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Monday, October 6, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Mogi: meeting on October 2 didn't go so well it seems, with reports of Mongolian directors walking out
Oyu Tolgoi board to discuss underground feasibility study on October 7
Ulaanbaatar, October 3 (MONTSAME) The board of directors of "Oyu Tolgoi" company decided October 2 to defer consideration of the updated version of the feasibility study of the mine to the next meeting on October 7.
This decision is due to the necessity to obtain additional information on financing.
According to the related officials, the updated feasibility study funding has increased by USD 300 million, and now stands at USD 4.9 billion. "If we consider the spent USD 500 million, the total amount of financing reaches USD 5.4 billion." said the officials.
In case of approval, the report of the updated feasibility study presented to the board on September 22 by "Turquoise Hill Resources" must be taken over by the Professional Minerals Council of Mongolia.
TRQ closed -1.33% to US$3.70 Friday
Rio $5.4 Billion Copper Project Mired as Deadline Missed
By Simon Casey and David Stringer
October 3 (Bloomberg) Rio Tinto Group (RIO) and the Mongolian government broke another deadline set by lenders for the $5.4 billion expansion of their Oyu Tolgoi project, raising concerns over the earnings outlook for Rio's copper business and the strength of the Mongolian economy.
Turquoise Hill says still in talks with Mongolia to end deadlock – Reuters, October 2
XANADU SECURES FUNDING THROUGH A$13.6M PLACEMENT & ANNOUNCES RIGHTS ISSUE
- Xanadu to place A$13.6 million of new shares at 12.26 cents per share
- Xanadu will invite existing Shareholders to participate in a rights issue at 12.26 cents per share prior to allotment of the new placement shares
- The new funds will place Xanadu in a strong financial position to advance its Mongolian copper-gold porphyry portfolio
- The new funds will be primarily applied to the Kharmagtai project for exploration and evaluation activities, prepare a JORC compliant resource statement and pay-down the deferred consideration for the Kharmagtai acquisition
October 6 - Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX: XAM – "Xanadu") is pleased to announce that it has entered binding subscription agreements with a private vehicle and two equity investment funds managed by Asia Capital & Advisors Pte Ltd ("ACA") and Khan Investment Management ("Khan") (the "Placement"). The Placement will raise A$13.6 million at a subscription price of 12.26 cents per share. The subscription price represents a 7 day volume weighted average price of all Xanadu shares as traded on the ASX up to and including Friday 3 October 2014. The Placement is subject to Shareholder approval under ASX Listing Rules and Corporations Act.
Xanadu intends to conduct a pro rata non-renounceable rights issue at the same price, on terms to be decided, prior to the allotment of shares to the new investors in order to allow existing Shareholders to participate in the fund raising activity (together, the "Transaction").
Xanadu's Chairman, Mark Wheatley, said: "We are pleased that ACA and Khan have decided to join our shareholding group and we welcome them warmly. This Transaction will allows us to substantially increase our equity in the Mongol Metals LLC joint venture and fund the exploration and evaluation of the exciting Kharmagtai project. Thanks also have to go to our exploration and support teams whose efforts over our short period of ownership of this project have been outstanding."
Aero Mongolia launches public flights to Oyu Tolgoi airport
- Twice weekly flights will connect local people to Ulaanbaatar –
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, October 1 (Oyu Tolgoi) - Oyu Tolgoi's Khanbumbat Airport received its very first commercial flight today (Wednesday). Aero Mongolia has launched a twice weekly service from UIaanbaatar to the airport, located in Khanbogd soum of Umnogobi aimag.
The first flight, carrying senior Government officials and business representatives, touched down on the Gobi's first international standard runway before a special opening ceremony.
The launch of the flights, served by Dutch made Fokker-50 aircraft, marks solid progress in Oyu Tolgoi's plans to share the mine's infrastructure with local people and communities.
CEO of Aero Mongolia U.Sagamdoldoi said "Eleven years have passed since our company launched its first flight. We are proud to have provided air transport to Oyu Tolgoi since the project began. Thanks to the mine, there has been a considerable increase in the number of passengers flying to the South Gobi. Local people have often asked us to open new flights so we are delighted that, because of the construction of Khanbumbat, we have been able to do this.".
Ivan Vella, Chief Operating Officer of Oyu Tolgoi, said: "When we opened Khanbumbat Airport two years ago, we always had a day like today in mind. While we need the airport to bring our workforce to and from Oyu Tolgoi, we always had the intent that this key piece of regional infrastructure would be shared and bring tangible benefit to the community."
After the ceremony at the airport, the dignitaries visited a local herder Ts.Suvdanshagai's family and the Demchig monastery.
Flights between Khanbumbat and Ulaanbaatar will take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Aero Mongolia has opened a representative ticket office in Khanbogd.
Aero Mongolia CEO U.Sagamdoldoi: "This is a historic flight which is about the future" – Oyu Tolgoi, October 2
Mongolia Adds Ovoot-Erdenet Railway to List of Concession Projects
October 6 (Cover Mongolia) Regular cabinet meeting held on Saturday, October 4 added Ovoot-Erdenet railway project to list of concession projects and has obliged the Minister for Economic Development to organize a competitive tender process and sign direct concession agreement. Ovoot is a coking coal deposit located in Khuvsgul Aimag wholly owned by Aspire Mining Ltd. (ASX:AKM).
Aspire Mining to progress Ovoot with Argonaut as corporate advisors
October 2 (Proactive Investors) Aspire Mining (ASX:AKM) has entered into an advisory mandate with corporate advisory firm and investment house Argonaut to progress its Ovoot Coking Coal Project in Mongolia.
The company had recently received a new concept study that highlighted the ability for Ovoot coking coal to upgrade other lower ranking Mongolian Coal.
Ovoot also stands to benefit from Mongolia's recent rail agreement with Russia and trade deals with China.
Argonaut, which specialises in the natural resources sector, will provide general corporate advice, advice with respect to debt and equity funding options for Aspire's rail infrastructure subsidiary Northern Railways.
It will also assist in the negotiations with the Mongolian Government to establish licenses to build and finance the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway.
There are numerous funding options available to Aspire and Northern Railways, including the sell down of interests in rail and the Ovoot Coking Coal Project, export credit agency and development bank tied debt funding, coal presales and other tools.
"Argonaut has been a long term supporter of the company, has acted as an adviser to transactions with our key strategic shareholders SouthGobi Resources and Noble Group and has acted as a lead manager in every capital raising since the company refocused its strategy towards Mongolian coking coal projects in 2010," managing director David Paull said.
"Both Argonaut and Aspire believe that the recent developments in rail infrastructure in Mongolia and the multilateral agreements between China, Russia and Mongolia will provide significant opportunities to raise the development capital for the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway."
Argonaut will be paid fees consistent with such a mandate.
The Coal Blending Facility Concept Study had recognised the viability of establishing a 10 million tonne per annum coal blending operation at the Sainshand Industrial Park.
This offers another potential commercialisation pathway for Ovoot's coal, which has also received significant interest from potential customers.
In addition, the rail agreement that Mongolia reached with Russia in September includes a study into an extension of railway from Erdenet, past the Ovoot Coking Coal Project and linking into the Russian rail system.
This improves the feasibility of the Erdenet - Ovoot Project section that would transport coal from Ovoot to Erdenet, and means that the Northern Rail Line is no longer solely dependent on freight volumes from the Ovoot Project alone with potential for Russian transit freight volumes improving its economics.
The China-Mongolia agreements provide the Ovoot Coking Coal Project more efficient transport across border points; allow negotiations for rail access to a number of Chinese North-Eastern seaports; and potentially access Chinese financing.
Access to seaports will also assist in attracting investment.
Aspire Mining's entry into an advisory mandate with Argonaut will progress its Ovoot Coking Coal Project through the provision of general corporate advice, advice with respect to debt and equity funding options for Northern Railways.
Proactive Investors believes this will also allow the company to capitalise on the recent rail and trade agreements that Mongolia has reached with Russia and China as well as the strong interest in Ovoot coking coal.
Indeed current offtake interest exceeds targeted production with MoUs signed for up to 7.4 million tonnes per annum, or 148% of planned initial production.
Ovoot has also been recognised – along with the Tavan Tolgoi Coal operation – as one of the key potential coal suppliers to Mongolia's Sainshand Industrial Park.
Proactive Investors continues to maintain a 6 – 9 months share price target of $0.125 per share subject to the Northern Rail Line concession being granted for NRL.
Aspire had $3.5 million in cash as of 30 June 2014.
Erdene Provides Altan Nar Exploration Update
Union North Trench Extends Zone by 100m with 12m of 3.7 g/t Gold
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Oct. 2, 2014) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company"), is pleased to report further significant gold, silver and base metal results from a trenching program completed in the third quarter at the Company's 100%-owned Altan Nar gold-polymetallic project in southwest Mongolia. The results have extended known zones of mineralization and confirmed mineralization within previously untested target areas. In combination with previous drill and trench results, the recently completed exploration program has further established the base for the implementation of an initial resource drilling program at the Discovery Zone and Union North, the two most advanced and promising of 18 identified target areas at Altan Nar. The drill program is expected to commence later this month.
Q3 2014 Exploration Highlights
· Union North trenching returned multiple mineralized zones highlighted by a 12 m wide zone of 3.7 g/t gold, extending Union North 100 m south
· Junction, a previously untested target area, located 600 m east of the Discovery Zone, returned multiple high-grade rock chip samples, including 11 g/t gold, and returned a base metal rich trench that included 4 m of 3.7% zinc, 1.2% lead, and 16 g/t silver within a broad 26 m zone of 0.8% zinc
· The early-stage Maggie target continues to demonstrate continuity of mineralization with step-out trenches along trend returning 8 m of 2.0 g/t gold equivalent to the northeast and 5 m of 1.2 g/t gold equivalent to the southwest
Altan Nar Project Highlights
· Altan Nar represents a new, very large, gold-base metal epithermal discovery in the Tian Shan Belt of southern Mongolia
· Eighteen individual targets, ranging from hundreds of metres in length to over a kilometre, exhibit gold, silver and base metal mineralization at surface
· Two advanced target areas, the Discovery Zone and Union North, are now at the stage for near-surface resource definition;
· The Discovery Zone has been traced over 450 m and remains open with multiple parallel gold-polymetallic zones coming to surface with up to 17.7 g/t gold over 5 m, within 19 m of 5.8 g/t gold, 37 g/t silver and 2.6% combined lead and zinc
· The Union North target area, 1.3 km northwest of the Discovery Zone, has been traced over 300 m, remains open in all directions, and hosts multiple gold-polymetallic intersections including up to 12 m of 4.0 g/t gold, 10 g/t silver and 2.5% combined lead and zinc in shallow drilling and extending to surface
MSE News for October 2: Top 20 -0.48% to 15,669.30, Turnover ₮59.9 Million
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Thursday, a total of 151 thousand and 893 shares of 17 JSCs were traded costing MNT 59 million 888 thousand and 395.00.
