Monday, February 2, 2015
[SouthGobi to appeal convictions; MNT renews historic low; just 167K respond to text poll; PM forms Economic Council; and MAK signs Nariinsukhait PP deal]
Monday, February 2, 2015
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SouthGobi Risks Insolvency If Mongolia Tax Verdict Stands
By Michael Kohn
February 2 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian miner SouthGobi Resources Ltd. said it
could be forced into insolvency if a Mongolian court's ruling that it evaded
taxes isn't reversed.
SouthGobi and three former employees were found guilty of the charge on
Friday, ending a three-year investigation that's been scrutinized for its
impact on foreign investment and the nation's treatment of overseas
nationals. U.S. citizen Justin Kapla and two Philippine nationals, Hilarion
Cajucom Jr and Cristobal David, each received prison sentences of between
five and six years, while the company was fined 35 billion tugrik ($18
"There is a complete lack of evidence to support this harsh verdict,"
SouthGobi, partly owned by Rio Tinto Group unit Turquoise Hill Resources
Ltd., said in a statement yesterday. "We fully support our former employees
and will lodge an immediate appeal against the court's decision."
SouthGobi said as of Friday it had $3.3 million in cash and another $1.2
million held in Mongolia and that it is "likely to be unable to meet its
obligations, which could result in voluntary or involuntary insolvency
proceedings," unless the verdict is reversed. The company has suspended its
stock, which trades in Toronto and Hong Kong.
The three employees have been held in Mongolia since 2012. Free to move
around the capital, Ulaanbaatar, but not to leave the country, they weren't
formally charged until May last year.
The verdict could have major repercussions for Mongolia's struggling
economy. Some members of government say it has been handled badly and has
sent the wrong message to foreign investors. It has also put the spotlight
on a legal system that makes employees liable for a company's wrongdoing and
allows authorities to prevent witnesses from leaving the country.
The case has coincided with Mongolia's conflict with Rio Tinto that's
blocking $4 billion in project financing to expand one of the world's
largest copper and gold mines. Foreign investment has plunged more than 85
percent in the past two years, sending a once-roaring economy into a
"It is an unusual practice in Mongolia that tax and other disputes are
classified as criminal cases," said Chuluunbat Ochirbat, economic adviser to
Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed. Chuluunbat, who was previously head of
the country's central bank, said last week, before the court case began on
Wednesday. "This is a wrong practice and we have to make changes," he said.
The SouthGobi tax case resonated with the engineers, lawyers, accountants
and other foreign professionals that mining companies and others need to do
business in the country, which besides copper and gold has some of the
world's biggest coal deposits.
"A criminal conviction would make huge waves internationally," said Dale
Choi, founder of Independent Mongolia Metals & Mining Research in
Ulaanbaatar, speaking ahead of the court case. "It would create very
negative publicity. Foreign investors and executives would be scared of
signing documents in Mongolia."
Within Mongolia, some politicians are tapping into a nationalism that
portrays foreigners as a rich elite robbing the country of resources, said
U.S. ambassador to Mongolia, Piper Anne Wind Campbell, was at the court and
drew attention to problems over interpreting. "The defendants stated during
their trial that they could not understand the interpretation provided or
express themselves clearly," Campbell said in a statement from the U.S.
embassy on Friday.
Commenting on Chuluunbat's remarks, Campbell said the economic adviser had
"reiterated what international investors have long made clear - that exit
bans on foreign business executives whose companies are involved in business
litigation in Mongolia have had significant, detrimental impacts on foreign
Other foreigners have been detained in similar circumstances. A former
lawyer for SouthGobi, Sarah Armstrong, was held in late 2012 as a witness in
the case concluded Friday. Following weeks of interrogation and considerable
media attention, she was allowed to leave.
Banking consultant Chris Bradley was in the country at the end of 2013 as
part of a team investigating loan defaults for Standard Bank Group Ltd.,
Africa's biggest lender. He was banned from leaving for six weeks after
police said he had become part of a corruption investigation. After the New
Zealander got home, he said he wouldn't go back.
In October, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights said it would investigate a claim by Kapla that his detention
violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Prosecutors had alleged that SouthGobi evaded taxes of 230 billion tugrik
and that it was involved in money laundering. The laundering charges were
dropped in December and the alleged tax evasion was cut to 35 billion
Come spring, Mongolia's Parliament will review legal changes related to
commercial disputes and if passed, the amendments will end the practice of
detaining individuals without charges, said Chuluunbat.
Link to article
Link to SGQ release
Mongolia jails American, two Philippine citizens in tax evasion case
BN0L31LG20150202> – Reuters, February 1
Mongolian court convicts American, Filipino mining firm executives over tax
ican-filipino-mining-firm-executives-over-tax> – AFP, February 1
Three Innocent Men Went to Prison Friday: Liotta
Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- MahoneyLiotta LLC Founding Partner James Liotta
discusses the case surrounding Canadian Miner SouthGobi and the three former
employees that were found guilty by a Mongolian Court of tax evasion. He
speaks to Bloomberg's John Dawson on "On The Move."
Link to video
U.S. Embassy Press Release
January 30 (U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar) On January 30, 2015, a Mongolian
panel of judges convicted U.S. citizen Justin Kapla of tax evasion charges.
Several Embassy officials attended the trial, including Ambassador Piper
Campbell, and noted that there were interpretation problems during the
trial. Because of these problems, the defendants stated during the trial
that they could not understand the interpretation, nor could they express
themselves clearly. Mr. Kapla's case has lasted nearly three years and the
repeated delays and exit ban have caused him enormous hardship.
Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister Mr. Chuluunbat recently reiterated
what international investors have long made clear – that exit bans on
foreign business executives whose companies are involved in business
litigation in Mongolia have had significant, detrimental impacts on foreign
Mr. Kapla's lawyers have informed us that the United Nations Human Rights
Committee has accepted his petition to review what he alleges to be the
violation of his intrinsic human rights by Mongolian authorities. The U.S.
Embassy will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Link to release <http://mongolia.usembassy.gov/pr_013015.html>
AKM closed flat Friday at A$0.033. Cash at end of Q A$1.9m
Aspire Mining: Quarterly Activities Report
January 30, Aspire Mining Ltd. (ASX:AKM
<https://www.google.com/finance?q=ASX:AKM&ei=etjNVKn7GK-ziALz6oDgCw> ) --
Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture
· Nuurstei 2014 exploration programme completed confirming coal
continuity along 1.2km strike.
· Nuurstei indicative washed coking coal specification confirms hard
coking coal with low volatile matter and high G index. Coal is classified as
Bituminous Mid Volatile coal.
Ovoot Coking Coal Project
· Blend of indicative Ovoot fat coal and other Mongolian low and
non-coking coals confirmed as a premium JM Primary Coking Coal, competitive
with coals from Australia, USA and Canada.
· Engineering review by Sedgman identifies significant cost savings
of approximately US$127m on washplant and materials handling for the Ovoot
Coking Coal Project.
· Gravity survey completed over Ovoot Basin confirms additional coal
exploration potential particularly in the northwest, southwest and central
area of the Basin.
Northern Railways Investment Update
· Erdenet – Ovoot – Arts Suuri Railway added to Mongolia's National
· Erdenet – Ovoot section (Phase 1) identified as a priority rail
construction project and added to the official Mongolian Concession list of
· Northern Railways agreed EPC Framework Agreement with China
Railway 20 Bureau Group Corp.
· Northern Railways has signed Rail Bankable Feasibility Study
contract with China Railways 20 Bureau Group Corporation.
· Preliminary Feasibility work has commenced.
Link to full report
Link to cashflow report
HAR last traded A$0.019 January 27. Cash at end of Q A$233K.
Haranga: Quarterly Activities Report
January 30 -- Haranga Resources Limited ("the Company," ASX:HAR
<https://www.google.com/finance?q=ASX:HAR&ei=etjNVKn7GK-ziALz6oDgCw> ) is
pleased to report on its activities for the quarter ended 31 December 2014.
Ø The Company continues to make significant progress to develop its Selenge
Iron Ore project ("the Project") having completed the Development Stage to
enable the Project Construction to commence.
Ø The Company is in the final stages of developing and optimizing a small
scale production scenario.
Subsequent to the end of the quarter:
Ø Results of metallurgical tests demonstrated a magnetite concentrate of
marketable specification with high grade iron and low impurities suitable
for Chinese steel producers.
Ø The Company entered in to a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with
Ulaanbaatar Railway, a Mongolian-Russian Joint Venture company which owns
the Trans - Mongolian Railroad that connects Russia, Mongolia and China. The
MOU enables the allocation of up to 1Mtpa export rail capacity for iron
concentrate from 2016.
Ø Issue of 19,850,000 shares to Golden Rain Holdings Limited ("Golden
Rain"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lippo China Resources Limited, for a
total consideration of AUD357,300 (before costs).
Ø Mr Marshall Cooper was appointed as Executive Chairman following the
resignation of Mr Matthew Wood from this positon. Mr Wood remained as a Non
Subsequent to the end of the quarter:
Ø Completion of a fully underwritten non-renounceable rights issue to raise
AUD$1.4 million (before costs). The rights issue was fully underwritten by
Ø Following completion of the Placement and Rights Issue, Golden Rain's
ownership of the Company's shares increased to 33.58%.
Ø The completion of the Placement and Rights Issue puts the Company in a
strong cash position (with cash at bank at 27 January 2015 circa $1.4
million) to continue the development of the Project.
Ø Mr Lukman Wijaya (Stephen Lo), a director of Lippo Group, and Mr Jack
James were appointed Non Executive Directors.
Ø Mr Daniel Crennan resigned as a Non Executive Director
Link to full report
Link to cashflow report
WOF last traded A$0.04 January 27. Cash at end of Q A$1.1m
Wolf Petroleum: Quarterly Activities Report
January 30 -- Wolf Petroleum (ASX:WOF
<https://www.google.com/finance?q=ASX:WOF&ei=etjNVKn7GK-ziALz6oDgCw> ) is
pleased to release the quarterly activities report.
· The Company successfully closed a fully underwritten rights issue
to shareholders for $1.5M.
· The Company successfully completed a placement of new shares for
SB BLOCK FARM OUT PROCESS
The Company continues to make steady progress towards farming out its 100%
owned SB Block to potential industry and financial partners. Discussions are
ongoing with a number of groups and the Company would hope to be able to
make further comment in the coming quarter.
The Company's 100% owned SB Block provides an exceptional opportunity to
potential partners with an estimated 460 million to 2.2 billion barrels of
oil estimated in resources.
