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Friday, May 29, 2015
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Oyu Tolgoi Deal Primes Mongolia for $1 Billion Bond Sale: Govt
By Michael Kohn
May 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia to sell up to $1b of bonds due to favorable mkt conditions created by pact with Rio Tinto to develop underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi, govt says on website.
* Intl investors now consider Mongolia as having low risk because Oyu Tolgoi issue resolved: statement
* Ministry of Finance authorized to sell bond in intl market
* Ministry to appoint Development Bank of Mongolia to choose technical adviser, appoint payment agent: statement
* Bonds to fund fiscal deficit at low cost, provide long-term funding, support balance of payments, extend payment time of govt, govt-guaranteed intl securities: statement
* Mongolia taking advantage of "window of opportunity" created by Oyu Tolgoi pact, says Dale Choi, founder of Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research
* "The government is pressed financially, so there is an acute fiscal necessity for this": Choi
* NOTE: Mongolia sold 1st intl bonds in Nov. 2012, $1.5b USD "Chinggis Bonds'
* NOTE: Mongolia's Trade & Development Bank sold $500m of government-guaranteed notes in May 2015
Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) – Analysts' Recent Ratings Changes
May 28 (WKRB News) Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE: TRQ) recently received a number of ratings updates from brokerages and research firms:
· 5/23/2015 – Turquoise Hill Resources had its "hold" rating reaffirmed by analysts at TD Securities. They now have a $5.50 price target on the stock, up previously from $5.00.
· 5/21/2015 – Turquoise Hill Resources was upgraded by analysts at Bank of America from an "underperform" rating to a "neutral" rating.
· 5/13/2015 – Turquoise Hill Resources was upgraded by analysts at TheStreet from an "e+" rating to a "hold" rating.
· 5/13/2015 – Turquoise Hill Resources was upgraded by analysts at Zacks from a "sell" rating to a "hold" rating. Zacks' analyst wrote, "Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. is a mining company focused on copper, gold and coal mines in the Asia Pacific region. The company holds interest in Oyu Tolgoi, a copper-gold project located in the south Gobi region of Mongolia. It also holds interests in companies that mine coal in Mongolia, molybdenum and rhenium in Australia, and gold at the Kyzyl Gold Project in Kazakhstan. Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., formerly known as Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., is based in Vancouver, Canada. "
· 4/16/2015 – Turquoise Hill Resources was downgraded by analysts at TD Securities from a "buy" rating to a "hold" rating.
· 4/7/2015 – Turquoise Hill Resources was downgraded by analysts at CIBC from a "sector perform" rating to an "underperform" rating.
Shares of Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd (NYSE:TRQ) opened at 4.40 on Thursday. Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd has a 52-week low of $2.65 and a 52-week high of $4.74. The stock's 50-day moving average is $4. and its 200-day moving average is $3.. The company has a market cap of $8.85 billion and a P/E ratio of 275.00.
Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE:TRQ) last announced its earnings results on Monday, May 11th. The company reported $0.03 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.01 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $426.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $113.90 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted ($0.03) earnings per share. The company's quarterly revenue was up 274.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd will post $0.24 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
MATD closed -1.89% Thursday to 6.5p, +125.1% YoY
Government to Cooperate with BG Group on Petro Matad's IV, V Oil Blocks
Ulaanbaatar, May 28 (MONTSAME) The duties of the "BG Mongolia Holdings Limited" will be partially transferred to the "Central Asian Petroleum Corporation" LLC.
Such a resolution had been made by the Cabinet of Ministries, said the Mining Ministry at the "Transparent Mining" media release Wednesday. It means that the duties, reflected in the product-sharing agreement with the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia on "Bogd IV" and "Ongi V" sites, will be passed to the "Central Asian Petroleum Corporation".
Upon enacting a renewed version of the Petroleum Law, Mongolia quickly restored the interests of foreign investors, and the Government commenced discussions with global companies including BG Group, Chevron and Anadarko. As a result, a cooperation agreement has been concluded between the Petroleum Authority and BG Group of the United Kingdom.
According to the agreement, USD 28 million investments will be made in Mongolia, where 13.6 million in 2015 and 13.0 million in 2016 will be dedicated to the exploration. The Government received USD 1.4 million in accordance with the product-sharing agreement in 2014 and 2015. The sides also negotiated to allocate an additional financing for other required works equal to USD 4.55 million. A total investment for the petroleum sites will total to USD 32.55 million.
The BG Group is experienced in making investments in the place with considerable high risks and has discovered 15 large-scale deposits within the last 15 years. The Group is a leading natural gas extractor in the world, with assets equivalent to 45 billion in terms of current value, and operates in 20 countries.
EXCLUSIVE: According to Canrim, Mongolia's resource sectors may be a feast for investors
March 25 (EmergingMarkets.me) In this interview with EmergingMarkets.me, Ranjeet Sundher, president of Mongolia-focused company Canrim Development Pte Ltd.,* speaks about the Mongolian government's moves to improve the business climate in the ex-communist country and explains why you can't really go wrong investing in its resource industries.
How has the economic and political environment changed over the past year enabling Canrim to outperform its peers?
Canrim is pleased with the positive momentum achieved by the Government of Mongolia (GOM) since July 1, 2014 when the minerals law was revised and the moratorium on the issuance of exploration licenses was lifted.
Mongolia has seen a new Prime Minister enter office who has proven himself to being proactive on many fronts, including the resolution of the "106 license" dispute and the recently settled negotiations with Rio Tinto over the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project. His presence in office has also led to the issuance of minerals exploration licenses for the first time in more than five years, beginning on January 26th of this year.
The current environment is favourable for minerals exploration and mining companies to operate in and we would expect to see continued improvement into the future.
What opportunities do you see for the mining industry in Mongolia?
Mongolia is the 19th-largest country in the world and still largely under-explored, though we feel this is an over-used statement. Mongolia has been a minerals industry destination since it was part of the former communist bloc and therefore broad, high level exploration has been conducted by Mongolians working with the former Soviet Union. This data has been used by mineral explorers and mining companies from the 1990's onward to scour the country for promising mineral occurrences.
We see Mongolia still offering opportunity, though one must be very selective and diligent in one's approach. For this reason part of our strategy is to put part of our focus on Western Mongolia, particularly northwestern Mongolia in Bayan Ulgii and Uvs Provinces where we believe the probability of finding as yet undiscovered mineral deposits is significantly higher than elsewhere in the country. A huge region with known gold deposits, this area remains largely under-explored compared to South Govi Province where Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi reside. It is largely due to the discovery of the Oyu Tolgoi deposit in 2001 which led many companies to then focus on the region. Canrim is also focused on other provinces with license applications in process, as well as initial field visits planned.
Canrim, however, is not the only group reviewing Uvsand Bayan Ulgii provinces. On April 27 publicly listed Guildford Coal (ASX:GUF) was awarded an exploration license in the region. As early movers, we expect our properties and Guildford's properties to be among the first licenses in the region to be granted to foreign owned subsidiaries.
What has been the process to acquire exploration licenses from the Government of Mongolia?
The current process of license application has begun and our team is becoming "expert" in the execution of license acquisition. This is a process that will continue throughout 2015 for our company. Since January 26, 2015 all licenses are applied for online. The names of those who successfully obtain licenses are publicly available through the Ministry of Mining (MRAM) website.
Once licenses are obtained companies must present required paperwork to MRAM showing they are qualified to put capital to work exploring the property. We are confident in the new system and its ability to continue yielding results.
Due to Mongolia's long and very cold winters, mineral exploration is generally limited to the months of May through October. As temperatures begin to warm, what do you have planned for your 2015 field season?
Temperatures are already warming and our geological team is fully mobilized, having already begun our field season. This year we will conduct visits to each of our properties to carry out initial evaluations of each property's mineral discovery potential. This work will enable us to rank our properties at the end of the 2015 field season and provide the information that we will need to prepare for more detailed field work in 2016. To succeed in Mongolia we are moving expeditiously, but prudently—a process we project to bear fruit.
What is sentiment like in Mongolia after more than three years of slowing growth?
Sentiment has changed dramatically since May 18 when Rio Tinto confirmed that after nearly two years of negotiations their dispute with the Government of Mongolia over Phase II of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project, the third largest copper mine in the world, has finally been resolved.
A litmus test for foreign investors, with Oyu Tolgoi negotiations in the rear view mirror we might likely see significant renewed investment into the minerals sector in Mongolia leading to a sharp cyclical upturn in a secular growth industry for the country.
Ranjeet, thank you for your insights from Ulaanbaatar. We will continue to follow Canrim and Mongolia as it remains one of the last underexplored geological regions in greater Asia.
*Canrim Development Pte Ltd., a private Singaporean minerals exploration company focused on resource development in Mongolia.
276 closed -3.39% Thursday to HK$0.57%, -21.27% YoY
MEC: Termination of Overburden Removal Services
May 26 -- This announcement is made by Mongolia Energy Corporation Limited (HKEx:276, the "Company", together with its subsidiaries, the "Group") pursuant to Rule 13.09 (2) of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the "Listing Rules") and the Inside Information Provisions under Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Chapter 571 of the Laws of Hong Kong).
We refer to the Company's announcement dated 30 April 2015 relating to the temporary suspension of the overburden removal works. Soon after the suspension, we discussed the working plans with the overburden removal contractor in relation to the overburden removal works, taking into account the current sliding coal market conditions which have impacted our financial conditions. We proposed a slash in overburden removal works from now until 31 December 2015 and the settlement method of their service fees so as to alleviate our operating expenses and cash outflow.
However, both parties are unable to reach a mutually acceptable solution regarding the relevant arrangement. As we anticipate that the weak coal market will continue, in order to save our operating expenses, we issued a notice of termination to the overburden removal contractor on 25 May 2015 to terminate the overburden removal contract pursuant to the terms of the relevant mining agreement. The termination will be effective on 24 July 2015. Based on our Mongolian legal advice, we may require to pay US$1 million indemnity to the contractor if we terminate the contract for convenience under the said agreement. In addition, we may, at our option, purchase any useful mining equipment from the contractor up to an extent of US$4 million at our selection. The decision is to respond to the oversupply of coal in the People's Republic of China and to reduce production in light of the weak market conditions.
Apart from the above, prior to termination, the outstanding mining service fees of the overburden removal contractor is estimated to be US$7 million, we will discuss with the contractor further for amicable settlement terms.
In the meantime, we have also requested the coal extraction works to stop temporarily for the time being. We will discuss with the mining extraction contractor for a revised planning acceptable to us. We will continue to export coking coal from our existing accumulated stockpiles on-site. However, if we are unable to reach a mutually acceptable planning with our mining extraction contractor, we will consider other alternative measures including deployment of our own team to perform the mining works.
The measures taken are intended to preserve our cash position to ensure we have sufficient working capital for our business in the ordinary course. The Company will continue to review its coal operations in the prevailing economic climate. In addition, the termination of the services of one of the mining contractors and the current market conditions will affect the mine plan which may impact the valuation of the Group's mining assets resulting in non-cash impairment loss for this financial year. Further announcement will be made when necessary and in compliance with the requirements of the Listing Rules.
Shareholders and potential investors are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the shares of the Company.
VKA last traded A$0.012 Tuesday
Viking Mines in Trading Halt Pending Announcement on Ghana Project
May 28 -- Pursuant to ASX Listing Rule 17.1, Viking Mines Limited ("the Company") (ASX Code: VKA) requests a trading halt be placed on its securities pending an announcement of a material transaction in relation to the Company's Akoase Project in Ghana.
The trading halt is to last until the earlier of the Company releasing an announcement to the market in relation to the above transaction or the commencement of normal trading on 1 June 2015.
The Company is in compliance with Listing Rule 3.1 and is not aware of any reason why the trading halt should not be granted.
XAM closed +5% Thursday to A$0.105, +23.5% in last 3 months
Xanadu Mines: Why we're focusing on Mongolia
May 26 (CNBC) Andrew Stewart, CEO of Xanadu Mines, discusses its flagship...
OPP closed flat Thursday at 4.875p, -38.1% YoY
Origo to Announce Annual Results by 12 June
May 27 -- Origo Partners (LON:OPP) announces that it intends to announce its final results for the year ended 31 December 2014 on or before 12 June 2015.
The Company's interim results, published on 30 September 2014, reported that the Company had unaudited net assets of US$90.0 million as at 30 June 2014. The prevailing macro economic environment described at the time of publication of Origo's interim report has continued, resulting in further downward revaluations of some of the Company's investments.
In addition, the directors are anticipating that the deconsolidation of China Cleantech Partners, L.P. Fund and its related entities, together with the restructuring of the Company itself, will result in a substantial reduction to Origo's net asset value as at 31 December 2014 compared to the previously reported unaudited figures as at 30 June 2014.
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. April 2015 Monthly Letter to Shareholders
Toronto, Ontario, May 27 (FSCwire) - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK – TSXV and MNGGF – USA), ("MGG") or ("the Company") a commercial real estate investment and development company participating in the dynamic growth of the Mongolian economy announces the release of its April 2015 Shareholder Letter.
April 2015 Shareholder Letter
To the Shareholders of Mongolia Growth Group Ltd.,
In April 2015, MGG's core commercial property portfolio* experienced a same-store rental increase of 7.8% relative to April 2014 on properties owned 12 months or longer, as measured in local currency (Mongolian Togrog). Total billed revenue for April 2015 was 267.5 million Mongolian Togrog, as compared to 260.7 million Mongolian Togrog in April of 2014 or a 2.6% increase.** The occupancy rate for the core portfolio in April of 2015 was 96.3% including an occupancy rate of 96.6% for core retail properties and an occupancy rate of 95.9% for core office properties***.
Current Property Market Environment, Cost Savings Update, Annual General Meeting & Annual Company Visit Dates
Current Property Market Environment
The current market environment can best be described as quite difficult. Across the market, we have noticed significant increases in vacancy along with rental rates that are declining rapidly. These trends are clearly accelerating. Fortunately, many of our leases are at below market rates, which has somewhat insulated us from this decline in current market rates. Unfortunately, increased stress in the economy is leading to increased tenant turnover for us, as businesses continue to downsize their operations.
As can be seen in our monthly occupancy numbers, our team has done an outstanding job of retaining tenants and attracting new tenants despite this difficult environment. Our vacancy has remained in the single digits all year, and our comparable rents are still moderately positive. This clearly demonstrates the unique platform that we have built at MGG and our ability to add value to our tenants.
It is anticipated that, the recently announced agreement to move the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine forward will restore the property market to its former levels of vibrancy.
Cost Savings Update
Since our last update on cost savings, we have identified multiple additional cost items that produce negligible value to the Company. These items total into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on an annual basis. We are now in the process of eliminating these costs, with many of them expected to expire over the next few months as contracts entered into during 2014 lapse and are not renewed.
Fortunately, we are beginning to see the benefits of already realized expense reductions, as our monthly cash losses have declined dramatically, despite revenues that have remained roughly stable. As additional savings are realized, we expect that these losses will continue to decrease.
It should be noted that we will once again be engaging PwC for our 2015 audit, our 5th with PWC. In addition, we intend to retain CBRE for our property valuation needs. Despite our desire to dramatically reduce costs, we value the professionalism of these firms and view the efficiencies gained from long-term relationships consistent with our focus on cost savings. We are thankful for these partnerships as we navigate through our cost saving initiatives.
Annual General Meeting
We have fixed June 15 as the date of the Annual General Meeting, to be held in Toronto. Genevieve Walkden and I will be there to discuss the business. Due to our cost cutting initiatives, there will be no refreshments this year. Despite this, we invite you to attend.
Annual Company Visit Dates
It is one thing to talk about our company and Mongolia, but it is very different to see things in person. This year, our annual visit dates will be from August 7th to 9th. The visit will be complete with a full property tour, introduction to the team and meetings with prominent Mongolian business leaders and regulators. Finally, we will have our trip to the countryside on Sunday for Khuushuur and Khorkhog. If you would like to attend, please email me at Hkuppy@MongoliaGrowthGroup.com for more information on the event. Naturally, I suggest that once you're in Mongolia, you stay an extra week and see the rest of the country.
Mongolian Economic Update
Since the most recent letter:
· Rio Tinto Group and Mongolia reached an agreement to proceed with the underground development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, ending a two-year impasse over the expansion of what is the country's largest foreign investment. (Bloomberg)
· A project financing package to help pay for construction of the second phase of the Oyu Tolgoi mine will target 15 to 20 banks, with a goal of raising more than $4 billion, Jean- Sebastien Jacques, head of Rio Tinto's copper and coal business, says in phone interview from Dubai. (Bloomberg)
· According to the National Statistics Office, Mongolia's GDP grew 4.4% YoY in the first quarter, after expanding 7.4% in the same period last year. (Bloomberg)
· India will provide Mongolia with a USD $1 billion line of credit to help fund railway, power and other infrastructure projects, a much-needed boost for the north Asian country struggling to right its slowing economy. "We will take our economic partnership to a new level," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today at a joint press conference with his Mongolian counterpart, Saikhanbileg Chimed. (Bloomberg)
· A 50-megawatt wind farm in Mongolia's South Gobi area can commence construction, advancing the nation's goal of increasing its clean energy sources. The $100 million Tsetsii plant received its permit from the National Dispatching Center, which manages Mongolia's grid, said Bolor Jargalsaikhan, chief executive of joint operator Newcom LLC. (Bloomberg)
We look forward to updating you again on our progress and new developments in the Mongolian economy next month.
Mogi: Shearman & Sterling was the legal advisor to GoM on the deal, BlackStone was financial
Agreement between Mongolia and Rio Tinto opens door to future mining projects, economic growth
May 26 (Shearman & Sterling LLP) On May 18, 2015, the Government of Mongolia, Rio Tinto and the Rio Tinto subsidiary, Turquoise Hill Resources, reached agreement on development of the underground phase of the Oyu Tolgoi mining project. The agreement, termed the "Oyu Tolgoi Underground Mine Development and Finance Plan," sets the stage for future development and investment by Rio Tinto in Oyu Tolgoi, one of the world's largest copper mines. In addition, the agreement is both a signal of the Government of Mongolia's interest in attracting new investment as well as a potential catalyst for significant foreign direct investment in the resource-rich country.
In a statement released by Rio Tinto, Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed of Mongolia said, "Unlocking Oyu Tolgoi's underground mine will have a significant impact on the Mongolian economy, which will benefit Mongolian citizens for generations to come. Our joint agreement clearly positions Mongolia as an attractive country for investment and underscores the fact that Mongolia is open for business."
As indicated by Prime Minister Saikhanbileg, the Oyu Tolgoi agreement is a green light for mining and infrastructure projects that up to now have been in holding patterns. Tabled projects include several power plants, roads and other mining concessions. Potential investment by Rio Tinto alone, in connection with Phase II of the Oyu Tolgoi mine, is expected to require significant infrastructure investment in order to export concentrate. Execution of the Oyu Tolgoi agreement is also a sign that the Government of Mongolia is committed to attracting foreign direct investment.
'Time is ripe' for S'pore investors to step into Mongolia
May 26 (The Straits Times) IN THE last three weeks, investments of US$6 billion (S$8 billion) - nearly half Mongolia's annual economic output - have been pledged to the vast, sparsely populated nation.
This is a clear sign that the country's economy has reached an "inflection point", which firms and investors in Singapore should take advantage of, said Asia Pacific Investment Partners (APIP) chief executive Lee Cashell.
APIP, a Mongolia-listed property-development conglomerate, is the country's largest real estate agency, with an 85 per cent market share.
In an interview in Singapore last Friday, Mr Cashell said Mongolia is the fastest-growing Asian economy, achieving double-digit growth between 2011 and 2013.
And Mongolia's property market is ripe. "From an investment point of view, Mongolian real estate is able to deliver rental yields of about 12 per cent, which is substantially higher than other regional countries'," said Mr Cashell.
This is helped by the conducive business environment and favourable regulations. For instance, there is no restriction on foreign investment, no capital gains tax and, possibly, the lowest rental income tax in Asia, he added.
