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Friday, March 7, 2014
Happy International Women's Day
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
TRQ closed +4.55% to US$4.14 Thursday, +25.45% YTD
Rio readies for Mongolia pounce
March 7 (The Australian) Rio Tinto is edging closer to snaffling the stake in Canada's Turquoise Hill Resources it does not already own in a move to shore up its exposure to key copper asset Oyu Tolgoi as it tries to counter a predicted drop in the iron ore price.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Rio will make a cash offer of about $8 per share for the group, which would value the stake at $16.09 billion. The remaining 49.2 per cent stake in Toronto Exchange-listed Turquoise is currently valued at $4.495 billion, based on its last close of $4.54, putting a $9.12 billion tag on the whole company.
Turquoise owns 66 per cent of the most valuable copper resource in the world, the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia. Rio is the project operator of the copper and gold mine and has effective majority control through its 50.8 per cent holding in Turquoise.
Oyu Tolgoi has been plagued by delays over Rio's failure to strike an investment deal with the Mongolian government but Rio is now suggested to be close to reaching a deal with the Mongolian government for the $6 billion second stage development of the mine. That speculation was sparked by an online job ad seeking "an integrated project team for the next phase of a major EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management) mining project in Mongolia." The ad was posted by engineering and project management firm AMEC, which worked on the first phase of Oyu Tolgoi.
Shares in Turquoise have gained 12 per cent to C$4.54 in the past three days.
When production comes online it will diversify Rio's earnings, currently dominated by iron ore. Iron ore supply is tipped to enter surplus in the second half of this year and some analysts have predicted the price will fall to US$80 a tonne in 2016. It yesterday hit an eight-month low of US$116.80. Copper has better near-term price prospects that iron ore, according to analysts. It is one of the few commodities tipped to enjoy a price increase and supply shortfall.
Rio Tinto's last acquisition in Canada was disastrous. It purchase Alcan for $US38 billion at the height of the mining boom in 2007, ultimately claiming the scalp of then boss Tom Albanese.
Mogi: I'd like to think I had something to do with this article. TRQ closed +3.13% to US$3.96
Rio Tinto closer to striking a deal on Mongolia mine as AMEC starts hiring
March 6 (The Sydney Morning Herald) Signs that Rio Tinto is close to striking a deal with the Mongolian government to develop the second stage of the huge Oyu Tolgoi mine continue to mount, with an engineering contractor advertising for workers on what appears to be the famous copper and gold mine.
Progress on the $US6 billion second stage of Oyu Tolgoi - which arguably ranks as Rio's most important growth project - has been frozen due to Rio's inability to strike an investment agreement with the Mongolian government.
But expectations that a deal will be sealed before the end of this month were heightened on Wednesday when it emerged the company that helped build stage one of the mine - engineering and project management company AMEC - had started hiring workers for a major underground, copper and gold mining expansion in Mongolia.
Rio in effect has majority control of Oyu Tolgoi, through its 50.8 per cent stake in Canadian company Turquoise Hill Resources, which in turn owns 66 per cent of Oyu Tolgoi.
Turquoise Hill Announces Annual General Meeting Date: May 8
February 21 (CST Trust Company) --
Nova Scotia Securities Commission
Securities Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador
Alberta Securities Commission
Saskatchewan Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority
Manitoba Securities Commission
New Brunswick Financial and Consumer Services Commission
Ontario Securities Commission
British Columbia Securities Commission
Superintendent of Securities, Prince Edward Island
Autorité des marchés financiers
Superintendent of Securities, Northwest Territories
Superintendent of Securities, Yukon Territory
Superintendent of Securities, Nunavut
Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.
Pursuant to a request from the above-mentioned reporting issuer, we wish to advise you of the following information in connection with its Annual Meeting of Shareholders:
Date of meeting:
May 8, 2014
Record date for notice:
March 19, 2014
Record date for voting:
March 19, 2014
Beneficial ownership determination date:
March 19, 2014
Mogi: MCS currently controls 33.50% of MMC, collectively with Odjargal & Od's personal holdings, they control 41.35%. Announcement made after market close. 975 closed +3.488% to HK$0.89 today. One of the two banks is believed to be BNP Paribas, which bought Standard Bank's loans to MMC, MCS.
MMC Secures US$150 Million Pre-Export Loan Facility with US$50 Million Greenshoe Option
This announcement is made pursuant to Rule 13.18 of the Listing Rules with respect to an agreement for a coal pre-export loan facility of US$150,000,000 with a greenshoe option of up to US$50,000,000 entered into by the Company with the Banks. The Facilities Agreement imposes, among other things, a minimum shareholding percentage requirement of MCS (Mongolia) Limited in the Company.
March 5, Mongolian Mining Corporation (HKEx:975) -- Pursuant to the requirements under Rule 13.18 of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the "Listing Rules"), the board of directors (the "Board") of Mongolian Mining Corporation (the "Company") announces that on 5 March 2014, the Company as a borrower entered into a facilities agreement (the "Facilities Agreement") with two international banks as arrangers and original lenders (the "Banks"). The Facilities Agreement relates to the provision of a coal pre-export loan facility of US$150,000,000 with a greenshoe option of up to US$50,000,000 (the "Facilities") to the Company. The Facilities will be used to refinance the existing term loan facilities of up to US$300,000,000 granted under a facilities agreement dated 8 March 2012 of which US$200,000,000 has been drawn down and the remaining facility of US$100,000,000 has been cancelled by the Company. The outstanding balance of the existing term loan facilities is US$130,000,000. The Facilities will allow the Company to extend maturity of funding facilities, and to finance general working capital and capital expenditure requirements of the Company. The Facilities shall be repaid by the Company in installments with the last repayment date falling on the earlier of 33rd month from the first drawdown date of the Facilities Agreement and 1 December 2016.
Under the Facilities Agreement, it will be an event of default if, among other things, the controlling shareholders of the Company including MCS (Mongolia) Limited, Mr. Odjargal Jambaljamts and Mr. Od Jambaljamts cease, between them in aggregate, to: (i) beneficially hold at least 30 percent of the issued share capital of the Company; or (ii) have the power to cast, or control the casting of, at least 30 percent of the maximum number of votes that might be cast at a general meeting of the Company. If the above event of default occurs, the Bank may, by notice to the Company: (a) cancel the total commitments of up to US$200,000,000 at which time they shall immediately be cancelled; (b) declare that all or part of the loans, together with the accrued interest, and all other amounts accrued or outstanding under the finance documents in relation to the Facilities be immediately due and payable to the Bank, at which time they shall become immediately due and payable; (c) declare that all or part of the Facilities be payable on demand, at which time they shall immediately become payable on demand; and/or (d) direct the security agent to exercise any or all of its rights, remedies, powers or discretions under the finance documents in relation to the Facilities.
The Company will include appropriate disclosure in its interim and annual reports for so long as circumstances giving rise to the disclosure obligation under Rule 13.18 of the Listing Rules continues to exist.
Denison Mines Exploring Strategic Alternatives to Its Ownership in Mongolia Uranium JV – Annual Results
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 6, 2014) - Denison Mines Corp. ("Denison" or the "Company") (TSX:DML)(NYSE MKT:DNN) today reported its results for the three months and year ended December 31, 2013. All amounts in this release are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated.
In Mongolia, exploration expenditures on the Company's Gurvan Saihan Joint Venture ("GSJV") properties totaled $59,000 and $550,000 for the three months and year ended December 31, 2013, compared to $25,000 and $3,156,000 for the three months and year ended December 31, 2012. Exploration activities were reduced in 2013, as the Company focused on completing the field programs and studies necessary to convert the Company's exploration licences to mining licences. In addition, the Company has started exploring strategic alternatives regarding its ownership interest in the GSJV. The Company currently has an 85% interest in the GSJV, with Mon-Atom LLC holding the remaining 15% interest.
BDSec: Mongolia Growth Group Hires Global Property Expert as CEO – Reiterating BUY Rating
March 6 (BDSec) --
• In a stunning move, Mongolia Growth Group (MGG) has hired Paul Byrne as CEO, who has 25 years of experience in Real Estate Development and Management in Asia, the US and the Middle East. In conjunction with his new role as CEO, Mr. Byrne has agreed to purchase 125,000 shares at CDN $2.00.
• His accomplishments include the successful development of some of the world's most iconic real estate projects, most notably the new Hong Kong International Airport, The New World Trade Center in NYC and the development of 15 retail malls (including the iconic "Mall of the Emirates"), 10 hotels and resorts and 7 major mixed use developments in 12 Middle Eastern countries.
• Harris Kupperman will remain actively involved in the company and transition into the newly created role of Executive Chairman.
• We reiterate our Buy rating on shares of Mongolia Growth Group and our estimates and price target are under review. We will update these numbers following the release of the company's full year financials expected in late April.
• Prior to Mr. Byrne assuming the role of CEO, he was a consultant and advisor to Mongolia Growth Group. During this period, we spent a considerable amount time with Mr. Byrne listening to his vision for the future of Ulaanbaatar and the role Mongolia Growth Group will play in developing iconic real estate assets.
