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Monday, November 24, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
SouthGobi delays CIC interest payment to December 1
[ET Net News Agency, 21 November 2014] SouthGobi Resources (01878) said it is delaying the payment of the November installment of cash interest due on the secured convertible debenture it entered into with a wholly owned subsidiary of China Investment Corporation (CIC) and continues to seek additional funds.
On 19 November, SouthGobi was due to pay about US$8.1 million in cash. It has been advised by CIC that CIC will extend the cash interest payment date to 1 December. As at yesterday, SouthGobi had cash of US$4.9 million and continues to seek additional funding in order to meet its interest obligations under the CIC convertible debenture.
In the event SouthGobi fails to make the CIC convertible debenture interest installment when due on 1 December, this would result in an event of default under the CIC convertible debenture and CIC would have the right to declare the principal and accrued interest owing thereunder immediately due and payable, which could result in voluntary or involuntary proceedings.
Link to SGQ release, November 20
SouthGobi issues 7.07 million shares pursuant to the terms of the CIC Convertible Debenture on 21 November 2014 (3.64% of enlarged share capital at C$0.64 per share worth C$4.52 million, 25.5% premium to last close)
Inspectors Demand SouthGobi Confirm Legitimacy of Mongolia Tenements
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ General Agency for Specialized Inspection reported on Wednesday that it suspects that SouthGobi Sands LLC might be conducting illegal actions under its reputation of a foreign investor.
The company obtained a total of 35 special licenses from different companies in 2007. The agency demands that SouthGobi Sands submit allegation to confirm the legibility of the obtainment within this December 20.
The demand is appropriate in respect of the fact that the natural reserves are a property of the Mongolian people. The company is also being investigated in general grounds of taxation dodging.
SouthGobi Resources Announces Board Changes
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 12, 2014) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HKSE:1878) ("SouthGobi" or the "Company") today announces the retirement of its Chair Ms. Kay Priestly, effective December 1, 2014. Current independent Director Mr. Gordon Lancaster has been appointed Interim Chair and Mr. Jeff Tygesen will join the Board as Director effective December 1, 2014.
Ms. Priestly said "It has been a privilege to serve SouthGobi's shareholders and work with the Board and management team over the last two years. I am pleased that Gord will serve as Interim Chair and I am confident that the Board will benefit from his leadership and vast experience in the resources industry and finance sector."
Mr. Lancaster has been Director of SouthGobi since 2010. He is Chair of the Compensation and Benefits Committee and a member of the Audit Committee and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
Mr. Tygesen has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer and Director of Turquoise Hill Resources ("Turquoise Hill") effective December 1, 2014 and brings an extensive operational background to the Board of SouthGobi. Previously Mr. Tygesen spent more than 30 years with Rio Tinto in operational roles across multiple product groups as well as technology and innovation and strategic planning. Most recently, he was Vice-President, Copper Development at Rio Tinto Copper Group and was responsible for overseeing Rio Tinto's joint venture interests at its Chilean and Indonesian copper operations.
On his appointment, Mr. Lancaster said "I am honored to be appointed Interim Chair and we welcome Jeff as a new Board member. On behalf the entire Board and the management team, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to Kay for her leadership and contributions during her tenure as Chair".
Messrs. Pierre Lebel, Andre Deepwell, Bold Baatar, Kelly Sanders and Ross Tromans continue to serve as directors of SouthGobi.
In addition, the Company announced that Ms. Allison Snetsinger has been appointed Corporate Secretary of the Company effective November 14, 2014. Ms. Snetsinger was the Corporate Secretary of the Company from May 17, 2012 to March 31, 2014. Since then, she has been assisting the Company on corporate matters. Prior to her position as Corporate Secretary, she held the position of assistant corporate secretary since the Company's Canadian initial public offering in December 2003.
Note to editors
Erdene Secures Financing and Commences Resource Drilling on Altan Nar Gold-Polymetallic Project
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 14, 2014) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company") is pleased to announce that a resource definition drilling program is now underway on its wholly owned Altan Nar gold-polymetallic project in the Tien Shan Gold Belt in southwest Mongolia. The drill program will seek to establish a near-surface, National Instrument ("NI") 43-101 compliant resource estimate at the two most advanced target areas within the 5.6 km Altan Nar trend, now host to 18 target areas. RungePincockMinarco LLC has been selected to complete the Mineral Resource Estimate. The Company is also pleased to announce it raised a total of $778,239 from a November 13, 2014 closing of its non-brokered private placement ("Private Placement") and from the exercise of warrants.
"We believe the discovery at Altan Nar, with its high-grade zones, size potential and location, provides an opportunity with the flexibility to move rapidly towards a small-scale start-up and ultimately towards a very large gold, silver, zinc and lead development on the border with China", said Peter Akerley, President and CEO of Erdene. "The current drilling and independent resource estimate is serving both of these routes, initially by establishing a high confidence open pitable resource which we can build development plans around, but also being demonstrative of the greater potential as it represents only a small portion of the project area. By taking this route, our Company is best positioned to react to the volatile market conditions continuing to be experienced in our sector. I would like to thank our new and existing shareholders who have contributed over $2 million during the past seven months for recognizing the potential of Altan Nar and trusting management to create value. We are looking forward to a steady flow of drill results throughout the winter months as we advance this project towards its maiden resource estimate."
MOU opened flat at A$0.004 this morning
Modun Enters Conditional Agreement to Sell Nuurst Coal Deposit
· Conditional Agreement to sell the Nuurst Coal Deposit for US$8,000,000
· Second un-signed conditional offer received from a competing party is being considered
November 24 -- Modun Resources Limited (ASX:MOU, "Modun" or "the Company") is pleased to announce the signing of a conditional agreement to sell 100% of the Nuurst Coal Deposit in Mongolia for a total potential consideration of US$8,000,000.
This agreement is highly conditional - all investors should read this announcement in full to understand the terms and conditions and form their own judgment as to the likelihood of the transaction completing.
Background to the Transaction
The Company has spent 2014 investigating ways to extract value from its 100% owned thermal coal deposit, be it via development, joint venture or sale. The Company has entertained discussions with a number of partners and acquirers during this period and has now reached a highly conditional agreement with a Mongolian based company (the Purchaser) which is the subject of this announcement.
Summary of terms of the Conditional Agreement
The Company has executed a highly conditional agreement to sell, and for the Purchaser (or nominee) to acquire, 100% of the issued share capital of Modun Resources LLC (Modun LLC) which owns 100% of the Nuurst Thermal Coal Project in Mongolia comprising Mongolian Mining License MV-017349 (2,497 hectares) and a novation to the Purchaser of 100% of the intercompany debt (Debt Novation) (Nuurst, or Project) in consideration of US$8m payable as to US$1,000,000 in cash and US$7,000,000 in deferred (royalty) payments, paid on the basis of $0.50 per tonne for the first 14 millions tonnes of coal extracted and sold by the Purchaser) (the Agreement).
GUF up 18.4% since the Thursday announcement
Guildford closer to BNU production
PERTH, November 20 (miningweekly.com) – Takeover target Guildford Coal (ASX:GUF) on Thursday told shareholders that its Baruun Noyon Uul (BNU) mine, in Mongolia, would start production following the successful completion of the trial batches of coal.
Previously known as the North pit, BNU forms part of Guildford's South Gobi project, and has a coal resource of 70.4-million tonnes, which includes an indicated resource of 39.7-million tonnes.
The company executed its first sales contract for the BNU mine in August this year, with the first 8 000 t shipment due for end-users in China.
Guildford said on Thursday that the company was on track to meet the expected coal volumes at BNU, with the mine expected to deliver some 1.19-million tonnes of coal between December 2014 and 2015.
Guildford recently became the takeover target of Singapore-listed Sino Construction, with Sino offering one of its own shares for every 4.5 Guildford shares held.
The takeover followed on from an August transaction, when the two companies reached a a $25-million sales agreement under which Sino Construction would acquire Guildford's Queensland coal assets. The assets would include the Clyde Park project, as well as the Pentland, Springsure, Hughenden Sunrise, Monto, Sierra and Kolan projects.
Guildford had advised its shareholders to take no action regarding the Sino offer, until the company could compile a formal response.
Meanwhile, Guildford on Thursday also announced the immediate resignation of nonexecutive director Alan Griffiths, due to business commitments, as well as the reappointment of Craig Ransley as acting chairperson, effective immediately.
Link to GUF board update, November 19
Link to GUF board update, November 13
Drilling Underway at Berkh Uul Coal Project, Mongolia
November 21 -- Viking Mines Limited (ASX: VKA, the "Company" or "Viking") advises that it has commenced its planned drilling program at the Company's 100% owned Berkh Uul coal project in northern Mongolia (Figure 1).