That said, Mr Cashell said he believes opportunities abound for Singapore's financial services and construction sector. He cited "mispriced financing terms" in Mongolia due to the lack of financial services, allowing banks to charge higher interest, and yield attractive returns on investment.
Also, as the Mongolian government continues to invest in its construction sector to satisfy the capital's demand for housing, Singapore's construction and project-management firms can step in to address the gap.
Moreover, Mongolia's mining sector, though cyclical, remains strong. Mr Cashell cited the recent deal between the Mongolian government and Rio Tinto Group, one of the world's largest mining corporations. The deal included the group's injection of US$5 billion into Oyu Tolgoi, Mongolia's largest mining company.
Two of the world's largest mines also sit on the Mongolian side of the border with China, in the Gobi Desert area.
"Mongolia has the lowest population density in the world but it has one of the largest amounts of minerals in the world... All the wealth is in the ground," he said.
Mongolia is rich in minerals like coal, copper and gold.
However, Mr Cashell said there are concerns that Mongolia's astonishing growth rates could cause high inflation and soaring prices.
He added that Mongolia's political situation has been a concern for investors. "Mongolia is a democracy so, sometimes, you get political leaders very much in favour of foreign direct investment, and, every once in a while, you get leaders who want to slow down."
The lack of an adequate supply chain and a small market of three million have also deterred firms, he said.
In spite of these challenges, Singapore investors appear confident of the nation's outlook.
One of APIP's latest projects, a mixed development known as The Village@Nukht, received more than US$5 million in investments from two family offices, a sophisticated type of investment fund.
In three weeks, it will work with real estate firm Square Yards Singapore to launch the Oasis Residence in the capital Ulan Bator.
The group aims to sell half of its units to buyers in Singapore, and has received queries from a private investor here interested in acquiring half the building.
Even though Mongolia may be unfamiliar territory to many Singapore investors, Mr Cashell is not deterred. Lack of education is not a good excuse for not finding a good investment, he said jokingly.
MSE News for May 27: Top 20 +0.23%, Turnover ₮8.6 Million
Ulaanbaatar, May 27 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Wednesday, a total of 11 thousand and 375 units of 21 JSCs were traded costing MNT eight million 576 thousand and 111.00.
"Genco tour bureau" /6,080 units/, "E-trans logistics" /1,500 units/, "State Department Store" /1,185 units/, "Merex" /1,119 units/ and "Baganuur" /300 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Gobi" (MNT one million and 192 thousand), "Talkh chikher" (MNT one million 143 thousand and 490), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT one million and 105 thousand), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT 700 thousand), "Baganuur" (MNT 615 thousand and 300).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 258 billion 875 million 825 thousand and 717. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 12,692.48, increasing 0.23% and the all index of MSE was 929.62, increasing 0.18% against the previous day.
MSE News for May 28: Top 20 +1.16% to 12,839.75, Stocks ₮9 Million, T-Bills ₮7 Million
Ulaanbaatar, May 28 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Thursday, a total of 5,792 units of 26 JSCs were traded costing MNT 16 million 020 thousand and 016.00.
"Merex" /2,967 units/, "Hai Bi Oil" /1,000 units/, "Buteelch Uils" /397 units/, "Aduunchuluun" /320 units/ and "Makh impex" /175 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Atar-Orgoo" (MNT one million and 564 thousand), "Talkh chikher" (MNT one million 270 thousand and 500), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT 950 thousand), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT 850 thousand), "Material impex" (MNT 775 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 258 billion 228 million 444 thousand and 938. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 12,839.75, increasing 1.16% and the all index of MSE was 92574, decreasing 0.42% against the previous day.
₮54 Billion 12-Week T-Bills on Offer on MSE at 3.3% Discount, Yield 14.758%, Closing 6/2
May 27 (MSE) --
1. The issuer's name: Mongolian Ministry of Finance
2. The purpose of the issuance of bond: State treasury cash management
3. Offering scope of securities: Offering to the public
4. Type of securities: Government securities
5. Face value: MNT 100,000
6. Discounted price: MNT 96,715.00
7. Total amounts issued: 540,922 Units
8. Short-term securities performance:
Government Securities name
Value /billion MNT/
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.
₮670 Million 52-Week at 15.75%, ₮14.1 Million 3-Year Bills Issued on MSE
May 26 (MSE) On 26 May 2015, 52 weeks 6,709 Government retail bonds worth MNT670,900,000.00 with 15.75 annual interest rate and 3 year 141 Government retail bonds worth MNT14,100,000.00 traded successfully on primary market at Mongolian Stock Exchange.
Bellow member brokerage companies participated in the bond trading as follows:
Daewoo securities Mongolia
BoM MNT Rates: Thursday, May 28 Close
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
BoM FX auction: US$2m bids declined, no CNY bids received, accepts $77.5 MNT, $4m USD, CNY20m CNY swap offers
May 26 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on May 26th, 2015 the BOM has received bid offers of USD 2.0 million in a rate between MNT 1925.00-1927.00. BOM has not accepted the offer. The BOM has not received any bid offer of CNY.
On Мay 26th, 2015, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 77.5 million, USD swap agreement selling bid offer of USD 4.0 million and CNY swap agreement bid offer of CNY 20.0 million from local commercial banks and the BOM has accepted offers.
BoM FX auction: $1m USD bids declined, no CNY bids received, accepts $73.9m MNT swap offers
May 28 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on May 28th, 2015 the BOM has received bid offer of USD 1.0 million in a rate MNT 1917.00. BOM has not accepted the offer. The BOM has not received any bid offers of CNY.
On Мay 28th, 2015, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 73.9 million from local commercial banks and the BOM has accepted offers.
BoM issues ₮102 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +2.3% to ₮1.07 trillion
May 27 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 102 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Mongolia Sells 80b Tugrik Government Bond at Auction
By Michael Kohn
(Bloomberg) -- Mongolia meets target to sell 80b tugrik ($41.7m) of a treasury bill with 12 weeks maturity at auction today, according to central bank statement.
* Govt received bids worth 176b tugrik; weighted average yield was 14.758%
* NOTE: Mongolian tugrik rose to 1917.55 on May 27 according to central bank website, a gain of 2.4% over the past month
Mongolia Exports 415Kt Copper Concentrate, 1.5Mt Iron Ore, 3.4T gold, 4.2Mt Coal, 343T Oil in First Four Months
Ulaanbaatar, May 28 (MONTSAME) As of the first four months of 2015, Mongolia extracted eight million tonnes of coal, 1.4 tonnes of gold, 341.7 thousand tonnes of oil. A produced fluor spar concentrate amounts to 68.9 thousand tonnes, copper concentrate--to 241.7 thousand tonnes, iron concentrate–0.8 million tonnes, zinc concentrate--32.5 thousand tonnes, reports the Ministry of Mining in its "Transparent Mining" media release.
In the same period, 414.7 thousand tonnes of copper concentrate, 1.5 million tonnes of iron concentrate. 3,362.0 kilograms of gold, 4.2 million tonnes of coal and 343.2 thousand tonnes of oil were exported.
As for the cash flows, the Mineral Resources Authority accumulated 13.9 billion Togrog to the State Budget. The revenue comprises 10.3 billion from special permit payments, 702.5 million as compensation for the state-funded explorations, and 2.9 billion from other sources of income.
Meanwhile, the Petroleum Authority accumulated to the State Budget 30.7 billion Togrog--30.4 billion from petroleum extractions and 308.4 million from others. A total of 44.6 billion Togrog was accumulated to the State Budget as the revenue from the Minister's budget package.
Reportedly, as of May 26, Mongolia has 42-day fuel reserve.
Housing prices continue to drop
May 26 (UB Post) Housing prices, which have been dropping continuously for nine months, is expected to continue to fall, according to experts.
Tenkhleg Zuuch Company conducted a research and reported that apartment prices in April had decreased by seven percent compared to the same period in 2014. Prices of new apartments are falling slightly, while prices of old apartments dropped drastically since August 2014. Specifically, the price of a new apartment is 2,170,000 MNT per square meter on average, while the average price of an old two-room apartment is 93.3 million MNT.
Master Properties also conducted similar research, which concluded that the price of a new apartment was 2,260,000 MNT per square meter on average. Older two-room apartments were priced at 94.7 million MNT on average.
Some economists say that the decrease of housing price is the burst of the housing bubble in Mongolia.
Head of Tenkhleg Zuuch B.Batzorig said, "Apartment demand and supply was greatly increased in a short period of time. Only in 2013 and 2014, over 30,000 households were involved in the eight percent interest mortgage loan. This was the reason for the increase [in housing demand]."
In the first quarter of 2014, apartment prices were up by 24 percent compared to the same period in 2013. In the second quarter of 2014, the figure was down by 19 percent, in the third quarter, it fell by nine percent, and by the end of 2014, it fell by 0.5 percent from the previous quarter, according to Tenkhleg Zuuch. The company expects housing prices to continue to drop.
Senior researcher of Master Properties N.Batzorig said, "Apartment prices will decrease this year, but the decrease refers mainly to old apartments, because prices of new apartments have fallen only slightly. We estimate that apartment prices will decrease by 1.5 percent per month until the end of 2015."
Mongolia's economic growth had decreased to 7.8 percent in 2014, and it fell to 4.4 percent in April 2015. The decrease impacts construction turnover most, according to experts.
Even though the issuance of low-interest mortgage loans and apartments sales are stable, apartment demand has noticeable declined in the last few months.
There are over 320,000 households in Ulaanbaatar, over 130,000 of whom live in apartments. In the last two years, over 30,000 households received mortgage loans.
The government is not issuing low-interest mortgage loans anymore, and stopped providing monetary support to the construction sector, which is expected to reduce demand, according to analysts.
Master Properties reported that over 46,800 properties were available for purchase in the domestic market, as of April. Of the available properties, 46,300 are apartments, and 515 are houses.
Regarding housing price, 53 percent of apartments range from 1.8 million to 2.8 million MNT per square meter, while 29 percent cost less than 1.8 million MNT, and 17 percent cost more than 2.8 million MNT per square meter.
Over 17,000 new properties have been commissioned in recent years, while 29,000 new properties are expected to be commissioned by June.
Price (per square meter)
One room apartment
Two room apartment
Three room apartment
Four room apartment
Five room apartment
Size (in square meter)
Total price (MNT)
Size (in square meter)
Total price (MNT)
Size (in square meter)
Total price (MNT)
Size (in square meter)
Total price (MNT)
Size (in square meter)
Total price (MNT)
1.7 million MNT
2.3 million MNT
3.7 million MNT
6.3 million MNT
B.Batkhishig: Economic growth might surpass predictions
By A. Burenjargal
May 27 (Mongolian Economy) We talked with N.Batkhishig, an analyst at Mongolian Bankers Association, about Mongolia's economic situation and the banking and finance sector. He graduated from the Institute of Finance and Economics of Mongolia with a Bachelor of Business Economics in 2012.
He worked at Mandal insurance as an investment analyst from 2012 to 2014, and has been working as analyst at the Mongolian Banking Association since 2015.
- Let's start our conversation with your take on the current economic situation. Does our country's basic economic structure allow for long-term sustainable development? It seems like it's overly reliant on a single industry.
- It seems like there has been a lot of talk about an impending economic crisis. However, the fact of the matter is our economy is growing, not contracting, but the decelerating rate of growth should serve as a warning. We have clearly seen how the stagnation of the mining sector hinders the country's economic growth, so we should consider whether our country can develop depending on just one sector. Three sectors – mining, agriculture, and wholesale and retail commerce – account for over 50 percent of our economy. Of those three, the mining sector accounts for 23 percent of the entire economy. When the mining sector runs into trouble, there's a spill-over effect unto the other sectors; our system has been like this for many years now. The fact the overall economy is worsening because of the Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi contract issues just goes to show that the current economic structure is far from adequate. We need to re-examine the development policy, because our current practice is the same as treating the symptoms and not the cause. We must determine an economic policy by thinking of the next 50-100 years; this is how developed countries implement their broad national policy direction.
- Last year, the country's economic situation was not that good. At the beginning of this year, GDP growth had slowed to 4.4 percent. What are your thoughts on how growth will be by the end of this year?
- The Mongolian Banking Association has presented this year's economic growth forecast this month. According to our forecast, the economy is expected to grow by 4.5 percent this year. Of course, fundamental structures and the situations of sectors were considered in the methodology. If the Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi agreements are signed, it would be a major boost to the economy, and recovery should begin. At the end of the year, economics growth might surpass the predictions because the Oyu Tolgoi second phase development agreement was signed last week.
- The Oyu Tolgoi underground mining issue is resolved, and the Tavan Tolgoi agreement is being discussed by parliament. What effects would the implementation of these projects have on the economy?
- An opportunity to see the figures on foreign direct investment go from negative to positive is there. If the issues surrounding these two megaprojects are resolved, other complementary investment inflows will obviously increase. By signing the Oyu Tolgoi second phase development agreement, USD 6.8 billion in investment will flow into Mongolia over seven years. The underground mine financing plan has been approved. Now the updated feasibility study should be conducted, and issues with financing parties should be settled. An initial investment of USD 400-700 million are expected to be made if the development work starts this year. Of course, this will increase the number of employment opportunities, and stable sources of income will come along with it. According to the Rio Tinto statement, around 3,000 jobs will be created during the development process. Employment will clearly increase even after the completion of the development process. As for Tavan Tolgoi, it's another megaproject that should receive USD four billion in investment in a span of four years. If its issues are resolved, an initial investment of USD 200 million may be made this year.
Foreign direct investment was at USD 74 million at the end of March, netting USD 39.9 million for the year. However, investment will increase by the end of the year, if these projects begin implementation. If the flow of foreign currency increases, the MNT exchange rate will appreciate and the USD-MNT rate can fall to 1,850. As for inflation, the conditions will make it possible to realise the central bank's target rate of seven percent will be available. Foreign investors are awaiting the decisions made by Mongolia on these two megaprojects. Investors' confidence in us and their interest in deploying capital in our economy will be revived if the two projects can successfully get moving.
- The USD-MNT exchange rate reached almost MNT 2,000 recently, but currently it has decreased to MNT 1,940. How real is this drop? Is there the potential for the rate to increase again?
- Looking at it from an analyst's stance, our currency appreciated in the last month for a few reasons. First, pressures on the balance of payments have been alleviated and it has turned positive. Also, foreign trade improved and showed a surplus of USD 94 million in April, reducing the demand for USD. Secondly, the supply of capital in the market reached MNT 9.7 trillion last month and decreased by four percent from the previous year to boost the MNT. Third, social psychology and expectations are important in economics. Good news about investments and projects has lifted expectations and reduced the demand for USD, as seen from the decline of banks' foreign currency deposits in recent months. These were the main factors contributing to the reduction in the USD exchange rate. With the Oyu Tolgoi agreement now signed, it is likely that the USD-MNT rate will drop further. Hopefully, the Tavan Tolgoi issue will also be resolved soon. So, I think the depreciatory pressures on the MNT are now waning.
- The banking sector accounts for the majority of our country's financial sector. How is the current economic situation impacting the banking sector?
- The financial sector is stable if the banking sector is stable, because the proportion of the banking sector to the economy is rather large. The economy as whole will suffer if the financial sector starts to falter. Thus, the banking sector is a major variable that defines the nation's economy. The Mongolian Banking Association is a professional association of this sector and has been conducting research regularly. We have been doing macro-economy and banking sector reviews and reports every month. According to these reports, banks' lending growth fell following the contraction of the money supply, due to the tight monetary policy pursued by the Bank of Mongolia. The credit growth rate was at 60 percent in 2014, but currently it has fallen to 10 percent. Lending will likely decrease, if the tight monetary policy continues.
The central bank's key interest rate remains at 14 percent, so banks' weak sources are turning into central bank papers. These weak sources are dropped from loan portfolios, so lending will further decline if the current tight monetary policy continues. The overdue loans rate, which is a risk indicator, is at 4.8 percent; the non-performing loan rate is at 6.1 percent. The fact that the value of overdue loans doubled and reached MNT 587.8 billion compared to the same period last year is a cause for concern. However, I think these figures will not climb any further if the economic situation improves.
- Where does Mongolia's current banking sector development and risk-bearing capacity lie compared to other countries with similar levels of development?
- Our country's banking sector has reached competitive levels when compared to other countries'. The banking sector's ability to withstand risks, services and resources have rapidly developed, even though we are a small market. According to one survey, our banking sector ranks 14th out of 25 countries in Asia which is not that bad. Our risk-bearing system has improved enough to reach the international level as the system has overcome several phases of crises. Banks focusing on issuing bonds in foreign markets to attract capital shows our banking sector's capacity and its level of human capital.
- People say it's difficult to start a business because banks have high interest rates. Is there a way to reduce interest rates?
- People are saying that banks are setting interest rates high and profiting. However, the interest rates of banks go up and down depending on inflation, market risks and a central bank's monetary policy, so interest rates are set according to the laws of supply and demand. People have to realise that banks are not colluding with one another in setting their interest rates. Interest on loans will decrease if the availability of capital in the economy increases, risk levels decrease and inflation rate is low. For example, the inflation rate is currently at nine percent, so a higher percentage is required to attract deposits.
The New Debt Management Law and Related Issues
By L.Gangerel /economic analyst/
May 28 (Mongolian Economy) Since 2012, Mongolian government loans and bonds, such as the Development Bank bond of USD 580 million and the Chinggis bond of USD 1 billion, have increased to the extent that Mongolia's external debt has become one of the country's most significant issues today. Many economists state that Mongolia's external debt is a serious problem that could lead to dangerous external and internal debt crises, if repayment does not become a serious priority. Parliament approved the new Debt Management Law on February 2, 2015 to solve this threatening issue; the law is primarily to serve as an independent mechanism that facilitates comprehensive regulations on debt management.
To begin with, there were no general debt management laws or regulations before the approval of the new law. However, some regulations were reflected in the Budget Law, the Fiscal Stability Law, and the Law on the Development Bank of Mongolia. For example, article 6.1.4 of the Fiscal Stability Law states, the "net present value of government debt," aside from some debt relating to mining activities under contract, "shall not exceed 40 percent of nominal gross domestic product of the particular year." In 2013, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advised that Mongolia's external debt (including loan guarantees) should not exceed 40 percent of its GDP, because Mongolia scored a 3.41 on the Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, relegating it to the 'average debt burden' category that year. (The CPIA assesses a country's economic policies and public institutions.)
Several conceptual changes were made in the newly approved Debt Management law:
1. The new law defined total external debt and government debt. The IMF's definition is quite similar to the new law's definition of total external debt: "Payment obligations of the government, local community, Bank of Mongolia, and entities registered in Mongolia to all unregistered non-residents." It includes the external debts of the Bank of Mongolia in total external debt of the state. According to the Fiscal Stability law, article 4.1.8, government debt is defined as: "public debt is the sum of internal and external borrowings of the Government, financial leasing, guarantees, treasury bills issued by the Government, the amount of all types of financial obligations payable in the future by legal entities fully and partly owned by the state and local governments, and overdue interest, contractual sanctions and fines imposed on this amount." Of interest in the new law, then, is the alteration that borrowings of legal entities owned by the state and local governments no longer belong to the government debt.
2. Government borrowing and debt guarantees will be considered separately, and parliament will approve and set limits to new government borrowings and debt guarantees by absolute value each year. In addition, government debt and government debt guarantees shall not exceed 40 percent of gross nominal domestic product according to article 6.1.4 of the Fiscal Stability law. The government's medium-term debt management strategy accord must be approved by parliament once every three years; the Bank of Mongolia and the Ministry of Finance are required to report total external debt statistics data to the public on a quarterly basis.
3. Municipalities and provinces are now able to issue municipal bonds in order to eliminate seasonal revenue interruptions, provided that they do not receive financial support from the state budget, and that the local budget's primary balance surplus is no less than 50 percent of expenses. Thus, municipal bonds issuing requires obtaining the consent of the relevant municipal representative's council.
