Tuesday, December 2, 2014

[MMC bids for TT; SGQ raises $9m to pay CIC; FX reserves fall; PM halts GASI inspections; and cabinet structure out today]

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original


Overseas Market

Announcement made after Monday close, MMC closed today +2.08% to HK$0.49

Mongolian Mining in Bid to Operate at Tavan Tolgoi Coal Deposit

By Michael Kohn

December 2 (Bloomberg) Energy Resources LLC, a unit of Hong Kong-listed Mongolian Mining Corp. (975), has formed a consortium to bid to develop mines in the Tavan Tolgoi coal basin.

Tavan Tolgoi is Mongolia's largest coking coal deposit with 7.4 billion metric tons. Fully developing the reserve has remained out of reach since a botched tender in 2011, which saw the Mongolian government rescind an agreement that would have allowed Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), China Shenhua Energy Co. (1088) and OAO Russian Railways to operate the mine.

The new tender to develop the basin's West and East Tsankhi blocks was announced in August, and a winner is expected to be declared by Dec. 15, according to a statement by Mongolian Mining to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange yesterday. The blocks are held by state-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC.

MMC, which already mines coal at another site in the basin, didn't identify its partners.

Erdenes TT has found it difficult to develop the deposit and market the coal on its own. Suspensions have occurred due to disputes with Chinese coal buyers as well as Australia's Macmahon Holdings Ltd. (MAH), the company's main contractor for the site. Erdenes TT and Macmahon are currently in a standstill agreement as they negotiate over payments.

Former Cabinet Secretary Saikhanbileg Chimed, now the country's prime minister after a political shake up last month, was in charge of overseeing the new tender.

Link to article

Link to MMC release


TRQ closed –4.6% to US$3.11 Monday, SGQ -9.09% to C$0.50

UPDATE 1-SouthGobi, facing default, raises $9 mln through placement

Dec 1 (Reuters) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd , a Canadian coal miner with operations in Mongolia, said it had raised about $9 million through a private placement of shares.

The company, hurt by weak coal prices, warned in March that a delay in securing additional financing could result in a default of $250 million debentures held by China Investment Corp (CIC).

The proceeds from the private placement of about 24.4 million shares will be used to pay the November 2014 installment of the cash interest due on the CIC convertible debenture, the company said.

SouthGobi said on Nov. 20 it would delay the CIC interest payment, which is due on Nov. 19, until Dec. 1 as it continued to seek additional funding.

The company had originally issued CIC $500 million in convertible debentures in 2009. A year later the Chinese firm converted half of that into equity.

CIC has a 19 percent stake in SouthGobi, which is controlled by Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd, the co-owner of Mongolia's huge Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine.

The placing price of 42 Canadian cents represented a discount of nearly 24 percent to SouthGobi shares' closing price of 55 Canadian cents on Friday.

SouthGobi, which is seeking additional funding for its operations, has $4.1 million in cash, excluding proceeds from the private placement. 

Link to article

Link to SGQ release

List of Directors and their Role and Function, December 2

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Local Market

MSE News for December 1: Top 20 +0.55% to 15,001.91, Turnover 1.02 Billion

Ulaanbaatar, December 1 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 177 thousand and 621 units of 19 JSCs were traded costing MNT one billion 018 million 197 thousand and 268.00.

"Mon-it buligaar" /137 thousand and 996 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /17 thousand and 410 units/, "Khokh gan" /11 thousand and 485 units/, "Mongolia Development" /4,413 units/ and "Merex" /2,000 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Mon-it buligaar" (MNT 994 million 269 million and 900), "Gobi" (MNT nine million 316 thousand and 700), "Talkh chikher" (MNT four million 255 thousand and 500), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT two million and 197 thousand) and "Mongolia Development" (MNT two million 184 thousand and 435).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 466 billion 737 million 059 thousand and 612. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,001.91, increasing 82.72 units or 0.55% against the previous day.

Link to article

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Early morning non-cash USD rates: Khan (Buy 1,870 Sell 1,876), TDB (Buy 1,865 Sell 1,876), Golomt (Buy 1,870 Sell 1,876), XacBank (Buy 1,872 Sell 1,892), State Bank (site down)

BoM MNT Rates: Monday, December 1 Close
























































November MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:


Link to rates


Mongolia FX Reserves Fall 9.37% M/m to $1.39b Through Oct.

By Michael Kohn

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's forex reserves fell 9.37% m/m, Bank of Mongolia says in statement on website.

* FX reserves have fallen 37.8% YTD, and 41.48% y/y, according to central bank data

* Link to historical data on reserves:



BoM issues 50 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -31.4% to ₮150.7 billion

December 1 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 50 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mongolia's International Investment Position, Q3 2014

December 1 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Link to report

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Politics & Legal

Three Independents Switch to Opposition After MPP's Decision to Join Government

December 1 ( One of the three incumbent Independent Parliamentarians at the State Great Khural (Parliament), Ts.Davaasuren called a press conference in the Government House on December 01, 2014.

In his statement, MP Ts.Davaasuren announced that all three members will be adhering an opposition position in the new Coalition Government and stated, "Once the MPP decided to join the Coalition Government, we three members will act the opposition role to monitor the state affair. It is fact that the MPP members were against Ch.Saikhanbileg to elect him as Prime Minister, but they agreed to cooperate with him after accreditation, which shows the MPP wants only to enter the Cabinet.

Being oppositions, we will monitor not to overcoming the 'debt ceiling' and to adhere the policy reminding not to nominate officials with 'double coat' to a Minister post. Moreover, we will permanently stand against on attempts of selling the 34% of Oyu Tolgoi's shares to foreigners and to stop conspiracy if any attempts would rise on privatization of the Tavan Tolgoi, because what would happen when the Tavan Tolgoi shares were already distributed to civilians. Nevertheless, we will always raise our voice and will be working as a creative opposition force, despite of numbers".

