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Monday, August 18, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
TRQ closed +2.37% to US$3.45 Friday.
Rio secures power deal for Mongolian copper mine
By Terrence Edwards
ULAN BATOR Aug 14 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto on Thursday secured an agreement with the Mongolian government for the construction of a power generation plant to feed the $6.5 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper project, ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline for a decision on project financing.
The Oyu Tolgoi LLC mining unit will be the primary consumer of energy generated from the power station, which is expected to be built near Mongolia's state-owned Tavan Tolgoi coal mine. Mongolia will hold an international tender to select a private company to fund construction and then own and operate the power plant, said Oyu Tolgoi.
Mongolia's prime minister, Norov Altankhuyag, signed the Power Sector Cooperation Agreement (PSCA) alongside the country's minister of energy, and Oyu Tolgoi's Rio Tinto appointed president and chief executive officer, Craig Kinnell (Mogi: Energy Minister signed it on behalf of GoM, not actually Altankhuyag himself, but same thing I guess).
Currently the project is sourcing power from China's state-owned Inner Mongolia Power Corp. region. The investment agreement Rio has with the government for the project stipulates that it must secure a local power source by 2017.
"The PSCA is a positive development for Oyu Tolgoi," said Rio Tinto Copper chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques, in a statement from Oyu Tolgoi. "It demonstrates how the Government and we can work together to achieve shared objectives - in this case, developing a long-term, economically competitive, and reliable power supply in the South Gobi."
Mongolia and its Western private partners are still moving forwards despite a $130 million tax demand received by Oyu Tolgoi from Mongolia's Tax Authority for the years between 2010 and 2012. A decision from a disputes council is expected to be made later this month.
Rio Tinto's majority-owned Turquoise Hill unit has also triggered a "notice of dispute" outlined in the 2009 investment agreement for the mine that gives 60 days to negotiate a resolution before it can escalate the matter further through arbitration. The deadline is expected sometime in mid-September.
Turquoise Hill owns 66 percent of the mine while the government owns the remaining 34 percent through its state-owned Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi unit.
Meanwhile the project is coming up against a third deadline, on Sept. 30, for a decision on a $4 billion project financing agreement. Approval will depend on the completion of a pre-feasibility study that Turquoise Hill said it would not release until after the tax dispute was settled.
Turquoise Hill aims to end Mongolia tax dispute before deadline
Aug 12 (Reuters) - Turquoise Hill Resources is working to resolve a tax dispute with the Mongolian government before an extension runs out on funding commitments for the underground expansion of its Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine, the company's chief executive officer said on Tuesday.
"We are all aware of the September 30 date and we are all working toward that deadline," CEO Kay Priestly said on a conference call with investors, referring to the expiration of a six-month extension on bank commitments to fund the project.
"Clearly the underground is a significant part of the value of this mine, and right now, we're focused on progressing the underground."
The underground development of Oyu Tolgoi, which is one of the world's largest undeveloped copper deposits, was put on hold last year when the Mongolian government became concerned that cost overruns would delay the flow of the government's share of profits from the mine.
In May, a group of banks agreed to extend their commitment to fund the project, but efforts to restart development work hit a snag in June, when the Canadian company filed a notice of dispute with the Government of Mongolia, after tax authorities claimed unpaid taxes and penalties related to the project.
Turquoise Hill owns a 66 percent stake in the copper-gold mine, with the Mongolian government holding the remaining 34 percent. Global miner Rio Tinto plc controls the project through its 51 percent stake in Turquoise Hill.
Priestly said development work on the Oyu Tolgoi expansion project would resume once the outstanding shareholder issues, including tax claims, are resolved, and all parties have agreed on a comprehensive funding plan.
The underground expansion must also be approved by Turquoise Hill and the Mongolian government. The Vancouver-based company said a feasibility study, originally expected in June, is nearly complete.
Rio's $6b Mongolia project mired in tax dispute - The Sydney Morning Herald, August 14
Oyu Tolgoi feasibility study won't have financials or schedule – MINING.com, August 13
Mogi: Uh-oh! ETT fiasco to be revealed? Or all's good now?
MacMahon Holdings to reveal details on Mongolia project
August 18 (Proactive Investors) Mining services company MacMahon Holdings (ASX:MAH) has been granted a trading halt by the ASX with its shares placed in pre-open.
MacMahon requested the halt pending an announcement about the company's project in Mongolia.
The halt will remain in place until the opening of trade on Wednesday 20th August 2014, or earlier if an announcement is made to the market.
XAM closed -1c to A$0.12 Friday, +200% in last 3 months
Under the Radar: Hot copper's stellar performance – the case of Xanadu Mines
By Richard Hemming
August 20 (Sydney Morning Herald) Copper is proving to be a hot sector for exploration and one of the areas with the most heat is Mongolia, the location of Rio Tinto's problem-riddled 2.5 billion tonne copper mine Oyu Tolgoi.
Just this week Xanadu Mines (XAM) more than trebled following an announcement which indicated that it could have tripled the size of its Altan Tolgoi prospect. This means the company is on the path towards developing a medium-sized copper mine.
''There is money to be made in copper exploration, for sure and Xanadu is emerging as a favourite,'' says analyst David Coates, who is with CIMB. ''It's early stage, but [its result] points to the potential for it to be a significant and economic copper deposit.''
Even after its spike, at 13 cents Xanadu has a market of only $31 million, and others that have shot up in recent weeks are similarly small. These include the Australian-based Thunderlarra (THX), KGL Resources (KGL) and Minotaur Exploration (MEP).
According to Coates, the common thread is that they have all achieved good intersections of copper from exploration drilling programs and there is heightened interest in copper, which is an economic bellwether.
Copper is trading at about US$6,885 a tonne on the LME which is well below its level in 2011 of close to US$10,000 a tonne. It has been hit by concerns about the slowing growth of industrial output in China. But there is no doubt that should global growth continue at current trends there will be a need for more of the red metal with big projects such as BHP's Olympic Dam and Antofagasta Minerals' Antucoya copper project being delayed indefinitely.
Xanadu certainly has the pedigree to indicate that it could be one to one day supply copper to a hungry market. Its copper gold geology is the same as its big brother Oyu Tolgoi and it was first explored by BHP's Magma Copper and then by Robert Friedland's Canadian company Ivanhoe.
Half of Ivanhoe was sold to Rio Tinto because of its giant Oyu Tolgoi development, which then changed its name to Turquoise Hill Resources (TRN:CN) and in the past three years this vehicle has been selling its non-core assets which – you guessed it –include Xanadu's project, of which Altan Tolgoi is one of three prospects.
The company is now run by managing director George Lloyd and the chief geologist Andrew Stewart who point out that the problems for Rio Tinto stem from differing views between shareholders and not Oyu Tolgoi's geological qualities. Specifically, a point of contention has been costs increases associated with underground mining, which brings the total cost to around $7 billion. This delays the dividend for the project's 34 per cent shareholder, the Mongolian Government.
Xanadu don't have such lofty ambitions, and its cost of drilling 10,000 metres of holes in the region of $2 million is much lower than it is elsewhere in the world. And much more bang for your buck, when you consider that it is looking at a target of up to 400 million tonnes of copper and gold resources.
Viking Mines: Prospectus to Issue 80 Million Shares Raise A$3.04 Million
August 18 -- For the offer of up to 80,000,000 Shares at an offer price of $0.038 per Share together with 20,000,000 free attaching New Options exercisable at $0.09 on or before 30 April 2017, to raise up to $3,040,000 before costs (Capital Raising Offer).
This Prospectus has also been prepared for the purposes of an offer of:
· 3,000,000 New Options exercisable at $0.20 on or before 30 September 2016 to Iarudi LLC (Iarudi Options);
· 11,748,913 New Options exercisable at $0.09 on or before 30 April 2017 to the Auminco Lenders (Auminco Lender Options); and
· 3,450,000 New Options exercisable at $0.09 on or before 30 April 2017 to the Corporate Advisers (Corporate Adviser Options)
The Offers open on Monday, 18 August 2014 and are scheduled to close at 5.00pm (WST) on Friday, 29 August 2014. Valid acceptances for the Capital Raising Offer must be received by the Closing Date.
VKA last traded A$0.042 on August 11
Viking Mines signs 4th MoU at Auminco mine
PERTH, August 15 (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Viking Mines (ASX:VKA), formerly Viking Ashanti, has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Mongolian industrial company for the future potential supply of coal from Auminco Mines.
Unlisted Auminco Mines is currently the subject of a takeover offer by Viking, which to date, had secured a shareholding of some 97% in the takeover target.
Viking chairperson Jack Gardner said the MoU, the fourth for Auminco's Berkh Uul bituminous coal project in Mongolia, was a significant event for the company, as Khutul Cement and Lime (KCLC) was Mongolia's largest cement manufacturer.
"We understand KCLC has plans to substantially increase cement production to meet a growing domestic demand. This would result in its coal demand increasing from the current 250 000 t/y to around 400 000 t/y or 500 000 t/y," Gardner said.
He noted that Viking Mines was optimistic about winning a "big slice" of KCLC's demand, as low sulphur content was a feature of the Berkh Uul coal.
GUF closed +6.1% Thursday on the announcement
Guildford inks first sales contract in Mongolia
PERTH, August 14 (miningweekly.com) – Junior coal developer Guildford Coal has executed its first sales contract for its Baruun Noyon Uul (BNU) coal mine, in Mongolia.
The contract represented the first shipment of 8,000t of coal from the BNU mine to end-users in China, which would provide feedback on the product. The first trucks were scheduled to leave the mine on August 25.
Further deliveries of some 12 000 t were also anticipated.
Previously known as the North pit, BNU forms part of Guildford's South Gobi project, and has a coal resource of 70.4-million tonnes, which includes an indicated resource of 39.7-million tonnes.
SGQ closed +8.9%% to C$0.61 Friday.
SouthGobi's direction murky following Hong Kong share deal
VANCOUVER, August 15 (The Northern Miner) — It's been a nightmare two years for Mongolia-focused producer SouthGobi Resources (TSX:SGQ; US-OTC: SGQRF) as it weathers socio-political challenges and low coking and thermal coal prices.
The company continues to operate significantly below capacity at its Ovoot Tolgoi open-pit coal mine, placed roughly half of its workforce on furlough in June, and has seen a notable drop in share price over the past 18 months. Adding to the uncertainty is a recent share transaction between Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX: TRQ; NYSE: TRQ) and Hong Kong-based National United Resource Holdings (HKG:0254).
SouthGobi's output decreased consecutively over the first two quarters of 2014, with second quarter production pegged at 550,000 tonnes of raw coal, which compares to roughly 640,000 tonnes during the first quarter.
As a result SouthGobi registered a net loss of US$23.2 million or 12¢ per share over the past three months, which is actually a year-on-year improvement from the US$33 million or 18¢ per share loss registered during second-quarter 2014. Over the first six months of the year the company has experienced a net loss of US$44 million or 23¢ per share. Its full-year loss in 2013 totaled US$237million or $1.30 per share, with annual revenues pegged at US$58.6 million.
Direct cash costs of products sold dropped around 10% or US85¢ to US$8.23 per tonne, while average realized selling price per tonne of aggregate coal products declined from US$10.90 over the first six months of 2013 to US$9.08 over the same period in 2014.
"Coal prices in China declined further in the second quarter compared to the first quarter of 2014 in response to excess seaborne supply, and the global metallurgical coal market remains over-supplied," noted president and CEO Ross Tromans during an Aug. 11 conference call. "Coal producers around the world continue to focus on efficiency and cost reduction, while announcing production curtailments, closures and reductions in workforce, as well as delayed start-up or withdrawal from expansion projects. It has been a similar situation in Mongolia."
SouthGobi has been seeking additional sources of capital in order to maintain what it labels "appropriate liquidity levels," and was bailed out in late May when controlling shareholder Turquoise Hill — which is majority owned by Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO; LSE: RIO) — extended the company a US$10-million revolving credit facility to meet short-term spending requirements. The company also completed the sale of its Tsagaan Tolgoi mining license during the second quarter, which provided net proceeds of roughly US$1.3 million.
Around two months later, however, Turquoise Hill reduced its exposure in SouthGobi when it sold around half its equity position — totaling 56 million shares or around 30% of the company — to National United Resources for US$24 million. Turquoise Hill CEO Kay Priestly said on Aug. 12 that there are no current plans for the remaining equity holdings, and added the credit facility appeared to "maximize value and provide a good path forward for SouthGobi from a liquidity standpoint."
National United Resources is principally engaged in coking coal trading, natural resource related logistics business, outdoor advertising, and other media-related services. The company entered the coking coal trading and natural resource-related logistics business in the second half of 2013 and is building up networks and cost relationships in the industry.
"Natural United Resources management believes that acquiring a stake in SouthGobi will allow them to further secure supplies of coking coal with our company, give them an opportunity to form a strategic alliance and to continue to diversify and strengthen their natural resource business," Tromans explained. "We have talked to [them] because they are customers of ours and we are aware of that, but it's too early to discuss the change of direction of the organization."
Tromans added that SouthGobi's mid-term objective remains securing additional and immediate sources of financing. The company previously stated in March that it would have trouble meeting its debt obligations this year and could face a default of a US$250-million convertible debenture issued by China Investment Corp., which owns more than 16% of the company.
