Friday, November 15, 2013

[TRQ launching rights issue to pay RIO back, Fitch affirms Khan Bank, XacBank ratings, and Mitsubishi talks with UB mayor about bringing electric cars]

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Friday, November 15, 2013

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Overseas Market

Mogi: rights issue will be "deeply discounted," in the order of 30-50% say BMO. Disturbing stuff. TRQ closed -7.26% in NY on the news to $4.09.

Turquoise Hill Eyes Rights Issue of $2.4 Billion -- Update

(Adds context and comment from analyst.)

By Alex MacDonald

LONDON, November 14 (WSJ) Canada-based Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ.T) said Thursday it will issue shares by the middle of January to pay its main shareholder Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) $2.4 billion after failing to secure the financing needed to continue developing the massive Mongolian Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project.

Turquoise Hill, which owns 66% of Oyu Tolgoi, said it was unable to secure $4 billion in provisional project financing in 2013 for the second-phase expansion of the mine because all outstanding issues with the Mongolian government haven't been resolved even though progress has been made. The Mongolian government owns the remaining 34% stake in Oyu Tolgoi.

The issues involve obtaining approval for the expansion and making sure all parties agree on the scope and construction plan for the project, which was last forecast to cost $5.1 billion to develop.

Rio Tinto, the project's operator and majority owner of Turquoise Hill, and the Mongolian government have been at loggerheads about the expansion plan since the end of last year. The government has been pressing Rio Tinto to improve the terms of the deal amid escalating costs and Rio Tinto wants to ensure that the government keeps to the original investment agreement. Another issue has been the number of Mongolians working at the project (Mogi: more specifically in management).

The rights issue must be completed by Jan. 13 and will repay Rio Tinto for a $600 million bridge funding facility and a $1.8 billion interim funding facility that were due to mature at the end of the year. Rio Tinto has agreed to extend the maturity of those two facilities to the Jan. 15 to allow time for the completion of the rights issue.

Turquoise Hill has to pay back $2.02 billion within the next 12 months but only had cash reserves of $102 million at the end of the third quarter, according to BMO Research.

Turquoise Hill said it plans to issue a final prospectus that will detail the terms and how much money it plans to raise in the near future.

BMO said the share issue had already been factored into Turquoise Hill's share price to some extent as the Rio Tinto financing agreement made it clear that Turquoise Hill would be forced into a rights issue if it failed to secure project financing in time. It said it expects the new shares will be offered at a "deeply discounted rights issue" in the order of 30% to 50%. (Mogi: wow, now this is truly disturbing!)

Rio Tinto's shares closed up 1% at 3,229 pence while Turquoise Hill's share price was down 6.6% at C$4.33. Turquoise Hill's share price is down 43% since the beginning of the year due in part to lower copper prices.

Separately, the company said it has lowered Oyu Tolgoi's 2013 copper output guidance to between 72,000 and 77,000 metric tons of copper in concentrates compared with a previous guidance of 75,000 and 85,000 tons due to lower mining rates to preserve cash and due delays in accessing higher grade ores in the $6.2 billion project.

In 2014, Oyu Tolgoi is forecast to produce 150,000 to 175,000 tons of copper in concentrates and 700,000 to 750,000 troy ounces of gold in concentrates, the company said.

At full output, Oyu Tolgoi is set to produce an average of 450,000 tons of copper and 330,000 ounces of gold a year, as well as silver and molybdenum, a metal used to strengthen steel. The International Monetary Fund has estimated the mine will generate up to a third of Mongolia's gross domestic product when it reaches full production, which is expected in 2021.

Link to article

Link to TRQ release


Rio Tinto could raise stake in Oyu Tolgoi copper mineFT, November 14

Rio Unit Prepares $2.4 Billion Share Offer for Mongolia Mine (1) – Bloomberg, November 14

Rio Tinto's Mongolia mine hits another snagSydney Morning Herald, November 15

UPDATE 3-Turquoise Hill to raise up to $2.4 bln for Oyu TolgoiReuters, November 14


Mogi: interesting conversations

Turquoise Hill Resources Management Discusses Q3 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

November 14 (Seeking Alpha) --


Kay G. Priestly - Chief Executive Officer, Director, Member of Health, Safety & Environment Committee and Member of OT Committee

Christopher Bateman - Chief Financial Officer

Stewart Beckman - Senior Vice President of Operations and Technical Development


Terence Ortslan

Anthony Robson - BMO Capital Markets Canada

Oscar Cabrera - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Daniel McConvey

Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) Q3 2013 Earnings Call November 14, 2013 6:00 PM ET


Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining us today. Welcome to the Turquoise Hill Conference Call on the Third Quarter Financial Results held on November 14, 2013.

