the opportunity to attend a performance offered by the children and meet with school officials. The second stop will bring Her Excellency to a herder family's winter station, where she will be able to learn more about their daily life and experience their culture.
Erdene County, Tuv Province
OPEN TO MEDIA
Breakfast with Business Leaders
His Excellency will promote Canada's investment interests and commercial collaboration at a business networking breakfast with Canadian business leaders. Together, they will explore how Canada can continue to contribute to Mongolia's prosperity and democratic development.
Monet Restaurant, 17th floor, Central Tower
OPEN TO MEDIA - Opening remarks
Round-table Discussion with Women Parliamentarians
Their Excellencies and members of the accompanying delegation will meet with women parliamentarians who are taking on a stronger leadership role in Mongolia. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada is supporting this goal through an initiative that provides technical expertise to increase the effectiveness and visibility of women in Parliament. The round-table participants will also discuss the successes and challenges of women in the public service.
Soyombo 1 Room, 5th floor, Best Western Tuushin Hotel
OPEN TO MEDIA - Closing remarks and group photo
Meeting with the Prime Minister of Mongolia
His Excellency will meet with His Excellency Norovyn Altankhuyag, Prime Minister of Mongolia, to build rapport with the new Mongolian government.
Suld A Room, 4th floor, Best Western Tuushin Hotel
PHOTO OP - At the beginning of the meeting
Friends of Canada Reception
On the occasion of his visit to Ulaanbaatar, the Governor General will offer short remarks and present State visit medallions to individuals for their continued and exceptional service in promoting and enhancing the Canada-Mongolia relationship.
Soyombo 1 Room, 5th floor, Best Western Tuushin Hotel
OPEN TO MEDIA - Remarks and medallion presentation
Farewell Courtesy Meeting with the President of Mongolia
Their Excellencies will meet with the President and First Lady of Mongolia to thank them for their hospitality and discuss the successes and key outcomes of the State visit.
OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS ONLY
Visits abroad by a governor general play an important role in Canada's relations with other countries. They are highly valuable as they help broaden bilateral relations and exchanges among peoples.
Members of the public can follow the Governor General's State visit to Mongolia online at www.gg.ca, where speeches, photos and videos will be posted.
This itinerary is subject to change without notice.
To obtain the latest updates, please visit www.gg.ca.
Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter
Canadian Delegates to Accompany Governor General on State Visit to Mongolia
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 16, 2013) - Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will be joined by official and accompanying delegations on the occasion of a State visit to Mongolia, from October 24 to 26, 2013.
A delegation of Canadian public-and private-sector leaders in the fields of business, education and innovation, will share their experiences and knowledge with their Mongolian counterparts and play an active role in highlighting Canada's involvement in the host country. These exchanges will further develop the wide-ranging and multi-faceted relationships with Mongolia, and will provide greater visibility for our bilateral initiatives.
The biographies of the accompanying delegation are available online at www.gg.ca.
Members of the public can follow the Governor General's State visits to Mongolia online at www.gg.ca, where speeches, photos and videos will be posted.
Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter
Mongolia Ambassador Speaks at London's Asia House on
Ulaanbaatar, October 17 /MONTSAME/ The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the United Kingdom (UK) Mr N.Tulga has given a report on Mongolia's foreign policy, economic situation, and investment and business environment.
This event took place Wednesday in a London-based "Asia House" research organization in a presence of delegates from more than ten companies among whom were Standard Chartered Bank, Rio Tinto Group, Anglo American plc, Rothschild Group and AMEC.
The Ambassador gave them the information about the mining, energy, infrastructure, tourism and other sectors of Mongolia. He said that main functions of our Embassy in the UK are to propagandize Mongolia to the British people and entities, to advertize our investments and business environment. The number of the British enterprises and people who want to invest in Mongolia and run a business there is likely to increase, he noted.
President of Poland visiting October 21
Ulaanbaatar, October 17 /MONTSAME/ The President of the Republic of Poland Mr Bronislaw Komorowski will pay a working visit to Mongolia on October 21.
The Polish President has been invited by his Mongolian counterpart Ts.Elbegdorj.
The leaders of the states will hold an individual meeting and the official talks. After this, Mr Komorowski will meet Z.Enkhbold, the Speaker, and receive N.Altankhuyag, the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister to visit China
Ulaanbaatar, October 17 /MONTSAME/ The Prime Minister of Mongolia N.Altankhuyag will pay an official visit to the People's Republic of China (PRC) on October 22-26 by invitation of Li Keqiang, the Premier of China.
Mr Altankhuyag will attend the 14th Western China International Fair that will take place October 23-27 in Chengdu city, Sichuan province.