SouthGobi is also dealing with a lawsuit from the Mongolian government, as the nation's anti-corruption body investigates the company for tax evasion. Back in 2012 Chinese state-owned Aluminum Corp. of China (Chalco) offered to buy SouthGobi for US$926 million. The Mongolian government blocked the deal through the enactment of its Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law (SEFIL) legislation.
SouthGobi shares have a 52-week trading range of 47¢ and $1.44, and dropped 60% or 74¢ over the past 12 months en route to a 56¢ close at the time of writing. The company had a cash balance of US$6 million in early August, and maintains 187 million shares outstanding for a $105-million market capitalization.
Mogi: the 29.95% purchase of SouthGobi is subject NUR shareholder approval. Perhaps they'll announce one after this meeting.
NUR: NOTICE OF BOARD MEETING
August 15 -- The board (the "Board") of directors (the "Director(s)") of National United Resources Holdings Limited (the "Company") hereby announces that a meeting of the Board will be held on Wednesday, 27 August 2014 to consider and approve, among others, the unaudited interim results of the Company and its subsidiaries for the six months ended 30 June 2014 and the declaration of an interim dividend (if any).
Khan Investment Management July Update: KMEF +11.39%
August 13 -- Khan Investment Management ("Khan") is pleased to report July performance for the Khan Mongolia Equity Fund (KMEF) of +11.39% following encouraging exploration results from several portfolio companies and a perceived positive shift in investor sentiment towards the Mongolian mining sector.
The Mongolian National Statistics office this week reported that 2014 H1 GDP growth slowed to 5.3% and estimated current inflation at 14.9%, driven by continued Mongolian Tugrik (MNT) depreciation. The Mongolian Central Bank raised official interest rates from 10.5% to 12% in an attempt to combat inflation, although without a sustained increase in investment flows into the country, Tugrik appreciation and a reduction in inflation remains fanciful.
Months of intervention by the Central Bank attempting to control currency depreciation, depleting foreign currency reserves substantially, appear to have been strategically timed in order to provide stability while mega investment projects with China were being finalized. As we have previously noted, major investment agreements are expected to be executed during the upcoming Chinese and Russian official Presidential visits to Mongolia which will drastically boost ailing FDI, and in turn should drive economic activity and arrest local currency depreciation.
Despite our positive outlook for the remainder of the year, Mongolia continues to receive negative attention from international media and rating agencies. Moody's warned that Mongolia's current economic situation was unsustainable and demoted the country's USD sovereign bond rating from B1 to B2. Whilst we agree that the current situation is unsustainable, we believe that developments over the next month will drastically alter the outlook for the country, resulting in a swift change in credit ratings.
The Khan Mongolia Equity Fund performance for month of July was +11.39%.
The Net Asset Value as at 31 July 2014 was USD 29.25.
Factsheets outlining monthly performance and commentary can be downloaded by registered users of the Khan Investment Management website – www.Khan-Management.com
For the month of July, of the 17 positions in the portfolio, 11 gained, 2 declined and 4 remained unchanged.
Xanadu Mines Ltd. (XAM:AU) was the biggest contributor to portfolio performance, doubling in price to AUD 0.082 over the course of July. Xanadu continues to release encouraging results from its ongoing drilling program at its flagship ex-Ivanhoe Kharmagtai copper-gold exploration project. Although inconclusive, the drill results to date confirm potential of a high-grade copper mineralized system continuing at length and depth throughout target zones. The Company's latest announcement (Monday, 11 August) saw Xanadu's share price rally 46% to 12 month highs of AUD 0.14 – a 326% increase from June lows. Xanadu will continue releasing results from current exploration activities over the coming months. Khan maintains a positive longer term view on Xanadu based on the exceptional experience of the board and management and their demonstrable ability to add shareholder value through their carefully orchestrated and executed exploration strategy. The KMEF participated in Xanadu's last private placement of AUD 1.47M in April 2014 at AUD 0.048 per share.
Despite capturing intersections with astonishing high gold grades of 19m@ 5.8g/t and "bonanza grades" of 5m @ 17.7 g/t, Erdene Resource Development Corp. (ERD:CN) suffered a 16.67% decline of its share price to close July at CAD 0.15 after trading as high as CAD 0.20 a month earlier. We believe the market is overlooking one of the most promising gold discoveries in Mongolia.
Aspire Mining Ltd (AKM:AU) entered into a non-binding MOU to supply up to 250,000 tonnes of coal per annum to the Zavkhan Power Station, 70kms away from Aspire's wholly owned Ovoot project. Aspire also announced that its Joint Venture with Noble Group has commenced a 20 hole exploration drilling program at the Nuurstei Coal project. Drilling is expected to be completed in September and results announced in December. Khan believes Aspire, which owns Mongolia's second largest proven coking coal deposit, continues to be undervalued by investors, trading at AUD 0.04 or a market cap of sub AUD 30M.
Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ:US), 66% owner of the massive Oyu Tolgoi (OT) copper mine, sold 29.95% of Southgobi Resources Ltd. (1878:HK) to Hong Kong Exchange-listed National United Resources (254:HK) for CAD 25.5M. In spite of the low valuation, the sale represents successful divestment of Turquoise Hill's non-core assets and importantly signifies another successful transaction of Mongolian mining assets following legislation of the country's new Investment Law (November 2013).
We strongly believe the upcoming key events are likely to serve as positive catalysts for a resurgence in FDI, a further improvement to investor sentiment and recovery in economic activity and growth:
- The People's Republic of China's President Xi Jinping is scheduled to pay an official visit to Mongolia on August 21 during which a USD 30B commitment to develop coal gasification projects is expected to be signed as well as other significant investment agreements and support likely to be announced.
- Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin will visit Mongolia in the first week of September. Expect investment announcements for Russian-Mongolian joint minerals, oil and gas projects as well as agreements to develop tri-lateral transportation and logistics infrastructure, including a trans-Mongolian gas pipeline connecting Russia and China.
- Announcement of extraordinary session of Parliament. Expect potential resolution on issue of railway gauges to be adopted within Mongolia.
- OT Phase Two project financing deadline in September. Rio Tinto's CEO Sam Walsh recently expressed on record his moderate optimism on resolution of the ongoing dispute with the Government of Mongolia before the financing deadline, potentially paving the way for Phase Two development go-ahead.
The most significant development in the coming month will be the signing of investment agreements with China. Erdenebulgan Oyun, Mongolia's Vice Minister for Mining, announced in a recent interview that the agreements will include the construction of two coal-to-gas-conversion plants. Upon expected completion in 2019, 95% of the plants' output would be transported to China by pipeline. The plants will have an estimated annual production capacity of 15 billion cubic meters of gas requiring 80 million metric tons of lignite coal each year – a much needed demand boost for Mongolia's ailing coal sector.
The support that such mega projects will provide to the economy at large is far reaching, resulting in investment into multiple sectors and provinces across the country. We expect renewed support for current coal producers as well as strategically located exploration and development projects. This will also stimulate construction and development in rural areas of the country in order to facilitate related infrastructure and transportation needs.
Within the next month we also anticipate clarity on project financing of Phase Two development of OT. Many speculators have suggested that the September 30th financing deadline would not be met. However, following positive statements made by Rio Tinto's CEO Sam Walsh in support of the project, some are beginning to think that the Mongolian Government and Rio Tinto could reach agreeable terms before the deadline. Not surprisingly, this would be an extremely positive development for Turquoise Hill and for Mongolia, its people and economy.
I would like to congratulate my colleagues at Asia Capital & Advisors (ACA) on the successful launch of the ACA Asia Dorset Fund (ADF). Managed by Mr. Mathew Welch, a former Temasek Managing Director, the ADF long-short hedge fund will target double digit returns through investing in small to mid-cap firms in Asia's developing markets where ACA believes many companies remain undervalued.
The coming month could prove to be one of the most exciting and positive for Mongolia over the past several years. We are confidently optimistic of increased FDI and economic activity in the second half of 2014. Our investment decisions and current portfolio reflect this belief, having built positions in those companies that we believe will benefit most from a return in FDI and an improvement in investor sentiment.
We strongly believe that Mongolia's fundamentals and the underlying investment thesis remain as strong as ever and the KMEF remains extremely well positioned to leverage on any improvement in the sentiment towards Mongolian assets.
"The single greatest edge an investor can have is a long-term orientation." Seth Klarman.
I thank our investors for their continued support and I look forward to updating you further next month.
KHAN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LIMITED
MSE News for August 13: Top 20 +0.58% to 16,022.69, Turnover ₮20.5 Million
Ulaanbaatar, August 13 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Wednesday, a total of 7,213 shares of 12 JSCs were traded costing MNT 20 million 455 thousand and 090.00.
"Hermes center" /4,000 units/, "Gobi" /1,580 units/, "Mongolia Development" /500 units/, "Mon-it buligaar" /465 units/ and "Baganuur" /194 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Gobi" (MNT 12 million 448 thousand and 050), "Mon-it buligaar" (MNT three million and 255 thousand), "Material impex" (MNT two million and 128 thousand), "Baganuur" (MNT 737 thousand and 200) and "Hermes center" (MNT 680 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 606 billion 301 million 311 thousand and 145. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 16,022.69, increasing by MNT 92.60 or 0.58% against the previous day.
MSE News for August 14: Top 20 -0.77% to 15,900.11, Turnover ₮30.1 Million
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 14 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Thursday, a total of 21 thousand and 607 shares of 23 JSCs were traded costing MNT 30 million 087 thousand and 832.00.
"Remikon" /10 thousand and 010 units/, "Olloo" /5,000 units/, "APU" /1,700 units/, "Hermes center" /1,177 units/ and "Gobi" /940 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Gobi" (MNT seven million and 426 thousand), "APU" (MNT six million 655 thousand and 500), "UB-BUK" (MNT five million and 043 thousand), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT three million 637 thousand and 050) and "Mon-it buligaar" (MNT one million 562 thousand and 500).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 596 billion 405 million 353 thousand and 368. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,900.11, decreasing by MNT 122.58 or 0.77% against the previous day.
MSE News for August 15: Top 20 +0.81% to 16,028.55, Turnover ₮23.8 Million
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 15 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Friday, a total of 6,627 shares of 12 JSCs were traded costing MNT 23 million 804 thousand and 090.00.
"Tavantolgoi" /4,083 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /1,000 units/, "Hermes center" /778 units/, "Mongolia Telecom" /318 units/ and "Aduunchuluun" /215 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Tavantolgoi" (MNT 21 million 268 thousand and 975), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT 782 thousand), "Gobi" (MNT 553 thousand), "Mongolia Telecom" (MNT 492 thousand and 900) and "Aduunchuluun" (MNT 414 thousand and 125).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 611 billion 092 million 244 thousand and 480. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 16,028.55, increasing by MNT 128.44 or 0.81% against the previous day.
Mogi: Banks are selling USD (non-cash) at 1,860 today, was 1,870 on Friday. Maaaajor intervention looks like happened on Friday, perhaps to celebrate the end of 100-day action plan. But looks like only Khan, TDB, and Golomt were "beneficiaries" of this intervention. XacBank, State Bank had 1,887, 1,889 as their selling price this morning
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, August 15 Close
August MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
BoM FX auction: US$38.5m sold at ₮1,896, CNY68m at ₮308.3, accepts swap $39.5m bid, $45m ask offers
August 14 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on August 14th, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer of USD and CNY from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 38.5 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1896.00 and 68.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT.
On August 14th, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 39.5 million USD and USD Swap agreement ask offer of 45.0 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.
BoM issues ₮212.5 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +85.9% to ₮357 billion
August 15 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 212.5 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
BoM issues ₮112.4B 1-week bills, total outstanding -40.9% to ₮192.1B, lowest since May 8, 2013
August 13 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 112.4 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
GoM Treasury Auction: ₮10 Million 52-Week Bills Sold Out of Announced ₮10 Billion
August 13 (Ministry of Finance) Auction for 52 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 10.0 billion MNT. Face value of 10.0 million /out of 10.0 million bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 15.500%.
Please find expanded information from Table.
Announced amount /by MNT/
Received amount /by MNT
Sold amount /by MNT/
Weighted average yield
Maximum yield of fulfilled bids
Minimum yield of fulfilled bids
GoM Receives No Bids for Scheduled ₮10 Billion 3-Year Bond Auction
August 13 (Ministry of Finance) Auction for 3-year-Government Bond was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Government Bond was not sold due to absence of both competitive and non-competitive bids.
Mogi: subsidized 8% loans make 69% of all outstanding mortgages, as of June
8% Mortgage Program Update: ₮539 Billion Refinanced, ₮1.29 Trillion Newly Issued
August 14 (Cover Mongolia) As of August 14, ₮539 billion (₮536.1 billion as of July 23) existing mortgages of 18,641 citizens (18,519 as of July 23) were refinanced at 8% out of ₮853.3 billion (₮853 billion as of July 23) worth requests.
Also, ₮1,286.7 billion (₮1,201.3 billion as of July 23) new mortgages of 21,962 citizens (21,383 citizens as of July 23) were issued at new rates out of ₮1.3 trillion (₮1.2 trillion as of July 23) worth requests.