I would now like to turn the call over to Kay Priestly, Chief Executive Officer. The call is being recorded and will be available later today for replay. Please go ahead.

Link to transcript


SouthGobi Resources Announces Third Quarter 2013 Financial and Operating Results

HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - Nov. 14, 2013) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ) (HKSE:1878), (the "Company" or "SouthGobi") today announced its financial and operating results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2013. All figures are in U.S. Dollars unless otherwise stated.


The Company's significant events for the quarter ended September 30, 2013 and subsequent weeks are as follows:

·         On August 22, 2013, SouthGobi announced that it had withdrawn the Notice of Investment Dispute on the Government of Mongolia in recognition of the fact that the dispute was resolved following the grant of three pre-mining agreements ("PMAs") on August 14, 2013 relating to the Zag Suuj Deposit and certain areas associated with the Soumber Deposit, and the earlier grant of a PMA on January 18, 2013 pertaining to the Soumber Deposit; 

·         On September 3, 2013, the Company announced the appointment of Bold Baatar as a non- executive director of the Company; 

·         On November 8, 2013, the Company announced a restatement to its financial statements for 2011 and 2012, and consequently its comparative consolidated interim financial statements for 2013 and the related MD&A. The restatement follows a review by the Company of its prior revenue recognition practices for its coal sales in the fourth quarter of 2010, full year 2011 and in the first half of 2012; 

·         Third quarter sales volumes and revenue improved to 0.94 million tonnes and $15.7 million, respectively, in 2013 compared to 0.32 million tonnes and $3.8 million in 2012. 


On November 8, 2013, the Company's Board of Directors approved the decision to restate the Company's financial statements for 2011 and 2012, and the related Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") (collectively, the "Restated Financials"). The restatement follows a review by the Company of its prior revenue recognition practices for its coal sales contracts entered into in the fourth quarter of 2010, full year 2011 and in the first half of 2012. The review was conducted in consultation with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP ("PwC"), the Company's current auditors, and Deloitte LLP ("Deloitte"), the Company's auditors during the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years.

As a result of this review, the Company determined that certain revenue transactions were previously recognized in the Company's consolidated financial statements prior to meeting relevant revenue recognition criteria. The restatement is due to a change in the determination of when revenue should be recognized from its sales of coal previously recognized in the fourth quarter of 2010, full year 2011 and in the first half of 2012. These transactions relate to coal that had been delivered to the customer's stockpile in a stockyard located within the SouthGobi Ovoot Tolgoi mining license area ("the Stockyard"), the location at which title transferred, but from which the coal had not been collected by the customers. The restatement of the Company's consolidated financial statements reflects a correction in the point of revenue recognition from: (A) the delivery of coal to the customer stockpiles within the Stockyard to (B) the loading of coal onto the customer's trucks at the time of collection.

The Company adopted new terms in its sales contracts starting in the second half of 2012 such that title transfers when coal is loaded onto the customer's trucks which results in a later point of revenue recognition for all its sales starting from the second half of 2012.

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Local Market

MSE News, November 14: Top 20 -1.07%, Turnover 39.6 Million

Ulaanbaatar, November 14 /MONTSAME/ At the Stock Exchange trades held Thursday, a total of five thousand and 548 shares of 25 JSCs were traded costing MNT 39 million 607 thousand and 820.56.

"Remicon" /1,170 units/, "Material Impex" /1,145 units/, "Uvs Chatsargana" /500 units/, "Baganuur" /400 units/ and "Darkhan Guril Tejeel" /344 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Material Impex" (MNT 17 million 126 thousand), "UB Buk" (MNT seven million 931 thousand), "Bayangol Hotel" (MNT five million), "Baganuur" (MNT one million 600 thousand and 405) and "Suu" (MNT one million 600 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 476 billion 327 million 533 thousand and 315. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,507.17, decreasing by MNT 157.37 or 1.07% against the previous day.

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BoM Exchange Rates: November 14 Close



















November Chart:

Link to rates


BoM holds FX auction: CNY 81.8 million, USD 93.5 million swap agreements

November 14 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on November 14th, 2013 the BOM has received bid offer of USD and CNY from local commercial banks. BOM has sold 81.8 million CNY to the local commercial banks.

On November 14th, 2013, The BOM has received bid offer of USD for Swap agreement from local commercial banks and sold 93.5 million USD.