Link to report
Link to cashflow report
GUF closed +2.9% to A$0.035 Friday, cash at end of Q A$2.2m
Guildford Coal: Quarterly Activities Report
January 30, Guildford Coal Ltd. (ASX:GUF
<https://www.google.com/finance?q=ASX:GUF&ei=etjNVKn7GK-ziALz6oDgCw> ) --
· Production at Guildford Coal Limited (Guildford) BNU coking coal
mine successfully and safely recommenced in mid-December 2014 with all major
equipment recommissioned and the following material movements reported year
to date at the end of December 2014:
o Total waste movement of 324,000 bcm and ROM coal mined of 2,765 tonnes
o Estimated 16,000 tonne of coal on stockpiles at the BNU mine
o Total coal trucked from the BNU Mine to the Ceke border port station of
· The BNU coking coal mine ramp up is progressing well having no
Lost Time Injuries since commencement of development and is on track to
produce 1.15Mt for the calendar year of 2015.
· The Mineral Resources Progression Committee from the Mineral
Resource Authority of Mongolia (MRAM) formally approved an increase in the
allowable mining capacity to 1.5Mt in 2015 and 2.0Mt in 2016.
· Strategic supporters and debt providers the Noble Group (Noble)
and Orchard Capital Partners (OCP) agreed to continue to support the company
by providing additional working capital and delaying the date for further
principal and interest payments on their facilities to allow Guildford to
ramp up production at BNU coking coal mine.
· Preliminary results from the washing and laboratory testing
confirmed the target specification of the primary product from BNU coking
coal mine is for a low ash premium quality hard coking coal with low sulphur
and the following key parameters; Ash 8%, VM25%, G 80, Y17, CSR 50+, S <0.7,
TM 8% which is highly desirable amongst Chinese steel makers.
Sino Takeover Offer
· On 25 September 2014, Sino Construction Limited (Sino) announced
an unsolicited off-market takeover bid for all of the shares in Guildford
(Sino Takeover Offer). As set out in Guildford's Target's Statement
(announced 24 December 2014), the Directors unanimously recommend that the
Sino Takeover Offer be REJECTED.
Link to full report
Link to cashflow report
XAM closed -10% to A$0.09 Friday
Xanadu Mines: Quarterly Activities/Cashflow Report
January 30, Xanadu Mines Ltd. (ASX:XAM
<https://www.google.com/finance?q=ASX:XAM&ei=etjNVKn7GK-ziALz6oDgCw> ) --
– A$14.6m of new equity funds raised during the quarter.
– A$6.6m payment of the Kharmagtai deferred consideration made during
the quarter with a further A$0.5m payment on 5 January 2015 (total A$7.1m).
– Strong balance sheet with A$7.5m cash at 31 December.
– Kharmagtai drilling establishes a large scale copper-gold system with
multiple near-surface, higher-grade, gold-rich centres and has positive
implications for potential future project development.
– November drilling at Kharmagtai extended high-grade mineralisation at
Altan Tolgoi and identifies a potential new porphyry centre at the Pigeon
– 2015 Kharmagtai exploration campaign will include step-out drilling
from known mineralisation and to investigate prospective geophysical
– Kharmagtai advances towards the release of a maiden JORC resource.
– Exploration program ready to commence at the Oyut Ulaan project.
Link to full report
Cash at end of Q A$1.7M. TPO last traded A$0.20 on Jan 12
Tian Poh: Quarterly Activities Report
January 30, Tian Poh Resources Ltd. (ASX:TPO
<https://www.google.com/finance?q=ASX:TPO&ei=etjNVKn7GK-ziALz6oDgCw> ) --
• Completed the acquisition of Poh Golden Ger Resources Limited to
acquire the interests in a coal mining license and nine (9) exploration
licenses which are prospective for gold, copper and coal in Mongolia.
• Listed on the Australian Stock Exchange on 11 November 2014 and
raised $2,396,400 in an initial public offering.
• Induced Polarization (IP) surveys were conducted over the several
tenements with at least 8 geophysical targets being delineated from the
results of the IP survey, including 4 on Concession 14767X. A geophysical
survey is planned to be undertaken in 2015 to target potential mineralized
intrusions at depth.
The Company's licences are grouped into four project areas across the south
of Mongolia (Figure 1):
• Amulet Project in the Govi-Altai Province of Western Mongolia;
• Mandal-Urgukh Project in the Omnogovi Province of Southern Mongolia;
• Khangailand Project also in the Omnogovi Province of Southern
• Huabei Kuangye Project in the Bayankhongor Province of Southwest
Activities during the quarter
Link to report
Link to cashflow report
Back to top <>
MSE News for January 30: Top 20 +0.05% to 14,290.63, Turnover ₮12 Million
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Friday, a
total of 23 thousand and 564 units of 25 JSCs were traded costing MNT 12
million 816 thousand and 518.00.
"Khokh gan" /15 thousand and 807 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /4,902 units/,
"Khasu-mandal" /570 units/, "Sharyn gol" /441 units/ and "Binse HK" /390
units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of
trading value were "Sharyn gol" (MNT two million 549 thousand and 800),
"Khasu-mandal" (MNT two million and 337 thousand), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT one
million 636 thousand and 800), "Khokh gan" (MNT one million 533 thousand and
279) and "APU" (MNT one million 299 thousand and 100).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 378 billion 363
million 060 thousand and 774. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,290.63,
increasing 7.60 units or 0.05% against the previous day.
Link to article
Link to MSE trading report
MSE Weekly Review: Top 20 -0.9% to 14,290.63, Turnover ₮108.3 Million,
T-Bills ₮19.6 Billion
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's
Stock Exchange January 26-30 of 2015. In overall, 317 thousand and 268 units
of 46 JSCs were traded costing MNT 19 billion 731 million 037 thousand and
"State Department Store" /47 thousand and 255 units/, "Binse HK" /20
thousand units/, "Khokh gan" /15 thousand and 837 units/, "Moninjbar" /11
thousand and 197 units/ and "APU" /5,985 units/ were the most actively
traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "State
Department Store" (MNT 25 million 990 thousand and 250), "APU" (MNT 21
million 534 thousand and 400), "Binse HK" (MNT 15 million and 780 thousand),
"Gutal" (MNT 13 million and 012 thousand) and "Makh impex" (MNT four million
343 thousand and 350).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 378 billion 363
million 060 thousand and 774. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,290.63,
decreasing 130.10 units or 0.90% against the previous week.
Link to article
Link to MSE weekly report
Back to top <>
Early morning bank rates: Khan <https://www.khanbank.com/en/home/rates>
(Buy ₮1,935 Sell ₮1,946), TDB <http://tdbm.mn/6b8Y29uPyY%252FJj9yYXRl458>
(Buy ₮1,935 Sell ₮1,946), Golomt <http://www.golomtbank.com/en/home/rates>
(Buy ₮1,938 Sell ₮1,946), XacBank <http://xacbank.mn/en/1> (Buy ₮1,934 Sell
₮1,946), State Bank <https://www.statebank.mn/w/en/m1> (Buy ₮1,936 Sell
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, January 30 Close (Mogi: new low for MNT vs USD)
1-Year MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
Link to rates <http://www.mongolbank.mn/eng/dblistofficialdailyrate.aspx>
BoM issues ₮128 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +14.8% to
January 30 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 128 billion
at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions
click here <http://www.mongolbank.mn/eng/dblistcbb.aspx> /
Link to release <http://www.mongolbank.mn/eng/nso.aspx?id=1>
Back to top <>
Politics & Legal
Digital Democracy: PM Saikhanbileg's Policy Choice SMS Poll
By Julian Dierkes
January 30 (Mongolia Focus) This week Prime Minister Ch Saikhanbileg has
posed a question to Mongolians on television and he is asking them to reply
There are examples of direct involvement by the electorate in political
decisions, of course (from Athenian voting to Swiss market places and
beyond), but this is certainly an interesting initiative that at least looks
like it could have some impact on democratic engagement.
What's the Question?
So far, the exact wording has not been announced (see Comments below for
more discussion and exact wording), but the choice that Saikhanbileg wants
to hear from Mongolians on is essentially whether his government should
prioritize the pursuit of big projects (presumably meaning OT and TT) in
2015/16 or respond to the on-going economic challenges with austerity
Since the exact wording is not available yet, it is a little difficult to
say how exactly the question will be play out.
On the face of it, however, it seems unlikely that many people would chose
austerity in this situation.
I would comment, of course, that this is a false choice in that austerity is
not the flip-side of the pursuit of major projects, one choice does not
preclude the other choice, so this is an odd way to frame this particular
question unless it gets re-worked for the version that will actually be sent
Why this Poll?
The initial interpretation might be that Saikhanbileg might be acting out of
weakness in turning to the people for a mandate. Such weakness might be
perceived in that the honeymoon period has been very brief and that there
are rumblings about dissent in the coalition already, particularly focused
on the DP's handling of appointments below the cabinet level.
But there are alternative explanations to the PM's decision for this poll.
Since he is asking specifically about big projects (and probably assuming
that a majority of responses will pick those over austerity), the weakness
explanation is less plausible. In all likelihood, cabinet (including the
various parties represented in this super-coalition) as well as parliament
in general appears to be supportive of any progress Saikhanbileg might be
able to make on the big projects. If that is the case, a popular "mandate"
based on an SMS poll would not add much.
Instead, it seems more plausible that Saikhanbileg has created this poll as
an opportunity to communicate with Mongolians. He has just created a chance
for himself to send a message to just about every Mongolian!
Why would he want to communicate with citizens?
Maybe he has a sense that he is actually nearing a breakthrough on major
projects. If such a breakthrough is coming and if it includes some drastic
decisions by the government (for example, to sell their stake in OT, but
lots of other options might be considered), he will be able to make any
announcements at least in the course of the Spring in reference to the
expression of popular support that the SMS poll might provide.
If a breakthrough is not coming any time soon, the poll presents an
opportunity for Saikhanbileg to illustrate to voters that he is facing very
difficult choices (nothing unusual about that in politics) and to recognize
that following some populist arguments against big projects, for example,
has consequences by necessitating savings or a cut in expenses. So perhaps
this is aiming at populist arguments (in and around parliament) rather than
any opposition within cabinet or within the coalition.
This is not the first time that SMS polling is being used in Mongolia. The
mayor of Ulaanbaatar, E Bat-Uul, has gone to the residents of the capital on
three occasions to seek their input via SMS, though in combination with web
It is also important to point out that there is no legal or legislative
basis for this poll. It is not a formal referendum of any kind that would be
based on legislation for the holding of such plebiscites. Instead it is a
poll that happens to have been mentioned by the current Prime Minister.
It is somewhat of an official poll as the PM is clearly involving state
resources in the administration of this poll. I learned from Independent
Mongolian Metals & Mining Research's <https://twitter.com/uclalumn> Dale
Choi, for example, that the Information Technology, Post and
Telecommunications Agency has briefed the public on procedures that are to
be used [more on that below]. But at the same time, this does not elevate
the poll to anything other than that, an opportunity for some part of the
population to voice their opinion on a specific topic in a non-binding way.
