Monday, September 1, 2014

[TRQ defers SGQ debt, OT lays off another 300, MSE to extend LSE deal, new TT tender announced, and Hogan explains new petroleum law]

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Monday, September 1, 2014

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original


Overseas Market

TRQ closed -1.46% to US$3.38 Friday, 1878 trading 1.1% higher in early trading

SouthGobi Says Cash May Not Last the Year as Holder Defers Debt

By Michael Kohn

September 1 (Bloomberg) Hong Kong-listed SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (SGQ) said it may not have enough cash to see out the year as the Mongolian coal miner's majority shareholder agreed to defer its debt repayments and it seeks new financing deals to help combat weak commodity prices.

"There can be no assurance that the company will have sufficient funding for the balance of 2014 to be able to continue as a going concern," the company said in a statement today to the Hong Kong stock exchange. It's seeking additional sources of financing, including coal prepayment, as a potential solution to continue operations.

Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ) holds 56 percent of SouthGobi and is itself 51 percent owned by mining giant Rio Tinto Group. Turquoise Hill provided SouthGobi a $10 million revolving credit facility in May, $3.8 million of which has been drawn down.

Lower coal prices are hurting Mongolia which counts the commodity as its second-biggest export. The nation's earnings from coal have steadily dropped from $2.27 billion in 2011 to $1.2 billion last year. In the first seven months of 2014 Mongolia exported 10.3 million tons of coal worth $500 million, according to the National Statistical Office of Mongolia.

SouthGobi's financial woes come amid allegations of tax evasion by the Mongolian government. Following two years of investigation, a Court of Justice in Ulaanbaatar last week returned the tax case to the prosecutor for further investigation, citing insufficient evidence, according to a statement by SouthGobi.

SouthGobi shares declined 0.5 percent to HK$4.38 at 10:30 a.m. in Hong Kong today. The shares have plunged 36 percent this year.

In July, Turquoise Hill announced that it will sell 29.95 percent of SouthGobi to Hong Kong-based National United Resources Holdings Ltd. (254) Turquoise Hill will maintain a 26 percent stake in SouthGobi after the deal which is due for completion by the end of November.

Link to article

Link to SGQ release


Oyu Tolgoi LLC to lay off further 219 employees

August 29 ( Today's issue of local newspaper Unuudur reports that the board of directors of Oyu Tolgoi LLC has announced  that it will fire 219 of its full time employees.

According to the report, Oyu Tolgoi LLC has delivered notices to over 100 employees from contract service companies.

Laid off employees will be given three-months of severance pay and 1,100 USD in benefits. The company says the decision to cut employees is due to financial situations.

Rio Tinto and Government of Mongolia have been in talks for more than a year about the funding of an underground expansion of the mine. When negotiations stalled last August, Oyu Tolgoi laid off 1,700 workers and suspended construction of the mine shafts.

Link to article


MOU trading +100% in early trading

Modun: Board Changes & Equity Raising

September 1 -- Modun Resources Limited ("Modun" or "the Company," ASX:MOU) appoints new members to the board and receives commitments to subscribe for new shares at 0.2c per share to raise $1,000,000 in additional equity.

New Executive Team

Modun is pleased to announce it has appointed a highly qualified executive team and board with over 30 years private equity investment experience to accelerate the transformation of Modun into a high growth and strong cash-flow generating business.

Mike Hill will join Modun's board immediately as Executive Chairman. Mr Hill, a former partner of Ernst & Young M&A in Sydney, has been a senior member of the investment team at Ironbridge since 2004 and a Partner of the firm since 2009. Ironbridge is a leading domestic private equity firm with $1.5bn of funds under management.

Mr Hill has significant deal experience as an adviser, a principal and a director with the necessary origination and strategy skills to transform Modun to a focused high growth enterprise. He has worked across numerous industries including retail, healthcare, media, waste services, tourism and hospitality. Mr Hill is the Chairman of Base Backpackers, Rhype Limited, INT Corporation Limited, HJB Corporation Limited and a proposed non-executive Director of African Chrome Fields Ltd (to be renamed JustKapital). He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.

Andrew Gray will join the board immediately as a non-executive Director. Mr. Gray is currently the managing director of Value Capital Partners (VCP), an investment firm with investment interests spanning software, technology, healthcare, HCIT and growth businesses globally.

Prior to founding VCP, Mr. Gray was the managing director of Archer Capital, an Australian based private equity firm with in excess of $3Billion in capital under management. At Archer Capital, Mr Gray led that firm's largest investment into software company business MYOB and also realised Archer Capital's largest ever return to investors in the subsequent sale of MYOB to Bain Capital.

Prior to joining Archer Capital, Mr Gray was a partner with Francisco Partners (FP), a private equity firm with US$5 Billion in capital under management specialising in technology related buyouts, There, he headed FP's efforts in Europe and led numerous transactions including the acquisition of Australian software firm Mincom Ltd, as well as investments into other software and technology businesses such as Aderant, CMAC, and Ex Libris. From 1999 to 2002, Mr Gray co-founded and was COO of Abilizer Solutions Inc., a software firm specialising in J2EE platform infrastructure technologies based in San Francisco. Prior to Abilizer, Mr Gray spent several years as a private equity investor focused on generalist mid-market buyouts at Genstar Capital. During his career at Genstar, Mr Gray executed numerous successful transactions including NEN Life Sciences.  

Earlier in his career, Mr Gray was an investment banker with James D. Wolfensohn Inc. and a consultant to McKinsey & Co. Mr Gray currently serves on the board of directors of TIG and holds a B.Eng (aeronautical) degree from The University of Sydney, with First Class Honours and a Masters of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

Philip Kapp will join the board immediately as a non-executive Director. Mr Kapp is a senior partner of Corrs Chambers Westgarth Lawyers. He has over 25 years' experience in M&A, capital restructuring and private equity. He is widely regarded as one of Australia's leading corporate lawyers. He also sits on the board of Rhype Limited, African Chrome Fields Limited (to be renamed JustKapital) and Energy Developments Limited ("EDL") as a non-executive director. EDL is a clean energy company listed on the ASX.

Hugh Warner continues as Executive Director of Modun and Neil Hackett continues as a non-executive Director and Company Secretary.

Advisory Committee

Julian Knights, a founder of Ironbridge Capital, will participate in the placement and has agreed to join a Modun Advisory Committee to assist the team in generating and reviewing acquisition opportunities.

Leigh Curyer will also participate in the placement and has agreed to join a Modun Advisory Committee. Leigh has over 20 years experience in the corporate, private equity and resources sector both in Australia and internationally. Leigh was previously the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Corporate Development of Southern Cross Resources (now Uranium One), a resource focused company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (currently the subject of a CDN$2.7bn takeover). In addition, for 3 years Leigh was a partner and Head of Corporate Development at Accord Nuclear Resources, a partnership with energy focused private equity firm First Reserve International in London. Leigh has raised over $250m on international equity markets and managed cross boarder M&A in the above roles, including the initial public offering of ASX listed Alligator Energy Ltd of which he is a non executive director.

Leigh is also Chief Executive officer of NexGen Energy Ltd, an exploration and development company. Leigh is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.

The new board's experience, along with that of the Advisory Committee, in seeking high growth cash flow positive businesses capable of scale both organically and via additional acquisitions is well recognised.

Options & Terms of Employment

The board members will, subject to shareholder approval, be issued options ("Options") on the following terms:

Director / Committee Member

3 Year Options

Mr Hill


Mr Gray


Mr Kapp


Mr Knights


Mr Curyer


Mr Warner


1.    3 Year Options vest after the Company's share price has traded at 0.5c or above for 20 business days (using the 20 day VWAP), and expire 3 years from the date the new board member joined Modun;

2.    The Options are valid whilst each board member remains employed by the Company; and

3.    Termination by either party with 3 calendar months' written notice.

Capital Raising

The Company has received commitments to subscribe for $1,000,000 in new equity through the subscription of 500m ordinary shares at 0.2c per share. Proceeds will be used for general working capital including the strategic review of the Company's 100% owned Nuurst thermal coal project.