• We view the addition of Mr. Byrne as an important inflection point in the company's progression and think MGG now offers the most compelling value proposition as a potential joint venture partner, in unlocking the value of their large redevelopment portfolio.
• Furthermore, we foresee little future dilution as MGG can now attract sizeable foreign investment based on Mr. Byrne's contacts and track record. Executing on a joint venture and real estate investment management strategy will involve less risk and capital, while offering higher margins based on scale.
Notwithstanding the significant drop in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2012-2013, there is little doubt that Ulaanbaatar's skyline is destined to change in the coming years. With the Mongolian economy essentially oscillating as of late, MGG's core operations have performed quite well, with January Same Store Rental Income and Revenue recently being reported and increasing by 37.7% and 23.9%, respectively. But macro headwinds and negative press have taken their toll on Mongolian asset prices, as the country is still battling with its largest investor Rio Tinto (RIO) and the value of the Mongolian Tugrik remains under pressure as a result. All of this to the chagrin of foreign investors, who find themselves in a negative feedback loop causing them to question their commitments to investing in Mongolia.
BDSec Daily Update, March 5: Top 20 -0.06%, Turnover ₮35.7 Million
Mar 5 (BDSec) Mongolia stocks extended its losses on Tuesday for seventh consecutive days of trading in the red. MSE Top 20 edged lower 0.06% today to finish at 16,312.21 points. Baganuur (BAN), a 75% state owned thermal coal miner, lost 6.83% to MNT 4,000, wiping out its yesterday's gain of 4.27%.
Telecom Mongolia (MCH) and Tavantolgoi (TTL) dropped 2.58% and 1.38%, respectively. Among the day's best performing stocks, Mongol Savkhi (UYN) jumped 9.09%, followed by HBOil (+6.25%) and Darkhan Nekhii (3.70%)
Turnover for the day was MNT 35.7 million.
Trading Value Leaders
Sharyn Gol (SHG)
Bayan Aldar (VIK)
Mongol Savkhi (UYN)
Darkhan Nekhii (NEH)
Telecom Mongolia (MCH)
BDSec Daily Update, March 6: Top 20 +2.42%, Turnover ₮46.4 Million
March 6 (BDSec) The market rebounded on Wednesday after seven consecutive days of trading in the red. MSE Top 20 advanced 2.42% to close at 16,706.29 points. Coal mining stocks performed well during the session with Sharyn Gol (+9.81%), Shivee Ovoo (+9.24%), and Tavantolgoi (+6.00%).
Darkhan Nekhii (NEH) climbed 3.57% to its highest close ever of MNT 14,500 after increasing 3.70% yesterday. Telecom Mongolia recovered 2.65% to finish at MNT 1,550. Turnover for Wednesday was MNT 46.4 million.
Trading Value Leaders
Sharyn Gol (SHG)
Sharyn Gol (SHG)
Shivee Ovoo (SHV)
State Department Store (UID)
Mongol Savkhi (UYN)
Berkh Uul (BEU)
Mongolia's Commodities Exchange to Partner with Toronto Stock Exchange
March 6 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian delegates led by Minister of Mining D.Gankhuyag have participated in the PDAC 2014 International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange held in Toronto, Canada on March 02-05, 2014.
At this year's Convention over 25 thousand representatives from 125 countries were present and as part of the meetings a special forum was organized for Mongolia, where about 50 companies' representatives have attended.
In his opening remarks, Mining Minister D.Gankhuyag announced, "Mongolia created a long term understandable and sustainable environments in its mining sector, we offer to our investors great opportunity to take part in enduring state, flourishing economy with stable legal frameworks".
During the event, Minister D.Gankhuyag met the Minister of International Trade of Canada Ed Fast, where the latter part emphasized to strengthen bilateral talks supporting foreign investment between the two countries.
Also, Senior Vice President of Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) Ungad Chadda received the Minister D.Gankhuyag and at the meeting Minister introduced that Mongolia is opening a Mineral Resources Stock Market according to its state policy to adhere.
Afterwards, Mining Ministry and Toronto Stock Exchange have agreed to establish a memorandum of understanding that would support the newly to open Mineral Resources Stock Market in Mongolia. Within the frameworks, it expects Asia's monetary flow would pass through Mongolia and the TSE will assist with technical supplies and prepare Mongolian staff. On the other hand, companies conducting activity in Mongolia are enabled to trade their securities on TSE and as of today, there are 15 companies in Mongolia registered at the Toronto Stock Exchange.
FRC Approves Revised Securities Listing Rules
March 5 (MSE) Based on the provision 6.1.2 of "Law on Legal Status of Financial Regulatory Commission", the provisions 8.2, 10.16, 16.2, 17.2, 18.2 of "Securities Markets Law", Financial Regulatory Commission has approved the revised "Securities Listing Rules" and revoked resolution no.: 38 of February 19, 2009, titled "Approval of the revised regulation for listing, offering and trading of publicly offered securities".
Click here to view new "Securities Listing Rules"
MSE Approves Asia Pacific Properties' 10:1 Share Split
March 4 (MSE) Based on Financial Regulatory Commission resolution no.:3, of January 15, 2014, Clauses 50, 57 of Mongolian Stock Exchange's "Listing rules" and "Asia Pacific Properties" (MSE:APP) JSC's request, and according to Mongolian Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer's Resolution number 33 of February 13, 2014, listing amendments were made to "Asia Pacific Properties" JSC and its shares are split in 10, resulting in total of 352,770 shares and nominal value per share changing from MNT 100 to MNT 10.
Mogi: MSE finally started posting things in English again after all the management changes. Old news but thought was interesting
Genco Tour Bureau Decides Against MSCHCD for Dividend Distribution Due to New Fees Imposed
February 12 (MSE) The company has decided to distribute dividends at the company's venue due to the new rates imposed by the MSCHCD, although the Board of Directors of Genco Tour Bureau (MSE:JTB) decided to distribute dividends to their shareholders through MSCHCD.
Please click here to view the detailed information on dividend distribution.
MSE Approves Darkhan Khuns Share Issuance Due to Debt Converstion
February 3 (MSE) Based on Financial Regulatory Commission resolution no.:414 of 11 November, 2013, clause 57 of Mongolian Stock Exchange's "Listing rules" and listing examination conducted according to the request of "Darkhan khuns" (MSE:DHU) JSC and according to the Mongolian Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer's decree no.:30, of 7 February 2014, "Darkhan khuns" JSC's total number of shares were increased to 617,718 shares with the additional issue of 239,943 shares, that were converted from debt.
BoM MNT Rates: March 6 Close
March MNT Chart:
BoM FX auction: $19.2M sold at ₮1,772, CNY18M at ₮289.52, accepts all $43M, CNY10M MNT swap offer
March 6 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on March 6th, 2014 the BOM has received from local commercial banks bid offer of CNY and 38 million USD. The BOM has sold 19.2 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1772.00 and 18 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 289.52 to the local commercial banks.
On March 6th, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement offer in equivalent to 43.0 million USD, CNY Swap agreement offer of 10 million CNY and USD Swap agreement ask offer of 5.5 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted the MNT and CNY Swap agreement offer.
BoM issues ₮316.4 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -10.99% to ₮883.7 billion
March 5 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 316.4 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
GoM Treasury Auction: Announced ₮40 Billion 12-Week Bills Sold at 10.6% with ₮48 Billion Bids
March 5 (Bank of Mongolia) Regular auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 40.0 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 40.0 billion /out of 48.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 10.60%.
Mogi: hmmm, I'm prettttty sure the "in millions" is "in thousands," otherwise GoM is in $4.3 trillion debt
BoM: Mongolia's Gross Foreign Debt Position, Q4'13
March 6 (Bank of Mongolia)
US$ (in millions)
Gross External Debt Position
Mongolia's International Investment Position 2013: Analytical Presentation
March 5 (Bank of Mongolia) --
Mongolia tames "Ninja" gold miners to support currency
By Jacopo Dettoni, March 5 (FT beyondbrics) A tussle between Mongolia's authorities and some 60,000 "ninja miners" for control over the country's gold industry captures in microcosm the broader battles that Ulaanbaatar is waging to shore up its slumping tugrik currency and central bank reserves.
The ninja miners – so named for the green bowls they carry on their backs that resemble the shells of cartoon characters from the 1990s "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie – have been wreaking havoc with the nation's gold production, thus reducing the amount of gold the central bank can buy to bolster its reserves.
Sifting soil for nuggets in unlicensed pits across vast tracts of steppe and desert, the ninjas may have produced as much as 5 tons of gold last year, according to rough estimates by officials and non-governmental organisations. That figure is not far short of the 9 tons of gold produced officially last year. Both estimates are well short of the 24 tons officially produced in 2005 and 15 tons in 2008.
But now the authorities are striking back. In order to bolster the legal production of gold, parliament recently reduced the tax on gold sold to the central bank and accredited commercial banks from 10 per cent (Mogi: up to 10%, was 5% base royalty + ~5% progressive royalty) to 2.5 per cent, thus boosting the incentive to mining companies and the ninjas to sell more gold to the central bank.