4. The government gets the right to issue a guarantee to domestically invested private companies' project investments that are included in public investment programmes, in addition to state-owned companies. A company which is to implement a public project must have worked with a profit for the past three years and not have overdue debts; other additional criteria are required for these project programmes. The government is able to issue a 100 percent cost guarantee to projects implemented by the Development Bank; projects costs of other entities are possible to be guaranteed up to 85 percent.
5. A government debt guarantee fund will be established in order to raise funds necessary for the government debt guarantee performance. A debt database will keep records, and will register information such as total external debt of the state, government debt and debt guarantee remainders, and bond information of municipalities and provinces.
To summarise, the new law only regulates relations pertaining to the state and government debt. The Bank of Mongolia and the Ministry of Finance must eventually address how to manage private sector external debt issues. The Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s showed the importance of regulating and limiting external debt of the private sector in addition to government debt.
According to the most recent information provided by the Minister of Finance, the government is able to create USD 450 million in borrowing by approving the new Debt Management Law. Since 2013, the government has discussed a USD 1 billion soft loan from China; if the loan works out, the Mongolian government will use the loan to fund the USD 827 million Eg River Hydroelectric Power Plant project and the USD 110 million Khoshig Valley International Airport highway project.
In my own opinion as a researcher, these decisions are untimely and inappropriate, and don't correlate to the current government's external debt situation that's nearing emergency levels. The Eg River plant's main purpose is to cease electricity import from Russia that costs around USD 40 million per year. How appropriate is it to use USD 827 million in debt financing to stop USD 40 million in outflow? On the other hand, every country's highway connecting the capital city and the main international airport is considered very profitable endeavour. But the government could have made a concessional agreement to build this 38 km highway, instead of adding a USD 110 million burden to its current external debts.
Today, Mongolia faces pressing debt issues, such as repayments of the USD 580 million Development Bank bond by 2017, USD 500 million of the Chinggis bond by January 2018, and a swap agreement between the Bank of Mongolia and the Central Bank of China at USD 2.7 billion by 2017. The Bank of Mongolia and the Ministry of Finance must come up with a detailed plan to settle these debt repayments.
IMD releases its 2015 World Competitiveness Ranking: Mongolia 57/61
The USA continues to top the ranking; Asia experiences mixed results; and large emerging economies mostly linger
June 27 (IMD Business School) IMD today announced its annual world competitiveness ranking. As part of its ranking of 61 economies for 2015, the IMD World Competitiveness Center looks at several aspects of each country as a place to conduct business.
Highlights of the 2015 ranking
The USA remains at the top of the ranking as a result of its strong business efficiency and financial sector, its innovation drive and the effectiveness of its infrastructure. Hong Kong (2) and Singapore (3) move up overtaking Switzerland, which drops to fourth place. Canada (5), Norway (7), Denmark (8), Sweden (9) and Germany (10) remain in the top 10. Luxembourg moves to the top (6) from 11th place in 2014.
Results for Asia are mixed. Malaysia (12 to 14), Japan (21 to 27), Thailand (29 to 30) and Indonesia (37 to 42) move down. Taiwan (13 to 11), Republic of Korea (26 to 25) and the Philippines (42 to 41) slightly rise in the ranking. Most Asian economies in decline have seen a drop in their domestic economies and are impacted by weakening/aging infrastructure.
Eastern Europe experiences a mixture of results as well. Poland (36 to 33), the Czech Republic (33 to 29) and Slovenia (55 to 49) move up in the ranking. In the Baltic States, Estonia (30 to 31) and Latvia (35 to 43) rank lower than last year; although, Lithuania gains in the ranking (34 to 28). Elsewhere in the region, current events in Russia (38 to 45) and Ukraine (49 to 60) highlight the negative impact that armed conflict and the accompanying higher market volatility have on competitiveness in an increasingly interconnected international economy.
A pattern of decline is observed in Latin America. Chile moves from 31 to 35, Peru from 50 to 54, Argentina from 58 to 59 and Venezuela remains at the bottom of the table. Colombia stays at 51.
Among large emerging economies, Brazil (54 to 56) and South Africa (52 to 53) slightly drop, China (23 to 22) and Mexico (41 to 39) experience improvements while India remains at the same spot (44). This trend shows the difficulty in grouping emerging markets in one category, as the issues impacting their competitiveness differ. China's slight increase stems from improvements in education and public expenditure, whereas Brazil suffers from a drop in domestic economy and less optimistic executive opinions.
A question of business efficiency
An expanded ranking
Mongolia is a new addition to the competitiveness ranking in 2015. Mongolia is a fast-growing country (11.6% GDP growth, 2013). Although, growth slowed to 5.3% in 2014 (data for the first half of the year), the country's economic performance remained strong. Growth is driven by mining and natural resources, domestic consumption growth, levels of employment, an education system that promotes talent, and a favorable fiscal environment for enterprises. During the 2013-2014 period, however, Mongolia experienced a 74% decline in foreign direct investment which may reflect investor perceptions of the country's political and financial stability, its adherence to rule of law, the soundness of its corporate governance practices and imbalance risk-return trade-offs.
The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook measures how well countries manage all their resources and competencies to facilitate long-term value creation. The overall ranking released today reflects more than 300 criteria, approximately two-thirds of which are based on statistical indicators and one-third on an exclusive IMD survey of 6,234 international executives.
Watch World Competitiveness Center Director Arturo Bris discuss the results in this video.
WEF Human Capital Index 2015: Mongolia #51/124
Citi Research: Mongolia Macro View
By Adrienne Lui
May 15 (Citi Bank via BCM) UB Takeaways: Urgent Rush to Reshape Policies & the Economy
· Updates from Ulaanbaatar: Macro meetings on 11-12 May were arranged with various officials (BoM, MoF, Erdenes Mongol & Development Bank), economists (IMF, ADB & US embassy) and relevant sector/industry leaders. Overall we feel the economy will get worse before getting better after fast implementation of IMF proposed CMAP, BOP continuing to be buffered by artificial replenishments, and hopes remaining for one of two large mining projects to revive foreign investment sentiment), yet political pressures to mount further as we approach 2016 election.
· OT2 agreed "in principal", working on technicalities… We maintain our base case of Oyo Tolgoi Phase 2 getting a green light in 2015E, as the two sides pursuing negotiations with Rio in particular appear to want to eliminate all future possible uncertainties.
· TT may need to be slow cooked: Despite the cabinet's efforts, the Parliament and the public appear to be divided over how the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine should be developed going forward. We find it difficult to see a political and public consensus being reached for this deal to go to a Parliament vote before the end of the Spring Parliament Session, which ends in July.
· BoM, MoF and DBM are compliant with the new CMAP: Policies adjustments are swiftly being applied by the government and policy bank according to the Parliament Feb passed Comprehensive Macro Adjustment Plan, which is largely in compliance with IMF's latest Article IV suggestions. This CMAP will suffice for now instead of tapping a stand-by facility. The carry through of the CMAP will be key to policy credibility and investors' confidence.
· Further downgrade to our 2015E GDP forecast to 4% yoy from previous 6%: This sharp freezing of funds disbursement and further budget amendments will likely make economic adjustment in the coming quarters painful to businesses and the general public. An economic downturn and rougher politics as we enter another two-year election cycle will likely sustain concerns about Mongolia's banking and housing sectors.
· We continue to see muddling through for the BOP: We expect current account balance to remain at a small deficit of ~5.5% of GDP in 2015E. Our base case of an OT2 breakthrough would only lead to FDI inflows in 2016E, but better investment sentiment and various funding avenues could replenish the international reserves (which stand at US$1.3bn in Mar15, ~3.8mths of imports coverage). We don't expect the State Bank or Development Bank to tap the international debt market this year. Instead, various concessional or guaranteed funding is being explored (including World Bank's Development Policy Loan, JBIC or MIGA guaranteed).
Citi Research: Mongolia Macro Flash
By Adrienne Lui
May 19 (Citi Bank via BCM) What to expect from OT2?
· Oyu Tolgoi 2 breakthrough finally! — OT2 breakthrough is positive for the credit & the MNT, as it greatly improves clarity of the economy's future development path.
· Deal details likely to lower political resistance — The OT Underground Mine Development and Financing Plan was signed by the Government, Turquoise Hill (TRQ) and Rio Tinto on 18 May. According to TRQ's press release: (1) Mongolia will not have to pay the 2% net smelter royalty to TRQ, (2) OT will pay the outstanding $30mn tax, (3) OT would pay 5% sales royalty to the government on gross revenue basis (and not allow deductions of production costs) for future and previously sold goods, and (4) OT phase 2's Management Service Fee (3%) would be half of the fee charged for phase 1 (6%). The agreement, in our view, appears a good compromise between the various parties and is favorable to Mongolia in a political sense. Of course, there remain noises from the more vocal resource nationalistic independent parliament member(s), especially as we draw closer to 2016 Election.
· Outstanding matters — This project phase is still pending confirmation of 2014 Feasibility Study and the $4bn in project financing. As discussed in our recent trip note, we see low risk of Minerals Council not approving the study as the expected output (especially gold) is better than the earlier assessment. We believe the rework of project design to use conveyor belt as opposed to shaft would be better for mine development in the later stages (despite higher construction cost), and the project financing interest rates (around Libor+4%) will likely be lower than the current loan rate from Rio (Libor + 6.5%). We understand that financing consortium parties remain interested in the project, especially with recent signing of the MIGA docs.
· OT2 revives FDI and alleviates BOP, also green light for other investments — Phase two is expected to bring in about $5.4bn of FDI. We expect about $1bn of investment per year, starting six months after the financing is in place. The capital goods imports for OT2 are expected to be much smaller than OT1, as equipment needed could be shared and some of the required capital imports have already been shipped in (except the newly planned conveyor belt). Other foreign investment projects on the sidelines are also expected to pick up speed, including those related to the reissued mining exploration licenses and oil/shale developments.
· Macro adjustment still expected in 2015E with policy tightening — Sharp withdrawal of policy stimulus under CMAP is likely to make the economy worse in coming quarters before getting better. We maintain our 4% GDP forecast for 2015E.
· Political resistance for TT may have been raised by OT2 deal — We highlighted earlier that TT deal may need to be cooked slowly (pg 3 of trip note). A better business environment and other bilateral deals (e.g. India's $1bn credit line, and any from Middle East) likely make it more difficult to push TT in its current form.
Independent MPs voice their opposition to Oyu Tolgoi deal
May 26 (UB Post) The council of independent Members of Parliament called a press conference on Monday to express their positions on the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine development and financing plan.
Member of Parliament Ts.Davaasuren said at the press conference, "There are plenty of things to clarify in the plan to develop the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine. For instance, provision 4.4 of the plan states that the Finance Ministry will receive Oyu Tolgoi's 2010 to 2014 financial reports and approve them. This provision means the acceptance of exceeding the project's budget by 2 billion USD. The Finance Minister should study this issue neatly. Mongolia's economy is growing extremely fast at 7.8 percent annually since Oyu Tolgoi moved forward. But why is our condition deteriorating. The reason is that Oyu Tolgoi pays only five percent of its sales tax. Now it has taken another loan of 6 billion USD. Two billion USD will be devoted to the development and construction of the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine, while the investor companies will spend the remaining 4 billion USD paying their debts… Provision 5.5 of the plan states that the current debts of shareholders will be paid by the remainder of Oyu Tolgoi underground mine project financing and profits from its basic operations.
"As of today, Mongolia's foreign debt has reached 20 billion USD. Some 6.1 billion USD of it was loans for Oyu Tolgoi. Now it has been increased by 6 billion USD. The Finance Minister must resign if this becomes acceptable and Oyu Tolgoi's 2010 to 2014 financial reports are approved with his signature. When the project makes a sale of 100 tugriks, Mongolia has the right to take only five of it, according to the contract. We do not want the Oyu Tolgoi project stagnate. We should continue more beneficially to Mongolia," he added.
Ministry officials relieved from boards of 50 SOEs under new rule
May 27 (gogo.mn) Prime Minister prohibited heads of the ministries and agencies to work as member of BoD and ordered State Property Committee to employ experts instead of the higher officials. That decision was made in November at the plenary session of the Government.
In scope of this decision, we clarified from State Property Committee on how the board of state owned companies are changing and it has responded that the deputy ministers and state secretaries have started to be discharged.
We interviewed with State Property Management and Representation Department V.Darkhanbaatar on that issue.
-Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg assigned State Property Committee to make change in structures of state-owned company`s BoD. Have you finished discharging of the higher officials from BoDs?
-We renewed over 50 company`s board. Boards of "Dornod regions energy system" JSC, "Germon Gas" LLC, "Selenge AZZA", "Darkhan AZZA" have not changed and are operating with its old structure.
Moreover, changes in board have not changed in "Shivee Ovoo" JSC, "Baganuur" JSC, "Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi" LLC, "Erdenes Mongol" LLC, "Stock Exchange", "Development bank", "State Bank" and settlement Securities Central Depository" and "Mongolian Securities Clearing House and Central Depository".
-470 people belong to 57 company`s board. 170 of them are higher officials in the ministries and agencies, and the heads of the departments. How the numbers have changed?
-State and state owned 57 companies have boards. Out of 48 companies chosen their independent member of the Board of Directors in accordance with the law. Duplicated 469 members are working at total of 57 BoDs. Out of 149 of them are an independent members of BoD.
There are six representatives of the state-owned at BoD with nine members. Specifically, experts were included at BoD at first. Secondly, representatives of energy and road NGOs were included. Then, university teachers, professors, scientists and researchers included in the representatives of the state.
-State secretary and deputy ministers of the ministries were completely discharged from BoDs?
-Currently, there is no state secretary of the ministries are in BoDs.
-How much salary is being paid for members of state-owned company`s BoD?
-Upper limit of the salary for members of state-owned company`s BoD is MNT 380,000. However, depending on the company income some are paid with MNT 100,000-200,000.
Darkhan Metallurgical Plant is paying MNT 800,000 for the member of BoDs and it is the highest salary of at state-owned company`s BoD members.
-BoDs of the mining companies are paid with millions of MNT. Maybe its due to establishment of upper limit and experts reject the salary and refuse to work?
-Of course. Some non-governmental organizations, university teachers, professors, scientists, researchers and representatives of the private company served as a representative to the BoDs of state-owned enterprises. However, four to five people was sent their resignation letter due to small interest and small company.
-Companies hide information of their members. Information of their members must be open to the public?
-Yes. Companies must publish the phone numbers, contacts and email addresses of their BoD members on their website. In that case, staff of the company and partner companies will deliver their views to the BoD members.
Cabinet Approves Concept of Draft New Version of Law on DBM
Ulaanbaatar, May 26 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Monday discussed and backed in principle a concept of draft new wording of the law the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM).
A relevant working group has been obliged to complete a formulation of the draft new wording, and to submit it to the cabinet. The draft new version of the DBM's law has been worked out in accordance with principles of making investments, harmonizing it with the country's development policy, working independently from politics, running the activities under appropriate and right monitoring and adhering to responsible and transparent rules.
The DBM was founded in 2011 with goals to ensure the economic growth, the banking and financial stability of Mongolia, to create capital sources for intensifying the economic and social development, to harmonize developmental leading and strategically-important sectors with the development policy of Mongolia, to encourage the export of value-added products and to promote the economic competitiveness of Mongolia.
In order to realize the basic goals, it is considered the current law on the DBM should be refined upon and to upgrade the legal environment.
Parliament Session Agenda for May 28
May 28 (gogo.mn) Plenary session is scheduled for today.
ONE. STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING:
1. Justice standing committee meeting at 08:30AM at B Hall.
· Law Drafting, Submission and Implementation regulations related
TWO. PLENARY SESSION:
1. 7th Conclusion of Mongolian National Court on 54th Resolution of State Great Khural
-Introduction by member of the Constitutional Court Sh.Tsogtoo
2. Amendment to law on property mortgage and other relevant draft law
- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav
- Introduction by MP L.Bold
3. Draft Law on the Criminal Case Investigation
- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav
- Introduction by MP B.Choijilsuren
4. Law on Police and other related draft laws
- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav
- Introduction by MP Sh.Tuvdendorj
5. Law on Prosecutor`s Office and other related draft laws
- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav
- Introduction by MP Ts.Oyunbaatar
6. Draft Resolution of the State Great Hural on "Approval of State Energy Policy"
- Introduction by Minister of Energy D.Zorigt
- Introduction by MP A.Tleikhan
7. Law Drafting and other related law
-Introduction by MP Ts.Nyamdorj
8. Draft resolution of the State Great Khural on "Approval of the Main Socio-Economic Development Principles for 2016"
- Introduction by MP A.Tleikhan
9. Amendments to law on taxes and other relevant laws
-Introduction by MP Ch.Khurelbaatar
10. Amendments draft to the law against alcoholism
-Introduction by MP Yo.Otgonbayar
11. Amendments to law on court establishment and law on court
-Introduction by Presidential Office Chief, P.Tsagaan
-Introduction by MP Ts.Oyunbaatar
12. Amendments draft to the law on energy
- Introduction by MP A.Tleikhan
- Introduction by MP L.Enkh-Amgalan
13. Amendments draft to the law on renewable energy and other relevant draft laws
- Introduction by MP A.Tleikhan
- Introduction by MP L.Enkh-Amgalan
Mining Ministry Calls for Integrated Policy on Iron Ore Export
Ulaanbaatar, May 28 (MONTSAME) According to this month's "Transparent Mining" media release by the Ministry of Mining, its authorities unanimously suggested that the iron producers should focus on maintaining the prices at a reasonable level by pursuing an integral policy, "because the mining companies and iron-ore processing plants are facing financial difficulties recently due to serious declines in iron ore and concentrate prices in China and global market".
A delegation headed by the Minister of Mining R.Jigjid visited this May 16-17 "Erdenet Metallurgical Plant Complex" near Erdenet city, also the wet-concentrate processing plant at "Darkhan Metallurgical Plant" state-owned company for processing ores from "Bayangol" and "Tomortei River" iron ore deposits located in Eroo and Khuder soums of Selenge aimag.
In maintaining the metal prices, a project on Mineral Resources Exchange, initiated by the Ministry of Mining, will play an important role, the officials said. A working group has been formed in charge of running studies on establishing the Exchange and developing a draft resolution.
Mongolia Media Freedom Report 2012-2014
May 3 (Globe International Center) --
It is our pleasure to present the Media Freedom Report 2012-2014 to be published on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day annually celebrated on May 3.
According to the Press Institute 2014 survey, about 5000 media professionals work in 506 media outlets throughout the country. There are 142 TV stations, 72 radio stations, 123 newspapers, 98 magazines and 71 online media outlets. 30 percent of all media outlets operate in provinces outside of the capital.
As information communication technology continues to develop, the number of online media users is likely to increase each year, and it follows that media will face new challenges in the future. Multilateral and more integrated public discussion about issues on freedom of expression on the Internet, privacy, ethics, access and digital security must be held. Issues on the nature of the Internet, opportunities to share information and knowledge, levels and capacity of user-generated content need to be discussed, as well as users' actions, culture and ability to speak and express themselves publicly and to dispute and discuss important social issues from all sides. The United Nations constantly calls for people to respect openness and the freedom of expression. Unfortunately, the regulations issued by the General Communications Regulation Commission (CRC), including its requirements which require the use of a filtering system, the registering of websites, the need to obtain operations licenses are inconsistent with UN and international standards. Furthermore, these regulations unduly restrict the freedom of expression on the Internet. These issues have grown in import during the reported years.
As Globe International Center (GIC) reported, from 2012-2014, violations against journalists and the media increased compared to previous years and journalists faced external threats and intervention in their professional work, different types of pressures, threats, censorship in distribution, demands to reveal their information sources, to question and give testimony in mass by law enforcement bodies, especially by the General Intelligence Agency, use of criminal defamation law by politicians and public bodies or public officials censoring the media.
In the report, we included three chapters. The first describes the media legal environment, which guarantees and restricts the freedom of expression; the second chapter highlights freedom of expression violations in 2012-2014; and the third includes a survey on criminal and civil defamation cases.