Link to article


MP D.Oyunkhorol: "DP and MPP shall discuss on cabinet structure today"

MP Ts.Nyamdorj once said that if MPP is to collaborate with DP and MP Kh. Battulga shall be appointed as PM there is a possibility he might leave MPP.

Ulaanbaatar, December 1 (GoGo Mongolia) MPP group at Great Khural made an official announcement on the outcomes of MPP Conference meeting. After 4 meetings with DP working group MPP finally signed MOU on collaboration with DP.

According to MP D.Oyunkhorol, MPP Group Leader at State Great Khural, there were three main issues DP and MPP shall focus through their collaboration in the new government. First focus was on not increasing the debt ratio, second was the advancement of both Tavantolgoi and Oyu Tolgoi issues and lastly to cooperate on renewing Election Law, Political Party Law, Economic Pardon Law.

According to the MPP internal rules they have to discuss any issue regarding entering coalition through MPP Conference.  In regards with the rules, MPP held poll involving 2,500 residents in nine districts of Ulaanbaatar and 10 provinces and majority of the involved voted in favor to enter the new cabinet, moreover most of the conference participants have agreed that it is time to unite in order to overcome economic downturn and act in favor of the country, leaving behind political interests as was reported by Mr J.Munkhbat, MPP Secretary General.

MP Ts. Nyamdorj was against joining the coalition by expressing his views on leaving MPP in case MPP joins coalition with DP or Kh.Battulga to be approved as PM.  As D.Oyunkhorol clarified, individual member can express their thoughts freely, but in terms of MPP, it will proceed with decisions of majority.

MP N.Nomtoibayar emphasized the importance of focusing on pressing economic issues the country is facing and in doing so to properly assess the economy and finding solutions.

Reports have been implying that MPP has got hold of 5 ministerial seats. MPP members clarified as no talks on ministerial seats or government structure had taken place yet and ensured that DP and MPP have signed MOU on future collaboration only.  Structure of the cabinet shall be discussed today and MPP had put forward their stance that 30 percent of ministers of main sectors can somehow be appointed from MPs, while 70 percent should be appointed from skilled professionals and experts.

Link to article


World Bank Seeks Parliament Support for Proposed Projects

Ulaanbaatar, December 1 (MONTSAME) A member of parliament and a head of the Standing Committee on security and foreign policy Mr Ts.Oyunbaatar received the World Bank country manager for Mongolia Jim Anderson on Monday.

In a talk about projects, made ready by the World Bank for realization, Mr Anderson asked the MP to have them discussed by the related Standing Committee and by parliament. The projects are "Smart Governance", "Third Sustainable Livelihood", "MN Education Quality Reforms" and "E-Health". He also noted that the third stage of the "Sustainable Livelihood" is to be funded by a non-refundable aid from the Government of Switzerland, "but it might be cancelled if the implementation is postponed again". In response, Ts.Oyunbaatar said he supports these projects. He also noted that the public tend to be unpleasant towards the outcomes of projects funded by foreign investments. "We intend to give directions to the cabinet to ensure more openness and transparency in the implementation of those projects".

Oyunbaatar went on to say that the Government is intensely addressing the issues of corruption and suggested holding discussions and running researches into the issue. To this Mr Anderson said it is possible that the WB support a project concerning corruption.

Link to article


Mongolia Policy Series

By Julian Dierkes

November 30 (Mongolia Focus) Over the past several weeks, discussions in "Little Mongolia" in UBC's Choi Bldg about Mongolian politics have heated up in parallel with the turmoil the Mongolian government is experiencing.

Mendee (UBC Political Science PhD candidate), Damdinnyam Gongor (UBC Mining Engineering MSc candidate) and I keep debating various aspects of party politics, constitutional reform, the need for decisions to remedy the current economic crisis, etc.

The current situation at the office is thus very similar to that which led to the original inception of this blog, when Mendee, Byambajav Dalaibuyan (now a Post-Doc at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at the Univ of Queensland) and I kept having discussions about contemporary Mongolia that we ultimately wanted to share with others.

To focus some of our current discussions, we're hoping to run a bit of a series that looks at different aspects of the policy-making process over the coming weeks. We hope that this series might inspire some discussion and reaction and would welcome submissions of guests posts that respond to issues that we will be raising.

Link to post


Policy Series: Failure of Not Asking Hard Questions

By Mendee Jargalsaikhan

December 1 (Mongolia Focus) Government policies should provide solutions to our problems. They reduce uncertainty by building trust among all players.  But, in Mongolia's case, policies have been fragile, unstable, and unpredictable.  Overall, our policies increase uncertainty and build mistrust among ourselves and our partners.

What do we usually do?  Blame each other – politicians, parties, factions, civil society activists, and even foreigners – just in order to escape from the responsibility and raise our own profiles.  We don't ask hard questions – because our blame game usually ends up in conspiracy theories.

Hard Questions that Need to be Asked

For each major policy issues – we need to ask hard questions and then, we should revoke, revise, or introduce new policies.

·         Why do we need to change the policy?

·         What part of the policy is working or not working?

·         Why did it work or fail? What are causes of success and failure (external and/or internal causes)?

·         What would be the impact of not changing or changing policy?

o    short-term

o    mid-term

o    long-term

·         How will these changes impact all players?

·         How much changes are acceptable to all players?

o    short-term

o    mid-term

o    long-term

·         What would be the optimal options to pursue (i.e., 'win-win')?

·         How can policies be implemented?