The placement shall be made in two tranches with the first 302.5m shares raising $605,000 will be placed using the Company's pre-approved placement capacity (approved by shareholders on 20 August 2014) and the final 197.5m shares raising $395,000 will be placed subject to shareholder approval. Shareholder approval is required prior to the issue of the 187.5m because the proposed subscribers are either related parties or potential related parties to the Company including family interests associated with Mr Warner (a current director) who has agreed to subscribe for 100m shares raising $200,000.

Resignation of Director

Rick Dalton has resigned as a non-executive director of the Company. The Company wishes to thank Rick for his significant contribution to the company especially in relation to his work in developing the Company's Nuurst Thermal Coal Deposit and the conversion of this asset into a Mining Licence status.

Link to release


Viking Mines: Extension of Prospectus Closing Date

August 29 -- Viking Mines Limited ("Viking" or the "Company" - ASX code: "VKA") confirms that it has resolved to extend the closing date of its current prospectus offer to raise up to $3,040,000 by the issue of up to 80,000,000 shares at an issue price of $0.038, with 1 free attaching option exercisable at $0.09 on or before 30 April 2017 for every 4 shares subscribed for (Offer).

The new closing date for the Offer is 5.00pm WST on 12 September 2014. The Company is extending the closing date to allow time for shareholders of both Viking and Auminco Mines Limited to participate. A revised indicative timetable in relation to the Offer is as follows:



Lodgement of Prospectus with ASIC

18 August 2014

Opening Date of Offers

18 August 2014

Closing Date of Offers

12 September 2014

Despatch of Holding Statements

17 September 2014

Ordinary trading of Shares and any New Options commences

19 September 2014

The above dates are indicative only and may be subject to change. The Company has the right to vary these dates without notice, including whether to close the Offers early or accept late applications, either generally or in particular cases, without notifying any recipient of the prospectus or any applicants. Investors who wish to submit an application are encouraged to do so as soon as practicable.

As previously announced, the prospectus offer has passed the minimum subscription level of $2,090,000.

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE News for August 29: Top 20 +0.75% to 15,896.09, Turnover 43.1 Million

By B. Khuder

Ulaanbaatar, August 29 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Friday, a total of 13 thousand and 010 shares of 13 JSCs were traded costing 43 million 120 thousand and 147.00 togrog.

"Gobi" /4,979 units/, "E-trans logistics" /3,100 units/, "Merex" /2,545/, "Hai Bi Oil" /1,636/ and "Tavantolgoi" /633 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Gobi" (MNT 37 million 891 thousand and 050), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT three million 229 thousand and 725), "Hai Bi Oil" (MNT 654 thousand and 400), "UB khivs" (MNT 443 thousand and 200) and "E-trans logistics" (MNT 271 thousand and 900).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 625 billion 530 million 754 thousand and 734. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,896.09, increasing 117.92 units or 0.75% against the previous day.

Link to article


MSE to extend strategic cooperation with London Stock Exchange

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, August 29 (MONTSAME) The two sides are to sign an extension agreement on cooperation in London this September 9.

Since the commence of the strategic cooperation agreement with London Stock Exchange, Mongolian Stock Exchange is aiming to develop itself as a globally accepted market by introducing foreign latest standards and practices.

The document will be inked September 9 in London by Ch.Ulaan, the Minister of Finance, and by D.Angar, an acting director of MSE.

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Early morning rates: Khan (Non-Cash Buy 1,805 Sell 1,826), TDB (Non-Cash Buy 1,800 Sell 1,820), Golomt (Non-Cash Buy 1,802 Sell 1,822), XacBank (Non-Cash Buy 1,806 Sell 1,826), State Bank (Non-Cash Buy 1,800 Sell 1,824) FX rates

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, August 29 Close

















































August MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:


Link to rates


BoM FX auction: US$6.3m ask offer declined, accepts US$20m MNT, US$55m USD swap offers

August 28 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on August 28th, 2014 the BOM has received ask offer of 6.3 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1818.0-1830.0 from local commercial banks and the BOM has not accepted any offer. Also, the BOM has not received any bid and ask offer of CNY.

On August 28th, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement in equivalent to 20.0 million USD and USD Swap agreement of 55.0 million USD from local commercial banks and the BOM accepted all offer.

See also:

·         FX Auction Statistics

Link to release


Moody's: Mongolia's Expansion of Its Swap Line with China Is Credit Positive

August 25 (Moody's Investors Service) ---

Link to page


Mongolia to Increase Representation at IMF and World Bank

August 29 ( At the Cabinet meeting held on August 28, it was resolved to appoint government permanent representation at international banks and financial institutions.

Within the aim to increase number and capacity of Mongolian experts at international banks and financial institutions, it was resolved to implement a program by sending a group of specialists for experience study purposes to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Moreover, it was agreed to appoint Advisors to represent the Government of Mongolia at the IMF and the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors. This decision was issued because of no government permanent representations at the IMF, World Bank or other international banks or financial institutions to date, where Mongolia already became a member-economy.

In the scope of appointing government representation at above organizations, Cabinet members deem Mongolia would be enabled to reflect its position, strengthen partnership and fully implement its rights and priorities at governing level of these international banks and financial institutions with regular participation in their activities.

Link to article


Chinese president's visit points the way to closer ties

August 29 (The Economist Intelligence Unit) --


China's president, Xi Jinping, made his first state visit to Mongolia in late August, marking the first time that China's top leader had visited the country in 11 years.


Mr Xi's visit began on August 21st, and was only his second trip abroad since taking office, underlining China's growing interest in the bilateral relationship. China may also sense that Mongolia is increasingly anxious to strike deals. Although China has proven to be a benign and occasionally benevolent neighbour in modern times, anti-Chinese sentiment in Mongolia is widespread and often powerful enough to derail major cross-border deals. A bid in 2012 by Chalco, a Chinese state-controlled aluminium giant, to buy a stake in Mongolia's SouthGobi Resources resulted in Mongolia's parliament passing knee-jerk legislation that not only killed the deal but also required that similar acquisitions receive parliamentary approval. The law was repealed in 2013 as part of efforts to rebuild relations with foreign investors.

reversal of Mongolia's economic fortunes in the past year has underlined the country's trade dependence on its southern neighbour, the recipient of roughly 90% of Mongolian exports. Although the agreements struck during Mr Xi's visit were not momentous, they hint at the inevitable centrality of China in Mongolia's economic future. Much of the talks revolved around Mongolia's potential role as a railway corridor between Europe and Asia, and trans-shipment deals that would grant Mongolian resources exports the use of Chinese ports. Few of the major agreements were finalised during the trip, however, and China will probably extract several concessions before settling the deal. An economically fragile Mongolia will find it tough to negotiate with its larger neighbour.

Some of China's demands might come at the expense of the superpower to Mongolia's north. Although partnerships with Russia and China are not mutually exclusive, there are a few areas that require Mongolia's leaders to pick a side. For example, Mongolia is preparing to expand its rail network but has not decided whether it will match the track gauge used by its northern or southern neighbour. Parliament is considering a bill that would opt for the use of the China standard for several rail projects, but a final decision has not been made.

Impact on the forecast

Mr Xi's visit supports our expectation that China will dominate Mongolia's economic relations. However, Mongolia will also try to maintain good relations with other countries as a way of offsetting China's influence.

Link to update


De Facto: Seeing the moonlight from a waterfront pavilion

By Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa

August 31 (UB Post) President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China, the second largest economy in the world and Mongolia's biggest trade partner and investor, paid a two-day visit to Mongolia. The visit was broadly reported by media around the world. During this visit, dozens of agreements and memorandums between Mongolia and China were signed in areas such as economics and politics. President Xi Jinping noted in his speech to the Mongolian parliament that Sino-Mongolian relations will be brought to a higher level. If every agreement and document that agreed to is fully implemented, such higher level relations will be achieved. President Xi Jinping said, "Chinese people insist that a promise must be kept and actions must be resolute. Chinese people will deliver what is promised." This implies that the same resolve is expected from Mongolia. In order to keep our promises and become a good partner that works for "mutual benefits and win-win visions", Mongolia needs to overcome several challenges.