Link to release


Fitch Affirms Mongolia's Khan Bank and XacBank at 'B'; Outlook Stable

Hong Kong, 14 November 2013 (Fitch Ratings) Fitch Ratings has today affirmed the ratings of two Mongolian banks - Khan Bank LLC (Khan Bank) and XacBank LLC (XacBank). The Long-Term Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) and Viability Ratings (VRs) are 'B' and 'b' for both banks. The Outlook on each bank's IDR is Stable. A full list of rating actions is at the end of this rating action commentary.


The IDRs of both banks, which are driven by the banks' respective VRs, capture the volatile operating environment in Mongolia and the banks' limited loss absorption capabilities in the event of a sharp deterioration in the operating environment.

Pre-impairment profits - the banks' first line of defence - and capital are under pressure in part due to rapid loan expansion at rates that are capped under the government's loan programme. Heightened currency risk and tighter liquidity from strong loan growth are counterbalanced by various actions by the government, including providing a swap facility and cheaper funding.


Khan Bank's and XacBank's ratings are vulnerable to negative rating actions if the operating environment deteriorates. In particular, a material revision to Fitch's expectations for the economy's performance and the outlook for external liquidity could lead to a revision to the Outlooks.

The ratings are also sensitive to changes around the government's credit stimulus and its approach to foreign exchange intervention. This is based on the agency's view that the withdrawal of the stimulus could result in asset quality deterioration as economic growth slows and/or inflation accelerates. The banks may also be exposed to potential foreign-currency deposit withdrawals if the government itself has limited access to foreign currency and imposes restrictions on currency conversion. The ability of both banks to manage their foreign exchange risk, stemming particularly from a sharp rise in foreign currency deposits, is contingent on the use of the central bank's currency swap facility.

Both banks' ratings will also come under pressure if there are any changes in their steady access to capital from private-sector owners. Khan Bank's existing shareholder subscribed to USD40m of the bank's subordinated debt in October 2013 (2.2% of risk-weighted assets at end 1H13). Fitch also expects XacBank to issue new equity to accommodate further growth.

Fitch does not expect any upgrades at present as credit growth is likely to continue and limit improvements to the both banks' loss-absorption capabilities.


Khan Bank's Support Rating (SR) and Support Rating Floor (SRF) reflect Fitch's view that, as the largest bank in Mongolia with a 23% share of system-wide assets as at 1H13 based on Fitch's calculation, it would be the domestic bank most likely to receive state support in case of need. However, the Mongolian sovereign's ability to provide timely support to the banking system remains limited as underlined by its IDR of 'B+'.

The SR and SRF of XacBank reflect the agency's view that support from the sovereign, in case of need, cannot be relied upon. XacBank is the fourth-largest bank in Mongolia with a 7% share in each of assets and deposits, and 10% share of loans at end-1H13 based on the agency's calculation.


The SR and SRF are potentially sensitive to any change in assumptions around the propensity or ability of the Mongolian government to provide timely support to these banks. This would most likely be manifested in a change to Mongolia's sovereign rating.

The rating actions are as follows:

Khan Bank

Long-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'; Outlook Stable
Short-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'B' 
Long-Term Local Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'; Outlook Stable
Viability Rating affirmed at 'b' 
Support Rating affirmed at '4'
Support Rating Floor affirmed at 'B'


Long-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'; Stable Outlook
Short-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'B' 
Long-Term Local Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'; Stable Outlook
Viability Rating affirmed at 'b' 
Support Rating affirmed at '5'
Support Rating Floor affirmed at 'B-'

Link to release

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Mongolia splashes out on Washington lobbyists

November 14 ( The government of Mongolia has hired a top American lobby group to shop its new foreign investment law.

For the next year Washington-based Venn Strategies will be paid $45,000 per month — plus an additional $5,000 a month for travel and other expensesto "educate key stakeholders regarding opportunities for trade and investment in/with Mongolia."

Changes to Mongolia's 2012 Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law (SEFIL) came into force last week and is designed to turn around a slowdown in its economy which was the world's fastest growing at the start of the decade and a steep fall-off in foreign investment.

Foreign direct investment in the country dropped 49% to September 2013 compared to last year which already marked a 17% year-on-year decline, the value of the currency, the tugrik, is down more than 20% this year, inflation has returned to double digits and the Mongolian central bank's off-balance sheet spending is burning through foreign reserves as foreign debts balloon to 55% of GDP.

The path to prosperity for Mongolia, ranked 155th in the world according to GDP per capita, has always been a rocky one. The country has been bailed out by the IMF no fewer than five times and it suffers a domestic bank failure on average every 18 months.

While the new legislation's greater certainty surrounding mining taxes and royalties and the scrapping of the distinction between private foreign and domestic investors are being universally welcomed as a positive step, Mongolia has a long way to go to restore investor confidence.