"Hai Bi Oil" /107 thousand and 719 units/, "Merex" /12 thousand and 529 units/, "Remikon" /10 thousand and 042 units/, "Mongol shiltgeen" /7,970 units/ and "Hermes center" /5,100 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Hai Bi Oil" (MNT 42 million 118 thousand and 129), "Mongol shiltgeen" (MNT four million 989 thousand and 220), "Gobi" (MNT two million 162 thousand and 700), "Talkh chikher" (MNT two million and 160 thousand) and "Remikon" (MNT one million 305 thousand and 460).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 573 billion 249 million 454 thousand and 971. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,669.30, decreasing 75.85 units or 0.48% against the previous day.
MSE News for October 3: Top 20 -0.84% to 15,537.83, Turnover ₮17.95 Million
Ulaanbaatar, October 3 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Friday, a total of 39 thousand and 867 shares of 14 JSCs were traded costing MNT 17 million 945 thousand and 383.00.
"E-trans logistics" /10 thousand and 334 units/, "Hermes center" /10 thousand units/, "Mongolia Telecom" /8,977 units/, "Remikon" /7,579 units/ and "Genco tour bureau" /2,200 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Mongolia Telecom" (MNT 11 million 410 thousand and 790), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT two million 187 thousand and 450), "Hermes center" (MNT one million and 600 thousand), "E-trans logistics" (MNT one million 033 thousand and 500) and "Remikon" (MNT 889 thousand and 559).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 558 billion 677 million 485 thousand and 305. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,537.83, decreasing 131.47 units or 0.84% against the previous day.
MSE Weekly Review, Sep 29-Oct 3: Top 20 -1.79%, Turnover ₮126.2 Million
Ulaanbaatar, October 3 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange from September 29 to October 3 of 2014. In overall, 251 thousand and 255 shares were sold of 35 joint-stock companies totalling MNT 126 million 205 thousand and 352.00.
"Hai Bi Oil" /107 thousand and 944 units/, "Remikon" /21 thousand and 021 units/, "Mongol shiltgeen" /17 thousand and 975 units/, "E-trans logistics" /17 thousand and 559 units/ and "Hermes center" /15 thousand and 521 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Hai Bi Oil" (MNT 42 million 206 thousand and 329), "APU" (MNT 19 million 677 thousand and 493), "Mongolia Telecom" /MNT 11 million and 440 thousand/, "Mongol shiltgeen" /MNT 11 million 092 thousand and 720/ and "Gobi" (MNT five million 462 thousand and 700).
MSE Drafting Regulations for Futures and Options Trading
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) As a preparation for conducting Futures and Options exchanges contracts, the Mongolian Stock Exchange is developing a draft act on regulations of these exchanges, in compliance with global standards.
Mongolia does not have a Central Counterparty Clearing, a main professional organization for the Futures and Options exchanges. So, in accordance with the strategic partnership agreement with the London Stock Exchange inked this September 9, the latter will give professional assistance on establishing this organization in Mongolia.
MSE plans to run the draft act presenting discussions themed "Financial Risk Management and Contract FX", with ten public and 20 private entities, starting from October 1. The discussions already ran at state-owned "Mongolian Post" and "The fourth Thermal Station" companies on Wednesday.
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, October 3 Close
October MNT vs USD, CNY Chart: (Mogi: graphs get a bit scary at the beginning of months, don't they. Hope BoM adds some chart options)
Mogi: Current Account showed a surplus in August, $125.7m compared to $-152m in July, first since at least 2012
Mongolia Jan.-Aug. FDI Drops 60% Y/y to $640m: Central Bank
By Michael Kohn
Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia inbound FDI fell to $640.2m from $1.57b yr earlier, central bank says in statement, citing preliminary data for first 8 months of 2014.
* 2014 current account deficit at the end of August $819.7m vs $2.18b yr ago: statement
* Link to central bank statement
August FX Reserves +0.84% MoM, -50.07% YoY
October 2 (Bank of Mongolia) The Bank of Mongolia has changed its' policy regarding official foreign exchange reserves reporting. The statistics will be published with an one-month lag /previously published with three-months lag/ on the first business day of the following month. Policy is in effect since July, 2014
BoM FX auction: US$9m sold at ₮1,842, CNY67m at ₮299.61, accepts $5m MNT, $28.8m USD swap offers
October 2 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on October 02nd, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer of 23.1 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1840.20-1842.50 and 111.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 299.10-300.07 from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 9.0 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1842.00 and 67.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 299.61.
On October 02nd, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 5.0 million USD and USD SWAP agreement offer of 28.8 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.
BoM issues ₮72.8 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -11.5% to ₮400 billion
October 3 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 72.8 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Financial Stability Council Discusses 2015 Budget Draft, 2015 Monetary Policy Draft
October 2 (BoM) On 26th of September 2014, Financial Stability Council (FSC) has held its meeting. Through the meeting, the FSC discussed: (i) the draft law on 2015 budget of Mongolia, (ii) the draft of Monetary Policy Guidelines for 2015.
In accordance with decisions of the meetings, members of the Council, within their respective functions, assigned duties and delivered recommendations to the relevant parties.
State Budget Revenue Falls Short by 13.6% in First Eight Months
October 3 (Mongolian Economy) Fall session of the Great Khural will discuss matters relating to the State budget, social welfare insurance funds, and monetary policy. The country's total budget income fell short of projected goals in the first eight months of the year by MNT 605.8 billion, or by 13.6 percent.
According to the National Statistical Office of Mongolia, the national budget balance income and subsidies reached MNT 3.798.0 billion, while expenditures and loan repayment reached MNT 3.951.0 billion. This resulted in an insufficient national balance of MNT 153 billion.
The Speaker of the Parliament, Z. Enkhbold, said the 2015 State budget and monetary policy should be considered carefully, since repayment is due of the Chinggis and Samurai bonds, as well as the bond repayment of the Development Bank on the horizon. He added that it was important to legalise the Debt Management Law as soon as possible.
The autumn session of parliament will discuss important law proposals, such as additional changes and revisions to the Taxation Law and the Trade Law. Remaining discussion from the spring sessions will also resume. These will include regulations on Road and Transport policy implementation as well as the renewal of the government's policy on education and medicine.
Finance Minister Submits 2015 Budget Bills
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Finance Ch.Ulaan MP Wednesday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold some draft laws and draft amendments to some laws.
He presented bills on the 2015 budget, on the 2015 budget for the Human development fund (HDF), on the 2015 budget for social insurance fund, on the 2015 budget framework of the master budget, also draft amendments to the laws on 2016-2017 budget assumption, on budgetary stability, and on budget.
The same day, he also submitted a draft amendment to the law on regime of parliamentary session.
Economic Development Minister Submits Bill to Streamline Development Policies
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar MP Wednesday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold a draft law on developmental policy and planning.
Mongolia approved some 480 long-, middle- and long-term policy documents between 1991 and 2013, over 190 of them are still in force, being formulated as the state policy, programme, basic guidelines and planning. Due to poor correlation and duplication of the goals and purposes, not every document has been realized successfully, therefore, a legal environment is required for the developmental planning, Batbayar MP said.
It is also vital to create a legal environment for arranging and classifying the valid development documents, to keep their continuation, and to focus them on united purpose of the development, he said.
The same day, Mr Batbayar submitted also a bill on fortifying regional centers of medical treatment and diagnosis. This bill aims to improve the medical services and adequacy in western region by providing Khovd aimag's regional diagnosis medical center with the latest hi tech and facilities and by training medical doctors.
Why join APEC?
By D. Jargalsaikhan, economist /known as Jargal Defacto/
October 2 (Mongolian Economy) President Elbegdorj has repeatedly requested Russia and China to support Mongolia in joining the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC). The requests were made during the recent presidential visits and after the trilateral summit that took place in Dushanbe following the Shanghai Cooperation Organization conference last week.
APEC was established 25 years ago in response to the growing interdependence of economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, almost every country that has a coastline on the Pacific Ocean is an APEC member. APEC has a total of 21 member countries, which are home to 2.8 billion people and account for approximately 57 percent of global GDP and about 47 percent of world trade.
APEC is working highly efficiently in promoting regional integration and their member countries have been implementing carefully planned, step-by-step actions to reduce tariff and non-tariff trade barriers upon mutual agreement. The member countries are working to support open and free trade, promote investment, ensure alignment of reforms in economic structure, and boost free exchange of people, goods, and services.
In 1989, the real GDP (PPP) per capita of APEC member countries was 7,969 USD, which doubled in 2011 to reach 14,271 USD. In comparison, GDP per capita increased only by 30 percent from 5,857 to 7,678 USD in non-member economies in the same period of time.
APEC conducts its operations as a cooperative, multilateral economic and trade forum. In order to open up its economy and promote economic growth, member economies implement actions plans individually and collectively. The action plans and their progress are proposed to and approved by Senior Officials Meeting, Ministerial Meeting, and Economic Leaders' Meeting.
Approximately 80 percent of Mongolia's international trade and 80 percent of investment are accounted for by APEC member countries. Besides Mongolia, about 10 other countries such as India and Colombia applied for APEC membership many years ago. However, APEC refused to greatly increase the number of member countries in 1997 and stopped accepting new members for 10 years until 2010.
Currently, Mongolia has expressed an interest to join APEC at all levels and has made individual engagements with each member country for support. Mongolia has an expectation that other countries would support our bid at the next APEC summit to be held in Beijing next month providing that President of China initiates discussions around our potential membership for the organization. However, it is more likely for APEC to discuss about the timing and procedures of accepting new members rather than talking about Mongolia. The main reason why many countries are seeking APEC membership is that they have no choice but to boost their trade and investment relations with neighboring countries and expand their market in the globalizing world we find ourselves in. APEC provides the opportunity for countries to conduct relations with their neighboring countries based international norms rather than historic relations and conditions.
