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Thursday, June 5, 2014
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YAK closed +1.53% to C$2.66, MNGGF +0.41% to US$2.42
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. Publishes April 2014 Monthly Letter to Shareholders
Toronto, Ontario, June 4 (FSCwire) - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK – TSXV and MNGGF – USA), a real estate investment and development company pursuing the dynamic growth of the Mongolian economy via ownership of institutional-quality commercial property assets in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is pleased to announce the release of its April 2014 Shareholder Letter.
April 2014 Shareholder Letter
To the Shareholders of Mongolia Growth Group Ltd.,
In April 2014, MGG's core commercial property portfolio* experienced a same-store rental increase of 36.8% relative to April 2013 on properties owned 12 months or longer, as measured in local currency (Mongolian Togrog). Total billed revenue for April 2014 was 260.7 million Mongolian Togrog, as compared to 212.5 million Mongolian Togrog in April of 2013 or a 22.7% increase.** The occupancy rate for the core portfolio in April of 2014 was 95.9%, including an occupancy rate of 98.1% for core retail properties and an occupancy rate of 90.5% for core office properties.
Investment Portfolio and Borrowings Update
During the month of April, we continued to implement our strategy of shifting MGG's asset mix away from smaller properties that cost more to maintain and manage, and towards larger institutional-quality assets that are easier to scale, as we build MGG into a leading real estate company in Mongolia. During April, we disposed of one property. Over the course of the first four months of 2014, we have disposed of a total of seven properties and received commitments to sell an additional two properties.
During April, MGG borrowed money from a highly respected bank in Mongolia, in order to complete the acquisition of a distressed asset at a substantial discount to current market prices. While property companies are usually significantly leveraged for better economics, we want MGG to retain a conservative balance sheet with ample liquidity to take advantage of future acquisition opportunities, like the purchase that was just completed. The company intends to reduce the borrowings through continued sales of non-core assets, while in due course, exploring ways to refinance this new loan with cheaper overseas borrowings.
Mongolian Economic Update
During the first quarter of 2014, Mongolia's GDP grew 7.4%
Since our previous update to you:
· Mongolian Prime Minister Altankhuyag Norov issued a 100 day, 50-point agenda which promises to boost infrastructure, mining, manufacturing and the development of small and medium-sized businesses
· January to April trade deficit narrowed 82% to US $93.7 million compared with a deficit of US $528.3 million in 2013. Mongolia's exports increased by 18.1% compared to the prior year
· China has agreed to lend the Mongolian government US $193 million to finance a highway along the Tuul river and Yarmag Bridge
· US-based "Freedom House" NGO released the press freedom index of countries and Mongolia improved 3 ranks compared to last year and is now ranked 74th place out of 197 nations that were ranked
We look forward to updating you again on our progress and new developments in the Mongolian economy next month.
Mogi: Sam Walsh's "very optimistic" effect? Never heard Rio say that before
Turquoise Hill closes up 3.19% on Wednesday, up 7.78% this week
MSE News for June 4: Top 20 +1.34% to 15,444.87, Turnover ₮33.6 Million
Ulaanbaatar, June 4 /MONTSAME/ At the Stock Exchange trades held Wednesday, a total of 16 thousand and 089 shares of 31 JSCs were traded costing MNT 33 million 637 thousand and 355.00.
"APU" /4,032 units/, "Hermes center" /4,000 units/, "Remikon" /2,720 units/, "Moninjbar" /1,276 units/ and "E-trans logistics" /1,150 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"APU" (MNT 14 million 582 thousand and 825), "UB-BUK" (MNT four million and 320 thousand), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT two million and 914 thousand), "Shivee ovoo" (MNT one million 590 thousand and 140) and "Avto impex" (MNT one million 417 thousand and 500).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 573 billion 276 million 442 thousand and 548. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,444.87, increasing by MNT 204.75 or 1.34% against the previous day.
BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, June 4 Close
May, June MNT Chart:
Mogi: BoM started publishing reserve data with a 3 month delay, from March, I believe
Mongolia Forex Reserves Fall 45.3% y/y to $2.195b at end-Feb
By Michael Kohn
June 4 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's m/m forex reserves fell 10.2% from pvs month, Bank of Mongolia say on its website.
* International reserves fall 2.3% year through February: statement
* Inflation rose 12.3% y/y in April: statement
(Bloomberg First Word)
GoM Bond Auction: Announced ₮10 Billion 5-Year Bills Sold at Premium, Average Yield 13.87%, with ₮15 Billion Bids
June 4 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 5 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 10.0 billion /out of 15.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at premium price and with weighted average yield of 13.87%.
Please find expanded information from Table.
Information of Government securities auction
Announced amount /by MNT/
Received amount /by MNT
Sold amount /by MNT/
Weighted average yield
Frequency of coupon payment
Maximum yield of fulfilled bids
Minimum yield of fulfilled bids
GoM Treasury Auction: Announced ₮20 Billion 28-Week Bills Sold at Discount, Average Yield 9.53%, with ₮30 Billion Bids
June 4 (Bank of Mongolia) Regular auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 20.0 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 20.0 billion /out of 30.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 9.53%.
Please find expanded information from Table.
Information of Government securities auction
Announced amount /by MNT/
Received amount /by MNT
Sold amount /by MNT/
Weighted average yield
Maximum yield of fulfilled bids
Minimum yield of fulfilled bids
GoM Securities Report, April 2014
(Ministry of Finance) Highlights for FY2014 in the Development of the Mongolian Government Bond Market
Amount of Mongolian Government Bond Issuance
According to Article 9.1 of the Budget Law of 2014, the outstanding amount of Mongolian Government Bonds (MGBs) to be issued this year will not exceed 1,400.0 billion Tugriks. In accordance with this provision the Ministry of Finance will prepare and make publicly available quarterly issuance schedules. The Government of Mongolia will be issuing a total of 440.0 billion Tugriks worth of MGBs in Q2, of which 310.0 billion Tugriks of MGBs will be repaid within FY2014, and 130.0 billion Tugriks of MGBs will be outstanding at the end of the year.