Link to article


World Bank's Open Government Effort: Open Contracting Work in Mongolia

November 11 (World Bank) The World Bank is championing "Open Government" across regions and sectors. Governments that are more open are governments which operate on the principles of enhanced transparency and citizen participation. Open governments are more effective governments, better positioned to advance shared prosperity and reduce extreme poverty. This video presents highlights of the World Bank's efforts on open government, from open contracting work in Mongolia, to open budgeting work in Paraguay. The video also showcases the support that the World Bank has been providing to countries in the context of the Open Government Partnership - from support in the drafting and implementation of national action plans to the facilitation of knowledge exchanges covering over 90 countries.

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Mongolia Investment Summit 2013, Hong Kong, November 19-20

November 14 / Mongolia Investment Summit is being organized for the fourth consecutive year in Hong Kong, PR of China and this year's event will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel on November 19-20, 2013.

The Hong Kong-based Summit has strongly cemented its position as the world's largest showcase of Mongolian investment opportunities and will attract over 500international investors, lenders, service provider, as well as Mongolian business leaders and Government representatives.

The Summit covers the full range of Mongolia's growth sectors including Mining, Infrastructure, Energy, Financial Services, Retail, Real Estate, Construction, and Agribusiness.

During the two-day conference, the new Investment Law of Mongolia will be comprehended, what to expect from the law and how provides certainty and guarantees for international investors.

Also, presentations will be delivered on topics such as Navigating Mongolia's legal framework for foreign direct investments, Mining sector updates and investment outlook, Outlining government policies and long-term plans for Mongolia's mining sector, Mongolia's capital markets and financial services sector, Impact of the new Securities Law, Do's and Don'ts when doing business in Mongolia.

Moreover, Government Keynotes will be presented on Securing financial market stability in the face of rapid economic growth, Transport infrastructure plans and updates, Mongolia's foreign policy road-map, Oil & Gas exploration investment opportunities in Mongolia, and Business and investment opportunities for Agribusiness projects in Mongolia.

Link to article


Mongolian Mining Summit 2013 Presentations, Perth, Australia, October 29-31


·         Mongolia's Minerals Future and Development by Otgochuluu Ch, Director General, Department of strategic policy and planning at Ministry of Mining, Mongolia at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         Mongolian Economy: Investment Opportunities /Challenges, Jim Dwyer, Executive Director, Business Council of Mongolia at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         Oyu Tolgoi: Lessons from the Gobi, Houston Spencer Vice President, Communications and Media Relations, Oyu Tolgoi at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         MARKET DYNAMICS FOR MONGOLIAN COKING COAL IN THE CHINESE MARKET, Graeme Hancock, President and Chief Representative at Anglo American, Mongolia at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         Speech by Mr. Ariunbold Byamba, Deputy Director, Erdenes MGL LLC at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         Launching Mining Projects in Mongolia–A Major Contractor's Perspective, Eric Erdenebat Tseveendorj, Country Manager, Orica Limited at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         Investing in a dynamic legislative environment, Elisabeth Ellis, Managing Partner Ulaanbaatar, Minter Ellison at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         SANDVIK In Pit Crushing & Conveying (IPCC), Doug Turnbull, Principal Mining Engineer, Sandvik Mining Systems, at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         Ovoot Coking Coal Project, David Paull, Managing Director Aspire Mining, at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         THE BUSINESS OF BEING A THIRD NEIGHBOUR, David Landers, General Manager, East Asian Growth Markets at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         Nuurst Thermal Coal Project, Daniel Rohr, Chief Financial Officer, Modun resources Ltd, at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         Culture matters in building sustainable long-term business relationships, Hana Tserenkhand Byambadash Business Development Consultant. AusMon Consulting Dr Christine Hogan Adjunct Professor, Curtin University. Consultant & Author at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013

·         Maximising Business Benefits from Your IT Investment, Brad Skeggs, Executive Director, COSOL, at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013 

·         Presentation by Battsengel Gotov, CEO, Mongolian Mining Corporation, at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013 

·         Mongolian Mining Sector "Present and Future Developments", N.Algaa, Executive Director, Mongolian National Mining Association, at the Mongolian Mining Summit 2013, Crown Perth, Australia, Oct 29-31, 2013 

Link to presos

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Ulaanbaatar Looking at Introduce Electric Cars from Mitsubishi

November 14 / Governor of the Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul received in his office representatives of Japanese Mitsubishi Motors Corporation on November 14, 2013.

At the beginning of meeting, Manager at Mitsubishi Motors Keisuki Nakajima said, "We are suggesting our electric cars to introduce in Mongolia, these vehicles are 100% chargeable and run up to 150 km with a full charge. We hope our cars would suit perfectly in such city with high air pollution as Ulaanbaatar".

