Friday, June 26, 2015

[GoM makes dim sum debut; BG farm-in cleared; XAM makes discovery; HAR gets mining permit; SHG commissions wash plant; and TT to be back]

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Friday, June 25, 2015

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Overseas Market

SouthGobi in talks for private placements to raise US$31.6m

[ET Net News Agency, 23 June 2015] SouthGobi Resources (01878) said it has negotiated private placements of its common shares for aggregate gross proceeds of US$31.6 million with sophisticated investors to inject additional capital resources into the company. 

Closing of the placements is expected to occur on or before 14 July. SouthGobi will issue the investors about 55 million common shares, priced at C$0.71 per share (a 20% discount to the five day volume weighted average price of the common shares on the TSX at 19 June 2015). As a result, the new common shares represent in the aggregate about 21% equity interest in SouthGobi following completion of these issuances. 

A supply agreement has been executed with a China-based buyer for the sale of 1.8 million tonnes of coal from July 2015 to July 2016. Discussions are continuing with other third parties in connection with additional coal supply agreements and SouthGobi anticipates negotiating further agreements as it ramps up its production schedule as a result of securing additional financing to address its working capital requirements.

Until the proceeds of the private placements are received, SouthGobi has secured a loan for up to US$8 million from a principal of Novel Sunrise, with immediate availability, to address funding obligations pending the closing of the private placements. Advances will be in a minimum amount of US$2 million, with interest at LIBOR + 12% per annum, payable in cash on a quarterly basis in arrears, and maturing on 18 June 2016. The loan is unsecured and is subject to mandatory repayment upon completion of US$30 million of equity or other debt financing. 

SouthGobi has also secured a revolving loan commitment of Rmb200 million from a Chinese commercial bank, subject to the finalization of definitive documentation. The revolving loan commitment is intended to provide additional support to the company in funding its operational objectives. The utilization of these funding facilities made available to SouthGobi will meet the requirements for permitted debt under its existing convertible debenture agreement with the China Investment Corporation.

The TSX advised SouthGobithat it has granted a further 30 day extension of the delisting review to 22 July 2015 to permit completion of the proposed private placements of common shares.

Link to article

Link to SGS release


SouthGobi Announces Annual General Meeting on August 6

June 23 --

Pursuant to a request from the above-mentioned reporting issuer, we wish to advise you of the following information in connection with its Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders:

Date of meeting:                                                                                            August 6, 2015

Record date for notice:                                                                                  June 26, 2015

Record date for voting:                                                                                 June 26, 2015

Beneficial ownership determination date:                                                  June 26, 2015

Securities entitled to notice:                                                                        Common Shares

Securities entitled to vote:                                                                           Common Shares

Issuer mailing directly to non-objecting beneficial owners:                     Yes

Issuer will pay for objecting beneficial owner material distribution:      No

Issuer using notice-and-access for registered investors:                         Yes

Issuer using notice-and-access for non-registered investors:                 Yes

Notice-and-access stratification criteria:                                                    No

Link to release


Petro Matad gets cash injection from BG

BG has now received 78% of Blocks IV and V in Mongolia

June 22 (Proactive Investors) Shares in Mongolia oil explorer Petro Matad (LON:MATD) moved higher on Monday after it received a US$2.75mln cash injection from new partner BG Group (LON:BG)

Petro Matad earlier this month secured government approval for its farm-out of 78% of exploration blocks IV and V. That interest in the projects has now been formally transferred to BG.

A further US$1.8mln of cash payments will be made to PetroMatad, across thirty monthly instalments of US$50,000.

"I am very pleased to announce that the farmout has attained unconditional status which means we will be able to proceed as planned with the proposed work programme," said Dr Oyungerel Janchiv, Petro Matad's acting chairperson.

"The previously announced approval by the Mongolian Government is also very much appreciated and is another demonstration of the commitment to develop the country's oil and gas resources."

Petro Matad also updated on the anticipated timeline for exploration, which now foresees both BG committed wells scheduled for 2016.

