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Friday, July 25, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
XAM closed +28.6% today to A$0.081, up 113% in the last month, on the announcement.
Xanadu Mines tastes copper and gold success drilling at Kharmagtai
July 23 (Proactive Investors) Xanadu Mines (ASX:XAM) has received assays from step-out drilling at Altan Tolgoi which did not disappoint with widths and good copper and gold grades intersected.
The Kharmagtai project is located in the South Gobi porphyry copper province which hosts the world-class Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold operation.
Hole KHDDH343 returned 505.6 metres at 0.38% copper & 0.35g/t gold from 58 metres. It also intersected visible copper sulphides.
While KHDDH344 intersected visible copper sulphides from 28.1 metres to 114.0 metres and from 223 metres to the current hole depth of 331 metres.
Which points to the potential for bulk-tonnage copper-gold mineralisation. Today's results look be a material increase in the size of the mineralised envelope at Altan Tolgoi.
The hole KHDDH343 was a 100 metres step out from historical drilling and tested a buried IP anomaly along strike from Altan Tolgoi.
Interestingly, higher grade intervals were strengthening down hole and are open at depth.
A second diamond drill rig has moved to Kharmagtai to advance the eastward step out drilling. The rig has started drilling with additional results to be released when received.
Xanadu has the right to earn an 85% interest in the Kharmagtai project, equivalent to a 76.5% effective interest, by funding acquisition and exploration costs.
Kharmagtai project is located 420 kilometres southeast of Ulaanbaatar and 60 kilometres north of the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit.
Clearly, the Kharmagtai project has legs. The Altan Tolgoi mineralised envelope is expanding and the next drilling will be closely watched.
Parmelia Resources Rights Issue Falls Short 65%, Chairman Happy With Results
July 23 -- Parmelia Resources Limited (ASX:PML) (Parmelia or Company) advises that the recent non-renounceable rights issue (Rights Issue) of one (1) New Option for every two (2) Shares held, at an issue price of $0.005 per New Option, closed on 18th July 2014.
The results of the rights issue are as follows:
Total number of Options on offer
Total number of Options validly applied for
Number of applications received
Parmelia's Chairman, Nigel Gellard, said "We are delighted with the level of take up by our shareholders and we are also very pleased to see that demand for the shortfall exceeds the amount of options available. Parmelia is fully engaged in developing a portfolio of high quality nickel sulphide assets and we look forward to updating the market further on our progress with this initiative as and when appropriate"
Newera: Delay in Publication of Prospectus for Fully Underwritten Non-Renounceable Entitlements Issue
July 24 -- Newera Resources Limited (ASX: NRU) advises that there has been a delay in the preparation of the prospectus related to the fully underwritten, non-renounceable entitlements issue (Offer) to shareholders to raise A$1,048,259 before costs, as announced to the market on 10 July 2014.
The Company will advise the market of the new indicative timetable to the Offer as soon as possible.
MSE News for July 23: Top 20 -1.27% to 16,188.22, Turnover ₮17.7 Million
Ulaanbaatar, July 23 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Wednesday, a total of 3,058 shares of 18 JSCs were traded costing MNT 17 million 669 thousand and 878.50.
"Shivee ovoo" /1,685 units/, "APU" /548 units/, "Baganuur" /228 units/, "Kherlen khivs" /216 units/ and "Tav" /70 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Shivee ovoo" (MNT nine million 267 thousand and 500), "UB hotel" (MNT two million 952 thousand and 900), "APU" (MNT two million 137 thousand and 700), "Tav" (MNT one million and 470 thousand) and "Baganuur" (MNT 829 thousand and 210).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 616 billion 309 million and 719. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 16,188.22, decreasing by MNT 208.64 or 1.27% against the previous day.
MSE News for July 24: Top 20 -0.04% to 16,182.17, Turnover ₮25.7 Million
Ulaanbaatar, July 24 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Thursday, a total of 76 thousand 474 shares of 14 JSCs were traded costing MNT 25 million 674 thousand and 864.50.
"E-trans logistics" /21 thousand and 067 shares/, "Remikon" /17 thousand 380/, "Hai Bi Oil" /16 thousand 040/, "Moninjbar" /12 thousand 576/ and "Genco tour bureau" /7,268/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Hai Bi Oil" (MNT seven million 058 thousand 500), "APU" (MNT three million 424 thousand 500), "Moninjbar" (MNT three million 395 thousand 520), "Remikon" (MNT two million 607 thousand 180) and "Sharyn gol" (MNT two million 153 thousand and 500).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 614 billion 975 million 643 thousand and 583. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 16,182.17, decreasing by MNT 6.05 or 0.04% against the previous day.
MSE: Suspicious Trading Detected in Ulaanbaatar Hotel JSC, State Department Store JSC
July 24 (MSE) On 24 July 2014, through MSE's 4771th trading session, according to "MIT Surveillance" system's warning signal, "Ulaanbaatar Hotel" JSC's 3 shares traded at MNT 100,000 and price fell by 5.21%, "UID" JSC's 299 shares traded at MNT 552.5 and price fell by 7.92%, which are considered as suspicious transactions and started relevant inspections.
If inspection report determines that price manipulations were made on these transactions, these transactions will be reported to FRC for re-inspection.
MSE: Suspicious Trading Detected in Baganuur, Tavantolgoi, State Dept., Bluesky Sec. Shares
July 24 (MSE) On 23 July 2014, through MSE's 4770th trading session, according to "MIT Surveillance" system's warning signal, "Baganuur" JSC's 228 shares traded at MNT 3,637 and price fell by 7.92%, "Tavantolgoi" JSC's 2 shares traded at MNT 5,010 and price fell by 6.62%, "UID" JSC's 50 shares traded at MNT 600 and price fell by 7.69%, "Bluesky Sec" JSC's 3 shares traded at MNT 2,975 and price fell by 15%, which are considered as suspicious transactions and started relevant inspections.
If inspection report determines that price manipulations were made on these transactions, these transactions will be reported to FRC for re-inspection
MSE: Asia Pacific Securities Inspected for Suspicious Trading, Report Transferred to FRC
July 24 (MSE) An inspection for "Asia pacific securities" LLC was conducted with a focus of violation of the Securities Market Law and the other relevant regulations, on 23 July 2014, through MSE's 4770th trading session (Mogi: looks like it was July 23), and according to one of the main responsibilities of MSE, inspection report was transferred to FRC for re-inspection.
MSE Acting CEO Appointed to Working Group on Implementing State Mineral Policy
July 23 (MSE) According to Minister of Mining's resolution No.177, dated 16 July 2014, the acting CEO of MSE, Mr.Angar.D has been elected as a member of working group which is focused on Government's program of activities for the year 2012-2016, and implementation of the State's mineral sector policy documents adopted by Parliament's Resolution No. 18 of 2014, as well as preparing a proposal and conclusions and decision drafts on establishing mineral exchange, creating legal environment and making one-stop operations on Export.
BoM MNT Rates: Thursday, July 24 Close
July MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
BoM FX auction: US$16 million sold at ₮1,854.02, CNY86 million at ₮299.1, accepts $13 million swap bid, $80 million ask offers
July 24 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on July 24th, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer of USD and CNY from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 16.0 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1854.02 and 86.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 299.10.
On June 24th, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 13.0 million USD and USD Swap agreement ask offer of 80.0 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.
BoM issues ₮295.7 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -20.4% to ₮534.5 billion
July 23 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 295.7 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
₮50 Billion 12-Week Treasury Auction Cancelled Due to Insufficient Bids
July 23 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 50.0 billion MNT. Although 12.5 billion MNT in competitive and non-competitive bid was received, Ministry of Finance cancelled those bids.
Mining Sector Contributed 81% of FDI, 18.5% of GDP in First Half
July 23 (Mongolian Economy) Today, the Mining Ministry introduced its half-year statistics. The mining sector contributed to 18.5% of Mongolia's GDP. It also made up 66% of the industrial sector, 83.2% of total exports, 17.5% of the national budget and 81% of foreign direct investment.
During these past six months, copper concentrate production reached 479.9 thousand tonnes. The production of coal equaled 11.7 million tonnes whereas gold production amounted to 3 tonnes. Fluorspar concentrate reached 159.5 thousand tonnes, iron ore production totaled 2.7 million tonnes, zinc concentrate was 46.8 thousand tonnes and oil production reached 3.6 million barrels. As a result, total production for this sector contributed MNT 481.2 billion to the state budget as tax income.
This year, 4.1 tonnes of gold were sold to Mongol Bank. This represents a 65.5% increase compared to the same period last year. This is due to the increased transparency in gold trade as well as recent changes made to the Mining Law.
The mining sector created a plan to export 782.6 thousand tonnes of oil by July 17, however only 488 thousand tonnes were extracted from oil deposits. Of this, 458 thousand tonnes were exported. This means 58.63% of the plan was implemented on time. Since the beginning of the year until July 1, 2014, oil exports supplied MNT 105.4 billion to the state budget.
Mongolia: Headline Sales Managers' Index drops further in July (Advanced Release)
· Sales growth sees minor improvement from last month
· Prices charges for goods and services continue to rise
· Staffing Levels fall for the fourth consecutive month
July 25 (World Economics) --
The Mongolia Headline Sales Managers' Index (SMI), a composite indicator (derived from an average of the Business Confidence, Market Growth, Sales, Prices and Staffing Indexes) is by far the most up-to-date monthly assessment of economic activity in Mongolia.
The Headline Index in July was 45.0, down by 0.7 on June, the lowest level since records began in 2013.
Despite a slight improvement in the July's unadjusted figures, the moving average numbers suggest that the economy continues to contract at an increasing rate.
The Business Confidence Index, which provides a valuable sentiment insight of how Sales Managers expect the economy to perform over the coming months, fell slightly to 40.1 in July from 40.3 in June.
Sales Managers have reported that the ongoing exchange rate devaluation of the Mongolian Tugrik against the Chinese Yuan and the U.S. Dollar is continuing to harm economic sentiment among investors and businesses.
The Market Growth Index, which reflects the growth of the general marketplace in panellists' own industry sectors remained weak in July.
The Index edged down marginally to 41.7, barely changed from 41.8 in June, indicating that the rate of growth in the marketplace continues to decline rapidly.
The Product Sales Index, which represents sales made by panellists' own companies, registered 42.5 in July, up by 0.5 on June, indicating a minor improvement from last month.
Panellists reported that stagnant wages and high inflationary pressures continued to undermine sales during the month.
However, the trend in unadjusted figures suggest that the rate of decline may come to an end over the coming months.
