Tuesday, April 7, 2015

[TRQ, ETG jump on PM speech; MNT falls for 3rd day; Z intervenes on TT; and const. court strips invst law 2/3 clause]

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original


Overseas Market

TRQ closed Monday +9.83% to C$4.47, +11.11% to US$3.60 (further +2.22% after hours to US$3.68), ETG +46.15% to C$0.38, EGI +34.42% to US$0.289

Rio Tinto close to deal over Oyu Tolgoi

By Matt Chambers

April 7 (The Australian) There appears to be progress on Rio Tinto's nearly two-year standoff with Mongolia over the stalled $US5.4 billion ($7.07bn) Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold underground mine, with the nation's new prime minister declaring the two sides have reached agreement on crucial issues.

Speaking after last week's visit to Mongolia by Rio chief executive Sam Walsh, Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed on Sunday told Mongolian TV that the underground expansion of Oyu Tolgoi would go ahead, paving the way for the project's expired $US4.2bn project financing.

"The parties have finally come to mutual understanding on the two main subjects of dispute," Mr Saikhanbileg said, ­according to an unofficial translation provided to The Australian. "The parties are now finalising their respective internal processes and will soon make an official announcement."

Mr Saikhanbileg said the agreement would boost foreign direct investment, help the local currency appreciate and improve the livelihoods of all Mongolians.

"This historical resolution to launch underground mining at Oyu Tolgoi will open possibilities for the world's biggest 14 banks to invest $US4.2bn in Mongolia," he said.

The statements follow others by the pro-investment Prime Minister, who took office late last year, that Mongolia needed to take responsibility for much of the Oyu Tolgoi deadlock, having changed the rules on investors.

But while the weekend's comments from Mr Saikhanbileg are positive, they have not been accompanied with a similar statement from Rio, which last week said there was still no agreement on deal-breaking issues.

And it remains to be seen whether the Mongolian government, which has made some dramatic changes in its views on Oyu Tolgoi over the years, is united behind the Prime Min­ister.

Rio halted work on the underground expansion, where 80 per cent of the $US11bn Oyu Tolgoi's value lies, in July 2013 because of disagreements with the government over the host nation's share of profits, capital costs on the first stage and tax payments.

It has continued to mine from the first stage of the project, which is an open-pit mine.

Last week, after visiting the South Gobi desert mine to celebrate the shipping of the millionth tonne of concentrate, Mr Walsh told Bloomberg that "we are down to a few issues and these issues are deal-breaker type issues" on the expansion.

Ulan Bator-based resources analyst Dale Choi told The Australian that the comments from Mr Saikhanbileg made him optimistic that there had been some progress in breaking the deadlock. But he said they were by no means definitive, and pointed to comments from Mongolia's ­Parliamentary Speaker yesterday that indicated he remained steadfast on his position that the nation should not get involved in the Oyu Tolgoi project fin­ancing.

"There are conflicting messages — it's clear the Speaker and the Prime Minister are not on the same page," said Mr Choi, who runs Independent Mon­golian Metals and Mining ­Research.

"I like the young Prime Minister's positive attitude and he has a great connection with voters, so I hope he can turn on the green light for foreign direct investment by resolving OT.

"But I am waiting for an announcement from the other side (Rio Tinto) to confirm there is agreement."

Mongolia has a 34 per cent stake in Oyu Tolgoi.

Rio is the project's operator while its listed Canadian subsidiary, Turquoise Hill, owns the remaining 66 per cent.

Link to article


Mongolia PM says agreement in principle on Rio Tinto mine

Lucy Hornby in Beijing

April 6 (FT) Mongolia says it has broken the deadlock on its two biggest mining projects, including Rio Tinto's $12.6bn Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine, as the hard-hit resource-rich country seeks to woo back foreign investors.

Foreign investors, whose dollars make up a big component of Mongolia's $11.7bn economy, have been spooked by a combination of the slump in commodities prices and quixotic policy making in Mongolia.

The Oyu Tolgoi mine, mothballed for nearly two years, is a potent symbol of the frustrations facing investors — among them, Rio Tinto. The Anglo-Australian miner and the Mongolian government have clashed over a tax dispute and cost overruns during the first construction phase.

On Sunday evening the Mongolian prime minister said agreement "in principal" had been reached with investors for building on the next stage of Oyu Tolgoi and the smaller Tavan Tolgoi coking coal mine.

"The two sides have reached agreement, in principle, on the main points of dispute. Soon we will officially announce these results to the international community, after bureaucratic levels finalize relevant steps," said Saikhanbileg Chimed, prime minister, referring to Rio Tinto.

He did not provide further details. Rio Tinto's spokesman in London would not comment.

Much rests on resolving the Oyu Tolgoi dispute. Foreign direct investment fell last year with the downturn in commodity prices. The currency is weakening steadily and debt payments are looming.

Between March 2017 and January 2018, external debt amounting to $1.08bn matures. Mongolia's aim to roll this over will depend on the creditworthiness of its balance sheet.

"Only two, three big projects, making two, three correct decisions...will totally reshape our economic situation," Mr Saikhanbileg said in a recent interview with the FT.

A series of legislative changes has addressed a long list of investor concerns, he added. "In every aspect we are trying to fix it, acknowledge our problems, our mistakes."

Mongolia is not the world's most resource-dependent economy — it is outranked by some Opec countries — but it is among the top when it comes to mining. The commodities boom initially lifted its economy almost 12-fold from just over $1bn when the supercycle began a decade ago.