It was previously anticipated that one well could have been drilled in 2015.

As previously announced, in April, the agreed work programme will still see airborne survey work and 2D seismic exploration during 2015.

Link to article

Link to MATD release


Xanadu Mines makes high grade copper-gold discovery at Kharmagtai

June 22 (Proactive Investors) Xanadu Mines (ASX:XAM) has found another high grade copper zone at its flagship Kharmagtai copper-gold project in Mongolia.

Kharmagtai is living up to the wraps on it as one of the most promising copper-gold projects in Asia with today's drilling results.

The discovery resulted from pin point targeting and drilling of targets lying under shallow cover along strike from existing deposits within the Kharmagtai project.

Drilling has reinforced the potential of the Tourmaline Breccia unit to host high grade mineralisation on a large scale.

Diamond drill hole KHDDH371 intersected high-grade copper-gold breccia hosted massive sulphide mineralisation:

- 50 metres grading 1.84% copper and 0.73g/t gold (2.31% Copper Equivalent grade) from 374 metres including;
- 27 metres grading 2.55% copper and 0.94g/t gold (3.15% CuEq) from 384 metres. 

The massive sulphide mineralisation is flanked by a broad zone of porphyry-related breccia mineralisation:

- 415.2 metres grading 0.63% copper and 0.24g/t gold (0.79% CuEq) from 88.8 metres including;
- 243.8 metres grading 0.81% copper and 0.32g/t gold (1% CuEq) from 242.2 metres.

The hole extends known mineralisation to the north.

Xanadu's chief executive officer, Dr. Andrew Stewart, said:

"These outstanding results support Xanadu's interpretation that the porphyry-breccia complex at Kharmagtai has the potential to be a significant copper-gold system with similarities to other very strongly mineralised tourmaline breccia deposits globally."

Follow up drilling is underway. Exploration for 2015 is fully-funded.

More detail

The hole tested the northern limits of the known mineralisation and intersected high grade mineralisation outside the previously interpreted boundary.

Promisingly, this higher grade portion of the tourmaline breccia mineralisation is open to the north.

Fourth most endowed copper province globally

The South Gobi Province is the fourth most endowed copper province globally.

It is a highly mineralised and vastly underexplored mineral belts known to host large deposits.

Adding further to the area is proximity to infrastructure and the North Asia market.


Today's results indicate just how far the revamped Xanadu has come under new CEO Dr Andrew Stewart and on the way to expanding the significant initial resource base at Kharmagtai of 203Mt averaging 0.34% copper and 0.33g/t gold (0.50% Copper Equivalent).

Kharmagtai is shaping as a globally significant copper-gold project, certainly one of the most important in Asia.

Indeed, based on results to date, we see potential for the higher grade copper-gold resource at Kharmagtai to increase to 150mt to 200mt. 

Certainly, at the current share price of $0.12 significantly undervalues Xanadu.  On today's results we can see the shares flying.

Link to article

Link to XAM release


Guildford: Completion of Acquisition of Enkhtunkh Orchlon LLC from Noble

June 22 -- Guildford Coal Limited (Guildford or the Company) (ASX: GUF) is pleased to update the market on the completion of the acquisition of 100% of the equity interest in Enkhtunkh Orchlon LLC (EO) from Noble Resources International Pte. Ltd. (Noble).

EO is the owner of the highly prospective 12600 exploration licence and associated mining licence application, which is adjacent to the Guildford' Baruun Noyon Uul (BNU) coking coal mine in Mongolia. The 12600 licence contains the north western part of the BNU coal basin with coal seams continuing from the operating BNU Mine into the 12600 licence.

The 12600 licence will play an important role in Guildford's expansion plans for the coking coal operations in the South Gobi. A combined geological model has been constructed of the 12600 exploration data with the Guildford BNU exploration data and a JORC upgrade is expected imminently.