The drilling program is designed to infill and extend the existing drill coverage, commencing in the north-east of the licence area where there is pre-existing drilling within the confines of the current 38Mt resource. The proposed drilling will progress to the south, targeting extensions to the deposit to add to the current resource.
Selected drill core samples will be transported to Ulaanbaatar on completion of the program for testing by an accredited analytical laboratory.
ASIC Approval for Extension of Time to Hold AGM Received, AGM Announced on 12 December
Modun Suspends Trading Pending Announcement
November 21 -- The securities of Modun Resources Limited (ASX:MOU, the "Company") will be suspended from quotation immediately at the request of the Company pending the release of an announcement.
Petrovis Rejects EBRD Nominee to Petro Matad Board – AGM Results
November 21 -- The directors of Petro Matad Ltd (AIM:MATD) announce that at the Company's Annual General Meeting held in Ulaanbaatar today, resolutions 1, 2, 5 and 6 were duly passed. However, resolutions 3 and 4, regarding the re-appointment of Mary Ellen Collins (non-executive director representing EBRD) and David Skeels (non-executive director) as directors of the Company, were not passed.
The Company's major shareholder, Petrovis Matad Ltd, together with associated entities and persons, called for a poll vote in the meeting and subsequently voted against resolutions 3 and 4. Their votes were sufficient to defeat both resolutions. Accordingly, Mary Ellen Collins and David Skeels have not been re-appointed to the Petro Matad board of directors.
The directors note that EBRD has the right to nominate and to have appointed a member of the board of directors.
A further announcement will be made in due course.
MEC Completes Subscription of 2014 Convertible Notes, Settles Existing Convertible Notes
November 21, Mongolia Energy Corp. Ltd. (HKEx:276) --
COMPLETION OF THE SUBSCRIPTIONS
The Board is pleased to announce that all conditions precedent under the Subscription Agreements have been fulfilled and the completion of the Subscriptions was taken place on 21 November 2014.
SETTLEMENT OF THE EXISTING CONVERTIBLE NOTES
Upon issue of the 2014 Convertible Notes, all outstanding principal amounts and accrued interests of the Existing 3.5% GI Convertible Note, the Existing 5% GI Convertible Note, the Existing 3% CTF Convertible Note, the Existing 5% CTF Convertible Note and the Existing SF Convertible Notes were settled.
ADJUSTMENTS TO THE OUTSTANDING SHARE OPTIONS – Mongolia Energy Corp, November 21
Xanadu Appoints BBY as Financial Advisor to Rights Issue
November 19 -- Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX: XAM – "Xanadu") is pleased to announce the appointment of BBY Limited ("BBY") as exclusive financial advisor to assist with the rights issue that will be undertaken immediately following approval of the A$13.64 million Placement at the Company's AGM on 28 November 2014 ("Rights Issue").
Under the Rights Issue, existing Shareholders on record will be given the opportunity to subscribe for additional Xanadu shares. The record date is expected to be on or about 4 December 2014. The record date will be before the Placement shares are allotted and therefore only existing shareholders can participate in the Rights Issue. The issue price under the Rights Issue will be the same as the Placement price of 12.26 cents per share. The Company is working with BBY on the details of the Rights Issue including its exact size (which as previously disclosed is expected to be within the range of US$6 million (A$6.8 million) and US$10 million (A$11.4 million)). More information will be provided once finalised and approved by the Board.
Table 1 on page 12 of the Notice of Meeting for the Annual General Meeting dated 23 October 2014 sets out the Use of Proceeds from the Placement and Rights Issue assuming the maximum of US$10 million (A$11.4 million) is raised from the Rights Issue (i.e. US$22 million (A$25 million) is raised in total when coupled with the Placement). For completeness this table is reproduced below to include Use of Proceeds with a minimum target size of the Rights Issue of US$6 million (A$6.8 million) (i.e. US$18 million (A$20.5 million) in total).
Placement & Rights Issue Proceeds
New Shares Issued
Exploration & Corporate
* Note that the funds allocated to repayment of the Deferred Consideration is 50% of the equity funds raised, as required by the Kharmagtai acquisition terms up to a total of US$10.0 million (A$11.4 million), being the purchase consideration due in November 2015.
Release of Shares from Voluntary Escrow (5,000,000 shares as part of consideration for 90% acquisition of Oyut Ulaan copper gold project)
Prophecy Special Meeting of Shareholders on December 19 to Approve Name Change to Prophecy Development Corp
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 17, 2014) - Prophecy Coal Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY)(OTCQX:PRPCF)(FRANKFURT:1P2) will hold a special meeting of shareholders on December 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM (PST) (the "Special Meeting") at the Board Room - 2nd Floor, 342 Water Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1B6.
At the Special Meeting, shareholders will be asked to approve an amendment to the Company's Articles to change the name of the Company to "Prophecy Development Corp." (the "Name Change") to better reflect its various interests in current coal and energy projects in Mongolia, pending acquisition of a silver-lead-zinc project in Bolivia (as disclosed in the Company's press release dated November 4, 2014), and to allow for the broadening development and evolution of the Company's business interests as it actively pursues new opportunities.
Although shareholder approval of the Name Change is being sought at the Special Meeting, such Name Change would become effective at a future date to be determined by the Board when it considers it to be in the best interests of the Company to implement. The proposed Name Change is also subject to certain regulatory approvals, including the approval of the TSX and the Registrar of Companies under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia).
Winsway sells stake in Grand Cache Coal to Up Energy
[ET Net News Agency, 19 November 2014] Winsway Enterprises (01733) said it agreed to sell to Up Energy Development (00307) 42.74% of all the issued and outstanding shares in the capital of Grande Cache Coal Corporation (GCC) for US$1.
Upon completion, Winsway will hold a 17.26% interest in the total issued share capital of GCC and a 17.254% partnership interest in Grande Cache Coal LP.
GCC is engaged in the production and sales of premium hard coking coal, which was categorised as a discontinued operation in the consolidated statement of profit or loss and the assets and liabilities of which were classified as a disposal group held for sale.
In response to the bearish outlook for the coal market, Winsway has after careful consideration decided to reduce its dependence on coal and to diversify into services for other bulk commodities. Although these efforts have not yet resulted in significant earnings, the company is confident that the proposed new business model will enable it to better utilise its logistics resources and contribute to its earnings in the near future.
Trading in shares of Winsway will be resumed this morning.
MSE Weekly, November 17-21: Top 20 -2.77% to 14,835.26, Turnover ₮76 Million, T-Bills ₮5.3 Billion
Ulaanbaatar, November 21 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange November 17-21 of 2014. In overall, 175 thousand and 981 shares were sold of 33 joint-stock companies totalling MNT five billion 413 million 305 thousand and 581.20.
"Hermes center" /82 thousand and 506 units/, "Remikon" /9,480 units/, "Merex" /6,709 units/, "Hai Bi Oil" /5,954 units/ and "APU" /4,781 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"APU" (MNT 17 million 668 thousand and 733), "Hermes center" (MNT 14 million 768 thousand and 574), "Bayangol hotel" /MNT six million and 380 thousand/, "Darkhan nekhii" /MNT five million 783 thousand and 200/ and "Talkh chikher" (MNT five million and 439 thousand).
FMG Mongolia Fund Drops 8.16% in October After 3 Months of Gains
MSE Announces Changes to Top 20 Index Following Ulaanbaatar Hotel Delisting, Adds Darkhan Nekhii
November 14 (MSE) According to resolution No.:376 of Financial regulatory commission, dated on 21 October 2014, "Ulaanbaatar Hotel"JSC delisted from MSE listing. Therefore, Top-20 index basket made changes due to removing "Ulaanbaatar Hotel" JSC and adding "Dakhan Nekhii" JSC.
Starting from 17 November 2014, renewed TOP-20 index will be calculated.
MSE Opens Bids for ₮89.7 Billion 28-Week T-Bills
November 19 (MSE) Information on government securities that have been offered to the public
1. The issuer's name: Mongolian Ministry of Finance
2. The purpose of the issuance of bond: Financing Mongolia's budget deficit
3. Offering scope of securities: Offering to the public
4. Type of securities: Government securities
5. Face value: 100,000 MNT
6. Discounted price: 91,952.00
7. Amount: 897,339
8. Securities performance:
9. Rate of interest: interest rate of the Government Securities, which will be issued weekly will be based on auction results of Central Bank basis State Government Securities weighted average interest rate. If the Central Bank's weekly trading cancelled, the interest rate will be set based on the previous trading of Government Securities weighted average interest rate.