There is a saying in the East – "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Although Asia does not yet have the conditions for a union to be formed as in Europe, countries have become keener on working together and several organizations for regional cooperation have been established. APEC has seen some success as a regional organization that has been working most efficiently, utilizing the benefits of information technology, collectively discussing common issues, and regulating their operations for alignment.
APEC leaders had a meeting in 1994 in Bogor, Indonesia, and committed to achieve open and free trade and investment in industrialized economies in the Asia-Pacific by 2010, and in developing economies by 2020. Every member country has been reporting their progress ever since the Bogor meeting. Furthermore, member countries have been making dozens of proposals and initiatives that are actively supported by others. The initiatives include supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) enter international value chain, promote cooperation between universities, facilitating free movement of academics, ensuring food safety, improving the quality of infrastructure, building capacity in infrastructure development (e.g. member countries using the same connection when using electric vehicle charging cable), supporting women entrepreneurs, developing the internet economy, and operating e-training centers.
One might have noticed that there is an APEC line at the customs areas of international airports. Currently, more than 100,000 business delegates from APEC member countries use an APEC business travel card (ABTC) to travel without visas to member countries, which really helps the private sector.
By joining regional integration and becoming a member of an organization like APEC, Mongolia can expand its market and achieve sustainable economic development in the long term. As our economic cooperation is expanded, we will face the need to keep our traditional culture and heritage, and establish a product brand based on our uniqueness.
Mongolia became an associate member of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee (PECC), an organization initiated by APEC, and acquired full membership in 2008. Through this membership, Mongolia has the right to take part as observer in every meeting or summit except for APEC summits.
Becoming an APEC member will consolidate the conditions for Mongolia to conduct the relations with the two big neighbors on international norms. Furthermore, APEC membership will substantially support Mongolia's public governance institutions strengthen, prepare the workforce, and operate on international standards. Also, it will greatly help our private sector expand their business operations at regional level. This is why our president is seeking for APEC membership.
Making the move to a middle-income country
October 2 (Mongolian Economy) N. Enkhbayar, former advisor to an executive director at the World Bank in Washington DC.
N.Enkhbayar graduated Mongolian State University of Agriculture with a Bachelor's in Economics. He joined the Mongolian Ministry of Finance in 2002 and worked as specialist, senior analyst and became deputy director of budget policy. He left the Ministry of Finance after 16 years for further study abroad.
He won a scholarship from the International Monetary Fund and went to Japan to study Government Public Finance Policy. Until 2011, he worked as an advisor to the Prime Minister of Mongolia for three years and later went to the US to work at the World Bank as an advisor to an executive director. N.Enkhbayar's contract has expired since the time of this interview, which took place in July.
What has been the attitude like towards Mongolia from the World Bank Group? What kind of experiences and knowledge have you had so far?
For the past years, the International Financial Corporation has expanded well. It has solved annual USD 100 million financing, mainly for private sector, particularly in banking, finance, construction installation, infrastructure, hotel, and trade. For the World Bank, it mostly offers technical assistance and soft loans dedicated to social development such as poverty, education, health, and the environment.
The major change to emerge within the past year is that Mongolia's statistics now determine it as a middle-income country, since the World Bank revised its analytical classification of the world's economies based on estimates of gross national income in 2012. Before then, Mongolia used to get only development assistance as it was a low-income country. The International Development Association issued soft loans under a long-term or 40 years agreement to Mongolia. But the updated classification does not mean direct credit rate change. Mongolia must gradually move from a development-assistance country to a lender country. This transition will happen not in a year but within a three-to-four year period.
Currently, Mongolia's status is classified as a 'blend' category. In other words, it means that Mongolia is still a country that takes development assistance. On the other hand, the new classification gives access to Mongolia to take loans under commercial terms for the first time. For instance, in addition to technical assistance, the blend category allows the condition to take commercial loans for certain big projects within a shorter term, between 15-20 years. But it has a higher interest rate than aid. IBRD loan is a commercial loan with many alternative structure and scheme, and loan interest to be calculated by the following methodology "LIBOR+0.6 to 1.3%" depending on the market condition. However, compared to the loans of commercial banks, this loan has a much lower interest rate and offers conditions that are more flexible. Thus, it is a great opportunity for a country like Mongolia that has a number of development issues.
Now that Mongolia has access to loans with better terms, this must be a good opportunity for policymakers?
This credit permit was just given to Mongolia because it has not been long since Mongolia was categorized in the above classification. To give credit permit, the World Bank approves three-to-five years of partnership strategy. We had this document delivered at the Directors' board meeting and renewed in 2013. By then, the World Bank approved priorities of partnership with Mongolia until 2017. The World Bank financial year does not match the calendar year. The 30th of June is the time when the financial year ends, starts another from the next month. The World Bank 2015 financial year started July first. This means that Mongolia has already acquired the right to obtain commercial loans from the International Financial Corporation. However, it takes another two-to-three years to choose and discuss about a project as well as have the related documents prepared. It's still not that easy.
What's your perspective as you assess Mongolia's economy from the World Bank headquarters in the US?
The international market has a direct impact on Mongolia, which exports 98-99 percent of all raw materials. For a country with a mining-based economy, accompanied by a weak development of industry is connected with the foreign market in many ways. Currently, commodities' prices on the international markets are falling. According to international analysts, major metals' prices are not expected to rise in the next two to three years which won't bring any good to Mongolia. We don't need to get excited about the rise of commodities. Thus, we should only rely on appropriate foreign trade policy within two neighbors as we get foreign currencies and flow from foreign trade. In the long term, the most efficient policy is to diversify the economy.
What other opportunities need to be explored for the benefit of Mongolia's economy?
Recent studies talk a lot about second deficits. The monetary policy is in a hard situation, while the budget and the foreign trade both have a deficit. There is no way out of foreign currency appreciation in this case. Taking precautionary measures are very important. You can earn and save money when the mining sector rises. But now when the mining sector sees a fall, there is no money. Thus, it's necessary to look at which sector generates growth and which one creates the balance. We've forgotten some sectors. If it's real national policy, you cannot just keep your eyes in one direction in only mining and infrastructure. Especially at a time when the economy stays slow, it's important to promote subsequent sectors retaining jobs. For instance, agriculture is the major sector that holds an economy in any crisis time by preventing food shortage and pressures on people's backs. What will happen if the agriculture sector which solves public food needs sees a downturn? You need to hold up the base sector which prevents a fall rather than only looking at mining.
International Monetary Fund analysts visited Mongolia and asked policymakers to revisit their economic policies. What exactly did they advise?
Recently, the International Monetary Fund handed an analysis about Mongolia's foreign debt to the World Bank. Annual Debt Sustainability Analysis brought up major indications of macroeconomic policy. Not only Monetary Policy, but also debt of Mongolia has become an issue to worry about. Quite some time passed since economic policies brought inconvenient consequences. It's been almost a year since international organizations delivered their recommendations to Mongolia. But today, problems have not calmed. It means that current difficulties will deepen. I assume the IMF told Mongolia that it may see a bigger fall unless policymakers revise the past two years of economic policies. Those are the main signals given by the international financial institutions. Now we have to listen it and act immediately.
PM Submits Proposal to Cut Ministries to 13 from 16
October 2 (news.mn) Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag submitted draft laws to make amendments to the law on the structure of government, and the law on formation of the government to Speaker Z.Enkhbold at 11:00 a.m. today.
Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag made a statement about the drafts during a press conference.
The reform government has operated with 16 ministries since its formation. Now the government will merge six ministries under the proposed restructuring plan.
According to the draft law, the Ministry for Roads and Transportation and Ministry for Construction and Urban Development will be merged into an Infrastructure Development Ministry; the Mining Ministry and Energy Ministry into a Ministry of Geology, Mining and Energy; the Economic Development Ministry will be absorbed by the Finance Ministry; and the Invest Mongolia Agency of the Economic Development Ministry will be merged into the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Mongolia. (Mogi: not exactly true, it's overseer will now be the Foreign Minister from Economic Development Minister and will remain an agency)
The government will be restructured with 13 ministries, 11 regulatory agencies and 19 implementing agencies.
PM Proposes Reducing Number of Ministries from 16 to 13 – InfoMongolia, October 2
Mongolia's PM Proposes Thinning Cabinet, Cutting Ministries
By Michael Kohn
Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Altankhuyag Norov proposes to parliament cutting number of ministries, cabinet positions to 13 from 16, according to the government's website.
* Ministry of Economic Development to be folded into Ministry of Finance
* Ministries of mining, energy to be combined as Ministry of Geology, Mining and Energy
* Ministries of transport, construction to be combined as Ministry of Infrastructure Development
* Additionally, Foreign Affairs minister to also serve as PM's deputy
Opposition MPP Supports Cabinet Reshuffle But Not Joining
October 3 (infomongolia.com) Following the Opening of the 2014 Autumn Session of the State Great Khural (Parliament), the first issue in the center of attention is restructuring the Prime Minister's Cabinet, where Premier N.Altankhuyag had already delivered his proposals to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold and Party Groups at the Parliament have held its meetings last two days.
Regarding the raising issue, the opposition political force of Mongolian People's Party (MPP) expressed its position regarding the draft bill submitted by the Prime Minister yesterday and hosted a press conference today on October 03, 2014.
In their statement, MPP leaders represented by MP S.Byambatsogt, Head of MPP Group at the Parliament, MP N.Nomtoibayar, MP D.Oyunkhorol and MPP Secretary General J.Munkhbat noted, "The MPP Group held its meeting yesterday and at today's meeting we invited the Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag and have exchanged questions and answers regarding the new bill. Principally, we agree to decrease the number of current Ministries, but we stand on position not to promote again those Ministers, who dropped the sector's activity and reputation working poorly. In the meantime, President Ts.Elbegdorj has also reminded again if nominate new Ministers to consider not to hold another post simultaneously or the "double coat" principle".
In addition, the Secretary General J.Munkhbat said, "If the question raises to nominate new Minister, MPP will not join this Cabinet. This Government started its work without MPP and should come to the finishing line without MPP".
Autumn Plenary Session Agenda
By Ch. Khaliun
October 2 (UB Post) The 2014 autumn Plenary Session of the Parliament began at 11:40 a.m. on October 1, with an opening ceremony chaired by Speaker Z.Enkhbold.