The fostering of a democratic consciousness has been a prominent element in
official rhetoric, especially under President Elbegdorj. The most concrete
implementation of direct participation has been the Local Development Fund
which has now placed discussions about priorities in local infrastructure
spending in the hands of citizens' halls. It is still very unclear how
evenly this is being implemented and with what results, but it has been a
prominent initiative nevertheless. Note also that many of these discussions
are likely to be occurring around this time of year, i.e. after the budget
was passed in parliament at the end of the year and at a time when rural
populations are relatively less busy with herding. The poll might thus
compliment any discussions that are occurring in citizens' halls around the
same time. I have not heard any mention of institutionalizing these kinds of
polls as an element in participatory democracy and would frankly be
surprised to see another poll of this kind before the 2016 parliamentary
election, but it may well be an experiment that will be mentioned in
Mongolia and beyond. As Mongolia is engaging Myanmar and the Kirghiz
Republic on democratization in particular through its development program,
this might be an experiment that will have more replications or at least
produce discussions beyond Mongolia as well.
Digital Democracy as Mongolia's Future
If the argument that this poll is at least to some extent an opportunity for
the Prime Minister to communicate with the electorate is plausible, what
might this imply for Mongolian politics and for political culture? One of
the obstacles to decision-making in Mongolia has been the fact that parties
have been primarily identified with individuals and patronage and not with
policy agendas. This is far from unique or limited to Mongolia and in fact
very common across democracies. In the Mongolian context, however, where a
single route to economic development seems to present itself forcefully, the
absence of substantive policy choices in political debates has been
particularly acute and has led to some
<http://blogs.ubc.ca/mongolia/category/policy-series/> policy failures in my
Will a communication to voters that points to the stark choices politics
involved change this? Will voters demand more substantive electoral
platforms that would actually specify a party's stand on questions like the
prioritization of large projects or austerity. Probably not in a major way,
but perhaps somewhat.
Obviously, this kind of poll might breed democratic cynicism, especially if
the results are in doubt, are very mixed, or Saikhanbileg/government does
not implement what emerged as the popular view. But it might also foster an
understanding in voters of policy choices and difficulties associated with
Procedures in an SMS Poll
There have been three SMS polls (in combination with in-person and web
polling) in Ulaanbaatar city. Two about car regulations in 2013 (a ban on
right-hand drive cars, and a system by which even/odd license plate numbers
would allow drivers to use their cars) and one about a recycling scheme in
2014. In all three cases there have been some rumblings about the
reliability of the results announced and contradictions int he results of
the polling through the web as opposed to SMS. In the end, however, the UB
city administration accepted the polling results and acted accordingly.
Voting is meant to happen between Jan 31 and Feb 3. Every cell phone number
gets one vote (excluding very recently acquired numbers). The SMS will be
sent free of charge allowing even subscribers who do not have any credits to
send this message. The message will be in response to an SMS that will be
sent out and the response will only be 1 or 2 referring to the options
offered in the question posed.
Some obvious challenges:
· there is no connection to voter registration, reinforcing the lack
of a legal or official status to this poll
· people might vote multiple times if they have multiple
· it is unclear whether there will be a record of any kind
· who knows about security of SMS?
· any technical issues with overburdened servers or anything like
· cell phone usage is not distributed equally (in regional or
socio-economic status terms) though it is certainly common enough to use as
a tool in Mongolia
As so often, my views particularly my views on what might motivate
Saikhanbileg to call for this poll, were formed in conversation with
Mongolian graduate students at UBC, including but not limited to Damdinnyam
G <https://twitter.com/Daimka07> and Mendee J <https://twitter.com/MendeeJ>
The focus on "digital democracy" and the implications for this in Mongolia
came in part out of a conversation with David Williams
<https://twitter.com/MongoliaDesk> , Senior Desk Officer at the Department
of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Development.
Link to post
Mongolia PM Establishes Economic Council in Efforts to Stabilize Economy
January 30 (infomongolia.com) The first meeting of freelance Economic
Council established under Prime Minister's Decree with aims to develop
recommendations on measures to stabilize the economy and advise on
investment policy was held in the Government House on January 29, 2015.
In his remarks addressing the members of newly formed Economic Council,
Premier Ch.Saikhanbileg stressed, "The Council's priority duties are focused
on stabilization the country's macro economy, to create a friendly business
environment and attract domestic and foreign investment as well as to give
directions and advices on implementing mega and infrastructure projects and
programs. In order to recover the economy, we should bring investors back
and thereof, we should move forward large projects to be operational. Thus,
we need your knowledge, skills and experience to overcome the economic
difficulties facing today".
The Economic Council is entrusted and responsible to carry out measures
overcoming economic and financial difficulties, take actions against
possible negative impacts on the economic environment, and resolve the
reasons and mitigate the effects on negative banking and financial outlooks
as well as develop a policy to implement and introduce to the Economic
Moreover, the Council is obliged to promote Mongolia's current
socio-economic, investment and development tendencies to foreign countries
and to issue recommendations on measures to attract domestic and foreign
Link to article <http://www.infomongolia.com/ct/ci/8894>
Economic Council established to revive nat'l economy
evive-nat-l-economy> – Montsame, January 30
No MPs arrive on time for Friday plenary session
By U. Badamtsetseg
Ulaanbaatar, Jan 30 (gogo.mn) Glass Account Law of Mongolia is now affecting
the attendance of the MPs and the Parliament Office is informing the public
on the attendance of MPs to the Plenary sessions.
Speaker Z.Enkhbold warned the MPs as he is to install cameras inside the
Parliament Session hall emphasizing that from now on public will see which
MP is attending the sessions and who is not, stating that this is the first
step on transparency and responsibility of the State. He also warned MPs
that he is to show each MPs seat one by one and assured if the MPs are
supportive of the initiative of the President.
We are delivering the attendance of the MPs for January 30th.
Plenary session today started at 9AM. From the reports none of the 76 MPs
arrived on time, while Speaker Z.Enkhbold registered his arrival at 9.05AM
Below is the lagging list of MPs as of 11 AM.
Link to article <http://mongolia.gogo.mn/r/144180>
Mongolian Journalists Establish Self-Regulating Ethics Council, Mongol TV
CEO Elected Chair
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Prior to holding a session of founding
the Press Council of Mongolia (PCM), a meeting has been held to establish
the Ethics Council for Journalists NGO, and it approved the council's
At the meetings of the PCM's branches of newspaper, radio and local media,
members of the Council's Board and Ethics Council were elected, and it was
approved on Wednesday at the session of the PCM. Accordingly the Council's
Board has 15 members, and the Ethics Council has 30 members divided into two
An executive director of the Mongol TV channel Ch.Nomin was selected as the
PCM's Board; a legal advisor to the Daily Newspaper Sh.Sukhbaatar--as a
chair of the Ethics Committee of Printing and Online Media; and a teacher of
the Mongolian State University of Education Dr J.Batbaatar--as a chair of
the Ethics Committee of Broadcasting.
A general manager of the Government News S.Batbaatar underlined an
importance of the PCM's establishment, saying that it is an historical
"The PCM's key importance is to ensure a formation of ethics at the
journalism sector which provides the public with receive information, and it
will help journalists prevent go to trial," said U.Tamir, head of the
Developmental Forum for Information and Communication Potential NGO.
According to a survey, 297 civil cases and 16 criminal cases were resolved
by the court against journalists between 1999 and 2011.
The PCM's main objectives are to protect the media freedom, reputation of
the media and the interests of journalists and to ensure the ethics of
journalists and professional norms with an aim to form the responsible
journalism in Mongolia.
Link to article
Local journalists to self-regulate Mongolian media
<http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=13255> – UB Post, January 30
Mongolian Journalists Union Holding 16th Congress
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) The 16th session of the Confederation of
Mongolian Journalists (CMJ) kicked off Friday in the City's Civil Hall.
The CMJ president B.Galaarid delivered a report about works done in last
four years within his duty at the session which brought together some 240
journalists of Ulaanbaatar city and aimags.
At its session, the CMJ will select a new president and a composition of
authorities. Apart from the confederation's incumbent president B.Galaarid,
five people such as M.Naranbaatar,a former head of the Mongolian National
Public Radio and Television; E.Dagiimaa, the editor-in-chief of the TV5
channel; and D.Boldkhuyag, a former manager of the "Zuuny Medee" newspaper
have been nominated for the CMJ's presidency.
Link to article
Freedom in the World 2015: Mongolia – FREE, Score 1.5
FREEDOM RATING (1 = BEST, 7 = WORST): 1.5
CIVIL LIBERTIES (1 = BEST, 7 = WORST): 2
POLITICAL RIGHTS (1 = BEST, 7 = WORST): 1
Incumbent president Ts. Elbegdorj won a second four-year term in the June
2013 presidential election, defeating two opponents in the first round of
voting. In late July he pardoned his predecessor, N. Enkhbayar, who had been
convicted on corruption charges in 2012. The country continued to experience
economic growth based on its mineral wealth during 2013, even as corruption,
the power of politicians associated with specific business interests, and
the politicization of the media remained key challenges to freedom and
POLITICAL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES:
Political Rights: 36 / 40 [
A. Electoral Process: 11 / 12
B. Political Pluralism and Participation: 16 / 16
C. Functioning of Government: 9 / 12
Civil Liberties: 50 / 60
D. Freedom of Expression and Belief: 15 / 16
E. Associational and Organizational Rights: 11 / 12
F. Rule of Law: 12 / 16
G. Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights: 12 / 16
Link to Mongolia page
Elbegdorj Issues Directive to Cabinet on Industrialization
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Head of the Presidential Office P.Tsagaan
Friday granted to the Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat a decree of the
President on giving a direction for intensifying industrialization in
By his decree, the President gives directions to the cabinet to take certain
measures to support partnership between the government and private sector,
to boost exports and enhance domestic value-added productions, competitive,
environment friendly, processed goods, in order to replace the import
The President urged citizens and mass media organizations to actively
participate in the promotion and consumption of the domestic products.
By the document, the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg is entrusted to budget
necessary expenses for the implementation of the Decree and work out
quarterly reports to the President.
Link to article
MP Erdenechimeg's bill seek to tighten control on alcohol
By E. Oyundari
January 30 (UB Post) The Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education,
Culture and Sciences held a meeting on Wednesday and discussed the draft
bill on Controls on Alcoholic Beverages. However, the committee took a break
of five days after discussions calling for stricter controls and legal
The draft was developed and submitted by MP L.Erdenechimeg on November 25,
2014, and reviewed by the government on January 20, 2015.
The draft bill from the government includes principles to implement control
on alcoholic beverages based on factual research, to increase alcohol tax,
and to prevent the influence of parties with conflicting interests in
determining policy on alcoholic beverage control.
The government also wants permits to produce and import alcoholic beverages
to be granted through the selection of the best projects and based on the
assessments and suggestions of qualified inspectors who would also oversee
the extension and validation of permits.
