Monday, April 20, 2015

[Shenhua buys MMC coal; BoM triples banks' cap; MNT jumps; IMF sees 4.4% growth; and MPP, Ganbaatar lead poll]

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Monday, April 20, 2015

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Overseas Market

975 closed -1.49% Friday to HK$0.33, +10% in last 1 month

China's Shenhua signs 1.2Mts coal trade deal with MMC, first with Mongolia

BEIJING, April 19 (Reuters) - China's biggest coal producer, the Shenhua Group, has signed a deal to buy 1.2 million tonnes of high-grade coking coal from Mongolia, a move that could help pave the way for the state-owned firm to invest in one of Mongolia's biggest mines.

China's State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) said in a notice posted late on Friday that the transaction signed by Shenhua's foreign business arm and Mongolia's Energy Resources LLC was the first such deal between the two sides and would "build good foundations for future cooperation in trade and other activities".

Neither Shenhua nor Energy Resources, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-listed Mongolia Mining Corporation, were available to comment when contacted on Sunday.

Along with Energy Resources and Japan's Sumitomo Corporation , Shenhua is part of a consortium expected to take over operations at the massive Tavan Tolgoi coking coal mine, close to Mongolia's southern border with China.

Desperate to rejuvenate its flagging economy, the Mongolian government agreed to hand over the construction and operation of Tavan Tolgoi to the consortium earlier this year, but the deal still needs to be ratified by parliament.

An official with the state-owned firm running the mine, Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi, said in Beijing on Friday that a vote on the issue was due within one or two weeks and could still be rejected.

"We are not sure if parliament is going to approve or not," said Batbileg Batbayar, head of the firm's sales division.

He said legislators were currently deadlocked, with many wanting a more diversified consortium featuring U.S. or Russian firms.

If the investment agreement is approved soon, a $1 billion railway link connecting the mine directly to customers in China could be completed within two to three years, cutting freight costs into China by more than $10 per tonne, Batbileg said.

Mongolia has long been concerned about the increasingly dominant role that China is playing in its economy, but it has struggled to find alternative sources of investment, especially amid a fall in global commodity prices and a long dispute with Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto over the construction of the Oyu Tolgoi copper project.

Batbileg said Mongolia was still hopeful of developing rail links that would allow the country to sell its coal to other countries via ports on Russia's Pacific coast, but conceded that such routes would currently add $50-$60 per tonne to the company's freight costs.

Link to article


MMC: Supplementary Announcement to Annual Results on BN Impairment

April 14 -- Reference is made to the annual results announcement of Mongolian Mining Corporation (HKEx:975, the "Company") dated 23 March 2015 for the year ended 31 December 2014 (the "Results Announcement"). Terms used in this announcement shall have the same meaning as those defined in the Results Announcement unless the context otherwise defines.

According to the Results Announcement, the Company recognized an impairment loss in the amount of USD190 million for the year ended 31 December 2014 in relation to the mining rights of the Baruun Naran Coking Coal Mine (the "BN Mine") to reflect significant downward pressure on coking coal prices due to persisting oversupply situation in the coal industry. In view of the amount of impairment loss recognized, the board of directors (the "Board") of the Company would like to provide the following supplementary information in relation to the impairment loss which is in the opinion of the Board necessary for the shareholders of the Company and potential investors to have a reasonable appreciation of the annual results of the Company for the year ended 31 December 2014:

BN Mine

Link to release


D. Ganbold: Government won't discuss any OT conciliatory agreement

April 16 ( Yesterday, the cabinet members had the closed meeting. Unofficial information released today stated that the closed cabinet meeting discussed on the Oyu Tolgoi conciliatory agreement. Therefore we contacted D.Ganbold, CEO of Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi and OT BD member to clarify on this matter:

- First of all let me ask one question. Would anyone believe if someone reported that someone from the moon is to land on earth and kill every one of us? First, one will think if anything of this kind is possible. If there are tax disputes then the certain entity will resolve their issues with the taxation authorities, there is no need for the Government to butt in. Conciliatory agreement is a similar thing. It is not discussed by the government. Yesterday's cabinet meeting hasn't discussed anything related to it. Every Mongolian knows that there are disputes between the OT and Government of Mongolia.

-On zero-rating the USD 30 million?

-Both sides can reconcile. Even when the case is raised at court sides can reconcile. Oyu Tolgoi is paying its taxes.

Link to article


TRQ closed -0.74% Friday to US$4.02, +47.25% in last 3 months

Mongolia and Rio need tax deal for Oyu Tolgoi as election clock ticks

By Terrence Edwards in Ulaanbaatar

April 13 (bne) Mongolia's government has made big strides in resolving a tax dispute with mining giant Rio Tinto that's holding back a $5.4bn expansion of the huge Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine. But time is running out to finalise a deal as politicians gear up for elections in 2016 that will inevitably involve some multinational bashing.

The dispute over Mongolia's largest mine project has dragged on for almost two years and cost the country much of its reputation as one of the world's hottest economies in the frontier markets arena. So investors were cheered on April 4 by remarks from Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg, who claimed that a final deal was near for the underground expansion of Oyu Tolgoi, which is 66% owned by Rio Tinto indirectly through its majority-owned unit Turquoise Hill Resources, with the Mongolian state holding the remaining 34%.

"The two sides have reached agreement, in principle, on the main points of dispute," Saikhanbileg said during a televised speech. "Now the parties are finalizing their respective internal processes and will soon officially announce the results to the world."

Rio Tinto's chief executive, Sam Walsh, had also hinted that progress was being made to bne IntelliNews during a visit to Mongolia on March 29 to commemorate the millionth tonne of copper ore shipped from the mine. "There are issues we're working through with the government, and I'm hopeful we'll bring [them] to resolution," he said. "My visit here is to show that commitment, to show our interest, and show our good will in regard to the progress in negotiations."

Despite the positive words, a deal over the second phase of Oyu Tolgoi won't be possible until both sides can agree on a $127mn tax dispute that has since been reduced to $30mn. The amount may now be relatively small, but Rio Tinto's Walsh said the miner in November delivered its "best and final offer" to resolve the tax dispute, which includes a request for the government to spell out how exactly tax officials determined the figure. "It's more about seeking clarity than anything particularly special," said Walsh.

Government officials, however, say they can't comply. Cabinet Secretariat Minister Sangajav Bayartsogt has objected on the grounds that Mongolia is not able to grant special tax arrangements for just one company, no matter how important – although, arguably, the 2009 investment agreement drawn up for Oyu Tolgoi did just that. Badral Munkhdul, the head of market intelligence group Cover Mongolia, warns that: "It looks like the tax law has to be changed to solve the tax dispute."

Second helpings

The stakes are high for both sides. Rio Tinto argues that the underground mine is necessary to unlock 80% of the wealth of the mine, which is located 80 kilometres from the Chinese border in the Gobi desert. Rio needs the expansion to make the mine a worthwhile long-term investment; for Mongolia the mine means billions more in investment after more than two years of straight decline.

According to Dale Choi of Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research, after $6.4bn was invested in the first phase of Oyu Tolgoi in 2010-2013, ​phase two is estimated to bring another $6bn in investment over five years. For the government coffers, the first phase brought in $1.3bn in taxes, royalties and fees, and the second is estimated to bring in another $1.7bn.

Oyu Tolgoi marked the beginning and the end of Mongolia's short-lived mining boom. The signing of the investment agreement in 2009 saw the country's GDP swing from a contraction of 1.3% that year to the world-beating peak growth of 17.5% just two years later (Mogi: readjusted to 17.3%). But the dispute with Oyu Tolgoi has sapped investor appetite, with GDP growth steadily declining to 7.8% last year. The Asian Development Bank has projected average growth of 4% for 2015 (Mogi: 3% in 2015) and 2016 (Mogi: 5% in 2016), unless Mongolia can start attracting investment again.

Mobilising construction for the $5.4bn expansion project would require Oyu Tolgoi to hire new employees and contractors for support. But the mine's influence over the economy as a whole has companies in sectors ranging from real estate to retail watching progress closely. "If Oyu Tolgoi's not running, the whole economy is suffering," says Marcel Venhofen, executive director for the German Mongolian Business Association. He sees the impact of Oyu Tolgoi not only as a source of capital, but also to attract more expats to the country who will then boost consumer spending.

If the tax dispute is resolved, it would be one step closer to both parties signing a memorandum of understanding to allow Oyu Tolgoi to go forward with the expansion project.

Rio Tinto's Turquoise Hill Resources would then be able to approach lenders again to discuss terms to finance the underground expansion project, said Walsh. A $4bn project financing package that Rio Tinto had planned to use to fund construction of the underground mine expired last year, but Walsh said lenders such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have still expressed interest in being involved. 

But while businesses want to see the return of foreign investment growth, another group of voters sees mining as only beneficial to the country's oligarchs and foreign enterprises. And their voices are only likely to get louder ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for 2016.

In 2012, some politicians took a strong stance against foreign investment in the mining sector. Going head-to-head against Oyu Tolgoi helped make some politicians household names. And despite the economic benefits that expanding the mine could bring to the economy, being seen as too close to foreign mining investors could be political suicide.

Prime Minister Saikhanbileg in February gave himself some political cover by asking Mongolians to voice their opinion on whether the country should push mining projects forward with a text message referendum. However, the race was close and voter response unremarkable.

Munkhdul reckons Saikhanbileg has until Mongolia's Naadam summer festival in July, when parliament breaks for recess, to alter the tax code and resolve the tax dispute. And although he sees Saikhanbileg's cabinet as unified, convincing parliament will be a difficult feat. "That's a big step," he says. "The biggest is changing the law."

"If the campaigning starts, and we still haven't figured out [Oyu Tolgoi], that will mean it's open hunting season," says Munkhdul.

Link to article


GRAPHIC: Mongolia needs Oyu Tolgoi more than Rio does

April 14 ( Last week Mongolian Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg announced that his Cabinet has decided to proceed with the nearly $5 billion second phase at Oyu Tolgoi after two years of often bitter negotiations between the government and Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto.

The government of Mongolia owns 34% of the mine in the south Gobi desert near the Chinese border and Rio-controlled Turquoise Hill (TSX:TRQ) holds the remainder.

Oyo Tolgoi phase II is a truly giant project – an updated feasibility study including the underground expansion released in September shows recoverable copper of 24.9 billion pounds, 11.9 million ounces of gold and 78 million ounces of silver over a mine life of 41 years. At today's metals prices that's worth an eye-watering $92 billion.

A separate economic assessment to develop Oyu Tolgoi further and include other deposits at the property shows just what a rich find Oyu Tolgoi really was. This scenario provides a 94 year mine life and recoverable copper of 56.5 billion pounds, 27.9 million ounces of gold and 195.2 million ounces of silver, pushing the value of the mine to closer to $200 billion.

Oyu Tolgoi would certainly help Rio lighten its reliance on iron ore which is trading at near-decade lows and give it more exposure to copper for which the outlook is much brighter.

But as much as it's a great asset for the London and Melbourne-based company, this graphic prepared by Dale Choi of Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research, an Ulaanbaatar-based research company, shows just how vital the turquoise hill is to the nation of just over three million citizens:

Link to article


YAK (MGG ) closed -1.96% Friday to C$1.00, +40.85% in April

Mongolia Bonds, Mining Stocks Rise on Rio Tinto Deal Optimism

By Michael Kohn

April 17 (Bloomberg) Mongolian dollar bonds rallied this month, pushing the five-year yield to a 22-month low, and stocks of resource companies with operations in the nation rose after the government signaled it is looking to clear stalled mining deals.

Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed, in a nationally televised address on April 5, outlined his plans to revive the economy, including the resolution of a dispute with Rio Tinto Group on the $6.6 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.

This spurred the yield on sovereign notes due January 2018 to drop 191 basis points, or 1.91 percentage points, this month to 5.87 percent Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That's the lowest since June 2013. The yield rose to an all-time high of 9.79 percent on Jan. 21.

"Investors have been bidding up shares of Mongolia-leveraged companies and sovereign bonds since the prime minister announced a deal was in place two weeks ago, but Rio has yet to confirm this," Nick Cousyn, chief operating officer of BDSec, Mongolia's largest brokerage, said in a text message Friday.

A basket of overseas companies with assets in Mongolia has soared on foreign exchanges this month. Turquoise Hill Resources, Mongolia Growth Group and Entree Gold have climbed 30, 48 and 163 percent, respectively.

Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill owns 66 percent of Oyu Tolgoi with the Mongolian government holding the rest. Rio Tinto Group controls the project through its 51 percent ownership of Turquoise Hill. Entree Gold has licenses that cover a portion of the Oyu Tolgoi deposit.

Also drawing investor interest is a bid by a consortium of companies including Energy Resources LLC, China Shenhua Energy Co. and Sumitomo Corp. to develop the Tsankhi coking coal deposit at Tavan Tolgoi, a $4 billion investment.

