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Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
HAR closed flat Monday at A$0.01
Haranga: Placement, Fully Underwritten Rights Issue and Board Change
December 8 -- Haranga Resources Limited (ASX:HAR, "Haranga Resources" or the "Company") has agreed to issue 19,850,000 new shares to Golden Rain Holdings Limited ("Golden Rain"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lippo China Resources Limited, itself a member of the Lippo group of companies (the "Lippo Group").
The key terms of the agreement are as follows:
(a) 19,850,000 new shares will be placed to Golden Rain at A$0.018 per share for a total consideration of A$357,300.
(b) On completion, Golden Rain will increase its ownership of the Company's issued share capital from 13.43% to 19.99% and will be the Company's largest shareholder.
The Lippo Group are a major Asian conglomerate with varied assets and investments that include mineral resources interests in Indonesia, China, Mongolia and the USA.
This placement represents a vote of confidence in the Company from one of its largest shareholders and reflects a growing acceptance of the high commercial and strategic value of the Company's iron ore asset in Mongolia.
The placement will be conducted under the Company's existing placement capacity pursuant to Listing Rule 7.1.
Fully Underwritten Rights Issue
The Company is pleased to announce that it has also reached an agreement with Golden Rain to underwrite a non-renounceable rights issue to existing shareholders on a 1 for 3.26 basis at an issue price of A$0.018 per share (approximately 80,245,399 shares) to raise A$1,444,417 before costs. Shareholders will be offered the opportunity to participate in a shortfall facility.
This offer will allow the Company to further develop the Selenge Project, assisting with the transition from a successful exploration stage to a development stage.
A prospectus setting out the details of the offer will be lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Securities Exchange on or about 12 December 2014.
Haranga Resources is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Marshall Cooper as Executive Chairman of the Company following the resignation of Mr Matthew Wood from this position. Mr Wood will remain on the Board as a Non-Executive Director of the Company.
Mr. Cooper has been a director of various affiliates within the Lippo group of companies since 1998 and has held various executive roles in their Mining, Media and Telecommunications divisions including Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer of various business groups from the TV and internet services division, Chief Executive of Globe Media, and Director of Asia Now Resources Corp, a company listed on TSX Venture Exchange.
Mr. Cooper is currently the Director and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lippo Energy, which is involved in developing a global minerals and mining portfolio within the Lippo Group, currently focusing on copper, iron ore, coal and gold. His primary role involves guiding the development of the business unit and he is directly involved in project acquisitions, management of exploration programs, project development, corporate M&A and arranging project funding.
Mr. Cooper has over twenty-seven years of experience operating in Asia and Australia. Prior to joining the Lippo Group, he worked for the international mining group CRA (now Rio Tinto) holding senior commercial roles in bauxite and precious metal operations in Australia and Indonesia. Mr Cooper will bring his extensive experience in mining development, operations, corporate finance and public company board experience to Haranga Resources.
The Company is fortunate to have a director of Mr. Cooper's experience and expertise and it is expected that Mr. Cooper and the Lippo Group will be of great assistance in the successful development of the Company's Selenge iron ore project.
UPDATE 1-China Shenhua and partners bid for Mongolian coal project
* Shenhua forms consortium with MMC unit, Sumitomo
* Consortium handed in bid to develop east and west Tsankhi
* No details on the proposed ownership structure
* Shenhua shares drop more than 4 percent (Adds detail about bidding criteria, analyst quotes, share price movement)
BEIJING, Dec 5 (Reuters) - China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd will be part of a consortium bidding to develop the giant Mongolian coal project Tavan Tolgoi, the Chinese coal producer said on Thursday.
Shenhua said it had formed a consortium with Energy Resources LLC, a wholly-owned unit of the Mongolian Mining Corp (MMC), and Japan's Sumitomo Corp. Shares of the Chinese company were down more than 4 percent on Friday, on track for their biggest daily drop in almost five months.
The consortium handed in the bid on Dec. 1 to the Mongolian government to develop east Tsankhi and west Tsankhi, two blocks of the Tavan Tolgoi project.
Shenhua did not provide any details about the proposed ownership structure, but according to a government resolution issued earlier this year, the winning team needs to be at least 51-percent controlled by a Mongolian firm with five years or more of domestic mining experience.
Analysts said only two local companies were likely to be able to meet the five-year requirement, including the MMC unit and Tavan Tolgoi JSC, a small Ulan Bator-listed miner.
"In terms of the 51-percent ownership for the Mongolian side, MMC is a clear winner," said Saijarkh Narantuguldur, director at Khan Investment Management, a private equity firm in Ulan Bator.