This year's World Press Freedom Day is significant as it is concurrent with two other occasions. First, Mongolia joined the Freedom Online Coalition and the chairmanship of the Coalition was passed on to Mongolia for the year 2014-2015. The Fifth Freedom Online conference will be held in Ulaanbaatar on May 4-5, 2015. Second, on May 5 the UN Human Rights Council will review the Mongolian submission for the Human Rights Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva. The Mongolian Human Rights NGO Forum delivered twelve submissions, among them GIC prepared a separate report "Freedoms of opinion and expression" (Please see the full report in Annex 2)
We believe that next year's World Press Freedom Day will be celebrated with delight as the Parliament and Government of Mongolia amend the relevant laws and regulations consistent with Article 19 of the ICCPR, which Mongolia ratified in 1974. In the Constitution, Mongolia declared to fulfill in good faith its obligations under international treaties to which it is a party.
We would appreciate your comments and recommendations regarding the report. Please send to email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will consider your valuable input in the next report.
Khashkhuu Naranjargal, Head of Globe International Center
Gold miners to receive loans from BoM guaranteed by DBM
May 26 (gogo.mn) With the Government Resolution to Increase the Gold mining and Economic Stimulus a working group has submitted Gold mining entities proposals to Bank of Mongolia, which resulted in positive negotiations with the Development Bank and Bank of Mongolia.
The loan will be available through commercial banks and to be financed by Bank of Mongolia with the guarantees up to 30 percent of the operations plans from the Development Bank. Minister of Mining R.Jigjid also noted that the entities operating gold mine can apply as consortiums for the Development Bank guarantee. 956 entities have applied for the special exploration licenses at the Mineral Resources Authority of which 773 entities have applied online.
Out of total entities applied 899 have domestic investment, 45 have 100 percent foreign investment and 12 are joint invested companies. Cadastre Department have issued 1686 online queues since January 26th through 16 sessions.
CHP5 related agreements to be signed before Naadam
May 26 (Mongolian Economy) A consortium consisting of the French GDF Suez, Japanese Sojitz, South Korean Posco Energy and Mongolian Newcom has been awarded the bid to build TPP-5. Furthermore, the government established a concession contract containing the build-operate-transfer terms with the consortium in June of last year.
Public-private partnerships and related contracts are expected to be established and signed in July, before the annual Naadam festival. Energy and Infrastructure Director of Newcom Group, D.Gankhuyag, said that "negotiations to build TPP-5 have been intensely discussed in the last two months. A public-private partnership agreement may be presented to the prime minister this week, and it might be signed pretty soon thereafter." Even negotiations on related agreements are going smoothly.
Power sale and purchase, heating, coal, water supply and land acquisition contracts are all included in these negotiations. After signing these agreements, international financial institutions will conduct studies and determine whether to grant loans or not. The Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, KEXIM (Korean Export and Import Bank), JBIC (Japan Bank for International Cooperation), HSBC and SMBC (Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation) are planning to finance the 450-megawatt-capable TTP-5 project to be built in the Khul river valley.
Egiin Gol Hydro Power Plant Added to Concession List
Ulaanbaatar, May 26 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting held Monday made a decision to add a preliminary-round infrastructure works of the Eg River's hydro power station to the list of the concession works of state properties.
The works include construction of 72.3 km two-phase electric lines of 220KW, a temporary sub-station of 110/10KW on the project's area, 73.9 km road from Erdenet city's Govil village to the project's area and a bridge over Selenge River.
First part of the Eg River hydro power station's works will be performed in accordance with the concession law because this power station is directly related to the national security regarding ensuring a reliable operation of energy network of Mongolia. The power station will become a strategically-important object to make an adjustment of the general energy network and to substitute the energy import in a peak time.
A project of the preliminary-round infrastructure work has been drawn up by an appropriate rule, and it has been calculated money of USD 61.3 million is required for the project.
In accordance with a cabinet decision, a capital for the project will be allotted from a source of the soft-loan from the China's government.
Erdenet Thermal Station to Be Upgraded Under Turnkey
Ulaanbaatar, May 26 (MONTSAME) The Cabinet assigned Monday the Minister of Energy D.Zorigt and the Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat to select a potential project-executor and conclude a Lump Sum Turnkey (LSTK) agreement within 2015 to expand the capacity of "Erdenet Thermal Power Station" state-owned company and to renew certain equipment.
The Ministers were also given an obligation to settle the funding for the project implementation through Development Bank.
The Erdenet Thermal Power Station was commissioned in 1987, and has been operating for 204 thousand hours, which has already exceeded its potential capacity of 150 thousand hours. Taking into account the new constructions of steel plant in Orkhon aimag, of housing districts such as Eco, Onor, Zaluus and Elite, the above decision was made in order to add heating power sources in the region.
The renovation project's estimated cost is USD 55 million, with a possible cost-recovery in 10 years and annual profit equivalent to MNT 7.4 billion.
234 exploration licenses issued, 496 pending local approval
May 27 (gogo.mn) Mineral Resource Authority received exploration applications from total of 956 companies since application number started to be issued online. Out of total applications received:
· entities with domestic investments - 899,
· entities with 100 percent foreign investments - 45,
· entities with joint investments - 12.
As of today, 1686 application number was issued and out of 965 applications were reviewed.
234 applications adhering to the criteria received their exploration licenses. 496 applications which are eligible for granting license were sent to relevant aimag`s Governor.
Seven times selection were held for 106 areas with exploration licenses revoked by a court decision. As a result, 34 of them were granted a new exploration license.
As of May 26, state budget has earned:
· MNT 12.42 billion from license fee
· MNT 488.35 million from service fee
· MNT 477 million from service fee of granting exploration license
· MNT 728 million from electronic payment system of application number
Total of MNT 14.1 billion were contributed to the state budget reported by the Ministry of Mining.
Government Approves BTEG's Khandgait-Eruu Railroad Route
May 27 (news.mn) Yesterday (25th May 2015) the Mongolian Government approved the route of a new railway line. The line will run from the Tumurtei mine, which is located in the Khuder sum (district) of the Selenge Aimag to Khandgait station in the Yuruu sum and will belong to the "Bold Tumur Yuruu Gol" LLC. This is a private sector cooperation project. The government, therefore, decided to add the 24.3km line to the state property concession list. According to Government Resolution 161, special permission was given to build the new railway to QSC LLC. At the meeting, the total area for the railway (124.8 hectares) was approved. QSC LLC obtained permission to own the railway strip for 15 years.
This project will provide many economic benefits; for example, mining companies in the Khuder Sum of the Selenge Aimag will have a consolidated terminal to transport their products, in addition the Tumurtei mine will be connected to the national rail network, thereby uniting the economic cycle (raw materials, processing plant, production and export).
Intergovernmental Negotiations to Implement Mongolia-Japan EPA Approved
May 26 (gogo.mn) EPA between Mongolia and Japan was signed by PM Ch.Saikhanbileg in February 2015 and has been approved by the State Great Khural on February 17th.
Yesterday the cabinet has approved the Intergovernmental Negotiation on Implementation of the EPA between Mongolia and Japan. Cabinet members were assigned to lead to take measures to implement the EPA in their respective sectors.
Intergovernmental Negotiation on Implementation of the EPA consists of five chapters including general provisions, easing the customs and trade, improving of the competition and business environment, cooperation and the conclusion.
Leading sectors that EPA provisions are agriculture, industry, SME, trade, investment, infrastructure, construction and urban development, science and technology, intellectual property, financial services, education, human resource development, tourism and environment, mining, energy, health, information and communications technology.
Moreover the Intergovernmental Negotiation on Implementation of the EPA provisions the cooperation directions as well. Those are cooperation in feasibility study research, exchange of know-how and leading technology, training of the human resources and technical assistance.
EPA Implementation Plan Approved – Montsame, May 26
Khan Bank Recognized As "The Most Active Issuing Bank" in Mongolia for Fifth Time by EBRD
May 27 (Khan Bank) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), in the framework of its Trade Facilitation Program, selects the Most Active Issuing Bank on an annual basis, and Khan Bank was awarded the prestigious title for Mongolia for the fifth time due to its its outstanding performance in 2014.
Khan Bank continuously thrives to meet its customers' ever-changing international trade needs by offering services of commonly used trade finance instruments of Letter of Credit, Bank Guarantee, and Collection in accordance with international rules and standards as well as by providing comprehensive trade financing solutions to its customers through funds mobilized from the international market with favorable terms and conditions.
Khan Bank joined the EBRD's Trade Facilitation Program in 2007, and within its framework, Khan Bank cooperates with 800 international financial institutions and has established credit lines of approximately USD 300 million available to our customers for their trade finance needs.
EBRD named Khan Bank as "The Most Active Issuing Bank" under the TFP in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. This dynamic and proven success is a direct result of our customers' continued tight and trustworthy collaboration for years.
Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar Opens In Mongolia: Five Star Luxury Embraces Mongolia's Rich Nomadic Culture
BEIJING, May 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Primed to open in the heart of Ulaanbaatar on 3 June is Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts' latest luxury hotel -- Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar. Visitors arriving in Mongolia's capital and largest city will find the property within walking distance to the famous Government House and Great Chinggis Khan Square, and centrally accessible to the country's vivid landscape of picturesque steppes, historic monasteries and grasslands teeming with wildlife.
The hotel is connected to Ulaanbaatar's only luxury mixed-used development, the Shangri-La Centre. The 28-storey centre, which debuts in 2016, encompasses exclusive apartments, four floors of retail and 19 floors of upscale commercial space. Other features include a 7,200-square-metre sports club with an indoor swimming pool, gym, Jacuzzi and sauna, as well as a separate two-level Kids Zone for children to enjoy dedicated entertainment.
The 290-room Shangri-La hotel is the latest arrival to Ulaanbaatar's evolving scene and embraces the rich nomadic culture of Mongolia with the sophisticated warmth of Shangri-La hospitality. Travellers are greeted with touches of the local culture upon arrival, met by traditionally dressed doormen at the porte cochere, which is decorated with dramatic, double-tier crystal lights forming an auspicious geometric pattern and ethnic copper and brass fittings.
Inside, the hotel's spacious lobby is crowned by crystal chandeliers measuring three metres in width -- an impressive sight not to be found elsewhere in the city. The use of textured stone walls and decorative glass lights in the shape of hunting horns complement the interior and represent the warrior spirit of Mongolia.
Overlooking Nayramdal Park to the south or the Great Chinggis Khaan Square to the north, the guestrooms are Ulaanbaatar's largest and start from 42 square metres. Elegantly appointed in natural tones and light coloured wood, each room is furnished with complimentary Wi-Fi, an executive desk, marble bathroom and a window seating area to admire the vistas and snow-capped mountain ranges. Luxurious interiors continue in the suites that are spaciously sized at 84 square metres and configured with a separate master bedroom and living area for an entourage or family travelling together.
Providing an even higher level of personalised service on the hotel's uppermost floors is the Horizon Club, due to be revealed in July. Guests enjoying access to the Horizon Club Lounge, which overlooks Nayramdal Park, are also entitled to express check-in and check-out service, complimentary breakfast, all day beverages, cocktails and canapes in the evening, and use of the meeting room daily.
Dining options at Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar begin with the all-day dining Cafe Park. Using copper motif inlay on pillars and multiple cooking stations to create a focal point, diners can experience a multi-cultural feast and the chefs' signature dishes at either breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Naadam -- named after Mongolia's largest summer sporting festival -- is a pub bar and grill featuring a collaborative and exciting experience of western food, music and entertainment, and the city's finest vodka menu. Native artefacts infuse charming elements to the restaurant, which opens onto an outdoor terrace for 50 people.
Opening in August is Hutong, a restaurant that will serve a variety of Chinese cuisine, including Beijing Duck, clay pot stews and dishes typical of Northern China, alongside an extensive collection of wines. Muted lighting and a colour palette of burgundy and charcoal gray combine with dark wood to create a contemporary feel.
Guests looking for a gathering point for conversation and casual meetings will be catered for with light meals and beverages at the Lobby Lounge. Large windows let in plenty of light to the corner area adorned with local copper and brass artworks.
Specifically designed to host conference and celebratory events, Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar has the city's largest portfolio of meeting space, which totals 2,643 square metres. Eight rooms, including the 1,300-square-metre pillar-free Grand Ballroom capable of accommodating more than 800 guests, complete the multi-purpose function rooms.
The fully equipped Health Club allows guests to stay in shape or relax with gym, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam facilities, and massage options.
To take advantage of the most optimum months in Ulaanbaatar, please view the hotel's summer offers here that include benefits such as complimentary breakfast, a dining credit or double Golden Circle Award Points. For more information or to make reservations, please visit www.shangri-la.com.
Limousine transportation, with complimentary Wi-Fi, may be reserved at a fee for travel from the International airport or train station to Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar. The journey time is 40 minutes and 20 minutes per trip respectively.
Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, one of the world's premier hotel companies, currently owns and/or manages 90 hotels under the Shangri-La brand with a room inventory of over 37,000. Over four decades the group has established its brand hallmark of 'hospitality from the heart.' The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in mainland China, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Philippines, Qatarand Sri Lanka. For more information and reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at www.shangri-la.com.
For digitised pictures of the group's hotels, please go to http://www.shangri‑la.com/imagelibrary.
Amul co-operative will help Mongolia revamp its dairy sector
May 27 (Co-operative News) Mongolia plans to develop an effective milk procurement system based on the model used by Indian milk giant, Amul co-operative.
Mongol Mind: Rosewood CEO B.Enkhzaya
By S. Odbayar
May 26 (gogo.mn) With this section on our website we are aiming to introduce the many possibilities and opportunities Mongolia can offer despite all the negative light shed lately through the international media.
The focus will be given on the businesses run both by Mongolians and foreigners in Mongolia, on their success stories, challenges and what are their aspirations.
We have invited one of the very few young female CEOs in Mongolia, who have established the business in one of the toughest sectors – food and service industry. Many UBiers are now familiar with cozy Rosewood restaurants that offer comfort food and great customer service, which they are known for the most. With the third location opened up recently we are delivering the inspiring and very informative interview with the mastermind behind the newly introduced excellence in customer service and catering in the UB food service scene.
ROSEWOOD WAS KIND OF A PERFECT ACCIDENT
When was the first idea of opening the restaurant in Mongolia initiated?
Rosewood was kind of a perfect accident. We weren't meant to open up a restaurant. I worked and studied in the U.S. and to make ends meet worked as a server, busser, in the kitchen, then moved on to management in restaurants and in the end I realized I loved it.
My parents ran a coffee company, actually Mongolia's first coffee roasting company Sachem. The first green coffee to come through the Mongolian borders was through our company. They were in business for two years and they found the quality of the coffee differed depending on the barista and how each individual coffee shop was using the coffee. So then they decided to open up a flagship coffee shop, that made coffee the right way, the way it was meant to be. So we came to help them open the coffee shop, which is now Rosewood Coffee House back in 2011.
What ended up happening was our food was really superior and our service was really good and we started getting known for the food and service not just our coffee. So in 2013 we opened the second branch Rosewood Kitchen+Enoteca across the street from the Russian Embassy, because people wanted us to expand. The first location was a little bit far for most of our guests' work and we were too packed, we needed to make it more accessible to people.
With the second location we started to get packed all day every day starting from the second month. At first we were afraid we couldn't hold up the quality, but now we are at the third branch sitting here and talking. It was a very organic growth for us. First it wasn't really planned from the beginning and it wasn't forced. It was just recognizing an opportunity, seeing it for what it was and just going with the flow.
So it means initially you never have imagined sitting in the third location of the Rosewood restaurants back in 2011?
I didn't. And it's based on a few things. I didn't think I could live here. I never worked in Mongolia, I moved abroad when I was twelve, which meant all my work experience and business experience was abroad. I didn't know if that would translate to Mongolia. But I kept the same standard I learnt in the US and it worked.
What were the differences in setting up the service based business in Mongolia as you have been trained to western standards?
We ran into some issues at the beginning, because I would do it my way. My way meaning, it the way that service was taught to me by my mentors. I was taught to make every guest feel like they were at my house. You are serving them from the heart, even if they weren't going to give a dime, you would still serve them always thinking about how to make them happy and happier. And that is the mentality you go forward with. We are not servants.
I think the problem when we came into the Mongolian market was exactly that our service staff was looked on as servants, not as service professionals. And that is the biggest challenge. Anytime a guest started to look down on our service staff and not treat them well, I would always step in and take over that table. It was very clear to the guest that I was the owner. The fact that I took over for the server meant that something was wrong and the guest eventually understood that they were mistreating the server. It was the combination of teaching and growing with our clientele. Our clientele that couldn't eat al dente pasta, that would complain it was underdone, now demand it be al dente. Same person just two years later.
The tough thing was believing in ourselves enough, believing in our guests enough that they would change and learn. That was the biggest challenge, to believe that everything would work out. Because it is very tempting to follow the status quo and the norm.
OUR SERVICE STAFF WAS LOOKED ON AS SERVANTS, NOT AS SERVICE PROFESSIONALS
On your clientele, most of them are foreigners living in UB city and repats?
My personal view, it goes back to the style of service. Service is about creating a feeling. The feeling Rosewood creates is something that our guests feel comfortable with, something that they can relate to and it feels like home. Our guests recognize the feeling when they get it and it makes them come back again.
At the beginning we would get some negative comments, people said we were only there to serve expats. That is not the case. But I saw it as a compliment, because it meant we did our job so well and our food was so authentic that they felt comfortable coming back day in and day out. Many of our loyal guests are now our friends and they are a mix of foreigners and Mongolians. They say they kept coming back because there weren't many places to go where they would understand the menu and get what they were used to eating, getting good service and having someone simply smile at them. That made them feel like we were friends and family. This is the connection they felt and this was one of the strong points.
One important service point is to check back with a guest. Our servers used to get yelled at for asking if the food was okay. A lot of our Mongolian guests would say: "I'm not done eating, stop bothering me". But the guests that did understand what we were trying to do appreciated it. They would thank the server for caring enough to ask. At the end of the day it goes back to the attitude of the guest as well.
Similar people are drawn to similar people. We didn't do special marketing especially for expats and foreigners, that wasn't our goal. It is simply word of mouth. A guest would post on their Facebook saying I had a sandwich that reminded me of New York or Boston and then 10 of their friends would come.
WE AIMED TO UPHOLD THE QUALITY OF OUR INGREDIENTS, FOOD, SERVICE AND BEING LOYAL TO OUR GUESTS
Working in food industry is tough especially with choosing what to include on the menu?
Again it goes back to the thought that one should not push the business. You know it is ready when it is ready. To me putting a plan out and saying that I will reach this goal in two or three years is great, but a lot of times it is unrealistic because Mongolia is so rapidly and unpredictably growing. A lot of the times businesses create a business plan, but it is usually irrelevant 5 years down the line. It is nice to have a plan, but most business don't follow it. The ones that do, treat it as a living document, that can be changed whenever. What I am trying to say is we don't plan the menu or anything else for that matter for Rosewood, we only aim to uphold the quality of our ingredients, food, service, and the loyalty to our guests. Those are the only rules we follow.
As we started with the coffee shop we started with easy and simple choices that people could grab and go like cookies and muffins. Next we baked our own bread and the idea for sandwiches and paninis was born. Chef Cliffe is half Italian and half English, he introduced the Panini (a grilled Italian sandwich) to Mongolia. At that time in 2011 nobody was doing a proper Panini, so we put in on the menu and people loved it. Then people started to ask for more filling food. So we added pastas. Mongolian restaurants made Spaghetti and Bolognese, but we were the only place that did it the proper way.
According to what you say the menu was built as you went through the business and it came what we have today?
The current menu was a result of us feeling and reading our guests. The menu evolves constantly. If there is something that guests don't like we just take it off and if they love something we keep it on. Our Cobb Salad has been on the menu since day one because people love it. The decision of the menu isn't mine or the Chef's. It is the choice of the guests.
I see it as the great responsive approach to the business. The next question will be connected to our conversation earlier. How was it difficult to train the servers?
In all honesty it wasn't very difficult. What we did was we looked at the person. We hired people with no experience, because we knew if the person came through the doors with a smile and kept smiling and radiated positivity throughout the interview we should hire them. We could always teach them the techniques; that is not the issue. I can teach them how to carry a tray and how to take an order, but I can't teach someone how to genuinely smile.