"We estimated that revenue in tax will go down by between $40m and $50m, while currency reserves in the bank will increase by between $1.7bn and $2bn," Davaajav Gankhuyag, the mining minister was quoted in the Mongolian Mining Journal as saying.
"When the tax rate drops, the gold trade turnover will increase and it will boost money flow into the economy," he added.
The key consideration of Mongolian authorities is to bolster its foreign currency reserves, which fell 40.1 per cent year on year in January to $2.4bn. The decline in reserves was one reason for the tugrik's slide to an all-time low against the US dollar in February. Mongolia needs to shore up both ahead of its planned sovereign bond issue this year.
"By making it cheaper to sell to Mongolbank (or other authorised banks) the government is trying to make legitimate gold trade happen again," said Anthony Woolley, senior associate at legal firm Hogan Lovells. (Mogi: this 2.5% royalty only applies to sales to Bank of Mongolia)
If the tax adjustment is successful in driving higher lawful gold production this year, Mongolia may boost production by 20 tons to a total of around 31.4 tons, according to government estimates. Of this, around 20 tons may come from Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi (OT) mine and another 11.4 tons from smaller producers – including ninjas – who currently smuggle the gold abroad.
"We are not talking about future planned productions here, but gold that today is mined and somehow shipped abroad illegally," an NGO worker dealing with ninja miners said in Ulaanbaatar.
The new tax structure was praised by gold producers. Canada's Centerra Gold, which produced 90,318 troy ounces in its Boroo mine in 2013 and expects another 45,000 troy ounces in 2014, confirmed reports that it sold 100kg of gold to the central bank in January.
Mongolia's stewardship of its resource sector has drawn considerable criticism in recent years. In spite of large untapped mineral resources – including an estimated 221.47 tons of gold and $1.4tn in copper, coal, iron ore, gold and uranium – foreign investors are often reluctant to start operations because of continuous changes in the legal environment.
A controversial foreign investment law (Sefil) was passed in May 2012. Originally designed to keep Chinese state-owned companies away from Mongolia's mineral resources, Sefil hit investors' confidence, prompting foreign direct investment to plunge by 47 per cent in 2013 (Mogi: 54%) and triggering a slump in the tugrik. Sefil was repealed in October 2013, but foreign investments flows have yet to bounce back. (Mogi: no one was expecting to start flowing back from the get go)
Besides, a $5.1bn planned expansion at OT still hangs in the balance as the government locked horns with Rio Tinto over the project's costs and financing. At the same time, the status of dozens of exploration licences caught up in a local corruption issue are unclear.
With foreign investors at bay, the government turned to expansionary fiscal programs and loose monetary policy to sustain economic growth. Preliminary Mongolbank estimates put 2013 GDP growth at 11.7 per cent, down from 12.3 per cent in 2012.
International observers expect the economy to further cool off in coming years, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting a single-digit growth rate (9.6 per cent) in 2014, whereas the World Bank forecasts a 2014 GDP increase of 10.3 per cent. Meanwhile, adding to pressure on the tugrik, the current account deficit – which currently stands at 30 per cent of GDP – is a key concern, the World Bank said in its latest country report.
Survey of Mining Companies 2013: Mongolia, A Regulatory "Horror Story"
March 3 (Fraser Institute) --
A regulatory "horror story": The whole Oyu Tolgoi fiasco - government wanting to renegotiate a 30 year deal less than two years after signing it.
—An exploration company, Vice president
Government has not clearly set out new mining investment rules and is stuck with a system where investors do not know what they will end up owning at the end of the day—government needs a clear policy and several years of consistent non-corrupt operation of it to attract more investment.
—An exploration company, Company president
More than US$11m pledged to develop green economies such as Mongolia
DUBAI, March 4 (The National) Economic growth can – and must – be achieved without damage to the environment, a United Nations official said in Dubai on Tuesday.
Achim Steiner, UN under secretary general and executive director of the UN Environment Programme (Unep), was speaking at the first day of the Partnership for Action on a Green Economy.
Ministers of finance, environment, labour and trade from more than 30 countries attended the event, which aims to encourage efficient use of resources through government policies.
The first day saw more than US$11 million pledged by donors including Finland, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland to help governments develop strategies for green economies.
Countries such as Burkina Faso, Peru, Mauritius, Mongolia and Senegal have expressed an interest in the scheme.
A key focus will be shared knowledge.
Oyun Sanjaasuren, minister of environment of Mongolia, said that was the reason for her country joining the partnership.
After nearly a decade of steady economic growth, Mongolia is about to invest a large amount in new infrastructure, Ms Sanjaasuren said. Two hundred new schools, dormitories and kindergartens will be built this year.
The government wants to make them green buildings but will need much help to do so.
"We still lack knowledge, expertise in planning and designing green buildings," Ms Sanjaasuren said.
"We are actually not asking for investment, we are asking for the knowledge before we invest. We are very excited to be part of this partnership and we have huge expectations in its outcome."
Power to the People: Streamlining "Getting Electricity" in Mongolia
Ambitious USAID-backed reforms to the nation's utility processes are making it easier for small Mongolian businesses to operate, a crucial step on the country's path out of poverty.
USAID Frontlines, January/February Edition -- In 2009, Urantogs Chimiddorj, a young manager at a holding company with construction, cement and felt processing activities, was under pressure. Her task was to open a felt manufacturing unit in the isolated Ulziit district of Ulaanbaatar before the long, harsh Mongolian winter halted construction, leaving the famed blue skyline littered with unfinished buildings. The first in her family to finish college and a novelty as a female manager for the holding group, she had high hopes of completing the assignment and taking her employer, XMG LLC, to the next level.
Chimiddorj had done everything right. She was ready. She negotiated bank financing, spent weeks dealing with the authorities to obtain building and operating permits, and XMG had already invested in a new building and new machinery. She even had new employees lined up. All she needed was electricity to turn the lights on. But the young Mongolian manager would have to wait, as would the 10 employees eager to start their new jobs.
In 2009, the process to connect to the power grid was incredibly onerous, sometimes taking as long as six months. In a country where only 60 percent of the population is connected to electricity, rural dwellers have turned to expensive alternatives including interruptible diesel, solar and wind energy sources.
Over the past several years, the government has attempted to reduce air pollution in Ulaanbaatar by investing in distribution facilities and connecting poor households located in the ger districts—unplanned, nomadic communities—whose only source of heat and cooking was burning dirty coal or anything else flammable.
About 5 percent of the households in Ulaanbaatar city are not connected to electricity, according to the National Committee on Air Pollution. However, blackouts are becoming more frequent as production capacity has reached its limit. Capacity limits are making it difficult for migrants to obtain new electricity connections: Only 11 neighborhoods (khoroos) out of 152 received new connections in 2013.
To get a business connected, Chimiddorj had to submit a service application to the local distribution utility, Ulaanbaatar Electricity Distribution Network Authority (UBEDN). The utility instructed her to obtain a project design from a private design firm. Once the project design was ready, her private electrical contractor had to prepare a package of more than a dozen technical documents for submission to four different government agencies. This submission triggered three rounds of external inspections until she could finally sign a supply contract with the utility.
But even that wasn't enough.
An additional seven signatures from various departments of UBEDN were needed to obtain permission to turn on the electricity. By the time Chimiddorj could flip the light switch, five and a half months had passed at a cost of more than 80,544,000 Tugriks ($48,000)—about 10 times that of Mongolia's per capita income—and winter had set in.
Landlocked between China and Russia, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south, Mongolia has some of the world's most extreme temperatures. As the coldest capital city in the world, temperatures in Ulaanbaatar plummet to -40 degrees Fahrenheit and remain below freezing through late April.
Like clockwork, construction in Ulaanbaatar grinds to a halt the first week of November. Those construction businesses that cannot finalize the permitting process by then need to wait out the additional six months of winter.
The process was as frustrating as it was random.
"You could never say how long it would take to obtain an electrical connection. The only thing you could count on was a long inspection process, poor professionalism, increased blood pressure, blatant corruption, and an incredible waste of time," said Enkhtur Tumurkhuyag, a private electrical contractor who facilitates the connection process for companies like XMG LLC.
The enormous costs and delays involved with electricity connection were stifling growth in Mongolia. Although 45 percent of the nation's population of 2.7 million lives in the capital, the rest of the population is spread out across an area the size of Western Europe. With hundreds of miles separating isolated communities—and with Ulaanbaatar being one of the most isolated capital cities in the world— the importance of getting connected to electricity couldn't be greater for Mongolia's future economic and social growth.
Smart Reforms for Greater Gains
In 2012, USAID and the Government of Mongolia set out to streamline the nation's cumbersome electricity connection procedures. USAID supported the "Getting Electricity" reform group, headed by the Ministry of Energy, and provided ongoing assistance throughout the process. USAID training helped the reform group identify areas where reforms were needed most and could result in the greatest gains. The Agency also provided analysis, proposals and implementation assistance on laws, regulations and institutional capacity building to UBEDN.
With this new knowledge and technical ability, UBEDN created an Internet-based system for retrieving information on electricity availability, an online question and answer system allowing for prompt responses by UBEDN regarding requirements for connecting to the electrical grid at a specific connection point, and inspection procedures. This online system is available to the 31 percent—and growing—of Mongolians with Internet access as of 2010. Now, this system is making new electricity connections easier, more efficient and less expensive for the government, businesses and residents.