Mongolia relaunched an international tender to develop Tavan Tolgoi as it tries to boost a flagging economy hit by falling commodity prices and a dip in foreign investment.
The deposit holds around 7.5 billion tonnes of coking coal, but Mongolia's cash-strapped government has struggled to finance its development, and little progress has been made since an international bidding process collapsed in 2011.
In 2011, Shenhua was part of a consortium that was awarded the western block of the project, along with U.S. miner Peabody and a team of Russian and Mongolian firms, but the result was annulled after rival bidders from Japan and South Korea branded the decision unfair.
Peabody said this week that it was still planning to be an "active participant" in the latest bidding process.
The project has been caught up in a wider debate about the role to be played by foreign - and especially Chinese - firms in Mongolia's economic development.
Mongolia rejected the potential takeover of Mongolia-based miner SouthGobi Resources by Chinese state-owned metals conglomerate Chinalco in 2012, though relations between the two countries have since shown signs of improvement.
Turquoise Hill Provides Update on Oyu Tolgoi Concentrator Fire
VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - December 04, 2014) - Turquoise Hill Resources today provided an update on a fire at the Oyu Tolgoi concentrator.
On December 3, 2014, there was a fire in one of the ball mill cyclone packs at the Oyu Tolgoi concentrator. There were no injuries. The concentrator was shutdown to ensure the safety of Oyu Tolgoi's employees and to allow appropriate inspections by relevant authorities. The inspections were completed on December 4 and the operations team is now confirming the extent of the damage and preparing the concentrator for restart. The fire took place in the rubber lined pipes and launders of the cyclone pack. Initial indications are that the fire did not cause significant damage and there was no damage to the ball mill or high voltage electrical systems.
Following the completed inspections, the concentrator will return to service using the other mills and cyclone packs, which is expected to happen on December 5. There are four ball mills and four cyclone packs in the Oyu Tolgoi concentrator.
Any potential production impact will be assessed once the concentrator has restarted.
Fire at Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi copper mine under control – spokesman – Reuters, December 4
Fire at Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi Copper Mine Under Review – Bloomberg, December 3
SouthGobi Resources Announces the Extension of Amounts Owing on the Turquoise Hill Facility
HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - Dec. 5, 2014) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HKSE:1878) ("SouthGobi" or the "Company") announces that subject to certain conditions and limitations, Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. ("Turquoise Hill") have deferred amounts owing on the US$10 million revolving credit facility (the "Turquoise Hill Facility") provided to the Company as initially announced on May 25, 2014 and updated on August 31, 2014.
On December 4, 2014, Turquoise Hill agreed on a limited deferral of repayment on the US$3.8 million principal owing on the Turquoise Hill Facility as follows:
(i) US$1.9 million in principal and all interest that has accrued on and under the Turquoise Hill Facility up to and including May 30, 2015 shall become due and payable on May 30, 2015; and
(ii) US$1.9 million in principal and all interest that has accrued on and under the Turquoise Hill Facility from June 1, 2015 up to and including August 31, 2015 shall become due and payable on August 31, 2015.
This limited deferral is subject to certain conditions and limitations, including the completion by April 30, 2015 of the transaction contemplated by the Sale and Purchase Agreement between Turquoise Hill and National United Resources Ltd., as amended by an agreement dated December 2, 2014.
The Company continues to seek additional financing to fund its operations and meet its objectives.
MSE News for December 8: Top 20 +0.35% to 15,093.83, Turnover ₮17.8 Million
Ulaanbaatar, December 8 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 20 thousand and 936 units of nine JSCs were traded costing MNT 17 million 826 thousand and 836.00.
"Hai Bi Oil" /17 thousand units/, "Merex" /2,408 units/, "Khokh gan" /1,000 units/, "Tav" /193 units/ and "Gobi" /115 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Hai Bi Oil" (MNT 10 million 101 thousand and 050), "Tav" (MNT five million and 824 thousand), "Gobi" (MNT 851 thousand and 905), "APU" (MNT 324 thousand and 406) and "Merex" (MNT 230 thousand and 630).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 469 billion 484 million 745 thousand and 077. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,093.83, increasing 53.38 units or 0.35% against the previous day.