As an employer I really do not care how much experience an employee has and I say that to a lot of people. Some very qualified people would send an application and ask why I didn't hire them. I tell them it is because we are looking for a special something that can't really be explained or put into words, it's a person's soul. What I am looking for is a smile, friendliness in the eye, warmth, it's hard to describe. The applicant should give me the feeling that I can trust this person. Those are the people I hire and train. The training wasn't hard, because we hired people that weren't trained and they were like a clean sheet of paper. I think it would have been really hard, if we started with people with experience in this field.
How many people are employed at Rosewood as of now?
The office and three branches included total 50 employees. The number will increase as Rosewood 3 starts serving dinner. We have about 16 employees per branch. We like to make sure that we are fully staffed. We can't always do it, but we try. It means that we don't make as much money as we pay out more in salary to have more people on board. But it means we are providing good service and providing good food, as we are not tiring our staff, they can take time off to recharge and there are always enough people on the floor to take care of the guests.
For a quite new entrant to the market you have gone far with providing opportunities for others to have constant income. So my next question will be whether customers are going to be introduced to new business ventures from you? Maybe service training or any side business related with food industry?
I would love to open a school under Rosewood, not for profit where we can teach people how to cook and how to serve. Government of Mongolia has very strict rules and regulations about vocational schools and schools of any kind really, so it is tough to start one as much as we want to and until these regulations ease up a little bit, I don't think we can open a school.
But we do train our staff and anyone who comes through our door. We do not sign them to a strict training contract; if they learn and leave so be it. It means they can work somewhere else and carry the training there and maybe better than restaurant. That is all we can do right now.
I think the same goes with the people working in the kitchen as well, because Chef Cliffe mentioned that he is willing to teach anyone interested of what he knows.
We've got a kid who is working in the kitchen now. He went to U.S. as an exchange student and worked there at McDonalds and he actually liked it. After he came here, he contacted Chef Cliffe and said if he could work for us and wanted to learn. So he is teaching him now. It is not all about the money. As long as you are a good person and doing the right thing the money and success will follow. I don't mind helping people, as at the end of the day the rest will come. Money is not the goal.
What we want to do is to focus on our staff, focus on our guests and the quality of what we are doing.
Coming here feels very comfortable. How did you conceptualize the three branches, because they have very different feel?
We are still in our start-up phase, meaning we are still trying different things out, we haven't plateud. Rosewood 1 is as I said before was an accident. The design wasn't by me or Cliffe. It was already done by my parents when we got here. So we didn't feel it was what we fully wanted. I love it, but I didn't do it myself. So I don't feel 100 percent like it is mine. Rosewood one has its own character and even it has own clientele, meaning they wouldn't go to any other Rosewood branches. They love it how it is. It caters to young people, who live by themselves they come in for dinner, groups of office people come in to dine together. It has more of a casual feel to it.
Rosewood 2, we on purpose opened under Rosewood Kitchen+Enoteca, because we wanted it to be more of a business meeting and dinner with friends drinking wine and sharing small plates of food kind of a place. We wanted it to be more of a restaurant.
For Rosewood 3 we wanted to try out the café idea. All the cafes in Mongolia are all about coffee. Person cannot always survive on coffee alone and one cannot always be eating cakes. We wanted to bring the traditional idea of a café, a comfortable neighborhood place with great coffee and food that is unfussy and fast. One can eat and go or eat and stay for hours. That is the idea of a café. If this branch is successful as I think it is going to be, we will be able to duplicate it in different areas throughout the city in the coming years.
The café concept?
The café. You cannot copy too many restaurant concepts. Moreover, I think there are too many restaurants in the city at this point and there are too many coffee shops. We are missing the cafes.
Who do you see as the biggest competitor?
May be I am foolish, but I don't see anyone as the competitor. Other businesses may see us as their competitor, maybe that is flattering, may be not. If I start looking at someone as my competitor, then it goes against everything I believe. I believe in helping others. Other chefs will message Chef Cliffe with questions such as "I don't have a certain ingredient for an event tonight, can you help me?" And he would help by either letting them borrow the ingredient or put them in contact with a person who might sell it. It's all about helping. Nobody does it here, not that I know of anyway. So I don't like to look at anyone as a competitor, which creates a feeling of a competition. We are not competing, we want to grow together as an industry.
I DON'T SEE ANYONE AS COMPETITOR
Rosewood always tries to serve quality food. Was it difficult to find vendors to supply the ingredients that go with the menu? How did you solve the ingredient problem or may be still solving?
Ingredients are hard. It took a lot of work. I used to go find ingredients myself, driving around to find the best ingredients possible.
When picking the ingredients for Rosewood we go to the best. Beef for instance, we do not go to Mercury or any other meat market like other restaurants. We sought out an individual farmer with the best quality, organic, and humane meat.
That means paying the price, the meat we buy costs 28000 tugrugs a kilogram or up, while most restaurants are using 8000 tugrug per kilogram meat. Our food is usually a lot less expensive than the places using sub par cheap ingredients, it makes you wonder. So when we look at our business we look for sourcing the best ingredient. Our price isn't based on what the guest is willing to pay, because that could always be higher. It is based on the cost of the ingredient plus a tiny bit for profit to cover our costs and that is it. We are trying to get as much to the guest, because we want them to keep coming back.
Sometimes sourcing of the ingredient is hard and we end up having no stock, so in that case we just take the food off the menu. If we can't get best of something we just take it off.
So you would take something off the menu rather than having bigger issues related with the food quality?
If I serve something that I don't feel is up to par, or the Chef doesn't think is good enough, it is not worth serving it to someone. I'd rather say we weren't able to source a good ingredient. Our menu changes quite often and it is directly correlated to availability of ingredients. We don't have a hard copy menu, because currently suppliers in Mongolia can't keep up with the demand and can't be consistent. So I would not rather say "Baikhgui" to a guest, I would just take it off the menu completely. That's why we don't have a steak on our menu right now, because the provider of the best steaks doesn't have supply.
It means you monitor the menu on a daily basis, so that you ensure the quality as to what you want to serve?
Our people are always in contact with the vendors, talking to them about quality and quantity and then our chefs are always talking to each other and saying I'm low on this and that and they will talk to office where they would print the menu and they will come up with something new. That's how we make sure that we provide the best quality.
A lot of the ingredients that you see in UB were actually first introduced to the mass market by our Chef. Chef Cliffe would request unique vegetables from Mercury vendors and teach them about the ingredient so that they could sell to other restaurants as well.
For example the Brussels sprouts, we were the first once to go to the produce vendor and say we want Brussels sprout, what they look like and we would give them the picture. They brought in, and then they brought in more and more. Now it's almost on every menu. This is how it's supposed to be.
You said that first Rosewood was an accident. Was your family supportive of that accident?
They were definitely supportive. My parents said: "You guys know the business and you take it over," and they don't get involved. They are on the board, meaning when we make big investment decisions they come in and weigh in on the issue. We talk about the expansions, if we should do it or not. Lots of the time it is just me telling them we are going to open a new branch and they say okay. I am happy that they trust me and let me do it my way. For this branch I signed the contract and told them the opening date. At the end of the day this is the business and the businesses are based on trust. We hope that our guests trust us, our staff trusts us fully and our vendors trust that we will pay them on time. Everything is based on trust. So we really hope that by being a good example in this field we can make a difference.
When we first started most vendors wouldn't give us terms, meaning they would want on delivery, which is really hard for a restaurant. We cannot pay before we have even sold the item; it is a hard hit on the cash flow. The restaurant business is a really hard business, financially the margins are slim. A lot of the vendors now do consignment, for instance we will pay them if the liquor sells, other vendors will give 30 days to pay for the items. Everyone is starting to get on board. We are starting to trust each other. I believe that through that we can support each other and grow together.
I'M PROUD OF THE FACT THE WE DIDN'T TAKE SOMEONE ELSE'S MONEY
Who came up with the initial investment on the Rosewood?
It was based on a bank loan, which is tough on a new business, as you don't know how much money you will make and you don't know if you will be busy one month and then empty the other month. Having to pay steady bank loan is hard, especially if it is high loan. We got through it and we are okay. I'm proud of the fact that we didn't take someone else's money to start a business. We did it ourselves and this is what we should be proud of. We started as family business and it was especially important to start through our own resources.
At the opening ceremony of Rosewood 3 you mentioned that more is coming. How many should we expect?
We have a certain tactic of expansion and we will go with as many as we can handle. We will feel it out. We don't want to limit ourselves. We will add one by one and if one is busy in six months we will be adding a new one.
What are your visions on your business? Popping up new locations or going the different route?
I want to diversify in the food sector. I really want to create a line of Rosewood items, such as sauces and other raw ingredients our guests can take home and cook dinner with. I never thought of going into food production, but there is a definite demand here. There really is nothing in the way of high quality packaged foods. I do not feel that currently there is any half processed foods I feel comfortable feeding my brothers in stores.
So if we can create a small production where we can do sauces and maybe top quality meat products, it would be beneficial for our guests and convenient for them. I would love that. My end goal is to create a healthy option for our guests. I would love to start a healthy restaurant that doesn't taste healthy, if you know what I mean. We do serve healthy food made with quality ingredients now, but I mean a place where a diabetic person, a celiac person, or someone who has strong allergies can eat at with no worries and with plenty of choices. I feel like it is my duty to give options for people with health issues to have the choice and eat food that doesn't taste like diet food, but tastes like good food.
Also I have seen the post of Cliffe pictures with the bottled drinks. Was it your idea or Cliffe's?
Actually it was Cliffe's and his friends ideas and the name is funny. We were marketing our Mexican day and Cliffe's friend loves making carbonated drinks. We were working on the flavours and we were preparing for the La Rosa Mexican day for authentic Mexican food experience and we thought why not add soda to go with it.
The name came up unexpectedly. A friend was complaining about something and Cliffe said Hater, and the name was born Haterritos. That is how we came up with the name for the drinks. We did the bottled drinks twice for the La Rosa and people loved it. We will keep doing it if people are interested in buying it.
Where do you sell those?
Now we do it by special order only. We are experimenting with flavors and doing it for fun.
Last summer you did the pop up at the Central Tower. Will that come back this summer?
No, because it was too difficult due to weather. We would love to as people love it and we had fun. But being held a prisoner to Mongolian weather is quite hard, because you never know if you are going to make money or lose money and you have to pay rent and the staff regardless of the weather. We have people coming in and saying they want to have a brick and mortar beer and burger restaurant. So we will see.
With more options will there be something for the fitness lovers? As many young people are changing their behavior and attending gyms, working out and are seeking for healthy food options that keep up with their fitness routine.
We have considered the idea, but as of now we are very busy as I am still figuring out the whole expansion. We are doing fine, but it takes a lot of my involvement. I am trying to pull myself out and focus on other things other than the restaurants.
We have grown organically this far and for our next stages we are considering investors. We have come to the point where we are attracting investors and we have something they want, a strong brand equity and a steady business. After finding the right partner we hope to expand at faster rates.
What will be the rationale behind the future expansions as the market here in Mongolia is quite small and there are already a number of options to eat out?
Right now we have loyal guests and a product that everybody wants, The expansion will be based on what is convenient for our guests. The locations that make it easier for our guests to have their Rosewood fix. That is the idea behind the expansion.
Thank you for the very insightful interview.
Thomson Reuters Journalism Training: Reporting Business News in the Digital Age, 15-19 June, Ulaanbaatar
This is an intensive course that aims to equip journalists with the skills necessary to cover financial and business news in key areas such as economics, commodities, energy, companies, foreign exchange and financial markets. Led by seasoned Reuters' journalists with deep experience covering business beats, the course will show you how to make the link between money and people; where to find new sources to report on business news and how to use digital tools to tell financial stories. Participants will practice turning complicated financial concepts into clear, informative news stories that meet international standards of journalism within a mentored framework. The emphasis is on producing real journalism of the highest standard.
Before attending this course participants:
· Should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of financial journalism.
· Will be able to structure a news story, including writing leads, interviewing sources, and producing accurate copy.
· Must have a good level of spoken and written English.
Start date: Jun 15, 2015
End date: Jun 19, 2015
Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Application deadline: May 29, 2015
This course is open to journalists from Central Asia with at least five years' professional experience of journalism who would like to take a more in-depth look at covering business and financial news and explore new tools to do this.
All applicants for Thomson Reuters Foundation training courses must currently be working as journalists or regular contributors to print, broadcast or online media organisations. They must be able to demonstrate a commitment to a career in journalism in their country, with a good level in spoken and written English. If you have been on one of our programmes within the last two years you will not be considered for this programme.
Thomson Reuters Foundation offers:
Bursaries for journalists from the developing world/countries in political transition working for organisations with no resources for training. Bursaries would include economy travel expenses (for participants travelling to Ulaanbaatar) and accommodation. This arrangement is subject to variation.
If you have any questions please email: TRFMedia@thomsonreuters.com
A short biography of no more than 250 words.
A statement of between 250 and 500 words describing any factors affecting your work as a journalist. Explain how you hope to benefit from the course for which you are applying.
A story of the state of your national economy.
PMI Mongolia Director: It is time to discuss what is important to improve the quality of projects
By A. Odontuya
May 27 (gogo.mn) Project Management Institute (PMI) and Project Management Institute Mongolia Chapter to organize its Second Annual International Conference & Workshop on Project Manage under the theme of 'Capacity Building for the Future" at Blue Sky Tower during June 5-6, 2015.
We interviewed with Secretary General and Executive Director of Project Management Institute Mongolia Chapter Mr.Marc A. Tassé.
Why did you decide to organize your second annual conference and workshop?
-The first year's of conference was an important component of promoting and making people aware of the different aspects of project management and how it relates to different government projects, private projects and NGO projects that are happening here. We wanted to give people the opportunity over two days to see what exactly project management is and hear from speakers running projects within Mongolia effectively and foreign speakers talking about what are the potential opportunities here in Mongolia.
Running conferences is one of the core requirements and one of the main purposes of having Project Management International Mongolia Chapter. It is our mandate to run an annual conference in Mongolia to provide an opportunity for learning.
Can you tell me the different sides of this conference, as the topic is capacity building?
-Last year`s conference, we focused on project management in emerging economies. This focus was to show the participants that project management is evolving in several other emerging economies within Asia and it is becoming an important part of their growth in development. The focus for this year is to build on that. Now that we know how important it has been for other countries, we're now focusing on what do we need to do in Mongolia to improve the quality of project management.
The focus here is not just on tools or techniques, but it is also on the mindset or the attitude of working with people, of how do they approach looking at their projects, how do they analyze them, how they visualize where that project is going. One part of this is awareness building: What do they need to learn? What do they need to understand for people for to effectively manage their projects. The second part is focusing on technical components: What are the skills that required? What are Mongolians good at? The focus is on improving project management within Mongolia.
We also want to expand their ideas, a lot of people think of project management as either something related to mining, to construction or something related to government. In reality, it relates to everything. You can use it in business and finance, you can use it in advertisement: how you organize your marketing promotion campaigns. NGO`s can use project management for organizing their projects, running more effectively. Schools can use project management, universities here undergoing changes on how they are delivering their curriculum in new ways. Project management is very useful tool when speaking with universities here by trying to help them and the people that are in charge to do better structure the processes for themselves, better use of resources and the capacities they have.
That`s why you decided that capacity building is important?
-Focus on capacity building is not just focus on what's been done in the past. But focusing on how do you make it better an how do you move ahead to the future. What do project managers in Mongolia learn in order to be able to manage projects more effectively?
What issues are going to be discussed in this capacity building session?
-We are focusing on two different streams. We are running two conferences in parallel. One of them is to be focusing on mining and construction. Because lot of issues and concerns they have are very similar. The second stream we are focusing on is the service industry: banks, consultants, NGOs and IT and software. Because they are focusing on more intangible projects as they are going through their process. When are looking at mining and construction field, we are focusing on things like scheduling and procurement, how to schedule your purchasing to make it more effective. We also look at things like human resource, how to manage your labor pool and your expertise within the country to use them more effectively.
We are looking at soft skills area, more looking at human resource component how you manage the people that are going to be managed within the project, how do you work with them on those areas. How do project managers manage stakeholders like government agencies. If are working for a bank or you are working as an NGO you are much more influenced by outside organizations, so how do you manage those relationships that they don't cause issues in your project. And still of course, we will look at scheduling, project finance and how they run those effectively.
So the focus on the first day of the conference is to give general overviews and short concise sessions. There will be about sixteen sessions for both streams on the first day.
On the second day, it is much more like a traditional workshop focused on delivering practical skills. We will be doing one and half hour sessions focusing on specific issues within project management related to Mongolia. It is much targeted on day two.
More on the presenters during the two-day sessions?
-We are still finalizing our speakers. What we are trying to do is get a mix of presenter. Last year, we have presenters from Australia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong as well as Mongolia. This year, we are trying to do a similar thing, because as the event is a Mongolian conference we also have representatives of different chapters, different parts of Asia that are participating, so we will have participants from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
We want these people to present at some of the sessions to bring their expertise from outside and provide different perspectives from places where project management is more established. We are balancing that with bringing in some Mongolian presenters, some from universities that are teaching and people working in project management here. We are looking at Mongolians who successfully delivered projects here in Mongolia either within Mongolian companies or working with international organizations. We're hoping to have a sixty percent foreign and forty percent Mongolian mix of presenters.
We are also going to be offering couple sessions in Mongolia. The goal is to eventually working to have half of presenters speaking Mongolian half of them are coming from other places. We are looking to have more and more Mongolians in the next several years.
You were here for last six months in Mongolia as PMI Chapter?
-We originally started working on PMI back in 2012 was with the initial request to develop a headquarters and an interest in establishing chapter in Mongolia. We started operating as a chapter about two years ago. We were officially sanctioned, which means approved as an NGO by Mongolian Government, but also approved by PMI global as a legitimate chapter so we had some strict criteria we had to meet. We were sanctioned last June; actually it will be first official anniversary at the conference this year. But we have been operating as a probationary chapter for two and half years now.
How about the participants to the conference? Is it PMI members only or anyone interested can attend as well?
-The conferences are open to anyone who wants to participate. We promoting to and inviting as many people as we can. Last year we had 260 people who expressed interest to participate. We are having 160 participants for the first year of this conference. We were very pleased with it and PMI Global was very impressed.
You did not expect it?
-No, usually when a new chapter holds their first conference they are struggling to get 50 people. We actually had more people on that conference than Taiwan had which has been around for over 20 years. So, there were very impressive numbers that came out of Mongolia. The way we structured and promoted the conference last year is actually now being used as model for other new Asian chapters; how they should be looking at how they will be working with new chapters and new conferences.
Actually, we have Asia Pacific conference next week. Our representatives from Mongolia to be there and are presenting about our conference last year to all of the Asia Pacific Chapters as a model of best practice. Even though Mongolia has only been within the PMI Family for officially a year, we are already being seen as visionaries and good leaders in bringing in new ideas and new prospects for how to implement project management in emerging economies.
So people find it very important.
-Yes and it makes it easier to us to attract interesting foreign speakers, so we trying to see who we can bring in and we are hoping to have really interesting group of people. A month before the conference we will announce final list of speakers. We want to make sure we are not just bringing people who can talk and lecture. We want people who actually have project experience. We are being very targeted to deliver solutions to the participants, not just presenters who can talk about the projects that they have been working on. They are to present a part of their project and explain why it worked well and what were the steps or tools that they used to ensure that success, and be able to transfer that information to participants of the workshop. So, the more people who participate the more knowledge and information they have to share.
Where will be the conference held?
-The conference is to be held at Blue Sky Hotel. Blue Sky has been very helpful in accommodating monthly meetings and courses. But we find it a very nice venue in promoting Mongolian organization.
I understand that only English speakers can attend this conference and workshop?