We know these questions, but rarely ask them.  For a variety of reasons, we, especially our politicians, prefer to blame the people (even if they were part of the policy-making process) and favour a quick temporary fix – within their electoral cycles.  Some even don't recall their own positions at the different stages of policy-making – because they didn't ask these hard questions and didn't rack their brains.

Policy Areas that Need Questioning

There are many policies in Mongolia – require us asking and answering hard questions.  Let's take a few of them.

Constitutional Reform

The constitutional revision has been on the table on and off. It has very strong, long-term impact on the policymaking process. But, no one really has laid out their reasons in quite convincing ways.  When we're frustrated with the nature of the legislative process (esp. micromanagement of the executive branch, ineffective decision-making), we seek solutions like a bicameral legislature and a strong presidency.

However, we haven't addressed the pros and cons of our current setting and didn't ask why our legislature gradually became the weakest institution.  Until we find satisfying answers to this question, adding a chamber to the legislature or strengthening the power of the presidency will not solve our current policy challenges.

OT Investment Agreement

The Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement is another puzzle.  We all debate over the Oyu Tolgoi shares and our discussions are seemingly influenced by a temporary economic crisis and populist politics.  Even if the parliament provided rights for its governmental negotiating team, it did not initiate a non-partisan study in regards with the strategic mines, including Oyu Tolgoi.  The policy-making process for Oyu Tolgoi could serve us a good policy-making tool to educate our policy community how to deal with multi-national corporations, foreign state-owned enterprises, and domestic investors.  Instead of revoking the past investment agreement decisions, we need to learn from our mistakes and successes and work forward to improve the policy-making process.  Without substantial, non-partisan studies, we could not improve our policies.

Let's Begin to Ask Hard Questions  

Unless our policies address the primary cause of the problem and provide expectations at various phases of the policy implementation, we will not succeed and all will end up as losers.  So, we need to ask hard questions – why and then to find how solutions.  For example, our parliamentarians along with foreign and domestic investors declared their successful changes in the major mining investment legislations (including the windfall profit tax, protection against the state-owned enterprises).  But, they did not address why they had these laws on the first place.  Yes, no one will challenge them during the bust cycle.  Since they didn't ask hard questions and find solutions for these ad-hoc policies, no one could guarentee – these are permanent solutions.  If you don't ask hard questions and agree on acceptable solutions – including the nationalist politicians and civil society actors, problems will recur and trigger the another circle of the blame game.

So, let's ask and answer hard questions together on major policies.

Link to post


Podcast: Claiming resources, honouring debts: miners, herders and the land masters of Mongolia

April 29 (University of Oxford) Rebecca Empson of UCL discusses the form of capitalism emerging in Mongolia's mineral economy. An anthropology departmental seminar.

Link to audio

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PM Halts Specialized Inspection Activities Until New Law

Ulaanbaatar, December 1 (GoGo Mongolia) During cabinet session PM Ch.Saikhanbileg commissioned D.Batmunkh, Head of Special Inspection Agency and B.Ariunsan, Head of Taxation Authority, in regards with outcomes of previous meeting of PM with representatives of business sector, during which business sector representatives referred to pressures from state agencies that cause more burden to already weak financial situations due to economic downturn.

PM emphasized that tight monitoring and tax burden won't help businesses to overcome economic downturn and commissioned D.Batmunkh to temporarily halt inspection activities, until renewed Inspection Law is approved by State Great Khural.

Renewed Inspection Law provisions new monitoring system based on risk assessment and therefore inspectors at all levels need to go through training and advisory. In this scope PM also ordered D.Batmunkh to proceed with training internally.

PM stressed out that businesses should not be under pressure with taxation procedures and commissioned B.Ariunsan to eliminate paper reports and to fully transition to digital reporting system. Double reporting causes business additional inconvenience and inefficiency in their operations. Also B.Ariunsan was commissioned to propose improvements into bonus system of taxation officers, as recently there were reports about taxation officers receiving huge bonuses. 

Link to article

Link to GoM release


Deloitte Overseeing Tavan Tolgoi Power Plant Bidding Process

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, December 1 (MONTSAME) International bid to select investors for the construction of a power plant with annual capacity of 450 MW based on Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit is underway. The candidates are Marubeni Corporation and Kansai Electric of Japan, Daewoo Engineering of S.Korea, and GDF Suez & POSCO Energy–a French-S.Korean joint consortium.

Project group of GDF Suez & POSCO Energy worked November 26-28 on the target areas where the plant, power-lines and air pipes are to be built. Other participants will work at the site in January.

The investment proposals by these participants will be submitted in February of 2015. In order to ensure transparency and fair competition in all phases of the selection, a USA-headquartered "Deloitte" auditory organization is assessing the selection process. It is expected that, after constructing the power plant on Tavan Tolgoi, the electricity purchased from China for Oyu Tolgoi operations will be substituted by the domestic supply. Opportunities of value-added production from the power and washed coal tailings will be facilitated as well. 

Link to article


IndieGogo: Borolzoi - Mongolian Epic Fantasy Adventure Film

We are making Mongolia's first-ever epic fantasy adventure film and we need your support!

This campaign started on Nov 30 and will close on January 07, 2015 (11:59pm PT).

A group of enterprising filmmakers needs your help to make a feature!

Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.*

This past summer a group of enterprising filmmakers in Mongolia embarked on a challenging journey to make the first-ever epic fantasy adventure film based on a Mongolian folklore: Borolzoi Baatar.

We are making this film to raise awareness on Mongolian intangible cultural heritage (via new media and using state-of-the-art visual effects tools) to encourage our young generations to protect and sustain these forms of cultural expressions.

Here we are now, having completed all pre-production works and the first location shoot, which is roughly 30% of the project, we are set to start our second location shoot.

