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Friday, February 28, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
KCC closed +7.7% to C$0.07 Thursday
Ex-Oyu Tolgoi boss joins Kincora Copper
February 27 (Proactive Investors) Kincora Copper (CVE:KCC) has hired the former boss of the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia to its advisory board.
Cameron McRae, who was until recently the president and chief executive of Oyu Tolgoi, the operating company behind the Rio Tinto-backed mine, joins Kincora to help with stakeholder relations, including with the government.
He was also Rio Tinto's (LON:RIO) country director for Mongolia, having been involved in the merger to create the mining giant.
It follows some highly encouraging results from the company's flagship Bronze Fox copper exploration project, just down the road from Oyu Tolgoi.
The company will grant McRae options to buy up to 725,000 Kincora shares on or before 27 February 2018 at a price of C$0.105 a share.
Sam Spring, President and CEO of Kincora, said: "We are very excited to have Cameron join us and being able to benefit from his extensive experience, relationships and networks in the industry, particularly those built overseeing Oyu Tolgoi, the largest single mining investment project in northeast Asia, and in his recently appointed positions.
"We believe Cameron will complement our existing teams skill set, in-country networks and proactively add-value as we look to advance our Bronze Fox copper project."
Shares in the company have risen 160% so far this year to C$0.0650.
MSE News for February 27: Top 20 -0.34%, Turnover ₮64.1 Million
Ulaanbaatar, February 27 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Thursday, a total of 101 thousand and 565 shares of 24 JSCs were traded costing MNT 64 million 064 thousand and 565.96.
"State Department Store" /52 thousand and 779 units/, "Remikon" /40 thousand and 744 units/, "Khokh gan" /2,200 units/, "APU" /1,100 units/ and "E-trans logistics" /1,100 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"State Department Store" (MNT 30 million 597 thousand and 320), "Remikon" (MNT six million 113 thousand and 600), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT five million and 074 thousand), "APU" (MNT four million 640 thousand and 797) and "Gobi" (MNT three million 962 thousand and 600).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 662 billion 766 million 037 thousand and 521. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 16,476.00, decreasing by MNT 55.44 or 0.34% against the previous day.
BoM MNT Rates: February 27 Close
January MNT Chart:
BoM: 1,700 is the suitable rate as trade deficit is balanced for the first time in years
February 27 (business-mongolia.com) Mongolian tugrik has been depreciating against USD for the last year. Then, this week it reached the record high of 1800 MNT per USD comparing to 1350MNT a year ago.
President of the Bank of Mongolia N.Zoljargal briefed the press on currency volatility, monetary policy and overall economy of the country. He stated that for the last 5 years the trade balance has been in deficit, and coal price has been weak, which is the main export commodity made the country's domestic currency to depreciate. However, coal price is tending to rise and foreign investment has started becoming positive, he added. First 2 months of this year, Mongolia received FDI of USD280 million. According to N.Zoljargal, trade balance has been balanced for the first time in years, and the bank believes that MNT1700 per USD is a suitable number for trade balance.
The gold commissioning to the bank has risen from 500 kg to 1300 kg comparing to the same date last year. The amount of gold will be sufficient to what we are losing from coal.
The Prime Minister added that currency appreciation does not only depend on the central bank, also it depends on private sector, "We must produce domestically" he emphasized.
In the end of the meeting N.Zoljargal concluded that the bank has enough foreign currency reserves and it has all the tools it needs to maintain the current rate.
Premier Visits Erdenet Mining
Ulaanbaatar, February 27 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag Wednesday paid a working visit to northern Orkhon province.
The visit began with a meeting with local business people. The sides talked about a recently-announced industrialization project of the Government and how to support the local small and medium enterprises.
After that, the Premier met with employees of the Erdenet Mining Corporation, a joint Mongolian-Russian venture, to learn its 2013's achievements and the 2014's plans. He was said that the venture last year put forward a call for saving and reducing operational expenses by 2-3 million USD and earned it mainly from reduced prices of heavy machinery wheels.