In his opening remarks, Z.Enkhbold underlined the importance of agreements established during the recent visits of the state heads of China and Russia, he mentioned that many issues affecting socio-economic concerns are awaiting consideration in this session. He cited the government budget deficit reaching 605.8 billion MNT, poor living situations, the maturity date of the Chinggis Bond approaching, and discussion of the 2015 state budget as priority issues.
One of the issues at the center of public attention is the restructuring of the Prime Minister's Cabinet. On Wednesday, Z.Enkhbold pledged to resolve the issue of agenda item sequences if the Cabinet submitted its restructuring plan.
At the opening ceremony, President Ts.Elbegdorj, PM N.Altankhuyag, resident ambassadors, representatives of international organizations, as well as foreign and local guests were present, and 86.6 percent of Members of Parliament attended the ceremony.
Provision 3 of Article 33 of the Constitution of Mongolia stipulates that the President of Mongolia may attend the sessions of the Parliament at his own discretion.
The autumn session will discuss 26 issues and make some changes in the government, as the public expects. The official agenda includes government measures for the implementation of policy on railroad transportation, a draft of the 2015 budget, and a draft law on crime.
Following the ceremony, political party groups within Parliament held separate meetings.
Below is the list of agenda items in the order they will be discussed in the autumn session, approved by Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold on September 22.
List of agenda items:
1. Ratification on draft law on "Mongolian American Agreement on International Trade and Investment Issues to Ensure Transparency"
2. Parliament resolution on "Some Measures to Ensure the Implementation of Government Policy on Rail Transport"
3. The resignation of cabinet members
4. Parliament resolution on "Government Policy on Approval of the Road Transport Sector"
5. Draft on fire safety
6. Draft on the state budget for 2015
7. Draft on Human Development Fund budget for 2015
8. Draft on Social Insurance Fund budget for 2015
9. Parliament resolution on basic principles on approval of monetary policy in 2015
10. Draft on trade
11. Draft on tax legislation amendments
12. Draft on movable property and non-property collateral
13. Draft on state registration of legal entities
14. Draft on crime
15. Draft on violations
16. Draft on domestic violence
17. Draft on Mongolian language
18. Parliament resolution on approval of state education policy
19. Draft on amendments to procedures to comply with the law prohibiting the use of exploration in river headwaters, water reservoir protection zon,es and forested areas
20. Draft on control
21. Draft on Mongolian state elections
22. Draft on political party financing
23. Parliament resolution on approval of long-term development policy of Mongolia
24. Draft amendment on Minerals Law
25. Laws under debate in the Parliament session, other decisive drafts of Parliament
Mongolian Leaders Lay Flowers at S.Zorig Memorial on Anniversary of Assassination
October 2 (infomongolia.com) On October 02, 2014, family members, friends and state representatives led by President Ts.Elbegdorj, Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold and Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag have placed flowers to the monument of S.Zorig.
Sanjaasuren ZORIG (April 20, 1962 - October 02, 1998), who was assassinated on this day, today is commemorated as the "Golden Magpie" of Mongolia's Democracy and leader of the country's 1990 democratic revolution after which one-party rule in Mongolia was ended.
Wreaths Laid to Statue of S.Zorig – Montsame, October 2
Remembering S.Zorig – news.mn, October 2
Leader of democratic revolution S.Zorig remembered – UB Post, October 2
Mongolia looks to define new railway policy
October 3 (Mongolian Economy) In 2010, the Mongolian parliament approved 1,800 km of horizontal railway construction work when it passed the 'State Policy on the Railway Sector' law. Since then, only 267 km along the Tavan Tolgoi--Gashuun Sukhait line has seen preliminary work. Railway construction has barely touched the approved area, as a years-long government debate has deadlocked progress.
Over the past few years, policy makers have argued about which railway gauge—China's or Russia's—is better to choose for the Mongolian railway system. Even the leaders of Mongolia's neighboring countries who visited this past August and September reminded Mongolia to hurry along with the railway issue decision making.
As such, the railway sector was one of the top expected subjects of debate when the fall session of parliament opened this Wednesday. On Thursday, parliament discussed the issue and gave approval to continue the discussion after the majority of parliament members voted for further progress. Now the matter has moved on to the Economic Standing Committee for more intensive review.
PM: Mongolia to export Tavan Tolgoi coal by new railway next year
By B. Mendbayar
October 2 (UB Post) Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag visited the embankment construction site for the 267 kilometer railway being built between Tavan Tolgoi and Gashuun Sukhait.
The Tavan Tolgoi-Gashuun Sukhait Railway is being constructed under the New Railway Project being implemented by the Mongolian Railway state-owned stock company. Funding of 200 million USD from the Chinggis Bond has been allocated for fundamental structures and construction that will be part of the New Railway Project, and 193.9 million USD has been issued.
Samsung C&T Corporation has been working as the general executor of the New Railway Project, and 12 domestic sub-executor companies and over 1,700 employees have been working on its construction. Presently, completion of the earthwork for the 267 kilometer railroad is at 76 percent and a bridge along its route at 50 percent.
The Prime Minister directed relevant officials to accelerate operations and engage both domestic and foreign investors for other means of funding of the New Railway Project, in order to launch the railroad in October 2015, as planned.
Once operational, the 267 kilometer railway between Tavan Tolgoi and Gashuun Sukhait would decrease the costs for the annual transportation of 30 million tons of coal by at least 50 percent, and reduce the negative environmental impacts currently resulting from vehicle transportation.
Sinopec submits preliminary FS of $30 billion coal gasification project to Ministry of Mining
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The Ministry of Mining received Thursday a preliminary feasibility study from China's Sinopec company on a project of building a brown-coal gasification plant to process 50-60 million tonnes of brown coal and produce 15 billion cube meters of synthetic gas a year.
The project was developed in frames of the discussion during the Prime Minister's visit to China in 2013, when he touched upon matters on processing brown coal, widely spread in Mongolia, and producing coal products.
The estimated cost of the project is USD 30 million (Mogi: must be billion). The project will commence a coal processing in 2018. The executive team is planning to extract the brown coal from several coal beds in Dundgovi and Dornogovi aimags.
Sinopec Limited, also known as China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, is the biggest state-owned oil company in China. To question "will be coal exported to China unprocessed or be used in production of value-added product?" the vice-minister of Mining O.Erdenebulgan replies that all works will be done in Mongolia, "this project is to be much greater than Oyu Tolgoi in terms of investments and production capacity".
The domestic market will consume five percent of the annual 15 billiion tonnes gas, the rest will be exported, according to the project.
Darkhan Metallurgical Plant to Open Wet Iron Ore Concentrator
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 3 (MONTSAME) "Darkhan metallurgical plant" state-owned company intends to become a metallurgy and mining complex. In a scope of the plan, it intends to commission a new wet-concentrate processing magnetic plant within this year.
A construction work has been completed, and the electric power extension and dump works are underway. The processed wet-concentrate will act as raw material for instantly dried iron ore production. The preliminary feasibility study is being developed based on technologies of "Outotec" of Finland and "Kobe Steel" of Japan.
The project is executed by metallurgy giant "Hatch" Ltd. of Canada. The detailed designs are developed to build the plant within four years, afterwards to set up the additional cables into the steel-casting section. Current cables have been operating for 20 years, and have not undergone an overhaul maintenance.
Mongolia-China border closed for four days during China Day
October 2 (news.mn) China briefly closed parts of its border with Mongolia as China marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, celebrated for four days between October 1st and 4th.
Both sides close their borders briefly during national celebrations and holidays according to the Mongolia-China border treaty.
China New Equipment, Technology and Products Expo to Be Held, October 10-12
October 3 (infomongolia.com) "The China New Equipment, Technology and Products 2014" Exhibition and Fair Trade is announced to be held at Misheel Expo Center in Ulaanbaatar on October 10-12, 2014.
The event will be organized by Beijing Zhongqi Expo International Co., Ltd is association with Mongolian Employers' Federation, "Ikh Ayan Urguu" LLC, and Mongolia-Inner Mongolia Business and Investors Association to bring over 100 entities from the People's Republic of China, where over 200 representatives from mining, agriculture, farming, construction, building materials, road maintenance, machinery, energy, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries are going to attend the Exhibition.
In the frameworks, Mongolia-China Business Cooperation Meeting is also scheduled to take place to promote bilateral collaboration and introduce projects and programs that are able to develop under beneficial cooperation.
Mongolia: Official Partner Country of ITB Berlin 2015
Improvement in transportation connections and infrastructure make travelling in and around Mongolia easier
Berlin, 30 September 2014 (ITB Berlin) – Modern times in Mongolia: the partner country of ITB Berlin 2015 presents new concepts for air, rail, and road transport. Visitors to ITB Berlin, taking place from 4 to 8 March 2015, will find out more about options for travelling in and around the country of the legendary Genghis Khan.
Mongolia – is it where the world ends? Not in the least. As an example, a flight from Berlin to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, takes seven hours only. Worldwide, the country of the legendary Genghis Khan can be reached by more than 180 international airline routes operated by Mongolian airlines MIAT and Hunnu Air, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, Korean Air and Air China. In the period between 2003 and 2013 passenger numbers doubled, reaching 800,000. Currently, direct flights to Ulaanbaatar are available from Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Moscow, Istanbul, Tokyo, Osaka, Beijing, Seoul, Bishkek, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Bangkok.
"The far-reaching reforms and developments in the road network and transport sector are the foundations on which we will build the future of our country", commented A. Gansukh, Minister of Roads and Transport. In order to meet rising demand a new airport is under construction in Khushigt, in the valley of Tuv Province, only 52 kilometres from Ulaanbaatar. As of 2016 two million passengers are expected to arrive here. A number of international airlines, including Korean Airlines, Aeroflot, Lufthansa, Air China and Turkish Airlines have already expressed interest in the new airport as a hub for their Central Asian flights.
Past meets present: the Trans-Siberian Railway
Starting in Russia or China, a journey to Mongolia on the legendary Trans-Siberian Express is one of the last railway adventures in the world. International trains connecting Moscow, Ulaanbaatar and Beijing run four times on a weekly basis. To mark the 65th anniversary of this railway line the Mongolian government is investing 250 million dollars, part of which will be spent on 15 new passenger-carts from Russia. These modern trains are built to EU standards and offer passengers high degree of comfort. Features include smart technology that provides wi-fi internet access and lets passengers watch videos and films or choose from five different news channels.