Link to release (in Mongolian)
MPs call for Mongol Bank Governor's resignation
August 14 (news.mn) Several MPs of the State Great Khural submitted a petition to Speaker Z.Enkhbold for Central Bank's President N.Zoljargal's resignation, on Thursday.
The parliamentarians blame the Central Bank for the Mongolian tugrik's slip against foreign currency. The petition for N.Zoljargal's resignation claimed that the Central Bank failed to take urgent measures against the rising exchange rate and blamed the Central Bank's weak policy during critical economic conditions.
The parliamentarians also claimed the exchange rate increase is politically motivated and an intentional boost.
ADB Country Director on Mongolia's current economic situation: "A crisis is quite obvious and we're not in one"
By B. Enkhtsetseg
August 14 (Mongolian Economy) German national Robert Schoellhammer was appointed Country Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for Mongolia in 2011. He joined ADB in 2000 as a Project Economist in the East and Central Asia Department (ECRD). He managed ADB's operations in the education and social security sectors in Mongolia, and the Kyrgyz Republic.
Prior to joining ADB, Mr. Schoellhammer worked at the African Development Bank and as a European Commission adviser to the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers and Ministry of Defense. From 1992 to 1994, Mr. Schoellhammer worked as a lecturer in English and Economics at the Institute for Administration and Management Development in Mongolia, during which time he worked on the establishment of Mongolia's first MBA program, and conducted a major survey of rural poverty in 1992, in conjunction with the Government of Mongolia's Poverty Alleviation Program.
Mr. Schoellhammer holds a Bachelor's degree in Development Economics from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom and a Master's degree in Agriculture from the University of Aberdeen, UK.
Q: What is your opinion on the dollar hike? Do you think it will continue or will it go down? What is the main cause of the depreciation of the tugrug?
A: We have seen this in a lot of other Asian countries. It started last year when we saw drops in many Asian currencies. If we look at Asia Pacific as a whole, it's become much more problematic keeping money in emerging economies.
There are many reasons for that. It started with a discussion of tapering in the US. Interest rates were super low and stock prices were falling. Emerging markets then became attractive. You can put things at a higher rate. Mongolia benefited from that and other Asian countries benefited from that. If you look at the last year, you will have seen the old economies coming back. The US is growing back. The Japanese stock market has increased. The Euro economy increased. The UK economy is exceeding IMF predictions. All of a sudden, emerging markets have a lot more competition for capital. That's one of the factors that has affected Mongolia. It has become a much more competitive situation on the whole.
If we look specifically at Mongolia, a lot of it is related to foreign direct investment. It depends so much on the faith of one or two projects. What we've seen recently is that the foreign direct investment has reduced and with that, a country doesn't have the influx of foreign exchange to finance its imports. But from ADB's point of view, this is something that I think really underscores the urgent need for diversifying the economy because when I came to Mongolia three years ago, the talk was all about mining.
What we now see is that you really can't build an economy on one sector. It's risky especially in extractive industries. You're very vulnerable to commodity prices going up or down. The market is all international. There are a lot of different factors there. The conclusion is really the need for diversification. If you look at the tugrug, to some extent, there is some correction. The tugrug became very strong because of mining. To some extent, the correction can be a benefit to Mongolia to make it more competitive for exports. With the depreciation, imports become more expensive and that will make domestic products more competitive. The question is: Can Mongolia's export industry take advantage of Mongolia's low tugrug value? But there is a blockage. Mongolia has 17 livestock per person. We see fantastic potential to redevelop its agriculture sector. But regulations and skills need to be settled out.
Q: You say, current depreciation can have good impacts on local producers who export especially in agriculture and the tourism sector. But for a country with very little local production, would depreciation transpire to crisis?
A: You know very well the concept of Dutch Disease. With all of this capital coming in, it really changed the value of the local currency to the detriment of non-extractive industries. I think what we are seeing here is a correction. Even now, Mongolia imports a lot of milk. If you have foreign currency, you're going to use foreign currency. If you go to a Mongolian supermarket, it's full of imported products. Clearly in a cold climate like this one, you can't produce everything, but when you see things such as imported milk and imported dairy, you've really got to wonder. The main damaging thing is uncertainty. If you're going to invest and your revenue is in tugrug, you want to know what the amount is. The key thing is certainty. Currencies do fluctuate. It's when they fluctuate too much is what makes it hard to keep certainty.
Q: Some say the current depreciation of the Mongolian currency is the true color of the tugrug. If it's the true color of Mongolian currency, do you think it's at the right level where Mongolia currency should stay?
A: Whoever you'll ask, you'll get a different answer. If you're a tourist about to go abroad, you want a strong currency. No one wants to show up with a weak currency. If you're an exporter, you want to be competitive. However, you always want to find the perfect balance. Mongolia's importing, but it's also exporting. We don't have these wild swings in foreign investment. Foreign direct investment is very important, but it's also important to realize that Mongolia is very different in terms of FDI because it's very lumpy.
Foreign direct investment is related to few mining projects. We do hope those projects will succeed, but at the same time, those few lumpy projects cannot be a proxy for the whole economy. What has happened too much is that there has been too much focus from the international investment community and the national investment community in landing these huge projects. Mega-projects are very difficult. I would not build an investment strategy for a country on occasionally landing a large project. A theory that I have heard a lot is that Mongolia is struggling because it's a land-locked country.
ADB doesn't think so. Most of the richest countries such as Switzerland and Lichtenstein are land-locked countries. It's an advantage in some respects. The key thing is how Mongolia can become a part of great economic opportunity. Can it do it through mining alone? Well mining is only one element. We hear about laws. Laws are only one part. You need those real companies producing real things. That is ultimately my conclusion about currency. There is some real great potential here. Mongolia can come up with great quality to export. Food is a great export. It's in demand. If you look at China, there is a big shortage of land and meat. Mongolia has huge potential for beef exports and lamb and mutton exports.
The tugrug-dollar rate is getting lessened. It's a reminder to diversify the economy. Make sure that the economy is not vulnerable to the outcomes of one or two big projects. Get it in from different economic sectors. Build up the exports.
Q: Currently, the latest information from Mongol Bank is that FDI decreased by 70% for the first half of 2014. If we look at the situation, some people call it a crisis. Do you think it is a crisis? On the other side, can some people can people call it a mental crisis?
A: I've worked on some financial crises before. A crisis is something that you don't have to ask. If it's a crisis, you'll know immediately. A crisis is when you go the bank and you don't get money. A crisis is quite obvious and we're not in one. We have a lot of indicators to be worried about. You have to look at the real economy and differentiate between economic difficulties and economic crises.
Right now, I would say it is very difficult. I don't think there is any doubt about that. For many sectors, it certainly is very difficult. When I worked here 20 years ago, I would say that's a crisis. The GDP was about USD 300. Budget was about USD 150 million per year. The level of integration that Mongolia had with the rest of the world was minimal. There were even shortages with coal. That was a more worrying time than now. If you fast forward 20 years, Mongolia has some great companies and good economic ties and prospects. The level of integration at hand is much better. The key thing is to keep up that momentum.
Q: I think that there is a lesson to be learned. What would you say is the biggest moral of this situation?
A: The main thing is that there is risk with any sector. Let's say a country will go into agriculture or mining. I don't know any sector that doesn't carry any risk. It goes with the saying; don't put all eggs in one basket. Mongolia and many of its foreign partners have been focused on mining. A lot of foreign investors come in and put holes in the ground and export resources. This is not a sustainable model for development. If you put too much in one sector, you don't pay attention to other sectors. If one sector fails, you need something else to fall back on. I think the main lesson is the need for diversification. Look at smaller land-locked countries. They're all diversified. When one sector goes into turbulence, you have another one to fall back on.
Another lesson here is that Mongolia has had very fast growth which also brings high inflation. Inflation is bad. The higher the inflation, the more it kills the economy. Above all, for business you need certainty and predictability. I think what's most important from ADB's perspective is jobs. What really makes the biggest difference is jobs for people. In any country, you need to make sure that young people have good and sustainable jobs. Mining only provides 4% maximum of jobs. What about the remaining 96%? Focus on jobs. Diversify. Any one sector has substantial risks. If something goes wrong, there is going to be an extraordinary impact. In a few weeks time, I think the Chinese president is visiting. ADB is looking at this. Mongolia has coal. China has gas. It could be a very reliable business. I think that it's good other sectors are being looked at.
Q: Is increasing interest rates going to limit national production?
A: I think when you put rates up, it will limit production, but again I think this is an experience not just for Mongolia, but for many other Asian countries. They focus on growth and creating higher GDPs, but that also created inflation. What's the point of having growth if most of that growth is inflation? Inflation is really a killer. What's highly important is don't have an interest rate below inflation otherwise you'll have a gradual erosion. Have an interest rate above inflation. All these things are linked. Investment is related to confidence. Confidence is related to many things including the legislative framework. Why invest if you don't know what your revenue stream is going to be? I think it's a good idea to increase the rates. That's the nature of economics. Things work in different ways.
Q: Some say the current situation will cool off by the middle of next year. When do you think this situation will be better off?
A: It really depends on the decisions made by the private sector and government. It doesn't all happen automatically. It is a result of collective decisions. With all the gloom around the investment framework, we were happy about the Concession Agreement made in June. Oyu Tolgoi will be important. Will coal and gas projects proceed? How fast will they proceed? This will all depend on decisions. It is something which I can't really predict, but it is a situation that can be partially controlled. It's a much more competitive environment now for emerging economies. If you are an investor, you have more choices. The expectation in many countries is that interest rates will rise. The key thing for emerging economies is to become more competitive. Work on the infrastructure. Work on the economy. Work on the legal environment. Diversify. The role of the government can be helped my international markets. There are so many interrelated things. Competitiveness will come from a good labor force. On the whole, the labor force is not that well-prepared. There is a lot that can be done – labor force, infrastructure and certainty in the legal policy environment. The opportunities are there and if the right decisions are made, there is no need for concern.
Mogi: the headline needs a "but." A little too depressing
Economist Ch.Khashchuluun: The economy will worsen this winter
August 13 (UB Post) The following is an interview with economist Ch.Khashchuluun, highlighting many crucial issues regarding Mongolia's current economic conditions.
Only ten days are left until the 100 day plan to intensify the economy ends but macro economic statistics continue to decline. The program was supposed to bring positive effects and yet, just recently, international credit rating agencies downgraded Mongolia's government bond ratings. Can you comment on this?
Mongolian credit rating rose in the last few years but declined last year. The decline is connected to the inadequate bond sales in foreign markets as well as ineffective monetary policy. Bond repayment will be paid from budget revenue. My assessment for Mongolian credit rating downgrade is that due to increasing deficit of state budget revenue and inconsistency, all investors were informed that Mongolia couldn't make repayments for the sovereign bonds released on foreign markets. This can be understood as an assessment for state budget revenue, deficit and payment balance.
MNT exchange rate continues to fall because of the balance of payment deficit. Will MNT exchange rate continue to drop further?
Exchange rate depreciation is explained correspondent to foreign investment decrease. This is true but foreign investment decrease is only one side of the reality. The other side isn't mentioned at all. MNT is supplied in high quantity in markets. The Central Bank issued a lot of loans in MNT, which gave off extreme supply of MNT and is causing long term negative impact in macro economy. If the Central Bank had implemented a policy to de-escalate MNT supply, despite less USD inflow, circumstances wouldn't have been so dire. This method was used in 2009 to moderate the escalation [of USD exchange rate]. The opposite was implemented this time by increasing MNT supply and issuing tons of loans to entities. Even at this moment, they're not considering a policy to de-escalate MNT supply.
Recently, Mongol Bank increased the policy rate interest by 1.5 percent. Will this not affect the weakening MNT exchange rate?
Interest rate the policy loan isn't affected directly from monetary supply. In other words, it will not affect the essential money supply. Increasing policy interest rate will only cause difficulties to people taking out loans. Although it is a classic method, it's hard to measure how much research the Central bank did on its effectiveness at our current economic conditions.
Obviously, bank loan interests will increase along with policy interest rate and induce negative effects on entrepreneurs. However, experts see that it'll be beneficial for stabilizing the macro economy. While non-performing loans (NPL) continues to upsurge, is increasing policy interest rate truly the best method?
NPLs have been constantly increasing and reached to a high level which Mongolia hasn't seen in some 20 years. It's been increasing intensively since last autumn. If policy interest rate is raised at this point, NPLs will increase further. This can't be minimized back with policy interest rate. Loan takers previously faced difficulty repaying the original interest amount, now, they'll be forced into a situation where they're incapable of repaying. Basically, interest rate will increase, people will not be able to pay on time, and full repayment period will be prolonged. The good side is that monetary supply will weaken and new loans will not be issued so much. However, this will not revive the current economy.
Overall, this monetary policy decision was made behind the time. Exchange rates began to upsurge around this time last year. This measure should've been taken at that time. If loans in MNT had been wrapped up to a certain limit, would Mongolia have reached current conditions? Even if the Central Bank begins a policy change, it'll require a minimum of two years to eliminate today's economic crisis and get positive feedback.
The global practice is showing us that issuing large amounts of loans to construction and real estate markets is wrong. Vivid examples are Japan, Thailand, and Kazakhstan. These countries loaned to constructions and real estates in considerable quantity, which turned to long-term NPLs. Banks that issued loans, people and entities that got loans, and companies which implemented construction work all faced losses.