The venture has been taking measures to constrain money flow abroad as well. In 2014, Erdenet has planned to make procurement for 13 types of products amounting 40.3 billion togrog.
Mr Altankhuyag praised the plant for its support to domestic production and transparent procurement and regarded these efforts as great advantages.
Thanks to the Corporation's initiative, a project gas launched for a regional diagnosis center with a capacity to receive 500 people a day. If the Government funds the project as required, it can come to service in 2015, said officials.
The same day, the PM and accompanying him delegation visited a construction site of one thousand apartments, which has been planned by a consortium of 14 domestic building companies. After receiving the needed accreditation from authorities, the construction will start this April.
Mining Minister to Lead Mongolia Delegation to Canada, Present at PDAC
Ulaanbaatar, February 27 (MONTSAME) A Mongolian delegation led by Mining Minister D.Gankhuyag is to attend the PDAC International Convention that will run in Toronto, Canada, this March 2-5.
During the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange, the Minister will deliver a presentation themed "Mining policies of the Government of Mongolia, investments, legal environment competitiveness, stabilization measures". He will also advise on relevant documents effective in Mongolia, including sate policy on the minerals sphere, investments law and the minerals law.
Mr Gankhuyag intends to meet with Mr Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, Mr Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources of Canada and also with representatives of leading in the world mining corporations.
Toronto's four-day annual Convention has grown in size, stature and influence since it began in 1932, today it is the event of choice for the world's mineral industry. In addition to meeting over 1,000 exhibitors, 30,147 attendees from 126 countries, it allows participants an opportunity to attend technical sessions, short courses as well as social and networking events.
Ministry of Justice Signs MOU on Cooperation for 2014-2019 with International Finance Corporation
February 27 (infomongolia.com) On February 26, 2014, the Ministry of Justice and International Finance Corporation (IFC) have established the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation for 2014-2019, where the Ministry was represented by State Secretary J.Bayartsetseg and the IFC by Resident Representative Tuyen Nguyen.
In Mongolia, the demand of property registration is required on estate and intangible assets, such as shares, securities, claims, accounts receivables and intellectual property as collateral to support them through the economic circulation problems, where small and medium enterprises could increase the capacity of collateral, which is a need to create a system of property registration.
Thus, the legislation regulates the development and introduction of an electronic system has been focused by the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry as part of the estate and intangible property collateral for regulating the legal framework for the development and introduction of electronic registration system is to cooperate with the International Finance Corporation. So that property and intangible assets, the economic cycle improves. Also, the registration mechanism can quickly and immovable property and rights centralized collateral registry into an electronic database, and that property rights are valid collateral for public information, the disclosure of information, and many other positive results would outcome.
Minister Oyun Named as One of World's 100 Inspirational Women in Mining by WIM
February 5 (Mongolian Economy) Mongolia's leading female politician Minister of Environment and Green Development Sanjaasurengiin Oyun was included in the 100 Global Inspirational - Women in Mining list by the British organization Women in Mining (WIM).
According to the organization's Chairwoman Amanda Van Dyke, "The mining industry had fewer women on its boards and in its senior executive positions than any other major global industry, and by a considerable margin."
"Those we selected stand out in a number of ways", said Van Dyke continues in her foreword while explaining how difficult it was to choose those named on the list. "They have a lasting impact on the industry. They support other women in mining, and the communities and environments impacted by the industry. We wanted to make sure that regardless of career stage, discipline or jurisdiction, the end result also encapsulated how diverse and high achieving women in our industry are."
Oyun was the only Mongolian to make the list, said Van Dyke, highlighting her achievements in the mining industry as an employee and in government.
Most of the women who made the list have had at least 20 years' experience in mining. Many women were noted for their work in NGOs to support women in mining, the rights of mine employees, supporting legislature concerning flexible work hours, supporting the local communities residing nearby mines and assisting women who planned to work in the mining industry.