BoM MNT Rates: Monday, December 8 Close
December MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
BoM issues ₮181 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +54.6% to ₮371.2 billion
December 8 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 181 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Saikhanbileg Cabinet Nominations
By Julian Dierkes
December 5 (Mongolia Focus) After about a month of self-inflicted turmoil, the government of Mongolia is heading for some stability again. With a supercoalition of all parties seemingly in place, PM Saikhanbileg has now nominated the following individuals for cabinet positions, only Deputy Prime Minister U Khurelsukh approved by the parliament yesterday:
1. Prime Minister (Монгол Улсын Ерөнхий Сайд): Ch Saikhanbileg (DP: Polarstar Faction)
2. Deputy Prime Minister (Шадар сайд): U Khurelsukh (MPP)
3. Cabinet Secretary (Хэрэг эрхлэх газрын дарга): S Bayartsogt (DP: Polarstar Faction)
4. Minister of Environment, Green Development, and Tourism (Байгаль орчин, ногоон хөгжил, аялал жуулчлалын сайд): D Oyunkhorol (MPP)
5. Minister of Foreign Relations (Гадаад харилцааны сайд): L Purevsuren (DP: Presidential Faction)
6. Minister of Finance (Сангийн сайд): J Erdenebat (MPP)
7. Minister of Justice (Хууль зүйн сайд): D Dorligjav (DP: Presidential Faction)
8. Minister of Industry (Аж үйлдвэрийн сайд): D Erdenebat (DP: Head of DP Caucus)
9. Minister of Defense (Батлан хамгаалахын сайд): Ts Tsolmon (Justice Coalition: MPRP)
10. Minister of Construction and Urban Development (Барилга, хот байгуулалтын сайд): D Tsogtbaatar (MPP)
11. Minister of Education, Culture and Science (Боловсрол, соёл, шинжлэх ухааны сайд): Lu Gantumur (DP: One Democracy)
12. Minister of Roads and Transport (Зам, тээврийн сайд): N Tumurkhuu (MPP)
13. Minister of Mining (Уул уурхайн сайд): R Jigjid (DP: Falcon Faction)
14. Minister of Labour (Хөдөлмөрийн сайд): S Chinzorig (MPP)
15. Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare (Хүн амын хөгжил, нийгмийн хамгааллын сайд): S Erdene (DP: Mongolian Democratic Union Faction)
16. Minister of Food and Agriculture (Хүнс, хөдөө аж ахуйн сайд): R Burmaa (DP: Mongolian Democratic Union Faction)
17. Minister of Energy (Эрчим хүчний сайд): D Zorigt (DP: Polar Star)
18. Minister of Health and Sports (Эрүүл мэнд, спортын сайд): G Shiilegdamba (Justice Coalition: MPRP)
19. Minister of Mongolia (Монгол Улсын сайд): M Enkhsaikhan (Justice Coalition: MNDP)
So, Is This a Technocratic Cabinet?
Only two ministers from Altankhuyag's cabinet have re-nominated: MP Lu Gantumur, acting Minister of Education, Culture, and Science, and MP S Erdene, acting Minister Population Development and Social Welfare.
"Double Deel" (давхар дээл) candidates:
· 6 out 9 from the DP candidates
· 2 out 6 from the MPP candidates
· 1 out 3 from the Justice Coalition
These nominations did not satisify the public and presidential demand for "single deel."
Two women candidates: MP R Burmaa (DP) and MP D Oyunkhorol (MPP).
· D Dorligjav, former Chief Prosecutor, Chairman and General Secretary of the DP, 1st deputy premier, defense minister, minister for professional inspection, and head of Erdenet Mine;
· U Khurelsukh, former MP, General Secretary of the MPP, minister for national emergency management agency;
· M Enkhsaikhan, former Prime Minister, MP, Chairman of the DP, presidential candidate from the DP, Chairman of the MNDP
· 2 out 9 of the DP candidates are new faces in politics (R Jigjid and L Purevsuren)
· 4 out 6 of the MPP candidates
· 1 out 3 of the Justice candidates
It is hard to say these candidates form the more technocratic cabinet as political parties, especially the DP, promised and the public expected.
The great hope is that the supercoalition will bring some stability at least until some period close to the summer 2016 elections when it will likely fall apart to prepare for the campaign.
The hope is also that a supercoalition will shield any individual/individual party from blame for certain decisions, so perhaps this government will be more decisive. One might argue that Saikhanbileg himself might not see much glory in leading this government and that only decisive action might save the DP (and assure him of a continued political role) for the next election.
I've got my own wishlist of issues that the new government should tackle after immediately dealing with Oyu Tolgoi and the economic crisis.
PM Submits Cabinet Nominees on Last Day of Deadline – InfoMongolia, December 6
Parliament Approves MPP's U.Khurelsukh as Deputy PM, Cabinet Secretary Postponed to Tuesday
Ulaanbaatar, December 8 (MONTSAME) At a plenary meeting of the State Great Khural on Friday night, a proposal was considered, backed by the Standing committee on state structure, on appointing U.Khurelsukh the Deputy Premier and S.Bayartsogt the head of the Cabinet Secretariat of Government.
M.Batchimeg MP presented the suggestion. With no questions or proposals Mr Khurelsukh was appointed by a majority (98.3%) the Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia.