"This is the first major investment in the 65-year history of the Ulaanbaatar railway network", said Minister A. Gansukh. The railway project ratified in August 2014 during the official visits of the Chinese president Xi Jinping and the Russian president Vladimir Putin, is a milestone in Mongolia's history and in the economic development of Central Asia. However, it is not only the improved transport links to Mongolia, with Ulaanbaatar as the gateway, that are significant. The government has also worked hard to ensure a better infrastructure in the country's interior.
New airports and new roads make travelling easier
In a country that is more than four times the size of Germany flights are one of the fastest ways to travel, in order to reach the Gobi Desert in the south or Huiten Peak in the west, for example. Last year improvements were made to the landing and take-off conditions at the two of the country's 22 airports. In the past, it often took three days to reach the farthest corners of Mongolia on unpaved roads. Nowadays, it takes only a few hours. In order to make journeying over difficult terrain in the country's interior easier the Mongolian government plans to increase the number of airports to 24 in 2015.
By 2020 the Mongolian government intends to have paved roads connecting all provincial centers with the capital. Several of the main tourist attractions such as Kharkhorin in Arkhangai Province and the Gobi Provinces can be reached by paved roads. According to Minister A. Gansukh, "Close to 1,900 kilometres of paved roads were built in 2013. This year we aim to finish building over 2,200 kilometres of roads, including in the Gobi Desert which is three and a half times the size of Austria and one of Mongolia's most popular attractions. "The public transport network is also being expanded. More than 930 buses that belong to the Intercity transit network travel between Ulaanbaatar and over 70 other cities.
Safety is of utmost priority both in air travel and road transportation. "We have introduced 'Police Reader Equipment', a system the traffic police can use to monitor the state of vehicles and their safety. Furthermore, GPS equipment has been installed on all buses, which makes it possible to monitor the speed and geographical position of a bus. Particularly for foreigners, public bus transport is an ideal way to explore the most sparsely populated country in the world, its cultural traditions, and to experience the hospitality of the Mongolian people.
• An independent, parliamentary republic in Central Asia situated between Russia and China
• The country of the legendary Genghis Khan, the Silk Road, the Gobi Desert, and rich in long-standing traditions
• The capital Ulaanbaatar has five-star accommodation and direct international transport links
• Tourist highlights: horse trekking, excursions to visit nomads, dinosaur fossils, ancient temples and ruins, festivals
UB Air quality is degrading, says expert
October 2 (UB Post) Undesnii Shuudan spoke to Air Quality Department expert of the National Agency for Meteorology and Environment Monitoring of Mongolia, J.Bayarmagnai.
How does air pollution compare to the corresponding period of last year?
The city air quality is being studied at 14 posts including 10 of the National Agency for Meteorology and Environment Monitoring and four of the City Air Quality Department.
We examine the main sources of air pollution in four to six types of indicators. As of last year, the content of sulfuric gas declined by over 20 percent or eight mg per cubic meter and the content of nitric dioxide reduced by over 26 percent or 18 mg per cubic meter from the previous year.
The indicator of particulate matter was same as the previous year and big changes haven't been observed. But the fine particulate matter decreased by over 21 percent or 27 mg per cubic meter compared with the corresponding period of the previous year.
Which air pollution indicator is more harmful to human health?
If the common pollutant indicators increase from normal levels, it is harmful to the human body. In other words, any substance, that is higher than its normal level is poisonous to human health. So it is not accurate to compare which is more harmful.
Is there any excessive amount of pollutant substances in the air today?
From the data collected in September, nitric dioxide is higher than its average level in areas near big roads and 13th khoroolol. A great amount of particulate matter was observed in ger districts, and road and construction sites. According to the data collection centers, particulate matters are above average in Zuun Ail and Khusug Center.
Is it true that the amount of harmful substances in air have declined in Ulaanbaatar?
We can't say that it is harmful. Maybe this rumor was spread from the main pollutant substances. The fine particulate matters are very tiny and naked eyes cannot see them. For example, PM 10 is five to seven times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. Very small particulate matters exist in the atmosphere and the human respiratory system doesn't filter the small pieces and this affects internal organs.
But bigger particulate matters, in other words, natural dust, is filtered through the human respiratory system and it's affects are lower.
Can we understand that air quality is worsening year by year?
The air quality study started very early. But it used to measure sulfuric acid and nitric monoxide with old methods and we imported equipments to measure air pollution. Since then, the air quality monitoring capacity has increased.
The French and Mongolian governments work together in this area and supplied portable air quality monitors. Consequently, measuring air pollution and its affects has expanded.
According to comparative data, air pollution seems to be declining, but in air quality standard comparisons, air pollution is increasing.
Can we avoid being affected by air pollution?
All the emissions travel by air. The main reason for air pollution is dust from moving things such as cars, ger district, and hydro heating stoves and etc.
The fume from a ger spreads at a relatively lower altitude. But the fume from the thermoelectric plants scatters to the atmosphere because its chimneys are located higher.
In extreme winter climate, cold air is accumulated on the ground and becomes the main source of air pollution.
Source: Undesnii Shuudan
Ulaanbaatar looks to revamp public transportation system
October 2 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar City Authority ran a 10 day trial in late August to boost service quality and sufficiency of public transportation in Mongolia. During these 10 days, buses in Ulaanbaatar operated on a shortened route which was followed by widespread criticism from the public.
Deputy Ulaanbaatar Governor N.Gantumur spoke to Undernii Shuudan about traffic congestion and public transportation issues in the capital city.
You were talking about merging state owned BUS-1, BUS-2 and Tsakhilgaan Teever public transportation companies during the meeting of city administrations. How effective do you think this will be?
There were many companies in city development and road user companies before, and these companies were merged into Ulaanbaatar Corporation. This work was performed effectively and one of the things that prove it is the green area development which has increased in the city significantly.
Such as these, we are going to merge public transportation companies and make it a comprehensive and unified system.
Before we merged the companies, we have studied experiences of developed countries and conducted surveys. I hope that merging bus companies will be quite an effective work. We will organize the system starting from October 1.
When will the new smart bus system launch?
The smart transportation or electronic system will be put into action from next April 1. Thus, Mongolian transportation system will meet the world standard. In relation to this project, buses will operate on shortened routes, because we have concluded that the public was satisfied with the 10 day experiment. Many people supported this project and the main reason was the 500 MNT day ticket.
Even though most were satisfied with the work, it brought losses. Will you continue the system regardless?
It is true that we had losses. But people have to understand that this was just an experiment. In other word, even though there are financial losses, the experiment was successful.
Also, introduction and promotion of the project to the public was insufficient, so we have to work on this intensively.
Will there be any increase in bus ticket price, which was 500 MNT during the trial?
The ticket price will be increased but we will try to make it flexible.
What do you mean by flexible? Could you clarify that?
When we transfer into an electronic system, there will be different options for ticket price. There will be a general set service. For example: family set and etc. Thus, we will work without losses.
University and college students travel in public transportation for free but students of general education schools pay 200 MNT. Since you are already reforming public transportation, shouldn't general education school students also travel for free?
This issue has to be resolved within the law. The law states students can travel for free so this issue has to be discussed by Parliament.
One of the problems we often face is the road issue. Roads are being built in several directions. How many roads will open before winter?
By September 30, roads in Nisekh and Yarmag will be ready to use, Bayankhoshuu Avenue road is expected to launch by October 30. Bio-Nisekh road will open in November.
In total, 72 kms of roads will open.
What's planned for the road sector next year?
We have planned to restructure many roads next year, especially roads in Tolgoit, the road to Zuslan and a big repair work from Bayanzurkh Checkpoint to Nalaikh District.
It has been a long time since the Street Project's launch. In relation to this, four-way intersections were built in many roads. Will the project continue in the future?
We can't give answers on this because the project is organized by the government and ministries. But the Street Project is essential in Mongolia because it will decrease traffic congestions considerably.
The railbus has started operating last June. It seems to be rather unprofitable. How will you reduce losses?
Approximately 40 to 100 people travel by railbus per day. In order to serve as many as we can, we have to build railways in different directions. In other word, automobiles and railbuses will be operating on the same level. This will increase passengers.
Fire at Shangri-La Hotel raises questions about emergency services in Ulaanbaatar
By M. Zoljargal
October 2 (UB Post) The fire which broke out on Tuesday afternoon at the 24-story Shangri-La Hotel proved the urgent need to improve the resources of fire departments in Ulaanbaatar.
It took nearly 40 firefighters almost two hours to extinguish the fire, using six fire trucks lacking ladders tall enough to reach the higher floors of the building.
There were 23 people stuck on the roof of the building and fire fighters helped them exit the building safely. No injuries were reported.
The building's seventh floor is believed to be where the fire began, which quickly spread to other floors, leaving most of the building's facade burnt.
"The fire was caused by electrical problems according to a preliminary investigation. Firefighters couldn't reach the top floors, as our fire truck tower ladders are only 35 meters tall and could only reach the 12th floor with high-pressure water hoses," T.Dulamdorj, Chief of National Emergency Management Agency, told journalists at the scene.
"The city administration should definitely take this issue into consideration and secure helicopters for fires occurring in tall buildings similar to this, as this case clearly proved a shortage of required facilities and equipment for a city with a growing number of tall buildings," added the chief.
The building was at 80 percent completion and scheduled to open in December. However, Chief Dulamdorj suggested that the material used for the facade was very flammable and caused the fire to spread quickly. He assured that information will be provided about whether or not the material had passed the standard tests required by local emergency and safety organizations.
A final assessment of the fire will be provided within five business days according to Chief Dulamdorj.
Moscow encourages Mongolian agriculture producers to enter market
October 3 (news.mn) The Governor of the Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul met Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin. The city mayors agreed to strengthen the two cities friendly ties that go back half a century, and build a cooperation agreement between the Ulaanbaatar Governor's Office and the Moscow City Government for 2015-2017.
The mayors also specified the main objectives for cooperate and shared their experiences with urban development, housing, health, education, and culture.
Key supply chain companies in Moscow are to build agreements with Mongolian enterprises, as Mayor Sobyanin encouraged Mongolian agriculture producers to move into the Moscow market.
At the end of the meeting, Mayor E.Bat-Uul expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and invited Sobyanin to visit to Ulaanbaatar in 2015.
Mayor E.Bat-Uul in Moscow – Montsame, October 3
Ulaanbaatar and Moscow Agreed to Sign Cooperation Program for 2015 – 2017 – InfoMongolia, October 2
Second Ulaanbaatar International Film Festival to Bring Award-Winning International Movies
October 3 (infomongolia.com) The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in association with Capital City Department of Arts and Culture, Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in UB, Arts Council of Mongolia and Mongolian Film Council are organizing the Ulaanbaatar International Film Festival - 2014 for the consecutive second year.
