Thursday, October 10, 2013

[Wolf identifies oil seeps, ADB forecasts 12% growth, China slowdown to affect Mongolia most and Governor General of Canada visiting in October]

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

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Overseas Market

WOF up 100% to 9c this morning on the news

Wolf Petroleum identifies oil seeps at Mongolia oil and gas block

October 10 (Proactive Investors) Wolf Petroleum (ASX: WOF) has identified light oil seeps in multiple seismic shot holes that provides evidence of an active petroleum system at the Sukhbaatar Block in Mongolia.

Analysis of the first batch of 242 soil samples from over 7,500 sample taken from the bottom of seismic shot holes had revealed the presence of the seeps in the Toson Tolgoi and Tal Bulag basins.

A total of 53 out 242 samples had high gravity oil seeps ranging from 1 to 10 parts per million concentration.

This provides evidence that an active petroleum system within the Toson Tolgoi and Tal Bulag basins has generated and migrated hydrocarbon liquids.

The company is now working on interpreting the recently completed seismic program to identify multiple oil and gas traps.

Its Sukhbaatar Block covers an area of 23,047 square kilometres and contains four sub-basins, all of which have high heat flow that can enhance hydrocarbon cracking and migration.

Wolf Petroleum has 100% ownership of the block for up to 44 years.

Link to article

Link to WOF release


Haranga: Results of Independent Techno-Economic Assessment of the Selenge Iron Ore Project

October 9 -- Haranga Resources Limited ("the Company," ASX:HAR) is pleased to advise that an independent assessment of the Selenge Iron Ore Project ("Selenge Project") economics based on the Measured and Indicated JORC Compliant Resource has now been completed:  


·         Two different target grind sizes (75 and 150 microns) were provided in the estimate as the previous Davis Tube Recovery (DTR) test results indicated that a high quality magnetite concentrate with low impurities is attainable.  

·         The coarser grind (150 micron) concentrate is superior to the fine grind (75 micron) scenario, as a result reduced mill size and the power consumption resulting in lower capital expenditure and operational expenditure.  

·         The 3 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) concentrate production capacity with coarser grind size demonstrates stronger economic results with net present value (NPV) of AU$457.8M and internal rate of return (IRR) of 47.6%:

Link to release


XAM closed 28.6% higher on the news to 9c


·         Step out drilling extends copper-gold porphyry mineralisation at Diorite Hill

·         OUDDH015 intersects 51 metres grading 1.46 g/t Au and 0.64 % Cu

·         High grade gold correlates with bornite1rich cores of porphyry dykes

·         The near-surface mineralisation remains open along strike and at depth

October 9 -- Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX: XAM – "Xanadu") is pleased to announce the results of further drilling at the Oyut Ulaan copper-gold project (Figure 1), located in the south Gobi.  Seven diamond drill holes (around 1,500m) targeting zones of sub-cropping stockwork copper-gold mineralisation were completed at the Diorite Hill prospect (Table 1 & Figure 2).  

The results (Table 2) confirm Diorite Hill as a broad zone of strong quartz stockwork veining and associated high-grade copper-gold mineralisation (0.3 to 1.5% copper; 0.5 to >5 g/t gold) that is 600 meters long, 40 to 80 meters wide, and at least 200 meters deep and remains open (Figures 3a, 3b & 4). 

The principle ore minerals are bornite and chalcopyrite and samples of the high-grade mineralisation zones identified in OUDDH015 are shown in Figures 5a, 5b & 5c. The bornite is associated with %Cu to g/t Au ratios exceeding 1:2.  This is typical of other gold-rich porphyry deposits including Ridgeway and North Parkes in NSW, Australia. 

Most of the Diorite Hill porphyry system remains concealed under shallow cover with mineralised outcrop 2km along trend to the northeast.  The irregular nature of the mineralising dykes and the distribution of stockwork mineralisation is typical of the shallower parts of porphyry systems suggesting potential for individual mineralised dykes to amalgamate at depth.  

Xanadu's Managing Director, George Lloyd, said "The latest drilling results openOup Diorite Hill's potential and we see indications of similar gold-rich porphyry mineralisation at several other prospects. This adds to our confidence as we plan the next phase of drilling at Oyut Ulaan."

Mapping and trenching data collected during the drilling program (Figure 1) to test for surface expressions of underlying mineralisation and the interpretation of these results will be included in the next general Oyut Ulaan update.

Link to release


Newera Resources finds coal bearing sequences in Mongolian project

October 10 (Proactive Investors) Newera Resources (ASX: NRU) has identified a potential Permian Coal sequence from initial interpretation of data from the first seismic line recorded over its Ulaan Tolgoi project in southern Mongolia.

Ulaan Tolgoi is located in the South Gobi Province, which also hosts the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper mine development.

The Line B data indicates the Late Permian sediments occur in a relatively flat lying package at depths of about 100 metres to 200 metres under Quaternary and Cretaceous cover sediments.

These are recognised as possible P2 units with potential coal bearing units.

In addition, the previously postulated Sonduult Thrust fault is clearly mapped by the survey. The Sonduult thrust fault is postulated to be an eastern extension of the Nariin Sukhait thrust fault which is a prominent structural feature further to the west.

It also noted that the discovery of well rounded Permian pebbles that appear to have weathered out of the underlying Late Permian strata suggests the Permian strata may come close to surface in several locations.

Future work

Newera is close to completing the Line A seismic and is planning to acquire two new seismic lines that will step out on either side of Line B to determine continuity of strike of the interpreted Permian strata and to allow for the positioning of drill hole collar locations for future exploratory drill holes.    

It will now complete ground magnetic surveys along all seismic lines completed under this current seismic survey.

The seismic and ground magnetic surveys are expected to be completed by 25 October 2013. Interpretation and modelling will follow.

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Link to NRU release

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Local Market

MSE news for October 9: Top 20 +0.3%, Turnover 6.5 Million

Ulaanbaatar, October 9 /MONTSAME/ At the Stock Exchange trades held Wednesday, a total of 38 thousand and 420 shares of 17 JSCs were traded costing MNT six million 475 thousand and 232.50.

"Genco tour bureau" /20 thousand and 801 units/, "Remikon" /8,981 units/, "Nako tulsh" /6,552 units/, "Khokh gan" /1,050 units/ and "Aduunchuluun" /397 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Genco tour bureau" (MNT one million and 768 thousand), "Remikon" (MNT one million 558 thousand and 209.00) and "Nako tulsh" (MNT one million 369 thousand and 368.00).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 420 billion 280 million 499 thousand and 335. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 13,905.79, increasing by MNT 41.13 (Mogi: not MNT, points) or 0.30% against the previous day.