The Price Charge Index dropped to 55.9 in July from 58.0 in June, suggesting that prices remained high and that Sales Managers are still passing on operating costs to customers and businesses, although at a slower pace compared to previous months.
The Staffing Index reports the number of staff taken on compared to the same period last year.
Sales Managers explained that there has been a further contraction in payrolls in July. The July Index fell to 44.8 from 46.5 in June, the fourth consecutive month of decline and the third month the Index has been below the 50 no-change level, which separates growth from contraction.
World Economics Chief Executive Ed Jones commented:
"The Mongolia SMI reflects ongoing economic decline in July, with all indexes showing a slowdown in economic activity. Business Confidence, Market Growth and Staffing Levels continued to fall while Prices remained high. Only the Sales Index is pointing to a sign of improvement in economic activity."
Number of foreign visitors to Mongolia declines 8.5% in first half
July 24 (UB Post) The National Statistical Office (NSO) reports that Mongolia received 154,533 foreign visitors in the first half of this year, which is a decrease of 8.5 percent from last year's data. However, the number of visitors from North Korea, the Russian Federation, Poland, and Taiwan are up 0.6 to 8.8 percent. In a World Economic Forum study that shows tourism competitiveness around the world, Mongolia ranked 99 out of 140 countries, and 19th in Asia out of 25 countries.
In the first half of this year, 936,000,000 citizens and foreigners crossed the Mongolian border. More than 44 percent crossed the Zamiin-Uud border port by rail and automobile, and 17.7 percent crossed the Buyant-Ukhaa port by airplane. The number of people who crossed the border is down 2.1 percent, compared to 2011.
Before Naadam, State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism P.Altangerel said, "We are actualizing new policy in the tourism sector. Thanks to this policy, the number of tourists to Mongolia will reach one million by 2017."
The results of the NSO study shows that, on average, a foreign visitor who comes to Mongolia spends 170,000 to 190,000 MNT, around 100 USD a day.
To attract more tourists, Mongolia needs better quality roads, renovate its entertainment centers and cultural exhibits, facilitate visa-free travel and more. Mongolia is the land of dinosaurs and has a rich history, but tourism is still being poorly developed. Experts say that the main reasons for the slow development of tourism are an inhospitable nation and bad infrastructure.
Some visitors to Mongolia point out that there are many nationalists in Mongolia, and some foreigners feel threatened. "If you face that kind of problem, no one will help you," said one visitor.
The tourism industry generates 1.8 trillion USD worldwide. Every year Mongolia makes 200 to 300 million USD from tourism, which is significantly less than other countries.
July 24 (MIBG) --
Background and Cause
There is an old Mongolian proverb that says: "To lose it will take five days but to gain it back will take five years". Well it has been almost three years since foreign investors lost confidence in Mongolia and the country's lawmakers. Since then, politicians have desperately been trying to gain it back. The most recent step forward, approval of much needed amendments to Mongolia's Mineral Law, took place on the last day of the Spring Session of Parliament.
Over the course of the past two years the Mongolian Government has demonstrated a changed attitude, reversing all protectionist legislation that had been approved and/or proposed. Will the Government's willingness to adapt legislation to investors' needs be enough to persuade capital back into the market? Only time will tell.
As capital came rushing into the Mongolian economy between 2009 and 2011, politicians developed an invincibility complex. This led to such legislation as the Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law (SEFIL) in mid 2012 and a proposed draft Minerals Law later in the same year. Combined, these two pieces of legislation caused foreign direct investment into Mongolia to drop dramatically. Politicians took notice. This past year SEFIL was abolished and was replaced by an Investment Law that is investor friendly, providing long term stability (requiring a supermajority vote in parliament in order to amend the law). Now, with the amendments to the Mineral Law passed Parliament is paving the way for the exploration sector to start again. Our readers will likely remember the 2010 ban on new exploration licenses being issued, including a ban on transfers of existing licenses. One of the key developments to come out of the amendments to the Mineral Law is that the ban on issuance of new exploration licenses will be lifted.
Currently, there are no official English translations of the Minerals Law and no thoughtful analysis of the changes that took place. At MIBG we have put both pieces of legislation side by side and have gone through each and every change that was been made to the Mineral Law. In total, 81 articles have been added, altered, changed, or terminated and we have rated all of the changes as either Positive, Neutral, or Negative. From these 81 amendments, according to MIBG's ratings 37 amendments have been rated positive, 38 amendments rated neutral, and 6 amendments were rated negative. We believe that the legislation has not only put the 2012 proposed minerals law behind us, but it has actually improved on its predecessor from 2006.
The Government can now remove deposits from the "strategic list", whereas previously it could only add to the list. Also the definition of a strategic deposit has been altered to include those deposits (potential mines) that have potential to affect the national economy, whereas previously it defined strategic deposits as those that could have a regional economic impact.
Another significant change to the legislation is that the lifespan on exploration licenses had been increased from 9 years to 12 years, and the terms of revoking exploration licenses have been relaxed. In addition, various deadlines have been changed to force the Mineral Council to make decisions faster, while also providing them with increased powers in certain areas.
MIBG's Mongolia Mineral Law Analysis
MIBG will be releasing a detailed un-official translation of the new Mineral Law and a full copy of the Mongolia Mineral Law Analysis analysis for $249.00 USD. Subscription details and access can be obtained by contacting email@example.com.
Mongolia to Reissue 106 Canceled Mining Licenses: Erdenebulgan
By Michael Kohn
July 23 (Bloomberg) -- The Mongolian government is planning reissue 106 licenses canceled last year by a court order, Erdenebulgan Oyun, vice minister for mining, said today at a press conference in Ulaanbaatar.
* A selection process will be organized to reissue the licenses: Erdenebulgan
* Government will invalidate a judge's decision that canceled the 106 licenses: Erdenebulgan
* Opening bid price for licenses will be based on the investment and expenses made by the previous license holder, a method that will reduce "economic hardship" of the previous holder: Erdenebulgan
NOTE: The Supreme Court of Mongolia canceled the licenses in October 2013. The Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia (MRAM) implemented the decision.
Mineral License Applications to Turn Online – MoM Monthly Briefing
July 24 (UB Post) The Ministry of Mining held the monthly Transparent Mining press conference on July 23. Deputy Minister of Mining O.Erdenebulgan and other officials attended the press conference and provided updates on the nation's mining and petroleum activities.
O.Erdenebulgan said, "Draft bills to make amendments to the Minerals and Petroleum Law were approved on July 2, thus, the five-year moratorium on minerals exploration licenses was lifted. Issuing mineral exploration licenses in the areas approved by the government will boost investment and minerals reserves. The government will determine areas available for mining and exploration and transparently publish the findings in daily newspapers and on websites. The Ministry is planning to establish a system for receiving license applications online this year."
Mining companies have started sending requests to the Ministry of Mining to acquire exploration and exploitation licenses. Currently, the Ministry has received proposals for fifteen open-pit mining, two underground mining and two processing plant projects. These projects will cost 550 billion MNT to carry out. The Ministry expects 1.5 billion USD in investments from exploration and exploitation licenses this year. More than 35 percent of Mongolia's land (Mogi: this is not true, the vice minister said 15-20% will be made available) has been made available for mining and 7.3 percent will be licensed through tenders. Exploration and exploitation licenses will be granted in 106 areas previously prohibited for mining through a tendering process. The tender price threshold for each area will be set based on the cost of earlier geology and research. In addition, mineral reserves assessment methodologies have been specified, thus, further mineral reserves will be estimated in accordance with JORC standards.
The Ministry of Mining plans to establish a minerals exchange to implement its minerals industry state policy, which states that Mongolia must have a minerals exchange in order to trade mineral products on domestic and international markets transparently and profitably, to set fair prices, develop the domestic capital market, and to regulate trade under export policy. The Government of Mongolia and German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) signed an MoU on establishing the minerals market.
As of the first half of 2014, the Mongolian mining industry has exploited 479,900 tons of copper concentrates, 11.7 million tons of coal, three tons of gold, 159,500 tons of fluorite concentrates, 2.7 million tons of iron ore, 46,800 tons of zinc concentrates, and 3.6 million barrels of petroleum. As of July 22, Mongolia had a 20-day supply of A-80 gasoline reserves, a 34-day supply of AI-92 gasoline reserves, 41 days of diesel fuel reserves, and a 20-day reserve of TS-1 gasoline.
Mongolia Government to Hold Next Cabinet Meeting in Khuvsgul
July 24 (UB Post) The Innovation Government will convene its next regular meeting on July 28, in Khuvsgul Province. The regular meeting will be held in Khuvsgul Province so members can become acquainted with the building of a hard-paved road that will connect it to Ulaanbaatar.
Members of Parliament will also visit the sites of separate road projects, including an 88 km highway from Khutag-Undur soum of Bulgan Province to Tarialan soum of Khuvsgul Province, and a 165.3 km highway from Tarialan to Murun.
The road from Khutag-Undur soum will be opened in October, and the road from Murun to Tarialan is expected to be finished this month.
Women parliamentarians report on their joint projects
July 24 (UB Post) Members of the Parliament and representatives of the female Mongolian parliamentarians, L.Erdenechimeg and G.Uyanga held a press conference to report on projects that the unofficial group of female parliamentarians have completed over the last two years.
A total of 11 female candidates were elected in the 2012 Parliamentary elections of Mongolia, and they formed an unofficial group of female parliamentarians. The members of the parliament, who represent five political parties, have united across party lines and have been working to reflect women's experiences, interests and sensitivity in decisions made by the Parliament and in law making, emphasized L.Erdenechimeg.
The unofficial group of female parliamentarians has primarily focused on a draft bill against domestic violence. The main purpose of the draft bill is to protect the safety of victims of violence and their family members, to protect rights from violation, and address the needs of children and victims without protection from violence.
To develop the draft bill, members of the group held a consultative meeting on "Victim protection and innovations in law" and studied the Canadian legal environment surrounding domestic violence with Canadian politician and former Minister Mary Collins.
The group also opened the Childcare Center in the ger area of Sukhbaatar district, and presented the service to the public in order to gain public votes on the law on childcare services. Women parliamentarians expect that around 15,000 new jobs will be created for those who will operate and take part in these services along with the adoption of the draft bill, which is a totally new service devoted to children who are left at home because of an insufficient number of available kindergartens. Also, under the bill, children will be nurtured in a safe environment and parents will have the chance to leave the home for work while their children are at childcare centers.
Thanks to the active participation and involvement of female parliamentarians, amendments to the Law on Tobacco Control were made in October 2012, and on March 1, 2013, the draft amendments went in force, prohibiting smoking in public places, bars, restaurants and ending the sale of tobacco in areas near schools and kindergartens. This law prevents teenagers and school-age children from having easy access to tobacco products, and reduces the exposure of residents to the harms of secondhand smoke with the basic purpose of protecting public health.