Mongolia's Remaining $148 Million Debt to Chalco to be Covered by May, Says Mining Minister
February 27 (infomongolia.com) On February 26, 2014, the Ministry of Mining of Mongolia hosted the regular press conference themed "Transparent Mining", where Minister Davaajav GANKHUYAG and State Secretary at Mining Ministry Rentsendoo JIGJID reported on current mining situation in the country.
In their statements authorities underlined the recently successfully organized "2014 Coal Mongolia" last week, where about a thousand guests from 8 countries have participated. Further stated, Mongolia's geological reserve for coal estimates at 175.5 billion tons of which 26.8 billion tons are approved and with its coal reserve, Mongolia stands in the top 10 in the world.
During the 4th International Coal Investors Conference, the vital problems facing were discussed including Infrastructure: Expenses on transportation and logistics are high; Insufficient capacity of border crossing, unclear issues on transit and transportation tariffs, and much bureaucracy at border. Price: The extracted coal is not sold at international market price, besides the product does not meet international standards on its classification and process; decreased number of consumers and weak competitiveness, moreover a general policy on price does not exist, where local entities compete with each other that cause to drop the coal price; Mineral Resources Stock Market is not established yet in Mongolia. Taxes: There are a lot of types of tax.
From 2014, the Ministry of Mining in collaboration with affiliated organs and international bodies are developing "Coal" Program in the frames of "From Big Government to Smart Government" policy. The first stage of the "Coal" Program will be implemented in 2014-2018, the second in 2019-2025 and in the scope of the Program, it anticipates the coal exploration, output and reserve would be increased. Also, the coal export will be regulated under "One Window" policy; methane processing plants based on coal will be erected that would help to reduce air pollution in urban areas; To provide local demand by extracting syngas and liquid fuel from thermal coal; To create transit transportation corridor, setting up tariff prices that would reduce logistic expenses.
The project to extract syngas by processing thermal coal is planned to be implemented in 2017 and in the near future it expects to export 100-130 million tons of coal annually.
Mongolian delegates led by Mining Minister will be participating in the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) International Convention to take place in Toronto, Canada on March 02-05, 2014, where officials will introduce the Government Policy on Mining and its current measures being carried out. During the event, Minister D.Gankhuyag will have bilateral talks with the Minister of International Trade of Canada Ed Fast.
In January 2014, Mongolia's copper concentrate output estimates at 85.1 thousand tons, molybdenum at 397.0 thousand tons, coal 1.4 million tons, where tax income at 5.37 billion MNT. Also, a total 420 kg of gold was mined in January and following the enactment of the new law on royalty payment on gold, the volume of gold delivered to Mongol Bank (Central Bank of Mongolia) is increased obviously. In January-February of 2014, a total of 1,320 kg was commissioned to the Bank, which is a six-fold greater than January and February of 2012 combined and two-times than January-February of 2013 respectively.
The other most interested issue was Mongolia's debt to Chalco and Minister D.Gankhuyag affirmed the debt would be covered by end of the first half of this year. He further clarified that the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC representing the Government of Mongolia first borrowed from China's state-owned Chalco (Aluminum Corporation of China) 250 million USD in November 2011 under the agreement to pay off by coal within March 31, 2013, and another 100 million USD in May 2012 to repay by July 01, 2013. But following some circumstances such as coal price drops, we could not cover the debt on time and as of today about 148 million USD is left so far. Preliminary, it expects to cover 90 million USD on April 01, 2014 by 1.5 million tons of coal and the rest money by 1 million ton coal in April and May of this year.
Vossloh wins first rail contract in Mongolia
Feb 27 (Reuters) - German rail technology provider Vossloh won a contract to supply fastening systems for 270 kilometres (168 miles) of rail lines in Mongolia, its first from the Asian country.
The contract is worth only 20 million euros ($27 million), Vossloh said on Thursday, but added that it hopes it will be the first of many contracts from Mongolia, which is planning new rail lines with a total length of 5,500 kilometres in the coming years.
Delivery of fastening systems for the route connecting Mongolia's massive Tavan Tolgoi coal mine with the Chinese border will begin in a few weeks and be completed in the first half of 2015.