-Yes for now this is one of the big challenges we face. Finding the right people to present. We do recognize that one of the limitations we have is that of foreign presenters and the language becomes an issue. Therefore it is part of our focus to build a pool of Mongolian project managers to speak at the consecutive conferences in the future. There will be few sessions presented in Mongolian. There will be a few sessions that will be translated as we go through from English to Mongolian. But for the most part yes, it is geared at least an intermediate level English speaker, who is interested in coming and participating and picking up some information.
We have been finding that even with Mongolian organizations that we speak to who are looking at some training and some mentorship, they usually have at least a few people in the organization that have strong language skill that we send out that information and bring it back to their organizations. I about four to five years look at a primarily Mongolian conference with some English or foreign content.
How many members do you have and how much PMI Mongolia developed?
-There are two levels of membership within PMI. We have official PMI members that are registered with PMI international, global registration, and who also belongs to the chapter, we have around a hundred of those. We have another two participants that participate in our events such as our monthly meetings and attend to workshops, they will also be attending the conference. Overall we have over 200 people involved in different aspects within the chapter. Our Executives are all Mongolian, except for me, which is nice, and there are 11 volunteers donating their time to run the PMI chapter and the workshops, an important part of what we do. We strongly encourage our members to use our volunteer activities as opportunities to practice their project management skills. Especially our international members are strongly encouraged to volunteer their time and share their experience and information to help with these activities.
What kind of misunderstanding is mostly spread among Mongolians in regards with Project Management?
-The interesting thing with Mongolians already have the basic understanding of what they have to do. The real issue we end up focusing on and the types of questions we are asked is more on how to structure the work process, how to sequence different things like scheduling and the sequencing of tasks within project, how do you prioritize different areas and forecasting of project, where is it going. They are mostly not sure how to structure the project or the process of bringing a project together. Another aspect is timing of the project components. These are the main questions people are asking in regards with project management.
Could you name some of the Mongolian speakers?
-We have not finalized the Mongolian speakers list, but we are looking for heads of companies of Mongolia, senior government officials to be speakers as we go through. Also, we are looking at some larger projects within Mongolia and someone in project management at key positions.
What are the next planned events in the future?
-We run workshops and monthly training and that is to continue. We are now in process of developing our courses and trainings to be delivered the Mongolian. So in April there will be a first all Mongolian introduction course to project management based on the PMI system. So this will be the first process that we are going through. Once this conference is over we are planning moving into planning our next one.
The other thing we are looking at is expanding and focusing on certification, so we are hoping to run a Project Management Professional certification exam in June of this year, which will be first offered in Mongolia. We will be doing and exam every six months, so probably the next group will be in December. Earlier this year, we planned to certify 20 and 30 project managers so that we can have more people to teach at our courses and trainings.
We are also delivering courses and lectures to the university students such as MUST and IFE on the benefits of the project management and how relates to their field of study. We are talking into two universities to incorporate the Project management courses and they are very interested in incorporating that into their curriculum.
You are establishing partnerships with universities, so what about the Government organizations?
-They are definitely interested in project management. Part of our concern we have now is our capacity to deal with their need since we are only two years old and we are still setting ourselves up. We have some interesting preliminary discussion with certain groups within government. Also some of our members are working within Government agencies and we have done presentations to groups that represent the government employees. We have not at this point felt comfortable to approach and say that we want to do this and at this point we are not ready to take on that role and be able to work with government. But definitely it is something that we are looking to in long term, how can we promote an effective project management within the government.
UB Mayor: Roads are worn and torn because of vehicles exceeding weight limit, not because of road quality
May 27 (Mongolian Economy) The Ulaanbaatar city management board meeting was held on May 24, 2015. A draft rule on transporting construction materials to the capital was discussed during the meeting as construction work beginning. Despite considerable progress in road construction and maintenance in recent years, people often complain the quality of roads paved. According to experts, the quality issue is not the fault of the road construction companies, but that roads are getting damaged because of vehicles that exceed roads' carrying capacity. During previous inspections, it was revealed that trucks carrying 60-80 tonnes of cargo were driving on a road with a capacity of 43 tonnes. They this is the main reason for road damages.
The city administration has developed a policy that can allow construction work to continue without damaging the roads. According to the Deputy Mayor of Ulaanbaatar N.Gantumur, transport checkpoints are going to be established near Emeelt, Nisekh and Bayanzurkh tovchoo. Inspectors working at the terminals will measure the weight of all the trucks and vehicles transporting construction materials.
Trucks exceeding the road capacity will not be permitted to enter. Around MNT 800 million is required to implement this work. However, the terminal can earn more than MNT one billion annually if it is established. Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul said, "We have tried to do this in the past, but we failed. This time however, the implementation should be carried out by the private sector. They can work more efficiently to earn profits. They will be able to stop the vehicles that aren't supposed to pass through. We can't control the terminal at night. An inspector in charge at night will just get some cash from the truck drivers and let them pass through the checkpoint, and the roads will continue to get damaged. But if the private sector manages it, things are going to be different. Another concern is that transportation is a business. Hence, we should support it.
There should be distinctive signs for vehicles to be easily identifiable, and only the terminal should be allowed to issue these signs. Otherwise any police officer might run interference. It takes considerable time for a big truck to stop and get moving again. In addition, we should consider letting trucks drive in the first lane alongside buses. I have seen large vehicles create traffic congestion simply to switch from other lanes or intersections. We will pursue a policy supportive of them. People's mindsets were finally starting to support the decisions made by the city administration, but an attitude of confrontation and opposition to these decisions can be seen from recent movements and demonstrations, so the policymakers backtrack on what really was a good idea. We can't allow that. There's a survey showing that 20 percent of people dislike any kind of good decision. Elections are coming up and many types of opposition are also going spring up. However, we will not become from due to any kind of rallies or demonstrations."
Annual "Car-Free Day" to be held on June 6
May 28 (gogo.mn) Ulaanbaatar holds its annual Car-Free Day on the first Saturday of June in order to promote improvement of mass transit, cycling and walking.
In scope of Car-Free Day, annual International Ulaanbaatar Marathon is being organized on this day.
For more information on Ulaanbaatar Marathon 2015, click here.
Some streets and roads of city center to be closed from 7AM to 7PM during the Car-Free Day.
Ulaanbaatar has been held Car-Free Day for six years.
Talking Travel: Unsuspecting Ulaanbaatar
May 28 (The Beijinger) While you may never have thought beyond Inner Mongolia, China's northern neighbor's capital city of Ulaanbaatar presents an interesting mix of history, accessible nature, and urban treasures.
Traveling here for a long weekend is good, but every extra day counts as it allows for further exploration of the Mongolian countryside. Many also come here to start off a Trans-Siberian trip, or trekking around Mongolia's vast countryside.
Environment: Ulaanbaatar has a very long and harsh winter, and a pleasant but short summer. The ultimate time to visit is June to August, when there is little pollution, sunshine, and the skies are vast and blue. Peak season is mid-July for Mongolia's Nadaam Festival, which features three days of competitions, including horse racing and wrestling.
Visas: Many nationalities enjoy visa-free arrivals: Americans do not require a visa and can stay up to 90 days. Citizens from Canada and Japan do not require a visa and can stay for up to 30 days. Until December 31, 2015 European Union passport holders are also allowed to stay for 30 days without a visa. Chinese citizens are required to apply for a visa before travel.
Transport: Ulaanbaatar is still in the early planning stages of an underground, so getting around is best done using taxis. There are few official taxis, but there is an unspoken rule that most Toyota Prius cars are used as taxis. Agree on a price beforehand.
What to see: A visit to Ulaanbaatar is not complete without a visit to one of its national parks. Looking for the rare wild Przewalski horses in Hustain Nuruu National Park is a thrilling adventure, a contrast and escape from daily Beijing life. A walk around Chinggis Khaan Square provides plenty of historical sites for history buffs. Besides the obvious National Museum and the Choiji Lama Temple, don't forget to visit the Victims of Political Persecution Memorial Museum that is located in Ulaanbataar's oldest standing house. That in itself is interesting, but the museum has some chilling exhibits (albeit largely in Mongolian) reminiscent of Mongolia's dark past.
Where to stay: The Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel is centrally located and of good quality. Rooms start at around RMB 800, or RMB 1,200 if you want to splurge for a superior room with a view of Chinggis Khaan Square. Even if you aren't staying here, visit the restaurant and bar on the top floor for an incredible sunset. Also spend a night in a ger, a traditional Mongolian nomad yurt in one of the national parks, for the full experience.
Mongolia expects integrating own dev. plan with regional initiatives
ULAN BATOR, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia hopes to dovetail its ambitious Steppe Road plan with such regional undertakings as the China-proposed Belt and Road initiatives, said a senior official.
China to invest $900b in Belt and Road Initiative
May 28 (China Daily) China announces plans to boost the Belt and Road trade by creating economic corridors and investing nearly $900 billion in countries along the route.
Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said the country is mulling six economic corridors with countries along the Belt and Road trade route to better connect Asia and Europe with funding from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund.
Corridors are set to run through China-Mongolia-Russia, New Eurasian Land Bridge, China-Central and West Asia, Indo-China Peninsula, China-Brazil, and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar, said Zhang.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Industry Dialogue on Connectivity Chongqing municipality on Wednesday, Zhang said such strong relationships were "a trend of the times and a global concern".
The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative on trade and infrastructure networks have been welcomed across Asia and Europe, according to Zhang. Its success is in the interests of all the sides involved, he said.
Meanwhile, China Development Bank, one of the country's policy banks, said it will invest more than $890 billion into more than 900 projects involving 60 countries, as part of its efforts to bolster the initiative, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Thursday.
The newspaper cited the bank's vice-president Li Jiping that over $10 billion has been poured into projects covering coal and gas, mining, electricity, telecommunications, infrastructure, agriculture, and so on.
Zhang underlined that "connectivity" concerns not only physical infrastructure like roads, but also people-to-people exchanges, policy coordination, trade and capital flow, a significant boost to Asia-Europe cooperation.
While highlighting transportation, communication and energy as important areas for connectivity, the vice-premier said the countries should "consolidate the social foundation for connectivity" by ensuring openness in their education, employment and tourism markets.
The two-day event held in Chongqing municipality has gathered government officials and company representatives from the 53 members and international organizations grouped under the ASEM.
Mongolia and DPRK Hold Consultative Meeting on International Law
Ulaanbaatar, May 28 (MONTSAME) Law Departments of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Thursday held the first consultative meeting in Ulaanbaatar.
This meeting was co-chaired by A.Tomor, a director of the International Law Department of Mongolia's Foreign Ministry, and by Jin Jong Hyob, the N.Korean Foreign Ministry's Department of Law and Treaty. The parties shared concrete views on the bilateral relations and cooperation in law, on international law, on national laws and regulations of the two countries regarding international law.
After the meeting, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs N.Oyundari received the DPRK delegation to share views on the bilateral relations and collaboration. Oyundari said it is vital now for the both sides to discuss issues of inter-citizen visits, investments and social welfare in times of widening bilateral friendly relations, and to update some agreements and contracts in accordance with nowadays requirements and international norms.
She also said the Law Departments of our Foreign Ministries will play a big role in the cooperation.
PM Saikhanbileg Receives Visiting Deputy Premier of Kazakhstan
Ulaanbaatar, May 26 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister Mr Ch.Saikhanbileg Tuesday received visiting Mr B.A.Sagintaev, the Deputy Premier of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
At the meeting, the sides exchanged views on enhancing the Mongolia-Kazakhstan partnership relations, forwarding specific issues of the trade and economic cooperation, international and regional matters.
The Premier Mr Saikhanbileg expressed his satisfaction with successful running of the 6thmeeting of the Mongolia-Kazakhstan intergovernmental commission on the trade, economy, science, technique and cultural cooperation.
In addition, Mr Saikhanbileg underlined an importance of the countries' agreements to establish a joint business council and to organize this council's meeting within the intergovernmental commission meeting. The joint business council aims to support intensifying of the ties and cooperation between businessmen, to hold bilateral meeting of businessmen and to set up a cooperation mechanism.
A working group has been set up under leadership of the Minister of Road and Transportation to study a possibility of developing the pipeline transportation in Mongolia. Representatives of the working group plan to learn experience in Kazakhstan.
Hungarian FM on Official Visit to Mongolia, May 28-30
Ulaanbaatar, May 28 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Peter Szijjarto will be paying an official visit to Mongolia this May 28-30.
The first official visit on the level of FMs is coinciding with the 65th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between Mongolia and Hungary. In frames of the visit, the FMs will hold tete-a-tete meeting and official talks, and will officially re-open the Hungarian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar.
Mr Szijjarto will also pay a courtesy call on the President of Mongolia, meet with the Ministers of Environment Green Development and Tourism, of Food and Agriculture, and of Health and Sports, as well as with the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar.
Mongolia values Japan's peaceful post-war path
May 21 (NHK World) Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj has praised Japan's path as a peace-loving nation after World War Two.
President meets Millennium Challenge Corp CEO on Second Compact
May 28 (news.mn) Mongolian President Ts. Elbegdorj has met Ms Dana J. Hyde CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and other officials. Ms. Dana Hyde is currently visiting Mongolia.
During the meeting, Mr Elbegdorj and Ms Hyde exchanged views, in particular regarding the special features of the second compact contract and the related government activity. Mongolia was chosen by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation as a suitable country to conclude a second compact contract with in December 2014.
The President and Ms Hyde discussed the working team, which is in charge of project implementation and the national working bureau responsible for processing the second compact contract. Senior bureau officials also attended the meeting.
The MCC makes second compact contracts with comparatively few countries. For this reason, requirements for the selected countries have become tougher. This contract takes about 2 years to be fully processed. After the contract becomes valid, the various projects will be undertaken over a five-year period - noted Dana Hyde.
The national working bureau has been studying the factors affecting Mongolian economic growth; the MCC then identifies the areas to finance and which are suitable for projects. It is important that the selected countries have the will to undertake the contract, fulfill their promises, and pass the criteria for each stage of the contract process and formulation.
In order to choose the country to make contract, MCC considered the country's ability to strengthen democracy, develop economic freedom, implement anti-corruption policies etc. Insofar as Mongolia has successfully fulfilled the required criteria successfully over the last 2 years, it was selected for second compact country.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is a bilateral United States foreign aid agency and was established by the U.S. Congress in 2004, with the aim of applying a new philosophy toward foreign aid. It is an independent agency separate from the State Department and USAID.
Speaker Thanks MCC Delegates for Second Compact – Montsame, May 27
Premier Meets MCC CEO – Montsame, May 27
President Elbegdorj receives Ambassador of Israel on end of term
May 27 (gogo.mn) President Ts.Elbegdorj received Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from Israel to Mongolia Mr. Matan Vilnai on occasion of the end of his term of diplomatic mission in Mongolia.
The President thanked for his contribution in developing the bilateral relations in numerous spheres. Moreover, the President noted that the bilateral relations have developed continuously since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1991.
During the meeting, the parties stressed that the opportunity to cooperate on health, energy, agriculture, bio-technology and information technology sectors.
At the conclusion, President Elbegdorj wished Ambassador Mr. Matan Vilnai success in his further endeavors.
President Meets Ambassador of Israel – Montsame, May 27
Mongolia-USA Consultative Meeting on Defense Held in DC
Ulaanbaatar, May 28 (MONTSAME) The 12th consultative meeting of the Defense Ministries of Mongolia and the USA was held this May 20-21 in Washington DC, the USA.
The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Ms Kelly Magsamen made the opening remarks, expressing a satisfaction with the boosting Mongolia-USA cooperation in the defense sector.
She also noted that this meeting will provide both sides with opportunities to conclude programs implemented within the bilateral cooperation, to plan further works, to share information necessary for developing the collaboration, and to determine the directions.
The First Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs gave a report on the US policy over reconstruction of Afghanistan and on planning of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
The meeting was attended by Mr A.Battor, the Deputy Minister of Defense of Mongolia; Mr B.Altangerel, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the USA; Major-General B.Bayarmagnai, a Deputy Head of the General Headquarters of Mongolian Armed Forces; Colonel D.Ariunbold, a head of the External Relations and Cooperation Department of Defense Ministry.
Turkey looks to assist local health centers
Ulaanbaatar, May 27 (MONTSAME) A delegation from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) are paying a visit to Mongolia this May 23-30.
In frames of the Turkish Ambassador's decision to determine the ways of assisting our localities' health centers, the representatives of Turkish medical institutes and Medical Faculty of the Gaza University, Turkey's social health organization, and TIKA are working in Ovorkhangai and Arkhangai aimags.
Last February, the Ambassador of Turkey Mr Murat Karagoz along with delegates from the Mongolian Ministry of health and sports and World Health Organization visited Ovorkhangai to study pressing issues in the health sphere and to hold official meetings. As a result, the Ambassador decided to bring Turkish health professionals to study the above possibilities.
The delegates are to meet the Minister of Health and Sports G.Shiilegdamba. On May 28, the delegation will meet the city's Chingeltei district authorities to exchange opinions. The vice president of the TIKA Mr Ali Maskan will meet with officials of the education and culture fields and attend some opening events. The delegates will also do researches in Nalaikh district and Kharkhorin city.
The TIKA has been running operations in Mongolia since 1994, making major contribution to Mongolia's economic and social development by implementing projects and programs of many million US dollars. Among them, a construction of Mongolia's Blood Donation center, Khoshoo Tsaidam museum in Kharkhorin city, 46-km road named after Bilge Khaan, and 11-km road in Nalaikh district named after the Vice Tonyukuk must be mentioned. The Agency also gave 20 reindeers to Khovsgol's reindeer herders.
Why PM Modi left 'Kanthaka' in Mongolia
NEW DELHI, May 28 (Times of India): When the Mongolian Prime Minister gifted a horse to his Indian counterpart during Narendra Modi's visit to Ulan Bator earlier this month, he perhaps did not know that his guest would not be able to take it to India due to a domestic ban on the practice of gifting animals as diplomatic niceties.
The ministry of environment and forests had banned this practice in 2005. The ban has, however, nothing to do with accepting such gifts as it may depend on the wish of other countries as part of their respective domestic laws or cultures. The ban, in fact, restricts India from gifting animals to any country and also from transferring such gifts from foreign shores. This is also meant for exchanging zoo animals.
The last time when India transported such gift was under the previous NDA government (1999-2004) when the then external affairs minister Jaswant Singh was gifted a colt and filly by the Saudi crown prince when he was on his official visit to Saudi Arabia.
It was, however, not the one-way practice before 2005. Many Indian leaders including former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and former Union ministers, including George Fernandes and Jaswant Singh, too had gifted animals as diplomatic gifts to their counterparts when they held office.
There have also been instances when similar gifts have found their way to zoos in the past. The National Zoological Park (Delhi Zoo) has an African elephant, gifted to India by Zimbabwe as a diplomatic gift to the then visiting Indian President K R Narayanan in 1998. Zimbabwe had gifted two African elephants to India, which were transferred to Delhi Zoo. One of them died later.
Such animals, born and brought up in different climatic conditions, always face difficulty after being relocated to faraway places in a different climatic zone. Animal rights activists have always been against exchange of animals as diplomatic gifts.
"While it is believed that gifting animals helps diplomatic relations between two countries, it is not helpful for the animals being gifted. Many a time, when the animal is transported from the country of origin to their 'gifted' home, they endure a difference in climate and habitat. In addition to this, we have often seen in the past that animals gifted in this manner usually end up in captivity," said N G Jayasimha, managing director of the Human Society International (HIS)- India.
Referring to ban on the practice of gifting animals by head of states which is applicable on the transfer of these animals, Jayasimha said, "We, at HSI/India, stand by this decision of the government and hope that they will implement it in this case (Mongolian horse) too."
After gifting the brown colour horse to Modi, Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg had on May 17 announced that the host country gave the name 'Kanthaka' to the horse as this was the name of the God Gautam Buddha's horse.
Asked about the practice, campaign strategist of PETA (India), Nikunj Sharma, said, "It is time to stop treating animals as commodities and to recognize them as sentient beings with thoughts, feelings and families. Giving animals as diplomatic gifts is no gift at all for the animals.