The bill developed by MP L.Erdenechimeg mostly focused on reducing alcohol
consumption and production, and managing production permits that have been
As of today, a total of 93 entities with permits, including seven alcoholic
spirit manufacturers, 57 vodka manufacturers, 19 breweries, and 10 wine
producers are in operation. Lawmakers believe that alcoholic beverage supply
in the market is the root of increased alcohol consumption by the
population, and that the alcohol being consumed does not meet quality
According to statistical data, one third of all crimes in Mongolia are
serious offenses and two thirds are categorized as criminal offenses. Some
57.7 percent of all crimes in Ulaanbaatar are committed by people under the
influence of alcohol. This shows that crime and offenses are directly
connected to excessive alcohol consumption, say the bills' developers.
During the discussion of the draft bills, parliamentarians said that
alcoholism has been reduced and expressed that the illegal trade of
alcoholic beverages will fall into order when limits on alcohol are in
force. There is a demand to reduce alcohol consumption by showing the public
the extent and impact of alcoholism in Mongolia, say some Members of
Parliament. They take the position that it is better to take heavy legal
measures to prevent breaches of the law, instead of fighting this negative
social trend with strict regulations.
MP A.Bakei expressed his position on the draft bill, stating, "These two
draft bills both have the intention of strengthening control on alcoholic
beverage at all levels, including alcohol trade, production, retail trade,
services, and consumption. I doubt that all Members of Parliament will
support these draft bills. Prohibiting the use and trade of alcohol won't be
beneficial. It is better to reduce alcohol consumption through economic
Link to article <http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=13252>
Stakeholders Give Status Report on Local Govt Capacity Building Project
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) "Community-led Local Governments Capacity
Building" and "Promoting Participatory Legislature" projects are being
realized in Mongolia by the Office of the State Great Khural, the UNDP, and
the Swiss Agency for Development (SDC). On Friday, the stakeholders met to
share information on the states of projects.
According to the representatives, various trainings were held in frames of
the projects for 7000 people on a national level to give knowledge about
legal environment, decision-making processes, civic involvement, budget
estimation and adoption, financial management, ethics, green development,
human rights and gender equality. The projects also facilitated citizens
with ability to study online, and created website that is joined by 361
organizations and groups so far.
Reportedly, the website is accessed 600 times a day, and refreshed everyday
by over 80 news, said the stakeholders.
Present at the meeting were, the Secretary General of the office of the
Parliament and the national coordinator B.Boldbaatar, and the permanent
representative of the UN to Mongolia Sezin Sinanoglu.
Link to article
Asia Foundation: Third National Horizontal Learning Workshop - Experience
Sharing on Public Participation
January 30 (infomongolia.com) On January 30, 2015, The Asia Foundation
shared with InfoMongolia.com with the following press release, the NGO that
marked 20 years in Mongolia in 2013.
Third National Horizontal Learning Workshop - Experience Sharing on Public
Office of the President of Mongolia and The Asia Foundation have
successfully cohosted the Third National Workshop of the Fostering Civic
Engagement at the Subnational Level (FOCE) Project funded by the Swiss
Agency for Development and Cooperation at the President's Citizens' Hall in
the Government House on January 29-30, 2015.
The workshop brought together approximately 60 citizens from the FOCE pilot
sites in 14 Sums of six Aimags across the country and 3 Khoroos of
Ulaanbaatar. The two-day discussion was focused on sharing experiences among
citizens on methods and lessons learned to increase citizen participation at
the local level.
The goal of the FOCE project was to increase the transparency and
accountability of local governments and contribute to more responsive local
government policy-making and service provision for citizens. This is in
support of the President's agenda for direct democracy and fiscal
decentralization. Local governments are being supported to increase civic
participation in decisionmaking through small grants and technical
assistance. This has helped to establish fully-equipped Citizens' Halls in
all sites and has supported a regular agenda of public consultations.
The national workshop brought together citizen activists from all pilot
sites to share experiences and learn on participatory practices in the
Mongolian context. While previous horizontal learning workshops have been
combined to host both local government officials and citizens, this is the
first workshop that only included citizens.
Some of the points that were discussed at the conference include:
1) Citizens to discuss their impressions of having a Citizens' Hall, or
dedicated space for public-private discussions. Citizens will describe how
they are using the Citizen's Halls in their communities. The concept of
Citizen's Halls was initiated by President Ts.Elbegdorj in 2009 to create an
independent meeting space for citizens to gather and discuss their issues
and priorities. At the local level many Sums and Khoroos have now opened
their own citizens' halls allowing for citizens to have discussions and
develop proposals to present to their local government. This fills an
important gap since many Sums did not previously have many public meeting
spaces and it was often not suitable or feasible to meet at people's homes.
Before local Citizens' Halls established (most in the last year), people
submitted requests or complaints to the local government on an individual
basis and this was not very effective. Proposals submitted by groups of
people are more likely to receive attention from the authorities.
2) Citizens have also shared their experience participating in public
discussions with professionally-trained facilitators and whether this
practice is effective. The FOCE project enabled local citizens to be trained
as professional facilitators in a number of the pilot sites. These citizens
are now organizing discussions among citizens of their Bags and Khesegs.
Project monitoring is hearing positive feedback about this new method of
conducting meetings, whereby participants have concrete time to develop
ideas and speak, rather than the top-down method traditionally used to
conduct meetings in Mongolia.
3) Citizens from the pilot sites have shared their experiences on social
accountability and citizens score cards, which have been supported by FOCE
in each of the pilot sites. One of the aims of the citizens score card
methodology was to encourage better cooperation between citizens and
government service providers. For example, the citizens in Undur-Ulaan Sum,
Arkhangai Aimag, discovered during the score card exercise that in fact
their local health center provides more services then they were aware of.
The score card helped the health center management understand the importance
of better sharing information with the public, so that the citizens were
able to request services and were more satisfied.
These are just a few of the anticipated best practices on citizens'
participation were discussed over this two day workshop.
Link to article <http://www.infomongolia.com/ct/ci/8899>
Hogan Lovells Review: Mongolia Introduces Law on Glass Accounts
January 30 -- On 1 July 2014, the Parliament of Mongolia adopted the Law of
Mongolia on Glass Accounts ("Accounts Law") in an attempt to ensure the
efficient and proper use of state and local government funds, the
transparency of decisions and actions concerning budget management and
public overview of the same. The Accounts Law entered into force on 1
The key feature of the Accounts Law is that it obliges all government
agencies and legal entities with state involvement to make information on
budgets and financial matters, including the utilisation of financing and
other government indebtedness, available to the public. It should be noted
that many of the reporting obligations imposed on government agencies under
the Accounts Law were already in existence and reflected in the Law of
Mongolia on Transparency of Information and the Right to Receive Information
and the Law of Mongolia on the State Budget.
However, the Accounts Law introduces a number of new measures:
(a) it provides the details of what type of information must be provided;
(b) it broadens the type and number of organisations subject to reporting
(c) it identifies those officials who are responsible for ensuring the
disclosure of information;
(d) it consolidates the different timeframes for disclosure; and
(e) it provides that the main performance indicator of an entity or
official shall be its compliance with the Accounts Law.
The Accounts Law aimed to address the criticism that information concerning
the funds raised by the government through the issuance of securities and
the use of those funds was not publicly available and accordingly, there was
limited accountability to the public. The Accounts Law prescribes that
debentures and other financial instruments, foreign and domestic loans and
grant aid, public and private partnerships, concessions and guarantees which
create budgetary payables and receivables will only become effective upon
being disclosed to the public by placing them on the central "glass account"
1. ENTITIES AND OFFICIALS SUBJECT TO THE ACCOUNTS LAW
The Accounts Law applies to the following entities and the officials who
have the authority to contractually bind those entities:
(a) legal entities with state or local government ownership such as
ministries, agencies, local governors' offices and all other entities
established by the government;
(b) state-owned enterprises;
(c) companies where one-third or more of the shares therein are held by
the state, local government or their affiliated parties;
(d) business entities and organisations making investments and implementing
projects and programmes, activities, work and services with state and/or
local funds; and
(e) entities implementing state functions pursuant to law or contract.
2. TYPE OF FINANCIAL INFORMATION SUBJECT TO THE ACCOUNTS LAW
The Accounts Law applies to the planning, spending and reporting of the
following budgets and/or financial activities:
(a) state and local budgets, and the budgets of the Social Insurance Fund
and the Human Development Fund;
(b) local development funds;
(c) specialised government funds;
(d) procurement of goods, work and services with state and local funds;
(e) grant aid given to, and foreign and domestic loans, debentures and
other financial instruments entered into by, central and local government;
(f) public and private partnerships and concessions; and
(g) guarantees given by the government and local governments and other acts
which create budgetary payables and receivables.
3. DISCLOSURE OBLIGATIONS
The Accounts Law prescribes that the Ministry of Finance shall maintain a
central "glass account" website and all other subject entities must provide
ancillary information on their individual websites through a dedicated
section on accounts and financial information.
The Accounts Law also specifies the type of information which must be
disclosed and the relevant timeframe for disclosure. For example, legal
entities with state or local government ownership and state-owned
enterprises must publish their annual budgets and procurement plans by 10
January each year, annual financial reports by 25 April each year and any
budget deficits or surpluses must be reported every quarter.
Further, such entities must issue a public notice in relation to the
following with a week of any such occurrence:
(a) in respect of government tenders, tender documents, tender regulations
and criteria imposed on bidders. Where a bidder has been selected, a brief
introduction of the selected bidder and those who were not selected and the
reason/rationale for such decisions;
(b) details of procured goods, work and services with a value of more than
MNT 5 million (approximately US$ 2,700) including the contract value and the
name and address of the supplier and/or contractor; and
(c) the entry into of any bonds, loans, debentures, guarantees and other
forms of financial indebtedness, public and private partnership agreements,
concessions, any decision concerning budgets, properties, assets,
expenditures and budget receivables and payables.
Further, the Ministry of Finance must publish the state budget twice
annually and on quarterly basis publish a report on the use of debt and aid,
in particular any debt raised by way of the issue of government securities.
Similar reporting obligations are imposed on companies where one-third or
more of the shares therein are held by the state or local governments or
their affiliated parties to the extent that such information relates to
state or local government budgets/funds.
4. ROLE OF CITIZENS
The law prescribes that its implementation shall be monitored by citizens'
parliaments (whose representatives are elected from local citizens) and the
state auditing authority.
The Accounts Law also provides that citizens may monitor the implementation
of the Accounts Law by submitting a complaint to the respective entity or
official regarding the implementation of the Accounts Law or any potential
infringements. If such complaint is not addressed, then citizens or legal
entities may submit a complaint directly to the state auditing authority and
request an audit to be undertaken. The state auditing authority must
undertake relevant measures and notify the concerned citizen and the public
in writing of the outcome.
5. SANCTIONS FOR NON-COMPLIANCE
The Accounts Law imposes disciplinary actions as well as fines for breaches
of the law. Depending on the type of violation, disciplinary action
includes warnings, reductions in pay by up to 20 per cent for six months or
dismissal from public office with a prohibition on taking public office for
a period of one year.