A candidature of Bayartsogt raised many questions, this continued up to midnight, so the Speaker Z.Enkhbold stopped the meeting and resolved that the discussion would be continue on December 9.
PM Commissions Reports on Foreigners Detained in Mongolia and 106 Licenses
Ulaanbaatar, Dec 8 (GoGo Mongolia) Due to the negative reports on social media and some news outlets about retained foreigners, Mongolia is put in bad light before investors. These news reports claim that some of the foreigners and expats are retained in Mongolia due to the investigation cases.
Although those report emerge, few of them put into light why or the reasons for those to be retained. Moreover, PM has received letters from International Organizations with request to clarify on the matter. Therefore, PM Ch.Saikhanbileg commissioned D.Gankhuyag, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs to prepare report on those cases, foreign investors and citizens for next cabinet meeting.
PM noted that it is crucial to express PM stances on the matter as it threatens the Mongolia image in the international scene, as Government is trying to attract foreign investors.
In this regard, PM also commissioned D.Uuriintuya, Acting Head of the Mineral Resources Agency, to present the report on 106 exploration licenses as well.
INS Article №5: Mongolia is at a turning point, again…
By Cameron Mcrae, INS President
December 8 (Institute for National Strategy of Mongolia) The economic situation is dire and the previous cabinet has managed itself into a position of high debt, with accompanying high inflation, high interest rates and a steadily devaluing currency. Inflows for direct investment have slowed to a dribble due to long lasting commercial disputes, and a lack of confidence in the rule of law and government behavior.
Will "new PM" Saikhanbileg's new government make the correct policy settings, fix the big problems in the correct order, and direct scarce resources to where it will deliver most benefit in the medium term.
Evidence is clear that political leaders are plentiful and political rhetoric is cheap but brave and sensible policy making and execution is much scarcer. Will this new leader organize parliament for success and choose the best team and prioritize correctly for the challenges upon us?
As the new PM says, "we are the ones who are guilty for this crisis", and this implies that new people, new attitudes, new associations, new ethics need to be put into place to support new ideas and effective delivery mechanisms.
INS wish Mr. Saikhanbileg and his new team success, and provide a critique on policy related issues that have been raised already by the PM plus other critical issues.
INS comments on PM statements to date
Let us be clear about where we are at?
· There are no short term fixes for our overall situation.
· The number of large commercial disputes outstanding has frightened away FDI and made the raising of government and bank debt prohibitively expensive.
· Soft loans from China and Russia and cheap loans and short term subsidies to Mongolians and businesses are now turning into medium term policy stances and a long term debt problem.
· The level of subsidies in total appears to outweigh the previous governments largess via payments from the Human Development Fund.
Fix the commercial disputes ASAP
· Signing the IA in 2009 drove economic recovery, then economic growth and opened Mongolia for business. Damning the IA and Rio Tinto's investment and efforts in Mongolia has been a serious mistake by key leaders and politicians. The litmus test for Mongolia now is whether the key leaders empower their negotiators to honor FULLY the IA and associated contracts for the life of the project. The investing and financing world is watching and waiting for this outcome.
· The new PM is urging Mongolian business to raise money from overseas sources. This will be difficult without OT resolved and Phase 2 restarted. Where funds are raised the investors will require a huge risk premium added to the borrowing rate to reflect the uncertainty of doing business in Mongolia.
· The PM has admitted the mistakes with the 106 licences – so very quickly returning the licences to those who are no longer under investigation is critical. Withdrawing the sham "tender process" is essential for regaining credibility.
· There are other commercial disputes between GoM and investors that also stand in the way of Mongolia regaining international credibility – and a taskforce should resolve a plan for their identification and fast removal from disputation.
Find alternate solutions to existing problems
· National Council on the Economy – to promote economic diversification
o INS: The risk here is that this will become a talking heads forum – much more time should be spent on executing the critical focus areas.
· GoM is contemplating a number of new Funds and subsidy programs
· A new loan management system (to get the right balance between commercial debt and soft loans) and anInvestment Fund will be advanced
o INS: supporting the economy while not further enlarging the GoM debt is a difficult task. Solving commercial disputes will open the doors for private sector borrowing, thus taking pressure of GoM lending and exchange rates
· A swap loan deal will also be made with Russia whereby fuel will be paid by Ruble debt and other trade will be transacted in Rubles
o INS: the danger here is that Mongolia has to reverse the swap and further currency depreciation will add significantly to the cost of this facility. Mongolia is already exposed to this via the Chinese swap arrangement.