Link to release


Noble closes disposal of Mongolian coal subsidiaryBusiness Times, June 19


JORC Resource Upgrade Following Acquisition of 12600X in Mongolia

June 22 -- Guildford Coal Limited (Guildford or the Company) (ASX: GUF) recently advised the market on the completion of the acquisition of 100% of the equity interest in Enkhtunkh Orchlon LLC (EO).

EO is the owner of the highly prospective 12600X exploration licence and associated mining licence application, which is adjacent to Guildford' Baruun Noyon Uul (BNU) coking coal mine in Mongolia. The 12600 licence contains the north western part of the Noyon coal basin with coal seams continuing from the operating BNU Mine into the 12600 licence.

The 12600 licence will play an important role in Guildford's expansion plans for the coking coal operations in the South Gobi. Independent geologist Xenith Consulting Pty Ltd have developed a geological model for 12600x based on exploration work carried out to date and a JORC upgrade has been completed with the following estimates:

The JORC 2012 classified resource estimate is 15Mt at inferred status. There is an additional cumulative Exploration Target of 26Mt to 45Mt. Note an Exploration Target is an approximate range of the tonnage that could be potentially confirmed by future exploration, and is based on all current data.

The combined resource table for Guildford's Mongolian Projects is updated as follows:

Guildford Coal

JORC Resources (Mt)

Exploration Target (Mt)

Coal Type

JORC Classification

Competent Person

Report Date








South Gobi – North (BNU North)









Craig Williams


EL 12600X









Troy Turner


South Gobi – East (Hovguun)










Van Heeswick


South Gobi Total











Mid Gobi Total









Mark Biggs













Link to release


Guildford: Clarification Statement to June 22 JORC Announcement, June 25


Haranga Resources Granted Mining License at Selenge Iron Ore Project

June 24 -- Haranga Resources Limited ("the Company") is extremely pleased to announce that its 80% owned subsidiary Haranga Khuder LLC, which holds the Mineral Exploration Licenses and Pre-Mining Operations Agreement for its Selenge Project in Mongolia, has been granted a Mining License (#18934A) by the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia. The license area covers 3,480.70 hectares.

The Mining license is valid for 30 years until 19 June 2045. Pursuant to the Minerals Law of Mongolia, the Company can apply to have the license extended up to 2 additional terms of 20 years each.

As a result of granting of the mining license, the area covered by Exploration License (#11334X) has been split and a new exploration license (#18935X) granted. As such, the Company now holds a total of 5,459.85 hectares that remain valid under the status of the Pre-Mining Operations Agreement as shown in the Figure 1 and Appendix 1.

The remaining 5 tenements (being #11335X, 11337X, 11338X, 17245X and 17467X as listed at Appendix 1) remain unchanged.

Figure 1 - A new Mining license and remaining Pre-Mining Operations agreement area

Location map

Appendix 1 – Interests in mining tenements held

Tenement table




Interest (%) at beginning of quarter

Interest (%) at end of quarter

Acquired during the quarter

Disposed of during the quarter



18934A 11334X 18935X 11335X 11337X 11338X 17245X 17467X





Link to release


Mogi: shortest directorship ever! Appointed 15 June.

Haranga: Resignation of George Tumur as Director

June 19 -- The Board of Directors of Haranga Resources Limited wish to advise that Mr George Tumur has resigned from his position on the Board as a Non-Executive Director, effective immediately, in order to focus on his other commitments.

The Board of Directors wish Mr George Tumur the best in his future endeavours.

Link to release


ACA Nominee Marcus Engelbrecht Appointed to Xanadu Board of Directors

June 17 -- The Board of Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX: XAM – "Xanadu") is pleased to announce the appointment of Marcus Engelbrecht to the Company's Board of Directors as a Non-Executive Director on 16 June 2015.

Mr. Engelbrecht will serve as the nominee of Asia Capital Advisors Pte Ltd (ACA) pursuant to the $13.6 million Placement Agreement dated 6 October 2014 as approved by shareholders on 28 November 2014. The ACA associated group of shareholders' current combined ownership is approximately 32%.