Main Policy Objectives
The following banks were the most active buyers in MGB auctions during April 2014:
1) Khan Bank
2) XAC Bank
3) State Bank
4) Capital Bank
5) Golomt Bank
Mogi: nothing on what exactly is IN this policy?
Going Green in Mongolia
June 4 (Mongolian Economy) Parliament will soon begin to discuss a green development mid-term programme, called the Green Development Policy by the Ministry of Environment. This new policy will contain six strategic goals based on a green development concept that will aim to benefit Mongolia in more ways than one. These goals hope to involve the general public in order to achieve maximum benefits.
Mongolia hopes to create an economy that engages the general public to keep a sustainable environment as it becomes a more pressing issue as of late. This Green Development Policy will help Mongolia become a developed country with long-term sustainable benefits. The programme will occur in two phases. The first phase deals with the establishment of a solid foundation of green development between 2014 and 2020. The second phase will occur between 2021 and 2030 and will include the transition of the economy into an age of green development.
B.Byambasaikhan: Rebuilding trust will save Mongolia's economy
June 4 (UB Post) The following is an interview with the Secretary of Economic Council B.Byambasaikhan, about the council's "100 day plan to intensify the economy."
Many people can't believe that an economy built until today can be revived in just 100 days. Can the economy be revived in 100 days?
Presently, everyone is criticizing that the USD exchange rates have risen and that money isn't flowing into Mongolia. Instability of the legal environment, uncertain rules and principles and the weak legal environment for business are all connected to the reason for shortage of money flow into Mongolia.
Mongolia's investment environment was improved. Major projects were implemented and gave reason to trust Mongolia to foreign and domestic investors. Corresponding to this, the amount of money flow into the economy had increased. Unfortunately, Mongolians lost that trust of investors in a very short amount of time. Many investors deflected from Mongolia because of unscientific, baseless and uncalculated law adoptions. The most important thing to do within these 100 days for intensifying the economy is to regain the trust of investors and bring back money flow.
In other words, by creating a favorable environment for running businesses within these 100 days, we'll be able to attract required funds for the current economy to Mongolian markets in a short period of time. Let's make integrated mediums and long term economic plans. Currently, a plan to create an environment that Mongolian businesses can make strategy plans based on this integrated economy medium and long term plan is being developed.
Getting investors' trust is a time consuming work. Some foreign investigators define Mongolia as a difficult partner to do business with. It seems that not only foreign but also domestic investors have lost faith in Mongolia. What do you think about this issue?
It's said that it's easy to lose someone's trust but difficult to redeem it once it is lost. Mongolians will not be able to grow the economy without building trust. Without regaining trust, there's no chance of attracting investments. All businesses are based on mutual trust. We have to concentrate on building and regaining trust during these 100 days. Both the government and politicians should focus on regaining the trust they lost. Investors stopped believing in Mongolia because Mongolians insist on changing established contracts, change laws and regulations whenever they please and if they don't like it, they banish, protest and do demonstrations.
Any investor would prefer reliable and stable business environment over partners that will change their attitude every time they wake up. Mongolians first need to focus on their attitudes and communication skills. Every time investors are discussed and conspired on, they will define us as unreliable partners. When adopting laws, opinions of the private sector, specialists and economists must be heard. We've just seen the harmful consequences of laws initiated by politicians for political purposes have to the economy. Most importantly, politicians should stop initiating and approving laws based on their emotions.
It is widely considered by experts that an economy which is dependent on only one sector brings about huge amounts of negative consequences. Do you think that not only the mining sector but also other sectors should be developed?
It's evident that the Mongolian economy should change its model and diversify. Determining what to concentrate on diversifying the economy is also a big issue. Since mining and agriculture are the supporting powers of Mongolian economy, other sectors should be developed based on them. Undeniably, Mongolia's economy is receiving negative effects from global market failures for being too dependent on mining. A major change in the policy is required. If we can acquire two billion USD in the Mongolian economy, the exchange rate of USD will stabilize for a period of time. It's certain that there'll be negative consequences after six months or so as it is not limitless money.
The government decided to encourage exportation and limit unnecessary importation. How will this policy be reflected on the economy?
There'll definitely be some difference. Through importation, Mongolia is externalizing large sums of USD. Although, not everything can be produced domestically, things that can be produced by us should be produced domestically. We can grow and harvest vegetables. A country like Mongolia, with over 40 million livestock, should supply its own milk and wear Mongolian socks. Corresponding to this, workplaces will become available and taxes can be charged from them. Mongolia needs to become a producing country. A definition of an intellectual government is to be prudent and calculative in every aspects as well as making economic decisions based on research. Temporary emotional interferences in decision making in the last few years became the cause of the Mongolian economic crisis.
Now, the Economic Council is involving private sectors and aiming to make changes together with them. As people who know the difficulties, advantages and disadvantages of operating businesses more than politicians, within the framework of 100 day plan to intensify the economy, our main objective is to research and find solutions for getting out of the economic crisis, participate in making decisions based on estimates and most importantly, build trust which we lost in the last few years, together with the government.
Business entities are actively participating in the 100 day work to intensify the economy. Some people believe that you're working with funds that you received from the government. Is it true?
Sorry to contradict you but we're working without any salary. Most importantly, it'll be beneficial everywhere if favorable conditions for businesses are established. We're working because we aim to create economic changes together. Perspectives of politicians and business entities are different. This country is held up by business entities, not by politicians. If business entities have funds, the country will have both power and prosperity. Regarding this, we thought that we should participate in retrieving the country's economy in a state of crisis and work together with politicians on building trust. Wealth producers must be the ones to change the economy.
After 100 days, will the exchange rate of USD drop?