"They are often transported huge distances in conditions they would find traumatic, and typically end up in a zoo, far away from their natural environment. With today's technological advancements, world leaders have the opportunity to strengthen ties by giving a gift that boasts of their country's innovation and development instead of using animals."
The 2005 ban was reiterated in February, 2008 when the case of shifting of two young elephants from Jaldapara Elephant Camp, West Bengal to Okinawa Zoo, Japan came up for permission before the National Board for Wildlife.
President Receives Jagdish Gandhi, Founder of World Judiciary Summit
Ulaanbaatar, May 27 (MONTSAME) The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj received on May 26 Dr Jagdish Gandhi, an Indian citizen, founder of City Montessori School, and main organizer and initiator of the World Judiciary Summit.
At the meeting, the sides discussed about the ongoing renovation in Mongolia's judiciary and legal enforcement spheres.
The City Montessori School is included in Guinness Book of World Records becoming the general education school that has largest number of student, having attended by 45 thousand students. For extending his good deeds for the sake of global peace and children's happiness, Dr Gandhi organizes on his own expense over 30 international events every year. In purpose of ensuring secure living environment for children, our future generations, he has been hosting the annual conference, the World Judiciary Summit since 2001. In fourteen years, the summit was attended by 780 judges from 114 countries, who promised their support for the great work of making the world a better and child-friendly place. The international summit has been making its unique contribution to the global peace, particularly in shaping the universal norms and standards.
Since 2002, Mongolia sent a total of 17 delegates to the World Judiciary Summit. Dr Jagdish Gandhi said the branches of his schools and institutes are open to receive Mongolian students.
Hungary, Iran, Myanmar ambassadors present credentials to Mongolia president
May 27 (news.mn) Yesterday (26th May 2015), the ambassadors of the Hungary, Iran and Myanmar presented their credentials to Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj.
Following the presentation of credentials by Mr Akosh Madari, the new Hungarian Ambassador, a meeting was held with the Mongolian President, during which Mr Elbegdorj noted that this year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Hungary. President Elbegdorj made an official visit to Hungary last autumn. The President of Hungary, Mr Janos Ader has also visited Mongolia officially.
The Mongolian President said, "we have many things to do as partners. I'm very glad that an ambassador has come who can make those things possible. I know that the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs will visit Mongolia to officially re-establish the new Embassy. This is very good news. You know a lot about Mongolia and you have great experience of working in various fields. I am very glad you have come here. Thank you very much."
The Ambassador began his diplomatic career in the old Hungarian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, working there from 1992 till 1997 as a diplomat. He also worked in the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, running the Mongolia and China section. The Ambassador said; "It is a great pleasure that diplomatic relations between our countries are being extended. I am sure that re-establishing our embassy will further development, especially in education, culture and economic relations."
Following the presentation of credentials by the Ambassadors of Iran and Myanmar, President Ts.Elbegdorj also held separate meetings. Iranian Ambassador Ali Asgar Haji, said that he is glad to be working in Mongolia, and he will strive to develop relations. Also, he presented an official greeting from Iranian President Hassan Ruhan.
President Elbegdorj congratulated him on coming to Mongolia as the new ambassador. He also noted that this was an important step in deepening relations. He said that he had met Iranian President Hassan Ruhani during the Shanghai Cooperation Association meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in 2013. The President wished the ambassador every success.
The President met with Mr U Tit Linn O, Ambassador of Myanmar. During the meeting he thanked him for the high-level visits between our countries, referring to the recent visit by the Foreign Affairs Minister of Myanmar Mr Vunna Maun Lvin to Mongolia. Mr Elbegdorj said that many other issues will be discussed when the president of Myanmar visits Mongolia.
President Receives Credentials from Two Ambassadors – Montsame, May 27
Asia-Europe Foundation Signs MOU Pledging Support for ASEM Mongolia Meeting
Ulaanbaatar, May 26 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Purevsuren and the executive director of the Asia-Europe Foundation Mr Zhang Yan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Foundation and the Ministry on May 26.
The MoU claims that the Foundation will show support to the Mongolian Ministry with the organization of the 11th ASEM Summit to be held in Ulaanbaatar in 2016.
The Asia-Europe Foundation was founded in 1997 in Singapore for deepening the friendship and understanding between the people of two continents, and serves as a permanently operating organ of the ASEM.
The Foundation operates in four directions: intellectual exchange, people-to-people exchange, cultural exchange and promoting public communications.
RM185m went up in smoke, in Mongolia, says opposition MP
May 26 (Malaysiakini) Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua today claimed that finance ministry-owned company SRC International had lost RM185 million after investing in Mongolia-based company Gobi Coal & Energy Limited (GCE).
ua (photo) said the investment made in GCE, was partly from borrowings granted by the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), amounting to RM4 billion.
Zooming in on the GCE deal, Pua noted that the Finance Ministry, in a written reply to him last Wednesday, said SRC International had invested US$60 million (RM216 million) in GCE which represents a nine percent stake in the Mongolian company.
However, Pua pointed out that Origo Partners Limited, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange, which also holds shares in the Mongolian company, valued its 14 percent stake in GCE to be only worth US$13.4 million (RM48 million).
"This means that SRC International's nine percent stake in GCE would be worth only US$8.6 million (RM31 million) today or a 85.6 percent drop in the value of investment.
"This represents a loss of US$51.4 million (RM185 million) to the company," he said in a statement today.
Pua had since October 2014 demanded Putrajaya to explain where did SRC International spend its RM4 billion borrowings from KWAP, RM3.81 billion of which was invested overseas.
However, Pua said the Finance Ministry's latest reply still does not account for the missing money.
"The finance ministry's reply debunked the impression given earlier that the bulk of SRC investments were placed in GCE.
'After 1MDB, more billions unaccounted for?'
"The reply by the ministry raises another crucial question as the GCE investment valued at RM31 million today represents only 0.8 percent of the RM3.81 billion of SRC International's investment portfolio outside Malaysia.
"The question hence arises, where did the rest of SRC International's RM3.81 billion go to?" asked Pua.
In March, Pua had also called on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - which is now probing the debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) - to investigate SRC International on the whereabouts of the RM3.81 billion.
SRC International was formerly a subsidiary of 1MDB but was later placed directly under the finance ministry.
1MDB, which has accumulated a massive debt of RM42 billion, is also owned by the finance ministry.
"In light of the questionable 'Level 3 assets' of RM13.4 billion in SRC International's former parent 1MDB, which now appears to have gone missing, Malaysians are also interested to know if the RM3.81 billion, most of which are also classified as 'Level 3 assets' are also missing," said Pua.
In accounting terms, 'Level 3 assets' are the least secure as their exact value cannot be clearly ascertained and are often worth much less than their paper value.
"The finance ministry must immediately disclose what are these RM3.81 billion in 'investments' to prove that they are not trying to hide another multi-billion ringgit scandal.
"The failure to be fully transparent will only further erode the confidence of ordinary Malaysians in our public institutions and the Najib administration," added Pua.
Russia seeking alternative uranium production sources, like Mongolia
April 25 (InvestorIntel) Amid the existing Western sanctions and recent attacks of some US media, regarding with Russian activities in the US uranium market, Russia plans to find alternative ways of uranium production during the next several years.
Due to a ban on the supplies of uranium to Russia, which was recently imposed by the governments of some Western countries, and in particular Australia and expected difficulties with its further supplies from the US, Russia is considering other options in order to meet its uranium demand.
One of such options involves the establishment of production in Mongolia.
Preliminary decision, regarding with this, has been taken during a visit of Russia's President Vladimir Putin to Mongolia last year, while the initial agreement on this was signed by the governments of both countries as far back as in August 2009 during a visit to Mongolia of Russia's Prime-Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
It is planned that implementation of the project will involve participation of ARMZ Uranium Holding Co., a Russian uranium mining company, which operates the country's uranium mines and which is part of Russian nuclear giant Rosatom.
Under the terms of the project, investors will focus on the exploration, mining and processing of Dornod, Mardan and Gulvan-Bulak uranium fields in the country.
At present Mongolia is considered as one of the world's most promising countries for uranium production and the development of local uranium fields may fully meet Russia's uranium needs for the next several years.
Currently there are six layers of uranium in the territory of Mongolia, which contain more than 100 uranium fields. According to estimates of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, at present Mongolian uranium reserves are estimated at 120,000-150,000 metric tonnes, while in the case of unproven reserves these figures may reach 1.4 million tons, which makes the country the world's 5th largest producer of uranium.
In addition to Mongolia, as part of the plans of Rosatom's ARMZ is the development of uranium fields in Kazakhstan, (another world's leading region, in terms of uranium reserves) as well as acceleration of development of domestic fields.
One of such fields is operated by ARMZ's Dalur plant and is located in the Kurgan region of Russia. As part of the company's plans, the production at this field is expected to be increased up to 600 tonnes of uranium during the next several years.
In addition to Kurgan, as part of the plans of ARMZ is the increase of uranium production at Priargunskoe Mining and Chemical Combine, which operates two uranium mines.
Finally, the company plans to start preparations for the development of the Khiagdinskoye uranium field in Buryatia, the Russian region, which is located in the south-central region of Siberia along the eastern shore of Lake Baikal, and which is planned to become a center of uranium production in Russia during the next several years.
The project is expected to be implemented by ARMZ's local Khiagda subsidiary.
According to plans of ARMZ Uranium Holding Co., diversification of production and the expansion into new regions will help the company to implement its ambitious goals, which involve the reduction of the cost of uranium production by 35% and doubling the total revenue of the company over the next five years, according to the company.
In the long term, by 2030 the company's annual revenue should increase by six times.
Oyu Tolgoi opens Community Interaction Centre in Khanbogd soum
Khanbogd, Umnugobi, May 25 (Oyu Tolgoi) - A new Community Interaction Centre, funded by Oyu Tolgoi, opened in Khanbogd soum, Umnugobi aimag today.
The Community Interaction Centre is designed to help local citizens, groups, NGOs, private entities, cooperatives, as well as Oyu Tolgoi, to organise public events, forums, conferences and training, creating an environment where people can gather in groups and meet in a pleasant environment.
Ivan Vella – Chief Operating Officer, Oyu Tolgoi said: "It is our vision to support long lasting knowledge and skills, while delivering a safe and sustainable copper business. I have no doubt that the centre, equipped with the latest IT and internet connections and computer training facilities, will help young people in Khanbogd and the surrounding area to learn about the world from the Gobi. At the same time, small businesses and herder cooperatives can use the venue to help their development.".
Khanbogd Speaker Nekhiit highlighted "Today we have opened a place for us all to get involved. I'm delighted to note that Oyu Tolgoi has initiated and funded this centre. During the recent years, Oyu Tolgoi has done some great work in Khanbogd. This is a major development, and demonstrates Oyu Tolgoi's commitment to community development. On behalf of the residents of Khanbogd, I would like thank the Oyu Tolgoi management team and the entire workforce."
Constructed by a Mongolian company, the centre includes a 100-capacity conference hall and has state of the art security and safety systems. It will be managed by a joint steering committee representing soum citizens, the local administration and Oyu Tolgoi.
Oyu Tolgoi recently signed a jointly administered Cooperation Agreement with Umnugovi aimag and Khanbogd, Manlai, Bayan-Ovoo and Dalanzadgad soums. The agreement focuses on broad-based economic development, social infrastructure, environmental protection and the promotion of cultural heritage.
Oyu Tolgoi continues to invest in sustainable long-term projects in the South Gobi. In the first quarter of 2015, Oyu Tolgoi has spent approximately US$280,000 in the areas of health and safety, community infrastructure, pastureland management and herder well rehabilitation programmes.
Moin Khan: When you receive a random email from a random lady with blue hair
By S. Odbayar
May 28 (gogo.mn) Tseren who competed for the online voting to take part in famous Fjallraven Polar competition and succeeded has invited Moin Khan the second runner-up to Mongolia. Moin Khan is a traveller from Pakistan and has great visions for the future of his country, which he has generously shared with us in an interview together with Tseren. When he is not exploring nature's vast landscapes, he devotes time between motivating Pakistan's youth on the importance of incorporating their passion into their way of life, promoting education for the underprivileged girls, and organising motorcycle tours around Pakistan's northern areas for adventurous foreigners.
WHEN YOU RECEIVE RANDOM EMAIL FROM RANDOM LADY WITH BLUE HAIR
- First you were contestants and now you seem to be very friendly and became friends?
Tseren: I came in that competition at day 16 and that moment Moin was already in the first place.
- So you caught him out with the votes?
Tseren: Indeed. During the competition Moin was very friendly to us. Of course, there were some aggressive and racist comments. Anyway, both of us did not react on it and we finished the whole competition in friendly way. I already had sympathy for that attitude of him. I am working in tourism and I already studied what he was doing, he is younger, adventurous guy. Pakistan and Mongolia have living standards probably also mentality not incredibly far from each other. I could understand him and I was thinking to invite him. On top of that many Mongolians invited him. Whatever projects I start I never finish it with just talking. I make it happen.
Moin: Basically she invited me and she said a lot of Mongolians invited me after the competition also said Moin you should I come. It wasn't just the talk, she actually backed it up by going to different companies pitching the idea of me coming to Mongolia, her coming to Pakistan and then Turkish airlines actually believed in her and they said that they are going to support her because she seemed real and that`s the reason Turkish airlines gave her a ticket to Pakistan and give me ticket to Mongolia and that is the reason I am here.
- You just mentioned that there were so many haters and racist comment. What do you think about it? Competition was previously attended by majority from the European countries. Why there was so much negativity?
Tseren: I think it is in social media when there are two different nationals were competing and there are sometimes group of the people who are so negative and so rejecting. I think we should not focus on this, because there are many good people who are supporting and would never ever leave any comment. So when you read it, you think it is so negative, but it is not. Because we just have to look in a bigger scale.
- At the end of the votes, you came first and you came second right?
Moin: Basically, it does not matter what competition is it sports or anything else. Whoever is loosing, sometimes they have to justify them loosing. If they loose in football they would say I hurt my leg and cry like little babies, but the real man is who accepts defeat and works harder next time. When Tseren on day 16, has come up and two three days later she was wining, lot of Pakistanis were obviously disappointed that they were loosing and they were thinking that Mongolia or Tseren is cheating. Like why is she getting so many votes, they have to justify. I think if million people were positive maybe like five or ten were negative.
I think this is very common on social media. I do not see that as a big deal. I could not read everything that Mongolians were writing, I do not think there were any haters from Mongolia. The number was small and it did not make big difference and main thing was Tseren and I competed at fierce competition, but we were very strong ourselves into the bad comments. It was nice and healthy competition.
Mongolia has only three million people, while Pakistan has 190 million people. But more Mongolians voted for her than Pakistanis voted for me. Brotherhood between the Mongolians is much more than Pakistan.
-Thank you it is very appealing to us.
Moin: Our population is may be five hundred percent more than Mongolia, but Mongolians like one. When there is an outside force you have to fight with all Mongolians are together. It is amazing.
WE DO HAVE SAME SPIRIT FOR ADVENTURE AND TRAVEL
-You have won the competition and you have participated in the Fjallraven Polar. But then you had a big heart to invite your opponent to come in Mongolia?
Tseren: As I said before, we do have same spirit for adventure and travel. It was just a competition and sometimes we have to look beyond that. Last day of the competition, I was sure to be the winner. When everyone was congratulating me, I was little upset because we blew up the desire and dream of this young man. Of course I used my social media power. But still I did not have the pleasant feeling. But already in that stage, I knew that I would invite Moin to Mongolia. We just have competing it was kind of sport, we are not fighting, we are just competing. We just have to compete honest as possible. Obviously, I had bigger impact on social media than the Moin, but Moin did really good because 38 thousand people supported that is still biggest number in Fjallraven history. Fjallraven history in last year was 29 thousand. That was the biggest ever vote and I came this year with 49 thousand votes, but next was actually Moin.
Moin: And the third place came with only 7000 votes.
Tseren: Pakistan supported Moin, they also want to see their flag raising up in the Polar tundra. At the end, it was just our ambition. It is everyone`s desire and I saw that everyone attending in the Fjallraven Polar has their own flag on their jacket.
-You have beaten the young 28 year-old competitor and you were going on a dog sled competition. Were there any thoughts of regret or discourage because of the hardships and have the thought that may be you should have let Moin to participate in the race?
Moin: She is strong woman.
Tseren: No. One day I have really thirsty and have a headache and not so good mood. But I never regretted. Whole Fjallraven Polar was above my expectations. It challenged. You loose something, but there is always nextchapter. I think Moin will join next year and I really hope he will do it. Because he had learned so much from loosing this competition.
-We can vote for him next year, right?
Tseren: I hope so, I will not discourage people, but I will support him and I think in many other ways not only for Fjallraven Polar. For whatever he is going to do in the future I will stand there.
-You have completed one of your dreams and what`s next?
Tseren: This was just dream from one year ago. I am not person with bigger dream or plan, but I just try not to loose every adventure or opportunity.
-Why there was a desire to participate in that Fjallraven Polar competition?
Tseren: It`s because it was hard that I wanted to do it. Many people see me as a strong woman, but I don`t think that I am strong. I am not that courageous person as others see me and to overcome that I take many challenges. I competed for Fjallraven Polar last year and I gave it up because my Estonian friend wanted to attend and she said: "Hey dude, take off your name, I want to compete it." I said okay without thinking and I have taken off my name. But at that moment, it was 2013, I already knew that I would compete the next year. But I didn`t tell it my husband, not even to my boys or kids or colleagues.
-So you were kind of a challenged by your friend?
Tseren: Yeah, I didn`t tell to anyone. My husband was totally surprised when I said I am going to attend this. Of course, Moin didn`t know, when I became suddenly. Because it was just so sudden. There was a tactic and strategy. I want to see who is the winner. Finally, I see that he was the one wining and I saw him social media, how he is doing it and he was not incredibly active. But he was the winner. And I knew already have to beat him off.
-Next question will be to Moin. What were the very first impressions of landing in Mongolia? I think this is the first time ever.
Moin: When I first landed in Mongolia, which was last week. Before, I knew that people would be very warm and very welcoming. But I did not know anything at all. Tseren just sent me a ticket and I did not know where I was staying or what I was going to do in 15 days and I did not even ask her. Because I was not scared to come, I did not plan anything. I thought I just go there and whatever Tseren tells me to do, I will do. If she puts me outside in the parking lot, then I will sleep there. As soon as I met her, she seems like strong lady who beat me really bad in the competition. When I met her, she is very genuine and nice person inside.
-You never have met in person before?
Moin: I met her five days ago.
Tseren: Some people think we were friends for long time.
Moin: When I first met her, it seemed like I was knew her for a long time myself. When I first saw her at the airport, we stayed for a little bit and went out and went to café Amsterdam and bunch of people came, all Tseren`s fans came to see me. It was amazing and I was just relaxing with all the people here. Two three days later, she comes and says here is the car and go to the countryside. I went to Kharkhorum and saw the big monastery and went to a lake, Terelj, it was amazing. I rode horse with Tseren and I took her on the motorcycle with me for a little bit. I am a motorcycle guy. So it was lot of fun. So far, Mongolia has been amazing.
SOME PEOPLE THINK WE WERE FRIENDS FOR LONG TIME
-The timing also great as well. Because, it`s like springtime and it`s getting warm and getting pleasant to travel in Mongolia. Our winter can be very harsh.
Tseren: Moin has busy schedule and I do have. When I am following him on a Facebook, we are not chatting often, because he responded me after two days which doesn`t make any sense. I just worried that he would not take my words seriously and he would not come here and he would miss the plane and this was the biggest worry.
Moin: She is random person. If somebody random from Pakistan, emails you and says come to Pakistan here`s the ticket for travel, would you go? She was a random person. I only saw her pictures and I did not even know that she exists or not. She sent me a ticket and I did not reply back, because I was up in the mountains. She was worried what if I miss the flight and I was thinking the ticket is fake. Some of my friends and most of my family and my parents are really excited that I was going to Mongolia, but some of my friends are like "Are you sure? What if she some crazy person? And I said, "I do not know, I am just going." Are sure you want to go? And where are you going to stay? I said: "I do not know. I will do whatever she wants me to do.