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Mogi: total outstanding 1-week bills at 1.82 trillion, close to all-time high 1.87 trillion of 2 days ago

BoM issues 1-week bills

October 9 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 757.7 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release



October 9 (Bank of Mongolia) Regular auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 10 billion /out of 20.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 8.40%.

Link to release


ADB: Mongolia Affected by Global Financial Turbulence

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA, October 8 (ADB) – Softer than expected economic activity in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and India and concerns about the United States (US) quantitative easing (QE) program has destabilized emerging economy financial markets, including in Mongolia, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

"Shifting expectations on the timing of the scaling down of the US Federal Reserve's QE program sparked the recent exodus of foreign capital from emerging markets, including India, Indonesia and Mongolia," said ADB Country Director for Mongolia Robert Schoellhammer.

In an update of its flagship publication, Asian Development Outlook 2013 (ADO 2013), ADB revised down its 2013 gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for the Asia-Pacific region to 6% from 6.6% seen in April, as growth moderates in the region's two largest economies: the PRC and India. In the PRC, growth is expected to moderate to 7.6% in 2013 from 7.7% last year. The authorities there are engineering a medium-term transition to a more sustainable growth path than one led by exports and investment.

However, the region is in a comparatively strong position to cope with the slowdown, with many economies running current account surpluses and holding large foreign reserve stockpiles. For 2014, growth is now projected at 6.2% from 6.7% in April. Meanwhile, resurgence in the US economy is expected to pick up in the coming months. Signs are also emerging that the euro area is turning the corner, and Japan's economic growth is accelerating.

For Mongolia, growth is forecasted to slow to 12% in 2013 and 13% in 2014, supported by the modest recovery in the global economy and the start of commercial mining at the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine. The short- to medium-term prospects for the Mongolian economy are subject to trends in the PRC and the global economy, and expansionary fiscal policies historically make it vulnerable to external shocks.

While consumer inflation slowed to 10.1% year-on-year in the first eight months of 2013 from 14.2% a year earlier, inflation picked up again in August, rising to 9.4% from 8.3% in July. The recent tugrik depreciation, which follows an extended period of high inflation in Mongolia, will increase the competitiveness of the non-mining export sector and support production and employment, but also create further inflationary pressures.

Link to release


Bank of Mongolia should brace for impact of runaway growth, says IMF

Article IV consultation concludes central bank has negotiated a number of hazards successfully, but says it must shore up its defences as the economy shows signs of overheating

October 9 ( The Bank of Mongolia should do more to avoid losing control of the country's rapidly growing economy, as inflation creeps up and financial stability risks rise, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday.

Aided by a recent mining boom, Mongolia's economy grew 12.5% in 2012 and is expected to deliver a similar performance this year. The CIA World Factbook currently ranks it as the third fastest-growing country in the world.

At the conclusion of its Article IV consultation with Mongolia, a statement by the IMF noted the country's rapid growth and said medium-term prospects remain "promising". However, "expansionary macro policies are likely to put pressure on inflation and the balance of payments in the period ahead"

Further risks derive from the uncertain external environment. The IMF said all emerging markets are likely to be hit by the reversal of expansionary monetary policy in advanced economies, while China, a major investor in the mining sector, is expected to shift from investment-led to consumption-led growth. "Mongolia needs to change course to avoid becoming highly exposed to these external shocks," the review said.

Much of the burden of these changes falls to the central bank. The Bank of Mongolia has been pursuing expansionary monetary policy to counterbalance the effects of declining foreign investment and export earnings, and the IMF warned of a "rapid credit growth" in recent months.

The review urged the central bank to tighten policy, or at least to back off its stimulus measures. "We welcome the Bank of Mongolia's intention to phase out these programmes over time," the Fund said.

The Bank of Mongolia must also turn its hand to financial stability risks, the IMF said. The review praised the central bank for its handling of the recent failure of Savings Bank, but said efforts should be made to strengthen banking supervision and the country's provisioning regime.

The IMF also pushed for action by the government, recommending a package of fiscal tightening, and telling law-makers to press ahead with new investment legislation, which will make the environment for domestic and foreign investors "more predictable and transparent".

Link to article


China slowdown will hit Mongolia most, then Australia, warns the IMF

October 9 (The Australian) AUSTRALIA is more exposed to a slowing Chinese economy than any nation except its neighbour Mongolia, the International Monetary Fund has warned as it slashed its growth forecasts for Australia and China.

With world growth of only 2.9 per cent this year - the weakest since the 2009 crisis - the fund says there is a "plausible risk" of a long-lasting global stagnation.

The downbeat review of the global outlook, prepared for the IMF's annual meeting in Washington and publicly released today, contrasts with surging optimism among Australian businesses, with the National Australia Bank's latest survey showing confidence has soared to a three-year high.

Joe Hockey, who is in Washington for the meetings of both the IMF and the G20, said he would be meeting IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and other finance ministers.

"The trip will improve Australia's understanding of the range of risks facing the global economic recovery including the impact of the United States government budget shutdown and the US debt ceiling debate," he said.

The IMF has lowered its forecast for Australia's growth next year from the 3.3 per cent it expected in April to 2.8 per cent. There is a similar markdown to its estimate for growth this year, from 3 per cent to 2.5 per cent. It is one of the largest downward revisions in the growth outlook among advanced countries.

The fund's calendar year forecasts are not directly comparable with those of Treasury, however, they appear to be more pessimistic. In its pre-election budget review, Treasury left its 2014-15 growth forecast of 3 per cent unchanged while cutting its 2013-14 forecast to 2.5 per cent.

The IMF emphasised the slowdown in China and the other leading emerging economies that have sustained global growth over the past five years. Although some pull-back was expected after the stimulus-induced growth surge in 2009 and 2010, the IMF says the extent of the downturn has taken its forecasters by surprise. The fund now says that by 2016 the economies of China, India and Brazil will be 8-14 per cent smaller than it expected two years ago.

The fund has cut its estimate for China's growth next year from 7.7 to 7.3 per cent and says growth will remain "markedly lower" over the next five years. It says there is a very close relationship between emerging country growth and commodity prices. The IMF forecasts that metals prices will fall by between 4 and 5 per cent this year and next, while food prices will rise slightly this year but fall 6 per cent next year.