The event will be organized at Tengis Cinema in UB on October 08-12, 2014, and the Festival will feature an exclusive program of the best from the international scene, including award-winning and critical acclaimed films from 12 countries such as Austria, Ethiopia, France, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Palestine, Russia, Thailand and Turkey.
In this Second UB International Festival, Turkey has been chosen as the festival's focus country to commemorate and celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Mongolian-Turkish diplomatic relations.
In the frameworks, the Embassy will organize Turkish Movie Day on October 09th to screen three films, including this year's winner of the Palme d'Or in Cannes "Winter Sleep" by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, historical drama "The Butterfly's Dream" by Yilmaz Erdogan and "Lamb" by Kutlag Ataman to showcase the scope of contemporary Turkish filmmaking.
Apart from the film screenings the UB Film Festival will also give the local audience the chance to meet some of the stars presented on the big screen, including actors, filmmakers and producers. At the same time the Film Forum will present locale filmmakers with networking opportunities and professional sharing through meetings with the international film industry professionals such as Sonja Heinen from the World Cinema Fond.
Communication Roadblock Leads to Protests at Da Khuree Car Market
October 2 (UB Post) Some areas of Da Khuree Auto Market, located in the 17th Khoroo in Ulaanbaatar, were shut down on Wednesday, causing automotive businesses to protest and block the road.
The business owners and operators were frustrated that operations of some areas of the auto market were suspended when the first stage of planning for the new Auto trade Complex hadn't yet been commissioned.
They began their strike on the road at 9:00 a.m. yesterday. When reporters from Unuudur arrived at the scene at 1:40 p.m, a huge commotion from Bayanzurkh police officers demanding that the salesmen clear the road was commencing.
Chairman of the Mongolian Automotive Trade Association P.Gantsooj clarified the situation, "Today, we're suffering because the government is working erroneously and isn't fulfilling its promises. The State Specialized Inspection Agency issued an order to shut down auto markets operating in the capital city on October 1. They probably made this decision consistent with plans for the new auto trade center. However, the trade center hasn't become operational yet.
"When I spoke with the Deputy Head of Roads, Transportation and Infrastructure Department of the Office of the Ulaanbaatar Governor, N.Gantumur, on the phone, he said he didn't know anything and would send officials after speaking with the District Governor. He also said the auto trade center would be commissioned on October 15. This shows that businesses are being victimized because organizations don't have proper communication. If it isn't time to launch the Auto Trade Complex, auto market operations shouldn't be suspended. Basically, it's the same as trying to move people into an apartment with only the foundation laid. During the Mongolian Auto Forum, Deputy Head N.Gantumur told me to wait until October 1, and that they're working as fast as they can to make the Auto Trade Complex."
He also reported that the salesmen would continue to protest until Da Khuree Auto Market is reopened. Da Khuree Auto Market has many sections inside, including Mungun Khuleg (Silver Knight) and diesel engine markets, where over 600 people run businesses. Mungun Khuleg was closed down on August 30.
"If they truly enforced the law, all auto markets would be shut down. We're not saying we will not move to the 22nd traffic checkpoint in Songinokhairkhan District. Even if we go there now, the building doesn't have a bank, restaurant, or even toilets. It looked like excavated land, covered in red dirt. I wouldn't mind moving there now if it had adequate working conditions. We're facing a loss at the moment. The project heads are also demanding four million MNT as a sales vehicle parking fee from tenants. Those capable of paying must have paid. But would people like me, who sell used cars and have only ten million MNT as turnover, have the money to rent a section of the trade area?" commented a salesman of Mungun Khuleg.
The first stage of Auto Trade Complex construction, the square area for open parking, was initially planned to become operational on October 1. This parking space adequate for 6,300 cars is currently at 30 to 40 percent completion. While this is reality, auto sales businesses operating within the capital shouldn't be terminated or suffer financial losses.
Auto market traders aren't protesting because they don't wish to move to the 22nd traffic checkpoint. They are frustrated because the Auto Trade Complex wasn't commissioned on time, and the abuse of their interests.
Source: http://mongolnews.mn /1bde
Mongolia, North Korea Discuss Joint Use of Rason Special Economic Zone
October 2 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian delegates led by Deputy Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) R.Gonchigdorj have conducted a working visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on September 27-30, 2014.
During the visit Mongolian parliamentarians were received by the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam and held bilateral meeting with the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly Ahn Dongchun, who was invited to visit Mongolia at his convenient time.
The bilateral meeting was held in a warm atmosphere, where parties discussed on joint exploitation of the Rason Special Economic Zone of North Korea in order to open a sea-outlet for Mongolia, besides exchanged views to broaden collaboration in other sectors including agricultural as well as cooperation in regional and international spheres.
Mongolian delegates comprised of MP D.Ganbat, MP O.Baasankhuu, MP M.Batchimeg, MP O.Sodbileg and other officials were introduced with a popular tourist destination of Wonsan, Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wonsan, National Academy and Institute of Koryo Medicine, Pyongyang Maternity Hospital and Okryu Children's Hospital in Pyongyang.
U.S. Embassy Reflects on Over Two Decades of USAID Assistance to Mongolia
September 30 (U.S. Embassy) On September 30 USAID staff, Mongolian partners, and Mongolian counterparts joined Ambassador Campbell to reflect on and celebrate more than two decades of U.S. assistance to, and partnership with, the Mongolian people.
Since 1991, USAID assistance, valued at over $230 million USD, has helped Mongolia through the initial years of its economic independence. USAID launched its first program in Mongolia with a grant to provide emergency assistance to the country's power plants, with other early activities focusing on emergency food supply, economic reform, and advancing civil society. Over time USAID provided further support for infrastructure, economic and judicial reform, public financial management, and development of a market economy. In recent years, USAID assistance has focused on supporting Mongolia's long-term, sustainable development by strengthening governance and building an enabling environment for business and economic growth.
U.S. Government assistance has been in near constant transition to meet Mongolia's needs as the country has grown and strengthened as an independent nation. In support of Mongolia's own goals, U.S. assistance objectives in Mongolia remain a strengthened democratic society, a productive market economy, and a government that provides for the welfare of its people. The Embassy, representing several of the varied U.S. Government agencies that provide international assistance, is moving towards a commercial and development partnership, and the Embassy will continue to support activities that contribute to these objectives.
At the same time, Mongolia also made significant strides in its democratic development as underscored by transparent and peaceful local and national elections. Over the years, Mongolia has shown strong economic growth and commitment to democracy. Mongolia's success makes it a model to countries in the region that embrace democratic values and are tackling complex social transitions and economic challenges, and this success suggests Mongolia is on the path to move toward graduation as a donor recipient country.
In recognition of way that the U.S.-Mongolia relationship is evolving from that of donor/recipient relationship to a commercial and development partner, Ambassador Campbell announced that USAID in Mongolia will make another transition. USAID's presence is being changed from that of the USAID Representative Office to that of a single USAID Development Adviser.
This decision is a vote of confidence in Mongolia and an acknowledgement of the tremendous progress it has made. Ambassador Campbell remarked "We are very proud of what the Government of Mongolia has accomplished in partnership with USAID."
It is also notable that while the USAID role in Mongolia is transitioning to a smaller presence, other U.S. Government programs are not just remaining, but also growing. As just one example, the U.S. Peace Corps program that provides volunteers in rural areas and in Ulaanbaatar has nearly doubled the number of volunteers in the last two years.
U.S. Government resources, including USAID resources, will be focused on facilitating private-sector business incubation, public-private partnerships, and rule-of-law capacity building and institution strengthening. As Mongolia matures, U.S. assistance and partnership will also continue to transition to support our maturing relationship and to promote continued economic engagement. The United States takes it role as Mongolia's "third neighbor" very seriously and that is unchanging.
NUM students protest for fair decisions and student's rights
By M. Zoljargal
October 2 (UB Post) A group of delegates from several student unions at the National University of Mongolia (NUM) has protested against problems that have risen for students due to recent university reforms.
The students demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Education and Science on Monday and demanded Minister L.Gantumur to resolve the issues as their previous demands to the NUM administrations failed to initiate any action.
The ministry's Chief of Division for Higher Education, P.Erkhembulgan, received the demands and promised to have it discussed at the NUM's managing board meeting, which was scheduled on Tuesday.
The students reported that the university administration has failed to consider interests and rights of students when it reformed the new rules, which are affecting studies and students' convenience.
First-year students are studying according to a curriculum that hasn't been approved by the Ministry of Education and Science. Another problem is that many of the NUM administrators are also teachers, which makes it hard for students to find and meet the administrators to have their problems resolved.
Students are facing financial losses as well due to faulty online student information system of the NUM.
"NUM students choose and confirm their curriculum, teachers and classrooms at Sisi.num.edu.mn within a given time from the university administration. However, many students end up missing the deadline as the system website frequently freezes and are obligated to pay 11,400 MNT to choose their curriculum after the deadline," said Z.Otgonzaya, deputy head of the NUM Student Union and Student Congress.
The reform caused a problem for both students willing to stay in dormitory this academic year and the university finance, explained the student delegates.
A merged academic management office of the NUM became responsible for dormitory registration and supply following the reform. However, the students complained that the registration system has become bureaucratic with too many stages to pass since the merge.
A total of 250 beds are vacant at the NUM dormitory after a month since the new academic year started and the NUM is running an approximately 100 million MNT deficit because of it, reported student representatives.
NUM teachers demand dismissal of Director A.Galtbayar
Teachers of the NUM has reported to journalists about their demand to dismiss the NUM's Director A.Galtbayar from his position as they believe the university reform is violating the Budget Law, Higher Education Law as well as other related regulations.
The teachers have handed their demand to Minister L.Gantumur and said that if it is not addressed, they will present it to the Prime Minister. The teachers held a press conference on Monday, on the same day as the student protests.
They criticized that the director simply reshuffled the university officials in the name of reform and is operating the university without comprehensive policies that are based on proposals of staff and surveys conducted by teachers and students.
The teachers revealed that a survey has been taken where 80 percent of the NUM teachers opposed the reform, which wasn't considered by A.Galtbayar.
About the unapproved curriculum for the first-year students, teachers said that students are forced to restudy what they have learned in general education schools.