You can check out below some of the feature films that the members of our production team have worked on as visual effects artist, editor, production designer and director of photography:

·         Aravt (a Mongolia and Inner Mongolia joint production).

·         Duulen Nis (a Mongolia, India, South Korea and Italy joint production).

·         Sodura (a Mongolia production)

What We Need & What You Get

·         The funding we will receive from this campaign will be used to complete our second location shoot.

·         We have unique perks for you!

The Impact

By contributing to this project, you will be able to take part in this international cooperation in the conservation of one of our world's cultural and natural heritage.

Also, you'll be able to help out enterprising young filmmakers and producers to start a new chapter in the industry.

Other Ways You Can Help

Some people just can't contribute, but that doesn't mean they can't help:

·         Please help us get the word out and make some noise about our campaign.

·         You can use the Indiegogo share tools to do just that!

And we thank you very much for your contributions! We'll keep you posted about our latest developments, though.

Link to fundraiser


Paul Errington recounts challenges, frustrations of equipment leasing in Mongolia

by Paul Errington, CEO of Connaught Finance Investments

December 1 (Asset Finance International) The Mongolia Investor Forum 2014 was held recently in Hong Kong to attract further foreign direct investment (FDI) in this emerging economy.

Mongolia has one of the richest untapped natural resources in the world.  Development of the economy requires substantial investment not only in mining and equipment, but also infrastructure, construction, logistic and major railway projects.

In 2013, the country's GDP grew by 17.5%, one of the largest in the world at that time. Due to change in legislation, the country's largest mine, Oyu Tolgoi  (pictured) came to halt. In 2012, the country's GDP only grew by 7.6%.  The importance of Oyu Tolgoi to the economy was obvious and it was essential to have the legislation changed to allow phase two of the mine to commence.

At the investor forum last year in Hong Kong, this legislation was apparently imminent and expected within a month.  At the investor forum this year, we are still talking about when the legislation would be forthcoming. The Mongolian government last month voted their president out with a vote of no confidence and this could be viewed as a positive step toward passing the required legislation.

Although the importance of Oyu Tolgoi is not disputed for the country, there are many projects, mines and construction which can be supported with additional FDI. Hopefully the country would take this opportunity to build upon their infrastructure to allow movement of products by roads and rail. 

Equipment leasing is therefore an integral part of this growth.  High interest rates domestically are forcing borrowers to look for cross border transactions.

There are numbers of problems facing the growth of equipment leasing in Mongolia today. This includes the political instability, the lack of a registration system for movable equipment and transparency of financial accounts.

In my previous Asset Finance International article on equipment leasing in Mongolia, written four years ago, (Yaks, Gers and Equipment Leasing) this was exactly the same problem. At some point, an emerging market needs to do just that, emerge. Unfortunately, Mongolia is still held back by the same factors which were there four years ago. 

When and if, Oyu Tolgoi commences Phase 2 of its mining project, demand for equipment leasing will increase substantially. The question is still remaining - if the domestic funders have the knowledge and financial capacity to respond to such demand.

We can only hope that at the investor forum next year we will not be having the same discussion.

Link to article


Turkish Airlines Plans Boeing 737-900ER Service to Mongolia in Winter 2015/2016

November 28 (Air Traveler) Turkish Airlines in Winter 2015/16 season is planning to increase capacity to Mongolia, as 3 weekly Istanbul Ataturk – Bishkek – Ulan Baatar service operated by Boeing 737-900ER, from 25OCT15. This route is currently served by 737-800.

Link to article

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Ulaanbaatar Raising Electricity, Heating Prices on December 5 in Phased Liberalization

Ulaanbaatar, Dec 1 (GoGo Mongolia) Electricity rates are being renewed based on the price index of 9.85 percent and heating rate to be based on price index of 13 percent. New rates to be introduced starting Dec 5, 2014.

Price index is the normalized average of price relative for domestic and international market impacts.

In 2010 State Great Khural came up with resolution to free electricity prices to reflect the real costs and introduce electricity price index to further free the electricity rates. In accordance with this resolution Electricity Regulatory Committee is introducing the new rates in stages for smooth transition, which is set to decrease losses in electricity and power sector, improve its financial capabilities and ensure the continuous workflow of the Power Plants.

Link to article


Private, public sector discuss Ulaanbaatar air pollution in research conference

November 30 (UB Post) The "Ways and Possibilities to Reduce Air Pollution in Ulaanbaatar" research conference took place on Thursday, featuring delegates from over 80 organizations and businesses.

The National Committee on Reducing Air Pollution, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, and Ministry of Environment and Green Development co-organized the event.

The conference enrolled a wide range of experts and officials to bring out the best possible ways to combat air pollution based on scientific research and trials.

Participants delivered speeches and discussed three major topics: "Improving the Effectiveness of Power Production Technology Which Doesn't Add to Air Pollution", "New Technologies – Advanced Approaches" and "Current Conditions and Projections of Air Pollution in Ulaanbaatar".

Each speech given at the conference proposed different research-based approaches to reducing pollution to present to Minister of Environment and Green Development S.Oyun and Ulaanbaatar City Mayor E.Bat-Uul.

"Electric heaters are the most practical way to cut coal use and reduce air pollution, I believe. To do this, we have to increase the capacity of power distribution, which is fully possible if financing is sufficient. We should be working to use domestically produced power in Mongolia instead of planning to earn money by exporting it," said L.Ganzorig, general engineer of the state-owned Ulaanbaatar Power Distribution Network.

Hasu Erchim LLC's director and professor B.Bat-Erdene backed the engineer's idea, stating, "Over 80 percent of Mongolia's power distribution source is solid fuel, which is mostly coal. We can't cut air pollution until we end the use of coal."

He added, "I heard many effective and possible ways to address the problem, today at the conference. But they will be of no use if the state doesn't back them. All those loans the government takes from different sources are not being dedicated to fruitful projects."