The IMF says Australia is more exposed to slower growth in China than any other commodity-exporting country except Mongolia, which shares a border with China. Its modelling shows that the slowing in China's growth that has already been recorded would cut Australia's GDP by about 3 percentage points by 2025, as a result of reduced demand for iron ore and coal.

The IMF said the world economy still faced many risks, with the impasse over the US government's debt ceiling threatening to "seriously damage the global economy", while Europe could yet spark a new world financial crisis. It said the most likely scenario was one of "continued, plausible disappointments everywhere".

This would include the failure of business investment to revive in the advanced world, Japan's growth revival petering out because of inadequate reform and China finding it harder to stimulate domestic consumption than expected.

Such conditions would see China's growth drop below 6 per cent, while growth in Japan and Europe would fall below 0.5 per cent. Such a low-growth world would bring social instability in the emerging world and a threat to the solvency of the US and Japan.

The fund's central forecast is that world growth will pick up to a still subdued 3.6 per cent next year. World trade volumes, which will only rise by 2.9 per cent this year, are expected to lift by 4.9 per cent next year.

Australian business is convinced brighter times lie ahead. Business confidence Australia-wide soared to the highest level in 3 1/2 years last month on the back of the Coalition's election win.

Link to article


Solutions to the Current Economic Crisis?

Dr. Julian Dierkes, University of British Columbia

October 8 (Mongolia Focus) Previously, I have written about economic and political aspects of the challenges currently facing Mongolia.

Right now, the economic situation seems a bit like a "wicked problem" or a quagmire, and I see relatively little cause for short-term optimism, but the Government of Mongolia and Rio Tinto especially in the long run have too much at stake in the Oyu Tolgoi project not to come to some solution…

In my mind, progress and a re-start of Phase II of Oyu Tolgoi is the surest and most expedient route to addressing the current economic challenges. While construction would not start up overnight, it would rev up somewhat quickly, especially for the predominantly underground elements of Phase II. This would provide jobs, taxes, and multiple spin-off effects that would maintain Mongolia's growth rate. This in turn would address some of the budgetary challenges and most likely also the current account deficit, at least to some extent. Finally, a re-start of OT construction would be a powerful signal to any potential other investments.


From my perspective, the most urgent challenge to Mongolia's prosperity and development is the lack of progress on Oyu Tolgoi. Given the enormous size of this project, an accelerated development of the project would carry the Mongolian economy at rates that might not set records or send the world's capital flocking to gleaming Ulaanbaatar office towers, but does have the potential to bring significant employment and other financial benefits to Mongolians. A collapse or much further delay of this project is bound to have a significant impact on other foreign investment and any attempts at economic diversification. Conversely, further delays will certainly dampen the enthusiasm of potential investors no matter what current legislative initiatives might bring.

To work out such differences, it appear that both partners need to take a less adversarial attitude. Ivanhoe Mines' and Rio Tinto's reputation has always been that they are not willing or able to fully engage the local political context and thus continue to run into difficulties with the GoM. As I am not privy to any such discussions directly, I have no direct knowledge of such attitudes, but even if these impressions are unfair, the fact that they keep getting repeated in Ulaanbaatar and elsewhere suggests a difficult-at-best relationship between the partners.

Perhaps recent changes in Oyu Tolgoi management and the replacement of the three GoM-appointed directors will bring about a change in attitude.

Beyond such a shift in attitudes some hard thinking among Mongolian policy-makers is very necessary.

Owning OT?

Is an ownership stake in OT really the best way to proceed? I have long been of a view that this ownership raises massive governance challenges surrounding the regulation (environment, taxation, employment, etc.) of an entity that the GoM co-owns.

A further clear risk in ownership is that it magnifies dependence on a single sector as any downturn in OT's fortunes would bring immediate demands for state support and thus exacerbate such a downturn.

In contrast, a well-regulated (an ambitious notion in itself) privately-held entity could produce highly liquid revenue streams that are then available for investment towards diversification abroad, and savings.

Therefore, some kind of floating of the GoM's share in OT or distribution of these shares would seem to be a viable alternative. business-mongolia recently looked at a variant of this proposal that would see equity swapped for a higher royalty rate.

Owning OT

If the GoM remains committed to an ownership stake, there are many puzzles to be resolved. Currently, there are calls for demands of proportional representation not just on the BoD but across management ranks as well. The recent record of state-managed entities such as TT suggest that this might not be a very good deal for the Mongolian people.

Whether there is active and direct participation in management is something to be pursued or not, the fundamental mandate of such participation needs to be clarified as it does for the role of the members of the BoD. Do they represent the Ministry of Finance and thus aim to maximize financial shareholder value? Do they present the Ministry of Environment and should thus force environment ambition on the company? Is there main task to ensure employment gains? While these are not always conflicting objectives, they certainly can be. If priorities are set, they should be communicated very clearly to the Mongolian public as well.

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MPP presents its 10 year Development Program

October 9 / Parliamentarians of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) have presented their Development Program Project to the Managing Council meeting of MPP at the Independence Palace on Wednesday October 8th. 

The Development Program Project is a medium term program to develop the country in the next 10 years projecting five set of issues. 

The Development Program Project is based on International Development model T-21 by the Millennium Institute, Comprehensive National Development Strategy of Mongolia based on the Millennium Development Goals and Development Program by MPP for the people of Mongolia in 2012-2031.

MPP projects the following 10 goals that the Mongolian people are looking forward to:

• Economic growth that benefits the people
• Fair State without discrimination and corruption  
• Safe, relaxed, comfortable environment to live in
• Constant power service, comfortable home  
• Medical services without bias  
• Educated, encouraged Mongolians  
• Eco-friendly, classified mines 
• Beneficial livestock, fertile land and Mongolian brand 
• Good Foreign relations 
• Fair opportunity and unity. 

The program of developing the country will be discussed at all levels of the party and reviewed by public views and opinions. 

Link to article


Seminar on Regulation of Election Financing Held

Ulaanbaatar, October 9 /MONTSAME/ The parliamentary Standing committee on state structure and the Embassy of Canada in Mongolia Tuesday co-hosted a seminar themed "Election financing and reforming matter" at the State House.

A head of the Standing committee on petitions Ms R.Burmaa made the opening remarks, noting that working groups have been set up to amend the laws on elections and on political parties. These groups mainly aim to refine upon the financing mechanisms including the political financing or election financing, as well as the financing for political campaigns or political parties, she said.  She also hoped that Canadian expert will share their experience in these matters.    