Negotiations with Rio Tinto, whose annual revenues are about five times Mongolia's gross domestic product, over the $6bn underground extension to the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine have dragged on for over two years.

Mongolia receives no dividends from its 34 per cent stake in the mine until borrowings on the original mine are repaid, which it hopes to be able to do via increased output.

But it can contribute little to financing the expansion. Rio Tinto earlier rejected a proposal for the government to take a smaller stake than its legally mandated 34 per cent in return for higher royalties.

For its part, Rio Tinto has been reluctant to commit to a remote and expensive copper mine when low prices are forcing spending cuts elsewhere. It has cut about $5bn in operating expenses globally since 2012.

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Deals to soon yield $8 billion in investments for Mongolia copper, coal mines: PM

April 6 (Reuters) - Mongolia will soon finalise negotiations that will free up $8 billion for expansions at the country's largest coal and copper mines, its prime minister said in a national address on Sunday.

Talks between the government and investors are progressing towards the close of deals on Mongolia's multi-billion dollar Oyu Tolgoi copper mine and Tavan Tolgoi coking coal mine, Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg said late on Sunday.

Mongolia is desperate for a revival in foreign investment after it fell 74 percent last year amid disputes with foreign investors such as global miner Rio Tinto. "Now the parties are finalising their respective internal processes and we will soon officially announce results," Saikhanbileg said about the expansion project for the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, according to an unofficial translation of his televised speech. A spokesman for Rio Tinto, holder of a 66 percent stake in the copper mine, could not be reached for comment.

Disputes over the rising costs at Oyu Tolgoi and taxes have delayed construction of the second underground phase at the $6.5 billion mine since August 2013.

Rio Tinto must resolve the disputes before banks can release more than $4 billion in financing to fund the expansion. The government is also in the final stages of forging a deal to hand over management of state-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi coal mine to China's Shenhua Energy, Japan's Sumitomo Corp and Mongolian Mining Corp subsidiary Energy Resources.

Mongolia has asked the partners to spend $4 billion to expand the Tavan Tolgoi mine's capacity. Both mines are located less than 250 kilometres from the Chinese border.

Mongolia's mineral riches and strategic location drove peak economic growth of 17.5 percent in 2011, but disputes with investors have recently soured investment appetite.

The Asian Development Bank has estimated the average economic growth rate for 2015 and 2016 could slow to as little as 4 percent, without a strong recovery in foreign investment.

Saikhanbileg, who entered office last November to kick-start the economy again, blamed the disputes with mining investors on the political posturing by the country's 76 lawmakers. Mongolia is also planning to announce a final deal this month for the long awaited Combined Heat and Power Plant 5 project led by GDF Suez, Japan's Sojitz Corp. Korea's POSCO and Mongolia's Newcom Group, he said. The consortium in 2014 signed an initial 25-year power purchase agreement for the 415 megawatt coal-fired facility.

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Local Market

MSE News for April 6: Top 20 +0.68% to 13,455.78, Turnover 18.8 Million

Ulaanbaatar, April 6 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 18 thousand and 211 units of 26 JSCs were traded costing MNT 18 million 772 thousand and 379.00.

"Hermes center" /10 thousand and 057 units/, "APU" /2,953 units/, "Remikon" /1,572 units/, "State Department Store" /1,247 units/ and "Moninjbar" /1,010 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "APU" (MNT 10 million 420 thousand and 550), "UB-BUK" (MNT one million and 750 thousand), "Hermes center" (MNT one million 307 thousand and 450) "Mudix" (MNT one million and 120 thousand), "Arig gal" (MNT 839 thousand and 010).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 341 billion 436 million 886 thousand and 334. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 13,455.78, increasing 0.68% and the all index of MSE was 974.69, increasing 0.57% against the previous day.

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BDSec Market Watch Episode 31, April 6

April 6 (BDSec) --

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Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy 1,978 Sell 1,988), Khan (Buy 1,980 Sell 1,988), Golomt (Buy 1,980 Sell 1,988), XacBank (Buy 1,980 Sell 1,989), State Bank (Buy 1,980 Sell 1,988)

BoM MNT Rates: Monday, April 6 Close






















































































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

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BoM issues ₮94 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -8.3% to ₮263.5 billion

April 6 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 94 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


FTI Consulting: Mongolia 2015 — The Year of Renewal

How will Mongolia fare after major setbacks in real estate, global commodity prices and declines in FDI this year?

March 31 (FTI Consulting) Mongolia has experienced an extremely testing 12 months. The country has seen further decline in Foreign Direct Investment ("FDI"), a significant drop in global commodity prices worldwide and the bursting of the real estate bubble.

These factors have merged to cause a severe decline in economic conditions, leading many commentators to conclude that this will be the make or break year for the country, particularly before political posturing takes control of the national agenda in the run up to parliamentary elections scheduled for the summer of 2016.

However, developments on both the political and economic fronts during the final months of 2014 gave grounds for some optimism. Most notable were the establishment of a new multi-party unity coalition government and the long awaited tender award for the TavanTolgoi coking coal mine development.

Link to report download page


EPCRC Macro Overview, February 2015

April 7 (Economic Policy and Competitiveness Research Center) --

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Mongolia Economic Forum

Two-Thirds Clauses of Investment, Parliament, Fiscal Stability Laws Ruled Unconstitutional

April 6 (Cover Mongolia) On February 13, the Constitutional Court of Mongolia issued a ruling that annulled similar clauses in certain laws.