Marcus is a well-rounded senior mining executive with exploration and mining management experience with a strong finance background. He has worked in various emerging markets including Indonesia and the Philippines and brings a good network and reputation across the international institutional investment community.

Marcus spent 20 years at BHP Billiton through to 2005 where he rose to become Chief Financial Officer of the diamonds and specialty products business. He then served as Chief Financial Officer of ASX, TSX and NZX listed Oceania Gold during 2009 to 2011 and oversaw a period of restructuring, recapitalisation and success, including a thirteen-fold increase in market capitalisation. Marcus then served as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Singapore based and London AIM listed Archipelago Resources Plc in 2011 to 2013 delivering 150,000 ounces of gold production in 2012 from its Indonesian operations.

In reporting the appointment, the Company's Executive Chairman, Mr. Mark Wheatley commented, "I am very pleased that the Board of Xanadu and ACA have found a candidate of Marcus' quality to serve as a Non-Executive Director. All shareholders will benefit from his understanding of capital markets and successful management of listed mining companies and his skills will add significantly to our already highly qualified and proficient Board."

An Appendix 3X is attached.

Link to release


Noble Stake in Aspire Diluted to 10.6% Following Share Placement

Link to substantial holder notice


Prophecy Shareholders Pass All Resolutions at 2015 AGM

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 24, 2015) - Prophecy Development Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY)(OTCQX:PRPCF)(FRANKFURT:1P2) is pleased to announce that all proposed resolutions were approved at the Company's Annual General Meeting of shareholders held on June 24, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia (the "Meeting"). The number of directors was set at five and all director nominees, as listed in the Management Information Circular dated May 11, 2015 (the "Information Circular"), were elected as directors of the Company at the Meeting to serve until the next annual general meeting. According to the proxies received and shares voted in person at the Meeting, the results were as follows:



John Lee


Greg Hall


Harald Batista


Masa Igata


Link to release


Prophecy Appoints Bekzod Kasimov as Vice-President, Operations, Grants Stock Options and Issues Settlement Shares


MEC: Completion of Issue of 11,055,179 Shares Under General Mandate

June 17 -- The Board is pleased to announce that all the conditions of the Subscription have been fulfilled and completion of the Subscription took place on 17 June 2015 in accordance with the terms of the Subscription Agreement.

A total of 11,055,179 fully paid Subscription Shares, representing approximately 0.65% of the issued share capital of the Company as at the date of this announcement immediately after Completion, were allotted and issued by the Company to the nominee of the Subscriber at the Subscription Price of HK$0.54 per Subscription Share.

Link to full release


Mongolia Energy Corp Annual Loss Widens to HK$6.87 Billion from HK$1.04 Billion

June 23 (AAStocks) MONGOLIA ENERGY (00276.HK) announced that its loss for the year ended 31 March 2015 increased to $6.868 billion against a loss of $1.038 billion in the year-ago period. LPS was $4.07. No final dividend was declared. 

During the period, turnover was only $12.259 million, yet representing an increase of 23.6 times from $0.498 million in the year-ago period. 

Link to article

Link to MEC Annual Results


Och-Ziff Stake in MEC Diluted from 32.17% to 31.96%

June 24 --

Link to release


Chairman Simon Lo's Stake in MEC Diluted from 58.39% to 58.01%

June 23 --

Link to release


BMO Initiates Coverage of Turquoise Hill with Outperform Rating, C$6.50 Price Target

June 24 (Analyst Ratings) BMO Capital Markets began coverage on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) in a report released on Monday. The firm issued an outperform rating and a C$6.50 price objective on the stock.

BMO Capital Markets has also taken action a number of other stocks recently. The firm reiterated its hold rating on shares of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. Also, BMO Capital Markets upgraded shares of Encana Co. from a market perform rating to an outperform rating. BMO Capital Markets now has a $15.00 price target on that stock, down previously from $16.00.

Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) opened at 4.90 on Monday. Turquoise Hill Resources has a 52-week low of $3.17 and a 52-week high of $5.80. The stock's 50-day moving average is $5. and its 200-day moving average is $4.. The company has a market cap of $9.86 billion and a P/E ratio of 65.33.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Scotiabank raised their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from C$5.00 to C$5.75 and gave the company a sector perform rating in a research note on Thursday, May 21st. Analysts at TD Securities raised their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from C$5.00 to C$5.50 and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 20th. Finally, analysts at CIBC lowered their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from C$4.50 to C$4.00 and set a sector perform rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, March 25th.

Link to article


Credit Suisse Lowers Turquoise Hill Resources Price Target to C$5.50 (TRQ)

June 24 (Analyst Ratings Network) Equities research analysts at Credit Suisse lowered their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) from C$6.00 to C$5.50 in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. Credit Suisse's price target suggests a potential upside of 12.24% from the company's current price.

Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Analysts at CSFB lowered their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from C$6.00 to C$5.50 in a research note on Wednesday. Analysts at BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources in a research note on Monday. They set an "outperform" rating and a C$6.50 price target on the stock. Analysts at Scotiabank raised their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from C$5.00 to C$5.75 and gave the company a "sector perform" rating in a research note on Thursday, May 21st. Finally, analysts at TD Securities raised their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from C$5.00 to C$5.50 and gave the company a "hold" rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 20th.

Link to article


Mongolia Growth Group Announces All Resolutions, Director Nominees Pass at AGM

Toronto, Ontario, June 17 (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 passage of all resolutions and the election of all nominated directors at the Company's Annual General Meeting held on June 15th. 

For more information about Mongolia Growth Group, please visit the Company's website at  

Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. is a publicly traded and leading property investment and development company in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. MGG owns an extensive property portfolio in diversified segments of the property market, with an emphasis on institutional-grade commercial assets. 

MGG undertakes its own property acquisitions, develops brownfield land assets and repositions outdated properties, relying on in-house services for all facets of both the investment portfolio and development side of the business. In addition, MGG acts as a full-service third-party provider for institutional clients and tailors transactions covering acquisition-to-suit, build-to-suit, as well as refurbish-to-suit, for property owners and major tenants.

Link to release


Delays in Winsway's restructuring plan credit negative

[ET Net News Agency, 25 June 2015] Moody's Investors Service said that the third extension of Winsway Enterprises Holdings Limited's (01733) negotiations with bondholders and investors on fund-raising and debt restructuring is credit negative for the company, but such issues have been factored into its Caa3 corporate family rating and Ca senior unsecured rating. 

The ratings outlook is negative.

On 22 June 2015, Winsway announced a third extension of its Standstill Agreement with bondholders to 20 July 2015, after previous extensions on 31 May 2015 and 15 June 2015. 

The Standstill Agreement originally came into place on 8 May 2015, when Winsway defaulted on an interest payment of $13.15 million on its 2016 senior notes after a 30-day grace period. 

In the same announcement, Winsway disclosed that negotiations with potential investors and bondholders are ongoing, but those with some investors had ceased.

"This prolonged uncertainty over Winsway's debt restructuring plans is credit negative as it will delay the execution of changes to its business model", said Dylan Yeo, a Moody's Analyst. 

Link to article


Winsway (1733) fails to reach deals with potential investorsET Net, June 23 (Winsway press release)

Back to top

Local Market

MSE News for June 25: Top 20 -1.3% to 15,507.42, Turnover 53.5 Million

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Thursday, a total of 26 thousand and 397 units of 20 JSCs were traded costing MNT 53 million 512 thousand and 250.00.

"Yevrofyo Asia" /14 thousand and 495 units/, "Remikon" /8,928 units/, "Merex" /1,008 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /600 units/ and "Arig gal" /540 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Yevrofyo Asia" (MNT 46 million and 414 thousand), "Gobi" (MNT three million 727 thousand and 500), "Arig gal" (MNT one million 272 thousand and 950), "Talkh chikher" (MNT 874 thousand and 500), and "Remikon" (MNT 669 thousand and 800).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 426 billion 664 million 605 thousand and 404. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,507.42, decreasing 1.30% and the all index of MSE was 1046.65, decreasing 0.89% against the previous day.