Are you indicating that to overcome the economic crisis, loans for construction and real estate should be reduced?
Exactly. Construction and real estate markets should hit off strongly to give off results to the economy.
Mongolia is attempting to overcome the economic crisis by generating capital from foreign markets, instead of changing the policy. Is there any opportunity to revive the economy through policy change?
If capital is generated when credit rating is down, interests will become high, meaning the most expensive loans will given. Most importantly, we don't know what to do after getting loans. People say they're building debts to develop the nation's economy but the development project or what sorts of aftermath the project will give is indefinite. The loans are spent on whatever comes to their minds. For instance, pedestrian roads were fixed with bond funds.
Bond expenditure is influencing credit rating decrease. There's nothing to be surprised about. Mongolia has high risks for generating capital as long as Mongolia doesn't have development policy and investment plans. Even if it's generated, it'll convert to debt if spent without plans. Including interest, some 2.5 billion USD is required to repay bond debt. This is equivalent to Mongolia's one year budget if estimated at the current exchange rate. Repayment will begin from 2017, meaning Mongolia will not fix any streets, do investments, construct schools, and only repay debts from 2017 to 2024.
Investment environment isn't reviving even when several laws for attracting investment have been approved. From your perspective, is there a tendency for investments to revive in the near-future?
It's correct to improve legal environment. Laws passed within the framework of the 100 day plan to intensify the economy do have significances. It's one of the works that must be done. But the investment environment didn't improve with the new laws. Investment environment is referred to the mechanism of making decisions. People will invest if the mechanism is easy to understand and substantive.
Even with investments, Mongolia doesn't have an environment for making decisions. For instance, the Tax Office suddenly issued a penalty of 130 million USD, although they didn't mention anything before. What was the Tax Office doing in the last five years, instead of resolving this issue?
Investors are given permission to invest and yet, in a year's time, projects are being terminated. For example, railway construction began in May 2012 and aborted in October. This game-like decision doesn't have any rules. Investors regard this as a high risk. Not only foreign but also domestic investors are scared by this situation. Investing demands a lot of courage and trust from the investors and there aren't many with that much courage.
Coal exportation, which composes a majority of Mongolian export revenue, hasn't reached adequate levels in the last two years. Can this sector revive?
Research body of the Australian Government estimated coal price to recover after 2017. Rio Tinto declined from Mongolian coal and exited the market as well as Coal Mozambique. Simply, I also agree with the sentiment that the coal market will not reviving in the next few years. Mongolia should also be prepared for selling coal at lower prices. To get profit from selling low-priced coals, Mongolian transportation and mining expenses should be low. Railway holds a vital part in this. The government approved to construct the railway with a narrow gauge track to support export products but nothing is being implemented. On top of this, the government agreed to supply coal at a considerably low price of 30 to 40 USD in the last agreement with Chalco (State-owned Chinese company that buys from Mongolia's state-owned Tavan Tolgoi coal mine). Due to this, Mongolian private coal companies had to reduce their prices. Whether the government is working with a loss may be irrelevant. However, this agreement is affecting private companies negatively. Some big companies working in the sector will face significant losses if this issue isn't resolved soon.
How do you judge Mongolia's economic outlook? Is there any chance of getting out of the economic crisis?
I don't think Mongolia's reached the lowest level of economic crisis. The main crisis will begin this winter. We thought last year's winter situations were the worst we've ever experienced but this year's will be even worse. Major development projects were scheduled to start this summer but they didn't. This year's budget prolapsed several times. The 2015 state budget will be approved this winter. If next year's budget is approved without any rationale again, the budget will experience more hiccoughs. Similar to how expenditure of the 2014 budget was trimmed considerably, 2015's budget will be cut even more. This'll reduce expense of services and projects implemented with the state budget revenue.
Parliamentary election is also scheduled next year. They'll be hyped up in keeping promises they made to constituencies. Portion of the state budget investment will become necessary for giving to constituencies and projects financed by the state budget will become jammed. People fear that projects will be seized across the country. At current situations, there isn't a tendency for improving Mongolian budget and monetary policy. The 2015 state budget will be approved in a controversial situation with high consumption and impossible promises.
In 2017, Mongolia will begin repaying bond debts. Plans on how it will be repaid haven't been developed. If annual repayment amounts for the bonds are not clarified, majority of investments in 2017 and 2018 will function as repayment. After elections in 2016, development projects will be forced to decrease.
Source: Undesnii Shuudan
Private sector groups call for action from Mongol Bank
By B. Mendbayar
August 17 (UB Post) Representatives of several private sector organizations, including the Con-federation of Mongolian Trade Unions, Mongolian Employers Federation, Mongolia Energy Association, CEO Club of Mongolia and the Mongolian National Mining Association, urged Mongol Bank to intensify the implementation of monetary policy to stabilize foreign currency exchange rates.
The private sector organizations said, "The private sector is facing considerable losses due to the foreign exchange rate in-crease. The USD exchange rate increase is raising the price of goods and under-mining citizens' purchasing power, thus pressuring national industries and domes-tic traders."
Mongol Bank is legally responsible for maintaining the stability of national currency. Accordingly, Mongol Bank must implement appropriate monetary policy and maintain economic growth. The entrepreneurs criticized Mongol Bank for not taking any other measures aside from increasing policy interest rates at a time when economic growth is in decline due to continuous foreign ex-change rate increases. They warned about the possible negative repercussions of increasing policy interest rates during a press conference, and emphasized that the measures companies are taking, including furloughing workers and unpaid vacations, in order to overcome current economic decline, are undermining citizens' lives. They also noted that exchange rate fluctuations have resulted in increased un-employment.
As of the convening day, the USD exchange rate was 1,899 MNT and likely to increase. The representatives noted that increasing policy interest rates was not an appropriate measure at this time. They propose that Parliament conduct a realistic analysis of the current economic and social situation of Mongolia and take urgent measures to stabilize exchange rates.
Below is the claim urging Mongol Bank and Parliament to stabilize ex-change rate fluctuations and intensify the implementation of monetary policy:
1. To discuss the report by the CEO of Mongol Bank on measures taken to stabilize exchange rate fluctuations, maintain the MNT exchange rate against foreign currency, maintain MNT purchasing power, the implementation of monetary policy through Parliament, and take concrete measures
2. To listen to the opinions and ideas of private sector organizations on the means to stabilize exchange rate fluctuations
3. To establish a working group with state and private sector participation which would accurately estimate the losses citizens and entrepreneurs have faced due to exchange rate instability, and figure out the means to resolve the estimated losses
4. To quickly implement concrete measures to stabilize exchange rates and MNT depreciation
They also emphasized the necessity of quickly approving a law that will require all export related transactions to be made through Mongolian bank accounts, categorizing government bond resources such as the Chinggis Bond and Samurai Bond as foreign exchange income, and supporting projects with available investment in order to increase foreign investment. In addition, they reminded Mongol Bank and Parliament that restarting currently delayed major projects ready for action would add to the state budget and increase export. The organizations asked Mongol Bank and Parliament to impose a special tax on unfair income derived from the exchange rate increase and grant in-come tax refunds to citizens and companies affected by exchange rate pressures this year. They requested that Mongol Bank and Parliament figure out and implement short-term measures to overcome the economic crisis in association with social partners.
Mogi: had been a staunch opponent of Justice Minister's judicial reform
Chief of General Police Department of Mongolia Replaced
August 15 (infomongolia.com) At the Cabinet meeting held on August 14, 2014, it was resolved to dismiss the Chief of National Police Bayanmunkh BILEGT from his job.
B.Bilegt has been serving since September 03, 2012 and the reason to release from post is confidential.
Thereafter, Police Colonel S.Baatarjav is appointed as the Acting Chief of National Police, who serves as Senior Deputy Chief of the National Police since July 2013 and before he held posts of Head of Selenge Aimag Police, Darkhan-Uul Aimag Police and Capital City Police, and Chief of National Investigation Agency of Mongolia respectively.
Cabinet Gives Instructions to Speed Up Tenders and Contracts of Approved Concession Projects
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 15 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting Thursday obliged N.Batbayar, the Minister of Economic Development, to intensify an organization of tenders and an establishment of concession contracts.
All this is to be accorded with a list of projects and programmes to be realized through concession contracts.
There are 51 such contracts approved by the governmental resolution on approving the list of concessionary state-owned objects. Deals have been established for six of them so far.
The cabinet decided to run talks with those legal subjects who participated in the tenders in order to directly establish concession contracts with them.
Cabinet to Submit Recommendations on Reducing Air Pollution for NSC Discussion
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 15 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Thursday considered as necessity to have the National Security Council (NSC) discuss a draft recommendation on measures for reducing air pollution.
This recommendation has one clause on upgrading by parliament a legal environment and eight on a redevelopment of urban areas, ovens, fuels and vehicles for ger (national dwelling) districts.
MUST under scrutiny for suspicious appointments
August 13 (UB Post) Although changes have begun, the education sector is still struggling to take-off due to corruption and other concealed activities within the sector. The following is an interesting update on the directors of Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST).
The education sector is implementing an actual system of appointing family members, relatives and friends to decent positions, under the name of patching up a team, and so, official positions are being acquired through bribery and charity. The government should eliminate all unstable, impotent, and un-progressive assets and strive to improve the appearance of the few state-owned schools, and transform them into something that's less embarrassing. Now, the teachers of state-owned schools are frequently rattling on about the government mess the Minister of Education is making by conducting back and forth structural changes, instead of developing and improving the education sector.
One of the few state-owned schools is Mongolian University of Science and Technology. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say the operations of this university, making huge contributions to Mongolia's global recognition, were compressed by the minister. MUST's dean was replaced and T.Batbayar was appointed as proxy. Shortly after being appointed, T.Batbayar selected T.Batchuluun, who worked as his manager during the election, as Vice Dean for Economic Development, and received a great deal of criticism.
According to law, a proxy does not have the right to designate people for positions, manage assets or spend them. Still, an appointment for the position of Vice Dean for Economic Development position was given to a man without an academic title, who works for the business sector, instead of the education sector.
The dean of MUST was chosen by the minister, despite organizing a selection process, and handed over to B.Ochirbat, who's now managing the university. Although, many are pleased with the selection of a man with a lifetime of knowledge from within the establishment, can he really oppose Minister L.Gantumur and operate on his own? Every director of MUST will become the Minister's underling, as the Vice Dean is responsible for all prospective economic and financial matters. Critics believe the new Vice Dean will act as the minister's handyman.
Director of the International Cooperation Office P.Jargaltuya advanced to her position thanks to her husband, Governor of Khan-Uul District J.Gankhuyag. This woman has no foreign language education and could presumably understand foreign relations as "going shopping" abroad. When a representative from One Democracy Club became the Minister of Education, Governor J.Gankhuyag seized the opportunity to assign his wife, who taught at a design school, to a valuable, vacant seat in the famous state university that provides access to world-wide relations.
Big shots, including the Director of the Education Office Kh.Enkhjargal and Director of the Science Office Baasandash, are said to have had support in gaining their current positions. MUST has increased its administrative members considerably within the past year by employing leaders with chains of people behind them. It's said that even a faction has been created. One of the new administrators is a friend of B.Nasanbayar, the head of the Strategy, Policy and Planning Department at the Ministry of Education and Science.
Under the guise of improving the university, people were pushed to government positions. As soon as they were appointed to government positions, they got their hands on the advantages of their appointments.
One person with a "conflict of interest" violation is Vice Dean D.Batchuluun. His position oversees all issues connected to the university's "wallet" and assets. He selected his own company, Mongol Lift, to tender for the reconstruction of an elevator in the second building of MUST. Before being appointed Vice Dean, Batchuluun was the CEO of Mongol Lift LLC.
His changes, which he enforced immediately after being appointed, aren't very much appreciated among teachers and staff. Directors, experts and professors of branch schools contacted the State Specialized Inspection Agency to do background inspections on how D.Batchuluun was able to acquire his current position.
After a month of inquiry, the State Specialized Inspection Agency was able to make a tangible assessment on the illegal activities of the school's administrators. However, the assessment was covered up after being evaluated as inaccurate, leaving the Vice Dean to continue with his duties.
The state bestowed endowment for the Vice Dean's achievement of juggling the university's structure, implemented in the name of improving the university, and awarded him an Altangadas (Polaris) medal.
Anyhow, Minister of Education L.Gantumur's parliamentary election triumph in 2012 served a special role in assisting D.Batchuluun to select his private company for tender, and the minister's appointment of government officials, while repeatedly wrapping his hands around the position's glories. Relevant law enforcement and inspection agencies should take notice of this man with conflicts of interest.
Source: Daily Post
A Conversation with Mongolian Free Press Advocate Naranjargal Khashkhuu
August 13 (Asia Foundation) As The Asia Foundation recently marked its 20th anniversary in Mongolia, Country Representative Meloney Lindberg sat down with Naranjargal Khashkhuu, president and CEO of the Globe International Center and longtime Asia Foundation grantee, to discuss the country's current media landscape, the media's role in elections and shaping public opinion, and Mongolia's right to information law.
Globe International has been at the forefront of the movement toward greater freedom of the press. What is the state of media freedom in Mongolia today?
