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Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Xanadu Mines: DRILLING COMMENCES AT KHARMAGTAI
- Diamond drilling has commenced at the Kharmagtai copper-gold project.
- The drilling will test high-grade extensions of the mineralisation delineated by previous exploration and new areas of mineralisation adjacent to these prospects.
- Over 10,000m of drilling to a depth of around 300m from surface so as to target shallow, high-grade mineralisation that is amenable to open pit mining.
June 4 -- Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX: XAM – "Xanadu") is pleased to announce that it has commenced drilling at the Kharmgatai copper-gold porphyry project. Kharmagtai is located approximately 120km north of the world‐class Oyu Tolgoi copper project and 420km south‐southeast of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia's south Gobi region. Kharmagtai is a gold-rich porphyry system with excellent potential to extend the known mineralisation in addition to making new discoveries.
The Kharmagtai district consists of a cluster of porphyry prospects associated with late-stage quartz monzodiorite porphyry stocks emplaced on the flanks of the Kharmagtai Intrusive Complex. Previous exploration at Kharmagtai has delineated three shallow, gold-rich porphyry copper prospects at Altan Tolgoi, Tsagaan Sudal and Zesen Uul, and tested a number of other targets. The mineralisation remains open at Altan Tolgoi and Tsagaan Sudal while Zesen Uul may represent an off‐faulted block from a larger system.
The drill program has been designed to test potential extensions to high‐grade mineralisation at the three prospects and identify new areas of adjacent mineralisation under shallow cover. An initial 45 drill holes have been planned, comprising over 10,000m of drilling typically to a true depth of around 300m from surface. The initial exploration target covering the three prospects was set out in the March 2014 Quarterly Activities Report and accompanying revised JORC Table 1 as released on 29 April 2014 and which continues today.
The drill program has been developed around a realistic geological model and is expected to contribute to defining shallow, high-grade (greater than 0.6-0.8% copper equivalent) mineralisation at Kharmagtai that is amenable to open pit mining.
MMC closed -1.67% to HK$HK$0.59 Tuesday, YTD -42.16%
Wellington Management Cuts Stake in MMC to Under 5%
June 3 (Cover Mongolia) Wellington Management, one the world's largest private investment management firms with US$869 billion client assets under management as of 31 March, 2014, has cut its stake in Mongolian Mining Corp. (HKEx:975) to 4.99% from 5.03%.
Previously, Cover Mongolia had reported that Wellington had become a substantial holder in MMC, purchasing 2.6 million shares on the exchange at HK$0.80 on 5 February, 2014 to claim a 5.01% stake.
Looking at the two notices filed, Wellington had bought 571,722 shares between 5 February – 29 May to increase stake from 5.01% to 5.03%. Under exchange rules, a substantial holder needs to disclose share transactions only when crossing over a whole percentage point mark.
This time, the company sold 1,130,500 shares at HK$0.596 on 29 May also on the exchange to cease being a substantial shareholder.
This disclosure was made public after Tuesday HKEx close. MMC closed the day down 1.67% and has dropped 42.16% in 2014 on continued weak coking coal sentiment from China, despite having eased its short-term debt obligations with a $150 million loan from ING and ICBC to refinance a $130 million debt to ING.
Agreement disclosed after Tuesday HK close, before TSX open. 1878 closed -1.28% to HK$4.61 Tuesday, SGQ closed flat at C$0.65
SouthGobi: US$10 Million Shareholder Loan Facility Agreement with Turquoise Hill Resources
SouthGobi: Material Change Report re: US$10 Million Turquoise Hill Loan
TRQ opened down but rose towards the end on heavy volume to close +3.87% to US$3.76
Rio Tinto CEO 'Very Optimistic' About September Oyu Tolgoi Financing Deadline
June 3 (Bloomberg) -- Sam Walsh, chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Group, talks about expansion in the U.S., iron-ore prices, and mining projects in Africa. He speaks with Caroline Hyde in London on Bloomberg Television's "The Pulse."
Link to video (speaks about OT from 5:13)
Turquoise Hill's Kay Priestly Only Female & Lowest Paid Among Top Canadian Mining Executives
June 3 (Mineweb) Yamana Gold CEO Peter Marrone is Canadian's highest paid mining CEO, ranking 15th in The Globe and Mail's annual ranking of top paid CEOs from the 100 largest public companies.
However, Marrone's total compensation dropped 11% to $10,708,817 as of the end of last year. The total value of the CEOs' equity in Yamana was $27.61 million.
The only female mining CEO on the list, Turquoise Hill Resources' Kay Priestly, was also the lowest paid, ranking 97th on the list at total compensation of $1,033,317. Priestly holds $511,384 in equity value in the parent company of the lucrative Oyu Tolgoi operation in Mongolia.
Mongolia's push to attract investors: Interview with Erdene Resource CEO
June 3 (BBC) Mineral-rich Mongolia has seen a decline in investment in the past 18 months.
Only three years ago, the central Asian nation had a world-beating growth rate of 17.5% but that dropped to 11.7% percent last year.
And foreign investment has fallen more than 50% over the same period.
In a bid to bring back investors, Mongolia is looking to increase the area available for mining. The plan could potentially unlock one billion dollars in development.
The BBC's Rico Hizon asked Peter Akerley, he chief executive of Erdene Resources Development Corporation, about the opportunities in the country.
MSE News for June 3: Top 20 +3.77% to 15,240.12, Turnover ₮46.1 Million
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Tuesday, a total of 24 thousand and 174 shares of 20 JSCs were traded costing MNT 46 million 060 thousand and 836.48.