Within the implementation of the law, many campaigns were carried out such as "Teenagers refusing to smoke" – a summit of 1,000 children, the "Cigarette: inhaling poison" television program, and a school police campaign.
Members of the unofficial group of women politicians are also actively working on developing the laws on alcohol control and the law on rent. In order to develop the law on alcohol control they met with the chairmen of Ulaanbaatar's khoroos, social workers, officials of health organizations, alcohol retailers, and law enforcement to exchange views on alcoholic beverage sales. The development of the law on rent was initiated and regulated by female parliamentarian G.Uyanga. While developing this draft law, they were introduced to the operations of Kharkhorin and Narantuul markets and met tenants in 2012. They organized a business meeting with small business owners last May, under the theme "What is your challenge?"
They also ran a campaign to protect the rights of child jockeys to protect children's rights, and increased food expenses for kindergarten children by 50 percent. They focused on improving midwife assistance, service and access to maternity hospitals, and resolved the land issues of the 2nd Maternity Hospital, as well as resolve the remaining financing issues of Maternity Hospital No. 3.
MP D.Battsogt: Faction leaders negotiate among themselves and impose decisions on members
July 24 (UB Post) The following is an interview with MP and the Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science D.Battsogt, highlighting important aspects of the 2014 Spring Parliamentary Session and future plans of the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science.
During the closing of the 2014 Spring Session, you said some harsh words to leaders of parties and coalition groups in Parliament. Were issues of the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science listed in the agenda for the 2014 Autumn Session?
I only told them that there shouldn't be cases of approving laws through negotiations between party and coalition leaders. If thing are done in this manner, what's the point of having 76 members in Parliament? Laws to be discussed in the following sessions have become dependent on [faction] leaders' perspectives. For example, our standing committee submitted over ten legal drafts but only two were scheduled to be discussed in the Autumn Session.
Important social issues should be tied to the economy and money. Laws related to them are being postponed. For instance, it was possible to approve government policy documents for medicine and medical equipment.
In the meeting of the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science, we had finished the final discussion for the above legal draft and prepared it for approval. It only takes few minutes to discuss and approve it during the session. However, this draft was left out due to pre-negotiated legal drafts and provisions of faction leaders. If it was approved, it would have been put into effect at this moment.
How do you assess the outcome of the Spring Session?
I think many issues were covered during the Spring Session. It was a busy period of time with overload of issues to be discussed and position related disputes. Concurrent to economic difficult conditions and state budget revenue, there were many other problems.
Parliament approved many issues that weren't planned within the boundary. For instance, issues concerning minerals and economy within the framework of the 100 day plan for intensifying the economy. From this aspect, the Spring Session was effective. Nonetheless, there were also many time-consuming things.
The "Double Deel" bill was able to come to the final stage for approval after a half a year of discussion. Majority of the MPs are also in the government.
There are criticisms saying that the government has become more powerful than Parliament. It's unfortunate that this sort of issue was talked so much and then disposed of without any results. A considerable amount of time was wasted on matters related to positions of ministers.
This sort of issue should be discussed within a week and if the respective minister is to be dismissed, dismiss him or her. If not, then forget about it. Due to prolonging and breaks for many issues, it wasn't resolved. It's a fact that laws and provisions that would have been approved were deferred.
To conclude, the outcome of the Spring Session was average. Besides accomplishing many things, there were equal amount of questionable issues.
People are suspicious that MPs approved important laws during the last few weeks regarding issues of public interest of dismissal and appointment of ministers. Can you comment on this?
I agree that it that the case was resolved as stated above. It was a session with strong politicization, party interests, and split groups. Everyone will agree that laws were rushed and approved hastily on the last day of the session.
If Parliament started discussing a law, until the approval, everything should be decided in detail. MPs should be deciding things based on their own opinion. However, all of this is now decided through agreements between parties. This is wrong. It shouldn't be like this.
I hope these mistakes are fixed in the following sessions. It's very unfortunate that MPs are giving more credit to dismissal and appointment issues of other people instead of issues in front of them that are the legal drafts being processed for approval.
What kind of laws did the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science submit? How effective was the work?
Our standing committee had a lot of workload. We finalized the Law on Protection of Cultural Heritage and submitted the finalized Health Insurance Law for approval.
We worked very hard on government policy documents for education and organized discussion sessions. Outside of school, teachers are able to meet their students for discussions. We're doing our best to develop laws that will benefit our lives when adopted.
Although we prepared government policy documents for medicines and medical equipment, it unfortunately didn't receive approval. It'll probably be approved in the Autumn Session. We also finished discussions for the Joint Pension Law.
We did a large discussion for the Domestic Violence Law and Pension Reform laws. For these reasons, I think the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science is working considerably well.
That's why there isn't any politicization or disunity during standing committee meetings.
What are you expecting to happen if the government policy documents on medicine and medical equipment is approved?
Chaotic drug trade and prices will be supervised and controlled. Activities of Medicine and Drug Administration will be improved. Unfortunately, party leaders approached this issue in their own views so it was postponed.
Did you resign from your faction, the Justice Coalition, due to these sorts of issues?
There were many aspects where I disagreed with the faction leader. In my opinion, there shouldn't be cases of faction leaders negotiating among themselves and then imposing them on faction members.
If leaders start to make decisions for others and force them to follow, there'll be no one to represent the people of Mongolia. In my case, I don't want to follow someone's orders or get compressed in a policy box but be a representative of my voters.
Does it make a difference when you don't have a faction?
At the moment, I haven't faced difficulties as an independent member without a faction. Instead of being associated with a faction and compressed in a box, being the chairman of a standing committee is much easier.
I don't discriminate members based on their party. This side of me is better for members. Due to this, the operations of our standing committee is more progressive and less argumentative.
When you announced that you were withdrawing, there was a presumption that you'll be giving up your position at the standing committee. Do you have any comments on this notion?
I'm ready to give up my position as the chairman of the standing committee if the faction decides that they'll change the chairman as it was given to me under the Justice Coalition's campaign. On the other side, faction members want me to do my work until my term ends.
In the Autumn Session, what kind of issues will the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science discuss?
Our standing committee has discussed and transferred many issues for final discussions. For instance, there are government policies for science and education sectors.
Following the government policy documents for the education sector, there will be significant amount of changes in the Education Law. We'll also be submitting several legal drafts, including drafts on the Health Law, Social Insurance Law and Pension Law.
Generally, the standing committee's workload during Autumn Session will be heavy. In the culture sector, we submitted the Library Law and we'll renew the government policy on arts and culture. The standing committee will start a large discussion session for cinematography.
Mongolian government needs to focus on cinematography. Foreign films are coming into Mongolia in large quantities. TV Series which distorts Mongolian history are being screened. Through these films and series, foreign countries are implementing their cultural policies.
Mongolia on the other hand, is lacking in this aspect. Therefore, in the meeting, we discussed how much demand-supply for a series there is in Mongolia. We gave advice to the government underlining the need for parliamentary support on this. It's also crucial to start installing funds in the state budget for cinematography.
It's said that the number of young men doing military service increased after the Mongolian series "Special Force". In this sort of manner, cinematography needs to be developed. Furthermore, labor policy will be introduced. Like so, our standing committee has a lot to do.
Mongolia Seeks China Gas Accord to Boost Foreign Investment
By Michael Kohn and Yuriy Humber
July 23 (Bloomberg) Mongolia is seeking to sign a gas project and supply accord with China next month, in a deal that would help the world's second-largest economy expand energy supplies and potentially revive foreign investment in Mongolia.
Mongolia-China Business Forum to Take on July 31 Ahead of Xi Jinping Visit
July 23 (Mongolian Economy) The Business Forum of Mongolia and China will take place in Ulaanbaatar on July 31, 2014. As the Mongolian economy continues to struggle, Mongolia is trying to tighten its relations with China through economic partnership and political contracts and dialogues. An example of this is next month's official visit of Xi Jinping, the leader of the People's Republic of China. Preceding his visit, Ulaanbaatar plans to host this business forum to discuss important matters.
Since China is growing rapidly, the Business Forum of Mongolia and China aims to help Mongolian businesses expand in China in addition to bringing more Chinese companies to Mongolia. The National Chamber of Industry and Trade, the City Government of Ulaanbaatar, the Embassy of the People's Republic of China of Mongolia, and Liaoning Provincial People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries are the main organizers of this event.
This meeting is expecting over 100 representatives to come and participate. Many of these members will come from the Liaoning Province of the People's Republic of China as well as several Mongolian organizations such as the Ulaanbaatar City Governing Office and the Mongolian Business Council.
Gold Sold to BoM Increases 65.4% in First Half to Four Tons
July 24 (UB Post) As of the first six months of this year, gold mining companies sold about four tons of gold, up by 65.4 percent (or 600 kg) from the previous year, according to the Central Bank of Mongolia. As the royalties on gold have fallen from 10 to 2.5 percent, the volume of gold sold to the Central Bank of Mongolia increased considerably. The four tons of gold sold by gold miners increased the foreign exchange reserve of the Central Bank of Mongolia by 187 million USD.
In 2013, gold trading volume at the Central Bank of Mongolia was about six tons. The Mongolian Gold Producer's Association plans to sell 10 tons of gold to the Central Bank of Mongolia this year.
Copper Concentrate Export Increase 2.4 Times in First Half to $985.8 Million
July 24 (UB Post) In the first half of 2014, Mongolia exported 2.8 billion USD in mineral products, more than double the exports of last year. According to the National Statistical Office, mining products accounted for 83.1 percent of overall exports of the first half of 2014.
Copper concentrates accounted for 47.7 percent of mineral product exports and therefore surpassed coal export. This increase in copper concentrates export is attributed to Oyu Tolgoi. More specifically, as Oyu Tolgoi started exporting copper in the second half of 2013, income from copper export increased by 2.4 times from the previous year and reached 985.8 million USD.
Coal accounted for 26.2 percent of income generated from mining exports. In the first half of 2014, Mongolia exported 9.3 million tons of coal of the 11.6 million it exploited, approaching the amount extracted in 2013. Although the amount of exported coal increased by 25 percent from the previous year, the income generated from coal export decreased by 17.4 percent due to coal price deflation, and reached 448 million USD.
Invest Mongolia Announces TDB, NIBank to Open Representative Office in Japan at Business Forum
July 23 (infomongolia.com) In the framework of the official visit of the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj to Japan, the Mongolia-Japan Business Forum and the Introductory Business Meeting between Mongolia-Japan businessmen have held successfully on July 22, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.