The City Mayor E.Bat-Uul responded, "The city administration is paying significant attention in order to decrease the air and soil pollutions. According to studies, vehicles on the road in Ulaanbaatar cause 20% of air pollution, hence we are studying to introduce environment friendly automobiles.

During my visit to Japan, I have been familiarized with these cars and I think it would meet interests of citizens' demand.

Therefore, we plan to test 3 cars at the first stage, and if cars will bring the expected results, we can collaborate with Mitsubishi Motors to import 100% electric vehicles".

Link to article

Related article:

Capital City Administration to Test Electric CarMontsame, November 14

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President to visit Asian countries

November 14 / The President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj, will visit several East Asian countries on November 18-28, 2013. 

Ts.Elbegdorj is expected to visit Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma) for bilateral talks. 

In April this year Mongolia received a visit from Burma"s pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. In return, President Ts.Elbegdorj will head a visit with a large contingent of MPs, cabinet members, experts and media. President Ts.Elbegdorj also concluded a successful visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea earlier this month.

Link to article


North Korea and Mongolia: A new partnership for two old friends?

by Charles Krusekopf

November 14 (Asia Pacific Bulletin, East-West Center) In late October, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj became the first foreign head of state to make an official visit to North Korea since Kim Jong-un, North Korea's young leader, assumed power in late 2011. Why did Mongolia's president go to Pyongyang and why was he selected as the first foreign leader to visit, especially given the very close political and economic relations between North Korea and China? The answer is likely rooted in the long bilateral relationship and their shared position as small countries wishing to emphasize their independence in a region dominated by major political and economic powers. The visit highlights the growing relationship between the two; however, significant obstacles to a deeper partnership exist.

Political and cultural relations between Mongolia and North Korea have generally remained close since 1948, when Mongolia became only the second country in the world to recognize North Korea, after the Soviet Union. North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Il-sung visited Mongolia twice, and noted a special kinship between the two states based on a similar geopolitical position. The relationship cooled in the 1990s after Mongolia shed its centralized political and economic systems and North Korea closed its embassy in Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia developed close economic and political relations with South Korea, the United States and Japan, and in contrast to China, allowed North Korean refugees who reached Mongolia to go to South Korea. The relationship was renewed after the signing of a Friendship Treaty in 2002, the reopening of the North Korean Embassy in 2004, and a series of high level diplomatic exchanges.

Mongolia's primary benefit from its relationship with North Korea is the support this provides to Mongolia's "third neighbor" partners, including the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Those relationships are much more important to Mongolia's development goals than the relationship with North Korea. Mongolia's loyalties are highlighted in documents released by WikiLeaks revealing that in 2009 Mongolian officials provided information to the US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar about meetings with visiting North Korean officials. Mongolia has also used its North Korean ties to boost relations with Japan, offering to help mediate in the case of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea. Mongolia is the only democracy that maintains relatively close ties to Pyongyang, and while Western powers have generally sought to isolate North Korea, they have encouraged Mongolia to maintain its ties as a source of information and channel for communication.

Some observers, especially those in Mongolia, have suggested that Mongolia might be able to play an even greater role as a mediator between North Korea, the United States and other Western powers, but this is unlikely given the nuclear and military issues at stake and US policy to negotiate with North Korea only through bilateral or Six-Party Talks that exclude Mongolia. The United States and Japan support Mongolia's relationship with North Korea because they trust Mongolia to not pass sensitive technology or allow North Korea to evade sanctions, but that confidence does not extend to offering Mongolia a direct role in negotiations over the fate of the Korean Peninsula.

Despite his background as a leader of the democratic revolution in Mongolia and a strong advocate of democracy and justice, President Elbegdorj did not address North Korea's political system or human rights abuses during his four-day visit, and he did not have the opportunity to meet Kim Jong-un (Mogi: yes, he actually did meet him, for almost an hour at the People's Assembly). Instead the visit focused almost exclusively on the potential for economic cooperation. The primary interest of both countries is the potential connection between Mongolia's need for port access and North Korea's efforts to develop its Rajin port as a free trade zone.

Almost all of Mongolia's exports currently go to China, but Mongolia fears that this heavy reliance leaves the country economically vulnerable. Mongolia has therefore explored shipping its coal to global buyers through the Russian Far East, and with the recent completion of a rail link between Rajin port in North Korea and Khassan in Russia, Mongolia could conceivably use Rajin for exports and imports. North Korea is likewise looking to find investors and freight that might utilize this relatively remote free trade zone.