Fines ranging from MNT 9,600,000 (approximately US$ 5,189) to MNT 19,200,000
(approximately US$ 10,378) may be imposed on executive management of private
entities and public officials which fail to comply with the provisions of
the Accounts Law. The level of these fines is relatively high compared with
sanctions imposed in similar laws.
Mongolia has enacted the Accounts Law in an effort to improve financial
accountability and make information on government budgets and finances
easily understandable and accessible to the public.
The enactment of the Accounts Law should be positively received by both
foreign and domestic investors as it obliges government agencies and their
affiliated entities to make information on their budgets and procurement
accessible to the public in a timely manner. Nevertheless the effectiveness
of the Accounts Law will depend on how its provisions are applied in
1 The Glass Account Law provides that the Government will determine the date
upon which the central "glass account" website becomes active and the date
should be no later than 30 June 2016.
Link to review
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MAK Signs Construction Agreement with China's Harbin for Nariinsukhait Power
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) At the Mongolian Embassy in Beijing, an
agreement was signed last Tuesday by MAK Energy LLC and Harbin Electric
International Company Ltd. The agreement was about commissioning a power
plant basing on Nariinsukhait coal mine located in Omnogovi aimag.
Present at the agreement signing ceremony were the leaders of the two
companies, and Ambassador of Mongolia to China Ts.Sukhbaatar, along with his
advisor on trade and economy B.Khurelbaatar.
Through commissioning the power station, a reliable provision of electricity
of Omnogovi aimag will be facilitated and the capacity of the coal mines
will be improved. This is also of high importance in reducing the costs by
using high-tech electric equipment, and increasing exports.
The power station will serve as additional power source for large mines such
as Oyu Tolgoi, Tsagaansuvarga, and Tavantolgoi.
The bilateral agreement on this matter was already signed during the visit
of the Chinese president Xi Jinping to Mongolia.
Link to article
Mining Ministry: Transparent Mining Monthly Conference, January 2015
By Badrakh Yadmaa, Head of the International Cooperation Division, Ministry
January 28 (Ministry of Mining) The Ministry of Mining of Mongolia holds
"Transparent Mining" conference every month, headed by the Minister of
Mining, to report its activities, and work being implemented in geology and
mining sector in Mongolia. Following is the conference newsletter for the
month of January.
"Transparent Mining" conference newsletter
Cooperation with municipalities and and central government, NGO's and wealth
creators is to be emphasized
The Ministry is working to reflect the ideas and suggestions of wealth
creators, the professional associations, non-governmental organizations,
academic and research institutions in its policy and activities.
Accordingly, the management of the Ministry met the representatives from
affiliated agencies, professional associations of minerals sector, academic
and research institutions, and acquaint with their operations and activities
in detail, and exchanged views on how to deal with the challenges faced. The
Ministry officials headed by the Mining Minister paid a working visit to
Zaamar soum of Tov, and Buregkhangai of Bulgan province. Itinerary included
on-site trips and to: security firm "Zaamar Khaan" operating in öliin davaa,
Tsagaan chuluut soums of Tov province overseeing the sites where gold mined
illegally; Zeregtsee gold mine of "Mongolrostsevetmet" LLC, 2nd dragline of
Tuul polygon; Ogoomor village; Ikh tokhoirol gold mine camp of "Ikh
tokhoirol" LLC; and reviewed the erection operation of Holland made
dragline. Visit to the
eabuckthorn> seabuckthorn seadling project on the biological reclamation of
degraded mine land, Khailaast, being executed by "Altan Dornod Mongol" LLC
were also included in the trip.
Delegates also visited and reviewed reclaimed mine field, artificial lake,
greenhouse/nursery fields of "Monpolimet" LLC, as well as "Mining National
Operator" LLC to observe operations and reclamation work. Minister met the
management and staff, representatives of artisanal miners to exchange views
on current issues.
In the framework of this working tour, the Ministry is working to strengthen
the role of the the mining sector to overcome the economic crisis, support
and promote the principles of responsible mining enterprises, analyze the
current state of artisanal and small-scale mining and develop proposals for
Strategic Designation of Gatsuurt is set by the Mongolian Parliament
Gatsuurt Project, located approximately 35 kilometres from the Boroo Mine,
has been designated as a mineral deposit of strategic importance by the
Certified reserves of 50 tons of gold deposit, and 25 tons of gold reserves
effective under certain conditions, meets the criteria for mineral deposit
of strategic importance of the project. Minerals Professional Council has
proved the Centerra Gold Mongolia's reserves and resource report of Gatsuurt
project in 2013; and the feasibility study in 2014.
Operation of the mine would start mine infrastructure such as road
construction, add on about 1,000 jobs, and haul in about MNT660 billion in
taxes, fees and charges. State Treasury will increase by the remitted gold
to the Central Bank, and stabilize the exchange rate.
The audit done by the professional organizations concluded the special
exploitation area does not contain historical and cultural artifiacts and
monuments. The Hun era historical sites and graves are located 5.8 km to the
southwest (straight line) of the exploitation area. Hun era park memorial of
the Mount Noyon is located in three different locations of Sujigt, Zuramt,
and Khujirt of this mountain, and belongs to Bornuur and Batsumber soums of
Audit done by Institute of History of the Mongolian National Academy of
Sciences in 1999 and 2000, as well as Department of Anthropology, Archeology
of Mongolian National University in 2005, concluded no findings of Hun era
archaeological findings in the exploitation area of "Centerra Gold Mongolia"
The Ministry of Mining believes that the historical and cultural artifacts
and monuments found in the Gatsuurt deposit area should be protected in
accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.
Regulatory Compliance for Laws and regulations of "Law with Long Name" being
introduced by Parliamentary groups
"Regulation Act" for "To Prohibit Mineral Exploration And Mining Operations
At River Headwaters, Protected Zones Of Water Reservoirs And Forested Areas"
law (LLN /Law with long name/ here on) was enacted by the Parliament on July
The Government issued Decree No.174 in 2011, and No.194 in 2012 to set the
boundaries for the regions where the long-named law would apply. Ministry of
Environment and Green Development announced 488 exploitation, 845
exploration, and total of 1333 special permits in the said boundary. This
equals to about 48 percent of the active special permits.
Regulations Act of LLN law directs that this law is to be implemented within
five months upon enacted. It's been five years since this act was enacted.
Therefore, "Regulation Act of Law To Prohibit Mineral Exploration And Mining
Operations At River Headwaters, Protected Zones Of Water Reservoirs And
Forested Areas" draft law was submitted to the Parliament, and a working
group was formed.
Study done by the Ministry of Environment and Green Development that states
that the 2130 hectares of land restricted under this law is already damaged.
In accordance with the regulations stated under the government's 2010
resolution number 299 the reimbursement of payments are calculated as such:
With the use of information provided by the General Department of Taxation
the initial figure for reimbursement is 2,223.93 billion tugrugs (this
number is calculated with the operational profits of the entities).
Since the compliance procedure of the said law has expired, it is necessary
to make amendments to the law. If the siutation is to continue as is,
opportunites will be presented to those who have interest in the illegal
mining, posing negative impacts on the environment.
Draft law on "Transparency in the Mineral resources industry" is discussed
by the Parliament
The Ministry of Mining brought forward the draft law on "Transparency in the
mineral resources sector" that has successfully passed by the Government and
the Economical standing committee discussions, and is now ready for
With the formation of favorable legal environment on the transparency of
mineral resources sector the following long-term socio-economical advantages
1. The basis for cooperative administration, cooperative control
administration and organizational structures will be enabled by bringing the
transparency in the mineral resources industry to advanced international
2. Establishment of information database for the mineral resources
3. The establishment of legal basis to avoid and prevent unreasonable
expenses, illegal payment transactions performed by industry enterprises.
4. Build the correct partnership between the state, private sector and
the civil society in the mineral resources industry.
5. Public scrutiny, transparency on operational fundamentals and
communication between producing companies, state and public organizations
will be enabled.
6. The expense reduction of producing companies will enhance profit
consequently increasing the tax, revenue and payments to the local
government and the country budget.
7. Transparency on industry taxes, payments, revenue spending and
allocation will enable the implementation of correct management of mineral
Mineral exploration licenses to be granted online
Starting 26th of this month the mineral exploration license applications are
have started granted online.
The Mineral Resource Authority (MRAM) will grant 30 online application
numbers and all private entities that have a number will have the
opportunity to provide their application and relevant documentation to the
MRAM at the allotted time. MRAM's Cadastre Division will accept the
application and that same day will take the coordinates that are being
applied for and take it off the overall coordinates of the exploration areas
being applied for and inform the public. By doing this any private entities
applying for an exploration license will not be applying for an area that is
already being applied for. Online numbers will now be provided every other
business day (on the first week it will be Monday, Wednesday, Friday and the
next week Tuesday and Thursday). With this change being made a private
entity that has access to the system for one week will be able to access for
two weeks and if they have access for one month then it will grant them
access for two months.
Mining Sector Statistics
Commodity prices on the world market in 2014 continued to fall, however, as
for Mongolia, volumes of exploitation and export of major types of minerals
have increased compared to that of previous year significantly contributing
The mining sector accounted for 18.7 percent of the GDP, 68.7 percent of the
total production of the industrial sector, 21.9 percent of the total budget,
83.0 percent of total exports, respectively. Compared to 2013, the
proportion of the total industrial production has risen by 0.5 points, the
proportion of the budget by 4.2 points, and the proportion of exports by 1.1
As for the major types of minerals production volume by the end of 2014:
1.1 million tons of copper concentrate, 4.1 thousand tons of molybdenum
concentrate, 24.4 million tons of coal, 11.5 tons of gold and 374.9 thousand
tons fluoride. Furthermore, 10.3 million tons of iron ore, 93.2 thousand
tons of zinc concentrate and oil production of 7.4 million barrels, or 1.0
Production volume of copper concentrate has risen by 277.4 thousand tons or
34.5 percent, molybdenum has risen by 321.9 tons, or 8.6 percent, gold has
risen by 2.6 tons or 29.2 percent, fluorite has risen by 136.8 thousand tons
or 57.5 percent and oil production has increased by 2.3 million barrels or
44 percent, respectively, compared to that of last year.
In addition, 19.5 million tons of coal, 1.4 million tons of copper
concentrate, 4.0 million tons of molybdenum concentrate, 313.9 thousand tons
fluorspar, 6.3 million tons of iron ore, 99.4 thousand tons of zinc and 6.9
million barrels of oil or 939.3 thousand tons have all been exported
In comparison to previous year, coal exports has increased by 1.1 million
tons or 6.1 percent, export of gold by 2.4 tons or 31.6 percent, oil exports
by 1.6 million barrels or 31.3 percent and copper concentrate by 728.3
thousand tons or 2.1 times, respectively in 2014.
The sector contributed MNT1 trillion 346.3 billion to the state budget in
Revenue performance of the Minister's Budget
MRAM has contributed a total of MNT44.6 billion in revenue to the state
budget, including MNT41.0 billion in mineral exploration and exploitation
permit fees, reimbursement fees of state funded prospecting at MNT1.8
billion, other income of MNT1.8 billion.