10. Order deadline: The Mongolian Stock Exchange will take orders 6 days and the trading will close on the 6th day at 14.00 PM and information on total orders will be delivered to the securities issuer.
11. Trading period: Total registered orders distribution of MSE trading system will be determined based on the Ministry of Finance votes.
MSE CEO Meets with EBRD Representatives
November 13 (MSE) On 12 November 2014, Angar.D, acting CEO of MSE, met with representatives of European Bank of Reconstruction and Development /EBRD/.
During the meeting, representatives of EBRD acquainted with current situation of MSE, government retail bond trading and urgent issues of market; and both parties exchanged views on potential future development and future cooperation between MSE and EBRD.
In 2013, Ministry of Finance of Mongolia has signed a Memorandum of understanding with EBRD, which includes launching "Increase lending in local currency" program, which includes bank's roles to develop Mongolian capital market.
Regarding to the official letter to president of EBRD Suma Chakrabarti from Mongolian side, representatives from head office of EBRD in London arrived in Mongolia, and both parties agreed to continue cooperation discuss in near future.
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, November 21 Close
October MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
FDI Down 59%, Current Account Deficit -54% in First 3 Quarters - Preliminary
November 21 (Bank of Mongolia) Balance of payment (BoP) for first 3 quarters shows that current and financial account deficit have increased by US$ 186.1 million and US$ 120.4 million respectively, thus errors and omission has decreased by US$ 108.2 million from the preliminary BoP released on 30th of September.
Quarterly BoP (July, August and September) alters from the preliminary release as it is executed using the data from the quarterly surveys of enterprises, international trade statistics, state budget report, information from the banking system and Mongolian enterprises' balances at foreign accounts.
Current account deficit stands at US$ 1,114.7 million which is decrease of 54 percent or US$ 1,301.2 million from the previous year. This is due to (i) deficit of trade in goods decreased by 128 percent, thus showed surplus of US$ 317.3 million; (ii) deficit of trade in services increased by 7 percent to US$ 1,016.7 million; (iii) deficit of income account rose by 28 percent to US$ 556.7 million; and (iv) current transfer increased by 33 percent to US$ 141.4 million.
Balance of capital and financial accounts showed surplus of US$ 660.8 million which is decrease of 31 percent, equals to US$ 299.6 million from the previous year. Although foreign direct investment in Mongolia declined by 59 percent on YoY basis that equals to US$ 971.3 million, portfolio and other investment offset this huge drop.
Fitch Keeps Mongolia Outlook Negative Amid Loose Macro Policy
November 18 (International Business Times) Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday that three of the 18 Asia-Pacific sovereigns it rates are on negative outlook with one on positive and the rest on stable outlook, according to its November report.
In Mongolia, loose macro policy settings pose growing risk to economic and financial stability, Fitch said.
Inflationary pressures are much higher with CPI rate at 13% and budget deficit of 11% is also huge for Mongolia.
In addition to that, foreign exchange reserves are down 31% year-on-year by September and the currency has weakened around 10%. Non-performing loans are growing at 10%, complicating the case of the country that borders China and Russia
BoM issues ₮86.4 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -23.2% to ₮229.5 billion
November 21 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 86.4 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
BoM FX auction: US$6.3m sold at ₮1,883.51, CNY47.5m at ₮307.6, accepts $70m USD, $1.5m MNT swap offers
November 20 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on November 20th, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer of 34.7 million USD and 98.5 million CNY from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 6.3 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1883.51 and 47.5 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 307.6.
On November 20th, 2014, The BOM has received USD SWAP agreement ask offer of 70.0 million USD and MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 1.5 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.
GoM Treasury Auction: ₮15 Billion 28-Week Bills (from ₮40 Billion Offered) Sold at Discount
November 19 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 40.0 billion MNT. Face value of 15.0 billion MNT /out of 15.0 billion MNT bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 16.300%.
GoM Bond Auction: ₮50 Billion 5-Year Bills at Premium, Average Yield 16.8% with ₮53 Billion Bids
November 19 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 5 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 50 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 50.0 billion /out of 53.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at premium price and with weighted average yield of 16.800%
GoM Treasury Auction: ₮10 Billion 12-Week Bills Sold at Discount
November 12 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 40.0 billion MNT. Face value of 10.0 billion MNT /out of 30.0 billion MNT bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 15.990%.
Consolidated Balance Sheet of Banks, October 2014
October 18 (Bank of Mongolia) --
Central bank bills
In domestic currency
In foreign currency
In domestic currency
In foreign currency
In domestic currency
In foreign currency
Profit/loss of current year
BoM Monthly Statistical Bulletin, October 2014 – October 18
Mongolia's Foreign Trade Review, October 2014 – October 17
Mongolia gets new prime minister as economy slumps
(Reporting by Terrence Edwards; Writing by David Stanway; Editing by Nick Macfie)
November 21 (Reuters) - Mongolia's parliament has appointed Chimed Saikhanbileg as prime minister, it said on Friday, more than two weeks after it ousted his predecessor for failing to get to grips with a slumping economy and foreign investment.
Saikhanbileg replaces Norov Altankhuyag, who was removed from his post following a no-confidence vote on Nov. 5 amid concerns about a serious economic downturn in the landlocked Asian country, which depends heavily on foreign mining investment and commodity prices.
Saikhanbileg was a member of Altankhuyag's cabinet.
Dale Choi, an independent Mongolian mining analyst, said the appointment of Saikhanbileg represented "business as usual" for the government, and could further drive away foreign investment.
"If Mongolia cannot get its house in order now then everyone will have to wait until 2016 (elections)... and only a few large foreign investors have the funding cushion to afford that," Choi said in emailed comments.
Only two out of the 44 members of parliament present during this morning's session voted against Saikhanbileg, but the opposition Mongolian People's Party (MPP) refused to attend.
The MPP rejected Saikhanbileg on Thursday evening, saying in a statement that as a member of Altankhuyag's cabinet, he was "instrumental" in the deterioration of the country's economy.
Mongolia sits on some of the world's most promising mineral deposits, but it has so far struggled to convert its vast underground wealth into tangible economic gains, amid disputes with foreign investors and delays to big mining and infrastructure projects.
Turquoise Hill Resources, co-owner of Mongolia's huge Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine, expressed concern last week that the ousting of Altankhuyag could prolong a long-running dispute over the property.
The new prime minister must sign a memorandum of understanding before banks will lend $4 billion to the Oyu Tolgoi project.
Those funds will be used for the construction of a mine expansion that Rio Tinto, the majority owner of Turquoise Hill and operator of the mine, says will unlock 80 percent of the wealth.
"I'm sure he'll try (to fix Oyu Tolgoi) but he was in the cabinet for the past three years and we're still at a deadlock," said Bontoi Munkhdul, head of market intelligence firm Cover Mongolia.
"But he's well liked in the business community," he added.
Foreign investment into Mongolia has slumped 59 percent in the first three quarters of this year, and falling commodity prices have also hit the country's earnings and put the government's ambitious spending plans under heavy pressure.
New Mongolian Prime Minister Approved With Vow to Revive Growth – Michael Kohn, Bloomberg, November 21
Mongolia parliament elects new prime minister – Lucy Hornby, Financial Times, November 21
New leader must resuscitate stalling economy – Terrence Edwards, Nikkei Asian Review, November 21
Mongolian parliament approves appointment of PM despite opposition boycott – Xinhua, November 21
Mongolia elects new PM as economy stalls – AFP, November 21
Struggling Mongolia picks new premier – Deutsche Welle, November 21
Opposition refuses to work with the new government
November 21 (news.mn) The opposition MPP caucus members failed to attend today's plenary session meeting of Parliament voting on the nomination of Ch.Saikhanbileg for PM.
The MPP previously announced that the MPP would not support Ch.Saikhanbileg for PM, as he worked towards the ousting of the reform government as head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government, and would not attend the plenary session meeting.
MPP caucus head S.Byambatsogt held a press conference after Ch.Saikhanbileg was approved as 28th PM of Mongolia by parliament.
S.Byambatsogt said, "The DP should take responsibility, as it nominated the Head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government under the former government for PM."
The MPP caucus head also noted that the MPP would not work with the new government.
He added, "If Ch.Saikhanbileg carries proper policy, we will support him. If not, we will call the government to accountability."
The MPP caucus head emphasized at the end of the press conference, "The DP accepted that the country is facing a real economic downturn, as the MPP warned of numerous times."
Mongolian opposition party rejects new PM nomination – Xinhua, November 19
Saikhanbileg Elected Prime Minister
By Julian Dierkes
November 20 (Mongolia Focus) On the morning of November 21, the Mongolian parliament elected Ch Saikhanbileg as the new prime minister.