Money flows into the economy through capital. Implementation work of projects is based on mutual trust and partnership. If Mongolia desires prosperity, everyone including ordinary residents, politicians and businessmen should work together. The second stage of investment for Oyu Tolgoi was halted. The funds that were to come flowing in through the underground development are no longer coming in. Now it's better to concentrate on aspects to develop the economy without fracturing or politicizing. Oyu Tolgoi must be advanced and Tavan Tolgoi should be included in the economic utilization. Mongolians have so much work to do, starting from the development of infrastructure and railroads and we need to have ethical consciousness to adhere to established contracts and stop restricting, threatening and humiliating wealth creators. It's clear that money will never flow into Mongolia if we lose the trust of not only foreign investors but also domestic investors. In order to become wealthy, attitude of the people must be changed.
BCM Monthly Infographic: Mongolia's Rich Minerals Wealth Untapped
June 4 (BCM) --
Mogi: Minister N.Batbayar has publicly promised that the gauges and routes in previous draft will remain the same, only difference is in the capacity of some of the routes. Standard gauge will still apply for TT-Gashuunsukhait border point. We'll see if that remains the case
Cabinet to Resubmit Draft State Policy on Railway to Parliament – Cabinet Meeting in Brief
Ulaanbaatar, June 4 (MONTSAME) At its irregular meeting on Tuesday, the cabinet discussed a draft resolution of parliament on ensuring implementation of the state policy on railway transportation.
Earlier, this resolution had been withdrawn from parliament, and will be submitted to parliament again.
- The government backed 888 projects on replacing import products out of 1,151 offered, and classified the selected ones into two groups--requiring 2 billion togrog and more.
The meeting decided to allot MNT 100 billion for financing those asking for up to two billion from the governmental capital earned from stock sales. The Minister of Economic Development and a representing leading council of the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM) were authorized to give the money through a fund for small- and middle-sized development.
Mongolia to allot ₮410 billion for agricultural development
Ulaanbaatar, June 4 (MONTSAME) During an interview given to the "11 11" Center, created at the government, the Industry and Agriculture Ministry's State Secretary Kh.Zoljargal give details on agricultural development.
This year, Mongolia has sown grain in 286.6 thousand ha, potatoes in 10 thousand ha, other vegetables in 5.5 thousand ha and oil-yielding crops in 65 thousand ha, he said. Nationwide, 16.1 million heads of domestic animals (sheep, goat, horse, cow and camel) gave birth to healthy youngsters, he added.
A 9,200 ton out of 14 thousand 546 ton of stocked meat has been sold, that means there is a meat stock enough until the Naadam Festival (July 11), he went on.
The Government is implementing selective farming policies for meat, milk and wool production, with promotion of mechanization and technology introduction in agronomy, and construction of vegetable storehouses, Mr Zoljargal noted. In these efforts, the Government is to allot 270 billion togrog for wool, cashmere, milk production and farm, greenhouse construction, and 140 billion togrog for hive and leather manufacturing.
MPP demands new government action policy
June 4 (UB Post) The Mongolian People's Party (MPP) caucus in Parliament held a meeting on Monday and discussed several issues, including the action policy fulfillment of the Government of Mongolia over the last two years, the country's economic situation, and a report on Mongolian society's development in 2013.
The MPP believes that the Government's claim that it has so far satisfied 46.2 percent of its action policy is not a reality. The MPP parliamentary caucus says it has monitored the implementation of the action policy, estimating its annual and quarterly fulfillment, and reached the conclusion that the government's performance is only at 30 percent. In particular, MPP caucus members noted that the implementation of programs and projects targeting budget, finance, money, loan policy, salary, pension, welfare, labor, job production, mining and industrialization has been insufficient.
The leader of the working group to monitor the government's action plan, S.Batbold, pointed out, "The government's goal to reduce loan interest to one digit has not been realized so far. At the moment, loan interest is at 15-18 percent. Positive results have not been shown within target to create new jobs. Government's promise to increase salary, pension and welfare was not fulfilled last year. In 2012, a total of 2,878 entities operated in the agricultural field, but in 2013 it fell to 839. A total of 470 entities ran operations in 2012, but in 2013 it fell to 70. A total of 4,492 entities operated in the processing industry in 2012, however that number was reduced by 4.9 percent, dropping to 926 entities.
"The cost of commodity products increased by 30 to 40 percent. According to research conducted by the National Statistics Office, monetary income per household increased by 40 percent in 2012 from 2011, while in 2013 it increased by only 14.2 percent. Some 83.2 percent of total pensioners received pension loans of 294.2 billion MNT, and 30.5 percent of all workers claimed salary loans of 1.2 trillion MNT, which proves that the issues stated in the government's action platform are not being fulfilled sufficiently.
"Therefore, the working group has reached the conclusion that the Government's operations based on PR and promotion have to reflect people's real lives in order to fulfill its election oaths and action policy."
At last week's parliamentary meeting the performance of the basic directives to develop Mongolia's economy and society in 2012 was discussed. The Mongolian National Audit Office evaluated the performance of 2013's basic directives at 59 percent completion, or "insufficient". One hundred and eleven goals out of 165 in the 2013 basic directives were not implemented at all, or were considered under-implemented.
The MPP believes that because of the government's policy errors the economy has deteriorated and negatively impacted people's lives. The party will pay particular attention to 2015's basic directions, emphasized MPP party member O.Sodbileg.
The Threat of Fake Democracy Facing Mongolia
By Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa
June 4 (UB Post) Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, once said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried."
Mongolia adopted representative democracy where we choose and appoint our delegates giving them the power to make decisions concerning our lives on behalf of us. For the last 20 years, we have had relatively peaceful elections including khural elections at all levels (parliamentary election and all citizens' representatives council elections) and presidential elections. However, the sense of responsibility as well as professional discipline has been lost among the delegates we have chosen while their knowledge and skills required to perform their tasks are on a downward trajectory.