While this option seems to fit the needs of both countries, in practice it is highly unlikely that Mongolian resource exports will find their way to North Korean ports. The railway infrastructure is lacking, and the Russian Far East is more than 4,000 km from the main Mongolian mines, which are predominantly located near the Chinese border. Studies have shown that shipping costs and capacity constraints would make this routing economically unviable compared to sales to interior regions of China or export through Tianjin or other Chinese ports. A more direct route to Rajin from eastern Mongolia is possible across North East China, but the rail infrastructure within Mongolia to support this route does not currently exist.

In addition to interest in North Korea's ports, President Elbegdorj emphasized several other areas of potential economic cooperation, including Mongolian support for the development of animal husbandry and tourism in North Korea. Mongolia's experience with mining development has also been touted, although most major mines in Mongolia are foreign owned or operated. He curiously did not highlight the biggest economic deal to date between the two countries, the June 2013 deal by a Mongolian company, HBOil JSC, to buy a 20 percent share in a state-owned North Korean company that operates the Sungri oil refinery. The deal was initially touted as a way for Mongolia, which lacks oil refining capacity and is dependent on Russia for petroleum imports, to refine its own crude oil for domestic use. However, that scenario is unlikely given the cost of shipping. Therefore the deal is more likely an attempt by a Mongolian company and its foreign investors to gain a foothold in the North Korean market, with hopes for future development.

Overall, given that neither Mongolia nor North Korea has the capital or technology necessary to support large scale development, and North Korean ports are too far from Mongolia to offer an economically viable export option, any business deals will likely be on a small scale. Mongolia does have some knowledge of how to transform a centralized economic and political system, but it will take a North Korean reformer in the mold of Mongolian President Elbegdorj before the two countries will find enough common ground to form a truly successful partnership.

About the Author

Dr. Charles Krusekopf is Executive Director of the American Center for Mongolian Studies and Associate Professor in the School of Business at Royal Roads University. He can be contacted via email at

Link to report


Tuv Aimag to Cooperate with Health Organization of N.Korea's Kangwon Province

Ulaanbaatar, November 14 /MONTSAME/ Mongolian Tov aimag will cooperate with the Health Organization of Kangwon province, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. 

About it was agreed during the 18th Senior Officials Meeting of North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation /NEASPEC/, which was organized by Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific /ESCAP/ and hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Green Development of Mongolia in the UB city this November 5-6.  

It means that the N.Korean delegation from Kangvon's health organization will visit the province this December to focus on matters such as renewing hospital facilities, hosting trainings for doctors and nurses, making improvement and some changes in administration system of the hospital.

Apart of this, the aimag is to become able to provide itself with N.Korean vegetables and fruits grown in green houses of Kangwon.

The above meeting served as a key environmental dialogue forum in North-East Asia, bringing together over 40 delegates from ENEA Office member States and international agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).

Link to article


How do you do... have you come far? New Mongolian ambassador wears traditional dress as he meets the Queen

·         His Excellency Mr Tulga Narkhuu given audience at Buckingham Palace

·         He presented Letters of Credence in traditional dress - royal blue outfit

·         But the outfit rather detracted from Her Majesty's rather muted mauve

November 14 (MailOnline) The Queen is used to being the most stylish person in the room.

But when she met the Mongolian ambassador yesterday, she may have felt a little under-dressed.

His Excellency Mr Tulga Narkhuu was given an audience at Buckingham Palace, as is customary when a newly-appointed ambassador or high commissioner arrives in the capital.

He presented his Letters of  Credence in traditional dress, with his bright royal blue outfit drawing the eye from Her Majesty's rather muted mauve.

His dazzling deel – a traditional Mongolian double-breasted overcoat – was complemented by a matching hat and leather boots.

Mr Narkhuu, who was educated at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, is fluent in English, Russian and Chinese.

He became Mongolia's ambassador to the UK in June, having previously held posts in China, Singapore and the US.

Link to article


Tibet Autonomous Region Representatives on Visit

Ulaanbaatar, November 14 /MONTSAME/ Secretary-General of the parliamentary secretariat B.Boldbaatar Thursday received a Tibetan delegation led by Mr Dunzhu Danzen, Under-Secretary of Assembly of Tibetan People Deputies.

The delegation expressed a pleasure in visiting our country and underlined a significance they attach to firm cooperation with Mongolian regional powers.  

Mr Dunzhu Danzen briefed on his homeland where a great development has been observed since 1959, noting a great growth in its Gross Domestic Product this year. He also mentioned about the first meeting of the Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies' that was held in 1965, and its approval of some 200 laws and regulations since then.