"APU" /10 thousand and 915 units/, "Hermes center" /10 thousand units/, "Remikon" /1,360 units/, "Nako tulsh" /1,000 units/ and "Aduun chuluun" /210 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"APU" (MNT 38 million 373 thousand and 150), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT two million 325 thousand and 400), "Hermes center" (MNT one million and 505 thousand), "Talkh chikher" (MNT one million and 056 thousand) and "Bayangol hotel" (MNT one million and 020 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 562 billion 525 million 734 thousand and 684. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,240.12, increasing by MNT 553.64 or 3.77% against the previous day.
BoM MNT Rates: Tuesday, June 3 Close
May, June MNT Chart:
BoM FX auction: US$10 million sold at ₮1,824, CNY21 million at ₮292, $46.5 million MNT swap bids accepted
June 3 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on June 3rd, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer of USD and CNY from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 10.0 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1824.00 and 21.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 292.00.
On June 3rd, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 46.5 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted the offer.
Economic Council submits proposals to cabinet on easing burdens on businesses
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) The "Economic Intensifying" council, created at the Prime Minister, delivered to the cabinet some specific proposals and recommendations after having consulted them with the Bank of Mongolia (BoM) and the Union of Banks (UB) (Mogi: Mongolian Bankers Association), seeking solutions to difficulties in credit services and to reducing actions cost.
The council's secretary B.Byambasaikhan said it at its weekly meeting on Monday. He emphasized that companies will be supported that are not able pay back loans due to a delay in their business activities, if these recommendations are realized.
The governmental support is fruitful for developing of winter greenhouses. The government backed 15 projects out of 88 offered by people and enterprises, and even several greenhouses were put into use last week, said A.Choijamts, a director of the "Winter greenhouse business" project. Some 23 billion togrog has been allotted from the "Chingis" bonds revenue for the winter greenhouses, he added.
It has been planned to build such greenhouses on 20 hectares in the city and on the rest in localities this year to grow cucumbers, tomato, pepper, salad cabbage and strawberry. It is projected that the business can replace 20 percent of the vegetables and fruits imported. Vegetables grown in winter greenhouses already have been sold at the market, dramatically declining prices of the imported vegetables, business people said.
100 Day Stimulus Plan: 21st day
June 3 (Mongolian Economy) The 100 Day Stimulus Plan has gone underway, reaching its third week in planning and consulting. Every Monday, the Economy Council manages meetings to discuss certain facets of the stimulus plan. This week's topic revolved around financial services, more specifically, loans from banks. Working in joint collaboration with the Mongol Bank and the Mongolian Banking Association, representatives spent time going over the difficulties of receiving loans from banks as well as possible improvements regarding the loan process.
The Economy Council already conducted extensive analysis and recently submitted advice to the government and to Mongol Bank on how they can make changes to the loan process to make it easier for investors to borrow money. Many borrowers run into problems when they find it difficult to repay debts. With new changes, more options can be set into place, including an option to renew conditions of the loan as well as allow for negotiation with the banks.
By giving in more effort to increase investment in Mongolia, the Investment Law was successfully passed. What is next on the agenda are the Minerals Law, Debt Law, and Oil Law. Financial sector representatives are meeting this week to further discuss the possibilities and difficulties of these laws as well as the reliance on banks and how Mongolia can increase its investment funds.
In line with the 100 Day Stimulus Plant, the Mongolian Economic Forum is organizing an international investor's forum between June 19 and 21. Currently, over 150 representatives from over 30 different countries will attend to discuss future steps to take in regards to Mongolian investment. Mongolian companies, such as Oyu Tolgoi, MAK, Gobi, APU, and Khaan Huns, are going to introduce their businesses to these investors.
Nationalism, Pastoral Nomadism, and Political Risk to Natural Resource Investments in Mongolia: Case Studies of the Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (Chalco) and Rio Tinto
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 2, No. 6, June 2014.
By Jamian Ronca Spadavecchia 
Mongolia stands at a critical juncture between the rewards of natural resource development and the challenges of modernization. On the one hand, it offers abundant opportunities in the natural resources sector and is located near growing and resource-starved industrial nations of East Asia. At the same time, the presence of autocratic neighbors impose international instability on this democratic and market-oriented economy.
This article considers two underanalyzed political risks that are necessary for understanding the future of the Mongolian economy: nationalism and pastoral nomadism. In doing so, it proffers an improved analytical framework for resource investors to better assess and mitigate their Mongolia risk.
Finally, the analysis uses selected case studies to demonstrate how nationalism and pastoral nomadism might impact natural resource investment. For nationalism, a study of the proposed acquisition of SouthGobi Resources (SouthGobi) by the Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (Chalco) is offered. The Chalco study is emblematic of the link between nationalism and two dominant trends in Mongolia: resource nationalism and increasing geopolitical risk in the natural resources sector. The section also looks at how pastoral nomadism poses a risk to Oyu Tolgoi, Mongolia's premier copper and gold mining project, by examining a dispute between Rio Tinto and indigenous communities of Gobi herders that threatened Oyu Tolgoi's project financing.
Mongolia's Investment Gap
A persistent condition in Mongolia's development history is the country's significant investment gap. In the past, Mongolia relied on Soviet subsidization or international aid for support, but today development assistance cannot adequately address Mongolia's needs. As the country modernizes, foreign direct investment will play a decisive role in narrowing this gap. Therefore, the attractiveness of Mongolia's investment climate is highly significant in determining the success or failure of its modernization. This is particularly the case in the context of Mongolia's natural resources sector.
Mongolia's small population, poor infrastructure, and nascent political/economic institutions all serve as barriers to market entry. Most direct investors simply cannot balance the risk-return equation in their favor. Instead, investors often view the long-term growth potential of Mongolia's natural resources sector as favorable to their risk-return calculus. And, as will be chronicled below, investment (at least initially) flowed in.
Mongolia's economy is driven primarily by the natural resources sector. According to World Bank data compiled for 2012, mineral exports accounted for nearly 89 percent of Mongolia's total exports with three minerals: copper, coal, and gold, representing 73 percent of those total exports. 2013 World Bank projections placed mineral revenues at over 20 percent of Mongolia's total government revenue.