Furthermore, there is increased corruption and it is proving to be more difficult to provide oversight and hold them accountable for their unlawful actions. As a result, the entire society has become more prone to disarray and laziness. Some people today trust shamans more than they believe in themselves. That is why we are facing a genuine threat that Mongolia's democracy could become a fake democracy.
The main reason why this threat has become legitimate is that we have neglected the basic principle of representative democracy – oversight on governance. Regardless of which political party has the ruling power, our government at all levels talk greatly about having public oversight on governance, yet they actually do not do anything about it. They have become so skilled in avoiding the talks about civic oversight while using it as an advertisement tool in elections.
In countries where people are allowed to provide oversight to their government, a true democracy flourishes as public governance strengthens and the principles of free market are fully applied. It creates opportunities for their citizens to work hard, receive gains that they deserve, and satisfy their intellectual needs. On the other hand, if a democratic country does not have such mechanisms of public oversight, their people lose trust in political parties and become less active in elections. As a result, fewer people choose where the ruling power goes.
Media is an institution that plays the most important role in ensuring that the characteristics of democracy are present. However, Mongolian newspapers, television channels, radios, and social media, including Twitter and Facebook, have been negligent about providing oversight on public governance as our media has been more focused on the forms and attributes of problems rather than their root causes.
One of the issues that have been avoided, intentionally or unintentionally, by our political parties, legal entities, and media is the transparency of political party funding. Even though there are laws on financing political parties, they are not implemented. It has almost become an accepted norm that individuals offer huge, secret monetary donations to political parties, become a member of Parliament or other khurals in return, and potentially get appointed to a higher position within the government. It is clear how far the swamp of corruption has spread in a country where political power is traded.
It is inevitable that there will be doubt and distrust among citizens when it is allowed for individuals to buy senior governing positions while political parties can get away with keeping their financing secret.
In Mongolia, political party funding is regulated by the law on political parties while campaign finance of political parties is governed by the election law. There is currently no independent institution that reviews total funding of political parties, have political parties release their financial reports, and make those reports available to the public. The law states that political parties, as well as independent candidates, must have independent audits done on their campaign finance and submit the report to the General Election Committee within a month after the election concludes. However, the public does not have any information on whether political parties are in compliance with this law or not. The General Election Committee is an institution that organizes elections at all levels, but it does not have the authority to review campaign finance of political parties and hold them accountable for non-compliances.
Political parties have been secretly supporting the continuity of these circumstances where laws that are supposed to stop secret funding into political parties and trading of senior positions, and promote public oversight are not implemented. It has been favored by political parties that the non-compliances of such laws are not publicly informed and countermeasures are not taken in time to put an end to this.
Although Mongolia set certain limits on monetary donations that can be made by individuals as well as legal entities, there is no mechanism that verifies campaign finance reports submitted by political parties in order to see if there is any non-compliance with the law. It has become evident that political parties and state officials will not create such mechanism on their own unless there is a strong push from the public.
In order to stop corruption and improve the efficiency of governance, Mongolia needs to establish a system that reviews political party funding and their campaign finance, improves the understanding of democracy, and enhances public trust in democracy.
One possible option is to replace the General Election Committee with a Commission of Voters. Instead of the members of the General Election Committee being appointed by the President, the Prime Minister, or the Speaker of Parliament, majority of the members of the Commission of Voters should be politically independent individuals representing voters. Although there could be representatives of larger and smaller political parties, the independent members of the commission would have the right to make a decision independently from political parties. The commission could have an executive function that exercises the right to organize elections, receive financing reports from political parties, and investigate their sources of funding.
The Commission of Voters could report directly to the parliament and have long-term membership. Also, the commission would have the authority to accredit and approve the registration as well as shut down political parties, and relevant documents. Furthermore, the Commission of Voters can receive quarterly reports of political party income including donations, publish reports online, generate a list of the biggest donators, and improve awareness and understanding of public governance among citizens.
The commission should also be an appropriate institution that could study how political parties can use its money and capital, and give recommendations. For instance, such recommendations could include shutting down a political party if it has 801 members, which is the legal minimum for registration, but fails to receive the same amount of votes in an election.
There could also be an independent, parliamentary standards function that reviews the expenditure of funds that are provided by the government to members of Parliament and are supposed to be spent on transportation and other costs required to fulfill their tasks. At the request of votes, expenditure reports can be provided by this institution.
Besides holding democratic elections fairly and properly, Mongolia needs to make its public governance transparent, which includes reviewing and reporting of political party funding and their campaign finances. If we manage to build this system, Mongolia's current fake democracy will become a true democracy. It all depends on us, the citizens of Mongolia.
Translated by B.AMAR
Government inaction threatens Mongolia's renewable energy sector
By James Watkins
June 4 (UB Post) After the passing of the much-praised Renewable Energy Law in 2007, Mongolia looked poised to undergo a renewable energy revolution. The country's natural environment makes it a perfect candidate for large-scale projects in both wind and solar power, potentially attracting hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign investment, creating thousands of local jobs, reducing reliance on imported energy, and dramatically reducing environmental pollution, the scourge of Ulaanbaatar.
However, according to industry sources, the government is failing to fulfill its contractual obligations in terms of paying for the renewable electricity that is produced at the new 120 million USD Salkhit wind farm, which opened in June 2013. This action not only threatens the future of Salkhit wind farm but it will also deter other private investors from making any further ventures into the Mongolian renewable energy sector.
Under the terms of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between government energy agencies and Clean Energy LLC, a company set up by Newcom in 2004 to set up and manage Salkhit wind farm, all electricity produced at the farm would be paid for at a guaranteed price of 0.095 USD/kWh, regardless of whether it is actually used by the national grid to power Mongolian homes and businesses. Neal Detert, CFO/COO of Clean Energy LLC, explains that "we have priority dispatch, and the agreement that we have is a take-or-pay contract, so in theory they have to purchase everything, regardless of whether they take it or not." However, that "has not been happening to this point."