Mongolia's parliament will review terms of the Tavan Tolgoi project this month and make a final decision, Minister of Mongolia Enkhsaikhan Mendsaikhan said April 9.

The tugrik has strengthened 1 percent to 1,972 a dollar Friday after reaching an all-time low of 1991.45 on March 25, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Link to article


TRQ closed +0.2% Friday to C$4.93

Turquoise Hill Resources Lower Today After TD Securities Downgrade

NEW YORK, April 16 (TheStreet) -- Shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) were falling 2.1% to $4.03 on heavy trading volume Thursday after TD Securities downgraded the Vancouver-based mining company to "hold" from "speculative buy."

The analyst firm raised its price target for Turquoise Hill Resources to C$5 from C$4.50. TD analyst Craig Hutchison said the downgrade was a result of the recent price appreciation of the company's stock.

"We continue to formally expect a resolution with the Government of Mongolia sometime in H2/15 and the resumption of underground development in 2016," Hutchison wrote. "In the interim, we continue to expect the company to generate solid free cash flow in 2015, supported by strong production and low cash costs at OT."

About 4.1 million shares of Turquoise Hill Resources were traded by 2:33 p.m. Thursday, above the company's average trading volume of about 2.9 million shares a day.

TheStreet Ratings team rates TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES LTD as a Sell with a ratings score of E+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES LTD (TRQ) a SELL. This is based on several weak investment measures, which should drive this stock to significantly underperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share and relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

·         TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES LTD has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES LTD reported lower earnings of $0.10 versus $0.18 in the prior year.

·         In its most recent trading session, TRQ has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential.

·         The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Metals & Mining industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 19.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $138.30 million to $111.41 million.

·         TRQ has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. To add to this, TRQ has a quick ratio of 1.73, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.

·         Compared to other companies in the Metals & Mining industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES LTD has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

·         You can view the full analysis from the report here: TRQ Ratings Report

Link to article


Rio Tinto: 2015 AGM Presentation

April 17, --

Link to preso


AGM Address by Chairman

AGM Address by CEO

2015 AGM voting results


From Miami to Mongolia: Adventures in a Frontier Boom-Town

April 14 (Emerging Frontiers) Mongolia is a land of stark contrasts. It has the lowest population density of any country on earth, yet its population is fewer than three million – and over half of them live in the capital of Ulaanbaatar. For context, note that the country is three times the size of France, but its total population only slightly outnumbers that of the city of Lyon. Mongolia's frozen steppes bring long, lonely winters (the worst are called "zud", and can prove devastating to animal herds that the nomads depend upon for survival) that contrast with the brief but brutal heat of summer.

(SoundCloud: Harris Kupperman on Mongolia)

Over the past decade a monumental resource boom has created a new consumer class in the country, and bestowed another superlative upon Mongolia – that of the world's fastest-growing economy. Fifteen years ago it was virtually impossible to find a Western consumer product in Mongolia; today its shopping centers host Louis Vuitton and Burberry, and its streets are filled with foreign luxury automobiles. Yet up to 30% of its population still lives a nomadic lifestyle that remains largely unchanged from the era of Chinggis Khan.  

The first decade of this century was indeed kind to Mongolians. However, since 2012 the country has experienced a dramatic slowdown. After years of double-digit growth, Mongolia's GDP is now expected to hit just 3% this year before climbing to 5% in 2016. Even for a frontier market, this has been a dramatic boom/bust cycle.

To learn more about this market, Emerging Frontiers CEO Kevin Virgil spoke with Harris Kupperman, the founder and CEO of Mongolia Growth Group (TSX-V: YAK), a listed property management company focused on retail and commercial properties in Ulaanbaatar.

Kupperman's story is fascinating; he day-traded his way through Tulane University and began a hedge fund, Praetorian Capital, shortly thereafter. He is a prolific writer and his blog is highly-recommended reading for anyone seeking a unique perspective on the markets. His Mongolian story began during a trip through Russia via the Trans-Siberian Railway, where he literally stumbled into Mongolia's growth potential on a whistle-stop.

He discovered a city humming with activity and bursting at the seams. Designed by the Soviets to accommodate a mere 600,000 individuals (yet currently home to over 1.3 million), Ulaanbaatar is an oasis of chaos amidst the ocean of endless grassland that is the Mongolian steppe.

An emerging consumer class has an appetite for middle-class and luxury apartments, and newfound wealth has generated an enormous influx of cars that leads to perhaps Mongolia's greatest contrast of all – some of the world's worst traffic jams, within the world's least-densely populated country. A steadily increasing population of foreign mining workers and expats only adds to Ulaanbaatar's new era of frontier market 'boom town'.

Amidst this rapid economic growth and interest from foreign investors, Harris realized an opportunity was at hand. He chose to extend his trip and look at several potential ventures before ultimately deciding to enter the local market for acquisition and management of commercial real estate properties. Along with co-founder Jordan Calonego, Harris co-founded Mongolia Growth Group, a Canadian-listed company that now owns several prime commercial and retail properties in Ulaanbaatar.

The past three years have been challenging for both Harris, and for Mongolia, as the country has endured an epic downturn and retreat of foreign investment. Many of Mongolia's recent troubles stem from its loud and boisterous parliamentary democracy, where undercurrents of resource nationalism play an important factor in the nation's politics. Its government has been in the grips of a long-term dispute with mining firm Rio Tinto that has called into question its ability to work with foreign corporations and investors.

In most countries, a dispute with one firm would hardly be the cause for massive capital flight, but in Mongolia the dispute centers on Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi, two of the world's largest mining projects that together can contribute as high as 30% of the country's current GDP. However, Mongolia's Prime Minister Saikhanbileg is intent on resolving the dispute in the near term. Doing so will assuredly enhance the country's economic situation and assuage investor worries in other sectors.

Meanwhile, Mongolia Growth Group continues to build and manage its portfolio in Ulaanbaatar's CBD in the expectations that the bottom may now have been called for the Mongolian economy.  Tune in for a fascinating discussion on Mongolia, and what it takes to become a successful frontier markets entrepreneur.

Link to article


EGI jumped 26.35% on April 15. Down 0.79% since to US$0.45

Entree Gold Responds to Recent Trading Activity

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - April 15, 2015) - Entrée Gold Inc. (TSX:ETG)(NYSE MKT:EGI)(FRANKFURT:EKA) - ("Entrée" or the "Company") is not aware of any specific factors, other than information previously disclosed in its public filings, news releases or statements, which would result in the levels of trading activity and change in the share price recorded today.

This news release is being issued at the request of Market Surveillance at IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Link to release


ERD last traded C$0.12 on Thursday, +20% in last 1 month

Erdene Announces Private Placement to, Exercise of Warrants by Teck

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - April 17, 2015) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company"), is pleased to announce it intends to issue, by way of a non-brokered private placement, 2,826,310 shares to Teck Resources Limited ("Teck") at a price of $0.139 per share for gross proceeds of $392,857 ("Private Placement"). In addition to the Private Placement, Teck will be issued 1,071,429 shares on the exercise of warrants with an exercise price of $0.10 per share, for gross proceeds of $107,143. This fulfils Teck's annual equity investment obligation pursuant to the Strategic Alliance between Erdene and Teck announced by Erdene on April 11, 2013. Net proceeds of the Private Placement will be used for exploration of the Company's Teck-Alliance projects in Mongolia. Net proceeds from the exercise of the warrants will be used to retire the $107,143 non-interest bearing loan owed to Teck.

The Private Placement is expected to close on or before April 30, 2015, and is subject to certain conditions, including, but not limited to, the receipt of all necessary approvals including the approval and acceptance by the Toronto Stock Exchange. All securities to be issued pursuant to the Private Placement will be subject to a four month hold period from the closing date.

Link to release


Mongolia seeing shift on foreign investments: Interview with Erdene CEO

April 14 (CNBC) There is a "real significant shift" in the Mongolian government's view towards foreign investments in its mining sector, says Peter Akerley, president & CEO of Erdene Gold.

Link to video


GUF closed +6.45% Friday to A$0.033

Guildford Increases Stake in Guildford Coal Mongolia

April 17 -- The Board of Guildford Coal Limited (Guildford) (ASX:GUF) is pleased to advise that the Company has increased its ownership interest in one of its subsidiaries, Guildford Coal (Mongolia) Pty Ltd (Guildford Coal Mongolia) from 70% to 83.87%.

The remaining 16.13% of Guildford Coal Mongolia is held by Terra Holdings Ltd. Guildford Coal Mongolia controls 1 mining lease and 1 pre-mining lease which are part of Guildford's greater South Gobi project and are contiguous to Guildford's Baruun Noyon Uul producing coal project.

Guildford has increased its ownership of Guildford Coal Mongolia through the conversion of an inter-company loan facility into shares.

Link to release


Guildford Coal Celebrates 1 million man-hours and 2 years worked LTI free – Guildford Coal, April 20


Petro Matad Issues Shares to Directors Under Incentive Plan

April 17, Petro Matad PLC (AIM:MATD) --

Issue of Equity and Directors' Dealings 

Further to the announcements of 19 July 2013 and 7 May 2014, Petro Matad announces that it has issued 5,750,946 new ordinary shares of US$0.01 each ("New Shares") under the Company's Long Term Equity Incentive Plan (the "Plan"), of which 2,868,213 New Shares have been issued to directors of the Company. The New Shares have been issued, under the terms of the Plan, at nominal value. 

Changes to Directors' Holdings 

The below table sets out the Directors' shareholdings following the issue of the New Shares: 


Previous shareholding

New Shares being issued under the Plan

Resultant shareholding

Percentage holding of enlarged issued share capital

Oyungerel Janchiv*





Enkhmaa Davaanyam





Philip Vingoe





Amarzul Tuul





John Henriksen





Ridvan Karpuz





*Dr Oyungerel Janchiv, a director of Petro Matad, controls more than 20% of Petrovis Matad Inc. ("Petrovis"), her direct holding in Petro Matad of 18,807,066 ordinary shares is, for disclosure purposes, aggregated with that of Petrovis under the AIM definition of director's family. The aggregated holding of Dr Oyungerel and Petrovis is 110,991,328 ordinary shares representing 38.91 per cent. of the Company's enlarged issued share capital. 

Application has been made for the 5,750,946 New Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is anticipated that this will occur on or around 23 April 2015. 

Total Voting Rights 

Following the issue of the New Shares, Petro Matad will have 285,238,225 ordinary shares in issue, which will also represent the total number of voting rights in the Company. This figure should be used by shareholders as the denominator for the calculations by which they will determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change to their interest in, the Company under the FCA's Disclosure and Transparency Rules. 

Concert Party 

Following the issue of the New Shares to Oyungerel Janchiv and Enkhmaa Davaanyam, the Petrovis Group (being Petrovis, its underlying shareholders and their family members) will hold 143,053,562 ordinary shares, representing 50.15 per cent. of the Company's enlarged issued share capital.

Link to release


Oyu Tolgoi Releases First Quarter Performance 'Scorecard'

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, April 15 -- Oyu Tolgoi LLC today released its performance 'Scorecard' for the first quarter of 2015. The scorecard is intended to provide a regular, high-level update on key parameters around the operation – including direct impact measures like local employment ratios, supplier spend and taxes paid; environmental factors like water use; and, broader impacts like investment in social and educational projects, and overall spend / investments to-date.

Andrew Woodley – President and CEO, Oyu Tolgoi, said: "The Oyu Tolgoi Scorecard is an important tool for measuring ourselves against our mission: 'to deliver a safe and globally competitive business which contributes to the prosperity of Mongolia,' and speaks directly to one of our core values – accountability."

Performance in the first quarter of 2015 captured Oyu Tolgoi's continuing momentum across these parameters, with the company's strong safety focus delivering no major incidents, and an injury-free performance for 86 out of 90 days, between January and March 2015.

Oyu Tolgoi paid US$ 66.4 million in taxes for the quarter, and spent US$ 78.3 million on national procurement in the same period, of which US$ 14.1 million was spent with suppliers in the South Gobi region.

For more details on Oyu Tolgoi's performance, please see the Scorecard. The 2014 Scorecard, which measured performance in the same parameters across last year, was published in January. The Scorecard is updated quarterly.

Link to release

Link to 2014 Scorecard


Oyu Tolgoi Youth Development Programme students awarded certificates at Ulaanbaatar eventOyu Tolgoi LLC, April 13


NUR Holdings raises HK$157m to settle debt and SouthGobi acquisition first tranche

[ET Net News Agency, 17 April 2015] National United Resources Holdings (00254) said it agreed to place 500 million new shares to Yue Xiu Great China Fixed Income Fund III LP and 100 million new shares to Cai XuWen at HK$0.262 apiece, representing a discount of about 19.38% to the closing price of HK$0.325.

The subscription shares represent about 16.36% of the enlarged issued share capital of NUR Holdings. 