The first significant wave of FDI inflows occurred from 1996 through 2006. A relatively friendly investment climate opened the door to natural resources investment during this period; however in 2006 investment decreased with the passage of a Minerals Law and the more financially impactful Windfall Profit Tax. These laws signaled that the Mongolian government demanded a greater share of its natural resources sector revenue. From 2006 through 2010, overall levels of FDI continued to increase but moved at a slower pace as a series of political, regulatory, and socioeconomic constraints deterred foreign investment. In 2010, discontent over the impact of resource investment led militant members of the United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes (UMMRL) to use firearms against mining equipment located at foreign-owned gold mining facilities. As Figure 1 indicates, FDI inflows increased in H2 2010; peaked in FY 2011; and then remained steady until Q4 2012 when inflows began their precipitous drop through Q4 2013.
Figure 1: FDI inflows to Mongolia Q1 2009 through Q4 2013 in USD millions
Data Source: Bank of Mongolia
Outside observers attribute the decline in FDI inflows to: election cycles, resource nationalism, the end of the commodity super-cycle, the U.S. Federal Reserve tapering, and a decrease in Chinese economic growth. Notwithstanding these prognostications, a historical snapshot of inward FDI is included here to show that the attractiveness of a country's investment climate matters. In Mongolia's case, one can extrapolate from Figure 1 that FDI inflows ebbed and flowed with political, economic, and social developments. Driving these outcomes are the determinants that make up Mongolia's political risk landscape.
This article is divided into three parts. Part I examines the driving, structural forces behind nationalism and pastoral nomadism. Part II examines how the risks of nationalism and pastoral nomadism impact resource investment. Part III concludes by taking a political risk practitioner's view, looking at how resource investors might best assess and mitigate their Mongolia risk.
Part I: Structural Determinants of Mongolian Political Risk
Mongolia's Mineral Resource Authority Chief Relieved of Post
By Michael Kohn
June 3 (Bloomberg) -- Altansukh Galsan, Director General of Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia, has been relieved of his post, according to statement on government website.
* No details on reason for decision.
* Altansukh declined to comment when contacted by phone today
* MRAM is government body which issues mining and exploration licenses in Mongolia. Agency is also responsible for developing mining policies and increasing investment in mining sector, according to MRAM website.
(Bloomberg First Word)
APIP: Successful completion of US$12.6m capital raising
June 3 (APIP) The Directors of Asia Pacific Investment Partners (the "Company") are pleased to announce the successful placing of the Series C Convertible Note to a number of institutional and sophisticated investors across Asia, Europe and the US. Total proceeds raised from the Convertible Note to date are US$4.23mm.
In addition, the Company is pleased to announce the successful raise of US$8.4mm of debt financing from TDB Bank.
Commenting on the news, Lee Cashell, CEO of APIP said:
We are extremely pleased with our ability to raise significant levels of capital, from both inside and outside Mongolia, during a challenging economic time in the Mongolian economy.
The commitments we received from existing shareholders and new investors demonstrates that Asia Pacific Investment Partners remains one of the leading conglomerates in Mongolia.
The Series C Convertible Notes mature in 2016 but automatically convert into shares in the event of an IPO. As we have mentioned in the past, we continue to evaluate the best option among the regional exchanges, including Hong Kong and Singapore.
We are excited for the future, and this fundraising positions us perfectly to capitalise on the vast opportunities we see in the Mongolian market at the moment.
The Company intends to use the funds to complete the construction of the Olympic Residence project, a 35,000 sqm luxury residential and commercial development in the heart of Ulaanbaatar. Funds will also be provided to APIP's subsidiary companies, Central Asia Cement and Diamond Finance, supporting their continued expansion.
Asia Pacific Investment Partners is an independent Mongolia focused operating group that has a range of subsidiaries primarily engaged in property development, financial services and cement production.
APIP has a very strong asset base, which includes one of the largest and most highly valued land banks in the country and the only cement producing facility in the capital. This enables APIP to be exceptionally well positioned to take advantage of what many multinational institutions expect will be the fastest growing economy in the world over the next five years.
Founded in 2001 by American venture capitalist Lee Cashell, APIP has been profitable every year since its inception and is regarded as one of the most transparent private companies in Mongolia. APIP has been audited by Ernst & Young for a number of consecutive years and is planning to seek a listing on a major exchange in the near future. www.apip.com
Mongolian Delegation Learns EU Experience on Green Construction in Czech
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) A delegation led by L.Erkhembayar, a green development policy advisor to the President of Mongolia, has recently participated in a short-term seminar on green construction standards in the Czech Republic.
In collaboration with Caritas Czech NGO, the training took place as a part of a project on "Learning the European Union (EU) experiences on green constructions" of the EU and Czech Republic Development Cooperation.
Amid the training, the delegation studied green construction standards and energy-efficient constructions of the EU and the Czech Republic, visited the Czech environmental protection foundation, a state-accredited laboratory and a Technical and Test Institute for Construction.
The delegation included officers from the Presidential Office, State Great Khural (parliament), several Ministries and Building Material Producers Association.
Khan Bank Foundation Awards Annual Scholarships to 111 Students Nationwide
June 2 (Khan Bank) To enhance educational opportunities for promising Mongolian youth, Khan Bank Foundation has been running the Khan Bank Scholarship Program since 2007. This year, Khan Bank Foundation awarded 111 of the most promising students Khan Bank Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic years.
111 students were selected from Ulaanbaatar and 21 aimags and chosen for their outstanding academic performance, active involvement in social and community activities, talents, and strong commitment to pursue further education and learning.
The Scholarship Selection Committees consisted of representatives of Khan Bank, Governor's offices in soum, aimag, and Ulaanbaatar districts as well as the community representatives conducted the selection process in a thoroughly transparent manner through going soum-aimag-Ulaanbaatar.