The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj have attended in the Mongolia-Japan Business Forum and made a speech; at the same time, he provided the answers to the questions arisen from the business people from Japan during this event.
Elsewhere, the Minister of the Cabinet Office of the Government of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg, the Governor of the Bank of Mongolia N.Zoljargal, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economic Development O.Chuluunbat, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Mineral Resources R.Jigjid, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Energy D.Delgertsogt, the Chairman of the Invest Mongolia Agency S.Javkhlanbaatar have made noticeable introductory presentation regarding the investment environment of Mongolia, the ongoing processes and the further action plans, projects and programs to the business people of Japan.
The Mongolia-Japan Business Forum was co-hosted with the Japan Business Federation (KEIDANREN) which coordinates over 1,300 reputable Japanese companies and organizations in its active operation; at the same time, the Introductory Business Meeting between Mongolia-Japan businessmen was jointly organized by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) along with the Invest Mongolia Agency. The businessmen were very keen on the Mongolia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and they highlighted that the intensifying economic partnership between two countries will surely facilitate very fruitful investment and trade opportunities in the coming future.
During this event, the Invest Mongolia Agency has informed that the TDB Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia and the NIB National Investment Bank of Mongolia are going to settle their Representative Offices in Japan.
Marubeni, Trafigura Shows Interest in Achit Ikht Copper Products
July 24 (UB Post) The construction of Achit Ikht copper plant in Bayan-Ondor soum of Orkhon aimag has been completed.
On July 1, the plant produced pure copper as a trial run. Unofficial sources report that the plant has since produced 30 tons of copper. Marubeni Corporation of Japan and multinational commodity trading company Trafigura sent requests to Achit Ikht to buy copper, although the plant has not yet produced any exports. The plant extracts copper from ore with low copper concentration not used by Erdenet factory. In addition to the Achit Ikht plant, Erdmin copper plant produces 2,500 tons of copper per year using the same method and ores.
News agencies report that 34 percent of Achit Ikht LLC is owned by Erdenet Mining Corporation and 51 percent by P.Tsagaan, head of the Presidential Office.
Koreans Invest in 3D Cinema in Tuv Aimag's Zuunmod
July 24 (UB Post) The cultural center of Zuunmod soum in Tuv Province will be renovated to a 3D cinema. Construction began in January last year. Now, the interior design of the 3D cinema is complete.
There were no available funds for the theater's equipment, so organizers decided to rely on foreign investment.
To repair the cultural center of Zuunmod, which has two halls (with 30 and 180 seats), a sports hall and restaurant, the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism provided 340 million MNT in funding and 500 million MNT came from the Province Development Fund.
"Last June, Korean experts invested in cinema equipment valued at 200 thousand USD," said S.Erdenechuluun, director of the Culture, Sport and Tourism Department of Tuv Province.
EBRD'S MONGOLIA WIND FARM PROJECT WINS US TREASURY AWARD
Ground-breaking Salkhit wind farm recognised – EBRD is largest renewables investor in the region
July 23 (EBRD) The prestigious US Treasury Development Impact Honors award has recognised the EBRD Salkhit wind farm project in Mongolia.
Salkhit wind farm, the first large-scale renewables project in Mongolia and the first new electricity generator in the country for the last 30 years, was conceived by local investors with early EBRD equity participation. The plant is located 70 km from the capital Ulaanbaatar.
It received long-term financing from the EBRD and the Netherlands Development Finance Company FMO (US$ 47 million each) and further equity contribution from General Electric which also provided the turbines to harness the powerful Mongolian wind.
The US Department of the Treasury announced the award today at the third annual Development Impact Honors for exceptional development projects undertaken by multilateral development banks (MDBs). According to the Treasury, "the projects honoured at the ceremony today reflect the critical work of the MDBs, which strengthens communities around the world, including in fragile states."
Riccardo Puliti, ERBD Managing Director, Energy and Natural Resources, received the award from the US Treasury Department, in Washington, DC. Mr Puliti said: "The Salkhit wind farm will help Mongolia's capital improve its health-threatening air quality. The project captures the best of the EBRD: a strong presence on the ground with very good relationships with the government in order to develop the legal and regulatory framework of this public-private partnership project; the capability to work with local and international shareholders; quick decision-making on the early equity portion of the transaction; the capability to provide long-term debt financing; and the capacity to manage grant funding from international donors."
Mr Puliti added: "We are the largest investor in renewables in our region, and we have also helped many countries adopt legal and regulatory frameworks that allow for the sustainable development of renewable energy. And, as demonstrated by this project, we boldly go where no one has gone before. We work in markets ranging from Morocco to Tajikistan, where later this week we will sign a multimillion-dollar deal to modernise a hydropower plant and reduce electricity blackouts".
"When you consider recent global events, it is clear that we must continue to support international financial institutions like those that we are honoring today," said Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. "The United States has demonstrated steadfast support for the multilateral development banks, which leverage each dollar of U.S. investment many times over. Yet our support goes beyond funding. We have marshalled our best experts and best thinking to make measurable progress on reducing poverty, promoting broadly-shared economic growth, and expanding our trade partners."
Salkhit, which means Windy Mountain in Mongolian, was built in 2013 and provides about 5 per cent of Mongolia's electricity production. It is operated by Clean Energy LLC and majority-owned by a local investor, Newcom. According to EBRD research, Mongolia has serious potential for further wind power exploration, provided that the country's transmission grid is properly upgraded and modernised.
Other MDBs whose projects were also recognised by the US Treasury today are: the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank. Among the multilateral development banks, the EBRD places emphasis on its investments in the private sector. In addition to focusing on principles of sound banking, the EBRD engages in policy dialogue and manages technical cooperation funds provided by international donors.
The Mongolian wind farm project benefited from donor support provided by Japan (to the Mongolian government for the legal and regulatory framework) and Luxembourg (for environmental and social assistance).
Since 2006, the EBRD has invested over €13 billion into sustainable energy projects. A third of the Bank's funding for power and energy utilities goes to renewable energy projects. Small-scale renewables are supported via credit lines to local banks.
The EBRD's new Energy Strategy, adopted late last year, places renewable energy high on the agenda. It also highlights energy efficiency as its main priority for the energy-intensive region where it operates, as one of the ways to strengthen energy security.
Mongolia: On the road to the new Eldorado
The steppe that could be as rich as Dubai
By Amelie ESCHENBRENNER
July 24 (UB Post) Mongolia sits on vast raw material resources; each resident is theoretically a millionaire. So why can we still see thousands of gers and small houses built hurriedly, clumped together on the slopes rising above the capital, where about 60 percent of the 1.2 million inhabitants of Ulaanbaatar live? There is neither tap water, nor toilets, nor tarred streets. In the settlements, there are only a few proper roads and mostly dirt roads instead. The fact that the country is not rich yet, is an issue left up to the government and some others external factors. But it could happen fast, with the development of its plentiful natural resources in the last four years, the country with its 16 percent growth in 2013 is at a turning point in a strong economic expansion which has resulted in profound economic and social transformations. If the GDP of Mongolia still remained modest in 2013 (11.1 billion USD for a nation with less than three million inhabitants), the dynamics of growth above the world average should allow it to continue its economic catch-up in the coming years. Mongolian resources are valuable and numerous, which lead many western countries to take part in the Mongolian gold rush and consider the country as a new, but not mythical, Eldorado
Because of the natural resources (estimated at a value of more than 1 trillion USD) still largely untapped, the country could quickly become a major energy player. The mining sector currently accounts for 20 percent of GDP and is expected to represent 50 percent of GDP in 2016 according to the World Bank.
By which means will Mongolia establish itself in globalization?
To revive the economy, Mongolian Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag announced a 100-day action plan to stimulate economic growth. This plan seeks to promote foreign investment, as well as encourage the domestic economy with the construction of roads, thermal power plants, and the development of small and medium-sized businesses etc. This sprint-plan aims to promote very different economic sectors in the country and to strengthen Mongolia's income. "Within these 100 days, we believe we should reduce bureaucracy, increase mining, and approve the re-issue of exploration licenses," said the Prime Minister.
Despite the strong push to increase the mining sector, Mongolia will also offer concession projects in the tourism sector, which may increase soon in view of the opening of direct air service between Paris and Istanbul to Ulaanbaatar. Indeed, flights between Ulaanbaatar and other world capitals are infrequent and might be considered uncomfortable for some people due to the long flight and the use of inappropriate planes. But recently, MIAT Mongolian Airlines announced an order for 737-800 and 767-300ER jetliners, and marked the first time in more than two decades that MIAT Mongolian Airlines extended its route network. The exemption of 30 day entry visas required for citizens of 42 countries, primarily in South and Central America and Europe, from June 25 until the end of 2015, reflects the will of Mongolia to open its country to the world.
If we think of gold or uranium mining, we may first think of Australia or Kazakhstan but probably not Mongolia. But now, through the development of its abundant natural resources (including coal, copper, gold, and uranium), the "Blue Sky" country has entered a phase of expansion without precedent, which has resulted in profound economic and social transformations since 1991. The economic growth rate reached 17.3 percent in 2011 (against 6.4 percent in 2010) which is a world record, but the country is far from having explored its full capacity. These two numbers in growth attract a lot of foreign investors, especially in Europe. By courting Mongolia, the major European powers hope to enjoy the immense natural wealth with which the country abounds.
For example, in France, where nuclear power continues to occupy a prominent place in the energy mix, it is vital to ensure the supply of uranium, a key component of this technology. In view of the richness of Mongolian uranium reserves, it is easy to understand the interest of France to invest in the country, including Areva, a company established in Mongolia in 1997. The mining sector is indeed a central axis of Mongolian strategic policy. The diplomatic strategy known as the "third neighbor" policy tends to favor Western investors insofar as they allow Mongolia to fight against its growing dependence on China. The "third neighbor" policy includes mostly Europe, the U.S, Turkey, South Korea, Japan and India. However, these countries – especially those of the European Union – are not present, for the moment, in a large part of the country, although they could have several companies (Air Liquide, GDF Suez for France) with much to do there. The main suppliers of the country remain its close neighbors like China. At the end of 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Ulaanbaatar with a delegation of business leaders to reinforce cooperation between Germany and Mongolia in the mining sector. At the end of 2013 it was the French Minister of Foreign Affairs' turn to visit Mongolia and conclude several agreements in the fields of energy, tourism, healthcare, and aeronautics. More recently, in 2014, the Mongolian company Grandline LLC and the Turkish 216 YAPI signed an agreement for the construction of a residential complex on 124,000 square meters in Amgalan soum. Mongolia and Turkey truly hope to strengthen their cooperation in many fields, especially during this year's 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Turkish government and Turkish companies are willing to invest lots of money in the country in the near future, particularly in the construction sector.