A director of the Implementation Department of Ontario's Election Committee Mr Jonathan delivered reports themed "Principle of regulating election financing" and "Monitoring and implementation". Mr Jonathan emphasized three principles must be maintained in effectively controlling the election financing. "First, the country must have a central mandated body of regulating the system, second, a legal support. moreover, the monitoring must be based on a strategic risk," he said.

The seminar brought together officials and civil society researchers from the working groups, the General Election Commission (GEC) and the Audit Office.  

Link to article


Former Presidents arrest issues are not forgotten

October 9 / The arrest of former President N.Enkhbayar where a police raid stormed his home, orchestrated by the Anti -Corruption Authority (ACA), was the most sensational in Mongolian political life this past year. Video footage of former President N.Enkhbayar`s arrest where he was forcefully carried by special forces staff from home was shown to the public inflaming anger. 

However, the former president who was in custody in connection with corruption and power abuse charges received a Presidential pardon from the re-elected Ts. Elbegdorj and is now receiving treatment abroad. Issues related to the arrest are still in process. Supporters and members of the Mongolian People`s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) complained to the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia  saying the arrest by the Anti -Corruption Authority (ACA), Police and Special Force violated the former President"s immunity and was politically motivated. 

The complaint also suggested that the arrest violated the International Convention against torture and several laws of Mongolia

The National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia approached the Department of Investigation under the State General Prosecutor"s Office regarding the complaints over the former President`s arrest violation. 

The Chief Commissioner and Executive Director of the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia J.Byambadorj said that the police raid during the arrest of the former President broke several laws of Mongolia.  But the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia has no power to be involved in the investigation except to receive complaints over rights violations. 

MPRP members are pressuring for fair justice over the issues of the arrest violations from the legislature. The Department of Investigation under the State General Prosecutor"s Office refuses to give information about the investigation process.

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Mongolia: Q3 Market Overview

October 9 (Asia Pacific Investment Partners) Just a few years ago Mongolia was seen as the darling of the international investment community. Vast mineral resource discoveries and proximity with China propelled this relatively obscure and underdeveloped country to a growth rate of 17% per annum and into the international spotlight. A flourishing democracy with firm property rights, a benevolent tax regime and unmatched growth potential, Mongolia was regularly trumpeted by the financial press as the hottest new frontier market. Consequently, record levels of FDI flooded into the country between 2010 and 2011. 

What changed in 2013? 

Mongolia is still growing rapidly. It is still a flourishing democracy with firm property rights, a benevolent tax regime and growth potential unmatched virtually anywhere in the world. However, FDI has fallen off more than 40% year-on-year and the word "Mongolia" now has negative connotations in certain investment circles. What has motivated the change? There are several factors we have identified:

1.    Export prices for Mongolia's main mineral products have fallen to their lowest level in years. The global commodity super-cycle entered its downward phase and Chinese demand simultaneously slumped as the Asian behemoth entered its first serious slowdown in nearly a decade. 

2.    As the US and European economic zones began to recover, developed world assets once again delivered positive returns. Alpha seeking investors  began to pull hot money out of developing markets and bring them back to the mature markets with which they were more familiar. Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve tapering its asset-purchasing program, has sharpened this trend in recent months. 

3.    Unlike much of emerging Asia, Mongolia is a robust democracy. Democracies have their advantages and their risks. One of those risks is populism. Parliamentary elections took place in the summer of 2012 and a Presidential election was held in 2013. During both campaign periods, politicians took to political posturing and waved the flag of populist resource nationalism. Events seemed alarming to inexperienced hands on the sidelines but in reality, the pro-business party won out over more nationalistic voices. 

4.    The media likes controversy and has a short attention span. Mongolia's growth miracle is yesterday's news and no longer grabs headlines or draws readership. The international press has instead decided to focus on the sensationalistic scandals stirred up by the election cycle, such as the Chalco debacle, the series of recent draft laws seen as unfavorable to FDI, and the government's much publicized disagreements with Rio Tinto. While these scandals do represent real issues, their impact is grossly exaggerated in the press.

Be Greedy When Others are Fearful 

Mongolia's fundamentals are as strong as ever. The economy grew by more than 11% in the first half of 2013. The mineral reserves still exist and commodity prices, although unlikely to reclaim the heights of 2011 anytime soon, will eventually recover as China and the developed world bounce back. Indeed, all signs indicate that China's recovery has already begun. 

No matter what happens in international markets and regardless of how Mongolian politicians bluster, or how the international media chooses to spin their stories, numerous fortunes will be made in Mongolia over the next decade, just as they were made in the last. APIP has seen all this before. Mongolia is prone to cycles in its climate as well as its political and economic sphere, but the overall trend remains upward. Those who follow Warren Buffet's thinking are advised to "be greedy when others are fearful". 

With many asset prices at current historical lows and recovery just around the corner, Mongolia in 2013 offers the perfect opportunity to be greedy! 

Positive Developments and Other Reasons to Be Greedy 

There is little Mongolia can do to influence global markets, but local politicians and business leaders have been working furiously to win back the confidence of international investors. Below we list just a few of the most positive developments from recent months:

1.    New Securities Law Passed (May, 2013) - This law will modernize the local stock market and provide liquidity to the hitherto sleepy exchange. It revolutionizes the listing process and the ways in which firms can raise capital, most notably through Depositary Receipts, allowing for dual-listings on foreign exchanges. 

2.    New Mortgage Regulation Implemented (July, 2013) – This regulation provides subsidized twenty-year mortgages to homebuyers at a fixed rate of 8%, a significant improvement from previous rates of between 17-20% for 5-10 years. The law has already sent shockwaves through the housing market with over 8,000 new mortgages and 16,000 loans refinanced since July. 

3.    Draft Minerals Law Scrapped (September, 2013) – The controversial mineral law proposed by the president, seen by many as restrictive and damaging to investment, has been abandoned. The president himself made a public statement in September indicating that he would no longer push for the law's adoption. The minerals sector framework that investors so loved back in 2011 will now remain the law of the land. 

4.    SEFIL Scrapped (October, 2013) – The extremely damaging Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law (SEFIL) that required all major foreign investments in key sectors of the economy to be approved by parliament, was amended in May and entirely revoked in October. In place of SEFIL, Mongolia's parliament has implemented a new law that provides tax and legal stability to all sizeable foreign investments that come into the country. Investors are guaranteed that the laws and regulations that were in place when the investment was originally made will not be subject to the vacillations of future regimes. The new law requires a two-thirds majority vote of parliament to alter or revoke, which should provide extra stability and continuity in future years. 