· A $1B soft loan from China will be taken out and has been linked to
o the Chinggis bond and Chinggis loan repayments,
o increasing the interest rates payable by those already in receipt of Chinggis funded loans from the DBM.
o Further loans via an Investment guarantee fund for private sector
· A "Bail out" method to help ailing Mongolian businesses
o INS believe
§ it will be difficult for banks to take "shares as security" when the distressed company is technically insolvent.
§ The ability to raise loans here is questionable, unless the GoM is seeking to give "guarantees for failure".
§ There will be no increase in economic activity, with little chance of loan repayments, plus danger funds are directed to political friends
· A new GoM backed "private sector guarantee" fund to back private sector investments
o INS : May work longer term but guarantees will not be seen as sovereign strength given the number of commercial disputes the GoM has unresolved.
· Establishment of a Mongolia Wealth Fund to hold shares in OT, TT and 2-3 other strategic deposits
o INS: Holding shares in any mines is a losing strategy for the GoM. This is a philosophical issue the GoM needs to address as it will hold back development in the country.
· Re-organization of the social insurance fund into an Investment Fund based on Chilean and Scandinavian practice
o INS : This is a good idea, and must be well structured and focused on real economic growth activities.
Reorganisation of the GoM out of SoE's is discussed
INS : international experience shows that partial privatizations are not usually successful and do not generate funds for government or increased economic outcomes.
Important Mega projects are again being promoted
INS : Getting large projects going is critical, however the funding needs to be put into place and some of these projects have very unclear technical and commercial feasibility.
Cotinuation of the residential mortgage and extending this to a business mortgage program
INS : this will further add to GoM debt and it is better to expand the banking sector to provide commercially justifiable and secured loans – rather than waste scarce GoM funds and increase GoM debt.
Mongolia needs a political and economic program to put Mongolia back on the map. It is important that the PM's new team give very careful consideration to understanding
· The "golden rules" which drive international investors and financiers thinking about investing in Mongolia
· what it really takes to solve a large commercial dispute quickly?
· the importance of incentives to make Mongolia as attractive as "investment hot" destinations.
The PM also needs to address the following high level issues
· State ownership in mining
· Real estate and urban development
INS believe the GoM should look at the urban development issue immediately
· Aside from OT phase 1 real estate development in UB has been the second reason for economic growth. Unfortunately housing affordability is expensive despite government subsidies to owners and property developers (for raw material inputs). INS believe:
· the price of housing (and the quality offered) has little to do with the cost of producing it, with high margins to developers.
· The number of unfinished buildings is more to do with developers' running out of money, than to do with other factors
· Mongolians deserve better value for money than they are getting
· Cost-effective community friendly low-rise development should be evaluated and promoted.
· Mongolians deserve better than to be crammed into small apartments in high rises with very low level community facilities.
Analyzing the events of the past two weeks, there appears to be more bias towards continued pump priming of the economy through GoM raised debt and overseas soft loans, than on talking about the need to fix the commercial disputes and consequently restoring confidence in Mongolia.
A continuation of government funded pump priming plus rising GoM debt, will not see a slowdown in inflation, a lowering of interest rates, or a strengthening of the currency. International investment will want to see a focus on macro-economic stability and cleaning the backyard of legal disputes. Significant foreign inflows are unlikely without a change in investment fundamentals.
Organizing for success in a crisis is crucial. It becomes harder when you have only a short time before the 2016 election. The use of delivery units (along the lines of TT Power project) should also be put into place. They must be financed, resourced and led for success.
Today is a tough time to become a nation's leader. For Mongolia's sake we trust Mr. Saikhanbileg will consider all of the policy choices at his disposal. Leadership in a storm is a tough assignment, and we believe Mongolians will respond favorably to a leader who will administer the correct medicine.
China-Russia-Mongolia Hold First Tripartite Tourism Summit
December 8 (infomongolia.com) On November 26-28, 2014, the first trilateral Tourism Cooperation Joint Conference between the People's Republic of China, the Russian Federation and Mongolia was held in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.
Mongolian delegates were headed by Chairman of Ulaanbaatar City Tourism Board, Implementing Agency of the UB Administration, E.Battulga.
Before, such Conference used to take place only between bilateral sides, so from this year, the meeting has been enlarged including Russian Transbaikalia region.
At the meeting, parties agreed to open auto-route travel via Manzhouli – Chita – Ulan-Ude – Irkutsk – Ulaanbaatar – Arkhashaat. Moreover, to launch train travel namely "Steppe Star" from Hohhot to Ulan-Ude through Ulaanbaatar as part of continuous of the "Tea Road" multinational auto races that aims to attract travelers from the fourth part.