Since 1989, the EU has developed and deepened its ties with the birthplace of Chinggis Khaan. The country maintains diplomatic relations with 41 European countries, as well as with the European Union. Europe sees this former communist country as an important partner country and participates in cooperative activities implemented at the national and regional level. Mongolia became a member of the World Trade Organization in 1997, which led the EU to becoming Mongolia's third largest trading partner (8.4 percent of its external exchanges in 2013) and the country's exporters enjoy an almost total exemption from customs taxes when accessing EU markets through the Generalized Scheme of Preferences. The country joined the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in July 2006 and more recently, in 2012, Mongolia became a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
In the coming years, the exploitation of large deposits at Oyu Tolgoi (copper/gold) and Tavan Tolgoi (coking coal) will provide significant tax revenue for the Mongolian government, which has negotiated partnerships with several foreign companies, including the Canadian/Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto for Oyu Tolgoi. Located in the Gobi, Oyu Tolgoi is one of the largest open pits and underground mines in the world and has outstanding reserves. Its production should reach 450,000 tons of copper and 11 tons of gold per year by 2020. It should also represent by 2020 about 30 percent of the GDP. Its production began in January 2013. Sixty-six percent of this mine is owned by Rio Tinto and 34 percent by the Mongolian government. The operation of this mine leaves Canada as Mongolia's second biggest trade partner.
What could slow down this expansion?
Of course, although Mongolia is a democracy and now has a market-led economy like many western countries, these are pretty new concepts for the landlocked country heavily influenced by its past under Soviet socialist governance and the economic dominance of its neighbors: China and Russia. Mongolia remains highly dependent on demand from China, a country to which nearly 90 percent of its mining products are exported. China has a virtual monopoly on Mongolian exports. But due to the slowdown of the Chinese economy, it is essential for Mongolia to broaden its trade relations and find new partners.
The economic transition is also one of the weak points for continued expansion. Forced to advance in the market economy, Mongolians lost their institutions inherited from the socialist era, such as the planned economy and common goods which were dismantled along with the cooperatives, the return to a form of private property, and the stronger role of the market in economic relations. Before, the USSR supported Mongolia with financial aid and the country became very reliant on this support. Since Russia does not contribute to the funding of economic sectors, Mongolia has become dependent on international aid. In addition, Mongolia has challenging infrastructure, small roads, a difficult climate, inaccessible natural resources, and land tenure marked by nomadic traditions. With its almost three million inhabitants, of whom 40 percent live below the Mongolian poverty line, for now, it seems difficult for Mongolia to rely on domestic demand to continue its development. But if the country counts only on mining exports to boost its economic growth, Mongolia could be vulnerable concerning the changing prices of raw materials.
According to the World Bank, Mongolia is ranked 76th in its "Doing Business" assessment. This ranking lists ten criteria for assessing whether or not countries facilitate business, entrepreneurship, obtaining building permits, loans, electricity connection, and investor protection. Mongolia ranks ahead of its neighbors, China and Russia. However, the Soviet influence exerted on the country for seventy years has contributed to creating a cumbersome bureaucracy that sometimes hinders investment. Foreign investment peaked in 2011, and in 2012, the flow of money suddenly dried up. Just before the parliamentary elections, the government passed a new investment law that put strict conditions on foreign investors. Foreigners would no longer be able to acquire more than 49 percent of a Mongolian project's shares. This led to a sharp decline in foreign investment, about 44 percent, at the end of 2012 which made other foreigners investors afraid of the future.
These good macroeconomic performances remain fragile given the challenges of rural development, environmental issues and the country's dependence with respect to the global economy. The poor distribution of wealth may continue to increase the rapid growth of the country.
On one hand, thousands of families are gradually driven away from their traditional environment and fail in the slums of gers that bloom around Ulaanbaatar because of the harsh winters called "dzud", such as those in 2002 and 2003 which killed more than 10 million head of cattle. But there are other causes for this unprecedented rural exodus. Since 1991, the democratic government has promoted a de facto form of centralized government: the transition to a market economy drives some families to cluster near roads because today, the capital concentrates most of its administrative, social, educational and medical infrastructure within the city. It provides easier access to many for medical care, schooling, and the resources to create a small business, but it makes these richer resources more remote for others. The Mongolian capital was not the preferred destination for rural residents during the socialist period, because other cities offered the same services and comparable urban comfort. Finally, unoccupied residential land on the outskirts of the city promotes the migration movement. In order to approve the decision to open mines to foreign companies, Parliament passed a law in June 2002 giving each citizen the right to appropriate land of their own. In May 2003, land privatization began in Mongolia with an allowance of 0.07 hectares for each urban family. Rural households were allotted from up to 0.5 hectares. Mongolian citizens only have to register to acquire ownership, which costs only a few thousand tugrugs.
On the other hand, the new Mongolian gilded youth can enjoy cocktails in the bar on the 23rd floor of Blue Sky Tower, with a view of the more disadvantaged neighborhoods.
SmartPolice.mn accepting complaints and reports online
July 24 (UB Post) The centralized online system Smartpolice.mn has recently begun a trial program to receive reports, complaints and information about possible crimes or violations involving police officers and public service officials from city residents.
Residents are able to track the status of their submitted reports or complaints and check whether they are being processed by the police. Residents can check not only the status of their submission, but also decisions made and noted concerning their submitted report.
Each district police department has installed a machine for citizens to submit a report online. The website is accessible 24/7.
New four-way intersection opens at Zuun Ail
The new intersection was previously a T-junction and was expanded into a four-way intersection as one of 12 intersection projects planned by the Street Project in 2014 by the Ministry of Economic Development.
The roads have been expanded to accommodate more lanes for better traffic control and better traffic flow. A total of 12,105 square meters of road was paved, while sidewalks were built for 3,564 square meters of area along the intersection.
The area surrounding the intersection has also been upgraded. A 490.5 square meters of public area was developed into green space, with trees along the sidewalk. In addition, 167 meters of drainage pipes along the intersection have been replaced.
The expansion and all the additional renovation work was originally estimated to the cost of 1.2 billion MNT.
Director of the Street Project B.Batbold noted, "Once the expansion started, it became obvious that the design and budget for the intersection did not match. For instance, the original width of sidewalks was 1.5 meter, but we had to pave five meter wide sidewalks in certain areas that are busy pedestrian areas. We think that the original budget has been overshot."
The expansion project started on June 2 with a deadline set for June 30. However, the intersection opened late due to continuous heavy rainfall over the past few weeks. Now, drivers can drive directly to 11th Micro-district from Zuun Ail without having to go around it.
The intersection was designed by Rostov LLC, while Public Road LLC executed the ground work with a three-year guarantee.
Gandan Monastery ger area connected to central water, heating grid
July 24 (UB Post) A total of 31 households in Orkhon Street no.6 in Gandan Monastery neighborhood have been successfully connected to state central lines for water and sanitary pipelines, heating and other engineering infrastructure in the past two months. Official opening of the street is scheduled to take place today at 12 a.m.
New Urbanism LLC completed the design and Ikh Zam Buteen Baiguulalt LLC constructed the project, as part of the government's Street Project.
Fences of each household in the street have been replaced to match and the street has been fully paved.
Some 30 other streets in the neighborhood will be renovated and connected to the central lines in the near future in the same manner, said officials.
Mogi: renewing negotiations on foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA), good!
Joint Statement by Foreign Affairs Ministers of Canada and Mongolia
July 24, 2014 (DFATD, MFA) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird paid an official visit to Mongolia on July 24, 2014, at the invitation of Luvsanvandan Bold, Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs. This was the first bilateral visit by a Canadian foreign affairs minister to Mongolia. The two ministers had a warm and constructive meeting and reaffirmed the close and growing partnership between the two countries over the past four decades.
The ministers emphasized that Canada and Mongolia are intent on building an enduring and intensifying relationship that embraces a set of regional and global security concerns and is based on the shared values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. They further underscored their resolve that the existing linkages evolve into a comprehensive partnership within which the two countries will continue to work together for peace, security and good global governance.
Minister Bold reaffirmed Canada's status as a key "third neighbour" for Mongolia and an important partner in North America. Minister Baird underlined that the Government of Canada has demonstrated its long-term bilateral commitment by recently designating Mongolia as a country of focus for development assistance.
In this context, the goal of this bilateral development cooperation will be to help Mongolia stimulate sustainable economic growth by strengthening public service capacity, particularly the management of natural resources.
Both ministers expressed satisfaction with the ongoing cooperation in other areas of mutual interest, in particular Mongolia's rural and urban development, judicial reform and policing capacity.
The two ministers noted that trade and investment continue to be critical elements of the bilateral relationship. Canada is a top-tier investor in Mongolia and, as a reflection of that, the Government of Canada has designated Mongolia as a priority country in its Global Markets Action Plan. The ministers welcomed the renewal of foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) negotiations and expressed confidence that a comprehensive accord can be concluded. They agreed that a comprehensive bilateral FIPA will assist in establishing a secure and predictable framework under which bilateral investment ties can grow.
On the international stage, Mongolia and Canada share membership in a number of international organizations. Canada has been a strong and consistent supporter of Mongolia's successful efforts to join such forums as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Mongolia and Canada are also partners under NATO though a NATO cooperation agreement with Mongolia and the Community of Democracies. Baird reiterated that Canada will continue to support Mongolia more directly in the area of peace and security under the auspices of Canada's Military Training and Cooperation Program.
Both ministers underscored the significance of promoting people-to-people contacts, which will complement the long-term development of bilateral relations.
Emphasizing the importance of education to each country and underlining the fruitful cooperation that exists between educational institutions, both ministers affirmed their commitment to further promoting such cooperation. Furthermore, Minister Bold expressed interest in increasing the number of Mongolians studying in Canada.
The ministers noted with satisfaction that last year, the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, was marked by significant strengthening of bilateral cooperation through high-level exchanges and interparliamentary contacts.
Joint Statement Lu Bold & J Baird
By Julian Dierkes
July 23 (Mongolia Focus) Foreign Ministers Lu Bold and John Baird issued a joint statement following their discussions in Ulaanbaatar. The statement included no surprises nor any concrete news that I can discern, but no translation is available yet.
The topics covered in the statement include:
· reaffirm partnership
· democracy, human rights, rule of law
· Mongolia's designation as a "country of focus" for Canadian development assistance
· urban/rural development, judicial reform & police cooperation
· cooperation in international organizations
· people-to-people relations
· importance of collaboration in education
· 40 years of diplomatic relations
[July 24: The English versions of the statement were published on the MFA and DFATD websites later July 23 and early July 24, respectively. The bullet points above do summarize the statement which offered nothing new and little of substance.]