Link to article


Mongolian Coal Firm Signs Four-Nation Deal Including North Korea

by Michael Kohn

June 19 (Bloomberg) Mongolian miner Sharyn Gol JSC has agreed on a preliminary deal that would see its coal shipped to South Korea via Russia and North Korea, as the land-locked nation seeks new markets to counterbalance its dependence on China.

Arranging the circuitous route was hailed as a major achievement by Batbaatar Bandan, the company's chief executive officer. "For Mongolia to have four-country cooperation, I think it is historic," he said at the signing of a memorandum of understanding at a conference in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.

The company will sell the coal to newly minted Mongol Sammok Logistics Co., a joint venture between South Korea's Sammok Shipping Co. and an arm of the Mongolian government, according to its general manager, Khaliun Dashzeveg. The coal will be transported more than 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) by train to the North Korean port in the city of Rason, via Russia, and then shipped to South Korea, she said.

While the arrangement will begin with a trial load, Sharyn Gol is "in a position to export several hundred thousand tons of coal per year," said Director James Passin.

Khaliun said the agreement could eventually yield 300,000 metric tons of exports a year, although the price of the coal is still under discussion.

Although South Korea bans direct trade with North Korea, it allows trade of natural resources through Rason's port as long as the product doesn't originate in the north.

Cordial Relations

Sharyn Gol mines around 1 million tons a year of thermal coal used by power plants, and is controlled by the U.S. investment fund Firebird Management LLC, co-founded by Passin. It's also listed on the Mongolian Stock Exchange, where its stock rose 4.5 percent today as of 12:56 p.m. local time.

Last year, Mongolia exported 19.5 million tons of coal worth $849 million, almost all of it to China.

Sharyn Gol isn't the first Mongolian company to get involved with politically isolated North Korea. In 2013, HBOil JSC, an oil trading and refining company based in Ulaanbaatar, acquired 20 percent of the state-run entity operating North Korea's Sungri refinery. HBOil is part-owned by Firebird.

The governments in Ulaanbaatar and Pyongyang have maintained cordial relations dating back to the 1950s. Mongolia's President Elbegdorj Tsakhia toured North Korea in October 2013.

Link to article


Mongolian miner signs deal to ship coal to North KoreaReuters, June 19


Sharyn Gol Announces Commissioning of Coal Wash Plant and Execution of Agreement to Export Washed Coal to South Korea

SINGAPORE, June 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Sharyn Gol JSC (MSE: SHG; "Sharyn Gol") is pleased to announce that it has successfully commissioned its new coal wash plant, which is located next to its producing coal mine in Sharyn Gol city, Darkhan province. The plant, which has the capacity to wash 600,000 tons of raw coal per year, enables Sharyn Gol to produce an export grade coal, as well as a premium coal product for the domestic industrial market. The coal wash plant is Mongolia's second operating coal wash plant and the only coal wash plant that has the potential to supply the domestic market. The investment in the wash plant reflects Sharyn Gol's commitment to solutions for the production of environmentally friendly, value-added coal products.

Sharyn Gol's Chairman, Batmunkh B., stated, "We are delighted that Sharyn Gol's team has succeeded in beginning coal washing operations. This investment by Sharyn Gol is consistent with the Mongolian government's policy of encouraging Mongolian mining companies to invest in mineral processing technology. The wash plant opens a new chapter in the history of Sharyn Gol, which is celebrating its 50th year of operations."

Sharyn Gol is also pleased to announce that it has executed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mongol Sammok Logistics LLC, which is a joint venture between the Mongolian state and Sammok Shipping Company of South Korea. The signing ceremony took place at the Mongol Business Summit that is being held at the Ikh Tenger Complex. President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and other esteemed Mongolian dignitaries witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.