"First-year students are restudying the same subjects they passed in general education schools at the NUM, paying course credit payments. These students will choose their major from the next academic year, but each program is accepting only 25 to 30 student according to grade records. Students might not have a chance to choose their intended major due to this reformed system," said B.Bold-Erdene, Head of Association of the NUM Teachers.
Students in the U.S. seek to cap Mongolia's 'brain-drain'
By B. Dulguun
October 2 (UB Post) The first-ever Mongolian American Career Fair, organized for Mongolian students studying abroad who are interested in pursuing careers in Mongolia, will be held for two days in Chicago, Illinois, from October 11 to 12.
The Mongolian American Career Fair is the first networking opportunity for both Mongolian companies and students, organized by a group of Mongolian students who study and work in the USA. These students represent various student and non-profit organizations such as the Mongolian Association of State Alumni (MASA), Mongolian Student Non-profit Organization in America (MSNOA), Association of Mongolian Students in America (AMSA), Mongol Volunteer, and Human Prosperity. The Ministry of Labor and Embassy of Mongolia in the USA are supporting and cooperating with these young, active Mongolian students in organizing this event.
According to UNESCO statistics from 2012, 1,247 of approximately 10,000 Mongolian students enrolled in higher education abroad were situated in the USA. The number of Mongolians returning to Mongolia from overseas has grown in recent years, and they're striving towards improving Mongolia's development. This fair may be a big boost for Mongolia's development, as it will provide Mongolians studying in top American schools with information about internship opportunities in Mongolia during their university years, and could lead to finding employment after they graduate.
Ten companies so far, including Khan Bank, Labor Exchange Central Office, Daily News and Starcom MediaVest, will be presenting their internship and employment opportunities at the event. A full list of participating companies is available on Mongolian American Career Fair's official website, careerfair.oyutan.org.
Attendees will have the opportunity to review employer information, including products and services, working conditions and open positions, learn more about their organizations, be nterviewed by potential employers in person, and attend workshops to build professional and job hunting skills.
The UB Post spoke with a member of the organizing committee of the Mongolian American Career Fair, Maralmaa Munkh-Achit, to learn more about the event and its inspiration.
Can you tell us who is sponsoring the Mongolian American Career Fair?
For sponsorship, we are funded mostly by donations and registration fees from the participating companies. There are also different levels of corporate sponsorship that companies can choose from, and each one offers certain advantages.
Are many Mongolians residing in the USA interested in returning to Mongolia for work? Do you get many hiring notices from employers in Mongolia?
The reason we decided to organize this event in the first place is because we noticed that many Mongolian students and young professionals are interested in returning to Mongolia to work, but often don't really know how to apply for careers or network with companies. So we are hoping that this event will be the bridge that will connect the two. It is not a secret that Mongolia needs a more educated and skilled workforce, and we wanted to help the companies find their prospective employees through this fair.
Is there a particular industry looking for skilled and career-ready employees from the USA? Which industries are most favored by Mongolians in the USA?
It is hard to pick only one industry, but there are some popular industries such as business, computer science, engineering, economics and finance that are more popular now. Mongolian students in the U.S. are majoring in various fields, which is why we think it is important for us to have as many companies as we can to help our career fair participants.
How many people have registered for the career fair so far?
We are expecting about 200 students to come to the fair. Mostly, recent graduates or undergraduates have registered so far. However, any Mongolian living in the U.S. is welcome to come. The registration will continue until October 1.
How will the career fair benefit Mongolians living in the USA and participating companies?
Through this career fair, we want to end the "brain drain" that is happening to Mongolia. Instead of losing our most brilliant professionals to other countries, we can bring them back to their home country. For the participating companies, they will have an opportunity to meet with the brightest students and professionals living in the U.S. and recruit them for their company. As for the participating individuals, this is a chance to "sell" yourself to the top Mongolian companies and secure employment when you return to Mongolia.
I would also like to encourage everyone who can to come and participate in this event. Not only can you find your future company or employees at this fair, you can also meet and network with fellow Mongolians.
You can visit the official website, http://www.careerfair.oyutan.org/, to get more information and register for the career fair.
Project starts on Mongolia's network of managed resource protected areas
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) An inception workshop "Mongolia's network of Managed Resource Protected Areas" project to be implemented between 2013-2018 with support of Global Environment Fund (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme at Ministry of Environment and Green Development of Mongolia was held Thursday.
The inception Workshop aims to define common understanding about expected outcome and goal of the project among the main stakeholders which was followed by discussion of existence legal environment for local protected areas, and revising of project log frame. Around 80 representatives gathered at the workshop including government, non-government agencies, international and development partners, academia, research institution and community groups and shared their comments and provided the recommendations.
Opening remarks were made by D.Lundeejantsan MP; B.Tulga, the Vice Minister of Ministry of Environment and Green Development; Sezin Sinanoglu, UNDP Resident Representative; T. Erdenechimeg, National Project Director and Head of Protected Areas Administration Department, Ministry of Environment.
Project pilot areas are: Gulzat local protected area (LPA) (Sagil, Buhmurun soums of Uvs province), Khavtgar LPA (Batshireet soum of Khentii province), Buffer zone of Toson Khulstai National Park (Tsagaan Ovoo, Bayan Uul soums of Dornod province and Norovlin soums of Khentii province) and the project will support the transformation of community areas into centers of conservation excellence.
Further project will promote process of identification, designation, and establishment of improved management regimes and will assist in aimag and soum governments to integrate protected areas management objectives in their planning processes and efforts of each sites will be directed towards empowering rural communities to alleviate threats identified during the project design phase.
"Mongolia's network of Managed Resource Protected Areas" project will contribute for achieving MDG 1 to reduce poverty and MDG7 and ensuring environmental sustainability, as well as advancement of human development sustaining the integrity of Mongolia's diverse ecosystems to secure the viability of the nations' globally significant biodiversity.
Global AgeWatch Index 2014: Mongolia 72nd
October 3 (infomongolia.com) The October 01st is designated the International Day of Older Persons, which was ratified during the United Nations General Assembly meeting held on December 14, 1990 and commemorating the Day, the HelpAge International NGO has released the Global AgeWatch Index 2014 that ranks countries by how well their older populations are faring.
The Global AgeWatch Index features reports for 96 countries, where Norway led the 2014 Index followed by Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and Germany as top 5 states how well they are supporting their older populations.
As of Mongolia, the country with 2.8 million people of population is ranked at the 72nd place out of 96, of which 0.2 million people are over 60, according to report. But Mongolia ranks highest in the income security domain (36), with 100% pension income coverage - one of only two countries in this region with full coverage. It also has a low old age poverty rate (7.7%) and high relative welfare rate for its region.
It ranks moderately in the enabling environment domain (62), a significant increase from its 2013 ranking (85). This is due to a rise in the social connectedness indicator to 92% (the highest in its region) as well as revision of public transport data.
It ranks lower in the capability domain (65), a decrease from 2013 due to low values for employment (38.6%) and educational attainment (55.2%) among older people. It ranks lowest in the health domain (93), with below regional average values for life expectancy indicators.
Moreover, Mongolia's population of 60 or over is 6.1% in 2014 and it is estimated to grow 11.5% by 2030 and 19.8% by 2050.
As of global population, there 868 million are aged 60 or over in 2014, and 2.02 billion people will be aged 60 or over by 2050.
Mongolian National Burn Center left out in the cold
October 2 (UB Post) The Mongolian National Burn Center moved back to the first floor of the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center this week, after temporary accommodations at Mungun Guur Hospital.
The State Specialized Inspection Authority prohibited use of their original building, built in 1957, following an inspection three years ago. At the request of the Ministry of Health and relevant organizations, the State Property Committee issued resolution No.358 in 2011 to tear down the building.
This led to two challenges for the National Burn Center: renting new facilities and building a new hospital.
At first, the National Burn Center rented space at the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center. It moved to Mungun Guur Hospital for two years, where it was operating until last week, and paid one billion MNT for rent. The resettlements have put financial pressure on the state budget and the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center, financial losses that doctors and workers of the hospital feel that the Head of the Burn Center is responsible for.
After the City Governor issued a regulation on building a new hospital in 2011, the Ministry of Health announced a tender for the planning and plotting of the new building. EZT LLC was selected and established a contract with the Ministry of Health and began the planning process.
As of today, the old building still stands.
The first budget for the National Burn Center was set at 12 billion MNT, but was later increased to 30 billion MNT. The Ministry of Health said that the Building Development Center would evaluate the estimated cost of a new facility and it would be accurately reflected in the state budget.
Construction and preparation of a new hospital could take two to three years without further delays.
According to international standards for burn centers, there should be one burn center for every 50 thousand residents of a city, but Ulaanbaatar has one burn center for a national population of almost three million people.
The hospital used to conduct its operations with 150 hospital beds at its original facility, but it functioned with 80 beds while located at Mungun Guur Hospital. Not only people suffering from burns go to this hospital, but also people requiring hospitalization from frostbite.
It is unclear how the situation will be improved by moving back to the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center. We have to be thankful for the doctors who are working under these conditions and following their oaths.
One of the doctors at the burn center said that most of the people who are treated at the burn center don't work in well-paid jobs, and the authorities don't care about improving the resources for the hospital's operation and speeding up the process of building a new hospital. But pain doesn't distinguish between people who are rich or poor.
"Declaring bankruptcy is easy for banks and hospitals, but the results are a hardship for the public," said the director of the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center, Z.Mendsaikhan.
While our ministries discuss their failures, the healthcare sector has already gone bankrupt.
Baldorj Prize-winning documentary producers:"We are destroying earth, we are burning our home"
October 2 (UB Post) Eight courageous men of "Khureelen" (Institute) Project filmed a documentary featuring Mongolia's beauty, as well as the wonder of life and animals in the countryside. These men who captured rare and incredible moments on film, won the highest prize of journalism in Mongolia, the Baldorj Prize.
They gave a very modest explanation for their extraordinary and brave journey of 30,000 km in extreme climate, fluctuation between minus 30 degrees and plus 30 degrees, to follow a lifelong obsession for animals.
The following is an interview with founder of Institute Project U.Ganbayar and general producer M.Buyanbadrakh, covering some interesting facts about their adventure.
After spending many months near animals while traveling across the wild, have your views on life changed?
Ganbayar: I realized humans are biological species.