Namely, clauses where it states the parliament needs two-thirds of all its members to a) amend the Investment, State Great Khural (parliament), Fiscal Stability, Human Development Fund laws, b) declare a State of Emergency, and c) three quarters of members to overturn a Public Referendum decision.

The court ruled these clauses were in breach of the Constitution, meaning now it requires only a simple majority of a parliament quorum--or potentially just 20 members--to amend, declare, overturn.

A Constitutional Court decision is final and effective immediately.

Link to article


President Ts.Elbegdorj at MEF: "Mongolia is country of opportunities"

- Our journalist S.Odbayar is reporting from Mongolian Economic Forum 2015. -

April 3 (GoGo Mongolia) President of Mongolia, Elbegdorj Tsakhia was invited for interview with GoGo News Agency which broadcasts live from Mongolian Economic Forum 2015. 

We have invited President of Mongolia for a short discussion on the achievements expected of this year's MEF and what is media's involvement in propaganda for building credibility for Mongolia and Mongolian State.

Although, our GoGo Mongolia, English news website has been operating for few months, we are very excited for taking interview from President of Mongolia, Elbegdorj Tsakhia.

For full interview please see the video below.

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Politics & Legal

TT deal to be discussed first by State Great Khural

April 6 ( Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg, Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold and DP Group Leader B.Garamgaibaatar have made joint announcement.

Today's heated topic inevitably was the TT deal issue as the PM and Speaker have made announcements on TT one after another since yesterday.

DP Group at the State Great Khural had the meeting as the two have made contradicting announcements regarding TT deal.

The DP Group have come to the unified decision to establish the working group regarding the Tavantolgoi issues and have concluded that agreement should be signed after it is discussed by the State Great Khural.

Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg requested the parliament not to delay the discussions and to end it within 14 days.

Link to article


Z.Enkhbold: I cannot accept current TT deal, which violates Mongolia's interest

April 6 ( At the opening ceremony of the Spring Plenary session of the State Great Khural, Speaker Z.Enkhbold delivered his speech.

He announced major discussions to be held during the spring session, which are the discussions of the draft laws on:

·         Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure

·         Administrative Law

·         Law against Domestic Violence

·         Law on Election

·         Law on Political Parties

·         Law on Financing of the Political Parties

Parliament resolution drafts on:

·         Implementation of the Mongolian social and economic development directions 2014 and Financial report 2014 of the Government of Mongolia

·         State Budget 2014 implementation approval

·         State Budget 2015 announcement and State Budget 2017-2018 forecasts

·         Mongolian social and economic development directions 2016

And mentioned other policy documents on development of the socio-economic and industry sectors.

Moreover, the Speaker expressed his worries on the increased number of the complaints from civil servants on shake ups and ordered the responsible parties to ensure the situation gets better.

Next on Speakers focus was the issues related with the signing of the TT deal, where he mentioned the lack of the benefits stated in the document, which he directly said that he required to see the documents before approval.

Z.Enkhbold stated that TT deal document is not adhering to the Government Program for 2012-2016 approved by the State Great Khural in 2012. Moreover, the official letter delivering the State Great Khural stances on this matter was delivered to the PM on April 3rd.

Also he criticized that the TT deal to be violating the national safety guidance approved by State Great Khural in 2010, which states that investments of one country is not to exceed the one third of the total investments, therefore, imposing threat to be dependent on one market.

The Speaker emphasized that the agreement is not adhering to the interests of Mongolia, such as:

·         Investor party activities have no timeframe and states as the objectives and no indication of the accountability, whereas Government of Mongolia clearly states its action timeframe

·         No negotiations were made in terms of the 1072 shares, no forecasts upon the deposits after additional exploration

·         Additional USD 4 billion investment assessments include investments done by Energy Resource.

·         Railroad construction expansion is to be done by investors

·         Payments for Mongolian Railroad JSC is to be made after assessments of their costs, and assessments of the investments of the other parties are not be conducted

·         In case of terminating the agreement, government is to pay the fees equal to the 30 years of profits for Shenhua

·         Agreement drafting process did not include any advisory services on the legal and financial issues at the Government side, while investors have been serviced by Deloitte and KPMG.

In conclusion, Z.Enkhbold stated that he cannot accept the TT agreement and urged the government to submit the discussions on the TT agreement to the State Great Khural and warned that in case the agreement is to signed today, participating authorities shall be called to be accountable.

Link to article


Parliament Speaker of Mongolia Threatens to Dismiss Cabinet Members If to Ratify Agreement on Tavan Tolgoi ProjectInfoMongolia, April 6


M.Enkhsaikhan: Irresponsible statements may hurt TT deal

April 6 ( Minister of State M.Enkhsaikhan called for the official announcement at 3PM today.

On the eve of the Spring Plenary Session of the State Great Khural opening Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg made an official announcement and the major focus was given on proceeding with the mega projects such as OT and TT stating that the projects will be taken to next level as the agreements near the signing.

Unfortunately, today at the opening of the Spring Plenary Session of the State Great Khural the Speaker made an irresponsible announcement leading to misunderstanding of the negotiation process. For instance, the statement "TT deal to be violating the national safety guidance approved by State Great Khural in 2010, which states that investments of one country is not to exceed the one third of the total investments, therefore, imposing threat to be dependent on one market" is not present the reality at all. These estimates were made by the Working Group and submitted to the Naitonal Security Council, which ensured that the estimates are not violating the regulations.