He was elected by a 42:2 vote which means that 32 members of the State Great Khural were absent for the voting. While I'm waiting for an exact listing of votes cast the absence of the MPP from the vote suggests that he was elected with (near-)unanimous support from the previous DP+Justice Coalition + Civil Will Green Party coalition.
Assessing a Future Saikhanbileg Government
I had previously posted some thoughts on what a Prime Minister Saikhanbileg might signal (compared to R Amarjargal by comparison).
Some days later now, my basic assessment holds. It is hard – though possible – to imagine Prime Minister Saikhanbileg elected by the same coalition as a significant departure from the previous government and it is thus equally hard to place great faith in his government in addressing some of the pressing social and economic issues that Mongolia is facing.
The two aspects of his election that might lead to a slightly more optimistic assessment are: his age (born in 1969 he is clearly of a different generation from leaders like Altankhuyag, Amarjargal or Pres. Elbegdorj) and the possibility of a more pragmatic cabinet of experts and professionals (following the political mood that I found earlier in the week in Ulaanbaatar in this regard).
By contrast, Saikhanbileg's role in the previous government as cabinet secretary and his biography as a career politician (he was an MP and minister during the 1996-2000 period of DP government which turned somewhat disastrous in the last two years) do not give much cause for optimism. (Mogi: he was minister between 1998-1999)
The final cause for some concern is the chaotic manner in which this election came about. Given how seemingly self-destructive some of the political games that were played by leaders were and the extent to which a comparison with the implosion of the Democratic Union coalition in 1998-2000 seems obvious, there may be some doubts about how durable the Saikhanbileg government will be. It would be surprising to see Saikhanbileg serve out the remainder of the term until June 2016 from my perspective. The next moment of ferment might come after the lunar year, a period going into the Spring that traditionally brings some restlessness to Mongolian politics. (Mogi: I have higher hopes than the prof. on prospects of Saikhanbileg serving out his term till 2016)
I had previously posted a bio for Saikhanbileg and re-post that here:
Some Background on Saikhanbileg
Chimed Saikhanbileg (Чимэдийн Сайханбилэг) was born in 1969 in Dornod. He was educated at Moscow State University for the Humanities (History), at the National University of Mongolia (Law) and at George Washington University (Law). He speaks English and Russian.
Saikhanbileg was an MP from 1996-2000 and served as Minister of Education 1998-2000 (Mogi: more precisely the Minister for Enlightenment, yes, enlightenment, between 1998-1999 during Elbegdorj). More recently he has served as Minister of the Cabinet Office under Prime Minister N Altankhuyag since 2012. He was elected as an MP in 2008 from Ulaanbaatar's Bayanzurkh-Nalaikh riding and re-elected in 2012 from the DP party list.
He came into the Democratic Party from the Mongolian Youth Federation where he was president from 1997-2002. From 2008-12 he served as the leader of the Democratic caucus in parliament.
In both his most recent roles, i.e. as caucus chair 2008-12 and as cabinet secretary he has been associated primarily with party work and has had less of a public profile on policy issues. He belongs to the Polarstar faction of the DP. He is said to have had a very good relationship with frm. President Enkhbayar but is also perceived to be close to Pres Elbegdorj.
While Saikhanbileg has Twitter and Facebook accounts he has largely stayed off social media for the past year. Along with former wrestler Bat-Erdene, he may well be the tallest member of parliament. (Mogi: he looks to have returned to social media: @ChSaikhanbileg, /Ch.Saikhanbileg)
Political Mood Amid Chaos – Julian Dierkes for Mongolia Focus, November 18
Side Notes on Very Brief Visit – Julian Dierkes for Mongolia Focus, November 18
Mogi: local reports say it was an ATV, not a car
Ex-Mongolia PM seriously injured in car crash
Ulan Bator, November 24 (IANS) The former prime minister of Mongolia, Norov Altankhuyag was seriously wounded in a car crash on Sunday, media reported.
A Little Correction to Mr. Enkhsaikhan's Push for Constitutional Reform
By Mendee Jargalsaikhan
November 21 (Mongolia Focus) Coinciding with the birth of New Prime Minister, Mr. Enkhsaikhan, former Prime Minister and one of the political heavyweights, made an interesting presentation at the research workshop on the "Constitutional Reform" – link. He was sharing his view on creating a bicameral legislature and a strong president. For making his points clear, he referred to two academic sources. But, he didn't use his sources properly – either intentionally or unintentionally. And, I like to make a little correction.
He referred to Dr. Steven Fish's article – "The Inner Asian Anomaly: Mongolia's Democratization in Comparative Perspective" – published in the peer-reviewed journal of Communist and Post-Communist Studies in 2001. First, Enkhsaikhan was correct that Fish called Mongolia as an anomaly, but Dr. Fish wouldn't interpret as Mr. Enkhsaikhan did. Second, Fish didn't mean that the political institutionalization of Mongolia had intention to destroy (in the Enkhsaikhan's line "to burn") the state institution.
There are two scholars (political scientists) examined our political institutionalization processes and published several in the peer-reviewed, academic journals. One is Dr. Steven Fish.
His first article appeared in the Journal of Democracy in 1998 – argued that Mongolia's democratic transition succeeded due five factors: (1) to the compromise between the communist party leaders and the opposition in 1990, (2) institutional choice of semi-presidentialism in the 1992 Constitution, (3) a strong multi-party system, and (5) vibrant civil society. Therefore, Mongolia made a successful transition to democracy without any prerequisites.
Then, in 2001, he compared Mongolia with five Central Asian states and asked why only Mongolia succeeded in transition and was moving forward to the democratic consolidation. So for him, Mongolia's successful trajectory of democracy was an anomaly in comparison with Central Asian states, but not other democracies. In other words, theories that explain the political trajectories (e.g., failure of democratization and autocracy) of post-Soviet states, esp., those in Central Asia, could not explain the Mongolia's success; therefore, Mongolia is a theoretically deviant, outlier case.
He listed five reasons – why the Mongolian democracy was successful. First, Mongolia did not have abundant natural resources, especially oil and gas. Second, Mongolia was not geo-strategically important for great powers, especially for Russia during 1990s. Third, Mongolia, given its location and the small size of population, did not have any pretensions to becoming a regional power like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Fourth, there was no national father figure in Mongolia at a time of transition. Fifth, Mongolia successfully dispersed the political power between the president and the parliament while all five Central Asian states and Russia concentrated power in one institution – the president. This is the article, Mr. Enkhsaikhan referred.
Interestingly, I would like to share a few of Dr. Fish's warnings for Mongolia – because he was (in 2001) still considering Mongolia was in transition and needed to pass some tests. It might be easier, to cite them:
"….if Mongolia's hopes for great oil wealth [natural resources] are realized, the state may quickly become little more than a battleground for actors seeking control over the proceeds from oil rents. Such a circumstance would critically endanger democratization" (p. 336).
"Were Putin to pick a particular politician or political force in Mongolia and back such an individual or force unconditionally, democracy's prospects in Mongolia could suffer severely" (p. 336).
"Whether Mongolia can maintain a reasonably high level of democratic attainment depends in large part on the skill and imagination of its political leaders" (p. 337).
Later in the same year, he also included Mongolia in his comparative study of post-communist states in Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics. The book is called Postcommunism and Theory of Democracy. One of his major findings was that only states, including Mongolia, that avoided the superpresidentialism through dispersement of power between the president and parliament, remained as democracy in the post-communist bloc. And, he even presented his formula for democratic reversals that would lead into superpresidentialism by using the presidential powers.
Although we're always sceptical about foreign scholars who are writing on Mongolia, we could not misinterpret their research findings, especially when they devoted reasonable efforts by talking to our politicians from both spectrum, bureaucrats, scholars, and foreign observers. Dr. Fish had provided the list of his interviewees.
In sum, I don't think that Dr. Enkhsaikhan's usage of the scholarly source was helpful for our academic and policy debates over political institutionalization if we misinterpret it. However, I am very glad that politicians are devoting their valuable time and effort to connect the theory and practice before going into a difficult battle.
What is behind the lavish bonuses for tax officials?
November 16 (UB Post) The heads of the city's taxation departments received up to nearly 800 million MNT in cash bonuses for exceeding budget planning for collected taxes.
As citizens and residents of Mongolia, all workers are required to pay taxes that make up the state's funds. We believe that we will get something valuable for paying our taxes.
Here is one example of the problem facing taxpayers: the taxation department of one UB district received 775.9 million MNT for surplus taxes of 2.58 billion MNT.
The question is why aren't taxpayers, instead of the officials who collect taxes, being rewarded?