President Xi Jinping shared the Chinese saying: "A water-front pavilion gets the moonlight first."

Negotiations on transit transportation and access to the sea

Landlocked countries worry a great deal about finding access to the sea through the territory of their bordering nations. The relative parties from Mongolia and China worked fast and efficiently in this regard and established certain agreements, which was the most significant achievement of the visit in terms of economic relations between the two countries. It was agreed that Mongolia would use another six new ports in the northeastern region of China, besides the port of Tianjin. Following this decision, an agreement was established for developing railway cooperation in transit transportation and cross-border transport to and back through Chinese territory. Furthermore, there is likely to be an increased number of border crossings between the two countries, and some of them will start working 24 hours a day.

Since there is an opportunity for Mongolia to have transit transportation and access to the sea through the territory of our neighbor to the south, we have a chance to build international gauge railway to China and deliver our products to third neighbor countries without the cargo being opened along its transportation route. It will help Mongolia's exports, especially coking coal, have prices adjusted for shipping by sea, which will boost our competitiveness.

In order to increase the freight turnover of transit railway transportation to 100 million tons by 2020, Mongolia should become a trade and transport hub that offers a large canal for Russia-China-Eurasia trade and provide excellent transshipment services that are known for superb efficiency. If excellent services of payment, information, and communication are successfully introduced, many new businesses will emerge and develop. Furthermore, it could even increase the interests of our two neighboring countries to do more cross-border transport through Mongolia.
MoU on coal gasification and transport via pipelines

In terms of its economic significance, the second biggest progress made during the visit is the memorandum of understanding signed on coal processing and transportation. It looks like this memorandum reinforced the memorandum of understanding that our prime minister signed last year, when he visited China. Our officials should know that this kind of high-level visit is supposed to produce agreements rather than memorandums of understanding.

Introducing coal gasification and building pipelines to supply Beijing and Ulaanbaatar with coal gas will not only help the two capital cities combat air pollution, but also help Mongolia establish a chemical industry. This project is worth 30 billion USD, which is three times larger than our economy today. A very important decision for democratic Mongolia to make is whether the Mongolian partner on this huge project should be a private company or a state-owned one. If it is a private company, what criteria will be used for selection? If it is a state-owned company, how will it be funded? Such questions will be raised in great numbers. Regardless of which company is to be selected, the company is required by the law to receive a special permit from the Government of Mongolia.
The agreement established between Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi and China's Chalco provides good insight into what happens when political parties in ruling power play with a project managed by a state-owned company. The debt of 350 million USD, still not paid back after two years, shows that there is a great risk that any memorandum of understanding could remain nothing more than a piece of paper if state-owned companies take part in such a huge project. If private companies are to be selected, any risks that are associated will not be carried by taxpayers. Relevant parties should take careful note that the only problem is making sure that the private company does not make big donations to political parties or bribe government officials.

Infrastructure projects

When we are talking about the agreements and memorandums signed around industrial development, energy, and railroad, it should be taken into account that all goods and services produced in Mongolia are dependent on a single market. Mongolia will partner with Chinese state-owned companies in most of the projects. Therefore, having private companies instead of state-owned ones will reduce any political influence that could come from Mongolia on those projects. As China will probably be making the bigger part of the investment, we will need to establish a take-or-pay type of contract that is broadly used internationally.

On the other hand, when Mongolia starts implementing such huge projects with a big, powerful partner like China, the business space for third neighbor countries will dramatically shrink and there will be fewer options for Mongolian companies. Therefore, we need to calculate the opportunity cost. In any case, Mongolia must have internationally qualified experts take part in the process and establish good agreements.

Although Mongolia has "limitless" natural resources, we have a very limited amount of cash available. There is no need to spell the situation out when our national currency has entered its biggest decline. Instead of meeting the social demand, the government used all available cash along with more foreign loans on numerous plants and infrastructure projects without guaranteed returns. It is hoped that the relevant parties are aware of this display of irresponsible actions. If a less-developed country like Mongolia is not able to make social investments, such as hospitals and schools, the gap between rich and poor will keep expanding and the crime rate will increase. It could create social instability. Therefore, there is no option for Mongolia other than establishing take-or-pay contracts where an investor is required to buy the products that he invested in, or pay if they are not purchasing. Mongolians hope that China, our great neighbor, understands this situation of ours.

Mongolia has chosen the path to a market economy where private property prevails, whereas China has chosen the path to "a strong, prosperous, democratic, civilized, harmonious, and modern socialist country." As President Xi Jinping pointed out, a new era for Sino-Mongolian relations is beginning. Mongolia and China will respect each other's development path and work hand in hand. There is great opportunity for the two eternal neighbors to take advantage of our inter-complementary economic opportunities, truly assess what is different and what should be noted about each other's development paths, and become partners who have mutual benefits and win-win visions.

Translated by B.AMAR

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New head of General Department of Police appointed

August 29 ( Cabinet meeting decision called for the dismissal of the Head of the General Police Agency, Brigadier General B.Bilegt, and the appointment of Deputy Head and Deputy First Chief Commissioner S.Baatarjav as acting head of the agency two weeks ago.

But in Wednesday's meeting, the cabinet issued a decision to appoint S.Baatarjav as Head of the General Police Agency.

Deputy First Chief Commissioner S.Baatarjav has been working in law enforcement for 29 years, since 1985.

S.Baatarjav started as a detective in the Tuv Provincial Police Department and was promoted to criminal agent, and senior agent in the Selenge and Darkhan-Uul province police departments.

S.Baatarjav worked in the Control and Inspection Division of the General Police Agency after graduating from the Academy of Management of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, and was then appointed head of Darkhan-Uul Provincial Police Department.

Prior to serving as Deputy First Head of the General Police Agency, he worked as head of the Metropolitan Police Department, State Investigation Department and Selenge Provincial Police Department.

Baatarjav's father, Colonel Sainnyambuu, was chair of the division in the Dundgovi Provincial Police Department.

Link to article


Program to Be Implemented on Improving Public Services in Localities

By B. Khuder

Ulaanbaatar, August 29 (MONTSAME) A programme will be realized to develop the public services in accordance with a decision of the government made Thursday.

This programme aims to boost the public services in localities. It means that vacancies will be increased and a migration to the UB city will be decreased.  

The programme is to be realized in frames of goals reflected in the 2012-2016 programme of the cabinet for reforms which say about creating services centers and complexes in the localities and delivering necessary services to people.

The provinces do not have proper opportunities to develop the public services due to lack of pledge properties. It has led to a situation where almost 90% of the public service holder and companies are not interested in involving their employees in the social insurance system, plus, they are running services in rented houses which do not satisfy essential standards and requirements.

Link to article


Hogan Lovells: Mongolia revises its legal framework for the petroleum sector

August 29 (Hogan Lovells) Mongolia is nearly entirely dependent on the import of finished petroleum projects. Given the risk to the country's national security posed by this dependence, Mongolia has been trying to develop its domestic petroleum sector by attracting foreign investors through a revision of its legal framework and by introducing tax incentives for oil refineries.

This note concentrates on the revised version of the Petroleum Law, which is the most recent and fundamental revision to Mongolia's petroleum laws. In addition, we also provide a brief update about other significant changes to the legal regime governing petroleum products.

1. New Petroleum Law

The Mongolian legal and regulatory regime divides the petroleum sector into two subfields, viz., "petroleum" ("газрын тос" in Mongolian), or upstream activities (extraction and drilling), and "petroleum production" ("газрын тосны бүтээгдэхүүн") or downstream activities (finished products and distribution).

On 1 July 2014, the Parliament of Mongolia approved the revised version of Law of Mongolia on Petroleum (the "Petroleum Law"), which came into effect on 20 July 2014. The Petroleum Law sets out a comprehensive legal framework for the petroleum sector - the former petroleum law enacted in 1991 had been criticised as being out of date.