Petoleum Authority contributed a total of MNT288.5 billion to the total
budget, of which MNT285.6 billion were petroleum revenue, and other revenure
accounted for MNT2.9 billion.
Fuel Prices are stable
1.3 million tons of petroleum products were imported in 2014. 90.8 percent
were from Russian Federation, of which 63 percent was supplied by the
state-owned "Rosneft". Oil prices declined by 50 percent on the world
market. Mongolia, for the past two years, imported fuel with the price
calculated on a formula based on the world market prices. Soft loan
programs, in the framework of sub-programs to stabilize the petroleum retail
prices, as well as the currency rate and tax discounts through forward
agreement is being halted in stages.
Excise tax rate for petroleum and diesel fuel is set by the Cabinet meeting
(Jan.19.2015) to be as follows: MNT250,000 per tonne for A-80; MNT259,000
for AI-92; MNT265,000 for diesel fuel respectively. Such tax revenue should
contribute approximately MNT220 billion to the state budget. Retail prices
were stable for more than two years, and is expected to remain so.
"Mineral Resources Industry 2025-II" discussion is to be held
The Ministry of Mining will organize annual "Mineral resources
industry-2015-II" discussion on 11th of February 2015.
The discussion, under "Mineral resources - our opportunity" slogan, will
consist of four parts including "Impact of the minerals resources industry
on the socio-economics of Mongolia", "Community Relations", "Major projects
in the Geology, Mining and Petroleum sectors", "Competitiveness of the
It is forcasted that about 300 guests and delegates representing ministries
and agencies, professional associations and enterprises operating in the
mining industry is to take attend the Discussion.
State Fuel reserves
As of 27 Janauary, the state fuel reserve is at 43 days of regular
consumption. Hereof, A-80 has 65 days, Ai-92 has 53 days, diesel fuel has
46, and TS-1 jet fuel 15 days.
MINISTRY OF MINING
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to release
Post Conference Report: Invest Mongolia Tokyo, December 11
By Masa Igata, CEO
February 1 (Frontier Securities) I am very pleased to announce that 2nd
annual Invest Mongolia Tokyo has successfully finished on Dec 11, 2014 with
30 speakers and 282 attendees. Invest Mongolia Tokyo aimed to address
following opportunities, risks and concerns that have been put forward by
the investment communities from Mongolia, Japan and other nations.
1. The outlook of both political and economic relations between Japan and
2. The economic outlook in Mongolia and risk/return of the investments in
3. The outlook for Mongolia's Mineral Exports and its implications to
4. The opportunities and risks for Japanese small to mid-sized
corporations to do business in Mongolia
5. The opportunities in Mongolian Banks
6. The reform of the Mongolian Stock Exchange and its opportunities
7. The infrastructure Development in Mongolia
8. The opportunities in Real Estate and Education
We have prepared the program with various topics and industries. We have
touched on the concerns and risks for investing in Mongolia as well which in
other events on Frontier markets rarely discuss. After the conference, I
believe many of the attendees have become familiar with investment
opportunities in Mongolia and have acquainted with many experts in Mongolia
through the networking event.
Lastly, I would like to thank our sponsor and supporting organizations. The
conference was supported by the Embassy of Mongolia in Japan and WTO Center
at Aoyama Gakuin University. Also, Hogan Lovells and TDB were our valuable
premier sponsors. Without their commitments, the conference could not have
We are planning to organize the event annually and want to come back to
Tokyo in December 2015. So, we welcome more active participation from each
of you in the events next year.
Please click here
ost-conference-report> to download post conference report
Mongolia Holds First Mega Project Development Forum
By B. Erdenechimeg
January 30 (gogo.mn) Mongolia is starting to promote its mega projects and
yesterday Mega Project Development Forum was organized at Blue Sky Tower.
Minster of State M.Enkhsaikhan made speech with his presentation on Mega
Projects in Mongolia: Challenges and Opportunities. He is leading the
Government working group to negotiate with the Tavantolgoi investors.
Before, he was leading Tavantolgoi Power Plant project as well.
Next presenter was the representative of Sumitomo Mitsui Bank speaking on
Project Financing and Public and Private Partnership. D.Odkhuu, Director of
Egiin River Hydro Power Plant Project unit made introductions on the project
that needs USD 827.6 million investments.
The forum was co-organized by Mega Project Development Institute NGO and
Government of Mongolia.
Link to article <http://mongolia.gogo.mn/r/144175>
Google Fiber-less and sick of slow Internet? Move to Mongolia
U.S. 35th in this ranking of Internet bandwidth available per user, Mongolia
January 29 (Marketwatch) Google this week announced plans to expand its
ultrafast Internet service to Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Nashville, Tenn.,
and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
The Internet service has download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second—
that's roughly 100 times faster than the national average.
And the cost? It's currently $70 a month in the cities where it already
exists: Provo, Utah, the Kansas City metro area and Austin, Texas.
If you don't live in one of those six cities, odds are you would vote Time
Warner Cable or Comcast
014-12-29> the most unpopular company in America.
Don't want to move to Provo, Utah, or Kansas City for faster Internet? If
the only thing you value is speedy Internet, move to Moldova, Mongolia,
Serbia or Lithuania. All those countries have faster average Internet speeds
than the U.S. In fact, 34 countries rank higher than the U.S. for Internet
bandwidth per Internet user, according to
data from the World Economic Forum.
Here's its list of the 35 countries and their international Internet
bandwidth in kb/s per Internet user, as of 2012.
2. Hong Kong SAR
10. United Kingdom
15. Puerto Rico
19. Czech Republic
35. United States
Link to article
Back to top <>
Korea's Ruisansa Corp. Donating 140 Urine Test Apparatuses to Household
Health Care Centers
January 30 (infomongolia.com) On January 30, 2015, Governor of the Capital
City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul received a delegation from South
Korea's Ruisansa Corporation led by the President Kin Jung-bun.
During the meeting, the delegates introduced the portable urine test
apparatus to be presented each to 140 household health care centers in
Ulaanbaatar, which was agreed by signing a MoU between the UB City Health
Authority and Ruisansa Corporation in November 2014.
These devices are conferred as a non-refundable aid to those health care
centers, which is able to proceed 700 urine samples per hour. Moreover, the
test results will be sent via owner's cell phone number or e-mail address,
and chronically ill and bedridden patients as well as underage children can
receive such service from home.
Such apparatuses are in high demand, particularly, before the start of a new
academic year, because all kindergarten children are required to take urine
tests and in UB only couple centers do the tests.
The affiliated officials noted that these 140 devices worth of 3 billion MNT
(Tugrug) contribute greatly in the health sector by bringing close the
service to customers. Following the presentation, Mayor E.Bat-Uul expressed
words of appreciation and awarded the Ruisansa Corporation President Kin
Jung-bun, Ruisansa Corporation Director General Ho U-bun and Chairwoman of
"New Village" NGO B.Jargal with a Capital City's 375th Anniversary Medal.
Link to article <http://www.infomongolia.com/ct/ci/8896>
Save the Date: Urbanization Documentary Film Screening at American Corner on
February 4, 2015 5:30PM
(US Embassy) -- The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar is hosting a screening of
Gary Hustwit's documentary film Urbanized at the American Cultural and
Information Center, co-jointly with Smart Growth Mongolia and Think Urban on
Wednesday February 4, 2015 at 5:30PM. Urbanized discusses the issues and
strategies behind urban design, and features some of the world's leading
architects, planners, policy makers, and thinkers.
After the screening, there will be a discussion related to urban planning
with young professionals active with Smart Growth Mongolia. The discussion
will focus on the rapid urbanization of Ulaanbaatar and how urban planning,
and Mongolia's citizens, can help address important long-term economic,
social, and environmental problems.
Link to release <http://mongolia.usembassy.gov/news_012815.html>
Back to top <>
Foreign Minister receives chairman of Russia's ESN Group (Euroseverneft)
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs and head
of the Mongolia-Russia intergovernmental commission for the Mongolian side
Mr L.Purevsuren Friday received a delegation headed by Mr G.V.Berezkin,
chairman of the Russian ESN Group.
The sides exchanged views on the bilateral economic and trade relations and
on a chance of Russian businessmen to make investments to Mongolia.
In a scope of the visit here, the Prime Minister and some members of
parliament will meet the Russian delegation.
Mr G.V.Berezkin founded the "Euroseverneft" company in 1991, and has
expanded this company, making it the ESN Group that works for raising
capitals for big projects mostly on energy and mining sectors. Moreover,
companies at the ESN Group provide Russian largest companies such as the
Gazprom, Rosneft and the Russian railway with electricity.
Link to article
Belarus Ambassador meets Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Culture
January 29 (MFA of Belarus) On January 29, 2015 the Ambassador Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Mongolia Stanislav Chepurnoy held a
working meeting with the Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Culture
of Mongolia Buya Tulga.
The sides discussed the whole range of bilateral relations in humanitarian
and scientific-technical sphere. In particular, the issues concerning
creation of the joint Belarusian-Mongolian commission on cooperation in
science and technology, implementation of joint research projects and
exchange of Belarusian and Mongolian students for training in the
universities of the two countries.
Link to release <http://mfa.gov.by/en/press/news_mfa/c92c1379407a5201.html>
US Embassy to Focus on Water Issues in MCA 2nd Compact
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Minister of Environment, Green
Development and Tourism D.Oyunkhorol received Thursday the Ambassador of the
USA to Mongolia Ms Piper Anne Campbell. The latter noted that Embassy is to
focus on water issues in 2015 in frames of the Second Millennium Challenge
Account project being implemented under the support of the US government.
The Minister Oyunkhorol said that the Government plans to take many actions
in a short period of time. The Ministry faces with many issues that need to
be settled, for example, reducing greenhouse gas, nurturing the planted
trees, increase their numbers, reducing the air and soil pollution of
Ulaanbaatar. She also noted that the Ministry should promote with policy the
voluntary unions formed to preserve the environment, because the environment
protection must be conducted with citizens' involvement and state support.
"The Ministry will, therefore, work for forming the most efficient system of
environment protection" she said. The changes must help reduce the
unemployment rate in the localities, and the remediation of the environment
in after mining activities should be refined, she added.
Ms Oyunkhorol said that Mongolia will attend the ITB Berlin exhibition to be
held in March with focus of the landmark-based tourism, and asked the
ambassador to collaborate on this.
In response, Ms Campbell promised to study the cooperation opportunities in
the proposed fields, and informed that the US embassy in Ulaanbaatar is
implementing a project on protecting cultural and historic monuments that
are encountered in the travel destinations.
The dignitaries agreed to hold a meeting once again to discuss the prior
directions of cooperation.