In response, Mr Boldbaatar expressed a gratitude to the guests for visiting our country, and noted Mongolia stands for deepening further its long-time ties with China. He also highlighted an importance of this meeting, that he believes, is an expression of a broadening cooperation between the two parliaments.

He also spoke about Mongolia's parliament, shared views with the delegation about ways of enhancing capabilities of the local governing bodies, expressing his opinion on achieving a better scrutiny of citizens through transferring all parliament-related information into electronic form.

Mr Dunzhu Danzen invited Mr Boldbaatar to the Tibetan Autonomous Region if the latter would  visit China. 

Link to article

Related article:

Delegation from Tibet Autonomous Region is meeting Mongolian LegislatorsInfoMongolia, November 14


Honorary Consul of Mongolia to Republic Of Philippines Accredited

November 14 / On November 13, 2013, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Republic of the Philippines Ms. Banzragch DELGERMAA received newly appointed Honorary Consul of Mongolia to Philippines Mr. Antonio O. Cojuangco.

At the beginning of meeting, Ambassador B.Delgermaa expressed her sympathy to the Typhoon Haiyan victims and conveyed a letter of condolences to the people and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Philippines from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Bold.

Noting that this year marks the 40th anniversary of Mongolia-Philippines diplomatic relations, the sides discussed on opportunities for developing bilateral relations and cooperation and for drawing Philippines investments to the economy of Mongolia and on the protection of interests of Mongolians living in Philippines.

Ambassador B.Delgermaa invited the Honorary Consul to attend the Mongolia-Singapore Business Forum to take place during an upcoming state visit of the President of Mongolia to Singapore and handed over a consular patent and stamp to Mr. Antonio O. Cojuangco.

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Foreign Minister Bold Meets Polish Defense Ministry Officials

Ulaanbaatar, November 14 /MONTSAME/ The Foreign Minister of Mongolia L.Bold Wednesday held a meeting with the Secretary of State for Defense Policy of the Minister of National Defense of Poland Mr Robert Kupiecki.

In frames of its "Third neighbor" policy Mongolia wants to expand relationship and cooperation with the European Union, with Poland including, Mr Bold said. 

The Mongolian leader's visit to Poland this January, during which the intergovernmental agreement on a defense cooperation had been inked, and the Polish President BronislawKomorowski's visit to Mongolia this October are the evidence that our traditional friendly ties are developing intensively, the FM stressed. 

He also added that the defense sphere is the one of the key directions of the bilateral relations, and that the Mongolian Armed Forces have taken part in the peacekeeping mission in Iraq under the Polish command.

In response, MrKupiecki recalled gratefully Mongolian Lieutenant G.Azzayas' great merit who intercepted a terrorist attack to the Polish military base and saved lives of many soldiers, and said Mr Bold, while working as the Defence Minister, made a great contribution to fostering and enlarging of a collaboration between defense sectors of the two countries.

In response, Mr Bold said Mongolia has joined the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and expressed confidence that our countries will deepen their ties in frames of this organization.  

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Mongolians Aim for the Bull's-Eye in International Darts Scene

By Angela Erika Kubo

November 15 (The Diplomat) After centuries of honing their aim and discipline from the invasions of Genghis Khan to modern day recreational festivals, Mongolians are putting down their bows and arrows and taking up darts.

"When we began entering darts competitions, people would say, 'How can you guys play? We thought you lived in gers [felt tents] and rode horses, do you even have buildings?'" Erdene Mandakh, president of the Mongolian Amateur Darts Federation, told The Guardian.

International ridicule soon turned into amazement when professional players from other parts of the world realized that the Mongolians are formidable opponents when it comes to darts. In May of this year, Erdene won a gold medal at the 9th Asian Darts Association tournament in Hong Kong, defeating 128 teams from around world. In August, Erdenechimeg Dondou took home gold at the International Darts Federation 2013 Darts World Cup in Shanghai.

In Mongolia, where the winters are long and harsh, darts is seen as an inexpensive hobby to pass time.

"All you need is a 2.5 meters wide area. It is not an expensive sport, you can acquire all equipment you need for 250,000 MNT ($146). Once you purchase the equipment, you can use them for many years. If darts break during the game, you can repair them and still use them," Erdene said.

Erdene's love of the game is a near-obsession. His 14-day vacation period was spent entirely on honing his skills. He trains every evening after a long day working in a mine. His wife and two elder sons also play the game, and even his toddler is growing up with his own set of darts.

"Inside my home it's darts – and outside the home it's darts … my life is all about darts," Erdene said.