1.1 General content

The Petroleum Law distinguishes between two main categories of petroleum products, being: (i) "oil" ("газрын тос") and (ii) "unconventional" oil ("уламжлалт бус газрын тос"). Oil refers to crude oil and natural gas in addition to refined petroleum, whereas unconventional oil refers to oil sands and oil shale.

Under the old regime, a business entity needed to obtain a licence in order to undertake "petroleum-related activities". Several activities in connection with petroleum fell under the category of "petroleum-related activities", namely (i) exploration, (ii) preservation, (iii) production, (iv) processing, (v) transportation, (vi) storage, and (vii) trade. It was not clear in the former legislation whether a legal entity that intended to engage in just one of these activities needed to obtain a licence that would cover all petroleum-related activities. This, in turn, caused complications in the approval process for a company seeking to engage in petroleum sector activities.

As a welcome development, the new Petroleum Law identifies just three types of petroleum-related activities: (i) research, (ii) exploration, and (iii) extraction. Exploration and extraction activities for oil and unconventional oil are subject to licensing procedures under the Petroleum Law whilst other activities, such as research and the storage and transportation of petroleum, are subject to the issuance of permissions or approvals from the relevant authorities. Such permissions ("зөвшөөрөл") usually involve a simple approval process, whereas licences ("тусгай зөвшөөрөл") involve more complicated procedures whereby applicants must satisfy more rigorous requirements provided under the relevant laws and regulations.

The Ministry of Mining and the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia ("PAM") are the two primary regulators for the petroleum sector. The Ministry of Mining is responsible for policy issues, the issuance of licences and organising tenders for exploration sites. PAM is the main implementing authority responsible for matters such as concluding production sharing agreements (as authorised by the Cabinet), approval of annual plans, and the supervision of fee payments.

Link to full review

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Mongolia to Select Tavan Tolgoi Investors by November 1, Sign Agreement by December 15

August 29 ( At the Cabinet meeting held on August 28, 2014, the Tavan Tolgoi deposit development issue was discussed due to stagnant situation ongoing to date.

Earlier, the State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia issued Resolution No.40 in 2008, No.39 in 2010, and No.34 in 2014 to develop and select investor for Tavan Tolgoi deposit and ordered the Cabinet to adhere guidelines, but to date the regulation was not implemented and frozen.

To remind, the preliminary selection of companies to invest and cooperate in Tavan Tolgoi deposit was announced in December 2010, where out of 15 companies forwarded their bids 6 firms were selected and after considering, Mongolia-Russian Railways Consortium, Chinese Shenhua Energy Group and US Peabody Energy Corporation were picked to develop Tavan Tolgoi's west block and were introduced to the National Security Council of Mongolia, but the Security Council rejected the proposals and delivered back to the Government.

Therefore on May 08, 2014, Parliament ratified Resolution No.34 on "Some Measures to Increase Economic Stimulation" including a number of provisions relevant to Tavan Tolgoi.

Accordingly, at the meeting held yesterday, Cabinet Ministers agreed to put the deposit into the full economic circulation and resolved to conduct selection process based on necessary studies by amending some criterion, requirements and principles on previously announced tender and issued a Government resolution on "Some Measures on Tavan Tolgoi Depost".

In the frameworks, it was obliged to announce a new tender and select within November 01 and establish contract with selected ones before December 15, 2014. The working group will be supervised by Head of the Cabinet Office Ch.Saikhanbileg.

Link to article


Tender to resume to select TT investorMontsame, August 29

Tender selection for massive Tavan Tolgoi deposit to take, August 29


Bulgaria to invest in Mongolia to offset Russian sanctions

September 1 (Standart News) Just weeks after Russia vetoed imports of agricultural products from the EU, thus Bulgaria as well, local companies have been looking for alternatives. As such, interest is rising in Mongolia, the Asian country's honorary ambassador in Bulgaria informed. According to prof. Lhamsuren Dugerzhav, Bulgarian companies are already enjoying the respect and esteem in Ulaanbaatar and other areas of the country, he noted during the ceremony for the opening of the Honorary Consulate of Mongolia in the country.

The largest interest from Bulgaria involves investments in mining in the Asian country. Currently, native gold mining companies from tailings. Much of the leading Mongolian specialists in this industry have completed their higher education in Bulgaria. Therefore Bulgarian companies have a chance to break out as subcontractors in the distant country.

There is also a newly set up Society for Bulgarian-Mongolian Friendship, created with the help of three native companies with serious interest to invest in Mongolia. Bulgarian companies seem to have a good chance to contribute for the building of water infrastructure and roads in the distant country bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west.

Link to article


Harvest to Start 7-10 Days Earlier Than Last Year

August 29 ( On August 28, 2014, the regular Cabinet meeting took place, where Minister of Industry and Agriculture Sh.Tuvdendorj introduced the preliminary report of harvesting.

In 2014, it was cultivated in 434.5 thousand hectares and preliminary it expects a total of 466.6 tons of harvest and average quintal or centner (100 kg) of wheat to collect is 15.2; also, 116.3 ql. of potato, 121.4 ql. of vegetable, 5.8 ql. of oil plant and 26.7 ql. of fodder plant per hectare.

Due to dry climate with small precipitation fell between end of July and first 15 days of August, the harvesting process will be started 7-10 days earlier compare to previous years. Meantime, it expects rainy and chilly weather until mid-September in agricultural regions, thus affiliated organs are obliged to take precaution measures immediately.

Link to article


Agricultural Re-Insurance Company to Be Established

By B. Khuder

Ulaanbaatar, August 29 (MONTSAME) At its regular meeting on Thursday, the cabinet decided to found such an incorporated company.

The shareholders' authority has been given to the Minister of Finance.

The law on index-based livestock insurance, adopted at the spring session of parliament, reflects clauses on establishing this company state-owned shares of which are to be authorized by the cabinet member in charge of financial affairs.

The Minister of Finance Ch.Ulaan was ordered to transfer the capital, placed in this year's budget, to the company's account and to place other parts of capitals in the budgets of 2015 and 2016.

Link to article


Trial of Altanbulag FTZ Extended

253 million MNT in goods traded


August 31 (UB Post) The Ministry of Economic Development (MED) held a press conference on August 29, and stated its decision to extend the trial period of Altanbulag free trade zone (FTZ).

A two-month trial of Altanbulag FTZ, bordering Russia in Selenge Province at Altanbulag-Khiagt border point, was launched in June. An estimated 125,000 tons of goods were accumulated at Altanbulag under free trade zone regulation and taxes of 13.6 million MNT and fees of 62,200 MNT were added to the State Budget between June 1 and July 31, 2014. During the trial period, 851.5 million MNT in goods were brought to the FTZ, 253.7 million MNT in goods were traded, and 2,365 vehicles and 7,181 passengers passed through the FTZ. The timetable of Altanbulag-Khiagt border point has been changed to 24-hour operations since July 1.

Considering its positive repercussions, such as increase in investment in the free trade zone and the continuous flow of passengers and goods, in a cabinet meeting held on August 7, a resolution to extend the term of the temporary regulations to December 31 was approved.

Chief of the Innovation and Public-Private Partnership Department of the MED S.Bekhbat, Director of Altanbulag FTZ Ch.Chimedsuren, Vice Chair of the Board of Investors J.Jargalsaikhan and Head of the Free Zone Division of MED Ch.Chimegsanaa attended last Friday's press conference. Attendees emphasized that the launch of Altanbulag FTZ is an incarnation of the plan to establish and develop a free trade zone that had been discussed since 2002.

Link to article


Dairy Factory to Open in Selenge with Chinese Kharbin Cooperation

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, August 29 (MONTSAME) Selenge aimag is to open its own dairy factory to produce final products.

This is a result of the aimag governor's working visit to Chinese Kharbin during which the two sides had signed a cooperation agreement. The governor also had proposed setting up seabuckthorn processing factory and assembling here technical tools made in China.

Selenge aimag produces over 40 thousand tonnes of milk a year, only 4-5 thousand tonnes go to the domestic market. In view of this, Kharbin administration had accepted the suggestion to build a primary processing dairy products factory.