In reality, the National Dispatching Center has significantly limited the amount of electricity it is purchasing from clean energy by a factor of seven of 10 percent. Detert stresses that "this seriously impacts the financial viability of the company. Whether or not we will survive the next year is in question."
In addition to Salkhit wind farm, three other projects of similar size are in planning stages, in Choir, Sainshand, and Tsogttsetsii. Two of the three hold construction licenses, in addition to power purchase agreements (PPA) similar to that held by Clean Energy LLC. However, the government's failure to fulfill their commitments made in Clean Energy's PPA is clearly making other companies hesitant. The wind farm planned for Sainshand received approval, financial backing and signed PPAs four months ago, but no further action has been taken since whilst the outlook remains uncertain. This is costing the country investment, jobs, and a much-needed clean energy supply, both now and in the future.
Salkhit wind farm, about 70 km away from Ulaanbaatar, is made up of 31 wind turbines, which together create a total generation capacity of 50MW, about five percent of Mongolia's total electricity demand, enough to power roughly 100,000 homes. Crucially, this electricity is produced with zero emissions of harmful gasses (post-construction). As a result, wind energy can not only help ensure energy security in the context of rapidly rising demand, but it does so using a freely available resource that will never run out—the wind—and avoiding pollution that would otherwise be produced, contributing to global climate change as well as to localized issues of air pollution.
With over 85 percent of Mongolia's electricity otherwise coming from coal-fired power plants, Clean Energy estimate that their wind farm alone will save 1.6 million tons of fresh water and 12,250 tons of coal per year, avoiding the emissions of 1,780 tons of carbon dioxide. In addition to these environmental benefits, a booming renewable energy sector is economically desirable too, potentially bringing in millions of dollars in private foreign investment, and creating employment in rural areas—during construction, the Salkhit wind farm was employing over 3,500 people, directly or indirectly.
Mongolia is an ideal location for renewable energy production. The Salkhit project is achieving wind capacity rates several percentage points higher than average farms around the world, and that is even after a season of lower wind yield than expected. In addition, the environment is even more beneficial for wind generation in the Gobi Desert, which has a potential capacity for 2,000 gigawatts of electricity generation (by means of comparison, total installed capacity of the whole Mongolian power sector is roughly one gigawatt). With huge potential for solar power too—the Gobi Desert experiences almost 4,500 daylight hours per year—renewable energy is a sector that could transform Mongolia, economically and environmentally.
Currently, low nighttime demand for electricity in Mongolia means that the electricity produced at Salkhit cannot be used without switching off other power stations, which can be costly and inefficient. This is one of the cited reasons for the curtailment of purchasing electricity by the National Dispatching Center.
Dulamsuren Dorjpurev, the Deputy Minister of Energy, has in the past hinted that Mongolia could become a regional hub for renewable energy generation by exporting electricity created at wind or solar farms to Russia or China. If favorable export tariffs can be negotiated with trade partners, this could be a doubly positive outcome—not only would Mongolia expand a new export industry, but this could also alleviate the pressure over the existing PPAs that the government is failing to uphold, as it would provide a guaranteed demand for all renewable energy produced, removing the need to curtail purchases.
While Mongolian energy generation capacity is currently under 1,000 MW, the Ministry of Energy forecast that peak demand will rise to over 2300 MW by 2020. Substantial investment in generation capacity is clearly needed, as well as in modernizing the distribution and transmission infrastructure around the country. With the government announcing a target for 20-25 percent of energy generation to be from renewable sources by 2025, renewable energy will be hugely important in this revolution that must occur in the energy sector in the coming decades.
With public funds unable to fully cover an investment of this scale (in the billions of dollars), private investment will have to form the backbone of the Mongolian energy sector over the coming decades. And, as Detert points out, "in order for [the government] to get private investment, they have to respect contract law, the rule of law."
This is true not only in this sector, but across the economy. Arguably the most fundamental requirement of creating a sound, reliable economic environment in which foreign investors feel comfortable doing business is respect for contract law. Without it, the future of Clean Energy LLC's Salkhit wind farm remains uncertain, and the potential for attracting substantial foreign investment in other renewable energy projects is diminishing.
POSCO sets up SNG subsidiary in Korea for Mongolia expansion
May 30 (Mongolian Mining Journal) South Korea's top steelmaker Posco has established a subsidiary to operate a synthetic natural gas (SNG) business that is planning extend operations to Mongolia. The subsidiary, named POSCO Green Gas Technology, was established in Posco's Gwangyang complex on the country's southern coast, where it is building an SNG plant with a capacity of 500,000 metric tons a year.
Posco has an agreement with the MCS Group to establish a 50-50 joint venture to build an SNG plant in Mongolia. The two companies are aiming to complete financing by the end of this year and start work on the plant with a target date for bringing it online of the end of 2018.
A.Dolgion: We are striving to make a positive impact on Mongolian society
When was IRIM established and by whom?
IRIM was established in 2008. The reason why we have named it "independent" is that even though at that time surveys were being conducted in Mongolia, most of them were connected to political parties, donor organizations, and business organizations. Our institute was established to conduct essential surveys correctly, at a scientific, well-founded and professional level. The initiators were Mongolian researchers and scientists who used to conduct the non-independent surveys and decided to integrate, and considered it better to create synergy to develop this sector. It was established during the economic crisis.
Have you ever received state grants for your institute?
No. We have not received any grants. Even now we do not receive them. We run this institute by ourselves, since it is a professional organization.
How many people work at IRIM and how long does it take to finish one survey?
There are 23 workers, basically, out of which over 18 are researchers. The rest of them are administrative workers, but mostly they are sociologists, economists, legal specialists, and social workers. Many kinds of specialists work here and it is a highlight of our institute.