Vossloh wins Mongolia fastening contract – International Rail Journal, February 27
The making of famous socks
February 27 (UB Post) Two years ago, over 300 special Anti-Corruption Agency officers apprehended former president N.Enkhbayar after he came home, for an arrest based on corruption charges. At dawn, black-masked officers entered his home and carried him outside, holding him in the air by his legs and arms and taking him to prison.
At that time, everyone saw only his two feet sticking up in the air wearing Made in Mongolia socks. From this appearance, the socks became famous and their sales increased.
When the owner of this sock company, D.Lkhagvajav, was a child wearing Russian socks, his father wore long white strips of cotton to wrap his feet or Chinese socks. His grandfather wore hand-knit socks made by his grandmother. Now he is over 40 years old and wears his Made in Mongolia socks. Almost every Mongolian household has at least one family member who wears his socks made from camel wool.
D.Lkagvajav lived in South Korea for eight years. When he was there, he learned about factories. He wasn't able to make a large investment, all his savings were only 50 thousand USD, but he saw that a sock factory could be appropriate and calculated that socks could be made inexpensively. When he returned to Mongolia, he brought with him two knitting machines and some related items for the price of 20 thousand USD.
After that, he faced troubles buying land to build a factory.
He needed to be connected to electricity, and for that he had to go to the three or five state organizations and wait a long time. He was the owner of a medium sized enterprise that needed to connect to a 380 volt power source and some people wait one or two years for approval. According to him, this is a failure of government agency services and only the state can release new regulations. When a businessman can assemble all of their documents they can connect to 380 volts. This is how the government supports businessmen.
The second challenge he faced was that a resident of Mongolia cannot build a factory on their private land. But most Mongolians build their factories on their land, even though it is forbidden by law. He is charged two million MNT every year for using private land for non-designated use. He believes that if the state released new regulations that allow residents to build factories on their private land, it would be easier for businesses.
The third challenge was human resources. When he transported several containers from South Korea in 2005, he called all his relatives and 28 people came to help him. He says, "Now when I transport containers again, when I call them, everyone says they are busy and can't come to me. I see that people have no free time and work hard to reach for their dreams."
Generally, the founders of small and medium sized businesses need to work as a custodian, accountant, director, and human resources manager. As for D.Lkhagvajav, he thinks about Japanese human resource policy, like directors giving their employees six months for vacation, and during this time they can enroll in training and professional experience at their leisure. After this time has passed, he can push them to work harder and his employees can gain professional development training.
He says, "Actually, when I went to South Korea, I did not understand very well. They seemed like they were working pretty hard, and for a while I followed the traditions and livelihood. After I understood that they were adhering to a strict policy. There, if someone does not work for one day, they can face bankruptcy. Every Korean lives in that kind of business environment, they don't have any chances to sit back from work or spend time at other entertaining events. As for Mongolians, they are very different. If someone has not earned money for a whole month, that person still has fancy clothes and walks with a smile on the street."
Now, we are wearing 50 percent imported socks and the other half are made in Mongolia. Sock factories import 90 percent of their raw material from South Korea and 10 percent from China. Basically, they have an opportunity to produce domestically. But first they are planning to produce yarn designated for sock making material. Mongolia has rich wool resources, and can produce wool yarn. As for the cotton, South Korea does not produce it and foreign countries import yarn from others, like us. That's why producing yarn is so expensive.
Chinese factories produce fake socks that look like famous factory brands. In Narantuul Market people sell these fake socks for 2,500 MNT, two times cheaper than original, Mongolian socks made from camel wool. It is impossible to control the sale of these fake socks and it may be a long time before the black market is shut down. Business is competition, his company does not put out regular advertisements, it depends on its policy of only producing high quality socks. The quality is their advertisement, and they think there's no need to spend money on announcements or television ads. But people only know the quality of their products when they wear them, or when they see famous Mongolians wearing them on international news.
D.Lkhagvajav's factory only can fix small problems, but not big ones. He still needs designers to meet his human resource needs. Most sock factory managers believe that in 30 or 40 years Mongolia will be able to fully meet the needs of its national sock consumption.