In accordance with the visiting program, the Premier will visit Liaoning province, will meet authorities of the seaport cities. He will also meet with leaders of the China-Mongolia Trade Association, whereas his spouse is to leg a secondary school.
In Beijing, our PM will be received by Xi Jingping, the PRC President, and will meet with Zhang Dejiang, the Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang. After this, Mr Altankhuyag will leg the Mongolian Studies Department at the Beijing University.
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Mogi: calling BS on this one
Global Hunger Index: Mongolia "Serious"
Global hunger is decreasing, but not fast enough
October 15 (The Economist) ONE in eight people went hungry in 2012, or 870m, according to a study by the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (defined as a diet of fewer than 1,800 calories a day). Children are especially affected as hunger harms physical and cognitive development. The Global Hunger Index, devised by the International Food Policy Research Institute, a think-tank based in Washington, DC, tracks the progress in combating hunger and undernourishment, which includes the quality as well as the quantity of a diet. The index covers 120 developing countries that account for 84% of the world's population. It is composed of three equally weighted measures: the percentage of people that are undernourished; the under-five population that are underweight; and the under-five mortality rate. While the overall world index has decreased by 34% since 1990, some 19 countries—with a total population of 1.6 billion—are classified as having "alarming" or "extremely alarming" levels of hunger. Most are in Africa and Asia, where natural disasters and climate change make places there particularly vulnerable to food scarcity.
A notable award for Mongolian-Turkish schools
October 16 (Hizmet Movement) The Turkish schools operating in Mongolia have been awarded "Most Effective Institution Award", in recognition of their contributions to Mongolia in the field of education.
At a ceremony recently held at Sunjin Grand Hotel in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's 50 most effective institutions were presented their awards. In recognition of their achievements and contributions, Empathy Educational Institutions, active for about 20 years in Mongolia, were honored with "Top Standard" award among the most effective institutions. An Empathy Institutions affiliate, Elite International School, Principal Mustafa Uguz received the award on the institutions behalf. The organizing committee members expressed their appreciation of the schools' contributions to the development of Mongolia. Since their establishment in 1994, Empathy Educational Institutions have been rated top among the Mongolian students.
Published [in Turkish] on Cihan, 14 October 2013, Monday
US Government shutdown leaves immigrants in limbo: Gay Mongolian asylum seeker facing another long wait
October 16 (BBC) For many refugees, the government shutdown means they may have missed their chance to see a judge - a once-a-year opportunity. The BBC's Anna Bressanin reports on an immigration crisis.
A 36-year-old asylum seeker from Mongolia was looking forward to Monday. Eight years after he had started his efforts to obtain a work permit, he would have the final hearing with the Immigration Court of Chicago.
His lawyer, Keren Zwick, expected the man (he asked to be identified only by his initial U) to walk out of the court on that day with his work permit.
But on Monday the court was closed because of the government shutdown.
He does not know when his hearing will be rescheduled. If a court date is missed under ordinary circumstances, the case is to be sent to the end of the docket. That could mean waiting another year - and perhaps longer.
All hearings at the immigration courts are cancelled during the shutdown - except individuals who are detained. The cancelled hearings include those for asylum seekers and survivors of torture, who in most cases have already been waiting for years.
"I screened U's case first as a paralegal," says Ms Zwick. "Then I went to law school and worked for two years. And now I'm representing him as a lawyer. I feel like his life is standing still, while mine has moved forward. He's still exactly there."
U was an accountant in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, where he lived quietly as a gay man.
In his request for asylum in the US, he explained that he met someone at work. Unfortunately, the relationship turned violent. When U tried to escape, the man threatened to expose him as a homosexual.
Raped and beaten repeatedly for six months, U said that he did not go to the police, given the way that homosexuality is perceived in Mongolia.
He was granted a tourist visa to the US in 2005. Once he was here, he applied for asylum.
There are nearly 17,000 immigration cases in Chicago that are now pending - and about 316,000 cases nationwide.
Eventually, the shutdown will be over. Yet as attorney Vanessa Allyn, who works for an organisation called Human Rights First, explained: "That means that we will go back to a dramatic backlog".
"More resources are put into arresting and removing people," she said. "But the courts that have to process these cases are overloaded with work and do not have enough resources."
SIT Alum Preserves Traditional Mongolian Music
September 17 (SIT Study Abroad) Dimitri Staszewski (Loyola University) studied on SIT's Mongolia: Geopolitics and the Environment program in spring 2013. For his Independent Study Project, he interviewed Mongolian herders and began recording and archiving their singing performances. Below, we talk with Dimitri about the importance of preserving traditional Mongolian music.