Foreign Minister holds talks with his Canadian counterpart
July 24 (news.mn) Canada`s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is visiting to Mongolia. Mr.John Baird landed on Mongolia on July 23rd.
In the framework of the visit, today Foreign Minister of Mongolia L.Bold holds an official talks on bilateral trade, economy, investment, mining, defense, agriculture, education and health with his counterpart Canada`s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. Parties also exchanged opinions on opportunities of comprehensive partnership between Mongolia and Canada.
Following the official talks, Mr John Baird will be received by Deputy Speaker of State Great Khural M.Enkhbold. In the framework of the visit, Mr John Baird will also meet President Ts.Elbegdorj. The visit by Canada`s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to Mongolia will end on July 25th.
Mogi: while Xi Jinping is scheduled to arrive on August 21, guess didn't want to be seen together in Mongolia
Vladimir Putin to Visit Mongolia in Early September for Khalkh River Victory Anniversary
July 24 (infomongolia.com) The Head of Mongolian part of the Mongolia-Russia Intergovernmental Committee, the Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia D.Terbishdagva have met with the preparatory committee people for the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Battles at the Khalkh River and gave some instructions while after seeing current conditions and ongoing processes in there.
Commemoration of the victory of the Battles of Khalkhyn Gol has its great importance to introduce immeasurable value of the victory and consolidate historical longstanding friendship between Mongolia and the Russian Federation in terms of reshaping the memory of the warriors and veterans to increase loving nature of motherland to the young generation of Mongolia.
The 75th anniversary of the victory of the Battles at the Khalkh River will be held between August 22 and September 04, 2014.
Most notably, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin will also visit to Mongolia during the first week of coming September 2014.
Japan, Mongolia sign free trade deal
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announced the agreement in a joint statement.
Under the deal that covers a range of products including beef and cars, all Mongolian exports to Japan and 96% of Japanese products sent to Mongolia will be exempt from tariffs within the next decade, officials said.
The agreement could help foster stability in the region, a foreign ministry official added, as Japan works to resolve the case of Japanese citizens abducted during the Cold War by North Korean agents.
Mongolia is one of the few countries that has formal diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, which is regularly criticized for stoking regional tensions.
"We're hoping to deepen ties with Mongolia to work together on keeping stability in Northeast Asia," the official said.
The trade deal includes a so-called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause, which allows firms to pursue compensation claims if they think government policy has damaged their investment.
The clause has been criticized for giving firms too much power over public policy.
"It's important that the ISDS clause is included in the deal, as it encourages Japanese companies to invest in Mongolia," a senior trade ministry official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"The trade balance between Mongolia and Japan is currently a surplus for Japan, but that can change quickly if mineral imports rise," he added.
Japan-Mongolia trade stood at 31.20 billion yen last year, far behind Tokyo's massive trade relationships with the United States and China.
In April, Japan reached a broad trade agreement with Australia and it is working on a wide-ranging deal with the European Union and the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership, a vast Pacific-wide deal led by the United States.
Resource-rich Mongolia, wedged between Russia and China, has seen big economic growth in recent years as global firms eye its vast natural resources.
In May North Korea agreed to reinvestigate the kidnapping of Japanese citizens during the 1970s and 1980s, in what appeared to be a significant breakthrough on an issue that has long hampered Tokyo's relations with Pyongyang. They have no formal diplomatic ties.
Japan earlier this month lifted some of its own sanctions on North Korea following the apparent deal.
North Korean agents kidnapped dozens—and possibly hundreds—of Japanese citizens to help train spies in language and customs. The actual number and fate of some of the abducted remains a point of contention, with Tokyo saying Pyongyang had not come clean on the issue.
"We shared the view that the president and I will jointly contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region and the global community," Abe told reporters.
The Mongolian president said his country "will cooperate with Japan in achieving peace and stability of the region".
Japan, Mongolia wrap up free trade deal – Xinhua, July 22
Mongolia's 1st EPA reached with Japan – Yomiuri Shimbun, July 23
Japan, Mongolia reach broad agreement on free trade deal – Asahi Shimbun, July 23
The Japan-Mongolia FTA Is About Cars, Minerals and Abductees
Comparative advantages and Mongolian diplomatic ties with the DPRK are key factors.
July 23 (The Diplomat) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announced the signing of a free trade agreement during a press conference in Tokyo Tuesday night. The FTA looks to be a good fit for both economies, which is probably part of the reason why the deal was reached relatively quickly, with negotiations only beginning in 2012. While their current level of trade is small (especially compared to Japan's trade with China and South Korea), the deal promises room for growth and the chance to balance their trade relationship, which is currently skewed toward Japanese exports. The strengthening relationship may also benefit Japan's ongoing negotiations with North Korea over its abducted citizens.
As these two countries are at almost opposite ends of the economic spectrum, a deal facilitating trade in Mongolia's raw inputs and Japan's high-tech, value-added industries seems ideal. Trade officials at the negotiations said the deal covers a wide range of products, including all of Mongolia's exports to Japan, and 96 percent of Japanese exports. Used cars currently account for 45 percent of Japanese exports to Mongolia, and the tariff imposed on this sector will be phased out over the next 10 years. Japan will substitute a quota-based system for its usual 38.5 percent tariff on Mongolian beef products while removing tariffs on most Mongolian industrial products, again over the next 10 years.
Mining is expected to become a much larger portion of their overall trade, with an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause instituted to protect companies and allow them to seek compensation if government policy negatively impacts their investments. Japanese exports to Mongolia were $288 million in 2013, compared to the $21 million worth of products it imported from Mongolia, yet Japanese trade negotiators believe that could change quickly if Mongolian mineral exports were to rise.
A Japanese foreign ministry official also said the agreement could help foster regional stability, a fairly clear reference to North Korea. As one in a very small group of countries maintaining diplomatic ties to Pyongyang, Mongolia is in a unique position to help foster the ongoing negotiations over Japanese abductees, which are expected to conclude later this summer. Both presidents also stated at the press conference that they would work together to promote regional security.
For Mongolia, the access to increased investment will certainly help its mining industry, especially as it seeks to diversify investment to lessen its dependence on China. While Japan certainly won't usurp China in its relationship with Mongolia, it will offer a valuable alternative with the possibility of benefiting from Japan's greater technological expertise.
The upsides for Japan are probably larger. It has managed to keep some protections for its beef industry in place with a quota system, while greatly expanding its ability to export cars and import Mongolia's vast mineral wealth. Additionally, Abe appears to have found a willing partner in Elbegdorj over the abductee issue. Mongolia has previously used its diplomatic relations to facilitate contact between North Korean and Japanese officials on this very issue. Any breakthrough on the abductees would be a major domestic victory for Abe, so he will be looking for any leverage he can find to push Pyongyang to carry through its investigations and return all remaining citizens.
EPA to Draw New Landscape for Bilateral Economic Cooperation between Mongolia and Japan
July 23 (president.mn) The working visit of President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj to Japan has started today with President's address to the Mongolian and Japanese businessmen at the Mongolia-Japan Business Forum, co-hosted with Japan Federation of Economic Organizations, KEIDANREN.
Over 130 businessmen from Mongolia and over 180 businessmen from Japan were present at the Forum. In his address President Elbegdorj noted: "Mongolia maintained close relations with Japan at momentous historical junctures.
For instance, in early years of building the Great Mongol Empire Yuan, Khubilai Khaan sent a letter to the Emperor of Japan; in 1911, an envoy was sent to Japan by the Holy Bogd Gegeen Jebzundamba asking for official recognition of Mongolia's independence. In early 1990s, the hard years of transition from a socialist to a democratic society, the first President of Mongolia Mr. P. Ochirbat and Prime Minister Mr. D. Byambasuren sent a letter to the Government of Japan asking for an all-around support and assistance. All of these acts testify the sustained and lasting interest of the peoples of Mongolia and Japan for friendship and cooperation.
I express our profound gratitude to Japan and its people for the unwavering support to Mongolia's democracy since the very start. I earnestly thank Japan for not only recognizing Mongolia's independence, but also for its strenuous support in our efforts to have Mongolia's democracy recognized by other countries and international organizations in Asia and the Pacific and enrolled in the latters' membership.
Mongolian people's wisdom teaches to always remember and appreciate the good others do to you. Mongolians will never forget your helping hand, your presence at the moments of hardship. There is one very special feature in the help and assistance of the people of Japan. That is, Japan's aid and support have always been timely, relevant and apt.
We do always remember with warmth and gratitude that these were the people of Japan who stretched their arms of help when Mongolia was about to freeze when our power stations ailed and stopped; when the public transportation in Ulaanbaatar came to sit idle, when our fire and first aid machines went out of order, when our children had not enough schools and kindergartens to attend.
This year sees the end of grant aid from Japan to Mongolia. From now on our two countries are entering a new era of mutually beneficial cooperation. The money the Japanese taxpayers had been giving the Mongolian people were instrumental and vital in overcoming the difficulties and challenges of development. Mongolia, which was like a just-born foal in 1990, has grown up and matured today. In the past few years our GDP has grown several-fold. The engine of our economic growth – the private sector – has firmly stood up on its legs. The time has come now to advance our bilateral economic relations to a new level, and it is precisely within these premises that we are meeting in Tokyo today.
Although Mongolia and Japan have been continuously fostering bilateral relations, the scope of the cooperation has been very narrow and limited to merely a handful of companies. The bilateral trade turnover comprises only some 100 million USD. Japanese FDI to Mongolia barely reaches half a billion USD". President Elbegdorj emphasized the need to reinvigorate the bilateral relations between the two countries, and dramatically, during the visit of the President of Mongolia to Japan in 2010. In his speech at the Parliament of Japan in 2010, President Elbegdorj noted:"The time has come, let's wake up". "I wish to repeat those words today. We now have all preconditions set for translating into reality those words. We have agreed to establish an Economic Partnership Agreement. I am delighted to inform you that Prime Minister Abe and I will sign tonight a Joint Statement affirming our agreement to establish the Economic Partnership Agreement" – said President to the audience at the Mongolia-Japan Business Forum.
The two countries have been able to reach an agreement to establish the EPA after 4 years of talks. The EPA provides the legal basis and environment to boost bilateral economic cooperation. It draws a dramatically renewed landscape for successful and mutually beneficial economic cooperation between Mongolia and Japan.
"Let us study together, produce together, and market together. We have reached an agreement with our Japanese counterparts that our governments support the efforts of our private sectors to implement this call. Mongolia is a uniquely situated country. We border with two countries with the largest population and with the largest territory. Developing cooperation with Mongolia is consonant with the aspiration to reach out to these two huge markets together" – highlighted President Elbegdorj.