The estimated net proceeds of about HK$157 million will be used as to about HK$56 million for settlement of debt and related interests; about HK$81 million for settlement of the first tranche consideration in the acquisition of 56.1 million shares of SouthGobi Resources (01878); and about HK$20.17 million as general working capital of the Group

Link to article

Link to NUR release


1878 closed -3.5% Friday to HK$5.50, +37.6% in last 3 months

SouthGobi Resources Annual Report 2014

April 15, SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (HKEx:1878, TSX:SGQ) --

Link to report


Mogul Ventures has a RTO deal with Knowlton. A video preso on the deal. KWC.H last traded C$0.10 on May 22, 2014

Knowlton Capital CEO acquires additional shares, increases stake to 20.95%

MONTREAL, April 17, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Mazen Haddad, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive Officer of Knowlton Capital Inc. (TSXV: KWC.H), announces that he has acquired an additional 1,400,000 common shares of Knowlton Capital, representing 3.01% of the issued and outstanding common shares of Knowlton Capital, at a price of $0.05 per share following the exercise of 1,400,000 common share purchase warrants (the "Warrants"), for total proceeds of $70,000.

Immediately following the exercise of the Warrants, Mazen Haddad directly and indirectly owns the following Knowlton Capital securities: (i) 9,756,495 common shares, representing approximately 20.95% of the issued and outstanding common shares of Knowlton Capital, and (ii) stock options in respect of 1,558,775 common shares.  Assuming the exercise of all stock options held by Mr. Haddad, he would own 11,315,270 common shares, representing 23.51% of the Knowlton Capital common shares that would then be issued and outstanding.

Mr. Haddad acquired the Knowlton Capital common shares for investment purposes, and in accordance with applicable securities laws, Mr. Haddad may, from time to time and at any time, acquire additional common shares of Knowlton Capital and/or other equity, debt or other securities or instruments of Knowlton Capital in the open market or otherwise, and he reserves the right to dispose of any or all of his Knowlton Capital securities in the open market or otherwise at any time and from time to time, and to engage in similar transactions with respect to the securities, the whole depending on market conditions, the business and prospects of Knowlton Capital and other relevant factors.  Mr. Haddad is resident in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Review: MSE ALL -0.8%, Turnover 76.9 Million Stocks , 250.9 Million T-Bills

Ulaanbaatar, April 17 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange on April 13-17, 2015. In overall, 216 thousand and 094 units of 42 JSCs were traded costing MNT 327 million 715 thousand and 230.70.

"Gonir" /160 thousand and 332 units/, "Hermes center" /31 thousand and 320 units/, "State Department Store" /5,318 units/, "APU" /3,539 units/ and "Merex" /1,140 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Gonir" (MNT 25 million 653 thousand and 120), "APU" (MNT 12 million 333 thousand and 026), "Teever darkhan" (MNT seven million 572 thousand and 600), "Hermes center" (MNT four million 071 thousand and 680) and "Tavantolgoi" (MNT three million 881 thousand and 689).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 299 billion 801 million 742 thousand and 842. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 13,144.55, and the MSE all index was 956.44.

Link to article


Mogi: still no luck for GoM bonds on MSE

MSE Primary: 244.5 Million 28-Week, 2.9 Million 3-Year Government Bonds Sold

April 14 (MSE) On 14 April 2015, 28 weeks Government retail bonds worth MNT244,458,708.00 with 15.80% annual interest rate and 3 years Government bonds worth MNT2,900,000.00 with 16.875% annual interest rate traded successfully on primary market at Mongolian Stock Exchange.

Bellow member brokerage companies participated in the bond trading as follows: 

Company Name



TDB Capital






Gatsuurt Trade





Link to release


MSE: 6.6 Billion 12-Week Bills on Offer at 3.3% Discount, 14.988% Yield

April 16 (MSE) --

1.    The issuer's name: Mongolian Ministry of Finance

2.    The purpose of the issuance of bond: Fund management of State treasure 

3.    Offering scope of securities: Offering to the public

4.    Type of securities: Government securities

5.    Face value: MNT 100,000 

6.    Discounted price: 96,666.00

7.    Total amounts issued: 165,835 Units 

8.    Short-term securities performance:

 Government Securities name 

 Amount /units/

Value /billion MNT/ 

 Maturity /week/

Form of Interest payment

Interest rate (percent) 

 Starting date of the order

Closing date of the trading 









9.    Rate of interest: interest rate of the Government Securities, which will be issued weekly, will be based on auction results of Central Bank basis State Government Securities weighted average interest rate. If the Central Bank's weekly trading cancelled, the interest rate will be set based on the previous trading of Government Securities weighted average interest rate.

10.  Order deadline: The Mongolian Stock Exchange will take orders 6 days and the trading will close on the 6th day at 14.00 PM and information on total orders will be delivered to the securities issuer. 

11.  Trading period: Total registered orders distribution of MSE trading system will be determined based on the Ministry of Finance votes.

Link to release


3 aimags look to issue maiden bonds on MSE

April 16 ( According to the debt management law, province administrators now have the authority to issue bonds on the Mongolian Stock Exchange. In the first stage of applying these changes to the law, it has been agreed that bonds will be traded for Sukhbaatar, Umnugobi, and Orkhon provinces.

As reported by the Director of the Mongolian Stock Exchange, S.Angar, in order to boost further economic development, it is necessary to improve the activity of the Mongolian Stock Exchange. The development of stock exchange is seen as necessary for supporting Ulaanbaatar's role as the financial center of Mongolia.

The Mongolian Stock Exchange operates with only slight earnings in comparison to other international stock exchange markets, since the trading is primarily of government shares.

As of the end of the 1st quarter of this year, the Mongolian Stock Exchange saw total earnings of 100 million MNT.

Link to article


MSE: Government Securities Trading Report, First Quarter 2015: 108.1B on Primary, 204.6M on Secondary

April 14 (MSE) As of first quarter of 2015, government securities trading on primary market organized 12 times and 1,118,463 government bonds worth MNT108.1 billion traded through MSE successfully. 2,090 government bonds on secondary market traded through 9 trading sessions and transaction of MNT204.6 million has been made.  

On primary market, 12 week government bonds trading were accounted 96.4%, 28 week government bonds and 52 week government bonds trading accounted 1.5% and 2.1% respectively out of total traded MNT108.1 billion.


Even though interest rate of 12 week government bonds were decreased, the trading volume has been increased. 



Following securities companies were most active on government securities trading on primary market. 


12, 28 and 52 week Government securities traded on secondary market and total of MNT204.6 million transactions has been made.

Link to release


13 Stocks Announce 3.4 Billion Dividend As Of April 14

April 14 (MSE) As of 14 April 2015, Mongolian Stock Exchange received the BoD's resolutions of 13 JSC out of total MSE listed 237 JSC, about the decision to distribute dividends worth MNT3.4 billion on 140,447,981 shares.

Click here to see more detailed information of dividends.

Link to release

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Mogi: big banks must be happy to comply. Looks M&A season is upon us in the banking sector

Mongolia's Central Bank Triples Capital Requirement of Banks to ₮50 Billion

April 19 (Cover Mongolia) The Bank of Mongolia (BoM) announced on Friday that it has raised the minimum capital requirements of commercial banks to 50 billion under a Governor's Resolution issued on April 1.

Banks will have varying deadlines but must comply at the latest by December 31, 2017.

BoM last raised it to 16 billion from May 1, 2013.

Link to article


Mogi: IMF also lowered 2015 forecast to 4.4% from 7% (2014)

Mongolia Faces 'Substantial' Macroeconomic Challenges, IMF Says

By Michael Kohn

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia faces "substantial" macroeconomic challenges in the near term, according to a statement issued today by the International Monetary Fund.

* Further policy adjustments are needed to safeguard financial stability and strengthen balance of payments, public finances, and social safety nets, IMF says in report following conclusion of 2015 Article IV consultation

* Mongolia's economic prospects remain promising in medium to long term due to large mineral resources

* Strengthening fiscal position requires "ambitious consolidation approach"

* Mongolia has scope for further cuts in public spending, including at the Development Bank of Mongolia, coupled with measures to raise revenue, improve effectiveness of subsidies

* IMF supports Mongolia's intention to phase out unconventional easing programs by the central bank; encouraged govt to bring all DBM spending into the budget

* Control of credit growth and strengthening of balance of payments requires monetary tightening

* Foreign exchange intervention should be limited to smoothing excessive volatility; central bank encouraged to limit deficit financing

* Expansionary macro policies, low foreign direct investment and weak commodity prices are factors causing balance of payment pressure

* Downside risks relate to difficulty in securing agreements on major investment projects as well as possibility of a further slowdown in China or a surge in global financial volatility



Mongolia increases IMF special drawing rights under new agreement

April 16 ( Morning Plenary session of the State Great Khural discussed the amendments draft to the IMF negotiation documents.

Current special drawing rights from IMF are at USD 51.1 million and the amendments to the documents propose the increase to USD 72.3 million. 80 percent of the total member 170 countries of IMF have increased their quotes in the similar manner. As of Mongolia it has proposed the changed back in 2010 with no positive result up to date.

Kh.Gantsogt, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Finance reported that raising the quote is beneficial to receive the support from IMF in times of economic difficulties, as 80 percent of the member countries have paid to raise their quotes. For Mongolia we are expected to pay USD 8 million for the raise and these funds need to be included in the State budget.

Currently Mongolia hasn't received any support from IMF yet and in case the support is to be received there are certain criteria to be met.

According to the procedure the majority (79.3 percent) of MPs have voted to approve the amendments to the IMF negotiation documents.

Link to article


Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy 1,960 Sell 1,980), Khan (Buy 1,960 Sell 1,984), Golomt (Buy 1,960 Sell 1,980), XacBank (Buy 1,960 Sell 1,979), State Bank (Buy 1,958 Sell 1,984)

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, April 17 Close




































































MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:

Link to rates


BoM FX auction: USD, CNY ask, bid offers declined, accepts $87.5m USD swap offers

April 14 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on April 14th, 2015 the BOM has received bid offers of USD 4.0 million in a rate between MNT 1984.30-1984.70 and CNY 76.0 in a rate 319.25-319.30. Furthermore, BOM has received selling bid offers of USD 2.0 million in a rate of MNT 1986.50 and CNY 3.0 in a rate of MNT 319.20. For today's Foreign Exchange Auction BOM has not accepted the offer.

On April 14th, 2015, The BOM has received USD Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to USD 87.5 from local commercial banks and accepted the offer.

See also:

·         FX Auction Statistics

Link to release


BoM FX auction: USD, CNY ask offers declined, accepts $20m USD, $1m MNT, CNY25m swap offers

April 16 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on April 16th, 2015 the BOM has received selling bid offers of USD 6.65 million between the rates of MNT 1982.00-1982.95 and CNY 5.0 in a rate of MNT 319.30. BOM has not accepted the offer.

On April 16th, 2015, The BOM has received USD Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 20.0 million, MNT swap agreement of USD 1.0 million and swap agreement bid offer of CNY 25.0 million from local commercial banks and accepted the offer.

See also:

·         FX Auction Statistics

Link to release


BoM issues 110 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +13.2% to ₮240.8 billion

April 17 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 110 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


GoM Treasury Auction: 20 Billion 12-Week Bills Sold at Discount, Average Yield 14.988%

April 15 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 20.0 billion MNT. Face value of 20.0 billion /out of 35.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 14.988%.

Link to release


Consolidated Balance Sheet of Banks: Loans +0.78%, NPLs +5.4% to 5.7% of Total Loans

April 16 (Bank of Mongolia) --

/in million of togrogs/









Bank reservers








Central bank bills








Foreign assets








Government securities








Other securities
















  In domestic currency








  In foreign currency








  Non-performing loans








Total Assets
























Current Accounts








 In domestic currency








 In foreign currency
















  In domestic currency








  In foreign currency








Foreign liabilities








Government deposits








Total Liabilities
























  Profit/loss of current year








Link to full table


Mongolia's Foreign Trade Review, 1Q 2015: Export +9.2%, Import -29.5%, Trade Surplus $376m

April 15 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Total trade turnover: $1,779.5 millions  

As of Mar 2015 the total cumulative trade turnover decreased by 10.3% (USD 203.4 millions) from that of the previous year and reached USD 1,779.5 millions. The decrease in the trade turnover was due to the decrease in imports by USD 294.2 millions.

The structure of the trade flows with the neighboring trade partners is as following: (i) trade with PRC: 62.0% or USD 1,103.1 millions and (ii) trade with Russia: 13.3% or USD 236.1 millions. The trade volume between Mongolia and China increased by 5.7% and the trade volume between Mongolia while Russia decreased by 2.5%.

Trade balance: $376.0 million

As of Mar 2015, the cumulative trade balance improved by USD 385.1 millions from that of the previous year and reached USD 376.0 millions. During the reporting period the total exports increased by 9.2% from that of the previous year, imports decreased by 29.5% from that of the previous year, thus the trade balance improved by USD 385.1 millions.