Link to article
Mongolia parliament approves establishing diplomatic relations with further
eight UN countries
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) The majority of the parliament members
attended the plenary meeting of Friday approved establishing diplomatic
relations with UN member state, Uganda, Rwanda, Micronesia, Haiti, Kiribati,
Equatorial Guinea, Chad, and Mauritius.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren made the introduction of draft
resolution on establishing diplomatic relations with the above countries.
Conclusions by the Standing committee on Security and Foreign policy were
presented by L.Bold MP.
The Government intends to establish diplomatic ties with another ten UN
member states this year, in a scope of the objective to form diplomatic
relations with all members of the United Nations.
Link to article
Exequatur presented to Honorary Consul of Mongolia to France's Alsace Region
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) The Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to France Mr M.Batsaikhan Wednesday presented
the exequatur to Mr Laurent Hincker, the Honorary Consul of Mongolia to
France's Alsace Region.
The Ambassador mentioned that Mr Hincker became a new Honorary Consul of
Mongolia in the year coincided with the 50th anniversary of the bilateral
relations, and hoped that he will significantly contribute to widening the
bilateral relations and cooperation in all spheres, protecting interests of
Mongolians in France and helping them within his duty.
Mr Laurent Hincker has been majored in human rights, freedom and
international law. He has worked as an instructor for the training on laws,
and published several books.
Link to article
Australia Awards Scholar from Mongolia - Usukhbayar Sainjargal
Usukhbayar Sainjargal is an Australia Awards Scholar with disability from
Mongolia, studying Master of Laws at the University of Queensland.
Link to video <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RumZfJQTNcc>
Altantuya, more questions than answers – Zaid Ibrahim
January 28 (The Malaysian Insider) The Federal Court has ruled that Chief
Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar are guilty of murdering
Altantuya Shaariibuu. Sentencing them to the gallows offers some measure of
justice to Altantuya and her family, but despite the highest court's ruling,
the wound that this case has afflicted on this country's soul has not been
People are still demanding answers to many unanswered questions. There can
be no closure to this gruesome and senseless murder until they know why she
was killed in the first place.
Ordinary men and women want to know if Altantuya was killed by Azilah and
Sirul under instruction from someone else. They want to know if the offer of
RM100,000 to Sirul (by Sirul's own admission) was true, and who made the
They also want to know what was the instruction given to the two commandos;
the exact words used to "assist Razak" as the judge puts it.
They want to know why there were changes to the prosecutors and the High
Court judge hearing the case.
They want to know if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak knew Altantuya
despite his much publicised mosque declaration that he did not.
They want to know why Bala the private investigator and his family were
asked to leave the country.
Federal Court judge Datuk Suryadi Halim Omar reportedly said Najib's former
aide-de-camp DSP Musa Safri never instructed Azilah on how to assist Razak
Baginda, that Azilah was merely told to meet with him.
How does the judge know this for sure? Azilah could have said this but Musa
was never called as a witness.
Did the judge have access to Musa's police statement, or to some other
reliable piece of evidence adduced at the High Court?
It seems to me the court accepted that Musa was the one who gave
instructions to Azilah, but it somehow came to the conclusion that the
instruction was of a friendly and innocuous nature; something like, "Do what
you can to assist Razak."
That bothers me. Altantuya was here to ask for money from Razak that she
claimed was due to her.
She was not waging a war against the country. She did not bring along
commandos from Mongolia to kill someone if her demands were not met.
Razak/Musa could easily have asked a friend to mediate and see Altantuya on
their behalf. Even if they had wanted a man in uniform, someone from the
Cheras police station – helped perhaps by an immigration officer – would
All they needed to do was persuade Altantuya to leave the country peacefully
if her claim was frivolous. I am anxious to know what was on Musa's mind
when he decided to introduce Razak to Azila and Sirul.
When you ask people whose job is to eliminate and destroy to "assist" you,
and they are in possession of C4 explosives, you cannot expect them to
engage in peaceful and polite negotiations. You expect them to do exactly
what they were trained to do: take orders, ask no questions and kill if
Many people want to know what were Musa's exact instructions. Did Musa, for
example, give any kind of caveat to say no harm should come to the woman?
Some are happy with the Attorney-General's explanation for why he chose not
to call on Musa during the trial, and obviously the judges are within their
rights to convict a murderer without any known motive. But in the real
world, nothing like that ever happens.
In the real world, a prosecutor would want to present the full story, for
only a madman kills for no reason. Everyone else has a motive for doing
That is why there has to be closure for this case. Our country will forever
be seen as callous with human lives , with no regard for the truth, until
the mystery surrounding Altantuya's murder is solved.
I believe there are things we don't know about the murder, and the conduct
of the police and the AG regarding the matter has hardly been beyond
Justice is about more than compliance with the letter of the law. It is more
than just a court decision, for the court can only do so much based on the
materials the AG and the police put forward.
Justice in this case requires the country to have an independent inquiry to
ascertain why the case unfolded as it did and to determine if the roles
played by the police and the AG were aboveboard.
Although we cannot depend too much on Royal Commissions of Inquiry nowadays
to determine the truth, if we can get enough men of courage and integrity to
conduct the inquiry we might be able to get some justice.
So far we have found two men guilty. There could be more if the truth were
allowed to finally surface.
I may be a lone voice in seeking to know more about the murder of Altantuya,
but for our system of government to operate well, we need to have enough
conviction to raise questions and get answers when we are in doubt.
We need to defend what is just and right. I hope the opposition leader (who
has been unusually silent on this matter) will be willing to support my
proposal for a full inquiry.
We need to make sure that we have not left important clues behind, and
remove all doubt that the stakeholders in our justice system might have been
less than honest in dealing with the case. – The Zaidgeist, January 28,
* Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is a lawyer turned politician and a former minister in
the Prime Minister's Department in charge of legal affairs and judicial
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not
necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
Link to article
Back to top <>
Social, Environmental & Other
Minister Burmaa thanks ADB for agriculture development assistance
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa
received on January 30 the Water Resources Specialist of the Asian
Development Bank Mr Zhang Qingfeng.
The Minister expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the ADB for issuing
credits and non-refundable aids for Mongolia's agricultural re-construction,
which sector is the country's main economic sphere, and for its support in
times of dzud.
The sides also discussed renewing of the medium-term program implemented by
the ADB, forwarding the development of action plans for 2014-2016, and
increasing the number of ADB projects and technical assistance to Mongolia's
agricultural sector, and forwarding the second phase document on
"Agricultural Development Project" worth USD 50 million.
ADB Specialist Mr Zhang informed that the Bank intends to issue additional
credit sources for Mongolia for the coming years. The Minister appreciated
the news and promised that the Ministry will study the means of efficient
use of the ADB assistance.
Link to article
Inside the Dangerous World of Amateur 'Ninja' Gold Miners
BY PETE BROOK
January 29 (The Wired) Mongolia is in the midst of an epic gold rush
5VI> spawning the modern equivalent of the forty-niners who rushed to
The county is rich in natural resources—stunning scenery, yes, but also vast
deposits of coal, copper, gold, and other metals. Over the years, industrial
mining has punched gaping holes into the landscape, then moved on after
taking all it could. Then the locals scour the open pits, taking what the
corporations left behind and creating an informal but dangerous industry.
As many as 100,000 Mongolians—nearly 20 percent of the country's rural
ll-scale-mining-sector/> —work as independent and unlicensed miners, sifting
the dirt for the smallest flecks of gold. Spanish photographer Alvaro Laiz
<http://www.alvarolaiz.com/> is fascinated by this trend and chronicles
this dangerous endeavor in Ninjas: Gold Rush In Mongolia.
"I've been always interested in how human beings interact with our
environment and how the search for natural resources affects us," he says.
The term "ninja" refers to the large green pans (used to carry ore and sift
gold) the miners carry on their backs, which makes them look like the
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It is a difficult way of life; these miners
descend into shafts with little structural support and endure bitter cold or
searing heat deep underground. There is little in the way of safety
equipment or oversight as they chip away at the earth using rudimentary
"When I ventured down a shaft, the heat, the dust and the noise was so
intense I couldn't see my hands," says Laiz. "I was there for 40 minutes. It
felt like a century. Afterward, I saw with different eyes, the men who spend
10 hours each day down those same holes.
"Watching them work was like traveling back to the times of the Gold Rush."
Though ninjas are drawn by the promise of riches, most merely get by. The
mining is tough on them, and on the landscape. According to rough estimates
by officials and non-governmental organizations, the ninjas pulled as much
as 5 tons of gold from the ground in 2013 alone
s-to-support-currency/> , earning as little as $8 a day for their efforts.
All things told, the Mongolian economy is booming and The Economist says
<http://www.economist.com/node/21543113> mining industries will drive the
country's economic growth at a faster rate than any other nation on earth in
the next decade. The government recently acknowledged the ninjas'
contributions to society and their needs as a migratory and nebulous
workforce, but the amateur miners remain at the bottom of the heap because
of their crude methods and associated risks. Until there's employment
alternatives, it's likely the ninjas will continue to speculate.
Link to photo essay
"Empower Women" – World's First and Fourth Annual Conference of Mongolian
Women in the U.S.A
When: March 7, 8, and 9th, 2015
Where: Marriott Denver Tech Center
Address: 4900 S Syracuse St, Denver, CO 80237
Airport: DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Hotel Reservation: $75.00 per night (between 03/06/15-03/10/15). Please send
your reservation request to <mailto:email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org .
Deadline of the hotel reservation: February 13, 2015.
The Conference Purpose:
1. Introduce distinguished Mongolian Women
2. Develop and empower Mongolian Women's self-esteem
3. Support exchange of ideas and experiences and women's networking
4. Introduce the activities of Mongolian Women's Development Foundation
5. Promote creativity, inspire and educate Mongolian Women
Link to full release
Hakuho leads sumo's Mongolian invasion
January 29 (Reuters, Kyodo) Hakuho returned to his corner for a third time
to grab another fistful of sat, his face a picture of concentration, his
eyes narrowed and focused as the crowd in Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo
arena bristled with anticipation.
He turned, tossed the granules high into the air and made his way back
toward the center of the dohyo, slapping his thighs and pumping himself up
as he completed the centuries-old pre-bout ritual.
Opposite the Mongolian-born yokozuna (grand champion) stood, somewhat
fittingly, Japan's top-ranked wrestler, Kisenosato, the last barrier between
Hakuho and a history-making triumph.
Seconds later, Hakuho fended off his opponent's initial barrage of slaps and
pushes before planting his feet, seizing the momentum and forcefully
marching Kisenosato out of the ring for his 13th straight victory in the New
Hakuho allowed himself a smile and nodded knowingly. His 33rd Emperor's Cup
was won with two days to spare, sumo's chronicles had been rewritten and his
quest to surpass the legendary Taiho's all-time tournament victories record
The 29-year-old's landmark triumph last Friday evening was also the starkest
reminder yet that the most Japanese of sports has become the domain of
Mongolian wrestlers both in the ring and now the history books.