Link to article


Ulaanbaatar to require concrete mix factories to recycle water

August 31 (UB Post) Four out of about 90 concrete mix factories in Ulaanbaatar are recycling their greywater for further use to reduce their consumption of drinking water.

Ulaanbaatar will reportedly face a drinking water shortage by 2020, according to water authority experts, as there is no alternative water source than groundwater. To prevent the problem and limit the use of drinking water, several concrete mix factories have established greywater recycling plants and started using the recycled wastewater for washing their mixer trucks, which consumed tons of fresh drinking water before.

Greywater to make up 60 to 70 percent of daily water use

One of the four factories is Premium Concrete LLC, which operates in the 20th khoroo of Bayangol District. The company previously used four tons of drinking water for its operation. Specifically, 600 to 800 liters of water is used for washing one mixer truck. Some mixer trucks are required to be washed five times a day, depending on the company's load.

Company officials report that they are saving 70 to 80 percent of drinking water previously used by using recycled greywater for multiple purposes.

The recycled water is used for not only washing, but also for watering the factory facilities to reduce dust.

"We established an international standard water recycling pool recently and started using the recycled greywater for our own operation," said Premium Concrete LLC's executive manager B.Tuvshinbat.
The greywater recycling technology cost the company 60 to 70 million MNT.

Tuul River Basin Administration urges concrete factories to recycle their greywater

The following is a brief interview with the Tuul River Basin Administration's (TRBA) senior expert on water use management about how concrete factories use water.

Can you talk about how concrete mix factories manage their water supply?

They draw water from artesian wells, so we have sent them statements to limit their use of drinking water and start recycling their greywater. TRBA allowed them to use 50 to 100 cubic meters of groundwater per day, according to the Water Law of Mongolia.

Each factory will have to establish two to three water pools for recycling the greywater they have produced. It will benefit any company's finances and contribute to saving drinking water.

When do you expect all factories to be using recycled grey water without dumping any water?

I can't give an exact date yet, but we will definitely follow the saving plan in the water sector to prevent a shortage.

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Taxpayers thrown under the bus for Metro Map Project trial

August 31 (UB Post) Residents in the capital are very unhappy with the ten-day Metro Map Project, public transportation system experiment for reforming and improving services, organized from August 22 to 31. An estimated 1.3 million MNT from the city budget and 1.8 million MNT from the private sector was issued for the trial program. The public transportation sector strived to provide passengers with quick, short route services but unfortunately, it seems to have failed as the public wasn't so fond of the new, complicated system. The complication was caused by a lack of information.

People who used to board a single bus to go to work had to deal with two to three times bus transfers, on top of coping with overcrowded buses. Nobody wants to travel on buses where there's no space to move and endure dozens of people stepping on their feet. People had no other choice but to use the new public transportation system and route. If they walked, they would be late for work and suffer salary deductions. Many passengers complained that they waited for 20 minutes to get to a certain destination.

Off to a bad start?

It's pleasing to know that passengers can have limitless bus transfers with one-day bus tickets that cost 500 MNT. Staff in the public transportation sector aimed to improve this service and transform it into a comfortable, fast service system compatible with international standards. Constantly changing buses is a hassle for everyone and it's in a Mongolian's nature to prefer ready-made and convenient things.

Sources state that the public transportation sector shifted all of their workload onto private entities. Was it a bad start or someone's bad taste to hinder the process and cause complications? Anyway, everyone's dissatisfaction is clear. The authorities should take notice that all of this confusion, what passengers are facing now, is due to the insufficient provision of information.

As for the private sector, bus conductors and drivers reported that the companies worked their best to provide the most convenient service they could offer. We remind those in charge that the time when one could comfort one's self by saying that everyone makes mistakes and afford leniency is long gone.

Flustered passengers

On the first day of the trial, many people got to wander and see the city's development thanks to getting lost and confused on their journey. This affordable trip divided passengers into two groups. The first group was fed up with transferring buses and the other prioritized free transportation. A limited quantity of cheap bus tickets were sold at bus stops. Ticket vendors reported that not many people were purchasing these tickets, as some people assumed that it was fine to go "hitchhiking" on buses (without tickets) since the people who checked the tickets weren't on board on buses.

It was also unclear which buses to which destinations came to different bus stops. Even ticket sellers didn't have sufficient information about this. This shows the inadequate promotion of the project. People crowded bus stops, and whenever a bus arrived, everyone would rush to the bus. Instead of providing short-route services with lighter passenger loads, buses were running cramped with passengers everywhere.

According to passengers, pickpockets took advantage of this opportunity to steal valuables. Before, the despised, mean bus conductors used to at least protect passengers from thieves.

Ten days of travel for 3.1 billion MNT

The trial to develop public transportation services faced many challenges from the beginning. The most important aspect was to upgrade destination routes, but officials in the sector developed a very nice system to test people's brain capacity and mental skills.

After letting people journey for 3.1 billion MNT for ten days, 1.3 million MNT from the city budget and 1.8 million MNT from the private sector, the organizers say that they wanted to open opportunities for working without losses.

The city authority couldn't have known that so many people would overcrowd a bus when they started the new public transportation reform.

For those ten days, buses were transformed to the buses in the 90s that were extremely overcrowded. This shows that the new system was some sort of failure. Associated organizations should focus on finding and correcting those problems and then begin sustainable work.

The people aren't guinea pigs for testing and providing results for some director's work initiative. Prior to organizing this sort of operation, the initiators should have collected practical research results. or at least survey residents before putting a plan to work. When authorities proceed with hasty decisions, residents are forced to hold back their discontent and suffer.

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China and Mongolia: Realising a "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership"

Abanti Bhattacharya, Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi

August 29 (Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies) On 22 August, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his two-day trip to Mongolia, which is noteworthy not just because he signed as many as 26 agreements but because this was his second single country visit since he became President and also a first by a head of state after 11 years. This raises questions about why Mongolia has acquired special attention in Xi's foreign policy and whether this indicates a new shift. 

Looking at the bare facts, the current visit suggests quite a few breakthroughs in the economic, political and diplomatic arenas. The visit saw an up-gradation of China-Mongolia relations from 'good-neighbourly and mutual trust' in 2003 to 'a strategic partnership' in 2011 to the present 'comprehensive strategic partnership'. Under the rubric of comprehensive strategic partnership, China agreed to provide land-locked Mongolia additional access to Chinese seaports as well as access to railway networks for transportation of goods. It agreed to support a number of projects in medical care, education, railroads and other infrastructure construction. Further, China inked a proposal to set up a bilateral free trade zone and currency swap arrangements. Besides, the two sides targeted to achieve US$10 billion trade by 2020. More importantly, while Mongolia agreed to join China's Silk Road Economic Belt, Beijing extended an invitation to Ulaanbaatar to the APEC meeting slated for November in Shanghai.

Gauging the achievements, one is tempted to reach the conclusion that the Sino-Mongolian relationship has certainly acquired a new momentum. However, this is not entirely the case. China had outwitted Russia in becoming the largest investor in Mongolia in 1998 and the largest trading partner in 1999. This deepening of ties was in tandem with changes in Mongolia-Russia relations post the Cold War era. The Soviet collapse precipitated a shift in Mongolia's foreign policy to adopting an omni-enmeshment policy. This meant first putting a stop to one-sided reliance on Russia and normalisation of its relations with China, and second, reaching out to other powers, primarily the US as underscored in its 'third neighbour' strategy. Simply put, China's dominance on Mongolia's economy in terms of trade and investment is not a new phenomenon. 

Rather, economic over-dependence on China has alerted Mongolia to reconstitute its foreign policy and adopt a new strategy in 2011 that Jeffrey Reeves has called the 'omni-enmeshment and balance of influence' approach. This new approach called for engaging not only a number of great powers through multilateral and bilateral mechanisms but also balancing against one country through triangular politics. Evidently thus, Mongolia signed the strategic partnership with the US in 2013. It expanded defence ties with India in 2011 much to the concern of China. This new policy thrust though does not lessen its economic dependence on China, however, it does accrue deterrence for Mongolia. 