Sometimes, over 70 people work on a big project at maximum. In this case we hire an assistance team and we increase their retention rate.
What kind of people work on an assistance team? Do students work with you?
Students do not work here. Mostly graduates and seasonal workers attend the training, and the research work covers a very wide range of society.
The most important thing about our human resources is that we have advisors who have majored in economics, gender, and social welfare. When we need advice they guide us. For example, I majored in government and state policy. I can give advice in this field but I do not know much about social health. So, we cooperate with specialists who have majored in different fields.
How many projects have been implemented?
In total, over 75 projects and programs have been implemented since 2008.
Have you cooperated with foreign organizations?
The main partners of our organization are foreign organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the Swiss Agency for Development. These organizations also conduct surveys and implement projects. For instance, there will be project for reducing poverty. We are doing research on this project to define its purpose and who the target user will be.
Also, we collaborate with the ministries and the Parliament.
What was the latest project implemented?
It is hard to say which one was the latest because four or five projects are being implemented simultaneously. So I will talk about the latest project that we have signed. International Finance Corporation booked a survey which will define the situation of SME's owned by women. Currently, we are conducting this survey in cooperation with Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany. The focus of this survey will make comparisons with male-owned SMEs, their difficulties and features.
What is your institute's "Big Hairy Audacious Goal" (BHAG)?
Our BHAG is to give factual and correct information at a professional level, which will be needed to improve life for Mongolians, because false results will bring about poor policy. Our work is not about just producing paperwork, it has to make a positive impact on Mongolian society.
Our motto is: Independence, Quality and Impact.
KFC Opens Fourth Branch in Ulaanbaatar at Tengis Cinema
Ulaanbaatar, June 4 /MONTSAME/ The fourth branch of the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) fast food chain in Ulaanbaatar has opened near the "Tengis" cinema.
An opening ceremony took place Wednesday at the new branch with a performance of dancers and of young people's flash-mob. The branch is to offers the brand new "Movie set" that contains one cup of popcorn, two cups of french fries, twister and a burger in two options.
This set also has a discount for a ticket of the "Tengis" cinema.
Survey: Implementing Economic Environmental Development Infrastructure into Ulaanbaatar`s Ger District Redevelopment Plan
My name is Kristopher Barker, and this research project, Implementing Economic Environmental Development Infrastructure into Ulaanbaatar`s Ger District Redevelopment Community-Development Plan, is part of the requirement for a Master of Global Management degree at Royal Roads University. My credentials with Royal Roads University can be established by telephoning Mr. Don Caplan, MBA Major Projects Manager, 250-391-2600 x. 4367.
The research will consist of this survey and is foreseen to take three months to complete. The foreseen questions will refer to the following:
What are Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar main community development issues?
What benefits are they looking to achieve?
What are the locals demanding of the City of Ulaanbaatar, and the government?
What negative press has been received?
What solutions do they currently have?
What opportunities are present for value added industry or infrastructure investment?
In addition to submitting my final report to Royal Roads University in partial fulfillment for a Master of Global Management (MGM) degree, I will also be sharing my research findings with the American Center for Mongolian Studies, and Titus Infrastructure. Research data will be put into a final paper, and made available to Royal Roads University, the American Center for Mongolian Studies, and Titus Infrastructure.
An electronic copy, with no public access, will be held for a period of one year at Royal Roads University, unless the client has indicated the report is to be returned for confidentiality reasons. In certain circumstances, the report may be reviewed by future MGM learners, provided permission has been obtained from the report writer.
No conflicts of interests are presently foreseen, should any issues arise, they will be managed in accordance with the Tri-Council Guidelines on Research Ethics.
The information you provide will be summarized, in anonymous format, in the body of the final report. At no time will any specific comments be attributed to any individual unless your specific agreement has been obtained beforehand. All documentation will be kept strictly confidential.
You are not compelled to participate in this research project. If you do choose to participate, you are free to withdraw at any time without prejudice. Similarly, if you choose not to participate in this research project, this information will also be maintained in confidence.
Your completion of this survey will constitute your informed consent.
By Pipe and Rail: Russia in Search of Shorter Routes to Asian Markets
Putin Prioritizes Geo-Economics over Geo-Politics
By Mendee Jargalsaikhan – mendee [at] alumni.ubc.ca
June 3 (Asia Pacific Memo, UBC) Russia's largest state-owned oil giants, Transneft and Rosneft, as well as Russian railroad authorities are again eyeing Mongolian routes as the shortest, most efficient, and safest way to Asian markets. Russia's previous transport options to these markets—through the Russian Far East (RFE), North Korea, and Central Asia—are all costly, lengthy, and risk-prone, especially those through North Korea and Central Asia.
As evidenced by the recent Mongolian visit of the Rosneft president, and in discussions between Transneft and Mongolian officials in Ulaanbaatar, the Russian side is becoming more determined to build oil and gas pipelines through Mongolia in addition to the RFE. This is a sudden change in Russia's oil and gas policy toward Asia. Previously, Russia, as well as China, had opted to bypass Mongolia and build their pipelines through the RFE and even North Korea. While some politicians in Ulaanbaatar at the time viewed this snub as a case of powerful neighbours punishing Mongolia for its close alignment with the United States regarding Iraq, in reality, both China's and Russia's decisions were more informed by concerns over the positive effects of construction and operation of their pipelines on their local economies and the costs of transit taxes and tariffs. However, now Russia is prioritizing the economic benefits of shorter transit routes to Asian refineries and distributors.
The railways, once a victim of Russian-Mongolia-Chinese rivalries and suspicion, are also seeing a thaw. In 2008, Russia, as a co-owner of the trans-Mongolian railroad, pressured the Mongolian government into refusing US aid for its railroad development and instigated a six-year debate in Mongolia over whether to employ Russian or Chinese gauges for any extensions to its railways. But late last year Russia's geopolitical concerns yielded to its growing economic need for transit. In the wake of the last Russia-China-Mongolia trilateral meeting in December 2013, China and Russia agreed to increase the usage of the trans-Mongolian railroads, to lay additional lines, and to improve railroad logistics.