Hereby, we are introducing names of 111 most promising students granted Khan Bank scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic years. To see the scholarship awardees, please click here.
Khan Bank Foundation that supports education sector continuously encourages students from lower income families with outstanding academic performance and motivates them to pursue higher for the bright future.
Congratulations to the 111 recipients of Khan Bank Scholarship for the Academic year of 2014-2015.
Mobius: Frontier Markets Will See Ups and Downs but Potential is 'Incredible'
June 3 (WSJ) Frontier markets have attracted attention in recent months because of their robust economic growth rates. A quick tour of the WSJ's Frontier Markets map gives an inkling why: In a world where the major developed markets have been struggling to raise their economic output, the 11.7% growth in Mongolia or the 9.7% climb in Ethiopia's GDP begin to look extremely appealing.
Even frontier-market fund managers, though, caution against investors assuming that companies in a country enjoying rapid economic growth will necessarily outperform those in slower growing nations. So are investors misguided if they focus on countries with sharply growing economies?
Not necessarily, says executive chairman of fund giant Templeton's emerging markets group, Mark Mobius: "If you have high economic growth in a country, obviously there will be many companies that have good earnings-per-share growth," he says in a video interview with WSJ Frontiers. "If you look at the history of prices of securities around the world, earnings per share are very important. The growth of earnings is really a key factor."
In a nod to the skeptics, though, Dr. Mobius warns that investors should not assume a rising tide will lift all the boats: "There will be a lot of duds, a lot of companies that are not doing very well, so you have to really pick and choose and do your research," he cautions.
In common with many frontier and emerging-market fund managers, Dr. Mobius focuses heavily on financial services companies. The reason? Banks have a wide exposure to a variety of industries and the economy in general," he says.
Recent research has shown that frontier markets as a group have been less volatile than emerging markets over the past decade. Analysts attribute the lower volatility partly to the fact that frontier economies don't tend to move in lockstep with other regions and markets because their economies are not connected as tightly via trade or financial instruments.
According to Dr. Mobius, another key factor ensuring frontier markets are less affected by global turmoil than larger emerging markets is the fact that, in many of them, domestic investment is driving economic growth. And he expects that factor to grow in significance: "My bet is that, more and more it will be the local investors" driving growth, Dr. Mobius predicts.
While frontier markets as a group have proved less volatile than many had expected, individual countries can provide a bumpy ride. Dr. Mobius points out, though, that he looks for opportunity in market turmoil.
Perhaps not surprisingly, given Templeton has over $40 billion in assets under management, which includes $3.9 billion in frontier markets, Dr. Mobius strongly urged investors who don't have the time or the expertise to conduct effective company-level analysis to invest through a diversified mutual fund.
In the long term, the growth prospects for frontier markets and the companies operating in them are extremely positive, says Dr. Mobius: "There will be volatility, there will be too much money going into some areas … but the potential is incredible," he says.
Link to article (includes interview videos)
Tuul, Selbe highway feasibility, EIA studies completed, agreements with contractors to be signed on June 16
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) Aimed at repairing cross roads, running new roads and improving a capacity of the city's roads, the "Street" project consists of three sub-projects--"City center", "Ger areas" that renovate engineering infrastructure in ger (national dwelling) areas, and "Highway".
This was said by the project manager B.Batbold at the "Hours of great constructions" weekly meeting on Monday. In 2013, 50 billion togrog weres pent for repairing 18 crossroads, the Chingis Avenue and Mongolian Naadam complex at "Khui Doloon Khudag" horse race arena, Batbold went on. This year, 12 crossroads are awaiting the renovation, he added.
In frames of the "Highway" sub-project, feasibility studies and environmental impact evaluation have been performed for constructions for the "Tuul" and "Selbe" highways. Contracts are expected to be established with executing companies on June 16, Batbold said.
National Park Unveils Football, Cycling Grounds
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) The National park has created a football ground and 2.7 km long cycle way.
This is a first part of the sport complex that will be erected on 2.7 hectares of the park, initiated by the Premier N.Altankhuyag. Some five billion togrog for the construction have been issued by the PM's fund.
The park is also to have basketball and lawn tennis courts and running and skiing facilities.
A tender-winner "Burd" and "Tsagaan zam" companies are working on the construction.
Mogi: I'm thinking the association has Mongolia in name only and has no formal Mongolian representation. If otherwise, then …
Mongolia-Vietnam Friendship Association condemns China actions in East Sea
(VOV) - The Vietnam-Mongolia Friendship Association (VMFA) has issued a joint statement expressing concern about the current East Sea situation after China put the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
A Vietnam-Mongolia Friendship Association delegation led by its Chairman Ho Xuan Hung visited Mongolia from June 1-6 as part of the celebration for the 60th anniversary of Vietnam-Mongolia diplomatic ties (1954-2014).
To mark the event, the Vietnam-Mongolia Friendship Association (VMFA) and the Vietnamese Embassy in Mongolia have hosted a business roundtable discussion.
At the seminar, the two sides agreed that unilateral actions by China in the East Sea is a serious violation of the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Vietnam stipulated by the 1982 UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC). China's blatant acts of escalation in the East Sea are causing grave concern to China's neighbors.
They described the seminar as a good opportunity to enhance understanding and mutual trust, mutually benefiting cooperation between Vietnam and Mongolia.
Both sides agreed to strengthen cross-cultural exchange, education, boost economic and trade cooperation, and support the Vietnamese community in Mongolia and the Mongolian community in Vietnam.
Within the framework of the event, the Vietnamese delegation paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the Mongolian Union of Peace and Friendship Organizations and visited a School no 14 named President Ho Chi Minh in Ulanbato.
Russian Security Council Secretary Arrives For 3-Day Visit to Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) At an invitation of Mongolia's National Security Council secretary Ts.Enkhtuvshin, his counterpart from Russia Nikolai Patrushev is visiting Mongolia these days.