Sumo had been practiced by only Japanese competitors from its first
organized basho (tournament) back in the 17th century until a little more
than 100 years ago, when foreign-born wrestlers started to participate.
The first wave of overseas powers had a distinctly Polynesian flavor with
Takamiyama laying down a marker for Hawaiian-born wrestlers in the late
1960s, before Konishiki rose to prominence two decades later and Akebono
became the first foreign yokozuna in 1993.
Samoan Musashimaru was the second non-native grand champion when he was
promoted to the top rank in 1999 and his 12 basho victories marked the onset
of foreign domination that Mongolia took over with the controversial
Asashoryu leading the way.
Currently, all three yokozuna are Mongolian — Hakuho, Harumafuji and Kakuryu
— with the last Japanese grand champion retiring in 2003 and final homegrown
tournament winner coming nine years ago when Tochiazuma won his third and
While Japanese fans bemoan a lack of local competitors at the highest level,
Edo-Tokyo Museum head Makoto Takeuchi, who teaches the history of the sport
to new sumo recruits, feels too much is being read into the situation.
The museum is next door to Ryogoku Kokugikan in Sumida Ward.
"As a Japanese, it is regrettable that a record held by a Japanese wrestler
is broken by a foreigner. This is true," Takeuchi said. "I do not actually
care about the nationality of wrestlers, as long as they make efforts to
understand and learn what sumo means."
The essence of sumo to most Japanese is "hinkaku" (dignity), something a
yokozuna must possess to earn the respect of fans, the media and his peers
to help plant a legacy of greatness both during and after a wrestler's
"Sumo is not just a sport . . . it is not just about who wins and who loses.
In addition to the results, wrestlers are required to have hinkaku and the
beauty of every movement is a reflection of their dignity that we can
appreciate," Takeuchi added.
"Sumo has this extra value that other sports do not."
A perceived lack of hinkaku blighted Asashoryu's reign as a yokozuna, with
the Mongolian having several scrapes with sumo authorities during a career
that saw him win an impressive 25 tournaments but was cut short by a
retirement in 2010 he felt was forced upon him following an alleged assault
Hakuho, born Monkhbatyn Davaajargal in Ulan Bator, has avoided such
controversies and risen through the ranks on the back of his great strength,
agility and flexibility.
While he took a beating from a comment he made Monday, in which he
criticized the judging at Friday's tournament, he has apologized to his
stablemaster for the breach of etiquette. "It shouldn't matter what color
your skin is," Hakuho was reported as complaining Monday, after a rematch
was ordered after an inconclusive first bout with the Japanese ozeki
Many have compared his rural upbringing in Mongolia to that of the great
Japanese wrestlers of the past, able to develop his core power by riding
horses and carrying heavy objects as a youth.
His determination and extra training set him apart from his stable mates and
rivals, but like Asashoryu he struggled to win over the Japanese public with
a tendency to over-celebrate victories and displays of disregard toward
It was perhaps a meeting with Taiho in 2008, who became a father figure to
the young Mongolian, and his marriage and subsequent parenthood that have
helped calm down the wrestler as he marched toward greatness.
"Even though he has more wins than Taiho, it does not mean he has surpassed
him as a person," Takeuchi said.
"Hakuho must be given credit, though, in that he is really trying to become
as similar as possible to those historical champions.
"Not only does he want to wrestle like them, he wants to become a man like
them as well."
Link to article
Wrath of Khan: Netflix show Polo-rises Mongolians
by Khaliun Bayartsogt
The big-budget American series "Marco Polo", on the 13th-century Venetian
explorer and his years at the court of the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, is
riddled with historical errors, say Mongolian viewers and experts.
Ulan Bator, January 29 (AFP) US movie distributor Netflix has spent tens of
millions of dollars on the show, touted as its answer to HBO's huge hit Game
With swashbuckling swordfights, mass battles, intricate costumes and palace
plots, the series portrays conflicts and rebellions in the Mongol empire
under Kublai Khan, as seen through Marco Polo's eyes.
Kublai, the grandson of the great Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan, was a
phenomenal warrior himself, reigning from 1260 to 1294, subjugating swathes
of China and establishing the Yuan dynasty of Chinese emperors.
Mongolian viewers were excited to see one of their own being cast as
Kublai's brother Ariq Boke and hearing the occasional Mongol phrase, despite
most leading roles going to Chinese actors or those of Chinese descent, such
as Briton Benedict Wong, who plays Kublai.
But according to Mongolian historians, much of the plot plays fast and loose
with the facts.
Batsukh Otgonsereenen, who spent 10 years researching his book The History
of Kublai Khan, told AFP: "From a historical standpoint 20 percent of the
film was actual history and 80 percent fiction."
The fate of Ariq Boke, who briefly took power following the death of their
father but lost the subsequent civil war, was particularly twisted, he said.
"The part where Kublai and Ariq Boke fight to a bloody death in front of
their soldiers is completely untrue," he said. "Yes, Ariq did try to seize
the throne, but in history Kublai and Ariq resolve their issues."
A concubine-assassin supposedly sent by a minister of the rival Song dynasty
to seduce Kublai and kill his queen was another fantasy.
"Mongolian Khans never wed or had concubines that were totally unknown,"
"Kublai also did not live in a palace. He lived in his royal ger in Beijing,
in a traditional Mongolian manner."
In a press release, Netflix described the series — shot in Kazakhstan,
Malaysia and Italy, rather than Mongolia or China — as set in a world
"replete with exotic martial arts, political skullduggery, spectacular
battles and sexual intrigue".
But Otgonsereenen said the creators' research on Kublai seemed "very
"I think they tried to show Mongolian history like Game of Thrones with
conspiracy, betrayal, blood and sex," he said.
"Mongolian youth who watch this series might get the wrong impression of
Kublai Khan being quite cruel and perverted."
– Big in the Middle Ages –
Polo — played by Italy's Lorenzo Richelmy in the show — was a Venetian
merchant who spent more than two decades in central Asia and China with his
father and uncle, serving for years as Kublai's minister and envoy.
After his return the story of his journeys, "Book of the Marvels of the
World", also known as The Travels of Marco Polo, propelled him to mediaeval
He was not the first European to travel to Asia but became by far the most
famous, and his descriptions of the Far East are said to have inspired
Christopher Columbus to attempt to travel there himself, only to discover
the Americas instead.
But US critics panned the show, with news site vox.com's reviewer writing:
"This is a show about Kublai Khan that doesn't realise it's about Kublai
Khan because Marco Polo has better name recognition.
"Is it worth watching?" he asked rhetorically. "Eh, not really, no."
The series, released last month, has a 30 percent rating on review
aggregator rottentomatoes.com, which describes it as "an all-round
Nonetheless a second season has been commissioned.
– Neighbourly tensions –
Some Mongolian viewers praise the series, and many welcome the space it
gives their remote country on the global small screen.
Orgil Narangerel, who played Genghis Khan in a BBC documentary, said it was
more accurate than any previous foreign portrayal of Mongolian culture.
"As a Mongol and an artist, 'Marco Polo' makes me feel like our dreams are
coming true," he told AFP. "I watched all 10 episodes in just in one day."
Although Mongol forces conquered China and ruled it for almost a century,
modern Mongolia is overshadowed by its giant southern neighbour — a key
market for its raw materials — and fears being economically dominated by it.
China proclaims itself as the world's oldest civilisation and has a
historical tendency to co-opt successful invaders and declare them Chinese,
Mongolia was later part of Qing dynasty China, only securing independence in
the early 20th century and falling into the Soviet sphere soon after, while
the Nationalist Republic of China maintained a sovereignty claim over the
Amateur film maker Narantsogt Baatarkhuu said Marco Polo correctly showed
China and Mongolia as "totally different countries with different cultures
and ways of life".
Movie blogger Tegshjargal Jalanajav added: "To people who like to argue that
Kublai Khan was a Chinese king, this show makes it clear he was a Mongolian
Link to article
Marco Polo: Age of Exploration - Netflix captures the epic adventures of
Marco Polo <http://www.wired.com/partners/marcopolo/> – WIRED/Netflix
Booze Traveler S01E06 Mongolian Road Trip
Plot: In 15 1-hour episodes of Booze Traveler cocktail connoisseur Jack
Maxwell travels around the world, one drink at a time. Maxwell grew up in
south Boston where bars served as the neighborhood living rooms, hosting
family dinners, birthdays and weddings. In this new series, he will take his
respect and appreciation for specialty cocktails to explore new locales,
seeking out the people, places, customs and cultures behind drinks across
Link to video <http://www.movhunter.net/watch.php?vid=bda22f471>
The 11 fathers of Asia: 800 million modern men are descended from a handful
of ancient leaders - including Genghis Khan
· Scientists from the University of Leicester traced DNA in modern
men to 'founding fathers' that lived across Asia between 1300BC and 1100AD
· The geneticists traced each the eleven lineages back to their
potential roots in the Middle East, India, China, Mongolia and south east
· They analysed Y chromosomes from 5,000 men from 127 populations
· 16 million men are thought to be directly descended from Genghis
· 1.5 million are descended from 14th Century Chinese leader
January 28 (The Daily Mail) More than 800 million men living today are
descended from just eleven men, including the ruthless Mongolian leader
Genghis Khan, according to new research.
Geneticists have been able to find eleven distinctive sequences in
Y-chromosomes - the chunk of DNA that is only carried by men - that are
persistent in modern populations in Asia.
By systematically analysing the DNA of more than 5,000 men, they have been
able to trace these male lineages to their approximate 'founding fathers'.
They found that along with Khan, who is reputed to have sired hundreds of
children as his hoards cut a swathe across much of Asia, they traced ten
These are thought to originate from the Middle East to Southeast Asia
between 2100BC and 1100AD.
They found that 37.8 per cent of the 5,000 men they tested belonged to one
of these eleven lineages.
If this is reflected in the entire Asian population, then it could mean
around 830 million men living in Asia currently owe their Y-chromosomes to
one of these eleven men.
Among them is a lineage that has previously been attributed to a Chinese
ruler called Giocangga, who died in 1583 and whose grandson founded the Qing
Dynasty that ruled China between 1644 and 1912.
Giocangga is thought to have had many children with his wives and concubines
and is the direct male ancestor of more than 1.5 million men.
The researchers also found that another of the lineages appears to have
population clusters that are concentrated along the Silk Road trading route
and date back to around 850AD.
This suggests they may have their origins among the powerful rulers who
dominated the steppes where the route passed - the Khitan, Tangut Xia,
Juchin, Kara-Khitan and Mongol empires.
The researchers suggest that Abaoji, Emperor Taizu of Liao and the Great
Khan of the Khitans, who died in 926AD in the Khitan area of China, is a
possible candidate for the father of this lineage.
'What I really hope is that at some point someone will find Genghis Khan's
tomb and remains.'
Link to full article
Genetic Legacy of Genghis Khan in Challenge? Experts Discover 10 More
Ancestors Who Spread Lineages in Asia
asia.htm> – Tech Times, January 28
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