TT negotiation process has been transparent and the announcement was made available to public by the Working Group. The final agreement of the negotiation with the consortium was introduced to the cabinet and the results should be submitted to the State Great Khural as per the procedures. Whereas, the agreement was not submitted to the State Great Khural for discussion, Speaker Z.Enkhbold made announcement "to make accountable the ministers who signed the agreement", which violates the relationship of legislative and implementing organizations and further violating the constitution law.

This might hurt the shareholders of the listed companies by making public the agreement draft, which was discussed in February.

1072 share issues are to be only discussed by the State Great Khural internally. The announcement made in this regard as "no deals were made about the 1072 shares" leads to an impression as if the Speaker of Parliament is being misinformed by his working group.

Denial on the payments for Mongolian Railroad JSC is to be made after assessments of their costs does not adhere to international business standards as obtruding the investors to be liable for the misused funds is not ethical and violates the anti-corruption principles. 

Other issues raised by Z.Enkhbold are seen as the incapability of his working group members by misunderstanding the agreement.

It is within the capability of the cabinet to make an agreement with the investors. Cabinet will make discussions on the matter in accordance with the guidance issued by the National Security Council.

Link to article


MP R.Amarjargal doubts need to discuss TT in Parliament

April 6 ( Spring Plenary Session of the State Great Khural opens today.

Yesterday's PM Ch.Saikhanbileg's public announcement made through the major TV stations has put an end to many questions.

One of the major announcements of the PM included the information on signing of the Tavan Tolgoi deal soon (unofficial sources report the signing to be held today at 3PM).

Whereas, S.Enkhbold, Speaker of the Parliament has sent an official document to PM Ch.Saikhanbileg stating the necessity of this deal to be discussed by the Parliament.

On this matter we contacted MP R.Amarjargal on his stances:

"It is the right of the Parliament to discuss the certain issues. But honestly saying, I have doubts that it is quite right to discuss Tavan Tolgoi deal by the Parliament.  We have appointed the Prime Minister and established the government. They need to do their work."

Link to article


War Within DP Hurting Mongolia

April 6 ( --

War within the party

Late Sunday evening adventurous speech of Prime Minister Saikhanbileg and threatening opening speech of Speaker Z.Enkhbold is the clear evidence on how harsh it becomes the internal fraction within the Demparty.

Long running hearsay about the deteriorating internal tension between Shonkhor, originated from and supported by Speaker Z.Enkhbold and Altan Gadas (Polar Star), the richest and the most powerful fraction of Demparty, has been floating like a ghost since the return of former PM Altankhuyag. At the moment, Speaker Z.Enkhbold is the leader of Demparty, but main decision making institute is consists of Altan Gadas supporters. If the party governing assembly is to be held today, Speaker Z.Enkhbold would face risks of losing the party leadership.

Tension between fractions is fueled by the oppositions' position over the situation like in late 90s, when Demparty lost its support from public as the result of battle for the Prime Minister's post. Monday morning, Deputy Speakers from Demparty, MPP and MPRP all signed on the official letter to PM Saikhabileg about reminding him that the signing of Tavan Tolgoi investment agreement will be illegal according to the legislators.

What is next?

If sides don't pacify the current worsening situation, no single mega project will move forward and PM Saikhanbileg's ambitious plan will be void. Under such circumstances, it is clear that no potential investor is willing to go into the Demparty's internal war, sinking its reputation and future into this deepening stagnating situation, rather than waiting for the Parliamentary election of 2016. Can Tavan Tolgoi and OT issues will be decided before September 2016? May be TT

PM Saikhanbiileg's keynotes

Last Sunday (Apri  5 2015), PM Saikhanbileg made encouraging speech through the main media channels rallying  people of Mongolia to support his actions to boost the stalling economy  of Mongolia

"Let me briefly sum up the speech and its points. The Government of Mongolia has implemented notable amount of works and issued uneasy decisions. We unlocked Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi deadlocks that harnessing the mega constructions and projects. What we should focus on now?

1) Amend the Constitution, and approve Law on Political Party.

2) Launch mega projects succeeding Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi

3) Develop countryside through introduction of local tax

4) Gradual liberation of Government controlled prices on certain products…

Opening of the Spring Session of SGK: Speaker Z.Enkhbold's speech

President Elbegdorj hasn't made an opening speech and Speaker Z.Enkhbold made speech instead.

He emphasized the importance of the spring session and expressed his position over Tavan Tolgoi negotiation.

He re-confirmed the letter of SGK to the Government about Tavan Tolgoi negotiation and expressed his intention to present dismissal proposition to the SGK if any Minister tries to sign the Tavan Tolgoi Investment Agreement.

Link to article


Mongolian PM Texts to Win Back Investment

April 6 (Bloomberg TV) Mongolia's new leader has launched media blitz, trying to convince his people that foreign investment is the only forward. Bloomberg's Yvonne Man reports on "First Up."

Link to video


Erdenes TT Acting CEO Quits Month After Predecessor Jailed

April 6 ( Ya.Batsuuri, who has worked as CEO of "Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi" JSC since 2012, has been detained from 26th of February and his role was temporarily replaced by B.Enkhbat.