5.    Oyu Tolgoi Dispute Nearing a Resolution (Q3, 2013) – The Mongolian government recently fired all of the directors and executives that were managing the relationship with Rio Tinto during this prolonged and often heated dispute. The newly appointed management is more experienced, composed and has apparently been given instructions to end the dispute quickly. Recent negotiations in London are reported to have resolved half of the outstanding issues. Further delays and challenges are to be expected given the size of the project and its impact on the economy, nevertheless production and commercial sales continue to grow. 

6.    More Improvements Coming Soon…(Q4, 2013) - Parliamentarians have promised a package of further reforms aimed to improve the investment climate, including regulations to lower the royalty on gold exports, an investment law designed to promote and modernize local fund formation and amendments to the "Law with the Long Name" that restricts mining near forests and rivers. 

How to be Greedy 

Investors want high growth and returns, of course, and Mongolia offers this in spades. However, investors also want liquidity, transparency and appropriate corporate governance. These are harder to find in frontier markets. Those looking to gain exposure to Mongolia or to diversify their holdings in country would do well to consider the following three options: 

1.    Property – Basic trade theory suggests that in a commodity export driven boom - the price of non-tradable goods will appreciate rapidly. This is empirically vindicated through the yields and asset appreciation that has been seen on all of APIP's completed developments. 

2.    Stock Market – The Mongolian Stock Exchange recently installed a new trading platform and overhauled its governing laws. The exchange has lost half of its market capitalization since 2011 but these developments should help it rally to previous levels and potentially go a great deal further. 

3.    Corporate Loans/High Yielding Bank a/c – Mongolia remains chronically undercapitalized. As a result, institutions are willing to offer investors high-yielding paper in exchange for cash commitments with a reasonable time period attached.

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Village @ Nukht: Luxury, freehold retail units in Mongolia's thriving capital

·         Exclusive new freehold retail units located in thriving Asian city

·         Predicted yields of 14.8% NET per annum

·         Assured 12% rental yield for the first 2 years

·         Prices set to increase by 5% on 1st November 2013

·         Capital appreciation of up to 20% forecast per annum

The land of the Nomads - Mongolia. The capital, Ulaanbaatar, became one of our best-performing investment destinations and over a 4 to 5 year period many clients achieved capital growth of 300% and sustained yields of up to 24%.

Mongolia had the fastest growing global economy in 2011 with a growth rate of 17.5%. The booming economy is reflected in the increased real income of Mongolian citizens, rising 20% between 2008 and 2011. Mongolian consumers are now showing a desire for western style retail experiences and brands.

Ulaanbaatar has seen real estate prices rise eightfold since 2001 and commercial rentals are predicted to triple over the next 5 years as more international companies enter the market. Retail property remains in high demand which is why our latest investment opportunity, The Village @ Nukht, is so lucrative.

Cash in on commercial property in Mongolia

Working with the same award-winning developer partners, we are delighted to offer exclusive access to The Village @ Nukht - a luxury western style shopping and leisure centre currently under construction in an upmarket area of the city known as Ulaanbaatar's "Billionaire Valley".

Individual investors now have the opportunity to invest in freehold high end retail units in one of the world's fastest-growing economies from $254,000. Up to 7,000 sqm can be purchased with expected double-digit rental returns of 14.8% NET (with the option of taking an assured yield of 12% for 2 years) in addition to strong capital appreciation anticipated between 15-20% per annum.

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State Store: Golia Vodka

October 9 (Philadelphia City Paper) Genghis Khan is easily Mongolia's most well known export but David Solomon, co-owner of Golia vodka is looking to change all of that with Golia vodka. Mongolian vodka is a pretty novel concept, right? Well so is Solomon's story. Before getting in to the booze game he owned 20 Toys R Us stores and founded Redbox, those ubiquitous automated DVD rental kiosks that you see at virtually every supermarket and 7-11.

Solomon partnered Wilmington native Lee Cashell and founded Golia, now available in state stores. When talking vodka with Solomon he told us that the trifecta of super pure water (from and underground, un touched by the hands of man) source plus prized (and organically grown) Mongolian winter wheat and superior distillation (six times) makes for a pretty incredible product.

So incredible in fact that Solomon says that it's virtually hangover free. Really? Well, "Not if you drink the whole bottle." He did tell us that a close friend went through half a bottle in one sitting recently with no ill effects the next morning.

Hangover free vodka? Sign us up.

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Ulaanbaatar's growing pains

Terrence Edwards in Ulaanbaatar 

October 9 (bne) Rapid urban development is never straightforward – and can be dangerous when shortcuts are taken to keep up with a furious pace. Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar is a prime example, where former officials are now under investigation as the current authorities grapple with heat and power shortages, and problems associated with traffic congestion. 

Ulaanbaatar has been at the centre of Mongolia's mining boom, serving as the base of operations for the biggest foreign and domestic players in mining, banking and finance. "UB, not only being the capital, is also the place for half the population. It has become a cluster spot for businesses to convene in Mongolia," says Saijrakh Narantuguldur, director for Khan Investment Management, which manages the Khan Mongolia Equity Fund

But this has brought its own challenges, with the October 3 collapse of scaffolding into the street at the central Twin Towers site a vivid reminder of why Ulaanbaatar Mayor Erdene Bat-Uul felt forced to suspend a number of construction projects last year. 

In July, the State Specialized Inspection Agency (SSIA) reported that nine construction site accidents had occurred so far this year, claiming the lives of four workers. This was sharply down from the 36 construction site accidents that occurred in the first half of 2012, resulting in 18 fatalities – a high number attributed to the lax conditions that were pervasive under the administration of Bat-Uul's predecessor, Gombosuren Munkhbayar. Authorities announced in October that the former mayor was under investigation along with two other members of his administration for allegedly profiting on the sale of state-owned property. 

After a young person died from falling debris at a construction site under development by Eco Construction last year, Bat-Uul suspended all real-estate development to allow city authorities time to review permits and shutdown the ones that did not go through official channels. The SSIA said in July it had discovered 36 construction sites operating without permits

As well as building accidents, the city 's population faces growing health risks from the pollution caused by coal burning during the winter – the World Health Organisation named Ulaanbaatar as the second-most polluted city in the world in 2011 – worsening traffic problems, and an expected energy and heat crunch as the myriad of new building projects attempt to link up to the grid. 