Who received the cash bonuses?
Sukhbaatar District was awarded 800 million MNT for collecting a surplus of 4.2 billion MNT. Forty percent of the surplus, or 360 million MNT, was transferred to the General Department of Taxation (GDT), 40 million to the head of the district's taxation department, 40 million to head of the finance and state fund department, 54 million to the tax collection department, and 2.2 million to each tax inspector.
Bayangol District was awarded 574 million MNT, out which 200 million was shifted to the GDT, 20 million to the head of the department, 12 million to each senior inspector, and another senior inspector got 5 million MNT as a cash bonus.
Bayanzurkh District was granted 1 billion 174 million MNT. The head of the department got 273 million, and 528.7 million went to 32 officials.
Songinokhairkhan District got 501 million MNT. The head of the department received a 75 million MNT bonus.
Khan-Uul District was granted 416 million MNT and Chingeltei District was awarded 250 million MNT.
The General Department of Taxation says that the bonuses are connected to the local administrations. We investigated how the heads of the taxation departments grant bonuses to themselves.
We discovered that the taxation departments get bonuses according to a performance agreement. If the taxation departments collect surplus taxes, they get a bonus of 30 to 50 percent of the surplus amount.
Who benefits from the performance agreement?
The performance agreement is held between the head of a district taxation department, the head of the finance department of a district, and the department of state funds.
The agreement states that if a district can fulfill tax revenue planning, they can receive 30 percent of the amount collected beyond the budget projections. This raises the question of why there would be surplus tax revenue collected. Are taxation incomes planned much lower than they should be?
Is this evidence of corruption?
Taxes are divided into income, property and sales tax in Mongolia, and the state has become highly dependent on taxes collected from mining. Why is this money lining civil service worker pockets instead of being applied to the state budget?
Bonuses distributed to UB tax officials in recent years
The City Taxation Department
Source: Daily News
Mogul Power LLC Signs Binding Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese State Owned Enterprise SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Corporation
-Mogul Power LLC, backed by affiliates of New York-based investment manager Firebird Management LLC, signs binding Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese State Owned Enterprise SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Corporation for the development and financing of the Tevshiin Gobi power plant project.
BEIJING, Nov. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Mogul Power LLC, a Mongolian company founded and financed by two funds managed by an affiliate of New York-based Firebird Management LLC ("Firebird"), is pleased to announce that it has signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Corporation ("SEPCOIII"), a Chinese state-owned enterprise, for the development and financing of the Tevshiin Gobi power plant project. The management teams of Mogul Power LLC, Firebird, and SEPCOIII attended the sigining ceremony at the Embassy of Mongolia to the People's Republic of China in Beijing, and once again expressed their intention to work together to successfully develop the project.
The 600MW Tevshiin Gobi mine mouth power project, requiring an estimated $1 billion USD and owned by Mogul Power, will be constructed at the Tevshiin Gobi coal deposit in the Santsagaan Sum of the Dondgobi province. The power plant feasibility study was completed by an American energy engineering firm, Burns and Roe Enterprises Inc., and approved by the Mongolian Ministry of Energy in 2013. The project has received a permit to construct from the Mongolian Energy Regulatory Commission, and approval of its Environmental Impact Assessment from the Ministry of Environment.
SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Corporation, founded in 1985 is an international EPC power contractor and a leading subsidiary of China's energy services corporation, Power Construction Corporation of China (also known as PowerChina). SEPCOIII has broad experience in the international power sector - including gas and coal power plants, wind, solar, hydro, nuclear and biomass, as well as substations and transmission lines. With a long list of awards and nominations, SEPCOIII has completed high quality works worldwide on over 33,500 MW of capacity as of 2013, which brought in revenue of RMB 13.5 billion ($2.23 billion). Since 2013, SEPCOIII's strategy has broadened to include the Independent Power Producer business sector, hence SEPCOIII is now actively seeking power project investment opportunities internationally, including within Mongolia in particular.
Based in New York, Firebird started investing in Mongolia in 2006 and is the largest foreign institutional investor operating on the Mongolian Stock Exchange.
James Passin, Principal at Firebird, stated, "I am excited to advance this important energy project in Mongolia following the passage of the Investment Law in October 2013."
Mr. Zhang Hongsong, Vice President of SEPOCOIII, reiterated, "This project underpins the importance of the recent discussions for more energy cooperation - during the recent APEC meetings in Beijing and also recently addressed between the top leaders of both countries."
Mr. Sukhbaatar Tsedenjav, Ambassador of Mongolia to the People's Republic of China, was a witness to the signing and expressed his support for the project. "The government of Mongolia supports this project," he said, "which is the first mine-mouth IPP in the history of our country, and one of the first to pave the way for further cooperation between our two great countries."
For more information, contact Erdembileg Jugdernamjil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mongolia's Hunnu Air returns two A319s to lessor
Hunnu Air (MR, Ulaanbaatar) has returned both of its A319-100s to their lessor following a downturn in Mongolia's air travel market. The jets, having been delisted from the Mongolian registry, have now been re-registered as N175AG (cn 1750) and N176AG (cn 1706), on the US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) books.
Hunnu continues to operate three Fokker 50s on domestic as well as regional services to China.
New Grata Law Firm Offering 15% of Shares
Erdenebold T. Senior Partner at New Grata Law Firm
we are conducting restructuring and expanding our practice. And offering 15% of shares...
Interested persons and firms contact at: email@example.com, (976) 91113467
New web-based mining cadastre information services in Mongolia
November 17 (GISuser) The Cadastre Division of the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia (MRAM) has launched a new web portal in order to increase transparency in the Mongolian mining sector and offer enhanced services to the public and specific functionalities to investors (registered users) via the Internet.
The Computerised Mining Cadastre System (CMCS) was successfully implemented at the Cadastre Division of the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia in 2010, with the objective of strengthening and improving administrative procedures and public services related to mineral titling. The CMCS was developed by GAF AG and has substantially improved the quality and speed of licence transaction processing, reduced discretionary actions within the cadastre office, and prevented licences from overlapping other licences or protected areas. By now, the system is in operation since four years without any failure or disruption.
In 2014, the system was extended to include a dedicated web portal with real-time connection to the operational database. The main purpose of this portal is to enhance transparency in the mining sector by providing information to the general public and to governmental and private authorities and organisations about the mineral licensing activities in Mongolia, via the Internet. The services provided by the web portal enable visitors to:
· Obtain real-time access to mineral licensing information
· Retrieve information about present activities in the mineral sector, such as the tendering of areas for mineral licences
· Access forms, documents and key information required to file applications
For registered users, the web portal offers additional possibilities to further optimise the processing of applications for mineral licenses, as well as enhancing customer relations. The functions available to registered users include:
· Map and verify the availability of areas, and upload spatial data and respective alphanumeric information and application forms
· Track the processing of applications for new mineral licenses and licence modifications
The new portal is available at http://cmcs.mram.gov.mn.
Unitel Launches 3G Service Between Altanbulag – Zamyn-Uud border points
November 21 (infomongolia.com) The launching ceremony of establishing 3G telecommunication networks along the "A" Class auto road between northern and southern borders of Altanabulag and Zamyn-Uud that stretches up to 1,007 km was held on November 20, 2014.
The 3G networks are provided by one of four mobile phone operators in Mongolia, the Unitel Group and ceremony was held at the Khar Modot Davaa in Bayanchandmani Sum of Tuv Aimag.
The opening remark was delivered by Chairman of the Information Technology, Post and Telecommunication Authority of Mongolia Ts.Jadambaa noting, "There were set up 51 stations along the corridor between northern and southern borders. By accomplishing this large-scale project, not only riders on the road but also residents of these areas and passengers of train are available to receive the advanced 3G service provided by Unitel. Furthermore, we aim to cover all territory of Mongolia with this network in the near future".
Has Mongolia Wheat Production Recovered from 2013 Levels?
MONGOLIA, November 20 (TheCropSite) - Harvesting of the 2014 main season crops, mainly wheat, barley and oats, was completed with a slight delay in mid-October.
Latest official estimates put the 2014 wheat production at 465,000 tonnes, 26 per cent up from last year's weather-depressed harvest.
The increase in production reflects higher yields, following favourable climatic conditions between April and mid-August in the main producing areas and a 6 per cent increase in sowings compared to last year's reduced level.
Wheat imports forecast to decrease in 2014/15 marketing year (October/September)
Wheat and rice are the two major imported cereals, mainly from the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan.
Cereal imports in the 2014/15 marketing year (October/September) are forecast to decrease by 19 percent from last year's above-average level, to 105,800 tonnes.