A series of "Getting Electricity" reforms by the Mongolian Energy Regulatory Commission resulted in increased efficiency of the utility's internal processes, enforcement of time limits at different stages of the connection process, and elimination of fees to test the installation. Now, the time to connect a commercial warehouse has been reduced by 52 days while the cost has been reduced below 2010 levels.
Not only does the streamlined process save time and money, it also has increased transparency. The new UBEDN website allows managers like Chimiddorj to track the status of an application: "I can log into the website to track the status of my connection instead of wasting hours on the phone and then days waiting for a response," she says.
Moreover, she says, "The Consumer Service Centers of UBEDN provided excellent services after the connection. I receive SMS messages on bills and make payments electronically, and I can also monitor the monthly electricity consumption with a couple of clicks."
The savings from reducing the number of days to get connected by eliminating unnecessary steps and streamlining the approval and inspection processes add up to more than an estimated 850 million Tugriks annually, or half a million dollars, for businesses and the local utility.
"The commitment of the Government of Mongolia was a key factor in moving this reform forward," says Frank Donovan, USAID representative to Mongolia. "The government, from initial project design through implementation, remained engaged to ensure success."
Embracing the New Reality
Although Mongolia is today considered a lower-middle-income country, one out of five Mongolians still live below the extreme poverty line—on less than $1.25 a day. Further, the rapid urbanization is propelling a new type of poor—city dwellers living in gers (traditional felt tents) throughout the outskirts of the city—who depend on employment in the construction, manufacturing and service industries or the informal sector for their livelihoods.
According to the National Statistics Committee, Ulaanbaatar's population reached 44 percent of the national population by 2010, a startling contrast to just a few decades ago when less than 25 percent lived in the capital city. Establishing successful small and medium enterprises to generate formal employment is critical to the future of the city, where 64 percent of the inhabitants are younger than 35.
USAID economic growth activities in Mongolia are targeted to make it easier, cheaper and faster to establish and operate a business in the country. With increased transparency and efficiency in obtaining new electricity connections as well as in registering new businesses, paying taxes, trading across borders and dealing with construction permits, Mongolian private firms can leverage the investment necessary for growth and create desperately needed new jobs.
For instance, Naidandorj Gunsen recently registered his new car shop, Bor Khairkhanii Khishig LLC, with the state registration authority. When asked about the reformed registration process, following USAID assistance, he responded: "It was really easy to register my company. I just gave the necessary documents to my lawyer, who got my state registration certificate within three days. It makes life much easier for businesses."
Making government services easier and transparent is also important for strengthening democratic development in Mongolia. In a country where administrative corruption is still engrained in most bureaucratic processes, eliminating sources of corruption—unnecessary procedures and complicated business regulatory processes—helps to reduce corruption and promote a thriving democracy.
Mongolia has come a long way in the 20 years since it adopted a market economy mentality, established a democratic system, and started changing its nomadic ways for a more urban life style. Successfully embracing the new reality requires a vibrant enterprise sector that can respond to the outcry of the population for more and better economic opportunities, and more efficient and cleaner government.
Log In and Confirm
Chimiddorj compares her experience connecting a cement plant to electricity today with the process she went through just three years earlier. She is surprised to discover how much easier it has become to obtain an electricity connection. All she needs to do now is log into the local utility's website to instantaneously confirm whether new electricity is available at the site. She signs a supply contract with UBEDN, and the electrical contractor takes care of the electricity application process. UBEDN then completes the external connection. In 38 days, the cement plant is hooked up and ready to go.
For Chimiddorj, this seems light years faster when compared with her previous five-and-a-half-month ordeal. This speedy connection allowed XMG LLC to produce 5,000 additional tons of cement.
"Earlier production helped the company's cash flow significantly, allowing them to pay land and rail road rent debts," she says.
The faster connection also benefitted the 17 employees at the factory, who didn't have to wait six months before being hired.
For Mongolia, the famed blue skies couldn't be brighter as Tovuudorj Purevjav, department director at the Ministry of Energy, looks forward to the future: "We appreciate the support from USAID and we hope that for streamlining getting electricity, this is just the beginning."
Marina Simic is the strategic communications and project development manager for USAID's Business Plus Initiative.
Mongolia may lift ban on new mining exploration permits - minister
March 5 (Reuters) - A moratorium on new mining exploration licenses in Mongolia could be lifted during the spring session of parliament, Mongolia's mines minister said, as the Asian country works to lure back foreign investment after a slump last year.
A ban on the issuing and processing of licenses has been in place since June 2010, leaving in limbo many projects in the mineral-rich country wedged between China and Russia.
But that could change for some if parliament addresses "many discrepancies" in previous mining laws next month, Mines Minister Gankhuyag Davaajav said late on Tuesday.
"I do believe that ... in the spring session we should be able to have this resolved," Davaajav told Reuters following a Mongolia business conference in Toronto.
Foreign direct investment in Mongolia has dropped for the past two years, coinciding with a string of moves by the government that discouraged stakes in copper and coal.
In an about-turn, the parliament last November passed an investment law that gives equal treatment to foreign and local investors to try to tempt back investors. (Mogi: passed in October, enacted in November)
Davaajav said Mongolia had made mistakes in the past but that it would "never repeat" them. His speech at the seminar was entitled "Mongolia is open for business".
He did not, however, directly address the issue of 106 exploration licenses that were annulled last year as part of an investigation into mining sector corruption.
Canadian mining company Centerra Gold Inc. said in January that it was "quite optimistic" it would be able to get back to work soon on its Gatsuurt exploration project in Mongolia, which has been suspended since 2010.
Gatsuurt has been included on a list of mineral deposits of "strategic importance" for the Mongolian government to consider. Centerra is hopeful that parliament will approve the list this year, opening the door for it to resume exploration on the property.
Government to pay extra attention to employment this year – PM's 30 Minutes
March 6 (UB Post) Beginning in June 2013, the Prime Minister decided to hold a meeting with journalists every Thursday at 12.30 p.m. At this meeting, the Prime Minister gives information about issues being discussed by the State Great Khural. Yesterday's meeting was about employment, the new Buyant-Ukhaa-1 district, and uranium operations.
The Prime Minister said this year government will pay extra attention to employment. Statewide, there are 12,000 citizens over age 40 who are actively seeking work, and have registered with the Employment Information Center, 3,500 of whom are registered residents of Ulaanbaatar. For the first phase of its employment program, the government will support 3,000 citizens over 40. If these people will accept the social service work suggested by the Employment Service Center, they can receive a reward. If the citizen over 40 starts a business, the government will give support for buying equipment and selling products. Many kinds of businesses are eligible for promotion, such as growing vegetables or fruits, working in the leather and sewing industry, and others. The government has budgeted 3.1 billion MNT for supporting the employment of citizens over 40. These citizens are also eligible for a loan of 17 billion MNT, budgeted to support small and medium enterprises.
Employment support is also planned for students. Last summer, 1,500 students found work during their summer vacation, thanks to the Ministry of Labor and the Mongolian Youth Federation. This project was very effective, and this year about 10 thousand students are expected to have summer employment.
The second issue discussed during the "30 Minutes with the Prime Minister", was the new Buyant-Ukhaa-1 district. State e-machines (a self-service machine providing essential public information and state services) will register citizens who want new apartments in this district, per a decision from the Corporation of State Apartments. At the end of March, state e-machines will be able to print the information necessary for district registration.
The third issue was Mongolia's uranium operations. When journalists asked about government policy on uranium operation, the Prime Minister replied, "There are companies which have exploration licenses. But there aren't any companies who have mining licenses."
Mongolia Delegation on US Energy Tour
Ulaanbaatar, March 6 (MONTSAME) A delegation led by M.Sonompil, the Minister of Energy, has visited the California Energy Commission (CEC) to hold a roundtable meeting on renewable energy issues, in frames of its visit to the USA.
During this meeting, the parties exchanged information on a present situation of the renewable energy sector in Mongolia and the state of California, on renewable energy policy, ongoing projects and programmes, and discussed the cooperation opportunities.
After this, the Mongolian delegation legged the Pacific Gas and Electric and the Bright Source Energy companies.
Providing about 15 million consumers in central and northern California with energy, the Pacific Gas and Electric company produces 20 thousand Megawatt, and the Bright Source Energy produces electricity from solar energy and implements projects and programmes on oil productions, making technologies and introducing them in the productions.
Thermal Plants to Be Built in Nine Provinces
Ulaanbaatar, March 6 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag had an online meeting with provincial administrations on Wednesday.
Mr Altankhuyag briefed on projects running in provinces, including the opening of closed marketplaces in western Khovd and Uvs. Another marketplace is expected to come into service in Bayan-Olgii province, and medical diagnosis centers will be founded in 11 provincial centers, he said.
Feasibility and other preliminary studies for thousand apartments' project of the Government in provincial centers are likely to be completed in near time, the PM said. Engineering and infrastructure studies for building of houses for 200 families in every province center have been conducted, he added.