State issues travel ban to Sainshand, Zamyn-Uud over foot and mouth outbreak
February 27 (UB Post) The state has prohibited travels of all transportation with less than five tons of load from Bagakhangai District of Ulaanbaatar to Sainshand and Zamyn-Uud soums in Dornogovi Province as they are currently focus areas of foot and mouth disease.
As of Wednesday, over 2,900 cattle were diagnosed with foot and mouth disease in 12 soums of Sukhbaatar, Khentii and Dornogovi Provinces and almost all of them have been slaughtered since the outbreak in Ongon soum of Sukhbaatat Province on January 27.
A total of 2,202,086 livestock were injected with vaccines nationwide.
Currently, 1,425 officials with 285 vehicles are operating at the focus areas to vaccinate livestock and ensure strict quarantine.
Recently, 14 people were fined for intending to enter Ulaanbaatar while carrying meat for sale from provinces. They were caught at Kherlen Auto Checkpoint in Baganuur District. All the checkpoints in the city are currently inspecting all vehicles passing into the city and sanitizing their tires and covers to prevent infection of the disease in Ulaanbaatar.
As of Wednesday, checkpoints inspected 3,492 vehicles, 8,624 passengers and confiscated 365 livestock and 34 tons of meat that had no certificate of origin.
In total, 14 people were fined for bringing unauthorized livestock and meat to the city.
Mongolian and Chinese gang of antique smugglers caught in the act
By M.ZOLJARGAL, February 27 (UB Post) Early this week, Border Intelligence Division (BID) officials of the General Authority for Border Protection caught a Mongolian woman at Zamyn-Uud soum auto checkpoint carrying historically significant artifacts and goods with the intent to smuggle them to China.
The found artifacts were mostly dedicated to Buddhist religious rites and customs. There were ceramic and brass Buddhist gods, horns, bells, lamp cups and a Bronze Age knife used for religious purposes. A Mongolian traditional knife, tobacco pipe, twin green jade snuff bottles and meteor debris were also found.
According to a source within the Authority Against Organized Crimes of Mongolia (AAOCM), border guards themselves might have been conspiring with the smugglers and trying to smuggle the artifacts across the border. The packages with smuggled artifacts were stamped, which indicated that they were checked by border guards.
The preliminary investigation revealed that a Chinese man who lives in Mongolia collects all the artifacts and smuggles them through the Mongolian border checkpoint to China with the assistance of the female Mongolian suspect. The total value of the recovered artifacts will be assessed shortly.
BID received an anonymous report about the planned smuggling and apprehended the suspect. The officials were collecting documents related to antique smugglers when they received the report, according to Unuudur Daily Newspaper.
According to what law enforcement organizations discovered, Chinese citizens in Mongolia meet and deal with province residents and offer specific amounts of money in return for providing antiques. The Chinese collect information about very rare artifacts all over Mongolia and let Mongolians collect them, reported Unuudur.
Legal organizations have also received a report that a gang of plunderers are traveling in the provinces and robbing tombs and burial mounds on the order of Chinese nationals.
The collected artifacts are smuggled across the Mongolian border and are mostly sold at antique shops in Erenhot, China.
Mongolian artifacts make up over 80 percent of the items for sale at Erenhot antique shops.
According to a source within the AAOCM, there are several gangs of Mongolian smugglers, and Chinese people choose the most valuable artifacts from what the Mongolians are selling, like a normal trade.
The source also noted that there are specific groups of Mongolians who smuggle the chosen artifacts through the Mongolian checkpoints to China. During interrogations, officials also learned that many valuable sutras and treatises have been smuggled to China.
A source from the General Police Department said that the smuggling methods of smugglers are getting more advanced day by day and more difficult to catch. The source commented that the department is trying its very best to combat collusion by police and border guards who are violating their oaths by conspiring with smugglers and giving away rare and valuable cultural artifacts for personal gain.
When the investigation and cost assessment is complete, all the detained artifacts will be delivered to museums for display.