During his visit here, the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia will be received by the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj, and will hold negotiations with his counterpart of Mongolia Ts.Enkhtuvshin. After the meeting, Security Council Secretaries of the two countries will have a press conference to inform the media on the meeting.
Prior to this, Mr Patrushev visited to Mongolia in 2009 to discuss the cooperation plans of the two Security Councils for 2010-2011.
Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev was Director of the Russian Federal Security Service, the successor organization to the Committee for State Security (KGB), from 1999 to 2008, and he has been Secretary of the Security Council of Russia since 2008.
Patrushev, a general in Russia's Army and a PhD in law, had been received a number of national awards, including Hero of the Russian Federation.
President meets Secretary of Security Council of Russia
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) The President Ts.Elbegdorj Tuesday received visiting these days Mr Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.
The dignitaries discussed issues of developing the Mongolia-Russia strategic partnership relations and strengthening them in ensuring of the national security. They also shared views on international and regional matters.
They mentioned about co-celebrating some important events such as the 75th anniversary of the Khalkh River Battle Victory, and noted about a proposal of Mongolia to host a trilateral meeting in Ulaanbaatar among Mongolia, Russia and China on the railway transit transport matters.
Delegates at UN forum in Mongolia back effort to help landlocked developing countries harness trade
3 June 2014 (UN News Centre) Ahead of a major United Nations conference on landlocked development countries (LLDCs) set for later this year, delegates at a high-level meeting in Mongolia have called for the immediate ratification of an agreement which will help boost trade and make it easier for these countries to participate competitively in global markets.
"Trade facilitation measures are of critical importance for LLDCs and their coastal neighbours in order to ensure quicker, easier and less costly transactions," said Gyan Chandra Acharya, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and Secretary-General of the Second UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries to be held in November in Vienna.
"As we prepare for the Vienna conference, it is clear that we need to identify a development framework for LLDCs that can truly help them achieve rapid, inclusive and sustainable economic growth," he added.
The two-day meeting in Mongolia's capital of Ulaanbaatar assessed how LLDCs can benefit from the World Trade Organization's new agreement on trade facilitation, a mechanism which simplifies and streamlines the procedures and controls that govern the movement of goods across borders.
High trading costs are a critical challenge for LLDCs striving to improve their participation in international trade. Compared to countries with access to sea ports, LLDCs currently pay more than double in transport costs and incur significant time delays in sending and receiving merchandise overseas.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement, which will enter into force once it is ratified by two-thirds of WTO's members, seeks to drive customs efficiency, lower trade costs, and reduce delays at border crossings. Enhanced trade facilitation is also likely to increase the flow of foreign direct investment and enhance economic development.
There are 32 countries classified as landlocked developing, 16 of which are located in Africa, 10 in Asia, 4 in Europe and 2 in Latin America.
In addition to trade facilitation, other issues of crucial importance to LLDCs include infrastructure financing, the impact of climate change, desertification, and information and communication development.
Landlocked Developing Countries Gather in Ulaanbaatar for WTO Workshop
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) A high-level international workshop titled "WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation: Implications for landlocked developing countries" started Monday in Ulaanbaatar.
The action has been co-organized by the government of Mongolia, the International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS). It has gathered delegates of 32 countries, officials and scholars from the WTO, World Customs Organization (WCO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), International Trade Center, state organizations, NGOs, and a private sector.
Being discussed from the year 2004, the WTO agreement on trade facilitation reflects many important clauses for the interests of the landlocked countries. Exempting them from extra payment for transit transport and liberalizing their customs rules are the vital parts of the agreement.
On the first day of the meeting, reports were delivered on developmental criteria for the landlocked developing nations, on their participation in international commerce, and on the present situation.
If WTO members adopt the agreement during a forthcoming meeting of the WTO's General Council on July 31, any of the landlocked countries will be able to carry out transit transport without additional charge, excluding the service fees, within territories of the WTO states. On the other hand, they will bear a main responsibility for boosting their infrastructure in order to improve the freight passing capacity.
At the meeting, the gathered reached an agreement to enhance their economic development.
The international workshop will continue until Tuesday.
UAE FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT MONGOLIA, JUNE 3-4
June 3 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan will pay an official visit to Mongolia on June 3 and 4 upon the invitation of Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Bold.
During his visit, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates will pay courtesy calls on the President of Mongolia and the Prime Minister of Mongolia and hold official talks with Minister L.Bold to discuss key issues of bilateral economic relations and cooperation.
Mogi: think the author is overestimating the "danger" this presents to Mongolia. Russia, China constantly affirms respect for Mongolia's border & sovereignty and vice versa
Will Events in Ukraine Trickle East to Mongolia?
By Brandon Miliate
June 3 (Mongolia Focus) As President Obama declares that the US is preparing to boost its military presence in Europe to the tune of $1 billion, and NATO and the EU move quickly to deepen relations with Georgia and Moldova it is easy to conclude that the crisis in Ukraine and the recent actions of the Russian Federation are a very European issue. However, if we turn our attention to Mongolia, we can see that worsening US/EU relations with Russia are likely to have a far more global effect than may have been initially assumed.
Mongolia, for its part, seeks to simultaneously maintain good relations with its neighbors (Russia and China) while deepening relations with extra-regional powers such as EU member states, the US, Japan, and South Korea. While maintaining this balance and neutrality is difficult enough in a stable international environment, the recent increase in tensions between Russia and NATO/EU members has made playing both sides of the fence an increasingly delicate process.