The Government is also planning to build thermal plants in nine provinces, the Premier stressed and assigned the provinces' governors to hold relevant tenders in due time.
UNESCAP: Workshop on Single Window Implementation in Mongolia
13 March 2014 - 14 March 2014
The National Capacity Building Workshop: Implementing Mongolia National Single Window (MNSW) will be organized by ESCAP in cooperation with Mongolia National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with the support of the United Nations Network of Experts (UNNExT).
The purpose of the workshop is to improve understanding and to build capacity of officials from different government agencies and members of the MNSW steering committee on the benefits of Single Window implementation. The workshop will discuss the current progress of the MNSW, various country implementation cases, including Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Senegal, and the way forward for promoting the MNSW.
Deal Analysis: MIAT closes first US Ex-Im refinancing
Transaction marked US credit agency's most significant transaction in Mongolia.
March 4 (Airfinance Journal) On Christmas Eve last year MIAT Mongolian Airlines closed a $122 million multi-tranche refinancing deal for one 767-300ER backed by the US Export-Import Bank (US Ex-Im).
It marked the airline's first aircraft refinancing and the US credit agency's first transaction in Mongolia.
Although the transaction included parties in Mongolia, Singapore and the US – comprising government bodies and bank – the deal participants were able successfully to close the transaction in just one month, from start to finish.
Winning the mandate
The process began in 2010 when Boeing called ING Capital, letting the bank know it was starting its sales campaign with Miat in Mongolia. After the airline placed its order, Boeing provided a recommended list of banks with suitable experience and, after a four-month bidding process, ING Capital won the deal.
ING Capital's bid detailed its ability to structure and offer the junior loan. This, in addition to arranging the US Ex-Im-backed loan and capital markets issuance, was crucial in winning the mandate. The deal's combination of a senior export credit agency-backed loan and a junior loan portion echoed ING's transaction for Ethiopian Airlines, which secured Airfinance Journal's Africa Deal of the Year for 2012.
A decisive aspect in ING Capital being awarded the mandate was the bank's on-the-ground presence in Mongolia. ING was the first foreign bank to open an office in the country. (Mogi: a rep office)
"It would have been impossible to close such a complicated deal in such a short time without having a presence on the ground in Mongolia," explains the bank's team working on the deal.
Miat officially mandated the financing arrangements on November 21, and the deal closed little over one month later, on December 24.
Structuring the deal
Miat always intended on financing its 767-300ER through a US Ex-Im-guaranteed loan. But given the small size and relative inexperience of the airline in the international financial markets, the US export credit agency made it clear that the carrier would need to have a Mongolian sovereign guarantee in order to proceed.
"The Mongolian sovereign guarantee wasn't available at the time of delivery [May 2013]. As they couldn't proceed with US Ex-Im at this point, they took a bridge loan to take delivery from a local bank, with plans to refinance after securing the US Ex-Im Bank guarantee," states ING Capital's aviation team.
The structure of the refinancing deal allowed Miat to secure longer-term financing and enabled the airline to fully repay the bridge loan that it had taken out to fund the initial aircraft delivery.
The deal was composed of three tranches: the A tranche, comprising a 10-year $78 million US Ex-Im-guaranteed loan; tranche B, comprising a $24 million seven-year junior loan; and the C tranche, comprising a five-year $20 million capital markets note guaranteed by the Ministry of Finance of Mongolia.
ING Capital acted as sole arranger of the US Ex-Im loan and junior loan, as well as sole lender and agent for the junior loan.
Private Export Funding Corporation (Pefco) was the sole lender of the $78 million US Ex-Im-guaranteed loan.
ING Bank in Singapore was the sole underwriter and placement agent for the capital markets note, which was listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.
Tapping Singapore's stock market
The capital markets tranche was necessary in order to pay off the bridge loan and other ancillary fees to the Development Bank of Mongolia.
Miat initially hoped to launch a larger tranche on the capital markets, but was held back by the security structures of the overall deal.
"We explained to the airline that the amount of the junior loan was limited by Ex-Im Bank, given the common security structure that it shared with the senior Ex-Im Bank financing, and, therefore, could not be expanded to include other costs that Miat incurred in conjunction with the financing of the aircraft," stated ING Capital's aviation team.
Although the capital markets note was structured as a separate financing tranche to the US Ex-Im and junior loan, the complexities of the deal meant it had to close concurrently with the commercial debt.
The tight deadline of the deal was necessary to repay the bridge loan and to ensure the transaction was completed before the end of 2013 – when the Mongolian sovereign guarantee was due to expire.
"They needed the deal to be done by December 25 – which is not a holiday in Mongolia – as they needed the money to repay a bridge loan from a local bank. It just had to get done," explained ING Capital.
As part of its original order with Boeing, Miat has a further two 737-800s scheduled to deliver by early 2015. The airline hopes to utilize US Ex-Im-guaranteed financing again to hold the aircraft on its balance sheets – most likely in the form of refinancing deals replicating this structure.
The multi-jurisdictional nature of the deal demanded the work of numerous law firms representing the interested parties. White & Case and MahoneyLiotta supported Miat, and Vedder Price worked for US Ex-Im. Clifford Chance represented ING Capital and Mayer Brown advised ING Bank. Shearman & Sterling represented Pefco. Maurice Lynch & Associates advised US Ex-Im, ING and Pefco.
Breaking Barriers in Mongolia: A Panel Discussion for International Women's Day
ULAANBAATAR – 4 March 2014 (Hogan Lovells) - The Ulaanbaatar office hosted a panel discussion on Breaking Barriers for Professional Women on 3 March 2014, moderated by associates Solongoo Bayarsaikhan and Nominchimeg Odsuren. A group of leading women professionals from the government, academia, NGOs and the private sector has been invited to speak about the obstacles that inhibit Mongolian women from achieving their greatest professional potential.
The key note speaker was Madam Ivana Grollova, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to Mongolia, who spoke about the challenge for women to progress professionally while maintaining a balanced personal life. Other panelists were Madam V. Udval, former Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Justice, Madam Ts. Sarantuya, Professor of Law at the National University of Mongolia and Adviser to the Constitutional Court of Mongolia, Madam J. Zanaa, Executive Director of the Citizens Alliance Center, and Madam J. Battuya, Senior Legal Counsel at Oyu Tolgoi LLC. An open microphone provided the platform for a lively and interactive discussion among panelists and participants. The event highlighted Hogan Lovells commitment to gender equality and diversity in Central Asia and was covered by local television stations.
Mongolia has celebrated International Women's Day as an official holiday for many decades. The topic for the Breaking Barriers panel session was based on the United Nation's theme for 2014: Equality for Women is Progress for All. Over sixty invitees drawn from the public and private sector, including many in-house attorneys, participated in the event, which was followed by a well-attended networking cocktail reception.
Hogan Lovells is the first global law firm in Mongolia to have sponsored an event dedicated to diversity and the advancement of women professionals.
Hogan Lovells across Asia and the Middle East has also organised a series of Breaking Barriers events in recognition of International Women's Day.
Baotou Steel to Establish JV Steel Plant in Mongolia
SHANGHAI, Mar 05, 2014 (Menafn - SinoCast Daily) --Chinese steelmaker Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Union Co., Ltd. (shse:600010) plans to build a joint-venture steel plant with an annual production capacity of five million tons in Mongolia.
Liu Jinyi, deputy general manager with it, said in an interview on March 4 that it seemed to have become a trend for steelmakers in the Chinese mainland to stretch out reach to other industries such as real estate development. However, no matter what industries they expanded to, it took them a period of time to make profit. Based on a sharp edge its parent Baogang Group owned in resources, it was inching closer to a resource-oriented direction, an effort to achieve an industrial shift.
He reiterated that as planned, it would build a joint-venture steel plant in Mongolia and the annual production capacity was five million tons. And provided that the plant could be completed within two to three years, a major rare earth mine of it would be shut down. And by then, it would see rare earth raw materials be mainly from the development of tailings dams.
People in the know disclosed that it was in close talks with the Mongolian party and provided that everything went on well, the stell plant would be completed in two phases within three years and production capacity of the phase-I project would be three million tons per year. In order to ease pressure from rising demand for iron ores, it planned to use pig iron as raw materials in the phase-II project and the annual production capacity would be two million tons.
He pointed out that this was actually a win-win deal and in addition to the Chines firm, Mongolia would benefit much from it. Mongolia had only one steel plant currently and the annual production capacity was only about 300,000 tons. Steel turned out by the plant could have not well satisfied the demand of the nation. In addition, it had had a plan to develop its own mineral resources.
He added that the cooperation involved an iron ore mine, too and so far, both sides had almost reached an agreement over most of the details. They were busy in negotiating major ones including investment proportion and management mode currently and the worst result would be that they would jointly operate the plant. After that, the Shanghai-listed firm would kick off the construction.
Baotou Steel plans to import about 4.5 million tons of iron ores this year, up three million tons from a year ago.
Source: www.yicai.com (March 05, 2014)
Glogex: Mongolia's Iron Ore Resource Stands at 985Mts
Ulaanbaatar, March 5 (MONTSAME) Mongolia has 985 million tons of iron ore, and this figure accounts for about 0.6% of the mineral in the world according to a research conducted by the "Glogex" company.