Darts enthusiast Baatar Tsend loves the game so much that she played on even when a stove set fire to her fur coat. When she was about to give birth, her friends smuggled in a dartboard through the hospital window so that she could practice. Even an appendectomy couldn't stop her from competing. The urge to hit a bull's eye is in her blood.

"Since ancient times our people have been practicing archery and ankle bone shooting," she said. "They've got great aim, so maybe this is in our genes or something: our special Mongolian genes."

For many professional players, winning in Asia is not enough.

"Of course, our dream is to play against English people and beat them. Our dream is to become the world champions," said Erdene.

While darts is gaining popularity as a sport in Mongolia, players on the other side of the world are campaigning for darts to be recognized as an Olympic sport. High-profile people from 15-time world champion Phil Taylor to Prince Harry are leading the bid to gain recognition for a sport perceived solely as a game that's relegated to bars and pubs.

In 2012 professional darts player Adrian Lewis signed a petition that was submitted to the Olympic committee. His argument was that millions of people around the world enjoy the sport. That year, over 21 countries were represented in the world dart championships. Therefore, the game was too big to ignore.

"You get medals for horses doing tap dancing, and bobbing around in a swimming pool with a clothes peg on your nose, so don't tell me darts is less of a sport than those events," he said.

Even coaches from other sports are lending their support.

"Darts is definitely an Olympic sport. Look at the fans, TV coverage, audience and real skill under pressure," former rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward wrote on Twitter.

Erdene will have to wait a while for his wish to play against the English to come true. The 28 spots available for the Rio 2016 Olympic program are already full. No bid has been submitted for darts to be included in the 2020 Games in Tokyo. In January the International Olympic Committee announced that even if darts was recognized as an Olympic sport, players would have to wait until 2024 at the earliest, according to The Daily Mail.

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4th EU Film Festival in Mongolia, November 17-21

November 14 / The fourth annual European Union Film Festival in Mongolia is being held this year in Ulaanbaatar from November the 17th to the 21st. The EU Film Festival is organised by the Delegation of the European Union to Mongolia in partnership with the Black Box Theatre and Globe International NGO.

Every year, the EU Member States are invited to showcase one recent, popular, and successful film from their own country. The 11 EU member states that were chosen to participate in this year"s festival are mainly countries which have an Embassy in Mongolia, or those which have maintained strong political, economic and cultural ties with Mongolia for many years. 

For the EU Film Festival's fourth annual showing, the 11 countries are: Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Luxembourg, France, Estonia, Austria, Poland, and Denmark. 

This year, the films on offer are truly diverse, including dramas, comedies, documentaries, and romantic films. Such a wide selection will enable the Mongolian general public to discover how European cinema can be moving, exciting, funny and engaging.

Since Lithuania currently holds the Presidency of the European Council, the opening film will be the Lithuanian drama, UB Lama. It will be shown at the Black Box Theatre in Ulaanbaatar at 5:00 pm on Sunday 17th November. 

This year Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, will be the European Guest of Honour at the opening ceremony

"The EU Film Festival demonstrates that what brings the EU and Mongolia together is also our citizens, our cultures and our values. There are not only bonds between our governments, but also bonds between our peoples that are even more important," European Commission President Barroso said. 

Tickets are free and are available at the door. For more information contact: +976-99059161, 976-99090769, 976-11-312863.

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Asia Foundation Organizes Workshop on Impact of Mercury Use

Ulaanbaatar, November 14 /MONTSAME/ The Asia Foundation, in cooperation with the Responsible Mining Initiative NGO (RMI), organized a one day workshop November 14 to enhance awareness on the "Negative impact of mercury use on human health and environment". 

The awareness raising event, supported by The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and held at the Puma Imperial Hotel, Ulaanbaatar for heads of 27 artisanal miners' NGOs from 15 soums of 8 aimags, aimed to deepen artisanal miners' understanding of the hazardous impact of mercury use in mining.

The workshop was conducted within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Mining. Attendees engaged in in-depth discussions on preventive measures against mercury intoxication and its impact on health and environment in their communities. A representative from Ministry of Environment and Green Development provided an introduction on Mongolia's recent signing of the Minamata Convention, which demonstrated to artisanal mining NGOs the Government's efforts to put greater attention on banning the use of mercury. RMI distributed relevant handouts, guidelines and demonstration materials for later use in outreach to ASM communities in their respective soums. "A Silent Death," a documentary film on the use of mercury by artisanal miners was presented at the workshop, offering a candid picture of the effects of mercury poisoning and emphasizing the importance of its prevention.

This was the first of a series of workshops and trainings planned for ASM NGOs, communities and the general public to support the fundamental shift in mindsets in dealing with toxic chemicals and to stop clandestine use of mercury.

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