The value of the three-month moving average of the difference of annual growth rates of exports and imports has been decreasing recent years (Picture 1 shows that the annual growth rates of ex-ports and imports have been declining since October 2011). But since the beginning of 2014, it has been increasing.

Trade balance of paid trade flows: $388.3 million  

The state of the trade balance of paid trade flows is one of the main variables that determines the pressure on the domestic foreign exchange market.

As of Mar 2015, the trade balance of paid trade flows reached USD 388.3 millions. During the reporting period, paid imports decreased by 7.8%, and paid exports increased by 29.4% from that of previous year.

Terms of trade: 1.509 (test estimation)

As of Mar 2015, terms of trade index (2012 base year) decreased by 17.5% from that of the previous year and reached 1.509.

This decrease in the terms of trade is mainly attributed to the de-crease in export price of copper concentrate and crude oil.


Composition: 89% + 11%

The share of mineral exports in total exports decreased by 4.1 points from that of the previous year and reached 89%.

Exports of coal, copper concentrate, iron ore and concentrate and crude oil have a weight of nearly 75% of total exports and 84% of mining exports.

In addition, these 4 products' share in the mining exports dereased by 2.7 points from that of the previous year, share in the total exports decreased by 5.9 points.

Growth: +9.2%

Mongolian export increased by 9.2% from that of the previous year, which was mainly affected by increase in mineral exports and other machineries. Exports of copper concentrate increased by 47%, which accounted for 18% in growth of mining export. On the other hand, coking coal, iron ore and crude oil export decreased by nearly 31%, 29% and 42% respectively, which accounted for 17% decrease in the growth of mining export.


As of Mar 2015, Mongolian export increased by 90.8 million USD from that of the previous year. It is affected by the increase of export commodities' quantities (USD 221.2 millions) and decrease in export commodities' prices (USD 130.4 millions) .

Because of the increase in crude oil, nonmonetary gold quantity and copper concentrate export, mining export increased by 206 millions USD. On the other hand, because of decrease in prices of coal, iron ore and crude oil, mining export declined by 165 million USD.

Cashmere, cashmere products' export decreased by 0.5 million USD, while other exports increased by 51 million USD.

World market prices for primary commodities

As of Mar 31 2015, gold price reached 1,183.6 USD, decreased by 7.8% from that of the previous year and by 2.4% from that of the last month.

As of Mar 31 2015, copper and iron ore prices reached 6,064.5 USD and 53.0 USD. Copper price increased by 2.4% from that of previous month and iron ore price decreased by 17.2% from that of the previous month.


Composition: 33% + 29% + 22%

As of Mar 2015, 33% of total imports were consumer goods, 29% were capital goods and 22% were fuels.

Share of the capital goods in total imports decreased by 6% from that of the previous year, while the share of other types of imports increased by 2-3%.

Growth: -29.5%

Mongolian imports decreased by 29.5% from that of the previous year. Main contributors of this decrease were capital goods decrease, which equals to 14% of the total decrease, and consumer goods imports which equals to 7% of the total decrease.

Capital goods and consumer goods imports decreased by 41% (143 millions USD) and 23% (68 millions USD) respectively. Thus total import decreased from that of the previous year.


Main contributors of decrease in consumer goods import were both in durables and non-durables. Passenger cars import decreased by 36% (28 millions USD) and foods import decreased by 16% (17 millions USD).

Capital goods import decreased by 41% (143 millions USD) which was mainly contributed by 42% decrease in machinery, equipment and supplies (87 million USD). In addition, import of construction materials decreased by 45% (47 million USD) from that of previous year.

Intermediate goods and industrial materials import decreased by 8% (10 millions USD).

Fuels import decreased by 32% (75 millions USD). The border price of oil has been decreasing since the end of 2013 (Figure 8). In parallel with global oil market price, it declined sharply in last 5 months, reaching the lowest level since 2010 in February.

Import of the consumer goods

The growth of consumer goods import, calculated by 3 month moving average method, is constantly declining. /Figure 7/.

Even though, the import growth of non-durable consumer goods was relatively stable, it started to decline by bigger phase in last 2 months.

Link to report


Bank of Mongolia: Monthly Statistical Bulletin, April 2015

April 17 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Link to report


BoM Seeks Consultants on Implementation of Automated Clearing House System

April 15 (Bank of Mongolia) --

1.    The Bank of Mongolia invites individual consultants and consultancy organizations to submit proposals for providing Consultancy services for the implementation of ACH (Automated Clearing House) system.

2.    The scope of consultancy services consists of preparing the study report about establishing the ACH system for processing inter-bank low value transaction of the Mongolian payment system and preparing the draft of international bidding documents for purchasing the ACH system. Consultancy services should be completed within 45 days from the date of awarding contract.

3.    Consultants submitting the bid application is obliged to provide information (articles related to central payment system or retail payment system, similar consultancy service experiences information, other proving information on their qualification and experience, etc.) proving the competence to execute the consulting services. Foreign individuals and organizations could participate. Joint bid of consultants is accepted.

4.    Interested individuals and organizations could receive further information by phone or email before 5 pm of 24 th of April 2015 or by email and interested applicants must send the bid applications by the following address or the following emails before 11 am of 27 th April 2015 Ulaanbaatar time.

Address to submit the applications: Baga toiruu -3, 15160, Ulaanbaatar, Entrance "А" of the Bank of Mongolia, 1st floor, room №2

Contact person: L.Battuguldur, Senior officer, National Electronic Transaction Center, Payment and Accounting Department. Tel: (976) 11-331522 , fax: (976)-11-311471, email:

Link to release


Fitch Presentation: Mongolia: Progress or Crisis?

Link to Fitch Ratings' Report: Mongolia: Progress or Crisis?

Fitch Ratings-Hong Kong-13 April 2015: Fitch Ratings has published the slides detailing the key risks to Mongolia's rating that were presented during the Asia Sovereign Credit Briefing in Hong Kong in March 2015.

The presentation "Mongolia: Progress or Crisis?" is available at or by clicking on the link in this media release.

Link to release (paid report)

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Politics & Legal

M.Enkhsaikhan: TT project is being politicized through foreign influences

April 14 (UB Post) The following is an interview with Minister of State M.Enkhsaikhan about timely issues, particularly about Tavan Tolgoi (TT) project, which has become a big current scandal.

Mongolia's legislature and the executive branch are opposing one another because of TT project, dividing the public into two groups. The Speaker of Parliament is telling people to "believe" him while you're giving a different explanation. Who should the public trust? 

I can see that pure politicization is surrounding TT. Competition to see "who is bigger" within the Democratic Party (DP) is causing conflict between Parliament and government through personalities of individuals. Even the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) considers that TT issues should be submitted to Parliament and the party's leader signed related documents. Parliament didn't discuss the Chalco deal when Mongolia sank into a massive debt to Chalco and TT was put as collateral. At the time, MPP was silent and so was DP. It felt as if not a single Mongolian read that agreement. I'm forced to think that TT project is being politicized through foreign demands.

I believe that believing the President is better than believing the Speaker of Parliament. The President was voted by the public and is the sole official with the responsibility to speak on behalf of all Mongolians. MPs represent their districts and party. 

MP M.Zorigt was complaining that you brought up a new agreement while members were being introduced to the final agreement. Why are there two agreements? 

MP M.Zorigt shouldn't have anything other than technical documents. It's agreed that unless the agreement to be established is signed and effective, it can't be disclosed. This requirement is connected to protecting the interests of shareholders of Chinese, Japanese and Mongolian companies listed at stock exchanges that joined the consortium. Not to mention, it's a caution related to restricting the possibility of deviation of interests at stock exchanges when the time for signing agreements is chosen. Parliament will be introduced to agreements if the government considers it complete. I don't understand where they're hurrying to. Mongolia's reputation is being damaged if state documents are disclosed to acquaintances, friends and party affiliations, and if this is being revealed globally. There are foreign media organizations that ask for an English copy of intermediate document since they've been disclosed to the public in Mongolian. Mongolia's interest is to keep what happened within the scope. I made a statement about this. People must've seen it from 

According to some politicians, the Chalco deal isn't beneficial to Mongolia at all. Can you comment on this?

Firstly, the agreement was established so that the state can impose all types of taxes set by the law. It's been mutually agreed to pay a fee for using state property since TT is entirely owned by the state. Something that almost doesn't exist in global practice was negotiated. Mongolia's state budget will receive a revenue of 340 billion MNT annually from taxes, fees, and other forms when the project is enforced at full capacity. Presently, Erdenes TT pays 40 to 50 billion MNT to Mongolia and to do this, they created a debt of a trillion MNT to Mongolian banks. This will worsen the financial situation of the country and Mongol Bank, and bring about a bigger crisis. Whether it's effective or not should be determined through comparison.

Secondly, 280 million USD was buried under the guise of constructing a 267 km railroad from TT to Gashuun Sukhait. An additional one billion USD is required for completing the railroad. Frankly, the Mongolian government isn't capable of generating this much capital. Mongolia is expected to face a crisis in 2017 in connection with the repayment of Chinggis Bond. So would there be a fool that'll lend money to Mongolia? Investors want to settle the money for the railroad through an inspection of documents of the TT agreement. We're facing the decision to leave the railroad under dirt piles or construct a railway and get back the money.

Thirdly, TT project's operating costs will amount to 700 to 800 million USD every year if the project is to work at full capacity. 500 to 600 Mongolian businesses and organizations are expected to work as sub-contractors. Mongolia's economy will expand. Businesses will operate in all sectors. Truthfully, TT coal is being dug in an illegal mining method, which pollutes the environment, and is transported through unpaved roads while exceeding load capacity to save costs. The Mongolian government and international financial institutions set high technical and technological requirements for major projects. These pointers should be compared and analyzed.

Fourthly, TT project is expected to provide 6,000 to 12,000 new jobs. This number wasn't randomly projected. It was determined from analyzing the construction work of Ukhaa Khudag. An urbanization process will commence in the future. The value of southern Gobi will rise.

Next, TT project will become a big step for not only processing coal, instead of exporting raw coal, but also create good conditions for establishing a chemical coal industry. It's a big step toward the dream of people in the coal sector who've been discussing this for many years.

Finally, the fate of subsequent projects depends on the fate of this project. Investors are all watching.

The revival of the 1,072 dead stocks will become possible. Erdenes TT Company, which is supposed to give out dividends for the 1,072 shares given citizens of Mongolia, is in debt. Although everyone has these shares, according to the market value, they aren't shares. Everyone will be able to profit if TT project advances forward. The Prime Minister has already shared the first policy for this issue. As the person in charge of this work, I'd like to say that TT project was able to reach a beneficial agreement. I want to say that people shouldn't be saying its beneficial or unbeneficial without basis. Scientific criteria are necessary for determining if the deal is right or wrong. People, who don't read, don't know the world, and only go on Facebook and Twitter, don't need to rush to talk. This project will fall if requirements of all 76 MPs are demanded during discussions of the agreement at Parliament. Mongolia doesn't have experience. Only two criteria are required. 

What are those two criteria?

First is whether the agreement has been made within a legislative framework. Second is if the consortium has complied with the conditions of the tender. 

The Speaker of Parliament's advisor complained that the working group doesn't have a legal counsel. Can you comment on this? 

Firstly, I was strict on not wasting money on expensive legal counsel, especially foreign advisors. Only a Mongolian can protect the interests of Mongolia. The state has well-trained lawyers. We will depend on their knowledge. Well-trained and experienced lawyers worked in the working group. Mongolia should start paying its own people instead of foreign advisors. Wages suitable to people's responsibilities and duties should be established in the future.

Secondly, there are instances where reputable legal companies are hired for taking their documents to banks to generate money for projects. The working group for TT project doesn't need to buy brand names of reputable legal companies since the consortium is responsible for raising money for the project, not the government. Also, legal counsel fee is measured by the hour. We, the working group, believed that the need to win time may create conflict of interests.

Lastly, investors wouldn't want to violate the laws of Mongolia. All sides have common interest on this because this is risky and banks will not be interested in providing money. 

The government has been compromised because of Parliament this time. Interests of Mongolia must be set as top priority regardless of at what stage the issue is being discussed. There is a growing concern that this will leave a bad impression to foreign investors. What's your opinion on this? 

The President warned not to make TT into an object of gossip or ugly row. I believe that Parliament and the government should take this into account. 

At the worst case, let's say that TT project gets stuck at Parliament. Then what will happen to the economy this year? Is there any other way to overcome Mongolia's economic crisis?

I don't see that kind of opportunity. I hope they don't look at things from the negative side. I hope Parliament makes its decision based on the good that will come out of it. 


Link to article


Detained former ETT CEO barred from staging hunger strike on poor health

April 15 ( Former CEO of "Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi" JSC, Ya.Batsuuri has been detained for two months. He requested to be released on bail and to investigate the case again from prosecutors and court at all levels for five times, but he was refused.