Heat is essential in Ulaanbaatar, the world's coldest capital, as temperatures often fall below 30° Celsius in December and January. "Everyone agrees that there will be a shortage of heat in Ulaanbaatar until the new power plant is built," says Harris Kupperman, chief executive officer of commercial properties-focused Mongolia Growth Group

Progress on a new coal-fired plant to ease pressure on the capital's Soviet-era power infrastructure has been fitful as city officials repeatedly scrapped plans and changed locations. In August GDF Suez led a group selected to build a $1.2bn coal-fired power plant 15 kilometres east of downtown Ulaanbaatar, which is planned to start operating in 2017. 

The success of public projects in Ulaanbaatar is patchy at best. The city is prepping this month to repair cracks to the Peace Bridge, which serves as the gateway to the lucrative Zaisan district. City officials erected a wooden beam to keep the concrete bridge from falling apart last year and it has remained that way for a year since. The Professional Inspection Agency has called for emergency response. 

Also, this summer the city repaved a number of roads in the central area of Ulaanbaatar, though the capital's denizens won't know if the job was done better than past years until they see how well they hold up to the blistering winter conditions. 

The mismanagement of the city's infrastructure heightens the risk that soon-to-open apartment complexes will lack heat and power failures will become more common. "The City of Ulaanbaatar has been pretty clear that they will not be giving out new heating permits for non-residential construction until 2016," says Kupperman. "The city has also said that they would review previously issued heating permits and revoke a number of them based upon how they were obtained. The first batch of these permits has been revoked with more to come." 

New infrastructure to deliver heat and electricity is also crucial for reducing pollution, as the city hopes to curb raw coal burning by half the 1.2m population who live in unplanned districts. 

Ulaanbaatar serves as the default model for development in Mongolia because it is where most investment dollars are spent. So far, it is setting a bad example for the rest of the country. 

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Fourth Thermal Power Station to be Renovated with JPY 4 Billion JICA Loan

Ulaanbaatar, October 9 /MONTSAME/ The parliamentary Standing committee on budget Tuesday discussed and then backed a draft credit agreement on a project related to the effectiveness of the fourth thermal power station. 

This agreement will be established between the government of Mongolia and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Another matter will be discussed by the Standing committee on security and foreign policy on a loan for renovation of necessary facilities.

This  power station has been working since 1983, its technical facilities and mechanisms have become out-dated. In order to renovate the equipment, Mongolia took soft loans of JPY 10 billion from Japan in 1997-1999 and in 2001-2005. This time, Mongolia intends to receive a loan of JPY 4.2 billion for running a master repair at the station.

By the credit agreement, Mongolia will take the 40-year term loan with an yearly interest of 0.3%. The project will launch this year to continue until 2017.  

The government maintains a policy to increase capability of power stations because of that the energy consumption is likely to increase by 5-7% next five years.

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Governor General of Canada to Undertake State Visits to China and Mongolia

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 9, 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 State visits to the People's Republic of China, from October 16 to 24; and to Mongolia, from October 24 to 26, 2013.

"The State visits to China and Mongolia will highlight Canada's strong bilateral relations with both countries, and I am confident greater common understanding, opportunity and prosperity will follow," said the Governor General. "My visit to China also coincides with several other high-profile Canadian events, including the 35th Annual General Meeting and Policy Conference of the Canada Chinese Business Council; a performance and education tour by the National Arts Centre Orchestra; and a trade and investment mission led by Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa."

"Our visit to Mongolia comes at a time of great opportunity, as this year marks 40 years of enduring diplomatic relations between our two countries," added His Excellency. "As the first Canadian governor general to visit Mongolia, I will have the opportunity to strengthen our people-to-people ties and discuss mutually beneficial initiatives in a wide range of fields, such as commerce, governance and education."

Their Excellencies will be joined by parliamentarians and an accompanying delegation of Canadians who will share their experiences and knowledge with their Chinese and Mongolian counterparts. These exchanges will further develop the numerous partnerships that Canada has developed with both countries, particularly in strategies promoting commerce, innovation, prosperity, education and culture.

State Visit to Mongolia - October 24 to 26

In the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, Their Excellencies will be officially welcomed by His Excellency Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia. During meetings with the President and with other government officials, the Governor General will underscore Canada's commitment to the democratic future and prosperity of Mongolia. In addition, His Excellency will deliver an address before the State Great Khural (Mongolian Parliament) to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of Canada-Mongolia diplomatic relations as an important milestone in the evolving and strengthening relationship between both countries.

His Excellency will also promote Canada's investment interests and commercial collaboration at both a business networking breakfast with Canadian business leaders and during an education round table with Canadian institutions and Mongolian stakeholders, ahead of the first-ever Canadian Education Fair in Mongolia. There will also be an opportunity for Her Excellency to visit the Children of the Peak Sanctuary, a project run by a Canadian non-profit organization aimed at helping vulnerable children in Ulaanbaatar.

To conclude the visit, Their Excellencies will meet with women parliamentarians who are taking on a stronger leadership role in Mongolia. The Department of 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.

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 visits to the People's Republic of China and to Mongolia online at, where speeches, photos and videos will be posted.

The detailed itinerary and the accompanying delegation will be published at a later date.

Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.

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October 9 (InfoMongolia) According to Asahi Shimbun reported on October 09, 2013, the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj is to conduct an official visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on October 27, 2013.

In the press release it states, "Since Kim Jong-un's appointment as the Supreme Leader of the country in April 2012, North Korea is expected to welcome its first foreign Head of State and this honorable guest is the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj. Moreover, the possibility of meeting with Kim Jong-un is also high".

However, Mongolian Presidential Office did not announce yet, but the state visit of the President Ts.Elbegdorj to North Korea has been discussed since April of this year, in particularly the year of 2013 marks the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations established between Mongolia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In conjunction, several high-level mutual visits were conducted this year in order to continue the friendly relations and cooperation, nevertheless Mongolia provided a food relief to the people of North Korea last September.

As a matter of fact, in April 2013, during his credential handing ceremony, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to Mongolia Mr. Hong Gyu conveyed the Supreme Leader of the North Korea Kim Jongun's invitation to the President Ts.Elbegdorj to visit North Korea at his convenient time.