He was sentenced for two-week imprisonment. However, it was ordered to detain him for more two months.

B.Enkhbat refused to participate in TT negotiation and announced his resignation voluntarily. His resignation letter is to be discussed at Board of Directors and final decision is to be made by Board of Directors. Reason of resignation is still uncertain today.

M.Enkhsaikhan reported that the imprisonment of Ya.Batsuuri influenced negatively on TT negotiation made with the biggest companies of Japan and China.

Link to article


Erdenes Mongol to boost cooperation with mining professionals

Ulaanbaatar, April 6 (MONTSAME) "Erdenes Mongol" state-owned company inked a Memorandum of Cooperation with the National Association of the Specialized Engineers in Mining and Industry on April 3. 

The sides will try to improve a participation of scholars, researchers, consultant engineers and specialists in the activities of the state-owned mining company. Forming a team, the company and the association will conduct works aimed at disseminating proper knowledge about the minerals' sector operations, improving transportation and logistics' infrastructures, developing researches, and promoting export. They also agreed to set up implementation groups of professionals for each project/program, at the requests of professional unions.

The company said the young engineers, making up 80 percent of the staff and trained abroad majoring in mining engineering, must have practical trainings in Mongolia. An importance was stressed of senior professionals' experiences, which can help in developing the industry with ecofriendly technologies.

The association had been joined by 22 professional unions. Mongolia has 28 of such unions specialized in mining.

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Mongolia looks to start liberalizing energy prices from July

April 6 ( Although Mongolia is a country with a free market economy, even today, energy prices are established by the state.

Power plants have put forward a proposal to raise prices, but in response to public protests energy prices have been forced down by the state.

The Government of Mongolia is aiming to liberalize energy prices starting from the 1st of July.  Energy prices will be increased and the debt and liability between power stations and coal mines will be eliminated while a new system will be put in place.    

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Mogi: watching this made me wanna go "country," become a bagh governor, J

Direct Democracy: Changes and Challenges (Mongolia)

March 22 (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) Direct Democracy: Changes and Challanges captures Mongolia's direct democracy practices and experiences. Directed by internationally awarded film director S.Byamba, the film focused on the introduction of decentralisation and citizen participation in decision-making.

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Talk with Me with Allyson Seaborn: Bat-Orgil Turbold Burged, Reform Club of Mongolia

April 5 (Star TV Mongolia) --

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ETT, ER, Tavantolgoi JSC reach agreement on using paved road

April 6 ( Many years have passed as the issues of the soil erosion have been raised in regards with the heavy trucks, weighing over 100 tons, transportation of the commodities at the Gobi region.

Energy Resource LLC have constructed the paved road from Tavan Tolgoi to Gashuun Sukhait with their own funding, which was acquired by the State last year. Every entity holding mining activities can use this road for transportation by paying the transport fees. But the entities have emphasized how the differing tariffs set for the operating entities are creating unfavorable competition environment for them and have submitted their request to deal with the situation to the Deputy Minister U.Khurelsukh.

Energy Resource pays USD 0.75 per ton, while the other two companies are entitled to pay USD 1.5. Due to the difference in the tariffs set for the companies, trucks with loads from locally owned Tavan Tolgoi and Erdenes Tavan Togloi are using the earth surface roads increasing the dust pollution in the Gobi region.  

Authorities including State Secretary of Ministry of Road and Transportation, Head of the Special Inspection Authority, management of the Erdenes Mongol State Owned company have been ordered to address the issues and ensure the road tariffs to be set at USD 1.0, ban to conduct transportation using earth surface roads and ensure the regulations to use paved roads in a week's time. 

Today, on the last day of the week's term to make changes in the current situation executives of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, Energy Resources and locally owned Tavan Tolgoi are to sign MOU, which will ensure the standards in transportation of the commodities by heavy load trucks through the paved roads, environmental protection regulations and road safety.

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Risen Raises $400 Million for Solar in Mexico, Mongolia, China

April 7 (Bloomberg) Risen Energy Co., a Chinese solar-panel maker, raised 2.5 billion yuan ($400 million) from investors to develop 379 megawatts of solar projects in Asia and Latin America.

The company sold 293 million shares at 8.53 yuan each in the private placement announced on April 3, according to a statement on Monday.

The funds will be invested in 279 megawatts of grid-connected solar projects in Mongolia and Mexico, plus 100 megawatts of projects in four Chinese provinces.

The projects are part of the company's goal to install 1 gigawatt of solar generation capacity.

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Gold's Gym Expands Global Presence With New Deals In Africa And Asia

With Presence on Six Out of Seven Continents, Iconic Brand Continues to Resonate Worldwide with Agreements to Build New Facilities in Morocco, Mongolia and Jordan

DALLAS, April 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Gold's Gym, the world's leading authority on health and fitness, announced today that it has signed agreements to develop eight new gyms in Morocco, four in Mongolia and four in Jordan.  The deals mark the continued expansion of the iconic brand into Africa, and increase its presence in Asia, where Gold's Gym is already known as an international fitness icon.

In each country, Gold's Gym partnered with top business minds who will serve as master franchisees. This includes: Faycal Achmoul and Mohammed Rharmili of Morocco, Batmunkh Sengee and Gankhuyag Rentsendorj of Mongolia and Adnan Sa'Ed Mohammad Aburukbeh of Jordan. As is the case with its other master franchisees across the globe, Gold's Gym will combine the power of its brand and successful franchise model with the local market knowledge and expertise of these partners to bring Gold's Gym to new audiences.