The Mongolian media has made great strides, partly because in the early and middle 1990s, international donors, including The Asia Foundation, were very active here promoting ideas like public service journalism and freedom of the press. It was a great time for building a free press in Mongolia. But toward the end of the 1990s, politicians started questioning the benefit of a free press. They realized that the media is a very important and powerful tool to reach out to the public, and they started to bribe them and later started their own television channels and newspapers. Now ordinary people can't really distinguish between paid content and real, professional journalism, and therefore they do not really know what the truth is.
We worked together closely during the last parliamentary elections to ensure that women's voices were abundant in the election process. What role does the media play in shaping public opinion in Mongolia?
The role of the media in elections is crucial because the media informs and educates the voters, both through journalism and political advertising. So, the media has a dual role. But one of these roles, educating the voter, has become a very low priority for the media. Instead, most media outlets see elections as an opportunity to generate income from campaign advertising, and because Mongolian election law does not really distinguish between professional election coverage and paid advertising, changing this situation will also require improving the legal framework. Of course, media outlets have to generate income, but they must generate it in a more professional way. Mongolia's government allocates billions of tugriks of public funds to the media, and it's not transparent how this money is being spent. We recently requested information from the ministries on how the so-called "information and advertising" budget is spent, and we discovered the majority goes to the media. The good news is that now we can get this type of budget allocation information through the Law on the Right to Information, whereas before, it was impossible. But we have to keep pushing.
You were at the forefront of the campaign for Mongolia's Law on Information Transparency and Right to Information, adopted in June 2011. Can you talk a bit about that campaign?
We spent 10 years trying to get this law passed, starting with an awareness program in 2001. The public and Members of Parliament were not clear on the distinction between freedom of information and media freedom. During the first roundtable at the Government House, where we invited the U.S. Ambassador to talk about freedom of information with 17 members of Parliament, every discussion turned into one about journalism and ethics rather than the concept of freedom of information. We had to change our tactics; we could not give up, because we had many newly elected MPs and we had to start educating them. Finally, in 2011, the Law on Information Transparency and Right to Information was passed. But the government is not promoting the law, and even public officials are unaware of it. We felt we couldn't wait another 10 years to get the law implemented, so we sent a development proposal to the UN Democracy Fund, which was approved. Now we are working to raise awareness of the Law in 20soums and eight aimags.
As one of the early grantees of The Asia Foundation, what are some of your recollections of working with us?
My personal relationship with The Asia Foundation started when I was working at Mongolian TV and served as the vice president of the Mongolian Free Democratic Journalists Association, which was a member of the International Organization of Journalists. At Globe International, our very first project together was called Stairwell Democracies, which worked with apartment owners' associations from 2003 to 2004 to inform citizens of their rights and to educate them on existing laws and rules of construction, which was booming at that time.
Globe International has been an important partner in our new transparency initiative, the Strengthening Transparency and Governance in Mongolia (STAGE) program. What role does Globe International play in that initiative?
Traditionally, we run media campaigns to raise awareness about initiatives, but for this project we wanted to create more innovative ways to raise public awareness, particularly among the youth. We produced lively audio and videos, and targeted the online media, which is more appropriate for the young audience. Globe International will continue its work raising public awareness, particularly through the arts because that is a great tool to change people's thinking.
As someone on the forefront of fighting corruption in Mongolia, how do you assess the state of corruption in Mongolia today?
People think that corruption is a new phenomenon in Mongolia, but it is actually rooted in Manchurian rule. Sometimes it seems like it's too late to do anything about corruption and that nobody is fighting. Personally, I think change starts with the family, with the children. Sometimes, though, especially with conflict of interest issues, it is difficult to change the old ways of doing things, especially in Mongolia's small, close-knit communities. But people say that if you say something 100 times it becomes true; that's why we have to keep teaching, and after some time, their minds will change. If we don't continue this fight, we will lose our values.
What have been The Asia Foundation's main contributions to improving lives and expanding opportunities in Mongolia, and how do you see the Foundation's role over the next 20 years?
The Asia Foundation was one of the first NGOs to come to Mongolia, and it focused from the beginning on empowering leaders. The Foundation supported many study trips for these leaders, and there are few people among our civil society leaders who haven't received some assistance from The Asia Foundation. The Foundation played a big role in bringing new ideas to Mongolia and supporting the transition to democracy and human rights, which it continues to do today. I think the Foundation will continue to make a difference because it fulfills a need of Mongolian society.
Airways New Zealand supports Mongolia to safely reduce ATC separation
August 4 (Airways NZ) Mongolian air traffic control separation standards will safely reduce from 90 to 30 kilometres in September following an Airways New Zealand review of the Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority safety assessment requirements.
Tim Bradding, a former Airways Safety Manager and current regional Chief Controller, visited Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia recently to assist the Mongolian CAA (MCAA) in their reduction of aircraft separation distances. Since the installation in 2012 of radar sites across the region, radar control in the area has been introduced gradually, and currently relies on a 90 kilometre separation between aircraft.
Mr Bradding says he worked closely with the MCAA to assess reducing radar separation standards to more closely align with the ICAO standard of five nautical miles (10 kilometres).
"During my visit I considered equipment reliability, procedures, air traffic controller training and contingency planning, to enable the MCAA to achieve their aircraft separation goals," he says.
"Reducing aircraft separation requirements in a safe manner will allow the Mongolian CAA to more rapidly increase their air traffic flows, with economic benefits across the country and the region," says Mr Bradding.
Airways is New Zealand's air navigation services provider, and provides leading air traffic control consultancy services around the world.
Mongolia to exhibit at Kaohsiung food show for the first time
Taipei, Aug. 17 (CNA) Several countries, including Mongolia, are scheduled to exhibit for the first time at the Kaohsiung Food Show, being held this year in early November.
The United States, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia and Hong Kong will all make their debuts at the expo from Nov. 6 to 9.
The show, now in its eighth year, will feature a variety of locally grown seafood as well as imports ranging from U.S. beef, and Japanese rice and sweets to South Korean kimchi and hot pepper paste and Mongolian juices and organic beverages.
One highlight this year will be sushi-making robots created by Japanese firm Thaiseng Trading Co., which are expected to attract the attention of hotels and restaurants.
Korea Gas Working with ETT to Launch Coal-Bed Methane Pilot Plant at Tavan Tolgoi
August 14 (infomongolia.com) On August 13, 2014, Minister of Mining D.Gankhuyag received in his office the Executive Vice-Present & COO of the KOGAS Research & Development Division, Yang Young-myung to discuss an implementation of Coal-bed methane (CBM) project in Mongolia.
At the beginning of meeting Mining Minister D.Gankhuyag noted that the visit of the Vice-Present found a pleasant time when Mongolia provides with legal frameworks for utilization of coal-bed methane gas and briefed about the law that recently was amended by Parliament.
In response, Vice-Present Yang Young-myung said, "Kogas has been completing the first stage of the study in collaboration with Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC and we plan to run the methane gas pilot plant from June 2015. In addition, in order to reduce Ulaanbaatar air pollution, about 2 million tons of methane gas is required".
KOGAS an abbreviation for Korea Gas Corporation, was incorporated by the Korean Government in 1983. Since its founding, it has grown to become the world's largest LNG importer.
Senj Sant to build Mongolia's first greenfield dry-process cement plant
Mongolia, August 14 (Global Cement): Senj Sant is in the midst of constructing a new dry-process cement plant, which will be the first of its kind in Mongolia. The plant is being built to meet rising demand generated by a rapidly-growing economy. The new Senj Sant plant is strategically located in southern Mongolia about 450km from the capital city, Ulaanbaatar.
A deal with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to lend Senj Sant US$65m, following an earlier US$20m equity investment for a stake in Senj Sant that was agreed in May 2013, was signed recently by the EBRD's first vice president Phil Benett.
"This project represents yet another step towards the diversification of Mongolia's economy," said Bennett. Senj Sant, which is owned by Mongolia's Monpolymet Group, is using EBRD finance to continue funding the construction, commissioning and operation of the plant, which is expected to have a total capacity of about 3000t/day of cement with the start of production in 2015.
"The EBRD's long term finance, including equity, is not only helping us to build the first greenfield cement plant in Mongolia using the environmentally-friendly dry-process, but also supporting the company in raising business standards to international levels," said the CEO of Monpolymet Group, Munkhnasan Narmandakh. Mongolia's high levels of mining and infrastructure investment make investment in cement capacity key for future development.
Monos Pharmacies Fail State Inspection After 16 Children Hospitalized from Overdosage
By D. Sergelen
August 17 (UB Post) Following the hospitalization of 16 children provided with excessive dosages of phenobarbital distributed at a Monos pharmacy, the nation's largest pharmaceutical chain failed an inspection by the State Specialized Inspection Agency.
"We are officially to blame for the affected children and we have failed to do our job responsibly," reported Monos in a statement to the press on Tuesday. Monos commented, "The medicine, phenobarbital, has been produced for over 50 years by Emiin Uildver LLC, and the pharmacist who compounded the medicine had one year of experience at Monos and passed the pharmacology license examination in 2013."
The UB Post visited Monos Group but they refused an interview.
A pharmacist from Monos said that the State Specialized Inspection Agency and the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection of Mongolia are conducting inspections at all branches of Monos, but the Monos pharmacies are conducting normal operations.
The Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection of Mongolia inspected branches at Tavan Shar and Sonsgolon. Some violations were discovered including the absence of a branch manager at one location, failure to label the cost of medications, the absence of instructions for use of medications, and pharmacists without professional certificates. They were also cited for selling non-health related products and toys. They products were gathered and confiscated. All 18 branches of Monos will be inspected according to the Law on Competition.
The State Specialized Inspection Authority is still conducting its inspection, so the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection has not allowed the closure of its branches at Tavan Shar and Sonsgolon. The negative side effects of high dosages of phenobarbital are often evident long after consumption. One pharmacist stated that children who ingest an overdose of phenobarbital are at risk of brain disorders and permanent disabilities.
Interview with N.Ulziibat, CEO of ThemeTon, Website Theme Developer on ThemeForest
By B. Dulguun
ThemeTon sells its own products at Envato Marketplace, the world's biggest cyber market for digital products including website template, photographs and paintings, music, and films. Some 3,400 companies from every corner of the world trades in this market and just last week, the company had over 4.1 million customers.
CEO N.Ulziibat finished high school of Yesunbulag soum in Govi-Altai Province and entered the School of Computer Science and Management (SCSM) of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST) to pursue his interests in computers. He graduated as a web designer in 2003 and founded ThemeTon together with some of his university friends in 2008.
You founded ThemeTon shortly after graduating. What sort of demands in the cyber world did you foresee that nudged you to establish a company to address them? Can you share on how you started off?
I was more interested in designing rather than programming when I was studying at the SCSM. This probably directed me towards my current job. I enjoyed imitating photoshop lessons on the internet at the school laboratory. The only opportunity to combine designing and programming was to become a web-designer at the time and I began developing my skills for it. At first, I created websites for clients and surveillance software with my friend, and worked for some time in the domestic market. Due to lack of experience and financial issues, our works didn't succeed in the market.
Mongolia's domestic market was too small and IT recognition was poor. We even worked in a basement after establishing the company and went around to companies with our printed prospectus. Some would welcome us and some would chase us away. Then one day, a company director of one of the places we visited said that we reminded him of his younger self when he was starting off and gave us an order worth 80,000 MNT, which gave us a lot of support and encouragement. We mainly did commissions but worked very hard to produce our own products. We understood that we should sell our products to foreign markets.
When did you start selling your own products in foreign markets?
We expanded operations of the company, got experience in producing new products and increased staff members. As this was happening, the National Information Technology Park (NITP) contributed to us greatly in setting foot in foreign markets. By developing ourselves in their incubator, we started marketing considerable amounts of products and entered foreign markets in 2011. ThemeTon entered foreign markets by selling website templates for 12 USD at first. Despite being the first product, over 100 were sold a week. When it made around 1,000 USD, it became one of the market's top products. We reduced our work commissions and spent more time on products that were sold at the market.
How many products has your company introduced so far? Can you briefly explain what they are?
People frequently ask us what sorts of products we create and if we can show their picture. Basically, we create products with new designs and modern approaches. People who purchase these products, they can function a website by inputting desired photographs and data. Currently, ThemeTon is marketing some ten products. Overall, we made over 20 products but some of the technologies were advanced so their sales were stopped.
What's the criterion at Evanto Marketplace? Can anyone sell their products there?
Its criterion is high since it's the biggest market for digital products with over four million users. You'll realize how famous it is when you consider that some 20 millionaires were born from the market globally. Our products were rejected several times by their inspectors but our team didn't get discouraged. Instead, we improved product designs. A product made through an order will be used only once but if you enter a decent product into the market, it can be sold to many customers for many years. It's like getting a dairy cattle if we can sell our products by exceeding Evanto Marketplace's criterion and standards.
In the last three years, our revenue was around 250,000 USD in total. If a company can get over 70,000 USD a month, they're promoted to Elite Authors. ThemeTon has fulfilled this requirement. Out of the 3,400 teams in the market, our team is the 120 to 140th regular member. The market has the advantage of being open to everyone.
Mongolia's universality obstructs our team as well as language barriers. Toys may seem easy to make when made in our own way but if you're asked to make it according to a certain standard, it's difficult. Foreign markets only demand standard products.