Moreover, the company has estimated that the country has more 56 deposits of iron ore. 32 of them are in central region, 13-in eastern region, six-in Khangai region, and five-in western region.
The sizes of iron ore extraction and export increased by 6.5 times in last five years, and this increase is likely to continue. As of today, Mongolia is exporting 6.5 million tons of iron ore a year.
In accordance with the general standard, the economically available iron ore must have the metal content of 25-60%, and that is called "Commercial reserve". Most of the iron ore deposits in Mongolia meet this standard.
For many years, Mongolia has been exporting the raw material to the market of Inner Mongolia of China. Due to high expenditure of productions and transportation, the country is selling the mineral with 65-70 US dollars per ton.
It has been projected that the size of enrichment production will reach 10.8 million tons a year from the year 2016 after increasing the extraction, therefore the annual revenue from the mineral will reach 867 million to 1.3 billion US dollars, the research says.
Mine-golia – will there be a positive impact?
March 4 (CSR Asia) Mongolia is one of the world's fastest growing economies. GDP reportedly grew by 12 percent in 2012 representing a slight dip from over 17 percent in 2011. Much of this growth has been fuelled by the 'resource boom' with the growth of mining developments throughout the country.
The biggest mine is the Oyu Tolgoi (Mongolian for 'Turquoise Hill') which is a joint venture between the Mongolian government (34%) and Turquoise Hill Resources (66%), which is in turn 49% owned by Rio Tinto (Mogi: 50.8%). It is expected that the mine will become one of the world's largest mines and is estimated to produce 450,000 tonnes of copper a year.
Mining has the potential to bring incomes for countries and for the companies involved. Other benefits include creation of jobs, infrastructural development and secondary employment through service companies. This mineral boom in Mongolia is expected to more than double its GDP within a decade. The rapid changes taking place in the country have the potential to pull many out of poverty. At the same time there is recognition that mining can bring negative impacts to the environment and put additional stress on already scarce water resources. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), one-third of Mongolia's provinces fell "well below the international norm that defines absolute water scarcity," and more than half of the population lives without access to clean water. Others worry about the impact on cultural heritage and the livelihoods of herders.
While much attention is focussed on the massive large scale mining (LSM) investments, artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) is an important source of livelihood. Artisanal miners (or 'ninjas' as they are often referred to) are estimated to have grown substantially over the years given the earning potential but do not typically hold exploration licences or mining licences. A report by the Mongolian Business Development Agency and Eco-Minex International estimates that there are about 100,000 people involved in informal gold mining or 20 percent of the rural workforce. It is estimated that artisanal mining contributes US$110 million annually to export revenues. A survey from the Sustainable Artisanal Mining Project of SDC (SAM) (Mogi: SDC: Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation) indicates that miners earn an average of US $176 per month, which is about 57% above the Mongolian minimum wage.
While men are more engaged in ASM, women predominantly participate in gold processing which can bring huge health risks due to unsafe mercury use. It is estimated that between 10 and 15 per cent of artisanal miners are children with an average age of 15. Working conditions in informal gold mining pose serious risks to the miners' health and safety. In hard-rock mining, the risks are associated with the use of explosives, tunnel collapse, and crushing and milling of the ore. In Gold Mining, mercury is used in the amalgamation process to separate the gold from the ore. Use of mercury poses multiple health risks arising from skin exposure to metallic mercury, inhalation of mercury vapour, and entry of mercury into the food chain and drinking water supply. Relationships between ASM and LSM have often been conflictual in nature and leading large scale mines are testing and developing innovative approaches.
The changes the country has witnessed are evident in the capital city, Ulam Baatar (Mogi: haha, this is a first) the capital, where more than half the population is estimated to still live in the 'ger district' of traditional tents set up around the outskirts of the city. Although growth has been immense, over 30 percent of the close to 3 million population still live below the poverty line putting severe strains on infrastructure in the city, including education and health care are severe.
For some resource rich countries the 'resource curse' has been used to describe the paradox whereby states who have large reserves of natural resources to be less developed than other states lacking such resources. How governments manage the use of resources imperative.
Let's hope Mongolia will manage this transition well….
Mongolia named official partner country of ITB Berlin 2015
March 5 (Breaking Travel News) In 2015 the focus will be on Mongolia, the Partner Country of ITB Berlin. On Wednesday, 5 March 2014 at ITB Berlin, Mr. Altangerel Purev, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Mongolia, and Dr. Christian Göke, Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin GmbH, will officially sign an agreement between the world's largest travel trade show and Mongolia, the Partner Country of the event.
"In its role as the Partner Country of ITB Berlin 2015 Mongolia will be sending out a clear signal as an emergent tourism destination. We are confident that Mongolia with its wealth of cultural and natural attractions and its eventful history will successfully present itself to the international market and that it will attract keen interest from both trade visitors and the general public", said Dr. Christian Göke, CEO, Messe Berlin.
Mr. Altangerel Purev, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Mongolia,: "In 2011 Mongolia was already the Convention and Culture Partner of ITB Berlin and as the Partner Country of ITB Berlin 2015 we aim to build on that success and promote public awareness of Mongolia as a travel destination. Germany is an important market for us. Mongolia has maintained diplomatic relations with Germany for the past 40 years. Furthermore, we regard tourism as a long-term opportunity that diversifies our economy. Mongolian companies are also very keen to actively cooperate with the international tourism industry."
'Everything except ordinary' is how one could briefly describe this central Asian travel destination, which to date remains relatively unknown. The fascinating culture of Mongolia's nomads, its almost endlessly undulating green steppes, its mystic traditions harking back to the legendary Genghis Khan and many other outstanding facets of Mongolia already await visitors to Hall 26 at this year's ITB Berlin.
Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Mongolia – AmCham Circular Number 2 on Improving the Business Environment
Trade between the U.S. and Mongolia is steadily growing since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Bilateral trade has soared from almost nonexistent in early 1990 to over $665 million in 2012. Due to the economic growth prospects of Mongolia in the coming years, it is estimated that the bilateral trade relations between the U.S. and Mongolia will significantly increase. However, one of the obstacles to this growth potential has become the fairness of Mongolia's policies and practices regarding protection for intellectual property rights (IPR), which disincentivizes U.S. companies already or wishing to do business with Mongolia.
Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia ("AmCham") believe the situation with regard to protection of IPR in Mongolia is not fully satisfactory. The following are some specific areas of our concern:
· Counterfeit goods produced elsewhere in the world can still be found in many rural and urban markets in Mongolia. Widely available counterfeit goods include counterfeit computer software, footwear, garments and accessories, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and consumer electronics.
· Intellectual Property Office of Mongolia ("IPOM") estimate that a software piracy rate is almost 95 percent in Mongolia, which makes it one of the highest rates in the world. It remains common knowledge that even government agencies' computers run on pirated software.
· Despite repeated complaints by industry, some television channels, including state-run TV and media, in Mongolia freely broadcast pirated content while unauthorized copies of copyrighted films and music are available to the Mongolian public via Mongolian operated internet websites.
From the standpoint of Mongolia's own self-interest, IPR infringement threatens Mongolia's long-term economic competitiveness and discourages foreign companies from transferring their best technology and proprietary know-how, or engaging in research and development activities in Mongolia.
"Horeca Ulaanbaatar 2014" Hospitality Fair, April 4-6
Ulaanbaatar, March 6 (MONTSAME) With an aim to promote the hotel and catering industry, "Horeca Ulaanbaatar-2014" fair is to this April 4-6.
In 2014, the events will focus on support for domestic import-substitution industrialization and on tourism sector. The Capital city Tourism Authority, together with the Union of the Mongolian Hotels will host the event that also includes a "Friendly Ulaanbaatar" international contest among hostility staffers. The contest will be funded by the Mayor's Package.
Horeca (or HORECA) is the sector of the food service industry that consists of establishments which prepare and serve food and beverages. The term is a syllabic abbreviation of the words Hotel/Restaurant/Cafe.
S. Korea to ship used military goods to Mongolia for peacekeeping operations
SEOUL, March 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Wednesday signed an agreement to ship used military vehicles to Mongolia as part of efforts to expand defense cooperation between the two nations, the defense ministry here said.
South Korean vice defense minister Baek Seung-joo held a meeting with his Mongolian counterpart Battus Avirmid to discuss regional security issues and signed a deal to hand over 15 used military vehicles, including excavators, bulldozers and cranes.
"The military equipment is expected to support the Mongolian forces' U.N. peacekeeping operations and the nation's efforts to build the infrastructure for economic development," the ministry said in a release.
Mongolia to Test Ship 20Kts of Coal to North Korea's Rason Special Economic Zone in Q3
March 6 (infomongolia.com) The Organization for Cooperation of Railways (OSJD) for Asian region has organized the "Transit Mongolia 2014" International Conference in Ulaanbaatar on March 03, where over 90 delegates from Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, South Korea and Mongolia have attended.