With more than 260 international facilities spanning six continents, the agreements continue the brand's commitment to international expansion as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.  "As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we couldn't be more proud to keep building what began as a single gym in Venice, California, and bringing it to people all over the world," said Tim Hicks, Senior Vice President for Franchising and International.  "We are confident that in the next 50 years, we can make the Gold's Gym experience accessible to nearly everyone in the world."

The deals follow huge international success in 2014 for the Gold's Gym brand throughout major international markets such as India,Indonesia and Japan.  With more than 100 new gyms in the past five years, and another 85 gyms under contract, the pop-culture icon has now established its global presence on every continent with the exception of Antarctica, ensuring the sun never sets on the Gold's Gym brand.

"As a symbol of traditional Americana, Gold's has been able to transcend cultures and language barriers, resonating just as strongly whether you are in California, Mongolia, Egypt or Australia," continued Hicks. "Our vision is to create a healthier world through the continuation of deals such as these."

For more information regarding Gold's Gym, visit or call 800.99.GOLDS.

Link to release


Ireland Asia Business Yearbook 2014 Profiles Mongolia

The 2014 edition of the Ireland Asia Business Yearbook is an essential guide for Irish companies doing business in Asia. The publication features a foreword from an Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, articles by Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & innovation, Sean O' Driscoll, CEO, Glen Dimplex and executives from a list of top companies including Huawei, KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, Arthur Cox & Matheson.

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World Bank introduces projects to improve UB air, heating system

Ulaanbaatar, April 6 (MONTSAME) The Municipal administration got au fait Monday with a "Ulaanbaatar Fresh Air" and "Improving Ulaanbaatar's General Heating System" projects.

The latter has been implemented by the World Bank. According to the introduction, a commissioning of the Fifth thermal power station by 2018 is vital, for the heat demand will increase 126 percent in 2030 against the current consumption. Ulaanbaatar's general heating system will be divided into two parts--West and East, the western part will be supplied by the third and fourth stations, the eastern one--by the future fifth station.

If the financing is solved, 88 thousand citizens will get an access to heat, a dust formed by a usage of ovens will go down by 46 percent, and sulfuric dioxide in air--by 86 percent. 

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Beware of falling ice from roofs

April 6 ( Due to precipitation in recent days, you can observe the ice buildup hang from the roof of the buildings. Therefore, we are warning you to avoid ice falling during warmer temperatures as it leads to melting and falling down.

Recently, mother and son were both seriously injured by chunk of ice, which fell off a five-storey building in Moscow.

Thus, be careful of the falling ice in order to avoid injury.

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FM concludes official visit to China

Ulaanbaatar, April 6 (MONTSAME) Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren paid an official visit to the People's Republic of China by invitation of his Chinese counterpart Mr Wang Yi on April 1-3.

On the first day of the visit, the two FMs held official talks, exchanging views on the bilateral cooperation in all spheres, on international and regional issues, expressing a mutual satisfaction with an expansion of the Mongolia-China relations and cooperation in all sectors, with deepening of the political trust and mutual understanding in accordance with ideology of the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation, and with forwarding of the ties at a level of the comprehensive strategic partnership. They reaffirmed their willingness to enrich the ties with a new content, shared views on opportunities to widen the collaboration, underlined an importance of maintaining a frequency of high-level mutual visits, discussed visits and events expected to run this year, and reached a principal agreement. After this, Purevsuren was received by Mr Li Yuanchao, the Vice President of China.

As the head of the Mongolian side of the Mongolia--China intergovernmental commission, Purevsuren also met with Mr Gao Hucheng, China's Minister of Commerce and the head of the Chinese side. They affirmed a mutual aspiration to intensify an implementation of many agreements made during the state visit of the PRC President to Mongolia in 2014, especially works in transit transportation, energy, infrastructure and financial spheres. Furthermore, they appraised an importance of refining the bilateral trade and economic mechanism and an implementation of the biggest projects that will significantly contribute to the economic development of the two countries. The parties also agreed that the Mongolia-China-Russia trilateral mechanism has become an important direction of the cooperation, and concurred to coordinate Mongolia's "Steppe road" initiative with China's "Silk road and economic belt" initiative and to analyze a matter on establishing the Mongolia-China-Russia economic corridor.

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Japan Provides ¥1 Billion Aid to Mongolia for Soum Health, Tuul River Cleanup

April 6 (InfoMongolia) On April 06, 2015, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Lundeg PUREVSUREN and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia, Takenori Shimizu have signed a Note to Exchange between the Governments of Mongolia and Japan.

The Exchange Note is to implement two Projects on Supplying Hospital and Water Treatment Equipment in the frames of Japan Government Non-refundable Aid to Mongolia with total value of 1 billion JPY or equivalent to 16 billion and 700 million MNT (Tugrug).

The first project is aimed to supply health centers in a Sum (sub-administrative unit of an Aimag) and inter-Sum regions with equipment of primary medical services. In the scope of this project, these health centers are to receive diagnostic and surgical equipment made in Japan as well as treatment apparatus for care and nursing centers. By accomplishing this project, local health centers in far destinations will be receiving same services as urban areas.

The second project of supplying water treatment equipment is targeted to clean the Tuul River from pollution of row sewage. The implementation of this project will be of great importance to eliminate water pollution problems facing today.  