This mainly reflects anticipated lower wheat imports, which are forecast at 70,000 tonnes, 22 per cent below last year's level, based on the recovery in production this year.
Similarly, rice imports in 2015 are anticipated to decrease from last year's level to 30,000 tonnes.
A Long Road From the World Cup to Mongolia
Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- It's a long and winding road from the World Cup final to mending roads in Mongolia..but that's the trip Theo de Yong has made. From playing football at the highest level, he's now tackling the infrastructure challenges facing his new home. Bloomberg TV Mongolia's Doya Baatar joined his team.
Luxury knitwear brand crowdfunds Mongolian Yak wool project
November 19 (Knitting Industry) Fair trade luxury knitwear brand Tengri has launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise funds for its ethical fashion projects in the UK and Mongolia. Hosted by the UK's biggest rewards based crowdfunding platform, the campaign aims to connect communities and to raise the company's profile.
A fairly recent phenomenon, crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.
Mongolian Yak wool
London based Tengri works collectively with yak herders in Mongolia as a fairshare business – sourcing and purchasing 100% pure yak wool, which it says is as soft as cashmere and warmer than merino wool.
The luxurious yak wool is then used to create bold knitwear pieces designed by Royal College of Art graduate and Knitting Industry blogger Carlo Volpi, and crafted by local hand-knitters and manufacturers in the town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders, which is known for its high quality knitwear manufacturing heritage.
Shortlisted for London & Paris Fashion Week 2015
The company has also been shortlisted to showcase its debut Warrior collection for the London and Paris Fashion Week 2015 Fashion Scout panel.
"I'm thrilled that Tengri has been shortlisted by Fashion Scout to showcase our debut collection at the 2015 London and Paris Fashion Week. It's been an amazing journey for Tengri," commented Nancy Johnston, Tengri's founder.
"From working directly with herders in Mongolia to source the wool, creating a fashion brand, designing and producing the collection in the UK – it's an adventure. It's a great honour to represent a brand that stands for community spirit and collective action and I hope the support continues in our crowdfunding campaign."
Tengri's debut Warrior collection launched in September, at a music and fashion event hosted by the fashion brand at London's Truman Brewery.
The collection has been developed in collaboration with Drapers Fashion Awards finalist Shoes By Bryan, and includes women's 3D printed shoes made from Mongolian yak leather.
According to Nancy Johnston, Tengri is a fashion label that brings together design, fashion, ethics, business, environmental activism and individual consumer choice.
The idea behind Tengri was conceived by Nancy Johnston, a social entrepreneur, when she was travelling with friends and staying with herder families in Mongolia. Nancy became fascinated by the delicate and interwoven relationship between people, animals and the land, developing a deeper understanding and respect for the bond between the herder families' livelihoods, their yaks, and the Mongolian landscape.
This experience inspired Nancy to set up Tengri and back in London, with modest life savings and the support of an extended network of friends in fashion, design, community development, marketing, business and product development, Tengri was born.
"We do more than fairtrade and social responsibility. Our business is about being fair and sharing our skills, time and effort freely with small and medium-sized enterprises in Mongolia. Life is not just about give and take; sometimes it is just about creating and giving... with a purpose," says Nancy Johnston.
"Tengri is built on a commitment to craftsmanship, collective action and challenging the status quo. We are driven by long-term thinking about the ecology, economy, people and spirit of Mongolia. Respect for the delicate balance between human existence and nature is at the heart of our approach. Working with cooperatives of herders, as well as spinning, processing and knitting companies, we aim to help preserve the Mongolian landscape and support nomadic herders' way of life."
This commitment applies to the way every Tengri product is made. The company's 'Handmade in Britain' collection is created by expert knitters recruited specifically for their outstanding skills and experience.
Legatum's 2014 Prosperity Index: Asia Positives For Entrepreneurship, Indonesia, Mongolia
By Jon Springer
November 14 (Forbes) The 2014 edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index was released in early November. A key difference in how the Index is calculated compared to other indices of global economies is that it "is the only global measurement of prosperity based on both income and wellbeing." Those seeing the Index for the first time may find some surprising rankings as the Index equally weights the eight categories (or sub-indices) that combine to make the rank of a country: Economy, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity, Governance, Education, Health, Safety & Security, Personal Freedom and Social Capital.
Springer: Mongolia is 50 places ahead of India in the 2014 Legatum Prosperity Index. What is going right in Mongolia that the new Prime Minister to-be should keep up (as the office is currently vacated) and what is going wrong in India that the recently elected Prime Minister Modi needs to fix?
Maltby: Mongolia's biggest relative improvement has been in the Economy, an area where India has declined. Whilst Mongolia still ranks behind India in the Economy sub-index, it has moved from 90th to 73rd since 2009, whilst India has fallen from 43rd to 58th.
Nehmeliin Shar apartments face rocky renovations
November 16 (UB Post) The apartments of Nehmeliin Shar are very old and ready to be demolished. Authorities have made official statements about the poor conditions of the buildings. As a result, reconstruction of the apartments has been planned, but residents have faced conflicts with the district in seeing those plans carried out.
Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul promised the renovation of old buildings and construction of new apartments instead of ger districts in his election campaign. He told the residents of Nehmeliin Shar that he would help with the renovation if they found a construction company. The residents eventually made an agreement with Fuji Holding to carry out the work.
Fuji Holding uses the latest construction technology from Japan. The company promised residents they would renovate the apartments with high quality materials and provide an extra eight square meters of space after finishing the construction. Agreeing to these terms, Fuji Holding and some residents sent estimates for construction material to the relevant officials.
The District Mayor of Khan-Uul District, J.Gankhuyag, has since been accused of disrupting the construction work and even went so far as to choose Orchlon Construction through a second selection process.
The right of Orchlon Construction to participate in government tenders was restricted from 2011 to June 1, 2015, due to corporate irresponsibility. Concerns have been raised that the company was considered for participation in this tender.
People who reside in other apartments built by Orchlon Construction complained about the poor quality of the buildings to the press on February 25, 2013. Residents dealt with windows that got icy in winter, the floors in some buildings broke down, and walls and ceilings were cracked. The exteriors of the buildings were catastrophic. Residents were very disappointed.
Orchlon Construction have attemped to force the residents of Nehmeliin Shar to move out. "District Mayor J.Gankhuyag forced us to choose Orchlon Construction and even threatened us with his authority. Why must we choose this unqualified company? We are standing against it," say residents.
The residents of Nehmeliin Shar are very disappointed and they want to impeach their district mayor. A banner with a slogan to remove the district mayor was hung from the apartments of Nehmeliin Shar. Khan-Uul is a district with a large population and lots of land. It is shameful to see the slogan covering the old building, complaining about the J.Gankhuyag.
This incident shows us that some authorities abuse their rights and commission only the projects they want. Some of them are the managers of companies earning state contracts, and state policy is regularly challenged by their selection for tenders.
If the conflict continues, residents of Nehmeliin Shar are prepared to go on a hunger strike to battle for their rights.
Recently, a meeting between Mayor E.Bat-Uul, District Mayor J.Gankhuyag, and residents of Nehmeliin Shar took place. At the meeting, the Mayor officially stated, "Residents will not choose the construction company. Instead, the Evaluation Committee will choose the observer and make an agreement. But still, residents have the right to give permission. Orchlon Construction will not participate in the tender. District Mayor J.Gankhuyag must start the tender announcement soon. Overall, six companies will be considered.
The following interview was conducted with the Head of the Evaluation Committee, J.Gankhuyag
When will the tender results be announced?
Since the city mayor gave us this duty, we are going to assess the materials and announce the results this week.
Authorities say that the Evaluation Committee disrupted the construction work previously. Is this true?
No, we did not. We are protecting the rights of our citizens. We will select the companies following rules and regulations. After all the companies are selected, and when the construction work is ready to begin, then we will demolish the old buildings and start the reconstruction. Previously, there were no instances of disrupting the apartments.
Some companies made agreements with some residents and some people have moved out of their apartments, right?
I have heard that several agreements were made between companies and residents. We do not have the right to forbid that. But according to policy, people must have their say after a construction company is chosen.
Source: Undesnii Shuudan
Russia, Mongolia switch to simplified visa regime
The agreement on terms of mutual trips by citizens was signed September 3, 2014 in the presence of Russian and Mongolian presidents Vladimir Putin and Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
ULAN-BATOR, November 14. /TASS/. The Russian-Mongolian agreement on easing visa requirements entered into force from Friday.
Vladimir Goryachev, the counselor of the Russian embassy in Mongolia, told TASS that Russians will now be able to stay in Mongolia, and Mongolians in Russia, for 30 days without visas.