Under the terms of the agreement, both parties have agreed to cooperate to export Sharyn Gol's washed coal to the South Korean market. It is intended to transport the coal through Russia via rail to Rajin port in Rason Free Economic Zone, Democratic People's Republic of Korea ("North Korea"), after which it will be loaded onto a vessel and delivered into the South Korean market. The parties anticipate beginning with a 25,000 ton trial shipment and will expand the export operations after the successful completion of the trial shipment.

James Passin, Sharyn Gol Director and representative of Firebird Management, the New York-based investment fund that holds a controlling stake in Sharyn Gol, stated, "We are honored to play a role in pioneering a new export route for Mongolian mineral exporters. We believe that Sharyn Gol is well positioned to expand its coal washing and export capacity in the future."

Sharyn Gol JSC is located 215km north of Ulaanbaatar and 45km south east of the city of Darkhan on Mongolia's main national rail line, is a leading producer of high-grade thermal coal and sells to state-owned power stations, local cement factories as well as retail consumers. In 1993, the company was listed on MSE (MSE: SHG) and was fully privatized in 2003.

Link to release


10 Billion 12-Week T-Bills on Offer on MSE at Discount, Yield 14.415%, Closing 6/30

June 24 (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 96,789

7.    Total amounts issued: 100,000 Units 

8.    Short-term securities performance:

 Government Securities name 

 Amount /units/

Value /billion MNT/ 

 Maturity /week/

Form of Interest payment

Interest rate (percent) 

 Starting date of the order

Closing date of the trading 









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

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

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

Link to release


MoF Issues 10 Billion 52-Week Bills via MSE, 9.9 Billion 5-Year Bids not Exercised

June 23 (MSE) On 23 June 2015, the bond orders of 52 weeks Government bonds with 15.473% annual interest, placed on order book, and Ministry of Finance supplied 100,000 or MNT10 billion out of total 203,204 pieces or MNT20.3 billion.  

The bond orders of 5-year Government bond with 16.75% annual interest, worth MNT9.9 billion placed on order book, and it was not exercised by Ministry of Finance.    

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

Company name



Ard Capital Group



TDB Capital









Daewoo Securities Mongolia



Standard Investment



Tenger Capital



Golomt Securities





Link to release


MSE Submits Surveillance Reports of Trading in BDSec, Aduunchuluun Shares to FRC

June 23 (MSE) According to the Article N.: 74.1 of the   Mongolian Securities Law, Mongolian Stock Exchange transferred the surveillance report of trading for BDSec JSC and Aduunchuluun JSC along with the resolution to the Financial Regulatory Commission. 

Link to release


Taiwan Securities Association Visits MSE

June 22 (MSE) On 22 June 2015, Hung-Wen Chien, Chairman of Taiwan Securities Association (TSA) visited to the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) along with other representatives from TSA. During the meeting, representatives from TSA acquainted with Mongolian capital market and operation of MSE. Then, both parties exchanged ideas about attracting investors to the market.

Link to release


MSE Signs MOU with Corporate Governance and Development Center of Mongolia

June 25 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange has taken variety of activities, in order to improve the corporate governance of its listed companies. The one example is Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) signed the Memorandum of Understanding with "Corporate Governance and Development Center Mongolia" (CGDCM) non-government organization on 24 June 2015.

Angar.D, CEO of MSE and Tsend-Ayush.T, director of CGDCM were participated in the signing ceremony. Within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding, following activities will be planned and executed including, to improve corporate governance for listed or non-listed companies, to provide transparency, to defend confidence of investors, and to create the system for prompt reporting.

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MSE Receives Representatives of Mongolian Institute of Geosciences

June 25 (MSE) On 25 June 2015, representatives of Mongolian Professional Institute of Geosciences and Mining (MPIGM) visited to the MSE and exchanged views on issue about implementing the internationally recognized national resource assessment report to mining companies and to issuing IPOs of mining companies in domestic capital market. 

Damba.D, president of MPIGM, Oyungerel.B, CEO of MPIGM and board member Naranbaatar.B were participated in the meeting with Angar.D, CEO of MSE along with other representatives of MSE. The MPIGM is member of Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO) and it is non-government organization.