Therefore, he decided to go on hunger strike. However, prison hospital concluded that his health condition was deteriorated and prohibited to go on hunger strike.

Link to article


Parliament approves casino bill for discussion

April 16 ( On April 16, 2015, the morning Spring Plenary Session of the State Great Khural (Parliament) commenced at 09:00 am and the first issue included in the list of today's discussion was a draft bill on Establishing Casino in Mongolia.

The Law on Casino and its appropriate appendixes was first introduced at the Parliament Session last Friday (April 10) by the bill initiator, Minister of Environment and Green Development D.Oyunkhorol and it was agreed to consider whether to review through Parliament or to reject the bill.

Accordingly, at today's Plenary Session, 81.2% of Parliamentarians backed to proceed the bill for further hearings and consequently, it was agreed to transfer the bill to an affiliated Standing Committee for preparation for the first discussion. 

Link to article


Parliament will consider casino draft lawMontsame, April 16

Parliament approves further discussion of the Casino Law in the spring, April 16

MPs agreed to discuss the Casino, April 16


Mongolia People's Party Holds Narrow Lead Over Democrats in Poll

By Michael Kohn

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- The Mongolian People's Party holds a three-point lead over the ruling Democratic Party in a March opinion poll conducted by the Sant Maral Foundation.

* NOTE: Sant Maral Foundation conducted the poll by interviewing 1,200 respondents in the capital Ulaanbaatar and six rural provinces

* When asked which party would they vote for if elections were held tomorrow, 21.6% chose the Mongolian People's Party, 18.3% percent the Democratic Party, 10.5% the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party

* When asked which politician should play an important role in politics, 34.3% selected prominent resource nationalist Ganbaatar Sainkhuu. Former President Enkhbayar Nambar was second with 17.6% (Mogi: (G.Uyanga 3rd, B.Bat-Erdene 4th, Kh.Battulga 5th, singer Javkhlan 7th, Ts.Davaasuren 8th, …. Disturbing numbers). Current President Elbegdorj Tsakhia was sixth with 8.8% (Mogi: Elbegdorj was #1 in 2014) * When asked about the biggest socio-economic problems in the country, 32% cited unemployment, 17.8% said standard of living/poverty/income and about 15% said inflation

* When asked which country is the best partner for Mongolia, 78.1% said Russia, 26.9% said China, 21.3% said Japan, 17.6% said the U.S. and 9.2% said South Korea (Mogi: to me, this has been  the most disturbing statistic in Sant Maral polls. It was 76.8% in 2014, 71.9% in 2013.)

* When asked how revenue from the mining sector should be spent, 37.8% said state investment to improve economic development, 35.8% said increased investment in education and health care, 12.3% said an increase in social welfare spending and 10.3% said direct disbursement



Women want more participation in political decision-making

April 19 (UB Post) A national conference entitled "Development and Participation of Women", held on Saturday, touched upon issues of women's civic participation at the decision making level.

As a result, demand has risen to make slight modifications to the law on political parties and law on parliamentary elections, such as to set the quota of female candidates in the elections at 30 percent and 50 percent of the first ten candidates ranked in the political party list, highlighted MP S.Odontuya at the conference.

Around 60 percent of university and institute alumni of Mongolia are women, however, they make up only 30 percent of mid-level leadership positions and 15 percent of high-ranking positions. The same survey also showed that 10 percent of leaders in the private sector and 70 to 80 percent of the nation's workforce was made up of women.

According to the survey, 41 percent of participants said they would support a female parliamentarian running in the presidential election and 42.8 percent said they would support female candidates in the parliamentary elections. Almost 87 percent of those surveyed agreed that women's representation is lacking at the decision making level in Mongolia.

The unemployment rate of women is at 6.6 percent nationwide. Some 55 percent of all employed workers in Mongolia are self-employed and do not receive the state service of labor and social security protection. Most of those citizens are women. Men and women receive different salaries than men, who tend to get paid higher than women. The state should pay attention at the policy level to income inequality, emphasized the conference attendees.

At the conclusion of the national conference, the attendees issued an appeal addressed to Parliament, government, and political parties.

To the Parliament:

      discuss and approve renewed versions of the laws on family and domestic violence, first and foremost,

      ratify and implement provisions on gender equality rights, stated in the law on elections and law on political parties,

      strengthen accountability for all types of violence against children and women.

To the government:

      issue a report on the performance of each provision of the law on providing gender equality in all spheres, including the economy, politics, society, culture and family, and make Parliament discuss it,

      plan objective measures to improve the quality of life of Mongolian women and organize their implementation,

      establish a development loan fund and assign NGOs to execute projects allowing single mothers and poor women with many children to find employment and earn income.

To political parties:

      make 50 percent of candidates in the parliamentary and local elections women,

      train and educate women in leadership through women's organizations within parties.

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IAAC reports on asset declarations of high ranking officials

April 19 (UB Post) The Independent Agency Against Corruption (IAAC) has published the 2014 declarations of personal interests, assets, and income of 244 officials, with information available online at

According to the report, the President of Mongolia and the Speaker of Parliament don't own cars, but the Prime Minister owns a Lexus LX 570 and Land Rover Series 1. The President and Prime Minister each own a house while the Speaker of Parliament owns two apartments.

Data in the report shows that the Prime Minister doesn't own any livestock. On the other hand, the President has 25 horses, three cows, 30 sheep, and 14 goats, and the Speaker of Parliament owns two horses and 50 sheep.

Out of 38,423 officials registered nationwide, 38,422 (99.99 percent) reported back to the IAAC for 2014. The IAAC also announced that out of 270 applicants who demanded that state officials hand in declarations of personal interests, assets, and income, only 268 of those applicants filed reports within the time limit specified by law.

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Mongolia's Aspiration and Desperation to Become Saudi Arabia of Coal

By D. Jargalsaikhan

April 19 (UB Post) The annual Coal Mongolia conference took place in Ulaanbaatar on May 9-10, 2015. Although the conference was not as large as the ones in previous years and did not have as many participants, the general ambiance of the conference expressed the reality and outlook of Mongolia's coal sector as accurately as possible.

During the conference, both Mongolians and foreign investors already had an expectation that the Government of Mongolia would begin a great change in Mongolia's coal industry by extracting Tavan Tolgoi's coal and signing a multilateral agreement to build a railroad to the southern border.

The President of Mongolia has made his thoughts clear by saying that the Tavan Tolgoi agreement can be handled by the government and does not need to be discussed by the parliament. Four days prior to that, the Prime Minister had officially announced that the negotiations of Tavan Tolgoi project were in the final stage and the government would immediately conclude the agreement.

However, when the Speaker of Parliament opened the spring session the following morning, he announced, "I will not allow an agreement with grave consequences to be established. The negotiations will be signed off on by the parliament. The ministers who are trying to sign the agreement without approval from the parliament will be held accountable."

This statement caused the departure of the representatives who had come to Mongolia to sign the Tavan Tolgoi agreement. Also, a representative from the Chinese embassy ended up not taking part in the Coal Mongolia conference despite having already registered.

Why did the aspiration of Mongolians to become Saudi Arabia by using our coal end up in a desperate state? What do the events around Tavan Tolgoi tell us?


Most Mongolians currently believe that the foremost driver of economic growth is making use of our coal, especially the high calorie coal in Tavan Tolgoi. In 2014, one fourth of Mongolia's budget revenue and 17 percent of export revenue came from coal. Today, everyone acknowledges that coal leaves bright marks despite its dark looks.

R.Jigjid, the Minister of Mining, stated in the conference that Mongolia has coal reserves of 173.5 billion tons, 31.7 billion of which are proven reserves, and probable reserves of 5-10 trillion cubic meters of coal-bed methane.

The government, the private sector, and the public think that Mongolia can become competitive when we are able to wash, refine, and process the coal to deliver to clients at low costs.

The minerals law was amended to allow resuming the issuance of mining exploration licenses.

The supply and demand for this commodity are quite stable on international market today.

The coal imports in our region are expected to rise by two percent this year to reach 621 million tons, half of which will be equally divided to India and Japan, 37 percent to China, and the rest to South Korea. Although China's economy grew by seven percent, their use of coal has become quite stable. On one hand, it is a result of air pollution. On the other hand, reform in steel production technology plays a role.

Some work has been done since Coal Mongolia 2014 to make the legal environment in the mining industry more stable, clear, and more competitive in the long term. It includes the approval of the state minerals policy and the decisions to add more value to coal, build a power plant, begin the deep processing of coal, and producing petroleum products.

The minerals law was amended to allow resuming the issuance of mining exploration licenses. Furthermore, the petroleum law was revised to regulate some issues related to agreements and exploration of coal-bed methane and shale.

Furthermore, there were amendments to the law on waiving VAT and customs tax. Any piece of equipment imported to Mongolia in the framework of projects to produce petroleum products from shale and coal is free of VAT and customs tax until 2018.

The standardization and categorization of coal and coal products has been revised. As a result, coal now has three categories (anthracite, bituminous/rock, and lignite/brown) and 17 groups.


It has become impossible to imagine Mongolia's socio-economic development in the next 20 years without the Oyu Tolgoi copper deposit and Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit. Domestic and foreign investment and the total amount of debt depend on whether or not Mongolians make smart decisions around these two deposits.

The ongoing stalemate of these two projects reduces the time and opportunity for Mongolia to develop and affects our reputation while the projects gradually lose their market value. However, recent events show that the government is no longer capable of making a swift decision on Tavan Tolgoi. Let us review the reason why the decisions related to mega projects are not being made.

One. The Democratic Party, which is leading Mongolia's coalition government, has enormous conflicts internally and has weak capabilities to govern. The Democratic Party has all the power and authority. However, they cannot communicate with each other and make a unanimous decision. It is not democracy, but anarchy.

Two. Behind these anarchist actions, there are significant differences between personal interests, opinions, and understandings of governance. The recent events show us that the conflict between factions within the Democratic Party has become critically large.

Trans. by B.AMAR

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Mongolia's fluorspar slump fuels market weakness fears

April 15 (Industrial Minerals) A sliding economy and fading investor confidence coupled with sluggish downstream demand and the increasing dominance of China with its low cost supply pacified Mongolian fluorspar growth last year as 2014 figures indicate.

Mongolia's fluorspar output dropped to 374,900 tonnes in 2014, down 18.5% from the highs of 2009, as falling prices and excessive stockpiles frustrated tensions aimed at boosting mining in the country.

The country's annual fluorspar exports plunged by...

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China certifies five Mongolian companies for meat export

April 17 ( On April 13, 2015, Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People's Republic of China accredited Mongolia's five companies to export meat and meat products by issuing relevant certificates.

Mongolia and China have been negotiating to enlarge exports of agricultural products to China since 2011 and in the frameworks, experts from General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine arrived in Mongolia in June 2014 to study situations on the site at some slaughterhouses and meat processing plants for surveillance and risk assessment.

After correction of instructions given by General Agency for Specialized Inspection of Mongolia, affiliated bodies sent final reports of Mongolian companies in March 2015 willing to export meat products and consequently, the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China issued relevant licenses so far.

These companies to export meat and meat products including frozen Buzz and dumplings made of horse meat are "Makh Market", "Mongol Eco Makh", "Green Grace Land", "Darkhan Meat Food", and "Khaan Khuns" LLCs.

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Mongolian meat to be exported to, April 17

Mongolia to export meat to ChinaMontsame, April 17


Tourist numbers fall 8.1% in first quarter

Ulaanbaatar, April 17 (MONTSAME) A number of passengers entering Mongolia has reached 951.3 thousand (double counting), which is an increase by 139 thousand people or 17.1 percent against the same period of 2014.

Zamyn-Uud port received 36.4 percent of all the incomers, while Altanbulag received 18.3 percent, Buyant-Ukhaa port–16.3 percent, Gashuunsukhait–8.8 percent, Shivee Khuren–5.4 percent. Other checkpoints welcomed 14.8 percent of the incomers.

In the first quarter of 2015, a total of 71 thousand passengers entered the country, which is a decrease by 6.3 thousand people or 8.1 percent against the same period of the previous year. Tourists staying for 30 or less days within the border covered 75.7 percent of all incoming foreigners, for up to 90 days made up 3.2 percent, and for 90 days and longer periods–21.1 percent.

A majority of the foreigners--53.8 thousand people or 75.8 percent--entered the country with  tourism purposes, which is a decrease by 6.7 percent against the same period of 2014.

Some 17 thousand, or 24.2 percent, of all foreigners entered the country with working and studying purposes. Compared to the same period of the previous year, a number of tourists from North Korea increased 57 percent, from Ukraine–46.2 percent, from Kazakhstan–24.7 percent, Philippines–18.1 percent, whereas the number of tourists from New Zealand decreased 42.1 percent, from Vietnam 37.5 percent, from India–33.7 percent, and from Singapore–20.6 percent.