How many staff does ThemeTon have?
Currently, we have three permanent Mongolian staff members. We worked with many young people who learned from us and became independent later. Now, I'm working with the two permanent staff that experienced all of the company's hardships and worked with me since the start of ThemeTon. There are also three members from America, Israel, and Switzerland in charge of the after sales-service and customer services consultation. After sales-service is a crucial part of this business. Foreigners who are well-acquainted with official language excel at this job. Foreigners are easy to work with as they complete their tasks within their deadline.
If it's alright, can you reveal how much salary your team members get each month? What percentage of Envato Marketplace's sales do you make?
Revenue varies a lot. At the beginning, it was around 700 USD. Now, we get more than 10,000 USD a month. Obviously, salaries are distributed after deducting expenses. Expense includes rent and purchasing fee for templates bought from the internet, which costs three USD for each template. Over 20 templates need to be made in order to produce a product. The market is responsible for marketing our products, and in return, they charge us 30 percent premium.
When selling products on international markets, how reliable is the environment for protecting intellectual property? Do you sell products in Mongolia?
We don't sell in Mongolia because anyone can get their hands on products made from someone's hard work and effort. On top of that, digital intellectual property issues aren't discussed at all. Even if intellectual property theft is discovered, Mongolia doesn't have the legal environment for charging culprits. In foreign markets, this type of business has expanded and its value is high, meaning it's very reliable. A customer purchases our product for 40 USD to use it for something. The next time they need it, they have to pay again. This concept is installed in the mentality of foreigners. In Mongolia, Windows XP software are utilized for free even to this day. There are many Mongolians who don't even know that these programs are worth 100 to 200 USD.
Which country purchases your products most?
America purchases our products most, followed by, European countries, India, Israel and other countries from every corner of the world.
Can you name the most successful product?
Currently, our SquareGrid product, which we launched at Envato Marketplace in April 2012, has been purchased 1,220 times so far. SquareGrid became our most successful product with total sales of approximately 40 million MNT. Comparatively, this is a tiny achievement. There are dozens of opportunities waiting.
For Mongolians, is it possible to find sufficient amount of funds by producing products in a team and having it compete in markets?
It is. Envato Marketplace is a mass market. For example, a member of ThemeForest, who earns the most profit, gets an income of 40,000 USD a week, which is equivalent to 75.3 million MNT. To use this amazing opportunity, Mongolian young people must labor and strive incredibly hard. You don't have to work for this market; there are so many available jobs if you search through sites like freelancer.com. Even for housewives at home, there are all sorts of work they can do on the internet, including typing texts, doing translations, and organizing documents on [Microsoft] Word and Excel.
Where do you get ideas for your designs?
In general, we get inspirations from foreign design sites. This sector is very competitive. Nobody will buy products if they don't include the latest technologies and developments.
How many hours do you work a week?
At the moment, we don't have a permanent schedule. On average, I work five to six hours a day and rest on the weekends. Sometimes, we have a lot of workload and sometimes, we have few. There are times when I need to visit blogs and social media due to work demands.
What are your near-term and long-term goals?
My near-term wish is to work for the biggest IT center, Silicon Valley, in San Francisco, USA. Life of people working in the IT sector just sear there. Billionaires rise from there. Astonishing ideas are developed in Silicon Valley and introduced to our daily lives. It doesn't matter whether I can find success because my dream can be fulfilled only there. As for future goals, I want to implement a major project. I can't reveal what sort of a project it is as it's still a secret.
Ulaanbaatar to host Forum of Mayors of Northeast Asian Cities
August 14 (news.mn) Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia marks the 375th anniversary of its foundation this year.
In the scope of the "Friendly Ulaanbaatar" program launched as part of the celebration, Ulaanbaatar will host the Forum of Mayors of Northeast Asian Cities on August 18 and 19.
The forum will be held under the theme of "Sustainable and Inclusive Cities".
At the forum, mayors of Northeast Asian cities will be represented by a delegation including Deputy Mayor of Beijing; representatives of Tianjin, Hailaar, Shenyang and Huh Hot China; Vladivostok, Yakutsk, Novosibirsk, and Irkutsk in Russia; Pyeongchang, SouthKorea; Niigata, Japan; Pyongyang, Hamhung, Wonsan, and Rason in North Korea; and representatives from Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan, Erdenet, Baruun-Urt, and Choibalsan.
More torment for Ulaanbaatar drivers as officials propose road tolls
By B. Dulguun
August 17 (UB Post) Life in the capital city is becoming more and more problematic and one of the main causes is traffic congestion.
The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, E.Bat-Uul, frequently mentions that expenses for people living in capital cities are higher and advised residents to be more frugal in accordance with world standards. The mayor is quick to impose his views onto others, and lately, he's been peddling ideas for one of Ulaanbaatar's urgent issues: traffic congestion. His first idea was to restrict cars by their number plates, and started implementing traffic regulations.
Statistics on paper indicate that traffic congestion has decreased by some 30 percent, but who knows how effective it is in reality. People have already adapted to this change, implemented for some time, as if it's normal. The mayor's statement, "When road projects are finished and congestion decreases, number plate restrictions will be cancelled," is probably impossible now. Destruction of this restriction is long forgotten as the next operation to "torment" cars is ready to begin.
The next resolution to torment cars was discussed by the District Council and drew closer to approval, as the number of vehicles is soaring along with population growth. In the draft resolution, roads are to become toll ways, meaning a fee (or toll) will be assessed for passage. Specifically, passage from the western crossroad of Ulaanbaatar to the 13th district intersection, from Geser Church (near the 3rd and 4th khoroos) to the western intersection of Sansar Tunnel, and forward from J.Sambuu Street, Youth Avenue, and Beijing Street to Peace Avenue, are subjects in the frameworks of the resolution. Passenger cars will pay 50,000 MNT, while vehicles with up to 1.5 ton carrying capacity will pay 40,000 MNT a month. Drivers who don't pay will not be able to drive on these roads from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
As written in the presentation by the Transportation Authority, people's purchasing power has enhanced, resulting in an increase in the amount of cars on roads, which has made cars driving through downtown "undefeatable." They evaluated that traffic decreased by limiting number plates issued in the country. According to statistics from the capital city's police department, the number of vehicles in Ulaanbaatar increased by 191.88 in 2012 and by 116.24 in 2013.
In line with constructing toll ways, the city's public transportation network and planning will be reviewed, an electronic payment system will be introduced, and monthly tickets will be developed, as mentioned during the presentation. The Transportation Authority calculates that the number of passengers will increase as the public transportation network and planning is upgraded, within the framework of this project intended to keep people from entering the city, behind the guise of introducing a new system. Particularly, to improve the city's transportation sector (which never had a remarkable reputation), people are encouraged to travel on only buses, instead of driving cars. This will secure funds and enable the sector to them more effectively.
Drivers didn't purchase their cars with the city administration's money. Roads in the city were built with the people's paid taxes, so why should they pay more money to use them?
Deputy Mayor of the Capital City N.Gantumur stated, "The quantity of cars increased as roads improved and widened. Many drivers drive aimlessly near the city center. There's evidence from the Traffic Police and Road Authority reporting that 30 to 40 percent of all cars wander aimlessly. Cars driving in congested areas must be taxed," and added that traffic congestion will be cut by some 30 percent. He didn't explain on what basis this would occur, he said "wanders aimlessly" and pointed fingers at the people providing taxi services when inquired about who these "aimless wanderers" were. Instead of giving concrete proof and evidence of expected outcomes from research, these authorities couldn't devise a better method, other than direct supervision, patrols, and filling their pockets with the little cash left in people's wallets.
Research proves that 14 to 30 percent of air pollution is caused by cars. Although their idea to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, as well as improve the public transportation sector is correct, their solution to punish drivers and collect fees is not quite right. There are many urgent projects including expediting road traffic by sorting out pedestrian streets and traffic lights that are placed a few steps away from one another, and eliminating more critical factors polluting the air. Tormenting cars is definitely not the best method. Foreign countries do have practices of assessing fees for passage on main streets and roads of their capital cities. Mongolia can't walk at the same pace as other countries by adopting this standard. Roads in foreign countries aren't tortuous, narrow or wrecked like Mongolia's.
Source: Unuudur, http://mongolnews.mn/i/54018
Cars parked on first lanes to be wheel-clamped starting next week
By A. Oyunzul
August 17 (UB Post) Starting next week, vehicles parked on the first lanes of main roads will be wheel-clamped for violating parking regulations as a penalty, instead of being towed away. The capital city begun towing away vehicles parked on the first lanes of main road this year.
Kh.Odbayar, crime prevention inspector of the Traffic Police Department, spoke to journalists about the new regulation and its implementation.
Wheel clamps will soon be put into action. When will this start?
On June 26, the City Council approved the "Clamping procedure" through its 98th resolution. Pursuant to this procedure, vehicles will be wheel-clamped for violating parking regulations. This will start on the 18th of this month.
Is there any reason for the new wheel-clamping regulation? If this is put into action, will vehicles parked on first lanes still be towed away?
The operation of towing vehicles that parked in a prohibited area or in front of a driveway was carried out by the Road Traffic Management. During operation, citizens made complaints about very high fines, and the location of temporary custody. Therefore, considering citizen's complaints, we decided to wheel-clamp vehicles. Putting cars into temporary custody will of course proceed. If a vehicle is parked on the first lane of downtown roads like Ikh Toiruu and Seoul District, they will be towed away and wheel-clamped.
How much is the fine for vehicles that have been wheel-clamped?
It is 20,000 MNT. If drivers don't pay their fines within work hours of the day their vehicles are clamped, we will put it in temporary custody. If a driver comes before it is wheel-clamped, a photo will be taken as proof and a parking ticket will be delivered to the driver's address. Also, if parked in a prohibited space, the vehicle will be clamped and traffic police will put contact details on the windshield.
It is said that drivers will have to pay to drive on main roads. Are there any complaints from citizen?
Proposals about paying 40 thousand MNT to 50 thousand MNT to drive on central roads was faced with many complaints, while some citizens approved of this proposal. Discussion about this issue is still being held on the internet. The Mayor hasn't issued an official order.
Traffic is going to be quite busy due to the start of school activities. What actions will be held by your department?
Each year, traffic gets busy starting September 1. Last year, we managed this by prohibiting cars that had license plate numbers that ended with even and odd numbers on certain weekdays. Citizens appreciated this action. We have planned a similar course and made a proposal to Mayor of Ulaanbaatar. We are also planning to carry out a public poll on this matter.
Ulaanbaatar bans transport of dangerous items by rail within city
August 15 (news.mn) Ulaanbaatar Representative Khural issued a decision to prohibit the transportation of hazardous items on trains within the city.
According to the regulation, hazardous materials on trains are items that may cause an explosion, fire, harmful gas emission, spills, human or animal death, illness, poisoning, radiation, burns or any kind of damage to the environment or property.
An unofficial study shows that in the first quarter of 2014, 3.6 million tons of dangerous items of 52 varieties were carried by Ulaanbaatar Railway.
The U.N. classifies dangerous goods in the classes of explosives, gases, flammable liquids, flammable solids, oxidizers and organic peroxides, toxic and infectious substances, radioactive material, or corrosive substances and suggests that they not be made, packaged, labeled or carried in residential areas.
Dangerous items identified by the new regulation will now be loaded in Bagakhangai, district where their classification and packaging will be arranged. Relevant agencies report that there is no guarantee that the new regulation will be properly complied with during transport, loading, unloading and storage by rail within the city.
The Ulaanbaatar General Development Plan through 2020 includes the development of Bagankhangai district as a suburban satellite town, where transport logistics, wholesale business, food, light industry, livestock feed, and a refinery plant and warehouse for hazardous items will be built.
The ban on transport of dangerous items by rail within residential areas will be effective until July 1, 2019.
By Michelle Borok
August 17 (UB Post) Sometimes, as an expat or traveler, the things you miss most from abroad are the creature comforts. The simplicity of popping into a neighborhood diner for a hot cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast that you know. Khaan Deli provides that taste of home in an unpretentious, just as open to locals, no frills, down to the basics setting.
The menu, in English and Mongolian, for breakfast and lunch items is written in chalk with plenty of room to include special items, a regular occurrence. The standard menu offers plenty, but Khaan Deli keeps things interesting with dessert and lunch specials not found in other American restaurants in UB, like chocolate sheet cake, pecan pie, falafel, and picture perfect apple pies. They advertise the specials on their Facebook page.
Khaan Deli isn't looking to break new culinary ground with experimental dishes, but they are working steadily to do their best at American style staples with what's available in the UB marketplace. When menu items are tested, the bar is set for authentic American flavors.
Breakfast selections are available as a la carte items or as full plate combos with classics like pancakes, eggs (any way you want them), and Southern style biscuits and gravy. The biscuits and gravy are a generous scoop of creamy, meaty, white gravy on top of a buttery hot biscuit. While I like mine with a sprinkle of green onion on top, the seasoning in Khaan Deli's in-house sausage meat brings plenty of flavor to the plate. The bacon served with breakfasts is the bacon next to impossible to find in UB restaurants: crispy, well-cured, and just like your American mom used to make.
The breakfast menu is available until 11:30, with consideration to make it an all-day offering.