Mongolian Skier to compete at Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics
February 27 (UB Post) The Mongolian national team will leave for Sochi on March 2 for the Winter 11th Paralympics.
Skier B.Ganbold is representing Mongolia at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics.
National team's coach J.Dashdondog said, "Two years ago, I first met B.Ganbold at an athletics competition. I introduced him to skiing and couched him myself. I have coached many athletes but some of them were discouraged. But B.Ganbold has more endurance than other athletes. Skiing is a sport of endurance."
Mongolian athletes previously participated in the Winter Paralympics in 2006 and 2010.
Below is an interview with skier B.Ganbold who will represent Mongolia at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics.
-When did you begin skiing?
-I've been skiing for two years.
I gained the right to compete at the Paralympics from the USA Open Championship-2014. I got silver from the USA Open and placed 18th at the World Championship. This will be the first time I'm competing in the Paralympics.
I will compete in three distances on March 10, 12 and 16.
-How did you prepare for the Sochi-2014 Winter Paralympics?
-I prepared at an army resort for six month and also at Gavjinshand resort for a week. I focused on preparing for the sharp left turn near the finish line and also there is a sharp right turn in midway.
-Mongolian athletes who competed at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics mentioned that the weather was bad. Have you taken this into account?
-I know about the bad conditions as I have competed in the World Cup Series on March 2013 at Sochi.
Goals for the golden years
February 27 (UB Post) Mongolia is home to about 218,700 elderly who are receiving a senior pension. According to reported data, 800 to 900 billion MNT is spent annually on pensions. The Mongolian Government spent an additional 90 billion MNT to increase senior pensions by 20 to 27 thousand MNT, this year. However, elders weren't pleased with this decision, because they were expecting to see an increase of 15 to 30 percent.
The Ministry of Population Development and Social Welfare organized a meeting "Issues about Reform of the Pension System" in order to develop understanding and to resolve questions about the changes, on February 25. The Mongolian pension fund is financed by commission revenue. The deficit of the pension fund represents two percent of today's GDP, but if the system continues functioning like this, the losses to the pension fund will increase. It could grow to seven percent of GDP by 2030, and 10 percent by 2040, according to forecasts by international researchers working with the World Bank. The researchers say, "This study shows that a reform of the pension fund is required."
While the pension fund is experiencing loss, the number of seniors who will be eligible to receive retirement pensions in the future is steadily increasing along with population growth. Nevertheless, pensions will be twice as low in the future compared to what is presently available. To stabilize this loss the Mongolian Government needs to raise the retirement age, close the gap in the retirement age between men and women, increase pension fees, and lower the amount of monthly pensions, as suggested by international institutions.
Some officials say, "The average age of retirement for a pensioner is 67 in most other countries. In Mongolia, workers retire earlier, considering professional identities and working conditions such as the military and arts. Early retirement increases the costs to pension insurance funds. Thus, if you want to earn a higher pension, you need to prolong your retirement age. By doing this, accumulation will generate and the revenue of pension insurance will be increased." These are the controversial changes that will be made to the system.
Today, the average life expectancy of Mongolians is 67, so one day you can retire and the next day you can die. These days 40 year-olds are struggling to find jobs, so where and what will 60 year-old elders do? Instead of leaving their livelihoods to chance, it would be better to provide the legal conditions for seniors to continue working, even after they reach retirement age. And it's better to increase the retirement age of those who work in the military and the arts. In a country like Mongolia with extreme weather, it makes sense to retire early. Nowadays, when it's hard for even a young man to find a job, people are looking to the Mongolian Government to take care of its citizens. But the Mongolian Government sees its citizens as a tool to increase pension insurance funds.
People have expressed their opinions about the changes, suggesting that there are many ways to increase the pension fund. They suggest that high ranking officials in government limit their luxury consumption. Mongolians understand but are shocked by a global average retirement age of 67 in contrast to the Mongolian average life expectancy of 67. If the average life expectancy of Mongolians was over 80, like in highly developed countries, perhaps it would be another story.
Munkhdul Badral Bontoi
Founder & CEO
Mobile: +976 9999 6779
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