In August 2013, during his meeting with Minister of People's Security of the National Defense Commission of the DPRK, Choi Bu-il in Ulaanbaatar, President Ts.Elbegdorj affirmed that he plans to visit North Korea this year.

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Mining-related economic growth crucial to Mongolia's APEC hopes

Mongolia's government hopes new initiatives recently enacted by the country to ease restrictions on foreign investment in mining will help pave the way to APEC membership.

RENO, October 7 (MINEWEB) - Mongolia is hoping its impressive mineral reserves will help boost its bid to become the 22ndmember of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

The country is seeking APEC membership along with Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Laos, Macau, and Pakistan. There has not been a new member admitted to APEC since 1998.

Mongolia is aiming to strengthen its relationship with foreign investors through recently enacted laws designed to ease restrictions on investors in important sectors, such as mining, and providing greater taxation certainty.

The nation's Cabinet Secretary, Saikhanbileg Chimed, told Bloomberg News that the Mongolian government's "number one priority" is to resolve a dispute over the $4 billion financing package that will allow Oyu Tolgoi to develop the underground portion of its massive copper-gold mine.

Mongolian Foreign Affairs Minister, Bold Luvsanvandan, said the county's mining boom has generated a surge in the country's economic growth including 17.5% in 2011 and 12.3% in 2012.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that Mongolia will be one of the world's fastest growing country's this year with 14% growth (Mogi: revised down to 12%), thanks to mining, which accounts for 21.8% of the country's GDP (Mogi: wasn't this number close to 1/3?).  Mongolia is believed to have mineral reserves and resources that include 18.4 million tonnes of coal, 2.4 tonnes of gold, 1 million tonnes of iron ore and 2.4 billion barrels of untapped oil.

In a presentation to international news media, Bold observed that Canada, China and Russian comprise 96.4% of Mongolia's exports.

"At a time when Asia-Pacific countries become more and more intertwined, Mongolia cannot afford to stay outside. I can assure you that with its growing economy and friendly political relations with every single APEC country Mongolia would bring added value to APEC," Bold said.

"If we are integrated as a part, a member of APEC, then it would be a real win-win situation for Mongolia and also for other economies of the region and beyond," Bold stressed.

The APEC Summit continues today in Bali, Indonesia. The host country has made public its support for Mongolia's admission to the organization.

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Mongolia is another opportunity for Hungarian SMEs to gain ground on foreign markets

October 8 (Ministry for National Economy, Hungary) The fourth annual meeting of the Hungarian-Mongolian Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation was held today in Budapest where the Mongolian delegation was headed by Minister for Environmental Protection and Green Development Oyun Sanjaasuren and Hungary was represented by Minister of State for Economic Regulation Kristóf Szatmáry.

In light of topics on the agenda, several mutually advantageous partnership projects could be implemented in the field of water and wastewater management, construction, farming and animal husbandry, climate policy, healthcare, education as well as information technology.

In accordance with the Government's economic policy goals, the meeting focused on developing bilateral relations, improving exports and exploring potential cooperation fields. The two parties expressed their intent to spur bilateral trade growth which requires the effective operation of the Economic Joint Committee and the fostering of partnership between organizations and enterprises.

One prioritized issue on the meeting's agenda was the implementation of the reconstruction project of Songino Bio-Combinat. To this end, the Hungarian side reiterated the intension of re-negotiating a tied aid loan agreement for Mongolia through which the Government expects to assist Hungarian enterprises to gain ground on external markets. Hungary is ready to assist the realization of Mongolian infrastructure development projects, therefore the Hungarian Government greatly appreciated Mongolia's initiative that the country would welcome the presence and knowledge of Hungarian enterprises for the realization of the Mongolian Government's housing modernization programme.

At the event, the two parties signed several bilateral agreements as well.

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New Ambassadors Appointed to France, Germany, Canada and Switzerland

October 9 / The Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Policy in Tuesday's meeting discussed and agreed the President`s suggestion to recall heads of Diplomatic Representatives from Mongolia to several countries in order for them to be replaced. 

President Ts.Elbegdorj made the suggestion to appoint  M.Batsaikhan as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from Mongolia to the French Republic, Ts.Bolor as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from Mongolia to the Federal Republic of Germany, R.Altangerel to Canada and V.Purevdorj to the Swiss Confederation.

President Ts.Elbegdorj also proposed to Parliament to recall the Ambassador from Mongolia to the French Republic, Sh.Altangerel,the  Ambassador from Mongolia to the Federal Republic of Germany, B.Davaadorj, the Ambassador from Mongolia to Canada, T.Zalaa-Uul and the Ambassador from Mongolia to the Swiss Confederation, L.Orgil.

The Standing Committee members agreed on the candidates for ambassadors` experience and capabilities with diplomacy and instructed them to work hard on focusing on economic cooperation and expansion. 

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Swedish Foreign Minister Meets Our Ambassador

Ulaanbaatar, October 9 /MONTSAME/ The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden Mr Carl Bildt Tuesday received Z.Altai, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the country.

The dignitaries shared views on the Mongolia-Sweden relations and cooperation. Mr Altai said these ties have been intensively developing in recent years, noting that a visit of the Mongolian President to Sweden in 2012 was the very first visit paid at a level of State Head.

In conjunction of the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations to be marked next year, the Ambassador proposed organizing mutual high level visits such as of His Highness Carl XVI Gustaf and his spouse Her Highness Queen Silvia to Mongolia, and of Mongolia's FM to Sweden.

Mr Altai also pointed out that Mongolia intends to run the Mongolian cultural days, concert and exhibition in Sweden in frames of the diplomatic relations' anniversary, and said Mongolia is ready to support such events of Sweden.

The Ambassador also suggested granting scholarships to Mongolian students, establishing a visa-free agreement for diplomatic and official passport holders, organizing mutual visits of inter-parliamentary representatives, supporting Mongolia in its accessing the Arctic Council, and involving the Swedish side in an annual "Khaan Quest" peacekeeping operations exercises.

Expressing satisfaction with a development of the bilateral relations, Mr. Bildt said Sweden appreciates an intensive development of the Mongolian economy and democracy. He also said his country supports the mutual visits and cultural events on occasion of the anniversary of the diplomatic relations, and added that he will reply to other proposals soon.  

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Mongolians Ranks 75th on Visa Restriction Index 2013

Ulaanbaatar, October 9 /MONTSAME/ Mongolia is ranked 75th at The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2013, improving its position by nine slots since last year's rankings.