The counselor said the overall duration of stay should not exceed 90 days over six months.
"Persons who plan to stay over 30 days, as well as persons who go to study, work or engage in commercial activity, should get visas," Goryachev said.
"There is no talk of a full cancelation of the visa regime, but this simplification is rather significant and it makes trips substantially easier for citizens who intend to maintain business, economic, cultural and kin relations," he said.
The agreement on terms of mutual trips by citizens was signed September 3, 2014 in the presence of Russian and Mongolian presidents Vladimir Putin and Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.
According to Goryachev, over 15,000 Russians visited Mongolia and some 18,000 Mongolians visited the Russian Federation last year.
Mongolia, Vietnam Mark 60 Years Of Diplomatic Ties
HANOI, Nov 18 (Bernama) -- Vietnam and Mongolia on Monday celebrated 60 years of diplomatic relations in Vietnam's capital Hanoi, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Cao Duc Phat acknowledged the progress in political, socio-economic and cultural fields at a ceremony attended by officials from both countries here.
"The Vietnamese government is keen to foster cooperation and ties with Mongolia for the benefit of the two countries," he said.
Mongolian ambassador Enkhbat said bilateral ties had come a long way which saw development in economy, agriculture, education and national defence.
At the event, Enkhbat was awarded Vietnam's Friendship Order and Mongolia's highest state accolade, the Order of the Polar Star and the Friendship Order were presented to several Vietnamese individuals for contributing to bilateral ties.
President Truong Tan Sang conveyed his congratulation to Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj for the anniversary of Vietnam-Mongolia diplomatic relations.
SUMO/ Hakuho claims 32nd championship, ties immortal Taiho on Day 15
November 23 (The Asahi Shimbun) A determined Hakuho made short work of fellow yokozuna Kakuryu to take his 32nd career title and a place in the record books alongside Taiho on Nov. 23 on the final day of the 15-day Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho, who had a 33-4 record against Kakuryu going into the bout, fired out at his opponent from the face-off and never let up. Kakuryu (12-3) had no openings to work with and was drilled over the edge. Had Hakuho lost, he would have had to fight a tie-breaker. But he made sure that wouldn't be necessary.
Hakuho's 32nd title matches the career record of sumo great Taiho, set between 1960-71, and there are probably many more where that came from. The yokozuna is still just 29 years old. His only loss in Kyushu was to rank-and-filer Takayasu on the sixth day.
Tears streamed from his eyes as he accepted the Emperor's Cup. He offered a message of thanks in Mongolian afterward to his family and friends watching back in his home country.
In other final day action, yokozuna Harumafuji, who failed to make a run at the title due to early losses to Takayasu and Tochiozan, ushered ozeki Kotoshogiku out for his 11th win. Kotoshogiku closes up shop for the year with a 6-9 record and will be in danger of demotion if he doesn't produce in January.
Goeido, who will also have to prove himself in January, came out hard but couldn't control his energy as fellow ozeki Kisenosato grabbed his arm and forced him down. Though Goeido was a disappointment in his second competition at sumo's second-highest rank, finishing with 10 losses, Kisenosato fared pretty well, marking 11 wins.
Completely dominating his final bout, Bulgarian sekiwake Aoiyama thrust maegashira No. 6 Toyonoshima off his feet. Aoiyama needed the win to go home with an overall winning record.
Mongolian "monster" Ichinojo wasn't as impressive as he was when he went 13-2 in his top division debut last time out, and he struggled mightily before losing a more than 2-minute bout against maegashira No. 3 Terunofuji to close the competition at 8-7. Even so, scoring a winning record at his new rank of sekiwake is a solid accomplishment. He will definitely be worth watching closely again in the new year. Terunofuji also finished 8-7.
It is the first time in seven years that both new sekiwake have cleared the eight-win mark.
Komusubi Takekaze finally won his second bout--after losing 12 in a row--by driving out maegashira No. 9 Tokushoryu (4-10), but komusubi Ikioi, who is also certain to be demoted, ended the tournament with his ninth loss, to Brazilian maegashira No. 4 Kaisei (7-8).
Having finished with 10 wins and one of the three special awards for the tournament, maegashira No. 3 Takayasu will likely be assuming one of the komusubi slots. Georgia's Tochinoshin, who was defeated by Takayasu on the final day, will also be in for a substantial promotion from his maegashira No. 8 position after marking an 11-4 record.
Hakuho ties Taiho's mark with 32nd title – The Japan Times, November 23
Japan Fattens Grand Sumo Prizes as Demand for Advertising Rises – Bloomberg News, November 20
Landlocked Mongolia a Surprise Hit at the Asian Beach Games
Nation Sends Athletes to Thailand to Compete in Seaside Sports Competition
PHUKET, Thailand, November 20 (Wall Street Journal)—In the days of Genghis Khan, the land that became modern-day Mongolia aspired to rule the world. Now it has a less-ambitious vision: Conquering beach sports.
Mongolia sent 34 athletes to Phuket for the fourth edition of the Asian Beach Games, which involve more than 40 other countries. This is despite the fact that it is a landlocked country of rolling pasture lands and yurts that is about as far removed from the seaside as Nebraska.
Half of the squad has never even seen the ocean before, said Jugder Otgontsagaan, secretary-general of the Mongolian National Olympic Committee. Yet Mongolia has achieved new glory on the sandy shores of this island, winning more medals in the opening days of the event than any other nation, and beating its tally from all other Asian Beach Games combined.
The Asian Beach Games, which were launched by the Olympic Council of Asia in Bali in 2008 and are held every two years, involve the majority of countries in Asia, from East Timor to Lebanon and Japan to Yemen. The organizers in Phuket say this is the biggest Asian Beach Games in terms of the number of sports and participants.
Earlier in November, the Association of National Olympic Committees said it would launch a World Beach Games in 2017. Thailand Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said she hopes the 2014 event will boost Thailand's chances of hosting other major sports competitions including the first World Beach Games.
Some of the sports in Phuket already feature in the Olympics, such as beach volleyball and sailing, while there are variants of other Olympic competitions, including wrestling on sand and water polo in the sea. For the water polo event, spectators either sit around 60 feet away on the shore or swim closer and stand in the water next to the action.
Other sports at the 2014 Games range from power paragliding to water skiing to an American beach favorite, flag football. There is also kabaddi, jet skiing and kurash, an ancient form of upright wrestling that originated in central Asia.
"I've seen lots of new games, I don't understand many of them, some are very strange," said Mano Bunga, a local resident in his 40s. "I watched the jet ski. They go really fast but I don't know who won, there's no track like in car or motorbike racing."
Woodball is perhaps the most curious. In this mix of golf and croquet, players stand side on and hit a grapefruit-size ball with mallets around a course that has par counts. But rather than putting the ball, they knock it into the middle one of three small metal gates. The game is usually played on grass, where the ball runs much easier than on sand.
Thailand, with its coastlines and honored tradition of kicking back on the beach with a cold beer and a soccer ball, is a global powerhouse in beach sports. It has won more medals than any other country in the history of the Asian Beach Games.
This year's version, with the slogan "Celebrate Charming Sunshine," officially launched on Nov. 14. The opening ceremony, complete with parades and a torch, was nearly washed out by a spectacular rainstorm.
Events are held in venues around the island, including the popular tourist destination Patong, known for its go-go bars. The beach sports action has caught the attention of some tourists, who can wander in and out of venues free. Billboards featuring the three stony-faced turtle mascots, Sakorn, Sintu and Samut, dot the tropical landscape.
Often, though, only a handful of spectators show up at the venues. Among the most prominent are a few middle-aged local men who chant and play instruments including drums and cow bells.
Mongolia got off to a surprisingly strong start in Phuket, topping the medal table after the opening day with six gold medals and two bronze. In the first three editions of the Asian Beach Games, in Bali, Oman and China, Mongolia won a total of two medals.
It has benefited this year from the addition of wrestling and martial arts competitions, including jujitsu and sambo, a Russian combat sport described as self-defense without weapons.
"Mongolia is a wrestling-crazy country," Mr. Otgontsagaan said. "Since I was born I had to tackle small horses and cows; it's like wrestling. When you milk a small cow, it is very hard work. The nomadic style of life in Mongolia is like training, so from birth we are very fit."
Once the initial wrestling events were over, Mongolia relinquished its place at the top of the medal table to Thailand. Things got worse when two Mongolian athletes lost to Syrian and Pakistani opponents in men's freestyle wrestling. "This has never happened before, it's very shameful," Mr. Otgontsagaan said.
On Tuesday, the women's basketball team narrowly missed out on a medal after losing to Thailand in the semifinal.