The first sign that Mongolia was finding itself in an increasingly sticky situation appeared when the country chose to abstain from the UN resolution condemning the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Everything about Mongolian foreign policy and general international outlook would lead one to believe that Mongolian officials do not welcome Russia's aggressive actions. Not only would Mongolia not be keen on Russia's attempts to legitimize its actions by reference to historic rights and "arbitrary decisions" (this having the potential to set a precedent for claims on Mongolia's territory by China), but this kind of action by a great power against a smaller neighbor more generally underlines Mongolia's own vulnerability. That said, it is also clear that Mongolia is not in a position to upset its relations with the Russian Federation, given its importance to the Mongolian economy and its role as a neighboring balancer vis-à-vis China. "Abstain" was likely the only decision Mongolia could make.
It would appear that the Russian government is also watching how countries on its eastern borders will respond to the crisis in its relations with Europe and North America. Case in point: Russian President Putin met with Mongolian officials 2 times in just the last 3 weeks. The first time, Mongolian Prime Minister N. Altankhuyag met with Putin to discuss the two countries' bilateral relationship at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The second time, Putin met with Mongolian President Elbegdorj at the Confidence Building Measures in Asia meeting in Shanghai. Russia is eager to keep Mongolia from sliding towards the United States and Europe.
While I do not know if the current situation in Ukraine was discussed at these meetings, Ukraine was on the agenda during recent meetings between the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs L. Bold and the British Minister of Foreign Affairs two weeks ago. I would also guess that U.S. Senators Steve Lynch and Steven Shabet mentioned the issue during their visit to Ulaanbaatar as part of an official tour of Asia.
Mongolia and other small states seeking to maintain relations with Russia and the "West" are going to find it increasingly difficult to maintain a favorable balance. As Russia becomes more assertive of its foreign policy and security interests, its relationship with NATO and EU member states is unlikely to improve. While Mongolia has navigated the international arena successfully for the past couple decades, that well thought-out success has a limit. As Mongolia's international profile rises and relations between real and third neighbors deteriorate, I predict that Mongolia's goal of an omni-directional foreign policy will become more and more difficult to maintain. Difficult, but by no means impossible.
(Many of the resources and links for the post came directly from my "Foreign Policy Roundup", which be can found here).
Mongolia Signs $125 Million Loan Agreement with ADB for 2nd Phase of Western Road Corridor Development
June 3 (infomongolia.com) On June 02, 2014, Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director Robert Schoellhammer have signed a 125 million USD Loan Agreement, the second phase of the "Western Regional Road Corridor Development Investment Program".
In the scope of resolved investment, a 103.9 km road from center of Khovd Aimag to Khashaat Davaa, 60 km road from Khashaat Davaa to Tolbo Sum of Bayan-Ulgii Aimag, 25.8 km road from Tsagaan Nuur village of Nogoonnuur Sum (Bayan-Ulgii Aimag) to Ulaanbaishint border port in Tsagaannuur Sum of Bayan-Ulgii Aimag will be constructed and the total road estimates 189.7 km that aims to develop western regional road corridor.
The 189.7 km road to be completed by 2016 is the first stage of the second phase of the Program and the total road agreed between the Government of Mongolia and the Asian Development Bank is to construct 743.1 km road from Yarant port located in Bulgan Sum of Khovd Aimag to Ulaanbaishint border port.
In the scope of the Project, the ADB will invest 125 million USD under 15-year loan with 5-year of grace and the road network aims to connect northern and southern neighbors with a paved road, create linkages with Europe and develop trade across Asia. The road is therefore significant to the development of the region and Mongolia.
The 189.7 km road, which is planned to be completed by 2016 will be accomplished with an additional two-year guarantee period and the total project is estimated to finish in 2018, moreover besides the main routes, internal roads and bridges are also included such as 10 km of repaving sections to allow access to highway, 4.9 km of repaving in center of Ulgii, and two bridges in Ulgii.
Millennium Road Project
The Millennium Road project was started in 2000 and is being implemented with a plan to construct paved roads of 7,546 km long connecting Mongolia's east to west horizontally (2,653 km) and five parallel vertical axes from the Russian Federation to PRC by 2016, and Ulaanbaatar will be connected to all aimag centers by paved roads, in order to improve transport access of residents living in rural and suburban areas. Figure 5 shows the Millennium Roads, of which Route 1 is in the Tranche 2 and 3 Corridor.
Western Regional Road Corridor Project to Be Funded $125 Million – Montsame, June 3
Prokopi gets three months in prison for smuggling dinosaur bones out of Mongolia
June 3 (Reuters) - A paleontologist who prosecutors called a "a one-man black market in prehistoric fossils" was sentenced on Tuesday to three months in prison after he admitted to having schemed to smuggle dinosaur remains out of Mongolia.
Eric Prokopi, 39, pleaded guilty to three felony counts in December 2012. The case stemmed from U.S. efforts to seize and return to Mongolia a Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton that was auctioned in New York the previous May for $1.05 million.
"What I did was wrong, and I failed to appreciate the gravity of what I have done," Prokopi told U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan at a court hearing.
Georges Lederman, Prokopi's lawyer, had sought a non-prison sentence, reflecting the Virginia resident's help in recovering what a prosecutor said was at least 17 other dinosaur fossils.
Hellerstein, however, said a prison term would send a message to others in the commercial paleontology field.
"He is clearly not a bad person, but he has done a bad thing," Hellerstein said.
The nearly complete 70-million-year-old skeleton was repatriated to Mongolia in May 2013. Lawyers in Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office said it had been exported from the Gobi Desert in violation of laws declaring dinosaur fossils to be state property.
Lederman said Prokopi will begin serving the 3-month sentence in September, followed by another 15 months of supervised release that begins with three months in a community facility.
Prosecutors said that from 2010 to 2012, Prokopi, who sold coral, fossils and other natural treasures out of his home, misrepresented the contents of dinosaur fossil shipments to the United States from Mongolia.
The defendant also illegally procured a second nearly complete Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton, two Saurolophus skeletons and two Oviraptor skeletons, and in 2010 used bogus paperwork to import from China the remains of a small, flying dinosaur, prosecutors said.