It is pertinent to note that Mongolia's geographical location, sandwiched between China and Russia, poses a formidable challenge. Bereft of an opening to the sea, it is forced to depend on its immediate neighbours. But depending on China for access to seaports is more cost-effective than depending on Russia. As one study shows, the Russian port of Vladivostok is 3000 miles away from Mongolia's rich Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, while the Chinese port of Tianjin is barely 1,000 miles away. Naturally, Mongolia has no option but to depend on China. 

However, Mongolia fears that closer connections with China that would allow the latter to dominate in its domestic matters, as had happened in the past when the Dalai Lama's visit to Ulaanbaatar annoyed the Chinese and led the border to be closed, hurting Monglian trade in the process. But China too has its own vulnerabilities. One is the presence of the US in Mongolia as a 'third neighbour'. Two is the potential influence of Mongolian nationalism on its own five million ethnic Mongolians living in Inner Mongolia. And three, it has concerns regarding the Tibet issue as 92 per cent of Mongolian people follow Buddhism and consider the Dalai Lama their religious leader. 

While these vulnerabilities have been around for quite some time, the current fillip to China's Mongolia thrust has come from the US rebalancing strategy under Barack Obama that in turn has reinforced Mongolia's 'third neighbour' strategy. To this, Xi Jinping has retaliated with a new foreign policy initiative. As articulated by a noted Chinese scholar, Yan Xuetong, this new initiative instead of ascribing top priority to China's relations with the US, emphasises on giving first priority to its relations with neighbouring countries. Xi Jinping thus, went to Mongolia to sell his dream of the New Silk Road economic belt. Outlining the need for China and Mongolia to be good neighbours and support each other, his 22 August speech in Mongolia offered sops including Mongolia's bid for membership in the APEC and acceptance for the Ulaanbaatar proposal for a trilateral summit, involving Mongolia, Russia and China. Also, Xi tried to assuage Mongolians' fear about Chinese intentions and reiterated China's peaceful development and win-win strategy. 

Clearly, Xi's visit was intended to enlist the support of Mongolia in fulfilling the Chinese dream, but Mongolia like most other China's neighbours while eager to engage economically, is not sanguine of Chinese intentions.

Link to article


China's APEC DiplomacyThe Diplomat, August 30


Mongolia and China mark ancient cultural ties

China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.

By Lisa Gardner

Ulan Bator, Mongolia, August 31 (Al Jazeera) - Chinese state officials arrived here this week to mark the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties, and the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Friendly Relations between the two states.

The arrival of President Xi Jinping on Thursday saw the signing of accords in areas of energy, mining and infrastructure. With Mongolia's economy experiencing a steady decline in foreign investment, the agreements are set to expand two-way trade to US$10 billion by 2020, according to published reports.

The two countries also signed cultural accords this week, with plans to further develop collaboration in areas of palaeontology and cultural-heritage preservation. Joint efforts will take place over the next three years to train law enforcement in further efforts aimed at curbing illegal archeological digging and export.

"Mongolia and China's cultural relationship is very consistent and long-term," Mongolian Culture Minister Tsedevdamba Oyungerel told Al Jazeera. "If economic, banking and railroad ties are new, then our cultural discussions are the continuation of the stable, older relationship. Our cultures, however, are very unique."

Mongolia's culture minister also pointed to recent restoration efforts as evidence of growing cooperation between the states, such as those in June to repair the 10th-century ruins of an ancient urban settlement, the Kherlen Bar, in Mongolia's far-eastern Dornod province. 

Yet questions of cultural heritage and national identity are especially sensitive in Mongolia, where anti-Chinese sentiment is not uncommon. Some criticism centres upon China's continued possession of some cultural, and at times, intangible artifacts that are felt here to be indelibly Mongolian. Notably, this includes several pages of the original manuscript of The Secret History of the Mongols, a 13th-century account of the life of Chingghis Khan. 

Oyungerel briefly raised the question of whether the manuscript would be returned with her Chinese counterpart at a jointly held press conference earlier this week. "These are areas where we will continue to seek cooperation," the culture minister said.

China's Minister of Culture Cai Wu, however, would not be drawn out on the question of whether the pages would be returned. Instead, he would only say that "China respects the traditions of Mongolia's long history."

Cultural history: Cooperation and contention

Similarly, China's inscription of traditional Mongolian throat singing into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2009 continues to rankle in Mongolia, where the performance art is considered a national treasure.

"Khoomei has been created, possessed and transmitted among Mongolian people," China's nomination read, citing its continued practice in China's Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Autonomous regions. 

The decision sparked outrage in Mongolia, where local officials later submitted their own request that UNESCO recognise throat singing (this time, as 'khöömei') separately, under a single Mongolian inscription. 

In what turned out to be a successful bid, Mongolia noted, while the governments of China and Russia were "paying notable attention" to the development of the craft, that it was very clear about the art's "original Mongolian authenticity".

Mongolia-based ethnomusicologist Andrew Colwell described the contentious registration as "a rallying point for anti-Chinese sentiment" in Mongolia.

"There is ever-continued resentment of China regarding the arts in general," he told Al Jazeera, via email. "There is a constant contest among Outer Mongolian, Inner Mongolian and also Tuvan 'khoomeii'-ers to gain the most visibility and rally the most students, researchers and foreign organisations." 

Despite this, Mongolia's culture minister was quick to allay fears that China has any intention to appropriate the cultural heritage of "foreign" states, instead she highlighted areas of successful collaboration.

Oyungerel pointed to the 2008 UNESCO cultural inscription of the traditional folk "long song", or "Urtiin duu", under the auspices of both Mongolia and China. Similarly, the two countries "would like to learn about restoration techniques and policies from one another … We have the same worries - how to preserve rare cultural heritage without destroying it."

"This shows that the more we culturally connect with one another, the more we help the understanding between our two countries," she explained. "The more the [Mongolian] public is educated about UNESCO policies, the less nervous they become. These give equal conditions to all countries, so that all countries have the same rights, no matter how large or small."

"This gives us lots of room to understand each other," Oyungerel said. "We don't wish to encourage too much nervousness between our two countries."

Cultures looking inward

Despite their divergent histories, both states seem to recognise that official culture-heritage efforts serve bilateral relations as well as domestic audiences, further promoting a distinctive - if populist - sense of national identity. 

In Mongolia, "even those who think that they are very nationalistic, they often don't know who to erect a ger [yurt], or how to ride horses", Oyungerel said. "I tell the public, if you really love your culture, then bear our national heritage … If we detach ourselves from our culture and only become nationalistic, this does not help to keep Mongolia 'Mongolian.'"

While in China's case, some have argued that cultural-heritage preservation is presented as a distinctly unifying approach in a vast country of multiple, varying ethic groups.

"Certainly, this revolves around Chinese minority politics," Colwell said. "The more Han Chinese revere its minorities' arts and culture, the more these minorities 'play' into Han authority."

While in Mongolia, officials have instead placed particular focus on a "renewal" of domestic cultural efforts. "We are more concentrated on who we are, what heritage we have, and what our role is in preserving that culture," Oyungerel said. "We are more concentrated on preserving our culture than we are, arguing with outsiders."

Mongolia, China ... Russia

China's state visit to Mongolia comes ahead of a visit from Russian President Vladimir Putin in coming days, leading some to question the nature of Mongolia's relationship with its neighbouring states.

"With the core Chinese culture we have a different background," Oyungerel explained. "Although a lot of Inner Mongolian culture is a lot like Mongolian culture.

"We also have the same, if different, cultural relationship with Russia. With Russia, we have much more of a professional Russian school background in our professional arts - painting, opera and ballet. 

"Chinese journalists and China's cultural ministry asked about how Mongolia feels about its Russian roots. We say that this is our part of our history, part of our background - and we are happy to keep it like so," she said.

Mongolia remains aloft "in the middle", Oyungerel added. "Mongolians have a lot of broad cultures to draw from, from both our neighbours. Our peoples understand each other more easily as a result." 