The Mongolian Prime Minister's visit to Moscow this month, and the expected visits by Russian and Chinese leaders this year, certainly indicate rising Chinese and Russian interests in their smaller neighbor. Both Russia and Mongolia are overcoming their mutual geopolitical concerns as an imminent need for Asian cash turns Russian eyes towards Mongolia—its easiest, nearest gateway to the East.
Mendee Jargalsaikhan is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, and an Institute of Asian Research Fellow for 2013-2014. You can visit his personal blog on Mongolia at http://blogs.ubc.ca/mongolia/.
· Alan Wachman, "Suffering What It Must? Mongolia and the Power of the 'Weak',"Orbis, 54 (4), 2010
· "Mongolia: Growth, Democracy, and Two Wary Neighbors," an interview with Alan Wachman, May 2012
· "Russia Needs Pipelines to Mongolia, China, Korea to Capture Far East Energy Market," Oil & Gas Eurasia, April 2014
· "Mongolia will have three huge transit railroad corridors," The UB Post, January 2014
Minister L.Bold meets with visiting Russian Deputy FM
Ulaanbaatar, June 4 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold Wednesday received Mr I.V.Morgulov, the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Russia.
The Minister and Mr Morgulov noted that the ties between our countries have been developing intensively recently and exchanged opinions on the actions planned by the two sides for this year.
This meeting ran on fields of the June 3-4 visit to Mongolia of Mr N.Patrushev, the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia.
Russian Security Council Secretary praises Mongolia's readiness for mutual visa-free agreement
Ulaanbaatar, June 4 (MONTSAME) Paying the June 3-4 official visit to Mongolia, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Mr N.P.Patrushev Tuesday called a press conference in the State House about his visit.
The head of Mongolia's National Security Council (NSC) Mr Ts.Enkhtuvshin emphasized that the meetings of Mr Patrushev with our President, Prime Minister and authorities of the NSC were successful, at a level of mutual trust. He said the two sides had exchanged views on the Mongolia-Russia economic relations and on the security matters, and had touched upon several vital issues such as hosting a high-level Mongolia-Russia-China meeting in Ulaanbaatar and expanding of the military-technical cooperation.
Mr Patrushev said he is satisfied "with Mongolian side's readiness to establish a mutual visa-free agreement", and hoped that this decision would activate the inter-citizen ties. He also underlined a requirement for the two countries to collaborate in ensuring the security in the region, saying he is happy to revive the bilateral ties in the security.
Mr Patrushev was accompanied by the group consisting of some 20 officials including a Deputy Minister of Domestic Affairs and a Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Mogi: hmmm, learning about law enforcement reforms from Russia?
Justice Minister meets Russian deputy ministers for interior, justice
Ulaanbaatar, June 4 /MONTSAME/ Justice Minister Kh.Temuujin met Wednesday with Russia's Deputy Interior Minister Igor Zubov and Justice Deputy Minister Dmitry Aristov in Ulaanbaatar.
Mr Temuujin noted Mongolia's willingness to deepen long-time friendly relationships with these two Ministries and then briefed on ongoing justice reforms of Mongolia, in which "the Mongolian part wants to learn Russia's experience".
The Mongolian parliament discussed last week re-wording of the law on crimes, which foresees a new form of punishment--electronic handcuffs, he said, adding his Ministry's interest in studying similar experiences of Russia on this matter.
The Russian Deputy Ministers noted that Russia began justice reforms in 2009, "which have been tough challenges ahead of reaching the goals". There is a need to consider characteristics of the nation when introducing experiences of others, they said and promised to study chances of cooperation in electronic handcuff matters.
After this the sides touched upon issues of detection of cyber crimes, organized and armed crimes, and also opportunities of mutual short-term trainings.
Present at the meeting were also Justice Ministry State Secretary J.Bayartsetseg, a First Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Drug Control of Russia V.Kalanda and senior officials of the Russian Embassy in Mongolia.
Mongolia's Initiative on Landlocked Developing Countries Taking Effect
Ulaanbaatar, June 4 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag received Tuesday Mr Gyan Chandra Acharya, the United Nations High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
The Premier expressed a pleasure for a successful realization of Mongolia's initiative on landlocked countries. As one of the landlocked, developing member-states of the UN, Mongolia put forward several initiatives aiming at development chances and overcoming challenges of these countries, and hosted international consultative meetings of such countries in 2007 and 2011, he noted.
This year, an international research center for landlocked developing countries has recently been established under initiative of Mongolia, he went on. The center will function to reflect issues of the landlocked, developing countries to the post-2015 Development Agenda of the UN.
Having 30%-50% more transports spending compared to others, these countries have particular missions to find rational solutions for trade facilitation and easier transit transports. Mongolia, for example, spends 6.2% of its GDP for transit transports.
Transport Minister receives UN Representatives – Montsame, June 4
Mongolia officials participate in high-level events in Singapore
Ulaanbaatar, June 4 (MONTSAME) A delegation led by Ts.Bayarsaikhan, the Minister of Construction and Urban Development, are taking part in several meetings in Singapore.
These days are being run the Asia Pacific Infrastructure Ministers Meeting, the World Cities Summit-2014 and the International Water Week 2014. The participants of the high-level meetings are 20 thousand delegates such as Ministers from 40 countries, city governors from 130 countries, authorities of international organizations, governmental officials, production and technological experts and businessmen.
Our delegation consists of E.Bat-Uul, the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city; Ms B.Delgermaa, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Singapore; officials from the City's Administration and the Mongolian Union of Cities.
At the World Cities Summit, the Minister Bayarsaikhan delivered "Urbanization in next decade-Challenges and opportunities" report, then he met with Ms Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, the Secretary-General of the UN-Habitat, to share views on collaborating in drawing up a general project on acclimation and urbanization development of Mongolian population.