During the meeting parties negotiated to transport 20 thousand tons of coal to North Korea's Rason Special Economic Zone via the Russian territory. The Deputy Director of Transportation Division at Ulaanbaatar Railway, Mongolia-Russia joint venture, Sh.Erdenebulgan noted, "Starting from third quarter, we will experiment to transport 20 thousand tons of coal to North Korea, which is equivalent to four freight trains each with 50 wagons. Moreover, the transportation volume to China is expected to grow compare to last year and freight from China to Mongolia is also to be increased by 600-800 tons and in the frameworks of the Conference, opportunities were clarified".
China's Defense Attaché Introduces China's Defense Policy Reform and its Security Challenges
March 6 (infomongolia.com) The Institute for Defense Studies hosts regular meeting "Attache Hour" and this time's guest was invited the Defense Attache of the PR of China to Mongolia, Senior Colonel Wang Dong, who delivered lecture themed "China's defense policy reform and its security challenges", which was held on March 05, 2014.
Senior Colonel Wang Dong introduced the newly formed National Security Council of the PRC, the Defense Policy, its activity and reform issues, moreover he briefed about territorial disputes and its security challenges being implemented.
Attendees got familiarized with comprehensive understanding on China's security and defense policy, besides exchanged views and experiences on bilateral issues.
Belarus, Mongolia to step up customs cooperation to boost trade
MINSK, 5 March (BelTA) - During its spring session the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus is going to discuss the bill stipulating the ratification of the agreement between the governments of Belarus and Mongolia on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters, BelTA learnt from Vitaly Busko, Deputy Chairman of the International Affairs Commission of the House of Representatives.
The MP noted that Mongolia has a long border with Russia and Kazakhstan (Mogi: not with Kazakhstan of course, but separated by a very short China layer), who are Belarus' Customs Union partners. Thus Belarus gets new opportunities to cooperate at the bilateral level and at the level of the Customs Union. "The implementation of the agreement will, among other things, contribute to the transit of cargoes and goods," Vitaly Busko said.
The MP added the Mongolia is a WTO member and because Belarus is also working to accede to this organization it is always good to have another reliable partner.
The document outlines main principles and forms of cooperation of the customs bodies of Belarus and Mongolia, establishes goals and principles and sets out the rules regarding mutual assistance and information exchange. The practical implementation of the agreement will facilitate the unification and harmonization of customs procedures and will allow increasing the effectiveness of work of the two countries' customs bodies, which in turn will boost bilateral trade ties. At present the bilateral trade amounts to about $100 million but this figure could be much higher, Vitaly Busko noted.
The agreement was signed during the visit of Belarusian government delegation headed by Premier Mikhail Myasnikovich to Mongolia in September 2013.
Limkokwing University London to Award 10 Scholarships Every Year
March 6 (infomongolia.com) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia reports that the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Narkhuu TULGA and Limkokwing University's Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cedric Bell have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in London on March 03, 2014.
According to the document, ten Mongolian students will be provided with scholarships to study at Limkokwing University in London each year from 2014 academic year and the parties agreed to enroll the excellent students from law income families and these applicants will be studying for bachelor (5) and master (5) degrees.
Ambassador N.Tulga expressed a confidence in further cooperation with the university which opened up an opportunity for Mongolian students to study in London with scholarship.
The Ambassador also attended in the opening ceremony for Mongolian Education Center in East Midlands, UK with a view to promote the Mongolian culture and history and run Mongolian language training for Mongolian children.
The opening ceremony was held on March 01 and during the event, a greeting of Her Majesty Queen was read for the audience. Her Majesty congratulated on the establishment of the Mongolian Education Center in East Midlands and wished success to the Mongolian children.
In his remarks, Ambassador N.Tulga introduced goals set and activities carried out by the Government of Mongolia to teach Mongolian language to children of Mongolian citizens living abroad. During the ceremony, Ambassador N.Tulga handed over certificates to first alumni of the center.
UK Foreign Secretary assures EU is not trying to extend its borders to Mongolia
March 5 (Louth Leader) Sir Peter Tapsell has said that is the European Union contiues to expand towards the east it could lead to World War Three.
The Louth and Horncastle MP was speaking in the House of Commons about the crisis in Ukraine.
He said: "May I put it to the Foreign Secretary that Brussels is partly to blame for this Ukrainian crisis? If the already over-enlarged European Union is going to continue to try to extend its borders towards Mongolia, we will indeed finish up with a Third World War.
"Every Russian knows that the capture of Crimea and Sevastopol was the greatest achievement of Catherine the Great — that is why she is called 'Great' — and Potemkin. No Russian Government of whatever political complexion could ever give up Crimea or Sevastopol, and we can be absolutely certain that the Russian people are passionately in support of President Putin over this issue."
Foreign Secretary William Hague responded: "I differ with my right honourable friend a little bit on this. Russia gave Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 and followed that in the 1990s with a series of specific agreements, including the Budapest memorandum and the 1997 agreement on the Black sea bases, in which it forswore the use of armed force or intrusion on to the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Russia chose to do that and it must honour its international obligations.
"I assure my right honourable friend that it is not the ambition of the EU, or of the UK for the EU, to extend its borders to Mongolia.
"What we are talking about is not Ukrainian membership of the European Union, but free trade; a free trade agreement — an association agreement — between the EU and a country that freely chose to enter into negotiations about it. It should not be possible for any other country to have a veto over any nation choosing to do that."
The Foreign Secretary also said: "The UK's national interest lies in a free, democratic, unified, stable and peaceful Ukraine able to make its own decisions about its future."
Society of Biology, Zoological Society of London Event: Monitoring Mongolia
Start time: 17:00
End time: 20:00
Where: Charles Darwin House, 12 Roger Street, London, WC1N 2JU. Log in or register to make a booking
A celebration of UK-Mongolian bioscience collaboration and discussion around the scale and challenge of monitoring species.
This event is hosted by the Society of Biology in partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
17:00 - Introductory Talks by Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive, Society of Biology; His Excellency Mr Tulga Narkuu, Ambassador of Mongolia and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
17:25 - Mongolia and ZSL; a talk by Dr Gitanjali Bhattacharya, Programme Manager - South and Central Asia, Conservation Programmes, ZSL. Dr Bhattacharya will speak to the audience about the Steppe Forward programme and ongoing ZSL activities in the region
18:00 - Red Lists; a talk by Dr David Mallon, Co-Chair, IUCN /SSC Antelope Specialist Group and Member, IUCN Red List Committee
18:30 - Panel discussion chaired by Dr Mark Downs on the 'Scale and Challenge of Monitoring Species' with representatives from IUCN, ZSL and the People's Trust for Endangered Species
19:15 - Drinks Reception
20:00 - Close
This is a free event that aims to bring together key stakeholders and interested members of the public, to celebrate the work of ZSL in Mongolia and stimulate further discussion on red lists and the monitoring of species. To book to attend the event log in to mySociety and the booking link will appear at the top of this page.
If you should have any further questions regarding the event, or problems with the booking, please contact Natasha Neill.
Discover Adventure Travel in Mongolia with a Horseback Riding Expedition Webinar and Experience This Unique Country the Way the Mongols Do
If you love exotic travel, then horseback riding in Mongolia is a unique way to truly see the country. Long time riding adventure proponents, Keith Swenson and Sabine Schmidt of Stone Horse Expeditions, and joined by Equitrekking TV host, Darley Newman, will share their insights about this unique culture and how to experience Mongolia by horseback during a March 13th webinar.
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (PRWEB) March 04, 2014 -- Have you ever dreamed of horseback riding across open steppe, over mountain passes and crossing wild rivers? Then Mongolia, the land of Chinggis Khan, where horse riding is still a way of life and fences are rarely seen, is a country not to be missed. The mysteries of Mongolia as a once forbidden land are now open to every traveler who wants to experience the freedom of horseback riding in the land of the eternal blue sky.
"These horseback riding expeditions in Mongolia offer clients an eco-adventure tourism experience of the purist kind," says Keith Swenson, co-owner and founder of Stone Horse Expeditions & Travel, a horse riding adventure outfit based out of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Swenson and his wife, Sabine, a co-owner of Stone Horse, have lived and worked in Mongolia for the past 16 years taking people from all over the world on their horseback cultural and wilderness expeditions.
Originally working in Mongolia helping to develop the national park system, with local communities, governments, line agencies and Ministries, the couple explored the great wilderness areas of Mongolia on horseback during their spare time. Their love of the Mongolian horse, the culture and the landscape attracted others to join them and Stone Horse Expeditions & Travel was born.
In developing their unique high quality horseback trips, safety of the horse and rider is paramount. Sabine, as a trained saddle maker, creates lightweight, durable saddles for the comfort of the rider and the horse.
Both Sabine and Keith have long time experience in the natural sciences and natural resource management and have seen many changes take place as Mongolia moves from a demand based economy to a market oriented democracy. The effects on the environment and social fabric of herder communities is not always positive and the herding lifestyle is rapidly disappearing. "This is one reason travelers are encouraged to visit Mongolia now," says Swenson.
To raise awareness about horseback travel in Mongolia and this unique culture, Stone Horse Expeditions & Travel is hosting a Webinar on the subject on March 13/14, 2014. For sign up details and information, visit the Stone Horse Expeditions & Travel website.