-You have travelled 25 countries and you've seen a lot.
Moin: When you receive random email from random lady with blue hair. Honestly, I think I want to go back and color my hair blue as well. Wherever we go, people know her. We went far away on a horse ride and people knew her. People do not know me in Pakistan, I am upset.
-You were wining the voting competition, but you lost to Mongolian lady never met before. What were your thoughts back that?
Moin: The first fifteen days, I got 12 thousand of votes and the next person got two thousand votes. I was just relaxing; I was not doing anything else. I was like I won the competition, because the second person got only two thousand votes. I was so far ahead. I do not have to do anything now and I am just partying with my friends and suddenly this crazy person comes with blue hair. She got ten thousand votes at the first day and second day got another ten thousand votes.
It was just like, one soldier has gun, but too many soldiers come with bigger guns than you and throw your gun down. Basically, I gave up. I tried, but it was not enough for Mongolians. Pakistan and Mongolia was like battle and this time Mongolia won. Hopefully, Pakistan will work hard and come back stronger in next year and the secret is that Mongolians are on my side now. Whenever, I loose with somebody, I make friends with them. So, next time they do not fight with me.
-It is clear that you will participate next year?
Moin: Hopefully, Inshallah, which is used to say in Pakistan, if god wills, I will participate one more time.
-In your introduction at the voting competition you have mentioned about promoting education for the underprivileged girls aged five to eight and you are also building a school for them. More on that please?
Moin: Basically, every country has different problems and I think that is the problems Pakistan is facing right now. It is due to lack of education. Little kids do not have access to school, especially girls. Because, back in the day, girls weren't allowed to go to school maybe hundred years ago, but now people are very accepting, they are want their daughters go to school. However, they are not enough people who are working on education in Pakistan.
We need a lot more and that is the reason that made me want to build a school for girls. It is in a small village about 25 minutes away from my house. The boys of that village could go to a school that was fifteen to twenty minutes away. There is no road goes through that village. Old tractors or buses get through and boys of that village get ride to go to school. Girls are shy and have problems to sit with random people. So I built a small school eleven months ago, which is in this village and it takes two or five minutes.
School started with 24 little girls, but over time the number grew and there are 72 little girls and everything is free for them. Hopefully, when Tseren comes in October I am going to take her to the school and all the girls can learn something from her: how to be bold and how to do what you love to do and how to believe in yourself. Their English is not great, but I am going to translate for them and show them her Fjallraven Polar videos and tell them about the competition. Because they do not know about the competition, they do not use Facebook. There is no Internet in that village, and I am trying to get computers to that village.
AN EDUCATED WOMAN IS MORE IMPORTANT FOR THE SOCIETY
-Why was there a desire to help those girls?
Moin: Because I believe that an educated man is not that important, but an educated woman is more important. Because an educated man might get a nice job and goes works comes back home gives money to his children and goes to work again. But an educated woman takes care of their children more. She makes sure that all her children are educated as well. If there is uneducated man and educated woman, chances are high that their children are going to be educated as well.
-So there is a greater impact.
Moin: Greater impact on the overall society. This village is pretty old and there have not ever been an educated female in that village. So, this is the first group of girls in my school from this entire village. There are also girls from four to five different villages as well.
I think I am not educating only 72 girls, I am helping seven to eight villages and when the girls get educated they come to the bigger cities and work there and support their families back in the village. So, for the entire society it is something good and I found out this village through somebody who told me that it is very poor and it is in bad shape. People wanted me to give them some food or put some water pump. But these are little things. I want them to stand on their feet. I do not want to give them food every month, because they will get used to it. I want them to sustain themselves. I helped them in different ways, but school is the main thing.
-How do you finance the school?
Moin: For the first eight to nine months of the school I was funding the school myself. It is very cheap, like three hundred dollars a month for the entire school. But now as there are 72 girls, it is getting harder. Different people from all over the world send me one dollar a month. About three hundred people send one dollar a month, I run the school.
-It means you have community that is donating.
Moin: Yes, they donate only one dollar a month. Two thousand tugrug is one dollar. Two thousand tugrug a month is not a lot of money.
-I guess that people donate more than one dollar, right? Are donations come from within the Pakistan?
Moin: No, it`s all over the world. Right now I have about 120 people. They give 12 dollars a year. I still have to put some money in.
I made the film in Pakistan, I invited people from different parts of the world to Pakistan and they rode motorcycles with me in the mountains for fifteen days. Basically, people are scared of Pakistan and there is lot of stereotypes, like terrorism. All of that is untrue and wrong. The film that lasts for fifteen minutes. American girls riding motorcycles in the mountains with me for fifteen days in the big cities and no problems were faced. I showed this film in the US, Canada and all the big universities like Harward, Princeton, Stanford, Brooklyn, Vancouver, Toronto, Las Vegas, London and Manchester. I did about 25 shows in four to five different countries to show people what is true about Pakistan. What you seen in the media is not true.
-It is the "Rediscovering Pakistan-the Untold Tale" and you are going to show this film in Ulaanbaatar?
-On May 29, I am going to screen this film in Mongolia.
-Where is the venue for the screening?
Tseren: That`s the problem. This is the introduction of Moin and Pakistan. So many people contacted me because I posted on my facebook about his plan. At the moment, I am looking for a space. I have many responses, but the problem is that they are too big. I just want to have nice cozy where people can also talk about. I do have response, which I have to make a choice. I will announce it tomorrow or by Sunday even Monday.
Moin`s visit here is not just to seesighting. If I do travel, for me it is my biggest desire is getting to know the people. When I am talking about Moin, I want to show him people and to bring him to contact with Mongolians. Not depending from Tseren`s contact, because he should make his own contact as well.
Another young man from Pakistan doing these kinds of things that makes great impact for the future. It is all about giving the signal. I am not going to say to young people to do something or start it. But at least it gives them some signal on what we have done already.
REDISCOVERING PAKISTAN-THE UNTOLD TALE TO BE SCREENED ON MAY 29
-Have you filmed your trip here in Mongolia? Were you thinking to do some documentary?
Moin: I am not a filmmaker and I just made little videos of two to three minutes. I have been filming anything cool that happens, I have it on the video. Hopefully, when I go back, I will post video of Mongolia.
-There are very common sides to both of you. You are not politicians, billionaires, millionaires or doing something really big to affect the whole economy. But you have that common desire and you are making an impact on the whole community. For example, Tseren united all of Mongols and made them vote for her to stand in the first place and Moin is also doing very impactful things to bring the difference. You guys both love your country, out of that love; you guys are doing something that you are doing right now. What is the love for the motherland?
Tseren: It is very hard question. I love my culture, I love my people, I love my country more than anything else. But again it does not mean that you always have to be looking down or be against any other culture in the world. We are all equal and we all have good side and bad side. We all have advantages and disadvantages. I have absolutely great respect to any other culture. That`s what some people confused especially in my country. Maybe everybody is being raised to be very nationalist. That comes sometime even into my family, If you really love Mongolia, why did you marry with foreigner? I think that is most stupid question, which you can be asked from anybody. Now, people also confused we supported you so much to be in first place what is going on now and you are inviting this man?
With Moin or without Moin I would go one day to Pakistan that was already decided a long time ago. This competition brought us to very different level of communication, friendship we have to take advantage of that. There is no reason to hate or not to like or to be against it. The world is becoming very open and I think bringing Moin is also great opportunity for Mongolians to get know him better also. Some people are asking who is he and they want to know if he is great politician or actor. He is no one. He is just a Moin, he is 28 years old, and traveller, backpacker. I just want to get know him, but that is again me.
Whenever I meet people I want to get for me the important and interesting things. I never want to break the relationship, contacts or friendship just for any silly reason.
Moin: I am very passionate about Pakistan. This is what I truly love. I was born and raised in Pakistan, but I went for university in San Francisco. The day I finish my school, I wanted to tell the world that what you know about the Pakistan is very small percentage and there is much more to learn about this country.
I rode a motorcycle from San Francisco to Pakistan to let the world to meet Pakistan and now I am here in Mongolia. I met a lot of people at café Amsterdam who had never met Pakistanian before. Even in countryside I tell I am from Pakistan and random Mongolian started hugging me these days. He was so excited and said this is the first time he met with a Pakistanian.
You have to follow your passion, you have to do what you love to do and I am passionate about Pakistan. I feel the borders between countries only there to separate us from each other. I think there should not be any borders and you should be free to go, live and do anything you want to and that`s why I crossed the border to meet more people and bring them to Pakistan and show them my country.
Thank you both for the time during your tight schedule and very interesting insight on your trip.
For more information on charity of Moin Khan and screening of his movie please visit www.adifferentagenda.com
A Steppe Forward for Budding Conservationists (Part 2)
May 19 (Zoological Society of London) When reading about great conservationists we discover that the majority have something in common; an inspirational experience that transformed them and encouraged them to make a difference. Could the ZSL Summer Field Course be your turning point?
A few weeks ago we heard from Helen Spence-Jones about her amazing experience on the Mongolia Summer Field course in 2015 . This week we will hear from ZSL's own Mooji, who attended the course herself when she was an undergraduate.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Korean Air employees help make Mongolia greener
May 28 (Korea Herald) Some 170 Korean Air employees flocked to a Mongolian desert to plant trees as part of voluntary environmental conservation efforts, the South Korean carrier said Thursday.
A total of 600 people, including Korean Air's new employees, executives and Mongolian residents, participated in the activity in the Baganuur Desert from May 18-29.
Mongolia has suffered from the effects of climate change, with 76 percent of its land vulnerable to desertification, the damaging effects of which have spilled over to neighboring countries due to yellow sand blown by the wind.
"It is significant given the severity of the damage caused to neighboring countries and the level of engagement of the local community and Korean Air's employees in the program," the company's official said.
Over a decade, the airline has been working the forestry project to halt desertification in Mongolia since it formed "Korean Air Forest" in the region in 2004.
By planting 10,000 trees, mainly poplar trees, sea buckthorn and Siberan elms this year, the desert area will be transformed into 440,000 square meters of forest, with 90,000 trees planted there over several years.
"We expect that sea buckthorn will also help local residents to increase their income as the fruit of the tree can be used to make vitamin drinks," the official said.
Mongolian pavilion selected best of Venice Biennale
May 28 (news.mn) Mongolia has opened a pavilion at the Venetian Biennale showcasing the most modern art from the country. The Venetian Biennale is a major international art event which will run until November. According to the Mongolian Arts Council, a total of 9000 people have already visited the pavilion, which opened place two weeks ago - 2000 on the opening day alone!
The Mongolian pavilion has already received a great deal of coverage; a variety of international broadcasting agencies noted that this was the first time Mongolia was participating in the Venetian Biennale (approx. 300 references) and about 30 articles have been written about the Mongolian pavilion. The international magazine "Art Radar" selected the Mongolian pavilion as the best from the all participants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East naming it the best Asian pavilion at the Venetian Biennale.
"Culture 360", an online magazine, ranked Mongolian pavilion as among the best of all the 89 national pavilions. Even though this is the first time Mongolia has participated, the quality of the Mongolian artists is clear to all.
The Mongolian pavilion can be found on the 2nd floor of the Palazzo Mora (European Culture Center) on Nuovo Strada, Venice, Italy. It is located just next to the Philippine's pavilion. The pavilion will be displaying the creations of such Mongolian artists as E.Unen and T.Enkhbold for 7 months. It is interesting to note that 51 years ago the Philippine pavilion showed a movie named "Chinggis Khaan" which was causing a stir at the Hollywood and Venetian film festivals at the time. The current Mongolian pavilion shows the relationship between man and nature and issues of nomadic lifestyles in modern globalized society.
In addition, T.Enkhbold is presenting a moving "nomadic" art exhibition with a Mongol Ger (yurt) through the public streets and squares for a month. Pavilion manager Ts.Urantsetseg has written that "Venice was established by refugees fleeing an attack from the Hunnu Empire. Many centuries later, the Venetian merchant Marco Polo travelled around Mongolia, visiting the palace of Khubilai Khaan. Today a Mongolian boy is walking across the Venetian streets showing moving art with his nomadic ger". This moving installation is attracting so many people, and is still being shown on the TV.
Another Mongolian artist J.Munkhtsetseg participated in the Personal Structures International exhibition with her individual creations and simultaneously at the Biennale opening; S.Ganzug showed his moving art at the pavilion of UNESCO hosted by the "Land Art of Mongolia" nongovernmental organization.
The Mongolian Pavilion's big light board will welcome the visitors to 56th Venetian Art Biennale which continues till November 22nd this year at Marco Polo International Airport.
This project's general manager is the Mongolian Modern Art Council with support from Ulaanbaatar City Mayor E.Bat-Uul. The sponsors are Mon-Uran, Altai Construction, Eco Construction, Onch Deloitte Audit, Tuushin, Max Group, Turkish Airlines, Petrovis, Khas bank, Steppe Link, Munkhiin Useg, Terrazo Lounge, Otgon Holding and Tuguldur Fund. Management is provided by the Ministry of Education Culture and Science, the MCS Group and the Mongolian Embassy in Rome.
Media sponsorship is provided by Mongolian National Broadcasting Television, UBS TV, Unuudur newspaper, New Media group. Also as partners: the Mongolian Arts Council, Gereg, Governmental news, UB Post, Gogo.mn, News.mn , Eagle.mn , Ekh-Oron tv and Toim magazine.
World's toughest race back for seventh year
May 28 (Horse & Country TV) The world's toughest and longest race is back for its seventh year, with 41 riders from 14 countries riding 1000km across Mongolia on semi-wild horses.
Range of riders
As well attracting equestrian professionals, this year's Mongol Derby features a range of competitors from paramedics to personal assistants.
This year's race has seven Brits and one Irish rider, in the guise of amateur jockey Paddy Woods (51) from Julianstown, who rode in the derby in 2013, but failed to finish the ride.
The oldest Brit taking part is Iain Hayter (62) from Lymington. He broke his neck riding and was told he should have died, but says he wants to do the Derby "because it's there".
The youngest British rider is Sarah Cooksey (30) from Lincoln, who will be racing alongside her fiancé Daniel Reeds (34).
Alexander Dobres (31) from Bookham in Surrey is clearly a glutton for punishment - he's taking part 'because it will be hell' – not inspite of the fact...
British equine vet Patrick Sells (32) has other, more altruistic reasons for competing. Now based in New Zealand he will be raising money for Kiwi Care Team, a group of volunteer equine vets, farriers, dentists and trainers who provide education and first aid to working animals in need around the world.
Catherine Coward (42), a personal assistant from Skipton, North Yorkshire, was already planning to visit Mongolia in 2015. When she heard about the Derby she decided to ride her way across the country, raising funds for Royal British Legion & Bransby Home of Rest for Horses in the process.
Also riding is paramedic Sian Dyson (33) from Bristol, South Gloucs, who attended as crew in the Mongol Derby last year.
"I appear to have left a little chunk of my heart out on the Steppe and now it's time to retrieve it...on horseback," said Sarah who is fund-raising for Frenchay Afterburns Children's Club (FAB).
Terunofuji could be sumo's next yokozuna
May 27 (Japan Times) On the back of his first ever Emperor's Cup victory on Sunday, Wednesday morning saw sekiwake Terunofuji promoted to sumo's second rank of ozeki.
Aged just 23, and in just his 25th career tournament to date he is the first sekitori born in the current Heisei-era (1989 — ) to be promoted to ozeki, and third fastest winner of a top flight trophy after former yokozuna Takanohana and Asashoryu who both recorded their first yusho after 23 career tourneys.
Unlike both Takanohana in 1992, (then still fighting under the name of Takahanada) and Asashoryu a decade later, however, Terunofuji notched his first yusho in a tournament that saw a trio of healthy yokozuna and ozeki all pushing for the title into the final weekend.
By comparison, Takahanada in his own 23rd tournament, faced neither of the yokozuna active at the time — both failing to complete the basho — and met a largely lackluster set of sanyaku men.
In a similarly weakened field that helped Mongolia's first yokozuna win his first title, none of the four ozeki or yokozuna ranked above Asashoryu at the time completed the tournament.
History of course now tells us that Takahanada as Takanohana, and Asashoryu went on to become two of the best yokozuna the sport has ever seen with a combined 47 championships between them.
The question on many lips in the sumo following world this week therefore, is whether or not Terunofuji will follow in the footsteps of Takahanada, Asashoryu, or perhaps even the greatest ever — Hakuho — in the years ahead.
Size and form are on his side, as is the fact that in open competition during a tournament he will never have to face stablemate yokozuna Harumafuji; rikishi in the same stable are only ever allowed to fight in play-offs after securing an equal record during a basho.
He does have a slight disadvantage in as far as age goes in that he is approaching his 24th birthday. Takahanada was 19 when he won his first yusho, Asashoryu, barely 22, and Hakuho just 21.
Unlike his predecessors though, winning his first Emperor's Cup in just his eighth outing in the makunouchi division — faster than any of the aforementioned greats — he appears to have already reached a level from which he can go on to feature as one of the top division's strongest rikishi for the foreseeable future.
Hakuho is approaching the end of an unparalleled career. Harumafuji and Kakuryu, despite their yokozuna rank have been hit-and-miss at best in recent years, and the three ozeki, Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku, and Goeido are all unlikely ever to put together the numbers to earn the tsuna belt worn by yokozuna.
For most fans and a few insiders speaking off the record, this leads to one conclusion; Terunofuji's only credible threat in the years ahead, post-Hakuho's dominance of the sport, will be current komusubi Ichinojo.
Like Terunofuji, Ichinojo is Mongolian. Both are of similar height, just over 190 cm, but Ichinojo is a full 25 kg heavier than Terunofuji.
And there is nothing sumo fans like better than a 'comparatively' little and large rivalry at the top.
Whatever happens in the months and years ahead, for now the man delivered of the news by Tomozuna and Kiriyama Oyakata (former sekiwake Kaiki and former komusubi Kurosegawa) on Wednesday morning will be off celebrating, doing the rounds of TV shows and being asked to do more TV commercials than he can shake a stick at.
Come July 12th down in the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium though, the pressure will really be on when the next tournament starts.
Fans around the world will be watching to see if he has what it takes to one day make the rank of yokozuna as only 71 men in the past 258 years have achieved.
For now, barring major injury I think he will.
Terunofuji promoted to ozeki after victory – Kyodo, May 27
SUMO/ Terunofuji promoted to second highest ozeki rank – The Asahi Shimbun, May 27
Yokozuna Harumafuji has surgery on right elbow
May 27 (Kyodo) Yokozuna Harumafuji has undergone right elbow surgery, his Isegahama stable revealed on Wednesday.
The Mongolian yokozuna had the procedure on Tuesday to remove detached cartilage from the elbow but is not expected to miss July's Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
On Sunday, Harumafuji wrapped up the summer tourney in Tokyo with a superb win over fellow yokozuna and countryman Hakuho to finish with an 11-4 record.
"Being unable to extend his right arm, he was unable to shove and thrust — things he is really good at," Isegahama said. "I think from this point on, he will become strong again."
Asian Volleyball: Philippines bows to Mongolia, finishes 12th
May 27 (CNN Philippines) — The Philippine national team finished 12th in the 2015 Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship (AVC) after Mongolia defeated them, 25-18, 25-13, 28-30, 25-22, on Wednesday (May 27).
Philippines also placed 12th in the 2013 AVC competition.
Mongolia got on the scoreboard quickly, taking a 1-0 lead in the match after taking the first set 25-18.
Philippines tried to make things happen in the next frame but Mongolia raced to a 20-6 advantage. The Filipinas tried to claw their way back but Mongolia was too dominant in the second set, winning 25-13.
In the third set, Mongolia was ahead 22-18 before Philippines staged a 5-1 run to tie it at 23-all. Both teams exchanged points but it was the Philippine national team that escaped with the win, 30-28, to trail 2-1 in the match.
They were again knotted at 19-all in the fourth set but Mongolia was just too much for Philippines as they sealed the victory with a 25-18 tally.
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