In years to come, Oyungerel said she hopes that joint cultural-heritage efforts "will help us to reconnect with our past, and our future, in a more humane way, rather than with aggression".

"Both China and Russia are our neighbours, and in that respect, our futures are tied," she said.

Link to article


Defense Minister of Mongolia Attends Inauguration Turkish President Recep Erdogan

August 29 ( Minister for Defense of Mongolia, MP D.Bat-Erdene, Head of Mongolia-Turkey Intergovernmental Committee chairing Mongolian side, and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Republic of Turkey B.Batkhishig have attended in the inauguration ceremony of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The oath taking ceremony was held in the Parliament Hall on August 28, 2014, where over 90 state, government and parliament leaders have attended.

Following the ceremony, Defense Minister D.Bat-Erdene congratulated the newly elected 12th President of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and held a brief meetings with President of Kazakhstan N.Nazarbayev, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation S.Naryshkin, Speaker of the Kyrgyz Parliament A.Jeenbekov, Speaker of the Parliament of Turkey Cemil Cicek, Prime Minister of Belarus M.Myasnikovich, Prime Minister of Tajikistan K.Rasulzoda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey A.Davutoglu, Foreign Minister of South Korea Yun Byung-se, Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan A.Kamilov, Foreign Minister of Iran M.Zarif, Foreign Minister of South Sudan B.Benjamin and Executive Director of CICA Jianwei Gong.

Minister D.Bat-Erdene also met with the Minister of National Defense of Turkey Ismet Yilmaz, where sides discussed on upcoming official visit of latter part to Mongolia in September 2014.

On the same day, Defense Minister D.Bat-Erdene held a meeting with the Third Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Bulent Arinc, Head of Mongolia-Turkey Intergovernmental Committee chairing Turkish side. During the bilateral talks, parties exchanged views on implementation of the Protocol issued following the VII Mongolia-Turkey Intergovernmental Committee meeting held in Ankara in March 2013.

In the scope of this Protocol implementation, the Government of Turkey had resolved to allocate a soft loan of 300 million USD and Minister D.Bat-Erdene proposed to start projects mutually agreed earlier within this fund, besides, he requested to cooperate in animal skin & hide processing industry as well as attracting Turkish investment & technology and to collaborate in renewable energy and tourism spheres.

In response, Deputy Premier Bulent Arinc noted that in order to strengthen bilateral cooperation in economic and trade sectors, affiliated organs should organize a Meeting between Ministries of Economic Development of the two states.

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Minister of Defense attends inauguration ceremony of Turkish PresidentMontsame, August 29


Mongolia and Russia to Boost Cooperation in Agricultural Sector

August 29 ( The First Mongolia-Russia Intergovernmental Meeting of Cooperation in Agricultural Sector was held in Ulaanbaatar on August 28, 2014.

This Meeting is considered with its significant importance prior the working visit of President of the Russian Federation V.V.Putin to Mongolia, which is expected on September 03, 2014.

At the First Intergovernmental Meeting of Cooperation in Agricultural Sector, parties agreed to collaborate in the following spheres.

1. Cooperation in the field of veterinary

In this regard, sides exchanged views on measures being carried out on prevention of animal infectious diseases. Last year, Russian side provided the grant aid of vaccine to stop foot-and-mouth disease occurred in Mongolia that had great contribution to sanify Mongolia's livestock and within the scope of collaboration to fight against cross-border infectious diseases of livestock, Mongolian side proposed to continue the Phase 2 of the program, where the other part pledged to consider the request shortly.

2. Cooperation in nursery crop industry

Within this scope of cooperation, sides agreed to implement of program of producing and acclimatizing new varieties of wheat seeds that suit to Mongolian harsh climatic conditions with early maturity and disease & drought-resistant. In order to implement this program, parties negotiated to develop a program by a joint team of scientists within this year and agreed to start in 2015.

3. Other issues

Sides agreed to develop joint project to immediately export or import some sorts of seed, food or other necessary items in case of crop failure or food shortages between the neighboring provinces and Aimags due to difficulties caused by weather and other circumstances.

Moreover, Mongolian side stated to attend in the 3rd Meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and participate in the "Agro-Innotech" Exhibition-Fair to take place in Moscow on October 08-10, 2014.

The Second Mongolia-Russia Intergovernmental Meeting of Cooperation in Agricultural Sector is planned to be held in Moscow in the second half of 2015.

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Social, Environmental and Other

J.Narantungalag takes ONE FC world crown, defeating reigning champion Koji Oishi

By M. Zoljargal

August 31 (UB Post) Top Mongolian fighter J.Narantungalag was declared a new champion in the ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) on Friday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

He fought against Japanese reigning champion Koji Oishi and defeated him with unanimous decision of the judges in the featherweight class (66 kg) to earn the title. He dominated through all three rounds with combinations and strikes.

ONE FC, Asia's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) event, took place at Dubai Trade Centre this year, where fighter Shinya Aoki of Japan defended his ONE FC lightweight world championship title, while American fighter Ben Askren emerged as new world champion in the welterweight class.

Link to article


20 Engineering Students to Study in China This Academic Year

By N. Khaliun

Ulaanbaatar, August 29 ( MONTSAME) About 20 students from the School of energy engineering at Mongolian University of Sciences and Technology will study in the North China Electric Power University in the 2014-2015 academic year under "2+2"  joint education programme.  

This program has been implemented since 2012 as a result of an agreement between these two Universities. These students of first and second years will continue studying in China majoring in engineering technology for a bachelor's degree.

North China Electric Power University (NCEPU) is affiliated with the Ministry of Education, officially listed as one of the "211 Project" and "985 Project" universities as well as a "Predominant Discipline Innovation Platform". At present, NCEPU is a key university jointly constructed by the Ministry of Education and the University Council, which is composed of State Grid Corporation of China, China Southern Power Grid Co., Ltd., China Huaneng Group, China Datang Corporation, China Huadian Corporation, China Guodian Corporation and China Power Investment Corporation. NCEPU is composed of two respective campuses in Beijing and in Baoding, with its main campus in Beijing.

As one of the key universities in China with a history of more than 40 years, this university has been fostering talents in the areas of engineering technology, management, economics and the social sciences. There are more than 8,500 students with over 600 graduate students and doctor students.

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Mongolia Awards South Sudan Peacekeepers with State Prizes

August 29 (InfoMongolia) Upon the Decree of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj, the third group of 850 Mongolian peacekeepers have successfully served in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) from November 2013 to August 2014.

The UNMISS mandate is to consolidate peace and security in South Sudan and today on August 29, 2014, Government of Mongolia headed by Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag, Chief of Staff of the President of Mongolia P.Tsagaan and other officials awarded these militants with the State Orders and Medals of Mongolia.

The award ceremony took place at the Chinggis Square, where Order of Military Merit, Medal of Military Honor, Honorary Medal of Labor and Peace Medal were conferred to a total of 597 peacekeepers.

Addressing the peacekeepers, Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag said, "Mongolia is implementing its open foreign policy to value the peace and in order to provide its national security, our country is adhering principles of political and diplomatic means and in this regard our military personnel contribution is great. Moreover, international military experts recognize that Mongolian militants' discipline, order acceptance and performance psychology, and ability to adapt the extreme weather conditions are higher than other countries' peacekeepers. Mongolia is proud of its skilled soldiers. You are the honored representatives of Mongolia".

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Happy Neighbors Are Good For You, Wealthy Ones Are Not: Some Insights From a First Study of Well-Being in Mongolia

By: Tuugi Chuluun, Carol Graham and Sarandavaa Myanganbuu

August 2014 (Brookings Institution) There is burgeoning literature on well-being around the world, much of which finds consistent patterns in its determinants in countries and cultures around the world. Many of these patterns are predictable: Income matters to individual well-being, but after a certain point other things such as the incomes of others also start to matter. Health is essential to well-being, and stable partnerships, stable marriages and social relationships also play a role. Women are typically happier than men, except in contexts where their rights are severely compromised. And because these patterns are so consistent across diverse countries and cultures, scholars in the field can control for these factors and explore the well-being effects of phenomena that vary more, such as inflation and unemployment rates, crime and corruption, smoking, drinking, exercising, and the nature of public goods, among others. There is also nascent literature on the causal properties of well-being, which finds that happier people are, for the most part, healthier and more productive.