Ulaanbaatar Now Connected with Khuvsgul's Murun
December 8 (infomongolia.com) Under the Action Plan for 2012-2016, Government intends to connect with a paved road all centers of 21 Aimags of Mongolia to the Capital City, Ulaanbaatar.
In this regard, the implementation works have been completed to connect centers of Bayankhongor (Bayankhongor), Dundgovi (Mandalgovi) and Dornogovi (Sainshand) Aimags to Ulaanbaatar in 2013 and centers of Sukhbaatar (Baruun-Urt), Umnugovi (Dalanzadgad) and Khuvsgul (Murun) Aimags have been accomplished in 2014.
On December 07, 2014, an opening ceremony of paved road between Ulaanbaatar and Murun, the center of Khuvsgul Aimag through Unit Bag (a sub-administrative unit of a Sum affiliated the Khutag-Undur Sum of Bulgan Aimag) was held accomplishing 253.3 km paved road between Murun and Unit Bag.
Before, a public transportation between Ulaanbaatar and Murun used to take about 20 hours of travel, so from now on it will take a twice shorter and a total of 115.5 billion MNT was expensed, of which 66.5 billion MNT was financed from Chinggis Bond.
As of today, out of 21 Aimags of Mongolia, 6 Aimags are not connected yet with Ulaanbaatar, whereas, 5 Western Aimags namely Bayan-Ulgii, Uvs, Khovd, Zavkhan and Govi-Altai as well as 1 Eastern Aimag of Dornod.
Khovsgol Connected to Ulaanbaatar – Montsame, December 8
Bundestag member invites Mongolia speaker to present at Konrad Adenauer Academy
Ulaanbaatar, December 8 (MONTSAME) The Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) Z.Enkhbold Monday received a visiting here these days delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).
The delegation includes Mr M.Grund, a member of Germany's Bundestag (parliament), manager of both the Christian Democratic Union of Germany and the Christian Social Union and head of the Germany-Central Asian inter-parliamentary group; and Tomislav Delinic, a manager of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation's (KAF) Northeast Asian branch.
Mr Grund congratulated the Speaker on being elected the chairman of the Democratic Party (DP). "Mongolia has become an exemplary state in its region for its development of democracy, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar have expressed us a willingness to study Mongolia's experience in democracy, and the KAF has been cooperating with the DP," Mr Grund said and asked the Speaker to give a report at the KAF's Academy.
The KAF has been running activities in Mongolia for years, the Speaker noted ans said the DP is forming the new cabinet with a members from other political parties. Then the sides exchanged views on other issues.
Present at the meeting were also R.Burmaa MP, a head of the parliamentary Standing committee on petitions; Johannes D. Rey, the KAF Representative to Mongolia.
Green Climate Fund - who's pledged and who hasn't
LIMA, Peru, December 6 (AP) — Among the most significant achievements of the U.N. climate talks, the Green Climate Fund is intended to become a key channel of money to help poor countries take action to fight climate change and deal with its impacts.
With Norway's pledge of $258 million on Friday, the fund has received promises of $10 billion, and is expected to start considering projects for funding next year.
However, the 24-member board — split equally between developed and developing countries — first needs to adopt some rules on what kind of projects should get financing.
Here's a look at some of the contributions, from rich and poor alike:
UNITED STATES: $3 billion. White House says a "significant portion" should support private sector activities and reserves the right to direct some of the money to other funds "based on the pace of progress" of the GCF.
JAPAN: $1.5 billion. Green groups suspect Japan wants the fund to allow financing for fossil fuel technologies, including modern coal-fired power plants. Japanese delegates in Lima said Friday that Japan hasn't adopted a position yet. An AP report Monday showed Japan has already used about $1 billion in climate money to build coal plants in Indonesia.
BRITAIN: $1.2 billion. Britain says it wants to earmark some of the adaptation funds for the most vulnerable countries.
FRANCE: $1 billion. The French pledge is a combination of grants and concessional loans.
SWEDEN: $550 million. Sweden's contribution is the biggest relative to the size of the country's population. The pledge needs to be approved by Parliament, which is currently in crisis mode after the government failed to get its budget adopted.
AUSTRALIA: Zero. Australia says it will continue to pay for climate change adaptation in vulnerable countries through its aid budget rather than through the GCF.
SOUTH KOREA: $100 million. The first developing country to make a pledge to the fund. It's also the host country of the GCF headquarters.
CHINA: Zero. The world's most populous country and No. 1 carbon polluter hasn't contributed to the fund but China's chief negotiator at U.N. climate talks in Lima on Thursday urged all developed countries, including Australia, to do so.
MONGOLIA: $50,000. It may be a symbolic sum, but China's poorer neighbor Mongolia's pledge shows that anyone can contribute, not just rich countries. Mongolia's GDP per capita is not even one-fifth of that of the United States.