Walking with Mongolian women warriors
March 6 (UB Post) The myth of the Amazons, a tribe of bloodthirsty women thundering across arid battlefields to the horror of their male foes, has lingered for centuries. Their exploits seized the imagination of the Greek scribes Homer and Hippocrates, but proof of their existence had always been lacking. A 2,500 year old mystery may have been solved, cracked by an American scientist whose decades-long odyssey led her tens of thousands of miles in pursuit of the truth. After unearthing evidence of a culture of ancient warrior woman on the Russian steppes, Dr. Jeannine Davis Kimball followed a trail of artifacts to a remote village in western Mongolia, where her quest for a living link to a long imagined tribe ended with a startling discovery. There, among the black eyed Mongols, Davis Kimball found a blonde child, a nine year old girl name Meiramgul. Through DNA testing, she found that the DNA sequences from the remains of the ancient warrior women and those from the Mongolian girl were identical.
Women's roles in the 13th century
That women commanded authority in ancient Mongolia is not surprising. Ancient Mongolians were nomads, and moving from pasture to pasture, women's labor was crucial. It was they who packed up and moved the ger, the national dwelling. Most of the time, husbands were absent and wives raised and cared for the children on their own.
They made their own clothes, rugs, flags, and blankets for horses. They processed the milk, cheese and meat which formed the basic Mongolian diet. Usually each adult woman had her own herd of sheep to tend. As a result of women's abilities to maintain the Mongolian subsistence economy, the entire male population was free to hunt or fight when the call came.
According to the anthropologist Jack Weatherford and his book, "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World", the founder of the Mongol Empire learned from harsh experience not to trust the men within the warring steppe clans, and eventually left his extended empire in the hands of his more capable daughters. Their husbands and in-laws, in turn, savagely wrested power from the women, excised their existence from official accounts and left the empire in alarming decline over centuries—until the reign of the last great Mongol queen Manduhai (meaning "Wise") who restored Mongol power in the 15th century and drove back invasions by the Chinese.
In the first part of his first book, Weatherford writes about the life of Chinggis Khaan and his relationship with his children, four sons and eight daughters. His second book was written about Mongol queens and titled "The Secret History of Mongol Queens and How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire".
In the 13th century the Secret History of the Mongols set forth the patriarch's intentions for his family and nation, but it is curiously missing a part of the text that completes this intriguing sentence: "Let us reward our female offspring." Weatherford argues that Chinggis Khaan maintained a staunch adherence to a male-female sharing of power. Girls were raised to ride and shoot like boys, and they were expected to rule a territory as rigorously as they ruled the home. As part of his strategy to tighten his hold along the Silk Route, Chinggis Khaan married his daughters to leaders in recently vanquished foreign lands to rule in his stead.
His daughters never lost faith or hope, and always performed their duties. Those daughters were brave, well educated and wise. Women were fighters as well. Under Chinggis Khaan's rule, every man and woman was trained to keep the nation ready for battle. Mongolian women knew how to use a bow and arrow, were expert horsewomen, and even took part in wrestling contests. Marco Polo wrote of Khublai Khaan's niece Khutulun, a princess who had amassed a great fortune by wrestling her prospective grooms. The loser had to gamble 100 horses on his victory. In no time, Khutulun had earned 10,00 horses and never did marry.
After the death of Chinggis Khaan, women took up the reins of power for three-quarters of the era of the Mongol empire. They enjoyed rights and privileges only recently won in the West. Mothers still whisper the legendary stories of Mongolian queens and warriors to their daughters today.
During this time, Mongolian women's dominance of the economy and religious structures gave them power Europeans only dreamed of. They had the right to divorce and also to inherit their husband's estate. If their husband died they became the head of their household—a law which had political consequences.
Mongolian women not only did not have to marry, but had the right to divorce if the marriage union did not go well.
The life of the modern Mongolian woman
Some comedians complain about the meaning of their names and how most Mongolian songs are about how we much love and care for our mothers. Some foreigners are amused that Mongolians don't have the same number of songs about fathers. Women's names are Altantsetseg (Golden flower), Narantuyaa (Sun beam), Oyundari (precious stone and female god for women's fortune), Tungalag (Crystal), Zoljargal (fortune and happiness). Men's names are Tumur (Iron), Bold (Sharp) or Sukh (Axe).
Tuul, who has recently come back from Japan, said, "When I was training in Japan, I was very impressed by the Japanese workplace, particularly the high level of computerization and mechanization and the information networks linking the nation. However, it seems to me that the life of the average Japanese woman after marriage is boring. Husbands come home very late from work, and only see their children on days off. This means that Japanese families do not have much chance to enjoy life together. Since young Japanese women know that marriage will probably lead only to housework, I suppose it is natural that many would rather remain single. I am surprised that even well-educated Japanese women with university degrees quit their jobs after having a child. I cannot help wondering why, when their country could benefit from their skills and knowledge. Is it perhaps because Japan has a huge population, so there are enough qualified men to fill all the jobs without women? And the recent recession coupled with record unemployment levels can only make matters worse. Although I can partly understand this situation, it seems to ignore the potential and aspirations of half the population."
In Mongolia, men and women have an equal place in the Mongolian workforce, and this equality carries over into the home. Married couples look on problems as something to be solved together. Because most husbands and wives both work outside the home, the partner with fewer working hours tends to spend more time looking after children and doing housework. In some cases, the mothers of young couples help out a great deal. But sometimes, young mothers who have recently given birth stay at home to care for their children for one or two years. But after this time they start working outside the home again, as well as cleaning, cooking, and taking their children to school. One female parliament member, Uyanga said, "Generally women don't complain about their daily extended jobs or duties. It depends if they are trying to show their strength and want to hear approval from their husbands." Most women manage their family's finances. For some older couples, husbands give their wives their full salary and only keep some money for transportation and cigarettes. Even in more modern times, women remain in charge of household finances.
An old Mongolian proverb says, "When a pond is full of fish, it attracts a lot of birds." This refers to the role of women in the family and means that a clean comfortable home with good food attracts many visitors.
Hungary to fund $120 thousand water management project for east Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, March 6 (MONTSAME) A project themed "Water management processing in basins of eastern regions rivers of Mongolia" is planned within this September.
The Hungarian government decided to issue 120 thousand USD as a non-refundable aid for this project's preparation from its Official Development Assistance /ODA/.
Our working group visited Budapest, a capital of Hungary, on February 26-March 2, led by A.Oyunsuvd, a director of Water resource department of Regulatory Department for Policy Implementation under the Ministry of Environment and Green Development, in frames of the project preparation.
The group visited the Ministries of Rural Development and of Home Affairs, National Institute for Environment, General Water Management Authority and Water Business Cluster to exchange views on the matters concerning project planned for a preparation and for some required information to be provided by our side.
After this project, the sides will cooperate in a project themed "Water management planning processing in basin of Kherlen river".
Ulaanbaatar to bid for 2019 East Asian Games, with China's Hangzhou, Taiwan's Taichun
Ulaanbaatar, March 5 (MONTSAME) Mongolia's Ulaanbaatar city will enter a bidding process to host the 2019 East Asian Games.
Together with Ulaanbaatar, China's Hangzhou and Taichun city of Taiwan will compete for hosting the EAG.
The EAG is a multi-sport event organized by the East Asian Games Association (EAGA) and held every four years since 1993 among athletes from East Asian countries and territories of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), as well as the Pacific island of Guam, which is a member of the Oceania National Olympic Committees.
Mongolia has participated in all of the EAG which firstly ran since 1993, and won five gold, 14 silver and 82 bronze medals.
Annual Eagle Festival awes 500 visitors
March 6 (UB Post) The Annual Eagle Festival was held on Wednesday at Chinggisiin Khuree Camp on the occasion of the Kazakh spring holiday Nauryz, attracting more than 500 visitors from the city and provinces. The festival has taken place at the camp for the third year.
Delegates from many embassies and international organizations, as well as foreign tourists, attended the festival and were awed by the magnificent traditions and customs of eagle husbandry and hunting with eagles.
Deputy Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism M.Tumenjargal, Member of Parliament A.Bakei, and Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold officiated at the festival. Deputy Minister M.Tumenjargal granted honorary certificates to the eagle hunters.
During the festival, hunters with the best costumes, the best eagles and the best displayed horses were presented with awards. The hunters showcased how well they trained their eagles, and how the eagles hunt wild animals and battle them. Competitions to seize handkerchiefs with money inside were also held among the eagle handlers, which showed the brilliant skills of both the trainers and their birds.
The youngest of the eagle hunters was 17 years-old and the eldest was 60 years-old. A total of 18 eagles were there to captivate visitors. Bayan-Ulgii Province has around 400 eagles in total.
Every year, the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, the Local Council of Bayan-Ulgii Province, Mongolian Tourism Board, Mongolian Eagle Hunters Association and Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia jointly organize the festival.
The festival is a long Kazakh tradition and is aimed at promoting the skills of hunting with eagles, passing down the tradition to younger generations, developing a national destination for tourism, raising public awareness of nature conservation and rehabilitation, extending the operating season of local tourism camps, and supporting the tourism economy.
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