"We find sulfur, nitrogen and carbon emissions in smoke from stoves. Stoves that burn coal on top of wood are suitable for use. Coal is laid on the bottom, covered by firewood, which is the opposite of the traditional way. Improved stoves that burn coal in this way completely burn the toxic gases from coal," explained B.Ayushjav, chief of the Stove Experiment Laboratory at the Heating Technology and Ecology Institute of Mongolian National University of Science and Technology.

"Residents tend to burn coal in improved stoves inappropriately, so that emissions are not reduced while the coal is burning. Residents can easily identify whether they're using the improved stoves correctly by looking at the smoke's color. A properly heated stove's smoke is light in color and density, while incorrect heating produces dark smoke and leaves soot on the ceilings and floors of homes," he added.

Head of Shine Zuun-Erchim Khuch NGO, G.Sukhbaatar, has introduced an electrical heating device which can heat a 60 square meter space with two times less power consumption than the average heater.

"The heater uses 40 percent less power than ordinary heaters. Residents would spend 1,200,000 MNT just one time and save the money spent on purchasing coal throughout cold seasons," he highlighted.
The majority of the participants agreed that coal must be eliminated from heating production use if Mongolia hopes to eradicate air pollution, by introducing alternative heating sources such as gas. But they also talked about short-term approaches to reducing pollution with improved stoves, briquettes and other projects, as transferring to other sources of heat will require more time and significant investments.

Source: Unuudur

Link to article

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"Mongolia's Growing Integration into Northeast Asia "

Dr. Tsedendamba Batbayar, Director-General, Department of Policy Planning and Policy Analysis, Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Economic Cooperation, will discuss Mongolia's future continued integration into Northeast Asia. 

Date and Time: December 4, 2014, 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Campus: Washington, D.C. 

Location: Room 806 - The Rome Building

Event Host: Japan Studies, Reischauer Center for East Asia Studies

Intended Audience: Open to Public and Media

Link to event


Belarus, Mongolia discuss possible visit of Mongolian President to Belarus

MINSK, 27 November (BelTA) – Belarusian Ambassador to Mongolia Stanislav Chepurnoi and Mongolian Deputy Foreign Minister Damba Gankhuyag discussed the possibility of organizing visits of the President and Foreign Minister of Mongolia to Belarus, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.

The sides also talked over the preparations for the Belarus-Mongolia ministerial consultations in 2015.

The participants of the meeting agreed on the need to expand the legal framework of the bilateral cooperation and discussed other practical aspects of strengthening cooperation in different fields.

Link to article


Turkish Embassy in Mongolia Hosts Cultural Events Celebrating 45th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties

December 1 ( Arts Council of Mongolia in collaboration with the School of Radio, Television and Media Art affiliated Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture has successfully hosted a two-week course on how to make animation on November 17-27, 2014.

The two-week classes namely "Light Box" was organized with great supports of Turkish Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Turkish Airlines, Gobi Cave Restaurant and Altan Biir NGO that aimed to contribute in the development of animation art, to enhance students' capacity and to support international cultural exchanges, where a young talented animator from Turkey, Mustafa Ozkan was invited to host the classes for 20 students and 5 teachers of the School.

This cultural event was a part of celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Mongolia. Within this 2-week class, participants learned the basic theories of animation making, animation history, character and concept of design, background design, time and space in animation, cinematography, camera views and etc. Besides working as a team on real animation film projects participants experienced actual animation making practices.

The closing ceremony with awarding certificates to participated students was held in the Turkish Embassy on November 28th, where students showed their created short films and the best Turkish anime films were also screened.

Moreover, the Turkish Embassy announces that as continuous of cultural exchanges, the co-founder and the President of AKUT Search and Rescue Association NGO, Mr. Ali Nasuh Mahruki is opening his photo exhibition in Ulaanbaatar at the Union of Mongolian Artists at 06:00 pm on December 02, 2014.

Ali Nasuh Mahruki is a professional mountain climber, writer, photographer and documentary film producer, who climbed to the summit of Mount Everest and was the first ever Turkish person to climb the Seven Summits.

The exhibition will be featured photos of travels made in Mongolia last August that will last until December 05 and he plans to continue his second exhibition at the Ulaan Ger Art Gallery in UB on December 08-12, 2014.

Link to article

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Social, Environmental & Other

Almost Mongol: Yannick Queguiner

By R.Adiyasuren

November 30 (GoGo Mongolia) Probably you won't easily find an expat, who has witnessed days of empty shelves in the stores and days of luxurious brand names started opening its stores in Ulaanbaatar city.  Mongolians all know those days, but there is one person we would like to emphasize. He has been through up and downs with Mongolians since 1991. His name is Yannick Queguiner.

He came to Mongolia back in 1991 as a representative of Alcatel Lucent to work with Mongolia Telecom JSC to lead first fiber optic cable installation project in Mongolia. Many can refer him as one of the first people who made it possible for Mongolians enjoy the mobile network. He was awarded "Peace" Order by former president N.Enkhbayar for his contribution in telecommunication sector.

(Awarded "Peace" Order in 2007)


Yannick was born in 1952 in beautiful Tregastel in northwestern France. His father served in Navy and most of his childhood years were spent in Morocco and at the age of 19 Yannick went back to France.

He did not give much thought to his future profession and just chose what seemed popular back then. He joined Alcatel Lucent just because there were many telecommunication companies in his native Bretagne. His co-worker Max Metrich suggested him to transfer to South African branch, which he accepted right away seeing the opportunity to fulfill his dream to travel around the world.