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Mongolia will receive financing from Japan to take facilitiesMontsame, April 6


Russia and Mongolia will together safeguard Baykal

Ulaanbaatar, 4.4.2015 (Eurasia Today) – Russia and Mongolia have agreed to together safeguard the ecosystem of Lake Baykal, writes «Xinhua Russian (Russian)», referring to the website of Mongolian ministry of Green Development and Tourism. The Xinhua article is referring to a information-exchange conference that took place in Ulaanbaatar on March 30 and 31 between Mongolia and the Russian Federation. The Russian delegation was headed by the vice minister for natural resources, Semen Levin, while the Mongolian side was headed by tourism minister M.Khurelsukhem.

This is mostly about the «Shuren» hydroelectric station (HES) on the Selenga river, which is the main tributary to Lake Baykal, that Mongolia has decided to build back in 2012. A project that is considered 'risky' for the ecosystem of Lake Baykal, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation (Russian) and Greenpeace, which even names it a 'threat to Lake Baykal' (Russian).

The «Shuren» HES is planned to deliver 400 MW of electrical energy and save Mongolia up to 300'000 ton coal per year. According to an article from 2012 at «» (Russian) approximately 80% of electric energy of Mongolia is from Thermal Energy Stations burning gas, coal or oil, while 8% is imported from Russia, 8% is from diesel-electric generators and only around 3% is from renewable sources such as water.

According to an article in «Mongolian Economy» (English), the «Shuren» project needs around $ 800 million funds and a draft feasibility study has been accepted by the World Bank which handels the project under the scope of its "Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project for Mongolia".

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Turkish Business Delegation on Visit to Mongolia April 6-9

Ulaanbaatar, April 6 (MONTSAME) A business delegation of Turkey's Association of Exporters will visit Mongolia on this April 6-9.

The delegation of 14 business people will be received at the "Blue Sky" hotel by state and private sector's officials. A head of the Investment Authority S.Javkhlanbaatar will highlight for the guests investment-regarding environment and opportunities and will be followed by a department head of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture D.Tsogbadrakh with views exchange.

On April 8, the delegation will meet with their Mongolian counterparts at the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI).

As expected, such a visit will run every year.

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Mongolia topic for U of S panel, performance

SCRANTON, April 6 (The Times Tribune) — A panel discussion and artistic performance at the University of Scranton will explore Mongolian life and culture Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Moskovitz Theater in the DeNaples Center.

"Mongolia: History, Culture and Transformation" will include Bulgaa Altangerel, Ph.D., Mongolia's ambassador to the U.S., joined by other foreign service officials and academics. Artists from Mongolia will perform traditional music and dance.

The event is part of the Jay Nathan Visiting Scholar Lecture Series of the University of Scranton's Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Memorial Library, focusing on economically challenged and politically suppressed nations. The event is free, but reservations are encouraged and may be made by calling 570-941-7816.

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Social, Environmental & Other

Honorable Oyungerel Tsedevdamba for #BeingLGBTI

March 31 (Being LGBT in Asia) "I hope this dialogue will help peel off one more layer of ignorance in all of us, and especially in our Governments." 

Honorable Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, Member of Parliament, Mongolia, speaking at the #BeingLGBTI in Asia Regional Dialogue on LGBTI Human Rights & Health in Asia-Pacific, 26 February 2015.

Link to speech


Talk with Me with Allyson Seaborn: Julie Veloo, Veloo Foundation, Children of the Peak Sanctuary Kindergarten

March 30 (Star TV Mongolia) --

Link to interview


Swapping climate change stories from Philadelphia and Mongolia

March 23 (NEWSWORKS) Four Mongolian high school students are in Philadelphia this week learning how climate change affects the lives of teenagers here.

The trip is part of a museum exchange program between the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and the National Museum of Mongolia. 

"The ultimate goal is for the girls to know each other culturally, and obviously know a little bit more about climate change, and how it's affecting them in Mongolia and how it's affecting us here in Philadelphia," said Betsy Payne, Women in Natural Sciences program manager at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

The Mongolian students and 15 Philadelphia public school high school students, all girls, took online classes on climate change and talked via Skype with their pen pals in the months leading up to the trip. They will develop lessons for their home museums on climate change from a teenage perspective when they return.

The participants met in person for the first time on Friday, the beginning of an 11-day program in the Philadelphia region. The group will learn about climate change from Academy of Natural Sciences staff, visit a Delaware marsh vulnerable to rising ocean levels and tour a farm near Lancaster.

Linda Gutierrez, a sophomore The Academy at Palumbo, said she is most looking forward to playing host to the Mongolian students.

"I'm excited to show them everything in Philadelphia," Gutierrez said. "I researched so many pictures of Mongolia and it's really different, so I want to show them everything there is possible to show them."

Mongolian student Ulemg Baasanjav, meanwhile, is excited to get to work.

"For example our country has pollution," Baasanjav said. "Pollution is a very big problem and I think in the future I fix this pollution."

In July, five of the Philly students will visit the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator, where nomadic herders are flocking to live as climate change and other stressors challenge their traditional way of life.

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Sumo fans' complaint: Too many Mongolian fighters in the sport

April 6 (Reuters) It's sumo wrestling season again in Japan, but many fans are yearning for a Japanese star to wrestle the championship from foreign-born fighters.