Mongolia also had a team competing in pétanque, a sport that originated in France. There are several variations of the game, but the primary objective is to toss metal balls as close as possible to a smaller ball known as the jack or the piglet, from the French name cochonnet. It is similar to bocce, but the balls and area of play are smaller.
"Pétanque isn't really known in Mongolia, but some guys have interest in it and a small group wanted to come," Mr. Otgontsagaan said. "I couldn't stop them. Most paid their own way and came here."
Thailand is one of the top countries in the world at pétanque. Its players spent the last five months in "intensive training" at a government sports facility, according to the official website of the Games.
The venues in Phuket include small tents for doping tests, one of which was next to the pétanque competition. Eddie Lim, president of the Asian Pétanque and Sports Boules Confederation, said he hadn't heard of doping in the sport. "Pétanque players do traditionally drink pastis though," he said.
Mongolia's mixed doubles pétanque team beat India but lost heavily to Thailand and China, meaning it was knocked out of the competition.
But Mr. Otgontsagaan said he was proud of the country's overall performance in Phuket. "We are very much satisfied with the medals… the government will award money to all medal winners for the first time in our beach sports history."
The meaning of Mongol
By Uuganaa Ramsay, Mongolian author
Uuganaa Ramsay was raised in Mongolia but now lives in Scotland. She has recently been exploring why her ethnicity is linked to Down's syndrome, a condition diagnosed in her son.
November 23 (BBC Ouch) "I don't like that word," says a woman sitting opposite me on the train, pointing at the title of the book I am holding. "Horrible word."
It's my memoir, but she doesn't know that. It was me who gave it the one-word title, Mongol.
I chose it because it has a deep meaning for me. It's the word I grew up using to describe who I am, reading it in poems, singing it in songs, writing stories with it and drawing pictures about it - it represents my identity and culture.
"Where are you originally from?' the lady asks. "Mongolia," I say. "Oh, of course. Of course you are," she says. I could see in her face that she had realised something that was now obvious but hadn't previously occurred to her.
The word Mongol is rarely used politely these days and is often unpleasantly shortened to "mong" but how on Earth did my ethnic identity end up becoming a slang word for stupid? Even worse, used by comedians to "push boundaries".
While working at the Royal Earlswood Asylum in the 1860s, John Langdon Down started to categorise the patients known then as "idiots", noting that one group all had a similar appearance. Mentioning a roundness of cheeks, the shape of eyes and other physical traits, he wrote: "A very large number of congenital idiots are typical Mongols."
Julie Coleman, Professor of English at Leicester University, thinks Down is saying "these people have regressed to an earlier state of humanity, which is the state of being Mongolian," noting also that this observation came some seven years after Darwin started to talk about evolution.
The name Mongol stuck even though some of Down's contemporaries doubted the racial theories he documented in the paper Observations on an Ethnic Classification of Idiots.
It wasn't until 1965 that the People's Republic of Mongolia complained to the World Health Organisation that the term was derogatory towards them, and it was replaced with Down's syndrome. The word was still commonly used in the UK in the 1980s.
But though my ethnicity is Mongol, the reason I get emotional is because we lost our three-month-old son, Billy, who was born in 2009 with the condition. Billy had a hole in the heart and died at three months old of a chest infection before being able to have surgery. The two meanings of Mongol collided for me then, causing pain, grief and anger.
When Billy was born it was suggested he may have Down's syndrome but before the tell tale extra chromosome was confirmed by a blood test, one doctor said that the original diagnosis may have been confused because of his ethnicity. So the link remains in people's minds.
For a BBC Radio 4 documentary, I returned to Mongolia after a gap of eight years. I love the country.
Mongolians have a nomadic tradition. I was raised in a yurt on the plains, have herded goat and sheep and journeyed by horse. We are good at adapting to different situations, have good survival skills and traditionally you can turn up at anyone's house and expect to be fed and get a bed.
John Langdon Down first stigmatised Mongols by linking them to the disability and 100 years later, after being widely acknowledged that the word Mongol shouldn't be used in the context of Down's syndrome, people frown on it or campaign against it because they know it's bad.
I started writing a list of countries where the term has been used in a derogatory way or to mean Down's Syndrome. I now have over 20 countries on my list.
I needed to speak up about it and I did by originally writing a book. Some people told me to be more resilient and follow what they did in their culture and just accept it. Some comforted me by saying languages change over time. But the question bugging me was who changes languages, because confusion over the term is still strong.
One half Mexican and half Mongolian person contacted me to say that in the Latino community, the words "Mongolito" and "Mongolita" still have very ugly meanings. "Introducing myself as a half Mongolian to my Hispanic acquaintances proved to be almost embarrassing throughout my teenage years," they said.
And another person from Morocco told me they have a son with Down's syndrome and that neighbours call her Mongolian and throw stones at them in the street. Again someone from South Africa wrote to tell me they were "shocked to find that Mongolians refer to themselves as Mongols when I arrived in Mongolia".
In the US, some Mongolian friends of mine were stopped on the street by a lady insisting they should take their child to a doctor because she suspected he had Down's syndrome. And while on a course in London, my Chinese and French classmates told me: "We didn't know someone from Mongolia could be normal and clever like you."
I want people to know you can use Mongol in the same way as you would refer to a Scot, Turk or Pole. It's fine. We can unlearn negative connotations because we learnt them. You can call me Mongol because I am one.
The Meaning of Mongol airs on BBC Radio 4 on 22 November at 20:00GMT.
Photo Essay: The Life of a Nomad in Mongolia's Gobi Desert
November 21 (The Moscow Times) This photo essay by Australian Travel Photographer of the Year, Cam Cope, explores the Mongolian way of life, their connection with animals and the exceptional beauty of the landscape.
From ski boot liners to winter boots
Surefoot partners with philanthropist Mark Barry to help the poor in Mongolia
November 20 (Pique Newsmagazine) For years, Whistler Surefoot manager Sam McDonald had been looking for a way to make use of the hundreds of used ski boot liners he deals with.
"The majority of them just got thrown away, because they're not really recyclable and they're just no use to anybody," McDonald said.
"I wracked my head for years trying to figure out how to use them, whether it be sending them back to the companies or whatever, and I just kept hitting walls."
But a chance meeting with a philanthropic customer last winter led to an innovative solution — repurposing the liners to be used as winter boots in developing countries with cold climates.
That customer was American physician and SAVEarth founder Mark Barry, in Whistler last March for a ski trip.
"I started wondering what happens to the liners when you put these new custom ones in, and (McDonald) said, 'Well, we basically throw them in the trash. They go into the landfills,'" Barry said.
"And he said 'We tried to recycle them as plastic, as this, and you know, there's just too many different materials involved,' so they weren't able to be classified in the area of recycling."
With an idea beginning to form in his head, Barry began inquiring about the volumes — how many liners per store, how many stores in the world and so on.
"I just realized that there was a huge opportunity to do something with these liners... they're very well constructed obviously, and they can clearly be very warm, and quite functional repurposed for another application," Barry said.
"So my mind started wandering. Where can we use these? Who needs them?"
The answer, Barry decided after some research, was Mongolia — where a third of the population lives below the poverty level and temperatures can get to 30 or 40 below zero.
Before long, Barry had an agreement in place with Surefoot's head office in Park City, UT, ensuring all of Surefoot's stores would ship their used liners to Barry's warehouse in Las Vegas, NV.
Once there, the liners are fitted into a durable, rubber outer shell before being shipped to where they're needed most.
Last month, Barry took 55 pairs of the winter boots to Mongolia on a pilot project.
"They're very comfortable, very functional... they were very well received," Barry said.
"Some of these people, it will take several days of earnings just to be able to afford the cheapest pair of Chinese winter boots, which everyone said were of terrible quality."
There are still some logistics to be figured out at home and abroad, but with help from foreign non-governmental agencies and the Mongolia Red Cross, Barry hopes to one day ship several thousand of the boots overseas every year.
There will be some expenses in acquiring the outer shells for the boots, but Barry is looking into government grants and other sources of funding.
"We'll see where the support and the funding is going to come from, but this project is so useful and so purposeful I almost feel like funding it myself if I can't get the other funding," Barry said.
"It's just that important and fulfilling for me personally."
And McDonald no longer has to worry about where Surefoot's liners end up.
"The feeling is phenomenal, because I'll be honest with you, one of the worst parts of my job was having to create that much waste," he said.
"It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders, man. It's so rad. I'm so happy to be able to tell people what we do with them and be proud of it, you know?"
McDonald said he's happy to take anyone's used liners if they have them lying around.
They can be dropped off at the Surefoot store in Whistler Village.
Local company finds charitable use for boot liners – Park Record, November 14
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