South Africa had opened up many travel opportunities starting with Congo, Qatar, Morocco, Columbia, Maldives, Mexico, Thailand, China and so on. Out of his extensive travel history involving over 100 countries his choice laid upon Mongolia for last 23 years. His commitment with Alcatel Lucent continued for 37 years and four years ago he retired and stayed in Mongolia focusing on private business.


Constant customer at his restaurant Le Triskel once mentioned how the ambience there is friendly and referred Yannick as fun to be with. It seems to be true as customers at Le Triskel are warmly greeted and treated as an old friend with heartfelt conversations with each and every one.

Yannick recalls how he thoroughly thought what would be his next step after retiring from his post at Alcatel Lucent. He questioned himself if it was better to go back home or stay. After much thought he decided to stay in Mongolia and preceded with opening up his restaurant, as he was sure he has more friends here.


Life is not about money. One should not pursue money. There is no need to save for later. It is better to donate to people in need. That is his philosophy. This is the main reason he became founding member of the Rotary Club in Mongolia. He topped the list of donors last year at the club.

He donates extra money he generates from running his restaurant business, such as assisting Ger-area schools with building bathrooms connected to sewer system and participating in an event to surprise 400 children during Christmas to name a few.

His other passion lies in sports; that is why he sponsored Arvis FC in many competitions. He tries to help if not solve the problems for the less fortunate ones. His friend artist O.Bat-Erdene says that his friendship with Yannick is based on his strives to help the others.


He was part of team Mongolia at 7th International Tennis Competition held in Jeju, South Korea in October. Many were surprised to know that he was part of team Mongolia, not Russia or any other European country. He joined team Mongolia at Amateur and Elders Tennis Competition in pair category, fulfilling his childhood dream and passion for tennis.

He has established Petanque club, a ball game originated in France in 1907, four years ago. He has passion to build Mongolia team and take part in international competitions.


Many who know him say he is "almost Mongol", not because he lived 23 years in Mongolia, but for his passion and heart for Mongolia. He has principle to treat each and every one of his acquaintances in same way, no matter one's status or affiliation.

Ms E.Chamintsetseg, former co-worker at Alcatel Lucent, describes him as: "Wherever Yannick goes, he always makes sure to promote Mongolia in a very positive light. He says if one can respect and love Mongolian, then one definitely should visit Mongolia. He made almost every Alcatel Lucent representative around the world visit Mongolia. We have so much to learn from him. He knows how to respect human being."

His lifelong principle is to "RESPECT AND TRUST" no matter if one is a business partner or a friend.

"Frankly saying, Mongolia is much more democratic compared to France. I can feel safe and sound here in Mongolia. I have more friends here who would understand me here" are his words. May be that is why he looks very familiar to any Mongolian.

Yannick says: "May be after three years or so I will go back to France, but I can never do that in one setting. I need more time adjusting; probably will visit Mongolia frequently, so that the transition goes smooth, because there is so much attachment to Mongolia."

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Children are placed on folding beds in hospital

By B.Ireedui

Ulaanbaatar, December 1 (GoGo Mongolia) Songinokhairkhan Disctrict Hospital is currently serving 286 children, having capacity for 165, out of which 95 are children from Bayangol District, as residents of 19th khoroo of Bayangol district are serviced by Songinokhairkhan Hospital.

Due to insufficient number of beds at the Songinokhairkhan Hospital, management purchased 75 folding beds to recieve children for treatment in the hallways.

MP L.Erdenechimeg visited this hospital today in the scope of her work schedule, she emphasized the need to reduce the load of the hospital by redirecting Bayangol residents to Bayangol District Hospital. Moreover MP will meet with city officials to accelerate the construction of the new Songinokhairkhan Hospital building.

Hospital general physician B.Galdantseden said that due to the increasing population their load is increasing every year and the hospital staff is working beyond hospital capacity to serve the residents. He also emphasized the need to have specialized hospital for children.

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National Post Stamp Exhibition Opens on December 1

December 1 ( On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the issuing of the first postage stamp in Mongolia, the Federation of Mongolian Philatelists, in collaboration with Mongol Post, are holding the "Mongolian Postage Stamp -90th Anniversary" national philatelia exhibition at the National Museum of Mongolian History, opening on Monday, December 1st.

Celebrating the historical event, Mongol Post (Mongol Shuudan) has issued a series of postage stamps and an envelope that features the history of postage stamps in Mongolia, and opened the Postage Stamp Museum of Mongolia with a ceremony.

The Postage Stamp Museum of Mongolia is now located at the Central Post Office. The Postage Stamp Museum displays over 990 different themes featured on 4,100 postage stamps, from the very first postage stamp of Mongolia to gold, silver foil, silk, and holographic postage stamps.

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Miss Mongolia I. Tugsuu Finishes in Top 8 at Miss Earth 2014

December 1 ( The 14th edition of the Miss Earth 2014 pageant named the Ambassador to environmental protection campaigns worldwide and the winner was announced in Quezon City, Philippines on November 29, 2014.

The pageant´s theme was promoting ecotourism which aims to raise awareness to the tourists and travelers regarding ecological conservation in order to directly benefit the economic development, where 85 beauties from all the destinations across the world have competed for the title.

The Miss Earth 2014 crown went to host nation contestant Jamie Herrell, where the Miss Earth - Air 2014 to Andrea Neu (USA), the Miss Earth - Water 2014 to Maira Alexandra Rodriguez (Venezuela) and the fourth crown Miss Earth - Fire 2014 to Anastasia Trusova (Russia) respectively.

Notably, Mongolian contestant Idersaikhan TUGSUU, 22, has successfully participated standing in the Top 8 Beauties of the Miss Earth 2014. Moreover, she won a Silver medal in the Cocktail Wear Competition and her view on natural eco-system and desertification as well as performance of traditional clothing attracted a lot of attention.