Lunch offers a regular line up of classic diner sandwiches (on bagels, biscuits or rolls), burgers, and hot dogs, including the "Coney" chili dog. Deli style salads are offered on a regular basis in the deli case, if you don't fill up on the fries that come with your burger, or if you're looking for a healthier alternative for a side. A soft serve machine provides regular offerings of sundaes, cones and malts in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.
Khaan Deli's biscuits and bagels are made in-house each day and can sometimes be purchased as take home bakery items. The deli also offers ground and seasoned meats (including a spicy chorizo), cured hams, bacon, corned beef, and Western cuts of chicken and beef. A whiteboard lets customers know what's in stock and what's available to order.
The deli is a family business and opening hours sometimes change, but notice is always given in advance of changes to the regular schedule. Seating is limited, but delivery (with a minimum order) and carry out is an option. There are plans to open a second location closer to the city center, but for now, a trip to Khan Uul is worth it for a taste of comfort.
Average dining cost per person: 1,200-12,000 MNT
Location: Khan Uul district , 1 khoroo, Bldg 17, Apt 1
Join the UB Foodies group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ubfoodies/.
Major Mongolia deals poised to be signed
Agreements on ports and energy to be reached during visit by Xi
August 16 (China Daily) China and Mongolia are expected to sign deals covering energy, infrastructure and port use during President Xi Jinping's visit to the neighboring state, according to Mongolian officials.
A deal allowing Mongolia to use several Chinese ports for imports and exports will be rolled out during the visit on August 21 and 22, said Tsagaan Puntsag, chief of staff at the Office of the President of Mongolia.
"The Mongolian government will launch in-depth discussions with the Chinese visitors on accessing four harbors in east China, one of which - Tianjin - has been confirmed," he said.
The agreement is expected to allow Mongolia to trade with other nations using Chinese ports, without the appointment of a Chinese transit trading agency.
Mongolia has for some time been allowed to use Tianjin's port to trade goods with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The Mongolian government has set up an office in Tianjin and sent officials to the city.
Some Mongolian companies have been authorized to use land in Tianjin to run their businesses, said Khaliunbat Myagmarjav, executive director of the Silk Road Foundation, a Mongolian civil economic organization. "We think Dalian is another port that will probably become open to Mongolia," he said.
Gan-Ochir Zunduisuren, managing director of a large private investment firm in Mongolia, said, "Mongolian businessmen agree that transportation hurdles have been the biggest problem (to trading overseas)."
Rail links are another problem, he said, adding, "I believe we urgently need to narrow our railway gauge to get in line with that in China."
A week ago, an anonymous source close to the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China has worked on coordinating departments to discuss this issue. The ministry is awaiting a response from Mongolia.
Landlocked Mongolia relies heavily on China and Russia for access to ports.
Luo Renjian, a researcher at the Institute of Transportation Research under the National Development and Reform Commission, said Mongolia has realized that better rail connections and enhanced port services could have meaningful economic and political implications for its economic growth.
"This strategy also meets China's demand for further trade development with Mongolia," Luo said.
President Xi's upcoming visit to further China-Mongolia economic ties: Mongolian MP
ULAN BATOR, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming state visit to Mongolia will significantly promote the economic relations between the two countries, a Mongolian lawmaker said.
Mongolia and China are enhancing their economic relationship and Mongolia's hard currency revenue has increased as most of its exports, especially coal and copper concentrate, go to China, Dulamsuren Oyunkhorol, from the opposition Mongolian People's Party, was quoted by Mongolian news website www.news.mn as saying.
The lawmaker urged Mongolia to learn from the experiences of China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in supplying solar and power energy, increasing the productivity of livestock animals and improving herders' quality of life.
In 2011, China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Mongolia started a cooperative project designed to reduce pastureland overgrazing, increase output of cashmere and meat, as well as supply solar power to herder households to meet their demand in both production and life.
"It is important for Mongolia to work with the Chinese side, especially the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region's academic and research institutions and herders to improve the livelihood of our herders," said Oyunkhorol.
President Xi will pay a state visit to Mongolia at the invitation of Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj from Aug. 21-22.
Xi Jinping Will Give a Speech at Parliament of Mongolia – Mongolian Economy, August 15
Mogi: hmmm, interesting. Wonder what treaty or treaties are needed to dug up as a reminder, and to which party
Protocol to Clarify All Bilateral Treaties Signed Between Mongolia and China since 1949 to Be Signed During Xi Jinping Visit
August 15 (infomongolia.com) The regular Cabinet meeting of the Government was held on August 14, 2014, and during the meeting it was resolved to issue a Prime Minister's Decree authorizing an official to sign a Protocol between the Governments of Mongolia and the People's Republic of China.
The Protocol is about all bilateral treaties' effectiveness established between Mongolia and the People's Republic of China from 1949 to 2012.
Officials deem by clarifying bilateral treaties' effectiveness it would contribute greatly to continuous strategic partnership and sustainable development between the two countries by the means of legal partnership. The two countries' authorities have been discussing to arrange all documents from 2006 and since then a list of all treaties, agreements and contracts established have been exchanged and reconciled that being stored in both territories' archives reflecting proposals received from affiliated Ministries and other organs.
The Protocol is expected to be signed during the high-level visit from the People's Republic of China headed by the President Xi Jinping.
Mongolia-China Intergov'l Draft Protocol Discussed – Montsame, August 14
Xi Jinping to Visit Mongolia
Xi Jinping will be the first Chinese president to visit Mongolia in over a decade.
August 14 (The Diplomat) China's Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to neighboring Mongolia from August 21 to 22. It will be Xi's first visit to Mongolia since assuming office two years ago.
Xi's visit has been in the works for several months. Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj traveled to China in May for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Shanghai. While in China, Elbegdorj met with Xi Jinping and invited him to visit Mongolia. In June, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi traveled to Mongolia, and arrangements for Xi's visit were presumed to be high on the agenda.
China has good reason to be interested in Mongolia. The country is an important neighbor, sharing a long land border with China, and it's also a key source of natural resources, especially coal. However, Mongolia can be overlooked in China's high-level diplomacy, particularly as Beijing continues to expand its foreign policy agenda. China's last top-level visit to Mongolia was by Premier Web Jiabao in June 2010. For the last presidential visit, we have to go all the way back to 2003, when Hu Jintao visited Mongolia as part of his first overseas tour along with stops in Russia, Kazakhstan, and France.
Since then, there have been several bilateral meetings between the Chinese and Mongolian presidents, but they have generally taken place on the sidelines of larger regional events, such as Shanghai Cooperation Organization summits or the CICA summit. A dedicated top-level bilateral summit such as the one taking place next week is somewhat rare. Xi's visit appears to be part of a concerted effort to reach out to Ulan Bator. In addition to Wang Yi's trip in June, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao visited Mongolia in April.
For its part, Mongolia considers developing a good relationship with China of "paramount importance," according to a member of Mongolia's parliament. Batchimeg Migeddorj told a group of Chinese journalists that developing ties with China "is a great chance for us" as Mongolia enjoys a wealth of natural resources that are currently feeding an economic boom.
The two countries have indeed been deepening their economic relationship, especially this year, as Alicia Campi noted in a recent "China Brief" for the Jamestown Foundation. The Xi-Elbegdorj meeting in May displayed a particular focus on the mining, infrastructure, and energy sectors. It's wise for China and Mongolia to seek to diversify their partnership now. Coal is currently one of the lynchpins of the economic relationship, but Beijing has actively seeken to lessen China's dependency on coal in favor of cleaner energy sources.
During his talk with Elbegdorj, Xi also mentioned his hope that China and Mongolia could move beyond economics, increasing the number of political and military exchanges. "The two countries should also strengthen exchanges between legislative bodies, political parties and armed forces," Xi said. A push for more military cooperation may be a reaction to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's own visit to Mongolia in April this year.
The timing for this year's bilateral summit with China is perfect for Mongolia. Ulan Bator has long sought membership in APEC, and as this year's host of the APEC summit, China has the power to further Mongolia's bid with a high-level invitation. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already received such an invitation; Mongolia is likely hoping to snag one as well. Xi Jinping has already pledged to support Mongolia in joining APEC.
Russian Ambassador: Gas pipelines to China will not pass through Mongolia
By Ch. Khaliun
August 17 (UB Post) Zuunii Medee spoke frankly with with I.K.Azizov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Mongolia, ahead of President Putin's upcoming state visit, and discussed bilateral relations and upcoming negotiations.
We have only two neighbor countries and our citizens have always shown a fondness for Russia. Even now, we use the term "brothers".
It's probably a tradition from the Soviet Union. I know that in Asia, fraternity is designated as older or younger brothers. I guess that the word "brother" is respectful, but I prohibit using this term, because I don't want to insult Mongolians by saying something domineering, like "You're our younger brothers and we are your older brothers." Therefore, we can't define our current relations this way.
That's why we are pretty interested in President Putin's visit after 14 years.
We are planning President Putin's visit in accordance with the 75th anniversary of the Battles of Khalkhiin Gol. I'll stress one more time that we are planning. I'm saying this because we didn't officially announce the date of the visit. In a diplomatic manner, both sides have discussed the date of the visit and publicizing it seven to ten days in advance, but if diplomats are planning a visit, there is a high probability that the visit will be organized. Bilateral preparations are taking place.
Mongolians are expecting so much from Putin's visit. For example, setting gas lines from Russia to China through Mongolia. Of course, the Ulaanbaatariin Tunkhaglal (UB Declaration) is an important document. However, we can't see improvements to economic ties and investment issues. We haven't implemented any major economic projects. Do you think we will establish an agreement on a project which could be an economic boom?
We have been looking for chances to strengthen our friendly relations. I don't agree with you that there have been no improvements to bilateral relations since 2000. If we want to use the term "boom", cancelling 97.8 percent of Mongolian debt can apply. This set the Mongolian economy free and positively influenced drawing in external investment for multilateral projects. In December 2012, both sides contributed 125,000 USD to the railway's statutory fund. UB Railway is actually a uniquely Mongolian international transport line. Since January, Russia and Mongolia have been actively discussing establishing a negotiation on bilateral exemptions of visas for citizens, for the first of next year. Reaching an agreement on that issue will be a historic event for our relations. Moreover, since 2000, major industries like Erdenet and Mongolrostsvetment made significant technological renovations. So we can't say that our relations aren't moving forward, or that they've stopped. Also, both sides actively discussed a project for a new railway in 2009 and 2011. If you are asking if we will make a major agreement, as expected by the public, my answer is yes. Also, there will be decisions made that won't make headlines.
Then will the issue on setting up a gas line through Mongolia be approached again? Or has it already been decided that the gas line from Russia to China will not pass through Mongolia?
As President Putin said, setting the gas line to the east is already obvious, but it won't pass through Mongolia. Also, we are planning to set up a gas line to China in the west. We are actively discussing the operation of those gas lines with the Chinese side.
What is your opinion on bilateral visa exemptions?
We have information that from Mongolia to Russia, 600,000 people travel in duplicated numbers, whereas from Russia to Mongolia, it's 100,000 people. From our experience, we've noticed that after exempting visa requirements, the number of travelers surges. If we reach this agreement on visa exemption, then multilateral relations will improve in business, humanity, culture, science, education, sport and tourism.
Russia, Mongolia start war games
At military exercises Russian army is represented by around 500 servicemen, about 100 units of weaponry and military hardware, including tanks T-72
MOSCOW, August 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian-Mongolian war games codenamed Selenga 2014 timed to the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol began at firing range Munkh Khet in Mongolia, the chief press officer of Russian Eastern Military District told ITAR-TASS on Friday.
At military exercises Russian army is represented by around 500 servicemen, about 100 units of weaponry and military hardware, including tanks T-72, infantry combat vehicles BMP-2, self-propelled howitzers Akatsiya and multiple launch rocket systems Grad were delivered to Mongolia for the first time. Meanwhile, three helicopter gunships Mi-24 were brought from Trans-Baikal Territory.
Russian-Mongolian military exercises Selenga are held regularly since 2008. This year war games are dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the victory, which Soviet-Mongolian troops had won over Japanese army on the Khalkhin Gol River in 1939.
HM the King of Bahrain appreciated by Mongolian President
Manama, Aug 14 (BNA) – His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa today received a cable of thanks from President Tsakhia Elbegdorj of the Republic of Mongolia in reply to HM the King's congratulatory cable on the National Day of Mongolia.
Mongolian President, in the cable, extended sincere appreciations for HM the King's noble gesture, wishing him good health and happiness and the Kingdom of Bahrain further progress and prosperity.
Deputy PM on Visit to Germany Meets with Vice Chancellor
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 15 (MONTSAME) In the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) with a working visit, the Deputy Premier and head of the Mongolia-Germany intergovernmental commission's Mongolian side Mr Terbishdagva has met with Mr Sigmar Gabriel, the Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany.
Mr Terbishdagva said he is satisfied with this meeting which coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Mongolia-Germany diplomatic relations, and underlined that Mongolia attaches a great importance to its relations and cooperation with Germany, "our main partner in Europe".
The sides agreed to organize a 3rd meeting of the intergovernmental working group which is responsible for ensuring and monitoring an implementation of the cooperation agreement in minerals, industry and technology spheres.
Mr Gabriel emphasized he is happy that Mongolia attaches such importance to the diplomatic relations' jubilee and shared views with the Deputy PM on infrastructure, mining, renewable energy, environment protection and standards spheres.