Formalizing Mongolia's Artisanal Mining Sector
By Jonathan Stacey
December 3 (The Asia Foundation) With the appointment of Mongolia's new prime minister, Saikhanbileg Chimed, in November, expectations are high for the further development of Mongolia's mining industry, which accounts for 18.5 percent of the country's GDP.
While large-scale mining operations often make headlines, as The Asia Foundation's Bolormaa Purevjav recently wrote in this blog, there are an estimated 100,000 small-scale artisanal miners who work independently and make up nearly 20 percent of Mongolia's rural workforce. However, due to perceptions around the negative impact that their mining activities have on the environment, they are marginalized from society, further preventing them from achieving full economic potential and, crucially, from developing more sustainable environmental practices.
Recently, however, better government recognition of artisanal miners' large role in society, as well as an increase in public awareness, that perception is slowly changing. As a result Mongolia's artisanal miners are gradually becoming more formalized and recognized as important contributors to the economy. In order to maintain and scale-up this progress toward greater formalization, the artisanal mining sector needs to better address its negative environmental impacts.
Mongolia legally recognized artisanal and small-scale mining in 2010 but failed to provide for effective regulatory tools to ensure environmental performance with respect to effective rehabilitation of degraded land. This was a significant shortfall that was necessary for environmental formalization to be addressed.
The Asia Foundation – with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation through our Engaging Stakeholders in Environmental Conservation Project Phase II (ESEC II) – aims to mitigate environmental impacts from historic and current artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in Mongolia by building environmental capacity within the sector. We're now working to increase formalization through the development of a frugal rehabilitation methodology – a practical tool that, through eventual formal endorsement by national stakeholders, can provide the sector and the government with an accepted industry standard.
So how does frugal rehabilitation differ from more standard approaches to the rehabilitation of land degraded by mining? A high level definition of frugal rehabilitation is that it be economically affordable to the artisanal and small-scale mining sector and to local government. It also needs to be socially acceptable, addressing the concerns and interests of the wider communities within which mining is occurring. Lastly and importantly, it needs to be ecologically viable so that the rehabilitated land can be used sustainably.
In order to develop a methodology that could win broad acceptance across both national and local stakeholders, the project incorporated practical approaches that met the above defining criteria at eight project sites across Mongolia. Such pilot sites were selected out of 12 areas of degraded and abandoned lands that had experienced informal artisanal mining activities for gold and fluorspar, two of the widespread forms of ASM in Mongolia. The majority of sites were areas where alluvial mining had occurred – the dominant form of gold mining in the country. However both hard-rock gold and fluorspar mining areas were also chosen to ensure that the resulting methodology was applicable to such situations. The eight pilot sites were also spread across a range of ecological zones typical of Mongolia, from tall grass steppe in the east, to forest and forest steppe in the north, to mountain and desert steppe in the south and west.
The pilot sites for frugal rehabilitation demonstration were assessed and eventually selected through a collaborative process with national ministries and agencies, and with the participation of local environmental inspectors in each case. At the beginning of pilot site assessment and selection, we recruited a team of national experts who provided advice to the ASM NGOs who led the rehabilitation demonstration project work. The team also advised on the development of the methodology that was being informed by these practical demonstrations undertaken at the sites. Memorandums of Understanding were developed withaimag (provincial) and soum (local) governments, to ensure that the process of rehabilitation demonstration was both formal and collaborative.
With such MoUs and contracts in place, the rehabilitation projects began in early July extending through October 2014, supported by a busy field schedule of training, monitoring, and evaluation activities. Such visits were designed to provide training in affordable technical and biological rehabilitation techniques carried out by ASM NGOs, in order to develop a framework upon which the Frugal Rehabilitation Methodology (FRM) could be developed. Technical rehabilitation addressed the infilling of pits and shafts to a safe, affordable and agreeable standard, followed by regrading and reprofiling of materials and the distribution of available top soils to prepare the way for biological rehabilitation. Training in and implementation of biological rehabilitation techniques refocused on appropriate topsoil placement, and the identification of vegetation types that were appropriate to ecological region. Regional vegetation types informed the identification of target rehabilitation and successional species that were the focus of local seed collection and dispersal efforts by ASM NGOs.
After local government environmental inspectors evaluated the demonstration sites, a Frugal Rehabilitation Methodology was drafted, informed by the lessons learned from across all demonstration projects and supported by detailed case studies.