I.Tugsuu has been winning the "Miss Friendship International 2009" and first runner-up of the "Miss International 2011" as well as many other regional and international titles including "Miss Mongolia 2011".

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Mongolian Selected as Miss Earth FinalistMontsame, December 1


Best of Goyol 2015 Fashion Week to Be Announced December 3

Ulaanbaatar, December 1 (GoGo Mongolia) Main fashion event of the year Goyol 2015 started this past weekend.

22 fashion studios and agencies are participating in this years event. They are to compete for titles of Best Designer, Best Model, Best Fashion Agency. 50 models are to walk on runways presenting the new trends for the year 2015. Best of best are expected to be announced on coming Wednesday, Dec 3.

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Scots experts set to coach young footballers in Mongolia in bid to attract new talent

SFA coaching guru Donald Gillies will fly 6000 miles to Ulan Bator to launch training programmes for youngsters.

November 30 (The Scottish Daily Record) IT is among the lowest ranked countries in football – and one of the most remote in the world.

But Mongolia could soon be sending their best young talent to star in Scotland.

SFA coaching guru Donald Gillies will fly 6000 miles to the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator in January to launch a series of programmes for youngsters.

It's hoped the Asian outpost – a landlocked area, mostly desert, between Russia and China with a population of less than three million – could provide Scotland with a rich conveyor belt of future talent.

Mongolia are ranked 194th in the world by football's governing body FIFA – 158 places behind Scotland.

The national team have only won nine international matches in their 56-year history.

Record losses in recent years include a 15-0 drubbing by Uzbekistan and a 12-0 defeat by the Maldives,

The long harsh winters and short summer season make playing difficult for Mongolia's seven league teams.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter even admitted recently: "It's not easy to play football in Mongolia."

And Ganbold Buyannemekh, the former head of the Mongolian FA, has just been banned for five years by FIFA for accepting bribes.

But SFA business development manager Gillies believes that both Scotland and Mongolia will benefit from the coaching mission in the long term. He added: "We're happy to help in any way we can. This is not for commercial gain.

"The aim is to put in place coaching programmes that the Mongolians can one day run for themselves.

"If that means some of their talented players coming to Scotland, then I'm sure there will be interested clubs here.

"We have a long-standing reputation for excellence in coach education across the world.

"Sir Alex Ferguson, Jock Stein, Jose Mourinho, David Moyes, Andre Villas-Boas, Brendan Rodgers and many more have graduated from our courses over the years."

The coaching mission is the brainchild of Scots businessman David Scott and Martin Myers of the Adventure Kicks organisation, who are trying to encourage teams to visit Mongolia.

David, 41, of Newton Mearns, Glasgow, has been visiting Mongolia for more than 10 years on trade and cultural trips and was appointed an honorary consul for Scotland in 2011. He persuaded the SFA to send Gillies on the talent-spotting exercise.

David said: "In Mongolia, it's wrestlers who are the are major celebrities. They are treated like rock stars.

"But football is growing in popularity with young people showing an increasing interest.

"The SFA have agreed to send Donald Gillies there to speak to the Mongolians about setting up Scottish-run coaching courses to improve the standard.

"Mongolia is a little-known country but there are great opportunities there."

Mongolian Premier League chairman Enki Batsumber added: "We're delighted to welcome the SFA and view this as a great opportunity to forge lasting sporting ties between Mongolia and Scotland.

"I'm hopeful one day to see Mongolians playing in Scotland and across Europe, something which could inspire a generation of young footballers."

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How to Build an Empire, the Netflix Way

November 29 (New York Times) In the first episode of "Marco Polo," Netflix's coming original series, the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan sits on a throne in his gilded palace and plots the future conquests of his growing empire.

One adviser questions whether the ruler desires to be emperor of Mongolia or emperor of China. Khan rises from his throne, draws his sword and roars: "Emperor of China? Emperor of Mongolia? I want to be emperor of the world!"

Such an audacious declaration could very well have been written for Netflix itself as it pursues global expansion at breakneck speed. This streaming company has pushed aggressively into just over 50 countries and counts more than 50 million total global subscribers. Conquering foreign lands is now crucial as its growth slows in the United States.

"It is no secret that we want Netflix to be a global product," said Ted Sarandos, its chief content officer. "That is the mission."

As was the case with Kublai Khan's 13th-century empire building, Netflix's 21st-century mission will involve a series of battles as the company encounters vast cultural differences, fierce rivals and high costs, among other challenges.

Already, Netflix has stumbled. Infrastructure issues like establishing payment systems for customers proved difficult in Latin America. And about a fifth of the company's market value has evaporated since mid-October, after it disappointed investors with slower-than-expected subscriber growth that followed its September debut in France, Germany and other European markets. Some analysts have raised concerns that rapidly rising obligations tied to paying for content (totaling $8.9 billion as of September) could leave it in a precarious financial position in the long term.

Media executives and analysts predict that as Netflix pushes ahead with its global mission, it will face threats from local insurgents, as a growing number start streaming services of their own. It must also outmaneuver competitors like Time Warner's HBO, which already has a robust international business and announced a streaming deal last week in China.

"Netflix is the one that everybody speaks about, but there are lots and lots and lots and lots of others," said Keith LeGoy, president of international distribution at Sony Pictures Television. "New streaming services are launching every week."

Netflix's global ambitions mirror a quest across the media industry to offset slowing domestic growth by expanding abroad. "Some people have said that it is checkmate before it started," said David Bank, a media analyst at RBC Capital Markets. "But it is really, really early days."