The Mayor Bat-Uul attended a granting ceremony of the Lee Kuan Yew Prize which went to China's Suzhou city. After this, he met with Ma Bou Tan, a parliament member of Singapore.
On Tuesday, the Ambassador Delgermaa participated in a discussion titled "Ensuring women's equal participation and management at decision-making level".
UAE Foreign Minister Positive on Mongolia's Proposals for Boosting Ties via Mining, Oil, Infrastructure
Ulaanbaatar, June 4 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Mr Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan paid an official visit to Mongolia June 3-4.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Mr L.Bold held official talks with his counterpart and exchanged views with him on the bilateral economic ties and cooperation.
The Mongolian side expressed a willingness to develop the cooperation with the UAE in concrete directions, to set up a joint intergovernmental commission, to boost the economic ties especially in the mining, oil and infrastructure fields. These proposals were positively accepted by the UAE.
This is the first visit paid at FM level since the countries established the diplomatic relations in 1996.
UAE Foreign Minister meets with Mongolian Prime Minister – Saudi Press Agency, June 4
Latvian President Andris Berzins On Visit, to Organize Mongolia-Latvia Business Meeting on June 12
June 4 (infomongolia.com) The President of the Republic of Latvia, Mr. Andris Berzins is conducting a state visit to Mongolia next week and in the frameworks, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) in collaboration with the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) are organizing Mongolia-Latvia Business Meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Ulaanbaatar on June 12, 2014.
At the Mongolia-Latvia Business Meeting, Latvian side expressed to participate with its representatives from 37 companies and entrepreneurs of 49 SMEs.
Mongolia-Latvia business meeting to run – Montsame, June 4
Social Progress Index 2014: Mongolia – 89th
April 2014 (Social Progress Imperative) Of issues covered by the Basic Human Needs Dimension, Mongolia does best in areas including Nutrition and Basic Medical Care and has the greatest opportunity to improve human wellbeing by focusing more on Water and Sanitation. Of issues covered by the Foundations of Wellbeing Dimension, Mongolia excels at providing building blocks for people's lives such as Access to Basic Knowledge but would benefit from greater investment in Ecosystem Sustainability. Of issues covered by the Opportunity Dimension, Mongolia outperforms in providing opportunities for people to improve their position in society and scores highly in Personal Rights yet falls short in Access to Advanced Education.
Performance in Comparison
Social Progress Index - 58.97 (89th)
Basic Human Needs - 53.67 (102nd)
Foundations of Wellbeing - 63.67 (85th)
Opportunity - 59.56 (42nd)
Factsheet: Asia Foundation Environmental Programs in Mongolia
The Asia Foundation -- Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is a poverty-driven activity that significantly contributes to rural job creation, income-generation, and poverty reduction. However, ASM's contribution to sustainable local development is limited by its past and present mining practices which have led to extensive environmental degradation. The second phase of the Engaging Stakeholders in Environmental Conservation Project (ESEC II) – an initiative of The Asia Foundation – is aimed at enhancing ASM's contribution to local development by making it an environmentally responsible activity benefitting 230,000 rural citizens with a healthier and improved environment.
Mongolian memory team wins 19 medals from International Open Memory Championship
June 4 (UB Post) Mental sports athletes of the Mongolian Intellectual Academy participated in the International Open Memory Championship (IOMC), which took place in Manila, Philippines from May 31 to June 1.
A total of 68 mental athletes from Mongolia, the Philippines, Indonesia, India and South Korea competed in 10 categories .
The Mongolian team consisted of grand master S.Tsogbadrakh (22), national memory champion T.Enkhjin (16), national champion E.Enkhmunkh (15), and coach B.Baasandorj.
Mongolian memory champion E.Enkhmunkh won two gold, five silver and two bronze medals, T.Enkhjin took three gold, one silver and three bronze medals, and grandmaster S.Tsogbadrakh won three gold and one bronze medals.
The Mongolian team placed second with a total of 19 medals.
Grand master S.Tsogbadrakh set a new world record by counting 1,408 digits in the 30 minute Digit Marathon category. He received the Grand Master of Memory title in 2011.
Interview with Women in Mining Advocate Bolor Sambuu
In celebration of our launch, Jill and Jack Kids has put together a series of interviews with people who work in gender non-traditional careers--this is the twenty-first post in that series! You can find out more about the project here.
June 3 (Jill and Jack Kids) Bolor is the Founder and Executive Director of Women in Mining Mongolia, based in Toronto. She says that the most important theme in her career has been balance between work and family life, and that starting her own financial business gave her the control to achieve this balance.
How did you end up in your current position?
"After graduation, I was hired as a financial statement analyst at the Canadian junior stock exchange. This opportunity opened my world to new possibilities such as finance and mining industries."
Did you have any role models along the way?
"When I entered to these industries, I had trouble finding role models—there were very few females, and most of them were raised with the old school mentality that you have to choose either family or career. I didn't want to choose but to have it all, and I realized that I could have both, but not at the same time. In order to plan my career and personal life, I chose to create my own path of owning a business."
Did the gender ratio in your field affect your career?
The gender ratio in mining and finance hugely affected my career path. It is not possible to work like men when you have to plan for your family life and career at the same time.
However, with technology coming into the mainstream, we women can start creating work that we can balance with our personal life. For instance, we could create investment companies that can cater to female employees, and drive trucks that are suitable for the softer female touch.
From my perspective, it is no longer 'female' and 'male' job descriptors that matter, but learning to integrate these two groups of people into one society."
How do you respond to people who are surprised to see a woman in your position?
"I've always said that Mongolia has a history of treating women as equals. Even during communist times, women tended to work. I grew up with a working mom who had a position in society making important decisions in regards to Mongolia as a whole, and no one questioned her abilities."
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.