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IRI CEO to Address NAMBC Annual General Meeting on April 20-22

Five US Ambassadors, State Secretary of Mongolian Foreign Ministry, Mongolian envoys to US and Canada and CEO of IRI will address 25th Anniversary NAMBC Annual General Meeting in DC, April 20-22; USG Door-Knock on April 22 requires advance sign-up

In addition to current US Ambassador Piper Campbell talking about Mongolia's investment climate, our 25th Anniversary Annual General Meeting and Investors Forum in Washington, DC, April 20-22, will include a panel of four former US Ambassadors from the period 1997-2006 candidly discussing their "Perspectives on Mongolia," Our keynote speaker will be His Excellency Bat-Amgalan Boldbaatar, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia. The featured speaker at lunch on April 21 is Ambassador Mark Green, President & CEO of the International Republican Institute (IRI).

Click on the link below for the full schedule.

Also speaking will be Ambassador B. Altangerel, Ambassador to the US, and Ambassador R. Altangerel, Ambassador to Canada. Their remarks will be followed by a panel on "Prospects and Possibilities" that includes a senior official of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development in Ottawa, the head of Mongolian affairs at the US Commerce Department, an official of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a Vice President of Rio Tinto and a representative of the American University of Mongolia.

Participation in our Door-Knock on April 22 requires separate registration in advance. Door-knock participants will meet with senior officials of the US Departments of Commerce and State and the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) to discuss North American business and investment concerns. USTR will soon be resuming Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) talks with the Mongolian Government and is interested in receiving in-put on those subjects for that purpose.

Registration is still open. See the link below for the registration form. All discounted group rate rooms at the JW Marriott have been sold out. The program includes an opening reception on April 20 at a unique venue not open to the public with the best view of the White House in the city and a closing reception at the Mongolian Embassy in Georgetown.

Click here for Preliminary AGM Schedule & Program for April 20-22 

Click HERE for 25th Anniversary AGM Registration Form

Link to NAMBC


Mongolia's TV5 picks up 3 telenovelas from Brazilian giant Globo

April 17 (C21 Media) Mongolia's TV5 has picked up three telenovelas from the distribution arm of Brazilian broadcast giant Globo.

TV5 will air Precious Pearl, which features scenes shot in the Himalayas and explores the relationship between a working-class woman and her millionaire lover.

The Mongolian network will also air Now Generation and Helena's Shadow following success with fellow Globo show The Life We Lead last year.

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Ulaanbaatar mayor meets Canadian ambassador, seeks city planning assistance

April 17 ( Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul received the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to Mongolia, Eelco Jager, to exchange views regarding issues faced by Ulaanbaatar and cooperation and joint projects in these fields.

Ambassador Jager thanked the Mayor for receiving him and his delegation. Mongolia is one of 25 countries around the world that Canada closely cooperates with.

The Canadian ambassador said that it is possible for Canada to cooperate with Mongolia not only at the mining sector but also in other sectors. Ambassador Jager said that he is responsible for a fund for the development of local industries, which is responsible for the financing of small projects in Mongolia.

Through the fund, Canada is ready to cooperate with governmental and non-governmental organizations for the implementation of small and medium projects. and is open to project proposals.

Mayor E.Bat-Uul stressed that Ulaanbaatar would like to receive assistance from Canada for city planning and the establishment of green areas.  "We have a lot of things to learn from your side. We will be happy to cooperate with you," noted the Mayor.

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MSE CEO Participates in UB Forum: Ulaanbaatar Investment 2015 Business Forum

April 15 (MSE) On 15 April 2015, "Ulaanbaatar Investment-2015" business forum meeting held at Blue Sky center. 

During the forum, Angar.D acting CEO of Mongolian Stock Exchange /MSE/ participated as a panelist at "International Finance Centre, Arbitration" break-out meeting. Angar.D emphasized the importance of capital market participation in the development of city of Ulaanbaatar. He also presented the current capital market situation, MSE's policy, and fundraising opportunities for cities and aimags, the possibility of issuing municipal bonds through MSE.

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Mongolia officially becomes founding member of AIIB

Ulaanbaatar, April 16 (MONTSAME) Mongolia has officially become a co-founder of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Vice-Minister of Finance of the People's Republic of China Mr Yaobin Shi officially announced the 57 founder countries including Mongolia of the AIIB on this April 15.

The AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral development bank, Mr Shi Yaobin said. The 57 founding members cover five continents, including Asia, Oceania, Europe, Latin America and Africa, according to Shi. The founding members will have priority over other countries which might sign up later, as they possess the right to establish the rules for the bank, he said.

The AIIB was established in 2014 by China. The bank will finance infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific Region, its headquarters will be in Beijing. The initial subscribed capital of AIIB will be $50 billion and is planned to be increased to $100 billion. The AIIB will provide financing for roads, railways, airports and other infrastructure projects in Asia.

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Proposed Russia-China-Mongolia economic alliance gains steam

April 15 (CISTran Finance) The possibility of an economic corridor between Russia, China and Mongolia may be discussed at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in July, Ou Xiaol, a Chinese State Committee for National Development and Reform Commission representative, said on Friday.

The proposed alliance is being considered within the Economic Belt Silk Road framework, Xiaol said. The European Development Bank said China is hoping that this project will be implemented quickly to increase cooperation between Mongolia and Russia.

"Last year, the leaders of these countries have reached an understanding on this matter," Xiaol said. "At the beginning of this month, I attended a trilateral meeting with deputy foreign ministers of Russia, China and Mongolia to discuss a plan to establish a joint economic corridor. I hope that in July of this year, during the SCO summit in Ufa, the parties will sign a protocol of intent and create a working group."

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300 Mongolian citizens commit crimes abroad in 2014 reports Consular Department

Ulaanbaatar, April 17 (MONTSAME) Director of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs N.Bataa Friday gave a report to media.

He said 33 Mongolian citizens died abroad since the beginning of this year. This number in 2014 was 86. Nearly 300 Mongolian citizens committed crimes abroad in 2014, 165 of them have been jailed in 19 countries, 122 people were released or deported from foreign countries in 2014.

The Ministry is working with relevant bodies to bring back four from the Czech Republic, the Republic of Korea and Kazakhstan.

As of present, 103 Mongolians have been punished in 13 countries.

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Diverse species of world's largest lake Baikal threatened by Mongolian dam and pipeline

April 14 (The Conversation) Mongolia is hoping a massive dam on its largest river could provide much needed power and water for the country's booming mining industry. However environmental groups are concerned that the hydroelectric power plant and a related pipeline project will do immeasurable environmental damage to oldest and deepest freshwater body in the world: Lake Baikal.

As Baikal sits just over the border in Russia, Mongolia risks seriously annoying its northern neighbour at a time when the lake is already experiencing problems with invasive algae along its coasts, unregulated mining and a water level which just passed a "critically low" point.

The Shuren Hydropower Plant, planned on the Selenga River in northern Mongolia, was first proposed in 2013 and is currently the subject of a World Bank-funded environmental and social impact assessment. In tandem, Mongolia is also considering building one of the world's largest pipelines to transport water from the Orkhon River, one of the Selenga's tributaries, to supply the miners in the Gobi desert 1,000km away.

The impact of these projects will be most keenly felt downstream in Lake Baikal. The lake formed in a tectonic rift zone more than 25m years ago in southern Siberia. With a maximum depth of almost 1,700m, Baikal contains 20% of the world's unfrozen freshwater.

Due to it's great age, depth and remote location, more than 2,500 species have been documented in the lake, of which more than 75% are believed to be endemic and are found nowhere else in the world – from the microscopic plants that provide the lake with most of its energy to one of the world's few truly freshwater seals, the nerpa or Pusa sibirica. Because of its unique characteristics and biodiversity, Lake Baikal was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

By far the largest and most important of the 350-plus rivers that flow into Lake Baikal is the Selenga River, which contributes almost 50% of the lake's water. The Selenga and its tributaries cover a vast area, much of it in northern Mongolia, and the catchment of Lake Baikal is bigger than Spain. The river enters Lake Baikal through the Selenga Delta, a wetland of internationally recognised importance.

The delta is crucial to the health of Lake Baikal. Its shallow waters are a key spawning ground for Baikal's many endemic fish and is on the migratory route for millions of birds every year. It also filters out impurities flowing through the river before they reach the lake.

The Shuren dam isn't the only threat to the delta, but it may be the most important. The Selenga is already very polluted; mining for gold and other minerals in northern Mongolia has resulted in elevated levels of heavy metals in the water. Sewage and waste-water treatment plants along its banks are often old, leading to elevated concentrations of nutrients and other contaminants.

However, actually disrupting the river flow into the Selenga delta and Lake Baikal has the potential to cause untold damage to the lake and its life. Any lowering of the delta's shallow waters will disrupt the spawning grounds of many endemic fish species – and other species, including birds and aquatic insects will lose their homes.

Biodiversity loss has the potential to degrade Baikal's unique ecosystems, resulting in severe economic implications for local and regional economies. Such is the concern that several environmental NGOs such as Rivers Without Boundaries and academics from Mongolia and Russia have lodged a request for the World Bank to be investigated as they claim the bank is disregarding its own regulations by funding an assessment for a project on a unique river system that is home to endangered species. The Russian Security Council, which advises the president on national security issues, has also voiced its concern.

But Russia cannot be let off the hook either. In the early 1950s, a hydroelectric dam was built in the city of Irkutsk on the Angara River, Lake Baikal's only outflow. On completion, the water levels of Lake Baikal increased by more than a metre, flooding almost 150,000ha of land, displacing 15,000 people and disrupting the Selenga delta spawning grounds. More recently, the Irkutsk dam has been implicated (along with lower than expected rainfall) in contributing to some of Lake Baikal's lowest water levels for several decades.

But these problems may pale into insignificance if the Shuren Hydropower Plant and the Orkhon-Gobi Water Diversion schemes in Mongolia get the green light.

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Ts.Bayarbaatar: Mongolia shouldn't die of thirst to maintain another country's lake

April 16 (UB Post) The following is an interview with Head of the Policy Implementation Department of the Ministry of Energy Ts.Bayarbaatar about various hydro power plant projects that are currently being carried through.

The funding for Eg River Hydro Power Plant project was resolved at the plenary session of the government a month ago. Can you tell us how the project is progressing? 

Eg River Hydro Power Plant is a very significant project for providing Mongolia's national security, comfortable living conditions for the people, and sustainable conditions for Mongolia's industrial development and energy sector. We've been discussing this since 2005. The project was postponed at the time due to funding issues and tensions within the state. The power plants should've been commissioned in 2012. We lost considerable amount of time. We're not trying to block and stop the flow of water while constructing the power plant. We're attempting to work on water along the river flow and turn it into a product. In other words, our objective is to turn water into energy before it flows out of Mongolia's land and border.

Water energy is very cheap. Although the initial cost for construction is high, the price of a kW is cheap. Firstly, inflation rate can be moderated. Mongolia is importing energy at high prices because the variation between the evening workload and the night's low workload is 300 MW. The price per kW is rising as electricity is distributed for high prices to eliminate this variation gap. The current price per kW of energy is 190 to 200 MNT.

Secondly, Mongolia simply lets water flow away to Russia. Stability of Mongolia's general and water system will improve and become independent from other countries if we transform water into energy. We're developing a renewable energy called Wind Park. Wind farms suddenly stop working when there's no wind. This hydro power plant offsets this issue. A hydro power plant is absolutely crucial as wind farms and hydro power plants operate with adjustment regime to make up for each other's loss. 

Russians are strongly against the construction of Shuren Hydro Power Plant. Aren't they cautious because it's actually harmful to the environment and ecology?

Recently, the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources of Russia visited Mongolia along with 20 representatives, and met with 16 representatives of Mongolia, led by Deputy Minister of Environment and Green Development M.Khurels. Eg River is located in Khuvsgul Lake and Egiin River basin, so it's under Mongolia's ownership. Therefore, it means that it's Mongolia's issue. It's completely unrelated to Shuren Hydro Power Plant. The Russian side said that Mongolia doesn't have legal basis for constructing Shuren Hydro Power Plant and that it'll negatively impact on the ecological balance of Lake Baikal, which is registered in UNESCO. Mongolia hasn't actually constructed it yet. The decision to construct the hydro power plant hasn't been made. We're only trying to make a feasibility study to see what would happen if it's built. Whether the hydro power plant is harmful to Baikal Lake, a registered World Heritage, will become definite after the feasibility study and detailed environmental evaluations are made. It's rather rude to treat Mongolia in this way when nothing has been done. Still, we reached a mutual understanding on this and agreed to exchange information and have a feasibility study made first, and later, introduce it to the Russian side. The government stated to discuss this issue within the scope of what's been agreed.

Truthfully, Mongolians are people without water. Therefore, our people shouldn't die of thirst to keep intact and ensure the integrity of another country's lake. Why can't we turn our water into a lake and make the environment green? If it's necessary, we have to use our water sources for drinking water. I consider this treatment from Russia as a blatant attempt to interfere in Mongolia's internal work. 