The number of foreign wrestlers, especially in the top classes, has risen in recent years as fewer Japanese are attracted to the sport. While Japanese fans say they admire the foreign-born fighters, with many acquiring Japanese names and speaking the language, they would like to see an end to the domination.

In recent years the sport has seen a streak of champions from Mongolia, Estonia and Bulgaria. The Japan Sumo Association currently lists 25 wrestlers from Mongolia in its list of roughly 600 professional fighters.

"There are too many Mongolians, the next expected grand champion sumo wrestler are first Terunofuji (Haruo), and Ichinojo (Takashi) - all the grand champions may be all Mongolian soon. I really hope Japanese do better as it'd be sad if they were all Mongolians. That said they are really good," spectator and 39-year-old dance instructor, Izumi Kondo told Reuters.

Another supporter, 71-year-old construction worker Fumio Tamura. who was seen holding the Japanese and Mongolian national flags during a tournament, said: "It's great that it's international now. But I am Japanese so I want to see a Japanese grand champion sumo wrestler. We haven't had one for years."

The life as a sumo wrestler is less appealing to Japanese today. The conditions are harsh, the training is tough and fighters are forced to live a communal lifestyle with little privacy.

The sumo world is strictly hierarchical. Wrestlers belong to one of around 50 stables and salaries and status depend on their rank. Only those in the top five classes can marry and receive regular salaries - for instance, a yokozuna makes 2.8 million yen (US$34,000) per month.

Hakuho Sho became a legend in the sport earlier this year when he wrestled his way into his 33rd championship, the most in sumo's recorded history. His opponent on Friday, Harumafuji Kohei, is one of the four Mongolians attaining the rank of grand champion, yokozuna.

There are only 71 yokozunas in the history of professional sumo wrestling, according to the official website of the Japan Sumo Association.

Sumo's history stretches back about 1,500 years with roots in a religious ritual conducted in Shinto shrines along with prayers for abundant harvests. The early sport was rougher than its modern version, involving boxing and wrestling elements.

But the sport has also been hit by a series of scandals, including hazing and drug-abuse. Former yokozuna Asashoryu Akinori, the first Mongolian grand champion, quit in 2010 following accusations that he had broken a man's nose in a drunken brawl outside a Tokyo nightclub.

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Tseren leaves for the North Pole

Ulaanbaatar, April 6 (MONTSAME) A director of the "Tseren tours" LLC Ms E.Tserendolgor has left for the North Pole to take part in the "Fjallraven polar 2015" international competition of dog sled race.

Tserendolgor was qualified to participate in the race after she had topped the Internet polling held December of the last year. The first round of the polling was attended by some 1,000 people from over 60 countries.

The race will start this week from Norway and will finish in Sweden taking five days and covering 300 km. 

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Mongolia: A Steppe Forward for Budding Conservationists

March 31 (The Zoological Society of London) Few words conjure up an image of remote wilderness quite like the word 'Mongolia', and for good reason. As the country with the lowest population density in the world (4.58 people per square mile), Mongolia has a very small human footprint, and it's vast rolling steppes, montane deserts, and taiga forests are practically untouched.

Sadly, that may not hold true for much longer, as a growing mining industry, poaching, and deforestation are beginning to seriously threaten these unspoilt habits.

In order to protect its unique ecosystems, Mongolia will need a cohort of highly trained and dedicated conservation professionals, and this is one area where ZSL makes a contribution to conservation in Mongolia.

Every year ZSL and the Steppe Forward Programme run a Summer Field Course in the Mongolian steppe, for the benefit of students from the National University of Mongolia, as well as undergraduate students from international Universities.

This course equips the students with the skills and experience they need to embark on careers as ecologists and conservationists. In this week's blog we will hear from one of our international students from last year's course, and next week we will hear from Munkhjargal Myagmar, a Mongolian Student from our very first course in 2009. 

Helen Spence-Jones from the 2014 Summer Field Course

Tell us a little about yourself

Hi, I'm Helen. I'm from Cambridge, which also happens to be where I studied at university. When I did the field course I had just graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Natural Sciences with  Zoology.

Why did you apply for the ZSL Mongolia Summer Field Course?

I applied for the course after I saw an advertisement in my department, mostly because I wanted to get as much field experience/skills as possible (didn't really get a lot in my degree). And also  because Mongolia looked awesome. 

What was the Field Course like?

Loved it! Loved pretty much all of it. Best bits are hard to choose but the days trekking around placing camera traps were great (climbing rock stacks, sunsets, red deer, wild horses…!). And  learning Mongolian while playing volleyball. And living in gers. And seeing the lynx. Even getting up  at dawn was worth it for the view!

Be sure to come back next week to hear all about Munkhjargal's experience on the course too!

For any undergraduates studying a biology related subject that are interested in attending the course, the applications are open until the 1st May: email (or click here for more information on the course including how to apply.

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Mogi: saw it again, wanted to share it again

Wild Horses of Mongolia with Julia Roberts

In autumn of 1999 Julia Roberts came to live among the nomads of Mongolia and discovers their special relationship with the wild horse.

Mongolia is home to the only true wild horses known to still exist. Julia Roberts, who shares a passion for horses with the Mongolian people, went there to sample life as a nomad on the steppes of central Asia and learn first hand why the wild horse has been an integral part of existence there for millennia.

Link to video (first of 5)

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6th Floor, NTN Tower
Baga Toiruu, Chingeltei District 1
Ulaanbaatar 15170, Mongolia
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