Mongolians are allowed to travel visa-free to 51 countries including Belarus, Georgia, Israel, Cuba, Malaysia, Ukraine, Turkey, Laos, and Thailand.

The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, a global ranking of countries based on the freedom of travel for their citizens, saw Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom emerge as the world's most coveted passports.

Bottoming out the index, Afghanistan ranked at 93 with a score of 28, which means that citizens of the country can travel to only 28 countries without visa restrictions.

Henley & Partners, which handles international residence and citizenship planning, has been publishing the Visa Restrictions Index since 2006, which serves as a global ranking of countries based on the freedom of travel for their citizens.

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Social, Environmental and Other

Lack of legal environment in the media sector acknowledged

October 9 (UB Post) The second National Session of Press Media Managing Officials discussed "Free Journalism Legal Environment" at the Government Palace on October 4. On the initiative of the Press Institute of Mongolia, the session was organized by the Union of Mongolian Journalists, Association of Daily Newspapers, Association of Television Channels, and the Radio and Television Academy.

The session mainly discussed the alarming problems facing Mongolian journalism, the legal environment in media, and economic support of the journalism sector. Delegates of both governmental and non-governmental organizations attended the session and exchanged thoughts about press sector issues.

The primary goal of participants and officials was to find a solution and form a proper media legal environment with comprehensive law. A draft bill on freedom of the press has recently been submitted to Parliament.

Member of the Parliament M.Batchimeg delivered a speech on "Ensuring the Independence of the Newsroom with Press Freedom Law" during the session and said, "Whether a law on freedom the press will be adopted or not depends greatly on the will of people sitting in this hall. The reason that it hasn't been adopted yet is that journalists themselves had doubts about the law. Therefore all journalists should discuss the law together, determine its responsibility mechanisms and form a consensus opinion towards the adoption of the law, as journalists serve an important role in the future of the country."

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Asia Foundation: Marking 20 Years in Mongolia

October 9 (The Asia Foundation) This week in Ulaanbaatar, celebrations are in full swing to mark The Asia Foundation's 20th anniversary in Mongolia. In 1993, we opened our resident office in the building that is fondly remembered as the "Log Cabin," becoming one of the first international nongovernmental organizations to enter the country at the dawn of Mongolia's democratic transformation.

"We had two chairs and a desk which we shared until we could find enough furniture for a full office, which wasn't easy in those days of scarce everything," said Sheldon Severinghaus the Foundation's first country representative and recipient of Order of the Polar Star in 2011, the highest state honor bestowed by the Mongolian president on foreign nationals.

In a note to Asia Foundation President David Arnold, Mongolian President Elbegdorj, who was himself an early Foundation grantee, wrote: "The Asia Foundation has played a tangible role in the success of Mongolia's peaceful transition. It has helped Mongolia to design and conduct reforms in many sectors of our society."

The Foundation's initial programming focused on forging strong relationships with individuals and nascent organizations, and supporting them in establishing the building blocks of a democratic Mongolia, including in drafting the 1992 Constitution. Our early programming sought to create opportunities and provide exposure for Mongolians to different approaches, models, and institutional arrangements in the U.S. and throughout Asia on topics such as the rule of law, judicial and parliamentary reform, independent media, civil society, and human rights.

Over the years, we have worked with many innovative leaders in different fields, and as part of our preparations for the 20th anniversary we conducted a series of interviews with 20 Mongolian leaders, which we've published in a new book, available on The Asia Foundation's website. Many of the leaders are former grantees of the Foundation who now occupy influential positions in Mongolian society. The support they received from the Foundation in the formative stages of Mongolia's transition to a democracy and market economy was for many a life-changing experience. As one leader, who was selected by The Asia Foundation to go to the U.S to study the American legal system, recalls: "I learned many things, and the knowledge, the information, the contacts have been useful throughout my lifetime. It was a very crucial moment in my life."

We also just released a second anniversary publication and slideshow that document our current work with government and non-government partners on programs promoting and bolstering transparent, accountable, and participatory governance at the national and sub-national level; urban services improvement; environmental protection and responsible resource use; civic engagement; women's empowerment; regional cooperation; and educational through programs such as Books for Asia and the Merali Scholarship program.

We kicked off our 20th anniversary celebrations on Monday with a roundtable discussion organized by the National Committee on Gender Equality with more than 20 women's organizations to share recollections on the start and development of the women's movement in Mongolia with the support of The Asia Foundation and how the Foundation can continue to partner with women's organizations going forward. The event was followed on Tuesday by a Citizen's Hall, co-hosted with the Office of the President, which brought together national and local government actors, civil society stakeholders, and local citizens from the pilot areas where we are working to promote civic engagement. The participants discussed the first year of implementation of the Integrated Budget Law and shared their experiences to increase citizen participation at the local level. On Wednesday, together with the Ministry of Environment and Green Development, we hosted a discussion on smart consumption, one of the most critical issues facing Mongolia today, involving  ways consumers can foster green and sustainable development in Mongolia by the choices they make in what to buy, or not. Also on Wednesday, the American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS) launched a new partnership with the Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program under which ACMS will manage book distribution and connect to its librarian training program.

On Thursday, the Foundation will unveil an exhibition entitled, "What do good governance and transparency look like?" Organized by the local non-profit, Young Women for Change, and funded by USAID, the exhibition showcases works from of young amateur photographers that capture the efforts being undertaken to promote good governance in Mongolia.

On Friday, our Mongolia office will be joined by the Foundation's executive vice president, Suzanne Siskel, to host a reception at the Ulaanbaatar hotel to thank our many partners with whom we have worked closely over the last 20 years, and without whom Mongolia would not be the democracy success story that it is today.

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Polish Expert Testing Fast Growing Trees in Bayankhongor

Ulaanbaatar, October 9 /MONTSAME/ Specialist from the Polish Chamber of Biomass are visiting Mongolian Bayanhongor province to populate fast growing trees there.

They have brought some 8,000 tree cuttings with them to test their habitation process after planting in three different types of soil.

The Chamber is implementing the reforestation project as a part of their cooperation with the aimag's forest protection authority and vocational training center. The project aims to reverse desertification, an issue that has been facing the province recent years, besides, the trees are supposed to meet firewood needs of the locals in future. 

Seeking for an effective solution to the desertification, the province administration earlier approached to Ambassador of Mongolia in Poland, asking to take an intermediary role between the parts, and then received a support from the Ministry for Environment and Green Development of Mongolia.

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