What are the expectations for Eg River Hydro Power Plant?

Eg River Hydro Power Plant has a capacity of approximately 270 MWs. We've already made feasibility studies and created all conditions for establishing agreements. We're currently working actively on construction and development after raising investment. Constructing the hydro power plant will become a big booster for the development of Mongolia's energy system, as well as production. It will open opportunities for developing renewable solar and wind energy, and strive towards green development. It'll take five years to build.

Also, Mongolians and some NGOs have completely wrong understanding of this issue. They're all so worried and concerned. Do they want to die of thirst? People come up with unimaginable nonsense and stir trouble. We, Mongolians, must stay together – unified. 

Is it true that Eg River Hydro Power Plant has 20 times the capacity of Durgun and Taishir Hydro Power Plants?

That's right. Those two power plants have a capacity of 12 MW. A huge uproar was stirred when they were being constructed. Mongolia was experiencing severe drought from 2005 to 2008. At the time, we had Zavkhan River filled with water. Now, a big man-made lake has been created there. Zavkhan River has become such a beautiful lake now. There's always an obstacle when something is started. Honestly, Govi-Altai and Zavkhan Provinces are alive because of those two power plants. Everyone who visits Zavkhan River is amazed to see what a wonderful development it has become. 

Are Durgun and Taishir Hydro Power Plants able to work at full capacity?

Yes. Out of the 37 MW of electric power supplied from the western region, seven to eight MW is produced by Durgun Hydro Power Plant. In other words, Durgun Hydro Plant is supplying 20 percent of the energy consumption of the western region. Taishir Hydro Power Plant is largely dependent on the water level of Zavkhan River. The lake is filling up well since recent years have had plenty of precipitation. If too much water flows out, the water level of the lake will lower and production will decline. Zavkhan River will face a danger of shrinking if the water level is too low. People and livestock drink from the river, so the ratio is adjusted. Taishir Hydro Power Plant works with a capacity of nine MW when necessary. Normally, it operates with a capacity of four to five MW. 

The government ordered to intensify the construction of Erdeneburen Hydro Power Plant Project at Khovd River. How is this project getting along?

The feasibility study for Erdeneburen Hydro Power Plant was made in 2007. At the time, the estimated cost for constructing a hydro power plant with a capacity of 220 MG at Eg River was 350 million USD. Subsequently, some 290 million USD was estimated for constructing Erdeneburen Hydro Power Plant (67 MW). We halted the project because it was a power plant with low capacity with high costs, and ultimately economically inefficient. A new feasibility was made recently. It was considered that building Erdeneburen Hydro Power Plant would be useful to the local area if the cost is reduced and its capacity is slightly increased. Its capacity has been enhanced to be 87 MW. A while ago, the government discussed this issue and enlisted it in the concession agreement list. Also, a project unit was formed and it was decided that works included in highlighted parts of research works and feasibility studies would be started.

Is it true that another hydro power plant will be funded by the Turkish government?

Yes. A hydro power plant will be constructed with investments from the Turkish government at Khovd River in Bayan-Ulgii Province. The project unit made feasibility studies and had it approved by our scientific and technological advisory. At Khovd River, one hydro plant will be established in Bayan-Ulgii Province and another in Erdeneburen soum. It doesn't matter as long as they have sufficient funds. It would be difficult if all these development work leave a huge debt to us and our future generations. The Turkish government said that Mongolia will not have to give money and the hydro power plant will be constructed with a loan. It would be problematic if Mongolia's debt continues to increase. I'm sure the Mongolian government is thinking of something for resolving this.

Tons of foreigners are attempting to use this time when Mongolia's facing energy and electricity shortage to come to Mongolia through a  concessional agreement and development work. Yet, the consumption of Mongolia isn't that high. In other words, Mongolia can carry on until 2030 if we have 1,000 MWs of power. According to the estimations of development works that people want to do, 3,000 to 4,000 MWs will be produced. Ultimately, Mongolia will fall into debt if so many power stations are built without plans and calculations. We need to construct few low-cost power stations in locations that are absolutely in need of energy. 


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Hungarian President Holds Talks with Mongolian Counterpart

April 15 ( Hungary can help Mongolia in water management and farm development, President János Áder said at a press conference held with his counterpart Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. Áder noted Mongolia's rich resources in gold, uranium and wolfram set against a lack of quality water which is needed for the growing population, as well as mining and intensive farming, which brings in most export revenues for the country.

Hungarian experts may in future help to protect Mongolia's water resources, produce quality drinking water and upgrade the existing network of pipes and canals, he added. Mongolia has demonstrated spectacular economic growth since 1990, János Áder noted, adding that Hungary could also help Mongolia further modernise its economy by contributing to livestock improvement, the development of food safety registration systems, the introduction of European standards and in setting up slaughterhouses that meet international requirements, he added.

After their talks, both presidents welcomed Hungary's plan to re-open its embassy in Mongolia. Elbegdorj highlighted increased cooperation in education. Now one hundred Mongolian students can receive free tuition in Hungary, up from 15 in the past. Elbegdorj noted that he had visited Hungary last year. Áder also held talks with Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg and speaker of the State Great Khural Zandaakhuugiin Enkhbold.

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Hungary to reopen embassy in Mongolia

ULAN BATOR, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Hungarian President Janos Ader said Wednesday that his country will reopen its embassy in Ulan Bator.

In a meeting with Mongolian Parliament Speaker Zandaakhuu Enkhbold, Ader said the reopening of the embassy would contribute to bilateral relations.

Enkhbold expressed the hope that Hungary will send a high-level delegation to a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe scheduled for September in Ulan Bator.

He also thanked the Hungarian parliament for ratifying the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement established in 2013 between Mongolia and the European Union. He expressed Mongolia's interest in increasing bilateral trade with Hungary and invited Hungarian investment in Mongolia.

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Social, Environmental & Other

Mongolia fights devastating wildfire, nationwide relief effort launched

April 19 (UB Post) The wildfire which blazed in Khentii Province exactly a week ago has now spread to soums in two more provinces and continues to cause substantial damage, pushing people nationwide to join the efforts to put out the fire and assist the victims.

Judokas, coaches and staff of the Mongolian Judo Association have donated 10 million MNT from their salaries and tournament rewards for Sukhbaatar Province residents who suffered the most damage from the wildfire.

Olympic champion N.Tuvshinbayar, world champion Kh.Tsagaanbaatar and coach of the Mongolian national judo team O.Baljinnyam called om Mongolians not only in Mongolia but also overseas to join the campaign to help the victims.

"We took it as a shock when we heard that Sukhbaatar Province residents were in such alarming conditions because of the fire. Such natural disasters come without warning and herders must be having a hard time finding healthy pastures for their livestock now. Many horses also died in the fire only a few days prior in the Bulgan Province fire. We came up with the idea to assist the victims following all these incidents, and hope more people will join us," said N.Tuvshinbayar.

Domestic companies also joined the campaign and sent 50 million MNT in food and water to the victims. The donors were Max Impex, Mill House and Talkh Chikher, who donated flour, meat, instant noodles, water, medication, and firefighting equipment.

Delivery trucks are on their way to hard hit areas and officials working at the fire will distribute the donated goods to the victims who have lost their homes, valuable assets and grazing pastures to the fire.

Non-governmental organizations in Ulaanbaatar have started collecting donations from city residents and are sending needed goods to the fire victims. Inner Mongolians living in Ulaanbaatar have also joined the campaign and contributed donations.

Current conditions of the wildfire

The Sukhbaatar Province Mayor's Office reported on Saturday that although the wildfire in Tumentsogt and Munkhkhaan soums were confined, fires continued in Erdenetsagaan soum.

Almost 90 percent of Tumentsogt soum has burned in the fire so far. The wildfire is proving very difficult to confine and extinguish due to high winds and extremely dry temperatures followed by a winter which had a very small amount of snow, as explained by NEMA officials.

Currently, three major wildfires are blazing across three soums of Sukhbaatar, three soums of Khentii, and one soum in Dornod Province.

In total, 950 rescuers and fire fighters, 246 border guards, 15 police officers, and 2,883 volunteer residents are working with 418 vehicles to stop the spread of the wildfire, put out confined fires, and help the victims.

Another wildfire is approaching Dashbalbar and Chuluunkhoroot soums in Dornod Province from across the Russian border and emergency teams are working to prevent its spread to Mongolia, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

Residents interested in making donations to the relief efforts can call 99057577 or 96047577 for more information, or directly donate to Khan Bank account number 5021508978 of Sukhbaatar Province's Tumentsogt Soum Council.

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USD grad student presents research on gender roles in Mongolia at conference

April 14 (The Volante) Graduate students Haley Schwenk and Elise Hocking presented their results from research regarding college students' attitudes toward workers requesting paternity and maternity leave during the Biennial Women and Gender Research Conference April 9.

Their results showed something few audience members expected. College students considered women who request maternity leave as more dominant, and men who requested paternity leave as warm, caring and supportive.

"People saw them as a quality employee or dedicated to their job," Hocking said.

Schwenk said the results of the study could represent a generational shift.

"The view of the more traditional roles of men being breadwinners and women being the homemakers has shifted in more recent years," Schwenk said.

The session drew in four projects from students at the University of South Dakota, University of Wyoming and the University of North Dakota. Topics varied from the wage gap and role of the energy sector to a literature review of how higher education impacts the gender wage gap.

"We hope for that regional contact," said Cindy Stuckman-Johnson, a member of the conference steering committee. "The idea is to look at each other's research and be inspired."

USD graduate student Lisa Baer also presented her research, which looked at perceived gender roles in Mongolia.

Baer taught English and pursued her research on family and cultural values in Mongolia while there from 2012 to 2013 on a Fulbright Scholarship.

Baer said women take on more responsibilities in Mongolia, where in the United States housework is generally split between the male and female. These responsibilities range anywhere between taking out the trash to raising children and taking care of livestock.

"Sometimes the husband leaves for a few weeks to herd the livestock and the women have to take over both the male and female roles," Baer said. "That's overwhelming, but they handle it."

In Mongolia, she said women indirectly run the country, but that hasn't been reflected in parliament.

"Honor Diaries"

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Ulaanbaatar hosts 13th Annual International Festival of Language and Culture

April 17 ( The International Festival of Language and Culture, which is organized for its 13th year, is being held in Mongolia for the first time.

The festival was organized in Turkey until 2013. Starting last year, in order to provide the possibility for different nations to benefit from cultural exchange, the festival is now being organized in other countries around the world.

Students from secondary schools from more than 15 countries, including Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Belgium, the USA, Russia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Iraq, Tunisia, Mozambique, Ukraine, Romania, Jordan, and Turkey, will participate and promote their cultures during the festival.

The festival will include a gala concert at noon tomorrow, April 18, at Chinggis Square.

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King Tug scores first round KO in 2nd Pro Debut Match

April 18 (Fightnews) …

It was a quick one as "King Tug" Tugstsogt Nyambayar (2-0, 2KO) caught Nuevo Laredo, Mexico's Manuel Ruvalcaba (2-13) with an overhand right against the ropes and sent him down to the canvas mid-way thru the first round. Ruvalcaba beat the count but on wobbly legs and referee Jerry Cauntu didn't want to take any chances and called the action at 1:38 of first round in the super bantamweight division.

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Mongolia and Iran take two gold medals each at inaugural Asian Para-Taekwondo Championships

April 17 (Inside the Games) Mongolia and Iran shared the spoils at the inaugural men's Asian Para-Taekwondo Championships, claiming two gold medals each in Taipei City.

Shinebayar Batbayar and Bolor-Erdene Ganbat delivered for Mongolia in the K42 and K44 under 61 kilograms categories respectively, while Iran's Mahdi Pourrahnama took top honours in the K44 under 75kg and compatriot Asghar Aziziaghdam triumphed in the K44 over 75kg.

Ganbat brushed aside a stiff challenge from South Korea's Han Kook-hyun to win his final match 8-4, but the task was more difficult for Batbayar who had to come from behind to beat Iran's Ahmad Narimani 16-14.

"Now my dream is to compete in the taekwondo competition at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games for the gold medal," said Batbayar afterwards.

Pourrahnama easily defeated the United Arab Emirates' Ali Mohammed Almahri 20-1 in the second round of his final match, and Aziziaghdam also won comfortably, 12-4 against the United States' Evan Medell.

The first-ever Asian Para-taekwondo Championships, which took place at the University of Taipei's gymnasium, were open to participation by all World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) member nations and attracted a total of 23 male athletes from 10 countries.

Joining Iran, Mongolia, South Korea, the UAE and the US were representatives of Nepal, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Japan and Kazakhstan.

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Mongolian darts team claims historic success at international tour

April 19 (UB Post) A Mongolian team of 12 darts players returned to Ulaanbaatar on Friday after winning six medals at the 11th Asian Darts Association (ADA) International Tour 2015 in Hong Kong.