Prokopi was arrested in October 2012, and pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, entry of goods by means of false statements and interstate and foreign transportation of goods converted and taken by fraud.
The defendant could have faced up to three years, one month under federal sentencing guidelines, but U.S. prosecutors sought a shorter term in light of his cooperation in recovering fossils about which the government was unaware.
Martin Bell, an assistant U.S. attorney, said Prokopi shed light on a black market for dinosaur fossils that was "ignored by the government and hiding in plain sight."
Other investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice into possibly illegally imported fossils have since been opened in Wyoming, California and New York, Bell said.
Illegally Importing Tyrannosaurus Lands Man In Prison – Forbes, June 3
5-Year Exploration Moratorium on Sayan Mountains of Khuvsgul Aimag Extended for 25 Years
June 3 (infomongolia.com) On May 29, 2014, the irregular 7th meeting of Khuvsgul Aimag Citizens' Representative Khural (Aimag Council) was held in Murun city and following the meeting an important decision to protect its natural resources was issued.
In detail, the Aimag Council Resolution No.01 dated from June 01, 2009 that reads as a part of the Sayan Mountains ranges on the 50th latitude north to the Aimag's territory was included as the Khuvsgul Aimag Land For Special Needs and within the 7th meeting, the expiration of the 5-year period from Resolution No.01 due on June 01, 2014 was extended another 25 years from now.
In the scope of the extension period, natural resources utilization except for common findings are prohibited as well as exploration and exploitation of gold and mineral resources are also prohibited to conduct in this territory.
The Altai Mountains in the East-Central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together, and where the Irtysh and Ob Rivers have their headwaters, are being determined as an important contributor to the global eco system stabilizations.
Moreover, Byaran jade stone deposit in Tsagaannuur Sum and Mangush coal deposit in Ulaan-Uul Sum territories will not be utilized anymore and the 45.8% or 2,657,847.4 ha of total territory of Khuvshul Aimag are included as special protected area, according to the Resolution.
With unique landscapes and wildlife, the Sayan Mountains extensions pass through 14 sums of Khuvsgul Aimag and being tourism destinations of the Aimag.
Mongolia Submits Progress Report to UNHCHR on Eliminating Racial Discrimination
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) The Government has submitted to the United Nations (UN) High Commission on Human Rights a report on implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
The report, sent on May 21, highlights a realization of the recommendations given by of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination after it had reviewed previous reports of Mongolia, and also an article in the Constitution of Mongolia that states "No person may be discriminated against on the basis of ethnic origin, language, race, age, sex, social origin and status, property, occupation and post, religion, opinion and education. Every person shall be a subject before the law," and emphasizes that no complaints regarding racial discrimination have been received by the National Human Rights Commission and the Police Authority of Mongolia.
Mongolia joined the Convention in 1969, and has a responsibility to report its implementation of the convention to the UN every two years.
This Year's Naadam Horses to Be Equipped with GPS-s
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) At its meeting on Tuesday, the Organizing Committee of National Great Festival Naadam and members of the sub-committee discussed plans and a draft budget for the celebration.
With nine sub-committees and one working group with 177 members, the committee plans to do 285 types of work and services during the Naadam Festival on occasion of the 808th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire and 93rd anniversary of the People's Revolution.
The committee intends to run the celebration with a budget not be higher of the previous year's. The amount will be introduced to the cabinet at its meeting on Saturday, said a head of the finance and state fund section of the municipality E.Gankhuu.
GPS was presented by Ts.Jadambaa, a head of the Information Technology and Post and Communication Agency, to provide people with opportunities to watch horse-race of the Naadam festival through mobile phones and Internet.
Deputy PM and chief of the organizing committee D.Terbishdagva said the committee will get au fait with the preparation on the Central Stadium and in a "Khui Doloon Khudag" horse-race field before the cabinet's meeting.
Railway fence hems in Mongolia's migratory wild asses
June 3 (Horsetalk.co.nz) A railway fence now marks the de facto eastern border of the range for the Asiatic wild ass, say conservationists, who warn that migratory habits are under threat from burgeoning human development.
Conservations are warning of the dangers posed by rapid infrastructure growth in Mongolia on the migratory habits of ungulates in the region.
The say rapid changes on the Gobi-Steppe ecosystem are posing serious challenges for the likes of wild asses, which can range over 70,000 square kilometres every year, and Mongolian gazelles.
Mongolian and international conservationists say the steppe is home to a unique range of animal and plant species, and warn that authorities need to reconcile rapid infrastructure development in Mongolia with the needs of migratory species.
Their recommendations are published online in the journal, Conservation Biology.
The Gobi-Steppe ecosystem is world renowned for its migratory mammals, which cover great distances in search of forage.
Scientists at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine have documented that, in just one year, an individual wild ass can range across 70,000 square kilometres.
"Wild asses and gazelles have to be permanently on the move and travel very long distances to find enough food," explains Petra Kaczensky, one of the authors from the university, also known as Vetmeduni Vienna.
"Rainfall is highly variable in this region. As a consequence pastures are patchy and unpredictable in space and time."
Although vast stretches of land remain largely unaltered, migratory species face a number of obstacles that disrupt their journey and affect their ability to survive and reproduce in this highly variable environment.
The main obstacles of the recent past are fences erected along the international borders with Russia and China and the Trans Mongolian Railroad.
The railroad fence now constitutes the de facto eastern border for the Asiatic wild ass, cutting the population off from its former much larger range to the east.
Gazelles have also been largely restricted to either side of the railroad, but when they do attempt to cross they often get entangled or turned away.
On its rapid path of economic development, Mongolia continues to build roads and new railway lines that are expected to threaten the ecological phenomenon of wildlife migration, if not carefully planned.
The conservationists say structural modifications could be made to fences and unnecessary fences removed in areas where there are no livestock. Planned railway lines could be re-routed to avoid sensitive areas.