President meets chair of Mongolia-Japan Friendship Group at Diet
Ulaanbaatar, July 24 (MONTSAME) In frames of the working visit to Japan, the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj Wednesday received Mr Satsuki Eda, a leader of the Mongolia-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group at the House of Representatives (lower house), in Tokyo.
Mr Eda said he will continue to enhance inter-parliamentary ties and emphasized that the countries reached an agreement in principle to establish the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Here he added that the Japanese parliament will give its support to approving it.
After this meeting, the President received Mr Heita Kawakatsu, the governor of Shizuoka Prefecture. They discussed such matters as preparing staffers and engineers for the coal sector of Mongolia, ways to widen ties between Mongolian aimags and other Prefectures.
Nikkei Group invites President Elbegdorj to annual Future of Asia conference
Ulaanbaatar, July 24 (MONTSAME) The President Elbegdorj Wednesday met with Mr Ito Naohiko, a vice chairman of Friendship Exchange Council of Japan (FEC), within his working visit to Japan.
Mr Elbegdorj said Mongolia and Japan have reached an agreement to sign the Economic Partnership and there will be ample opportunities for cooperation. "It is very important to inform the people of the two countries that the opportunities must be taken. I hope that our cooperation with the Friendship Exchange Council will be fruitful, on the initiatives of conducting joint research, project and work," he said.
FEC undertakes surveys to enhance economic cooperation in the region, organizes trainings and meetings with the representatives of public and private sectors of a certain countries to discuss issues related to economy, cultural relations and partnership.
The same day, the President received Mr Tsuneo Kita, a president of the Nikkei Group. Mr Kita invited the President to the "Future of Asia" annual conference.
Mongolia Included in Czech Development Cooperation Program
July 24 (UB Post) A roundtable meeting to discuss the "Future perspectives of Mongolia-Czech cooperation" was held by the Mongolian Embassy in the Czech Republic, Cooperation of External Development Platforma and the Confederation of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic.
The Cooperation of External Development Platforma, the Confederation of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic, and representatives from KPM Consult JSC, Dekonta JSC, GEOtest LLC and Geomin LLC, were present at the meeting.
Development in the Mongolian infrastructure and education sectors were discussed during the meeting. The Czech Government has also included Mongolia in its Development Cooperation Program and is implementing a plan to cooperate with Mongolia in 2010-2015.
In 1996, the Czech Republic was the first country among the former socialist states to provide development assistance to Mongolia.
Industry Minister Tuvdendorj Receives Italian Ambassador on Increasing Investment
July 23 (infomongolia.com) The Minister of Industry and Agriculture and the Head of Mongolia part of the Italy-Mongolia Intergovernmental Committee, Mr. Sh.Tuvdendorj has received the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Italian Republic to Mongolia, Mr. Alberto Bradanini on July 22nd respectively.
The Italy-Mongolia cooperation in the industrial sector has been noticeably developing in recent years in terms of intensifying the market penetration of the world-known Italian industrial brands and technological products into emerging Mongolia market under the leveraged financial support from the fund of Chinggis and Samurai Bonds through the means of strategic financial stringency with supportive guarantees from the Government of the Italian Republic.
During this meeting, Minister Sh.Tuvdendorj put forward a proposal to Mr. Alberto Bradinini to jointly investigate industrial sector-oriented future opportunities to increase direct investments through the Intergovernmental Partnership Agreements as well as to implement equipment leasing projects with possible financial supports from the Italian investment companies under the risk insurances of the Italian Credit Insurance Group SACE for 20-30 years on long-term basis.
Elsewhere, the Minister for Industry and Agriculture also put another proposal for implementing a project through the Intergovernmental levels to market the Italian cutting-edge advanced technologies to Mongolian industrial sector by the professional preparatory trainings for specializing highly skillful and competent personnel in order to conduct branding and processing the Mongolian cashmere, wool, fur and knitwear products with highest possible-internationally acceptable standards to the world market.
Ambassador Alberto Bradanini has warmly accepted all the proposals and noted that he will persistently follow up all the plans and initiatives arisen from the Ministry of Industry and Agriculture of Mongolia and will focus on making it real by any possible means.
Mongolia seeks to broaden defense ties with Turkey
July 24 (news.mn) Mongolian delegates lead by State Secretary for Defense Ministry of Mongolia, colonel general Z.Boldbaatar visited to the Republic of Turkey between July 19-23. During the visit MoU on cooperation was signed between Defense Ministries.
Colonel general Z.Boldbaatar expressed its willingness to cooperate with Turkey to train more military personnel in Turkey, improve military financing, and develop military industry and then delivered the greetings by Defense Minister of Mongolia D.Bat-Erdene to Deputy Director of Department of Plans and Technology of Ministry of Defense of Turkey, brigade general Mustafa Avji.
150 military personnel of Defense Ministry of Mongolia were trained in Turkey. Two out of them have become generals.
Indonesia presidential candidate Jokowi, declared winner, denies having bank accounts abroad, including Mongolia
Jakarta, July 22 (ANTARA News) - Presidential candidate Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who won the presidential race, denied on Tuesday having bank accounts abroad.
"I have been an exporter for 24 years. We have never has bank account abroad. I and my wife never have," the Jakarta governor said.
Jokowi is almost certain to be named president elect after his rival Prabowo Subianto declared he "withdrew" from the process of vote recapitulation on Tuesday.
Prabowo accused the election commission (KPU) of being unfair and rejected the results of the election.
Prabowos statement was made hours before KPU announced that Jokowi won the election on Tuesday evening.
Jokowi was formerly a producer and exporter of wooden furniture.
"Not many people being an exporter, but I was only a small exporter," he said.
Earlier chairman of the Progress 98 Faizal Assegaf said Jokowi did not report his assets with 32 bank accounts abroad to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
Presidential candidates are required to report their assets to the agency and to the KPU.
Faisal said Jokowi had bank accounts in a number of countries such as Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Mongolia, Jordan, and Lebanon.(*)
A Conversation with Mongolia's Environment Minister Oyun Sanjasuren
July 23 (The Asia Foundation) As The Asia Foundation recently marked its 20th anniversary in Mongolia, Country Representative Meloney Lindberg sat down with Oyun Sanjasuren, Minister of Environment and Green Development and former Asia Foundation grantee, to discuss the country's rapid development and efforts to promote responsible mining to protect its natural resources and environment. Last month, Minister Oyun was elected the first president of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).
Mongolia is one of the world's fastest growing economies, rich in natural resources. As minister of the environment, what do you see as the challenges and opportunities in managing these great resources?
For hundreds if not thousands of years, Mongolians, who lived as nomadic herders, lived in harmony with nature, and because they were directly dependent on this nature to survive they learned how to protect it, and traditionally to worship nature as well. We have a lot of good traditions that can be used for environmentally friendly development, but the last decades have produced a lot of pollution and environmental degradation. We're lucky because we are a small population, just under three million, with a large area per capita – the least dense country in the world. We're lucky there are still large areas that are relatively pristine, but many are subject to the negative impacts of climate change. Pollution and environmental degradation are mostly seen in the cities, especially in the capital. Half of Ulaanbaatar citizens live in ger districts, where there is no running water and no sewage. Meanwhile, outside Ulaanbaatar there are a large number of small-scale mining sites left degraded, and that's a legacy of those last 20 years. Since 1990, when we transitioned to democracy and a market economy, there have been many challenges. The first priority was to create jobs and incomes, and the environment was overlooked. In the past six or seven years, when the economy has been growing almost continuously, the government decided that we had to turn our economic growth into something more sustainable and environmentally friendly. On the public side, we've seen huge support for more environmentally friendly development, because the nomadic herders are pretty much dependent on nature and when they see a lot of land degraded by mining operations there is less and less support for local mining.
We also have to realize that mining is one of our main engines of economic growth and development, whether we like it or not, so rather than trying to avoid mining we have to make mining more responsible. 15 years ago, when commodity prices were low and we were desperate to create jobs, we couldn't afford this, but now we can afford to demand higher standards. And if your projects aren't environmentally friendly, we can actually refuse them. Legislation was introduced a few years ago that will gradually ban mining in watershed and forest areas, and areas protected by national parks have been gradually increased. We pledged in the early 1990s that 30 percent of our territory would be turned into protected areas, and now about 17 percent is protected. On the one hand, this is good news; on the other, we have to work on better management of those protected areas.
What are the government's plans to promote responsible mining and rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation of mining areas is still a major issue, and until 2008 Mongolia didn't have very good rehabilitation standards. In 2008, new rehabilitation standards were introduced, and now we're working very hard on introducing new mine-closure and discharge standards. We now have a map of most of the degraded areas that are in need of rehabilitation, which totals about 600 sites. We also introduced an environmental audit that mining companies must go through, and private environmental auditing companies will be helping those mining companies to implement and monitor their environmental action plans. The Environmental Impact Assessment Report is usually submitted to the Ministry, but with just a few staff looking after 3,000 exploration and 1,000 mining licenses, oversight has been poor. So this middle structure of private environmental audit companies will help both mining companies and the government to implement the plan.
You were part of the original group invited to participate in The Asia Foundation's conference, America's Role in Asia. What are your recollections as an early Asia Foundation grantee?
In 1999, I was invited along with Mr. Tsagaan to participate in a workshop in Japan on America's Role in Asia. I had just entered politics, so I found it very interesting and enticing. Mongolia was such an isolated country until 1990, and when the world opened to us there was so much for Mongolians to learn. I also remember an early conference organized by The Asia Foundation in 2002 about economic development and solutions for growth, which featured many excellent speakers. Just preparing and researching for that workshop enlightened me about Mongolia's development path. I also remember fondly a visit to the Foundation's San Francisco headquarters in 2003 as an Eisenhower Fellow.
The Asia Foundation is launching a new initiative to identify young Mongolian leaders. What aspects should we consider when moving forward with this new program?
Preparing the new generation of leaders is very important. I benefited from the Eisenhower Fellowship and the Global Leaders of Tomorrow program, which give such a great opportunity to learn new ways of thinking. Our Zorig Foundation has been running a leadership program for about ten years, and we also started a young environmental leadership program that is now in its third year. Later this year we are going to be doing a program for rural youth in 21 aimags. Young people very much appreciate and benefit from these kinds of programs.
As a long-standing Member of Parliament, you've been at the forefront of the fight against corruption. What progress has been made?