It was a historical achievement in Mongolian darts and the team held a press conference immediately after their return to announce and celebrate their four gold and two bronze medals.

Around 1,100 darts players from 17 countries vied for medals in singles, doubles and teams challenges at the ADA International Tour.

Mongolia's Kh.Odkhuu won the Division 2's Singles Standard Cricket, M.Enkhmunkh won Division 4's Singles Cricket Count Up, G.Bat-Ulzii and M.Enkhmunkh won Division 4's Doubles in the men's events, while B.Binderya won gold in the women's Division 2 Singles event.

Kh.Odkhuu and Sh.Gan-Erdene won bronze in the men's team events in Division 2, and G.Battulga and A.Ikhbandi won bronze in Division 5. In the team event, Mongolia ranked fifth out of the 17 countries.

"The ADA International Tour is a highly-reputable annual competition and we have showed an unprecedented success this year. In previous tours, Mongolians brought home three medals at most. This time, all of the 12 players either claimed medals or ranked in the top five of their respective divisions," said L.Shinetsetseg, Secretary General of the Mongolian Standard Darts Association (MSDA) and member of the Mongolian darts team.

Mongolian darts sport development has a 22 years of history. The last five years have brought ample success for Mongolians in both domestic and international darts competitions, as highlighted by the team members.

"We have become one of the most competent teams in Asia, which was visible from the tour we have just finished. Other teams have been inquiring about our coach and how we train for competitions and it shows that we are drawing attention more than ever now," added L.Shinetsetseg.

Three official darts associations are operating in Mongolia, with over 500 members in total. Apart from official members, there are 5,000 amateur darts players in the country, according to the MSDA.

"Companies have started holding small-range darts competitions regularly among their staff on weekends. We are sure that darts will develop even further and many professional darts players will be trained to stand on the winner's podiums," said a MSDA spokesperson.

Darts is becoming a popular sport in rural provinces as well, including Orkhon, Darkhan-Uul, Sukhbaatar and Umnugovi, although they haven't formed or joined darts associations, according to MSDA.

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UNM student awarded Fulbright scholarship for Mongolian horse study

April 17 (University of New Mexico) Three university of New Mexico students have been awarded Fulbright scholarships to study or teach abroad in the 2015–16 academic year.

William Taylor, a Ph.D. student in archeology/anthropology, is headed to Mongolia where his research will focus on ancient horse use in the Mongolian Steppe. He is originally from Montana, and earned his BA from Carleton College and his MA from UNM (2013).

"Although Montana is a world away from Mongolia, the parallels we share through our horse cultures have helped me build important personal and professional relationships over just a few short years," Taylor said. "Beginning language study has also paid immediate dividends, allowing me to communicate, navigate in-country and share ideas about early horsemanship with Mongol colleagues. This Fulbright will help me to continue to build these international connections. Drawing upon the shared experiences of Mongolian and Montanan cultures, study of these Bronze Age horse remains may shed new light on the ways in which human-horse relations have shaped our modern world."

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English teaching assistant programs. Candidates submit a Statement of Grant Purpose that outlines activities to take place during one academic year in a participating country outside the U.S.

During the grant term, Fulbright recipients meet, work, live with and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences. The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others' viewpoints and beliefs, the way they do things, and the way they think. Through engagement in the community, the individual interacts with their hosts on a one-to-one basis in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual understanding.

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Can George Get a Job in Mongolia?

By RUPERT WOLFE MURRAY, travel writer & author of 9 Months in Tibet

April 13 (Huffington Post: The Blog) My friend George asked me if I thought he could get a job in Mongolia and, even though I don't know anything about the jobs market in Mongolia I instantly replied: "of course you can."

Before explaining why I am so confident in my answer I would like to introduce George Pop, a Romanian friend of mine who recently started a company called French Revolution. He makes just one thing - éclairs - the best éclairs in Romania, each one of which is the result of the best ingredients in Europe and George's perfectionism.

What makes me so sure that George could get a job in Mongolia?

First of all George himself. He's friendly, charming, interesting and handsome - and these "first impressions" matter a lot when asking for a job. Secondly, he's an expert in one of the most specialised parts of the communication/advertising industry - namely branding - and I've only ever met one person who works in that domain. That tells me that these skills are rare and my assumption is that there would be at least one company in Mongolia who would appreciate these skills, probably an ad agency or multinational.

The main reason I'm confident that George could get hired in Ulan Bator is that it's an emerging capitalist economy which is booming due to its spectacular mineral wealth. The Daily Telegraph described it as the "Kuwait of Central Asia." They need people like George.

Not so long ago Mongolia was an impoverished satellite of the Soviet Union and the majority of the population were nomadic herdsmen - which is exactly what George wants to see once he gets established - but since adopting capitalism the remote nation is booming. According to that same Daily Telegraph article: "Much of the elite is savvy, Ivy League-educated and understands international business culture...Mongolia desperately needs foreign investment and know-how."

Assuming there are opportunities for skilled communicators like George, as well as people to work in their emerging tourism industry (he'd be a great barman at this awesome desert hotel) two big questions remain:

The first question is, would you really want to live in there? The newspaper article I quoted above says: "If there was a competition to find the ugliest city on Earth, then the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator would be the leading contender for the title. The combination of grim, Soviet-style concrete high-rises, rambling slum-shanties and towering coal-fired power plants belching out smoke over the city reeks of the depression and decay that was a legacy of decades of communist rule."

The answer to this question is easy: despite its ugly modern development Mongolia is still a vast grassland with a population of just over two million - and well worth exploring. Having a base in the capital city, with the possibility of exploring Mongolia, is a beautiful idea.

The second question is harder to answer: how would George go about getting a job in Ulan Bator? There may well be plenty of opportunities but how does one turn this into actual job offers? I can understand that this challenge can seem intimidating, scary and impossible. Where would one start? What about the language, work permits and all the other worries?

I don't have a specific answer to this question, and those fears, but I can offer some general advice: assume there are jobs, be determined and have confidence in yourself.

For me this challenge would be relatively easy as I have successfully looked for work in Austria, Bosnia, Romania and Tibet. But I do realise that most people don't have this experience and lack the confidence to go to the other side of the world and look for a job.

Two things helped me to get jobs abroad: my driving determination to get hired and my disregard for work permits; "in the unlikely event that they catch me," I figured, "they might expel me and I don't really mind that."

Experience has shown me that it would be possible for me - and for George, and probably for you too - to get a job anywhere in the world. I might not be able to get a good job but any job will suffice if you're looking to make a base in a particular country. The real question is: where do you want to go?

You might also like to see this article: Introduction to Working Abroad.

This article was also published in my new travel blog

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Meet 'Dino Don,' the Delco guy behind the Franklin Institute's upcoming Genghis Khan exhibit

April 19 ( WHEN YOU SEE those billboards on I-95 for the Franklin Institute's big Genghis Khan history exhibit, opening May 9, you can only imagine the army of highbrow cultural experts that it took to amass and transport and meticulously display that grand collection of 200 artifacts linked to the 13th-century conqueror.

And then there's the actual guy who made the show happen: Don "Dino Don" Lessem.

Lessem is a Delco-based pre-history buff who works from a small, cluttered desk in a big old farm house with goat droppings on the front porch, the life-size head of a brachiosaurus from "Jurassic Park" in the shed and - at least for the moment - sundry pieces of metalwork, armor and ceramics from the time of Genghis and Kublai Khan (Genghis' grandson) sitting on a dining room side table.

"There's a lot of Genghis Khan stuff here," he says when the Daily News calls to arrange a visit. "You can try on a helmet!" 

Besides being the creative force behind "Genghis Khan: Bring the Legend to Life," Lessem is also, in no particular order: a credited adviser to the movie "Jurassic Park," the bankroller of an archaeological dig that unearthed two of the world's largest dinosaurs, a former "Jeopardy!" contestant, a man wanted briefly in Mongolia for the alleged theft of a mummy - and a longtime contributor to Highlights magazine.

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Ancient Altai harp reproduced and played again

An ancient harp was found by a shepherd in Mongolia's Altai mountains. A replica was manufactured by Mongolian composer Ganpurev Dagvan and the instrument will be introduced to the world by the Altay Band

April 16 (Daily Sabah) 1,500 year old music instrument Altai Harp which was found in a cave in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia in 2008 will be introduced to the world by Altay Band. 

The President of Eurasia Local Government Association Hasan Cengiz told an Anadolu Agency reporter that the 1,500 years old stringed instrument which was accidently discovered by a shepherd is being showcased at a museum in Mongolia. The replica of the music instrument was manufactured by Mongolian researcher and composer Ganpurev Dagvan and he found a music band to introduce the historical instrument to the world. Cengiz informed that they invited the band to Turkey and they made a detailed presentation on the Göktürk instrument to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. "The present showed great interest to the instrument. Culture and Arts Coordinator Orhan Karakurt told us that they can give concerts at the presidential palace when statesmen from Turkic countries visited Turkey. We are very happy," Cengiz went on. He noted that the Göktürk instrument offers its services to the humanity after 1,500 years thanks to the initiatives of President Erdoğan. The presidential seal is composed of 16 stars one of which represents Göktürks. "As far as I understand the president and the presidential palace has adopted this deeply. The western civilization characterizes the Turks as barbaric, warrior and settler but this discovery reveals that Turks were interested in music 2,000 years ago. We are working to tell this to the rest of the work," he concluded. 

Dagvan who adapted the Altai Harp to present day said that the historical instrument was not found in one piece; however, its final appearance came into being following the study on the period. 

Although it has been centuries, the Mongolian composer pointed out that many of the pieces of the instrument is still intact. He said they study on each hole on the instrument and they shaped the handle of the instrument as the horn of a mountain goat, being inspired from the motifs behind the original harp. Stressing that the Altay Band which was founded with six musicians in order to introduce the historical harp, Dagvan said, "All the members of the band are people interested in local arts of Mongolia. Our main objective is to introduce this music to the world." The musician stated that he has been conducting research on the subject for a while. "Mongolian people are familiar with this instrument however we came to Turkey to introduce it as it belongs to the Turks. I believe that this is not something belongs to Mongolians or Turks but to whole world heritage," he noted, adding he will continue to promote the Altai Harp to the world.

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Long Eaton couple take on mammoth charity trip to Mongolia

April 16 (Nottingham Post) An intrepid couple are planning to travel to Mongolia in a worn-down Ford Fiesta to raise money for two charities.

Science teachers Barry Mangham and Kate Sleath, of Long Eaton, will drive 10,000 miles over eight weeks this summer in the 15-year-old car for the Mongol Rally.

The aim is to use a vehicle completely unsuitable for long-distance travelling, requiring drivers to beg and borrow when their car – almost inevitably – breaks down.

Mr Mangham, 27, has owned the Fiesta for 10 years and thinks the trip, which starts in July, will be its last hurrah.

"Last summer, we spent five weeks driving around the Balkans and got the bug for road trips," he said.

"We then decided to try and do something significantly more challenging. The Fiesta is my first car, that I got when I was 17. I've used it for the last 10 years, so I am treating this as its swansong."

The couple are raising money for the Mongol Rally's chosen charity, Cool Earth, as well as the Anthony Nolan Trust, which they chose themselves.

Kate, 27, has twice given bone marrow to the trust after she was told she was a match for someone desperately in need of a donor. "It costs £100 to put someone on the donor register and then £500 to see them through the donation process, so I wanted to give something back," she said.

"I just love an adventure. Barry's done a lot of the organising, which I love. I consider myself a competent driver, although Barry will disagree!"

The journey will take them across Europe into Turkey, crossing over into Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan, through central Asia and finishing in Mongolia.

Mr Mangham added: "The hardest part will be one of two things: crossing the Pamir Highway, in Tajikistan, the second-highest motorway in the world, which is unpaved in many places. Or driving in Mongolia, where there aren't proper roads, more like sandy tracks that the car could get stuck in or the suspension get damaged."

The couple hope to raise £1,000. Rebecca Brewer, of the Anthony Nolan Trust, said: "The money Barry and Kate raise for Anthony Nolan will go towards helping us to save the lives of more people with blood cancer."

To sponsor them, visit or

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American Film Showcase 2015 to unveil secrets of Hollywood movies

April 19 (UB Post) The U.S. Embassy and Mongolian Arts Council will be organizing the American Film Showcase 2015 from April 23 to 26. The program aims to showcase documentaries and contemporary films by American artists, as well as bring professional cinematographers from all over the world to speak with Mongolian filmmakers.

Four films have been chosen to be played at Tengis cinema during the program free of charge.

The director of the documentary film "Uranium Drive-In", Suzan Beraza, will give a detailed speech about her work at the event.

Tim Skousen, director of "The Sasquatch Gang" and assistant director of "Napoleon Dynamite", will also visit to give a special seminar for Mongolian filmmakers and film students.

The American Film Showcase program was initiated by the University of South Carolina College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the U.S. Government to raise and discuss issues through cinematography.

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