Another author of the report, Kirk Olson, from Fauna & Flora International, a global conservation group based in Britain, says: "We advocate a development process that minimizes negative effects on the integrity of the ecosystems such as following existing roads between villages to avoid large uninhabited regions while also incorporating the necessary designs so that they do not become new barriers; at the same time known barriers need to be removed.
"Regional planners need to think big – meaning on the scale of the migrations," adds author Nyamsuren Batsaikhaan, from the National University of Mongolia.
Research into the movement and habitat requirements of the species roaming Mongolia's Gobi-Steppe ecosystem is ongoing, but needs to continue to identify potential conflicts between development efforts and biodiversity conservation requirements, the researchers say.
Science can and should play a role in planning processes, according to Chris Walzer of the Vetmeduni Vienna, another author of the paper.
"It is also among the responsibilities of a university to provide that link between science and policy-making. Scientists can provide constructive inputs in fields such as wildlife management and conservation.
"I think that if we do not translate our findings into practical advice that non-scientists can use, we have failed in our educational mission."
In the case of Mongolia, the authors are hopeful that joint efforts will lead to the preservation of the country's outstanding natural heritage for future generations.
The article, "Conserving the World's Finest Grassland Amidst Ambitious National Development", by N. Batsaikhan and others, was recently published in Conservation Biology. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12297/abstract
Mongolian Academy of Sciences and Bonn University to Continue Kharkhorin Expedition Until 2019
Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) In frames of Mongolia-Germany cooperation in science, Mongolia's Academy of Sciences and the University of Bonn of Germany have agreed to continue cooperation in Kharkhorin expedition works until 2019.
On Monday, a cooperation document was inked by D.Regdel, a vice president of the Academy, and by Mr Yang Bemmann, a director of the university's Institute of Prehistory and Early History Archaeology.
Under auspices of the Presidents of Mongolia and Germany, the academy and the institute have been cooperating since 1999, successfully researching Kharkhorin city, an ancient capital of Mongolia, and its outskirts, and sending our young archeologists to Germany for studies.
NY Artists & Mongolian Morin Khuur Ensemble to Stage "Jazz and Morin Khuur" Concert on June 5
June 3 (infomongolia.com) The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in association with the "Steppe Jazz" NGO is organizing the "Jazz and Morin Khuur" performance at the State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Ulaanbaatar on June 05, 2014.
This is the 6th International Festival hosted by "Steppe Jazz" NGO and this time a group from NYU Jazz Faculty In Residence Ensemble, Combo Nuvo will be costaging to show a combination of western and nomadic music arts. The Combo Nuvo is an eclectic improvisational ensemble comprised of some of New York City's leading jazz artists and the group includes Dave Schroeder, NYU Jazz Studies Director, harmonica and woodwinds, Lenny Pickett, woodwinds, Brad Shepik, acoustic guitar, Rich Shemaria, piano, Mike Richmond, cello and John Hadfield, percussion.
Due to approaching day, Head of "Steppe Jazz" NGO, N.Ganbat commented, "We will showcase how would sound Mongolian songs in jazz composition. We used to listen to long and folk songs with Morin Khuur, but nearly never heard a jazz version of Mongolian songs, and within this concert we will perform these composites".
According to organizers, the tickets would range between 15 and 25 thousand MNT (Tugrug) and the Combo Nuvo group had already arrived in UB and they will be staging two nights at UB Jazz Club on June 03-04, 2014.
A Mongolian-style yurt is a unique and sustainable addition to UBC Farm
June 2 (University of British Columbia) While universities around the world usually focus on building state-of-the-art laboratories, the latest structure to be erected at UBC's Vancouver campus opts instead to draw inspiration from ancient nomads.
A 65-square-metre yurt–a circular, semi-permanent tent-like structure common to Mongolia and other parts of Central Asia–now sits on the grounds of the UBC Farm. A rare sight at a university, not to mention an urban setting, the centuries-old design of these collapsible bent wood structures is simple, smart and sustainable.
UBC Farm will use the yurt for courses, children's programs, community workshops, as well as events and lectures. One program that will use the yurt frequently is the Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness Program. CRUW pairs at-risk Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth with elders to learn how to grow food and medicine plants.
Plans and fundraising for the yurt began in 2010 after Farm activities began to outgrow existing facilities.
"We were bursting at the seams with our programming and our current facilities couldn't keep up with the growth that we were seeing," says Director Amy Frye. "Building a yurt seemed like a sustainable solution."
Video: A time-lapse video of the yurt going up at UBC Farm
How yurts work
Yurts consist of a circular latticework frame wrapped with fabric and covered by a domed roof. They are easy to assemble and transport while also sturdier than a typical tent.
Derreck Travis, a recent graduate in UBC's Master of Architecture program who has studied yurts, says the structures are sustainable because "they are constructed or deconstructed in hours, and require no foundation or alterations to the ground."
He adds the materials used to build them can be completely natural, from cotton coverings to wooden floors to wool insulation.
The yurt at the farm was purchased from Pacific Yurts, an Oregon-based company, and features lattice circular walls and structural grade rafters made of Douglas fir.
Yurts first started popping up in North America in the late 1960s, and have become more popular in recent years. Their historical significance, however, dates back much further.
"Yurts have been the primary form of housing in Central Asia for centuries, even before the arrival of Genghis Khan," says Julian Dierkes, a sociologist and expert on Mongolia at UBC's Institute of Asian Research. "These ancient dwellings remain hugely significant in the region."
In addition to nomadic Mongolians, nearly a half-million people who live outside the capital of Ulaanbaatar still live in yurts, Dierkes adds.
As for the yurt at UBC Farm, Frye says it's the first step towards greater expansion.
"We hope to see even more infrastructure go up in the next couple of years that's as unique and useful as the yurt is already proving to be."
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.