After this, Mr Terbishdagva held officials meetings with Dr Richard Lutz, a chairman of the Financial Council of the Deutsche Bahn AG; Dr Rainer Lindner, an executive director of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations; and Dr Martin Junker, CEO of RAG Mining Solutions LLC.
The Deputy Premier's visit will last until Friday.
Mongolian consular officer's death in HK may not be suicide
August 15 (news.mn) Local press reported that a Mongolian Consular Officer in Mongolia's Consulate General in Hong Kong, Oyun-Erdene, was found dead in Hong Kong on August 8th. The report said that the woman jumped from a building. Hong Kong police initiated an investigation into the case.
The woman was appointed as a consular officer to Mongolia's Consulate General in Hong Kong last February. However, she took the post on July 29th. When she was found dead, she had been in the office for the 9th day.
According to an unconfirmed source, the consular officer said that she was being followed by someone suspicious for day long, but she did not know the reason why. There is speculation that the consular officer's death was not a suicide.
Pacific Angel 14-4 Mongolia: Humanitarian Assistant and Joint Cooperation
By Air Force Staff Sgt. William Banton, U.S Air Force Public Affairs Photojournalist
ERDENET, Mongolia, August 13 (US Embassy) -- U.S. and Mongolia Armed Forces service members, with assistance from the governments of Nepal, Thailand and the Peoples Republic of China, kicked of humanitarian assistance operations in support of Pacific Angel 14-4, Aug. 11-16.
The U.S. Air Force lead mission supports U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts by partnering with other governments, non-governmental agencies and multilateral militaries in the respective region to provide medical, dental, optometry, and engineering assistance to their citizens.
"It has been several years since we started taking an active part in humanitarian assistance events both abroad and in country," said Colonel. G. Khashchuluun, chief of supplies and materials department, General Staff of the Armed Force of Mongolia. "The Mongolia Armed Forces co-hosted Pacific Angel 2011, three years ago, so we are happy to have the Pacific Angel exercise back in Mongolia."
The operation is designed to help cultivate common bonds and foster goodwill between the U.S., Mongolia and regional nations by conducting multilateral humanitarian assistance and civil military operations.
"This is the opportunity for the two militaries to work together," said Lt. Col. Jim Fowler, mission commander for Pacific Angel 14-4 Mongolia. "It builds capabilities and capacities with the local MAF and allows us to develop skill sets and work together to do humanitarian efforts for the local populace."
The operation is a great event to promote cooperation between the two forces, while encouraging civil and military relationships and cooperation, Khashchuduun said.
"It is a great opportunity," Fowler said. "I'm really excited because I have the chance to work with really talented people and to watch this all come together is wonderful. It is great to serve the local populace and get satisfaction from that."
During the weeklong event, the health service outreach, being held at three separate clinic locations, is expected to see anywhere from 600 to 900 patients a day, Fowler said. Simultaneously, the civil engineer's working with MAF to improve local schools.
"The Mongolian and U.S. forces have been serving together in overseas missions, including peace keeping missions," Khashchuduun said. "For the MAF to have the opportunity to cooperate in the humanitarian assistance side of the house is wonderful. I am sure that in the future we will have many more similar opportunities to develop our cooperation and relationship further.
UB Mayor Receives Honorary Consul of Mongolia to Denver
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 14 (MONTSAME) The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city E.Bat-Uul Wednesday received a delegation led by Mr James Wagenlander, the Honorary Consul of Mongolia to Denver city of the USA.
Being happy for meeting again with the Mayor, Mr Wagenlander pointed out he observed a change of the capital city for a development.
In response, the Mayor thanked the Honorary Consul for appreciating this development and hoped that they will continue the talks which were started at their previous year's meeting.
Mr Wagenlander reported that the Honorary Consulate has created a foundation dedicated to the Pupil Exchange Programme, adding that some 70 thousand US dollars has been collected. "Denver city's Green Park has played a main role in the fund-raising," he added.
He also said he backs the UB Mayor's proposals of organizing a visit of the Denver city Mayor to Ulaanbaatar in 2015, realizing the pupils' exchange programme, training students in the University of Colorado to major in construction, having the city gardeners study experiences in the Denver Green Park, and discussing matters on investments.
Ulaanbaatar and Denver cities have been cooperating in several areas in accordance with the sisterhood partnership. The sides concurred to train three students in the University of Colorado with sponsorship from both cities, to implement an internship programme for two Mongolian experts at the Denver city municipality, to have Mongolian gardeners get practiced in Denver city's green park and to collaborate in the real estate sector.
"108 Faces of Mongolia" exhibition shares a rare history
By L. Nandintsetseg
The exhibition features selections from the private photo archive of Czechoslovakian archaeologist Lumir Jisl, and is supported by the History Institute of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the Czech Embassy. Lumir Jisl took many historical and rare photos while he was working in Mongolia between 1957 and 1963.
Lumir Jisl was born on April 18, 1921. He studied Mongolian, Tibetan, and Japanese cultural history. Books he wrote about Mongolia have been translated to German and English. His film "Way to Tibet" was awarded at the Venice Film Festival.
A Mongolian-Czechoslovakian joint expedition led by Lumir Jisl found the fossilized head of Turkic General Kul Tigin. In addition to the research in Mongolia, Lumir Jisl took some nice shots of the Mongolian lifestyle at that time.
Only 108 of 2,000 photographs are displayed in this exhibition. Most of the photos are related to religion. Head of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism Ts.Oyungerel, representatives from the Czech Embassy in Mongolia, Ya.Vatsek PhD and scientists from Charles University of Prague attended the opening reception.
Historian and Professor from the Central Asia Institute of Charles University, Veronika Kapishovskaya was interviewed about the rare collection of photographs.
How did you come across these rare and historical photos?
Lumir Jisl wrote a few books about Mongolian culture and Buddhism. To get information about his research, I met his two daughters. We decided to exhibit his collection.
How did you choose the 108 photos on exhibit? Will the remaining photos be displayed later?
We chose the best qualified photos. His daughters would be able to display their father's complete archive.
Lumir Jisl wrote this note after his first visit to Mongolia in 1958: "My aim is done, and it's time to return home. But it feels like everything was a miracle. Gifts from friends, photos, the fresh smell of wormwood assures me that it's not a miracle. Green valley, blue sky, golden sands, amiable nation… Oh, my beloved Mongolia. I'm not satisfied even though my dreams came true. How deeply I love you, Mongolia. You will be always on my mind."
The "108 Faces of Mongolia" exhibition will open in Prague next month.
Canadian band Mongol to rock at Mongolia's first metal festival, August 23
By B. Tungalag
Mongolian metal rock bands Aysiin Salkhi, Nisvanis, Bulsara, Metronome, Motorway, Silent Scream, Aadar, Shugam, Purgatory and Destroyers will participate in the festival. Canadian band Mongol, which plays music in folk death metal genre, and Inner Mongolian band Nine Treasures, will take part in the festival. Two members of Mongol arrived in Mongolia on August 11.
The following is a brief interview with members of Mongol, guitarist Thomas Quiring and solo guitarist Luke Barry.
Have you ever visited Mongolia before? How do you feel?
Luke: It's my first visit to Mongolia. I like Mongolia. We received a very friendly welcome. I decided to come to Mongolia when we received an invitation to participate in Noise Metal Fest 2014. Thomas and I came here before the other members. We want to know about Mongolian culture.
Thomas: The land of Mongolia is so vast. I am very happy that we came to the homeland of Chinggis Khaan. We hope we can make many good memories in Mongolia.
What about the other members? When will they arrive?
Thomas: Our band has six members; drummer Kenton Barry, keyboardist Dayton Barry, bass guitarist Josh Blackburn and singer Brandon Knott.
Luke: They will come here on August 15.
Did you guys travel around the countryside?
Luke: We haven't gone to the countryside yet. We went to Chinggis Square, Bogd Khaan Palace Museum and the National Garden Park.
Thomas: Yesterday we went to Urgoo Cinema and watched a film. We are planning to go to the countryside after other members arrive.
Why did you name your band Mongol?
Luke: Our band was established in 2009, but with a different name. We have been playing folk death metal since 2010. Then we changed the name of our band. We chose Mongol after thinking for a long time. We know about the history and conquests of Chinggis Khaan. We know about his empire. That is why we named ourselves Mongol.
How many albums have you released so far?
Luke: Our band has two albums currently. Our first album was released in 2012 and it was titled "The Altan Urag". Second album was released this year with the name"Chosen by Tengri".
How have you come to learn about Noise Metal Fest 2014?
Thomas: I heard that this kind of festival hasn't been organized here. The organizers of the festival decided to invite bands from abroad and contacted to us. We accepted the invitation.
Why did you choose to play rock?
Thomas: Such a hard question. It is very hard to explain. Just fell in love with it.
Luke: It's very nice to show people what I can do and I think live music, especially rock, music can express emotions.
Will you be visit Mongolia again?
Luke: Maybe. We are interested in Playtime festival. If we have a chance to participate in Playtime, we will come back here.
Park Ranger: I will protect this land until I die
By Chris Geminiano
August 17 (UB Post) Mongolia is a landscape of great diversity and great beauty. One such unique area is the Ikh Gazriin Chuluu Nature Reserve in the Dundgovi Province. Known as the birthplace of famed long singer, Namjilyn Norovbanzad, these steppes continue to inspire long singers, naturists, nomads and visitors alike.
M. Munkhochir, a park ranger with the Ministry of Environment and Green Development at Ikh Gazriin Chuluu agreed to speak with the UB Post about his job and the region but refused to be photographed.
What is your role as park ranger?
As a park ranger, I try to protect and keep the shape of the natural landscape. I protect the habitat of the animals from illegal hunters, and safeguard ancient burial grounds. I also help campers by guiding them and showing them the area, telling them where they can stay and legally and safely set campfires
How long have you been at your post?
Six years. But my predecessor was a trailblazer. He did a lot of work to make this place a protected area. He did a lot of research, and in 2003, he presented it to the government. This led to the area becoming the first level of national parks- reserve land. He knew that this place is an important place for Mongolians. Many years ago, there weren't as many tourists here, so before it was a national park, the land was free for everyone. My predecessor was just a volunteer at the time and did this job on his own time, paying for his own gasoline and other expenses. He worked relentlessly with state officials to make the area a national park.
What are some of the issues you've encountered in this job?
Of course, there have been some problems during my six-year tenure. Campers set fires everywhere and that's very common. They set their tents and have fires without being known and they can leave their trash everywhere. The land is very big for one person to protect. Outsiders enter the park from everywhere because there are several roads into the area. People have also dug up a burial without permission. A local tipped me, and I caught the grave diggers with my camera, so I handed them over to the police. I haven't dealt with illegal hunters because the locals work very closely with me. They also inform me of any suspicious activity and tell me right away if there is a problem. That's why it's hard for illegal hunters. The locals are very protective of the wild animals and respect them.
Are you originally from here?
Yes, I'm from the western side of the rock area, around the national park.
How much do you know about Namjilyn Norovbanzad, the famous long singer who is from this area?
There is a stage that was made in honor of her. It's Mongolia's first and largest permanent open-air stage. During my tenure, there have been about four or five concerts. Each year, the concert has had a different name and a different theme. Last year there was a really big international festival. This year they announced that they were having a concert, but it hasn't happened yet. Either there is no set date, or it may not be held. The stage opened in 2006, a few years after her death. Before she passed away, she came back to visit her hometown. She was born between Deren and Gurvansaikhan soum. The exact birthplace is about 15 km from the memorial stage. They also built a memorial statue, and together with the stage and her birthplace, it is built as one straight line.
What do you like most about your job?
My favorite thing about this job is being able to keep this land beautiful. This is where I grew up and I'm very proud of being able to watch over this landscape.
What is the hardest thing about your job?
The hardest thing to deal with is the fact that campers leave their trash. It makes me sad. They should take back the garbage that they bring with them from the city. If they brought it here, how can they not have room in their cars to bring it back?
Why is protecting the environment so important to you?
This area of the Gobi has such beauty. It used to be the bottom of the sea. The structure of the steppes and the way it's built attracts a lot of people. If I'm not here, there could be a big mess. So I must watch over this area and keep it as natural as possible. The wild animals could be hunted and burials will be destroyed. Fortunately, lots of campers also help preserve the land by cleaning their mess.
The mining industry has boosted the Mongolian economy. What's your opinion of mining companies coming into this environment to extract from the land?
Within 70 or 80 milometers from here, there used to be several mining companies. My department, as well as the locals, pushed or are pushing hard to close these companies, because the locals are very respectful of the area. Mining isn't good for the cattle and damages the environment. There are four levels of national parks. Currently this park is on the third tier, so it's almost at the highest level of protected national park.
But what if the mining is sustainable?
Well, we are fighting to keep it as natural as possible. The locals in this area are making enough income to feed themselves, so they don't really need more money from mining.
How long do you see yourself doing this job?
I'm going to work until I can't work anymore or until the day I die. Typically those in my position retire early. But once I reach that age I'm still allowed to continue the job. This is why I'd like to keep doing this.
Room #5, Coffice Hub, 5th Floor, Time Center
21 Baga Toiruu Street, Sukhbaatar District 8
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 15160
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