Good governance and fighting corruption were not priorities when I entered Parliament in 1998. A draft anti-corruption bill was submitted at the end of 1999, and I was one of the co-signers, but because there was no political will it sat in the Parliament until 2004. After a new coalition government was created, anti-corruption legislation was passed in 2006 and an agency was established in 2007. The provision of the Law on Anti-corruption relating to income declarations by high-level officials came into effect in 2007, the right to information law was passed a few years ago, and conflict of interest legislation was passed last year. Legally we have progressed quite a bit since around 2005-2006, which is good news, but fighting corruption is very difficult, and success doesn't come overnight.
Taiwan charities conduct medical missions in Sri Lanka, Mongolia
Taipei, July 23 (CNA) Taiwanese charity groups traveled to remote areas of Sri Lanka and Mongolia earlier this month to provide medical services to people there, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which covered part of the costs of the missions.
The Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps provided free treatment for people in the towns of Balangoda and Deniyaya in southern Sri Lanka, on a July 5-13 medical mission, said Ray Mou, director-general of the ministry's Department of NGO International Affairs, at a news briefing Tuesday.
Based in New Taipei, the charity group is known for its visits to remote areas around Taiwan and in other countries to provide medical services.
Meanwhile, the Bliss and Wisdom Cultural Foundation, another organization that provides medical services overseas, sent a mission to Mongolia July 6-July17, Mou said.
During its trip, which included visits to the cities of Bayanhongor and Uliastay, the mission provided clinical services, basic checkups and seminars on health education in an effort to improve local people's health knowledge, Mou added.
Rescue team finds bodies of two, searching three remaining in Yeruu River
July 24 (UB Post) Five young men, aged 18 to 20, went missing during Naadam in Selenge Province. A rescue team of over 100 emergency management rescuers found the bodies of two of the five men in the Yuruu River on Thursday. The team is still searching the river for the three other men.
A total of 18 people have died in drowning accidents since the beginning of July. National emergency management agencies have reported that about 100 people died in drowning accidents last year. Most of the victims were young people. Parents are advised to look after their children and not go on vacations at riverbanks, as all rivers have flooded due to recent heavy rainfalls.
Mongolia Loses to Guam at East Asian Football Cup Qualifying Group
July 24 (infomongolia.com) The Mongolian National Football Team has been participating in the preliminary competition Round 1 of the EAFF East Asian Cup 2015 which has been taking place between July 21st and July 25th in the Guam (United States island territory of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean).
On July 23, Mongolia played against Guam but lost 0:2; at the same time, the same group competitors' match was also taken place and the North Mariana Islands took 2:1 lead against Macau.
As of today, the Guam National Team leads the group with 4 points; and next, the Mongolia and North Mariana Islands followed with 3 points but Macau has left with no hopes standing with only 1 point at the bottom of the group results.
The next round of the group match will take place on July 25th including Mongolia vs Macau and Guam vs North Mariana Islands. Only a winner of this group will be qualified to the preliminary competition Round 2 of the EAFF East Asian Cup 2015; henceforth, if Mongolia takes the lead against Macau while Guam loses or draw against Northern Mariana Islands then Mongolia can be qualified further to play in the same group with Taiwan, Hong-Kong and North Korea. So, Mongolia still goes with high hopes within this competition.
21 July 2014
Mongolia 4-0 Northern Mariana Islands
Guam 0-0 Macau
23 July 2014
Macau 1-2 Northern Mariana Islands
Guam 2-0 Mongolia
25 July 2014, 15:00
Macau v Mongolia
Guam v Northern Mariana Islands
VIDEO: Guy's Goals Lift Guam Over Mongolia – Pacific News Center, July 24
18th Mongolian Steppe International Marathon takes place at Tuv Province
July 24 (UB Post) The 18th Mongolian Steppe International Marathon was held on July 20 in Tuv Province.
Over 550 athletes competed in this year's marathon from Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and other countries. Approximately 60 athletes were from Japan. In addition, specialized soldiers of the Mongolian Military Force participated in this year's competition.
Traditionally, athletes run in distances of three, five, 10 and 21 km races. Winners of the 21 km race were awarded with a race bred colt.
International Sports Master Ts.Byambajav won the men's 21 km and Sports Master B.Munkhzaya won the women's 21 km category.
Athletes who won the 10 and 21 km categories were also awarded rights to participate in the 17th Asian Games which will be held from September 19 until October 4 in Incheon, South Korea.
July 24 (UB Post) The Zoo Park of Prague of the Czech Republic organized a Wild Horse Day on July 20. During the event, a Mongolian ger was set up near the Przewalski horse fence. Mongolian singers that live in Czech performed a concert, an archery contest was held and an exhibition showing Mongolian life, culture and tradition was unveiled.
The event was partially aimed at promoting Mongolian culture and customs to visitors.
The Zoo's workers, delegates of the Ministry of Nature, Environment, and Green Developments of Mongolia and Przewalski horse project of Gobi-Altai Province, and Mongolian ambassador to the Czech Republic attended in the event.
Miroslav Bobek, director of the Zoo emphasized that three wild horses were delivered to Mongolia's Shar Mountain, and B.Baasansuren, advisor of the embassy to the Czech Republic expressed his appreciation to the officials that are contributing to the protection of Przewalski horses.
The Zoo has been sending three to four wild horses to Mongolia every year in the past four years to protect wild horses.
This Month in Mongolian Studies – July 2014
In this Issue:
This is a monthly listing of selected academic activities and resources related to Mongolia. This list is based on information the ACMS has received and is presented as a service to its members. If you would like to submit information to be included in next month's issue please contact the ACMS at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or the editor, Marissa Smith, email@example.com.
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Mongol-American Naadam: creating new culture
Naadam festivals in the United States feature an American touch
By MARGAUX MAXWELL and MATHILDE MICHAUD
Mongol-American communities thrive from San Francisco to Washington D.C, where Mongolians paid homage to their roots during Naadam Festival celebrations in early July. But the 15,000 people of Mongolian descent living in the United States are adopting a new culture while preserving an old one, celebrating as both Mongolians and Americans.
Traditional horse racing competitions have been largely replaced by children's wood horse racing or competitive running in most festivals in San Francisco; Denver, Colorado; Arlington, Virginia; Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago, where over two thousand people of Mongolian origin make up their respective populations.
Tug of war now takes place alongside archery in a San Francisco Bay Naadam celebration and Chicago's Mongolian community holds volleyball and basketball (an important sport for Chicago's history) competitions in addition to traditional games. Deel (Mongolian traditional clothing) competitions award the most skilled designer or wearer in New York's Central Park and the Mongolian Children's festival in Arlington, Virginia holds a children's singing and Morin Khuur competition every year.
"I am trying not to recreate Naadam as I knew it before," said Enkh Starr, a resident of Chicago who emigrated in 2004, "With my husband and friends, I make it a cultural learning experience by teaching them how to make khuushuur and learn the history of the games, but I am not afraid to make it our own little celebration. For example, this year we made khuushuur burgers. It is also for me, because I become accustomed to a new culture while remembering my old one."
Naadam, observed from July 11-13 in Mongolia prior to a Parliamentary decision to expand the holiday to five days, also takes place on various dates throughout July for most organizations in the United States.
The Mongolian School of Colorado, which holds a community-wide Naadam celebration in the Denver area, describes their celebration.
"We pick the second weekend, Saturday or Sunday, of July to celebrate Naadam, and almost everyone in the community participates. It is like a year-waited traditional celebration for Mongolians in Colorado. They do have the archery and the men's three games like wrestling, but horse racing is not actual horses but kids participating riding a wooden horse, and playing knuckle bones and Dembee," the School told the UB Post.
If Mongolian Naadam customs are adapting little by little to their new environment, wrestling seems to remain unchangingly the center of festivals in the United States. Considered by many as the spirit of the Mongolian national festivities, it is unsurprising that every Naadam festival sees wrestlers take to the arena. Naadam celebrations in the United States are still part of an effort to preserve the legacy of Chinggis Khan and Mongolian history, by organizations such as the Mongol American Cultural association, who have taken part in making Naadam possible in many cities of the U.S.
"If I was born here, I wouldn't want to forget English," said 12-year-old Ganbayar Bayarsaihan to the Denver Post, articulating a fear of many families raising children away from their home country.
Will the Mongolian in Mongolian-America survive?
With only a couple thousand Mongolian residents, the Los Angeles Mongolian community has seen difficulty in supporting the infrastructures necessary to bridge the gap between the old and new world. Mongolian restaurants and specialized food stores are nonexistent, and efforts to have the "Little Mongolia" cultural enclave recognized by the Los Angeles City Council have yet to succeed.
Except in areas like Arlington, where Mongolian is one of the most spoken languages in public school, Mongol-Americans remain a minority, making it hard to keep the language and traditions of the homeland alive. Second generation Mongolian-Americans are becoming less inclined to study and participate in the country's heritage, a phenomena which challenges most ethnic communities in the United States.
"When I came to America, I felt that it wasn't cool to speak Hindi and wear Punjab (traditional India dress). My parents provided every opportunity for me to, but that's not what I wanted. I felt that in order to have better opportunities in life I had to act and talk like an American, so the Indian in me kind of faded. We see white people as superior. The same goes for the color of the skin," said Aditi Gupta, an Indian-American who lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
While Mongol-Americans are attempting to bolster a sense of community in any way they can, such as holding gatherings like Naadam, the Mongolian identity in America faces the risk of dying out.
Mongolia makes waves in the U.S
Mongolian settlement in the U.S. isn't a new phenomenon: the first emigrant was the Living Buddha in 1949, followed by many other Lamas escaping the Soviet purges that began in the 1930s. The United States, whose political opposition towards the Communist regime was growing stronger, was a good country of asylum for those who had been persecuted by Stalin and his allies. These political refugees were followed by a large wave of Kalmyk Mongolians in 1951-1952, who had already migrated from Western Mongolia to Southeast Europe. After having spent five years in refugee camps all over Europe, fleeing political persecution from the Soviets, the Kalmyks were granted the right to immigrate as Europeans to the United States by a U.S Congressional law. It is approximated that 570 Kalmyks immigrated in the first year following the adoption of the law, with families and individuals adding to the number in later years.
The Colorado School of Mines opened its doors to Mongolian students in the 1980s, forming the second wave of Mongolian-Americans in the Denver area, now considered to be Ulaanbaatar's U.S. sister city. The largest immigration wave came at the collapse of the Soviet Union and the transformation of the Mongolian communist one-party government into a democratic one.
Thousands of new Mongol-Americans fled the wreckage left behind by the economic transition from planned-economy to free market, but didn't settle in a single locality. Mongolian-Americans have since formed a series of communities all over the country.
Naadam celebrations in the United States for 2014 have concluded.
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