Netflix is doubling down on its international bet, preparing to enter markets like Australia and New Zealand next March, and snapping up the global rights for original film and television programs. But perhaps its biggest content wager is "Marco Polo," its series about the 13th-century traveler's adventures in the court of Kublai Khan. Netflix owns the international rights for the show, which is produced by the Weinstein Company, an independent studio, and will be available for streaming on all of Netflix's global outposts on Dec. 12.

At about $90 million for the first season's 10 episodes, according to industry executives, the East-meets-West epic is not only Netflix's most expensive original production to date, but also one of the most expensive series today. Only "Game of Thrones," on HBO, is said to surpass that steep budget.

While Netflix has a number of original programs in the pipeline, the success of "Marco Polo" will serve as a referendum on how well its original programming strategy performs on a global stage.

Some rivals and analysts said that replicating Netflix's early success with the drama "House of Cards" and the dark comedy "Orange Is the New Black" for international audiences could prove challenging. The programs generated buzz, won awards and are credited with attracting subscribers. While Netflix did not own global rights to those productions — meaning "House of Cards" appeared on rival TV networks in France and Germany, for instance — executives say the shows helped bolster awareness and perception of Netflix abroad.

Executives and producers said they hoped that "Marco Polo" — filmed in Italy, Kazakhstan and Malaysia with an international cast of hundreds and filled with gory battles, sexual allure, adventure, martial arts and political intrigue — would resonate with viewers around the world.

"At the heart of it is a universal story," said John Fusco, the creator and an executive producer of the series. "The journey of Marco Polo is the hero's journey, one that all cultures across the globe can relate to."

Mr. Fusco is intimate with that journey. Known for his work on "The Forbidden Kingdom," the martial-arts film, and on the thriller "Young Guns," he said he was captivated as a child by Chinese culture and has been fascinated with Marco Polo's story ever since. "You cannot read about that stuff without coming across the name Marco Polo," Mr. Fusco said.

While shooting "Forbidden Kingdom" in 2007, he and his son, Giovanni, then 13, crossed Central Mongolia on horseback, following the Silk Road and tracing the Genghis Khan trail. Along the way, Mr. Fusco said they encountered story after story about Kublai Khan and Marco Polo and the missions the adventurer took to various Mongolian villages.

"It always circled back around to Marco Polo and Kublai Khan," Mr. Fusco said. "That always fascinated me because so few people make the connection between the two. Marco Polo has been kind of buried under this cloud of rather banal historical dust when the true story is so much more exciting."

After pitching the idea around Hollywood, Mr. Fusco eventually heard from Harvey Weinstein, whose company has been expanding its television business.

Ben Silverman, chairman of the multimedia studio Electus, recalled having lunch with Mr. Weinstein about five years ago at the rooftop garden of the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, talking about great stories in the public domain that would intrigue viewers across cultures. The two brainstormed about how to create an East-meets-West drama that would include the appeal of a foreign land, but also a Western character who could connect it.

"Immediately, it was Marco Polo," Mr. Silverman said. "There was genuine excitement about bringing the Asian storytelling style to the global audience."

The Weinstein Company and Electus announced in 2012 that they had found a home for the series on Starz, the premium cable network, with Mr. Fusco as the writer. At the time, Mr. Weinstein boasted to the Hollywood publication Variety that the program would be "one of the most expensive shows ever done for pay TV."

Production soon hit roadblocks. Executives wanted to shoot the series in China, but censors raised issues about the violence and sexual aspects of the story. Projected costs started escalating.

Seeking a bigger budget, producers took the idea to Netflix, which had recently started pouring resources into its own original series. Mr. Sarandos said Netflix was not looking specifically for a show that would appeal to international audiences, but rather human stories that were rich and relatable. He picked up Mr. Fusco's scripts, which had been inspired by Marco Polo's own accounts, couldn't put them down and signed on to the project.

"The characters that were created and the relationships that were created, you can lift them up from the time and the place and put them somewhere else, they would work just as well," Mr. Sarandos said. "They were that well written."

The resulting production is on a scale much larger than the series planned at Starz. The construction crew included 400 people, with an additional 160 in the art department. The team built 51 sets in Malaysia, including Kublai Khan's opulent throne room. For battle scenes, hundreds of extras appeared costumed and on horseback.

A global search to cast the role of Marco Polo came down to the wire. Producers had looked at more than 100 actors, holding auditions in London, Australia and Los Angeles, but still hadn't found their star. Mr. Fusco's wife, an acting coach and a teacher of Shakespearean drama, stayed up one night, went through the audition tapes and found a little-known Italian actor named Lorenzo Richelmy.

Mr. Richelmy, 24, flew to Malaysia and landed the role. He started an intensive training program that included four hours in the gym, martial arts and horseback-riding lessons each day.

Producers brought on a team of cultural advisers and historians to ensure that the narrative would be authentic enough to hold up to viewers worldwide. They noted details, such as how men would bow before the emperor and how to hold shields when riding horses. Filming wrapped up in Malaysia in August after a five-month shoot that started in the canals of Venice.

"We just tried to make the most exciting, entertaining show we could about this very special world and hope that it would be accessible in a lot of different markets, in a lot of different regions," said Dan Minahan, an executive producer of the series.

Netflix, which has said it would spend more than $600 million in 2014 to woo people to try the service, has an extensive marketing campaign for "Marco Polo." It will take cast members to the Comic Con conference in Brazil, for example, and display costumes and props from the series at a mall in Mexico. Other promotions include television, print and digital ads. The tagline is "Worlds will collide."

The buzz around the show will also serve as a promotional tool for Netflix as it enters new markets, Mr. Sarandos said. Although it doesn't currently operate in Asia, it hasn't ruled out the possibility.

Mr. Sarandos likened Netflix's global expansion to Marco Polo himself. "At some point or another we have all been a stranger in a strange land," he said. "Netflix is that stranger in a strange land."

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