Within this broader frame, we undertook the first extensive survey of well-being in Mongolia, a remote and unique context where citizens had recently experienced a dramatic transition in the nature of their economy and political system. A primary question was whether the basic patterns in the determinants of well-being trends would hold in Mongolia—landlocked between China and Russia, the least densely populated country in the world, with a rich history and nomadic heritage, and full of sharp contrasts. For all of these reasons, one could expect that well-being trends there might diverge from the usual patterns that we find elsewhere.

Because of the detailed and disaggregated nature of the data that we were able to collect, we were also able to explore additional questions for which larger-scale, less fine grained data sets do not allow. In particular, we focused on the well-being effects of average community- level income and of average community-level happiness, and how these varied depending on where in the income distribution respondents were, as well as where in the well-being distribution respondents were. As is increasingly common in the literature, we analyzed two distinct dimensions of well-being—hedonic and evaluative—separately, comparing our findings across these dimensions in Mongolia to those that we have based on worldwide data.


Download the full paper (PDF)

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ACMS Update Spring/Summer 2014

Vol. XII No. 2, Spring/Summer 2014,, email:

In this Issue:

ACMS UB Office Celebrates 10 Years

Move of ACMS US office to University of Pennsylvania

Letter from the Executive Director

Letter from Ulaanbaatar

2014 ACMS Fellowship winners

Field Research Report - Andrew Colwell

Spring Speaker Series and Scholar's Corner Events

Support ACMS Programs

Our Supporters

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Ulaanbaatar to Host Two International Scholar Events in September

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, August 29 (MONTSAME) The UB city is to host two international events soon.

The first one--a "Mongolia-European historic meeting in 13th century"--will start on September 2 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Germany. It will gather scholars from Germany, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. 

The second one--"Eurasian nomadic life, history and culture, environment issues" will run September 5-6 at initiative of History Institute of Academy of Sciences of Mongolia and is supposed to attract Center for North East Asian studies of Tohoku University of Japan, Institute of Humanities and Northern Minorities Studies of Bracnh of Siberia of Russian Sciences Academy, University of Education of Chinese Inner Mongolia. Many scholars will give presentations about Mongolian history, culture, society, economy and environmental issues such as climate, animal and plantation of 13-20th centuries.

Link to article


Germany's BAC Delivers Three Ambulance Cars to Umnugovi Aimag

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, August 29 (MONTSAME) These three fully equipped cars have been purchased from Germany.

The "BAC" company director has arrived to the locality himself. This purchase, reflected in the aimag governor's "General guidelines of social- economic development for 2014", has been made under the locality's investment.

These cars will greatly improve the first aid medical service in the aimag, the governor and the company director say.

Link to article


Volunteer Jamie Walker is working with some of Mongolia's most vulnerable children

(500 Days, 500 Ways) It's tough to be a social worker when you don't speak your clients' language. But Jamie Walker is demonstrating the value of therapy through play, working with some of Mongolia's most vulnerable children.

Otgon picks his moment precisely, waiting for the social worker to be distracted by an armful of art supplies. He executes a perfect cartwheel over a chest of drawers, crashing to the floor while the other children rush to follow.

"That's why we hide that chest of drawers," Jamie Walker sighs, replacing it in a locked cupboard.

Managing 38 excitable kids who don't speak English might make most western social workers run for the hills – but Jamie has set himself up for this challenge.

"I was nearing 20 years in my field," he says. "Professionally I had done most of the things I wanted to do, but most of my experience was contained to urban centres with a well-developed support system. Volunteering was a way to see whether I could achieve the same outcomes working under simpler conditions and with fewer options available."

An Australian volunteer, Jamie is now based at the Child Protection and Development Centre, a refuge for some of Mongolia's most vulnerable children.

Over 50% of Mongolia's population now lives in Ulaanbaatar, as formerly nomadic herders stream in to set up their own districts on the capital city's fringes. Unemployment, overcrowding, the disconnection from a traditional lifestyle and spiralling rates of alcohol abuse have led to a population of children with no safe place to live and no way to support themselves. "Trying to make do on the streets is way harder here than any other place I can imagine – on a bad day the climate can kill you!" Jamie says.

The Child Protection and Development Centre is one of 34 residential care facilities for street children. Its fluctuating population of residents go to school where possible, or attend informal classes held by staff members. "Our purpose is to socialise children through basic secondary education, music education and psychological support," says head social worker Oyunbayar.

Music therapy is a major focus; it's not uncommon to see tough-looking teenagers playing haunting traditional melodies on a horsehair fiddle. "Music and song makes the human heart melt down and be more kind," Oyunbayar explains.

Jamie is helping to strengthen social work services for children in residential care. "My role is to look at how the centre is running, in terms of how it meets its own objectives and whether there are skills and processes I can offer from my own experience to complement what is happening here."

He is also involved in strengthening child protection processes, starting with a staff training module based on child rights. "We cover how to plan a case, how to interact with a child when they're distressed in a way that isn't parenting but still provides care in a professional context … it's going to give them a collection of tools that mesh best with local needs."

With Jamie's support, the centre is now trialling family restoration services, where children are supported to live with relatives or family members where possible and safe. "We've had more family restorations in the last six weeks than in the previous three months," Jamie says.

"Jamie is one of the family now," Oyunbayar laughs. "He has classes for younger and older children; he does everything the other teachers do here. And the others observe that his teaching methods include playing as well as learning.

"Since Jamie came the children got to know people from nations other than Mongolia, and they started learning English. Even though they cannot fully understand English and Jamie cannot fully understand Mongolian, they find it very easy to communicate."

By now Jamie has Otgon settled at a desk, happily tracing a cartoon drawing of a karate fighter. "I've shown it's possible to interact with the children through play, and that's starting to emerge among other staff members."

He stops to praise Otgon's artwork. "As long as you can wind them down when they get too excited," he qualifies.

Case study provided by the Australian Red Cross

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UAE charity worker calls for help to aid Mongolian orphanage

by Amna Ehtesham Khaishgi

DUBAI, August 31 (The National, UAE) A charity worker who has returned from volunteering at a Mongolian orphanage is urging others to offer their aid to the organisation.

Marjoleine Buker, an asset management company office manager, dedicates most of her spare time to charity work in the UAE.

This summer, she decided to go further afield to work at the Lotus Children's Centre in the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator.

"Most of my life I have done charitable work, either spending money or giving time. I enjoy organising fund-raising activities," said Ms Buker, a Netherlands native.

She was drawn to volunteering in Mongolia partly by a wish to explore the country.

"A lot of people from Dubai travel to India, Pakistan and other more geographically close places," Ms Buker said. "Very few people know about orphans in Mongolia.

"I heard so much about Mongolia's fascinating history, especially about Genghis Khan, so I thought it would be an interesting experience."

Her trip from Dubai took almost 24 hours but she said it was worth it.

"It was wonderful to spend time with the children at Lotus. I played games with them, read to them, listened to their stories and held their hands.

"I helped them to learn English. In return I was rewarded with huge smiles and love."

Ms Buker urged others to do likewise.

"I would love people from the UAE to go there and also provide financial assistance, clothing and other donations," she said.

"Lotus is always looking for volunteers who are happy to give their time and share their skills."

The Lotus Children's Centre was founded in 1995 after Didi Kalika, an Australian yoga teacher, saw the suffering of the many street children outside her Ulan Bator flat.

She started taking them in, providing them with food and shelter, but soon realised that more was needed to help them break out of the cycle of poverty or abuse.

The centre now cares for 150 youngsters aged between 1 and 18.

Ms Kalika also encouraged people from the UAE to help out.

"Lotus would be honoured to welcome both Emiratis and expatriates from the UAE so that they can see the work we do and get involved," she said.

"We receive no state funding at all and therefore rely exclusively on donations and fund-raising events in both Mongolia and abroad to keep going."

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