Buyanbadrakh: Ganbayar has been taking landscape photos for many years and is much more experienced than me. After participating in this project, I concluded that I didn't know beyond taking photos of marmots, ground-squirrels and birds sitting on windows. A group of people establish a surrounding. Humans think highly of themselves because we're intelligent, dominators of the world, can fly to space, construct tall buildings, and produce electricity. The animal world is a parallel world that isn't inferior or superior to ours. They have a leader, followers, couples, offsprings, work, competitions and selections. It's regrettable that we claim they're inferior to us and kill, persecute and destroy the animal world.
Is it true Institute Project received a 100 billion MNT financing?
Buyanbadrakh: Rumor spread that apart from support from the state, we received 100 billion MNT from large corporations. I can guarantee that we didn't receive 100 billion MNT. Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Central Bank, Monnis Group and Khunnu Airlines provided financial support and promoted our project on TV programs to encourage us to capture good photos.
Many say we run tons of commercials during our broadcasting program. We only do it to show our appreciation to the above companies. The Ministry of Nature and Green Development and the Ministry of Education and Science understood and supported our motive and gave us allowances.
Initially, we planned to execute the project for three years and estimated approximately a billion MNT for horses, cars and technical equipment. We don't have supporters that granted us a billion MNT, or even 100 million MNT. We began our journey after selling our cars and getting loans.
So far, how much money have you spent?
Source: http://www.mongolnews.mn /1b5z
Khanbogd honours senior Oyu Tolgoi employees with honourary citizenships
Khanbogd, Mongolia, October 2 (Oyu Tolgoi) – Three of Oyu Tolgoi's senior employees have been presented with honourary citizenships by the people of Khanbogd.
Last Friday, during the Khanbogd Market fair, Ivan Vella, Oyu Tolgoi's Chief Operating Officer, D.Garamjav, Chief Geologist, and T.Munkhbat, Deputy Director of Resource Strategy and Innovation, were presented with the awards to mark their contributions to the development of the soum.
D.Garamjav and T.Munkhbat were part of the original exploration teams at Oyu Tolgoi, while Ivan Vella has been with the business since 2011 and is a regular visitor to the Khanbogd soum centre as part of his overall responsibility for managing the Oyu Tolgoi site.
Ivan Vella said: "This is a huge and humbling honour for me, and for everyone within the Oyu Tolgoi family. Khanbogd is my home and I will take this honour with me wherever I may go in the future. The people of Khanbogd have consistently acted as wise counsel to our business, helping us to plan our development in a way which can bring benefits for the whole community and make us into the successful and sustainable business we are today.
"We will continue to work closely with the local community to maintain our trusted partnership and ensure the value of the mine is felt by everyone.".
Chairman of the Citizen's Representative Council of Khanbogd soum, Mr. Kh.Nekhiit said "The management of Oyu Tolgoi is strongly focused on cooperating with our soum.
"Ivan Vella,who previously managed Oyu Tolgoi's Procurement department, has done a lot to strengthen the local supply chain and develop our economy. Today, he manages the mine site and helped us to establish Galba park and celebrate the soum's anniversary. On behalf of the local community, the Citizen's Representative Council awarded him the title Honourary citizen of Khanbogd soum.
"I believe that cooperation and partnership between the company and our soum will expand further, for the benefit of all."
The full title of the honours bestowed is: "declaration of honourary citizenship of Khanbogd for great accomplishments, for the sake of development and people, that have left bright imprints in our soum history".
World Music: The Contemporary Soundscape of Nomadic Mongolia
Sunmin Yoon is an ethnomusicologist specializing in Mongolian folk songs. She is currently on the faculty at Kent State University.
September 2014 (World Literature Today) The spectacular sounds and exoticism of Mongolian music often attract audiences outside the Mongolian cultural area—the rough, unreal human voice of khöömii (throat singing), the wide range and powerful vocal projection ofurtyn duu (long song), and the harmonized sound, unusually familiar to the Western ear, of such traditional folk instruments as the horse-head fiddle. Almost every tourist who travels to Mongolia brings back a CD of Mongolian music. Folk groups such as Altan Urag, Domog, and Khusugtun have recently become especially attractive, not only to westerners—whether visitors to Mongolia or not—but also to Mongolians themselves. Some of the folk pop groups, such as AnDa Union from inner Mongolia, have also had successful US tours by presenting the stunning sound of Mongolian music. This year at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, another group, Ih Tsetsn, attracted audiences with its extraordinary sound and presentation. But what is it that is so striking about the sound of Mongolia, and of this band?
Under the influence of socialist ideology, Mongolia has transformed and sustained its folk tradition in its own way. The sound of the music is renowned for its unique sonic structure, which has developed out of the nomadic lifestyle. In urtyn duu, or long song, singers extend and ornament the vowels, a technique that produces three to five minutes of folk song from a verse of perhaps just seven or eight words. This is a genre of folk song that developed from herders imitating the sounds of their livestock and of the wind, projecting their song across the endless steppe and the sky. Short song (bogin duu) is quite different from long song, much more metered and structured, although singers also sing a great deal about nature and family. Throat singing (khöömii) is one of the prominent genres in areas in the south of Russia such as Tuva, and it is particularly common in western Mongolia. This singing technique uses unusual resonation to produce overtones in different parts of the body, harmonizing with the wind and the waters of their environment, although the repertoire is based on the tunes of long songs or short songs.
Musically, these folk pop bands have become sensitive to the continuation of the original sounds of instruments and voices while also harmonizing their music so as to appeal to non-Mongolian audiences. One of Altan Urag's best-known pieces, "Ikh Mongol," is a good example. It is a new composition, yet inserted within it is an old long song called "Bor bor byalzuukhai (Little brown bird)." In this way, it has become completely new music while presenting the image of the traditional lives of Mongolian environmental nomads in a contemporary context (watch the video clips embedded above). These trends of music-making in contemporary Mongolia present us with a complex yet powerful message about the country's social outlook. Mongols found their essential identity in their traditional spirit and worldview, but they also found the possibility of negotiating with the global world so that people outside Mongolia might be better able to understand their culture. And I certainly believe it works. If you haven't come across any Mongolian folk pop music, check it out: you will see what I mean.
Mongolia Moves Teachers' Day to October 5, in Line with World Teachers' Day
October 3 (infomongolia.com) In December 2013, the Government of Mongolia issued a Resolution No.412 to amend in the regulation on celebrating the "Historical event anniversaries, commemorative days, bestowing outstanding figures and memorizing".
In this amendment, the date of Mongolian Teacher's Day was moved from the first Sunday in February to October 05th, which was marked since 1967 and in the Academic Year of 2014-2015, Mongolian Teachers for the first time to celebrate their Day on October 05, 2014.
This year's Teacher's Day is also coincided with the 375th anniversary of founding the Capital City and therefore is distinct and will be celebrated quite widely.
In the scope of the event, ceremonial meeting is to take place at 02:00 pm today at Wrestling Palace, besides closing ceremony of Sports Festival 2014 organized among teachers will be also held, moreover, winners of "Regulation to Evaluate School and Pre-School Teachers' Training Quality by Index" will be announced and rewarded as well as "Let's Raise Teacher's Talent" cultural performance is taking place at the Central Cultural Palace of Mongolian Trade Union at 12:00 pm on October 03, 2014.
UNESCO announced to commemorate the World Teachers' Day annually on October 05th in 1996 and over 100 countries observe this World Teachers' Day including Mongolia.
Drama Theatre October Program
October 3 (infomongolia.com) The State Academic Drama Theatre has released the 2014 October Program and in the frameworks of the "Playlet" project which has being continued since April 2014, the Theatre announces the October as the Playlet Month.
Drama Theatre 2014 October Program
October 04, 05, 25 at 11:00 am & October 25 at 02:00 pm
- "Biography of Norov" children play by D.Sodnomdorj
October 11, 12, 18, 19 at 11:00 am & October 11, 12, 18 at 02:00 pm
- "A-Graders Are Prohibited To Enter" children play by B.Khishigzaya
October 03 at 06:00 pm & October 04, 05 at 05:00 pm
- "Lullaby" three-act drama play by N.Gankhuyag
October 10 at 06:00 pm & October 11, 12 at 05:00 pm
- "The Open Couple" drama play by Dario Fo, produced by Ch.Naidandorj
October 17 at 06:00 pm
- "The Son of the Sky" historical play by B.Tsognemekh
October 18 at 05:00 pm & 07:00 pm
- "Yesterday" psychological drama play by G.Pinter, produced by N.Naranbaatar
October 19 at 05:00 pm & 07:00 pm
- "Model" by Nikolai Kolyada, produced by Ts.Batnairamdal
October 23 at 06:00 pm
- "Sorry, Wrong Number" tragedy drama play by Violet Lucille Fletcher produced by Ch.Tuvshin
October 24 at 06:00 pm & October 25, 26 at 05:00 pm & 07:00 pm
- "Innocent Guilt" drama play by A.Ochirbat, produced by E.Yondonsharav
October 30, 31 at 06:00 pm
- "Crow Grove" by Alexander Vampilov produced by B.Munkhdorj
State Opera and Ballet House October Program
October 3 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet (SATOB) has released the 2014 October Program, which is the Theatre's 52nd Season and starting with "Three Dramatic Characters" opera by B.Damdinsuren and B.Smirnov on October 04 and 05, 2014.
The "Three Dramatic Characters" opera has been celebrating its 80th anniversary on stage, and to date, 37 different actors have played in a main role of "Yunden", in "Nansalmaa" 44 actresses, "Khorolmaa" 39 actresses, and 32 performers acted in "Balgan" respectively.
SATOB 2014 October Program
Saturday, October 04, 05:00 pm, "Three Dramatic Characters" Opera by B.Damdinsuren and B.Smirnov
Sunday, October 05, 05:00 pm, "Three Dramatic Characters" Opera by B.Damdinsuren and B.Smirnov
Saturday, October 11, 05:00 pm, "Swan Lake" Ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Sunday, October 12, 05:00 pm, "Swan Lake" Ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Thursday, October 16, 07:00 pm, "Kh.Bilegjargal-60" Jubilee Concert named after famed music composer Kh.Bilegjargal
Saturday, October 18, 05:00 pm, "Lama's Tears" Opera by Kh.Bilegjargal
Sunday, October 19, 05:00 pm, "Spartak" Ballet by A.Khachaturian
Saturday, October 25, 05:00 pm, "Spartak" Ballet by A.Khachaturian
Sunday, October 26, 05:00 pm, "Lama's Tears" Opera by Kh.Bilegjargal
Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet to open its 52nd season – news.mn, October 3
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