The resulting draft methodology was referred to our Project Advisory Committee (PAC), chaired by the Ministry of Mining, in mid-November and a consultative workshop held with a wider range of stakeholders later that month. A variety of positive and helpful feedback was received through this process and will be incorporated into the draft, which will be referred to PAC in early in 2015. This places the methodology in a strong position to be incorporated into the revision of the government's Minerals Regulation for Small-Scale Mining currently underway. If successful, the ASM sector can potentially look forward to an endorsed Frugal Rehabilitation Methodology that will provide key technical support to the development and demonstration of environmental best practice by the ASM sector.
Jonathan Stacey manages The Asia Foundation's Engaging Stakeholders in Environmental Conservation Project Phase II. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and not those of The Asia Foundation.
Mongolia awards its athletes Olympic Solidarity Scholarships for Rio 2016
By Nick Butler
December 8 (Inside the Games) A ceremony has taken place in Ulaanbaatar to award 17 Mongolian athletes with Olympic Solidarity Scholarships for Rio 2016.
The event, at Olympic House in the Mongolian capital, was attended by Mongolian National Olympic Committee President D Zagdsuren, with the official congratulating the recipients before presenting the grants.
Athletes from seven sports received the scholarships, although the full list is yet to be revealed.
It is hoped the scholarships will allow the Asian nation to improve upon the two silver and three bronze medals won at London 2012, with all five coming in combat sports.
Under 100 kilogram judoka Naidangiin Tüvshinbayar and flyweight boxer Nyambayaryn Tögstsogt each won silver medals, while judoker Sainjargalyn Nyam-Ochir, women's freestyle wrestler Soronzonboldyn Battsetseg and boxer Uranchimegiin Mönkh-Erdene all took bronze.
The team will be keen to return to the top step of the podium in Rio de Janeiro for the first time since Beijing 2008, where two gold medals were won in judo and boxing.
But strong performances have been registered at various other multi-sport competitions in 2014, with Mongolia winning five golds in a 21 medal haul at the Asian Games in Incheon, and a more impressive six golds and 10 total medals at last month's Asian Beach Games in Phuket.
Mongolian J. Nurlan Becomes World Bodybuilding Champion
Ulaanbaatar, December 8 (MONTSAME) A four-times Mongolian Champion and Asian Champion J.Nurlan glorified the Mongolian state flag on December 7 at the World Championship of Body Building and Physique Sports being held in Mumbai of India.
He has won the gold medal in "age 41-49" and 81kg+ categories, becoming thus the first world champion from Mongolia.
Nurlan engaged in this fitness sport since 1991, is the absolute champion and Mister of Mongolia, having won the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012 Bodybuilding Championships. He also ranked the fifth at 2012 Asian Championship, and grabbed bronze medals at 2013 and 2014 Asian Championships.
The Sixth World Body Building and Physique Sports Championship is witnessing over 400 athletes from 48 countries. The events will complete on December 10.
Wolf Totem, featuring Mongolian actress R.Ankhnyam, premiering in 2015
Wolf Totem, based on Chinese novel by Lu Jiamin, to be on screen in February 2015 in 3D.
December 8 (GoGo Mongolia) Wolf Totem is an upcoming Chinese-language drama film based on the 2004 Chinese semiautobiographical novel of the same name by Lu Jiamin. The film is directed by French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, experienced at directing films featuring wild animals such as bears, wolfs and tigers.
The film features Mongolian actress R.Ankhnyam, who caught the eye of the French director after featuring in "Gaadan Meerin" by Inner-Mongolian director.
The film works and shootings started in April 2013 and filming was done mainly in Inner Mongolia. the total budget for this film reached USD 38 million.
Wolf Totem will open on February 4th, 2015 in France and February 19th, 2015 in China.
"Wolf Totem" novel by Lu Jiamin first published in 2004 was sold 20 million copies and is one of the bestsellers in China just after Mao Zedong Quotes.
Mongolian Actress Stars in Jean-Jacques Annaud's Wolf Totem
Ulaanbaatar, December 8 (MONTSAME) "Wolf Totem" film, directed by Jean Jacques Annaud and based on a famous novel "Wolf Totem" by Jiang Rong will be released in February of 2015, in which a Mongolian actress R.Ankhnyam has played a role of Galsmaa, one of the main characters in the novel, representing a brave Inner Mongolian girl.
The film will be presented in a 3D format in theaters. The director of the film, created by China Film Group, Mr Jean Jacques Annaud is famous for his works such as "Bear" of 1988 and "Brothers" of 2004, as well for his skills of filming wolves, bears and tigers. The cost of "Wolf Totem" totaled USD 38 million. The director has seen first time R.Ankhnyam playing in the Chinese "Gaadan Meerin" movie.
"Wolf Totem" novel by Jiang Rong was published in 2004 and has been sold in over 20 million copies. In China it has become the second bestseller after "Quotations of Mao Zedong".
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