SIT Study Abroad: Why are you interested in preserving traditional Mongolian music?
Dimitri Staszewski: Initially, I saw it as a fundamental part of a shrinking nomadic population. While I still believe that, the term "traditional music" is a lot more complicated than I originally thought before coming to Mongolia.
During a period of socialism that ended in 1991, Russian influence led to the introduction of conservatory-style teaching in Mongolia. Those conservatories taught Western forms of music as well as institutionalizing the teaching of traditional Mongolian music. So, the use of the word "traditional" is actually quite complicated and has been used strategically to a certain extent, promoting Russian/Western culture and teaching methods. That being said, those conservatories have remained a fundamental part of traditional Mongolian music as a whole.
As a result of the Western lens employed by this research and pedagogy, studies of traditional Mongolian music generally lack a sophisticated depiction of the wide variety represented by the overarching category of "traditional." As notions of what constitutes "traditional" are increasingly dominated by these Western definitions, some forms of Mongolian traditional music are not being understood or preserved. I am interested in helping preserve performances by musicians without formal training, epitomized by nomadic herders, because that part of traditional Mongolian music is currently underrepresented and threatened as fewer Mongolians remain herders and as herding lifestyles continually change. Without recognition, herders' distinct musical traditions will remain threatened.
SIT: Tell me about your Independent Study Project (ISP).
DS: Initially, my ISP was to film a documentary about the disappearance of traditional Mongolian music by herders and what that will mean for Mongolian culture as a whole. I also ended up writing a paper about the issues I examined during interviews and about how the construction of "wilderness" is leading to a devaluation of the natural world in Mongolia.
Right now, Mongolia is moving away from traditionally nomadic lifestyles towards sedentary ways of life. More than half of the country has already shifted, and, as more opportunities are created outside of nomadic herding, fewer Mongolians remain interested in herding lifestyles. In my essay I argue that the ideas of "wilderness" and "civilization" are not just Western ideas. They are universal ideas humans create in order to rationalize destruction of the natural world and create a more "civilized" one. I believe this ideological shift has led to a devaluation of the natural world in Mongolia, which in turn has led to widespread environmental destruction.
SIT: Did you encounter anything particularly memorable as you carried out your project?
DS: The most memorable moments happened when I was recording musical performances. I interviewed a 77-year-old woman who had had eleven children and sang a beautiful long song for me. After interviewing a mother and father, they invited their kids to sing a love song with them to finish the interview. I met a herder who, after an interview, invited me to record him singing to his herd. That performance ended up being one of the most inspiring moments I have been able to be part of, and I felt honored to be able to be the one there capturing it.
I normally work in a recording studio where as an engineer and producer I try to help create a space where special moments can be captured. Recording in the field I found that I had to search for the right people and capture moments that already exist in their lives, but haven't been recorded.
SIT: Do you plan on traveling back to Mongolia in the near future?
DS: Right now I'm applying for a Fulbright Scholarship to go back to Mongolia next August for at least ten months after I graduate this coming May. I would be creating an archive of musical performances by Mongolian herders and former herders, and their stories. Filmed performances would be paired with written narratives. The idea being to capture songs that are a part of Mongolian culture as a whole, and stories about very specific individuals and seeing them in the much broader context.
Ultimately, part of the reason why this aspect of traditional Mongolian music is going away is because it is not very accessible. I found that it is often very difficult to find talented singers who are herders. Plus, once I found them, it was often difficult and time-consuming to get to them. I want to bring herders' performances to an online platform, which anyone can access. Ideally, other people would get interested in the project after I got it started and could help add performances to the archive.
My goal is to showcase a side of traditional Mongolian music that I feel is currently underrepresented. As Mongolia undergoes rapid urbanization, many Mongolians only experience traditional music performed in staged settings by conservatory-trained musicians. From interviews and casual conversations in Mongolia, I found that for many Mongolians traditional music spoke to a sense of national identity and heritage. However, neither tradition nor national identities are static things. Musical conservatories, Mongolian hip-hop, and ethno-fusion bands are all examples of positive cultural change that is redefining tradition in Mongolia. However, it is important in any culture to remember the past and figure out how aspects of cultural heritage will be preserved and carried into the future. By creating the archive, I hope to help preserve an important aspect of Mongolia's intangible cultural heritage. As the number of nomadic herders in Mongolia continues to shrink, now is a crucial time to do this project.
See — and hear — more at Dimitri's blog. Subscribe there for regular updates on his project.
Munkhdul Badral Bontoi
Founder & CEO
Mobile: +976 9999 6779
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