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FRC Approves Merger of Bayanbogd JSC with Standard Properties Group, Name Change to Standard Properties Group JSC

June 23 (MSE) According to the resolution No.: 162 of Financial Regulatory Commission, the Article No.: 8.10.11 of MSE's charter, the Article No.; 20.3 of Listing regulation of MSE, the request from "Bayanbogd"JSC dated on 20 May 2015 and the resolution of Board members meeting dated on 18 June 2015, combined amount of shares of both "Bayanbogd" JSC-97,607 "Standard Properties Group" LLC-1,530,200 resulting total of 1,627,807 shares. The legal name of the company changed to "Standard Properties Group" JSC.

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MSE and Mongolian Insurers Association Sign MOU to Introduce New Financial Instruments

June 18 (MSE) In order to accelerate the development of the Mongolian capital market, Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) has been working with Mongolian Insurers Association (MIA) to introduce new financial instrument into domestic market, which is one of the activities that plan to implement.

The financial market primarily consists of three sectors that include banking, capital market and insurance market. By improving capital and  insurance sectors that combines 2 percent of the Mongolia's financial market,  representatives from  these two sectors work together comprising an opportunity to balance the financial sector and to achieve important step to the financial sector that emphasized  by officials.  

To beginning of co-operation, representatives from two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 18 June 2015. A Memorandum of Understanding consist of operation areas including, launching  the corporate bonds of insured companies, bringing  insurance funds into capital market, giving an assistance from MSE to insurance companies to issue IPO,  organizing meetings, seminars and workshops  between  investors, clients and official organizations.  The beginning of signing a Memorandum of Understanding, the president of Mongolian Insurers Association, Mrs.Chuluuntsetseg.D rang the opening bell of 5,001st trading session. 

By issuing new bonds "Corporate bonds of Insured Companies", reducing risk of investment, increasing possibilities for companies that wants to issue IPOs. Plus, bringing MNT13.0 billion of reserve fund of insurance companies into market to increase the domestic investments, and it will be essential step for financial market.  

Link to release


Construction companies look to raise funds on capital market

June 25 ( On June 24, Minister of Construction and Urban Development D.Tsogtbaatar opened the 5005th security trading of Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE).

During this ceremony, MSE, the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development and Mongolian National Construction Association announced its cooperation by signing Memorandum of Understanding. 

By establishing Memorandum of Understanding, construction companies are able to raise funds from stock market.

In scope of the Memorandum of Understanding, following projects are planned to be implemented:

·         To issue IPO or attract long term funds from capital market by offering shares to the public - To take advantage of stock market during the time that loan interest of the banks are high, requires deposit and guarantee and provides short term funds.

·         To issue corporate bond - Attract fund by issuing bond at stock market, protect the risk of investors by including insurance sector to the company bond and the insured bond to be released in June to the stock market

·         To fund construction sector companies by using other financial instruments

·         To organize stock market trainings and seminars for construction sector companies and ensure professional advice, reported by the MSE.

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Construction Ministry, Construction Association and MSE sign MOU on Capital Raising

June 25 (MSE) Tsogtbaatar.D, Minister of Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, rang the opening bell of 5,005th trading at Mongolian Stock Exchange on 24 June 2015. During the ceremony, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)   signed between Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE), Ministry of Construction and Urban Development (MCUD) and Mongolian National Construction Association (MNCA). By signing MOU, it opening opportunities to raise capital from capital market for construction companies and following activities will be implemented: 

1.      To issue IPO and raise long-term funding from capital market

2.      To issue Corporate bonds 

3.      To use other financial instruments to finance companies in construction sector

4.      To organize capital market seminars and workshops and provide professional advises to construction companies 

Link to release


FRC, JICA Hold Seminar on Dual-Listing Opportunities

June 24 (MSE) Financial Regulatory Commission /FRC/, Japan International Cooperation Agency /JICA/ of and Mongolian Chamber of Commerce co-organized the seminar called "IPO and Dual Listing" on 23 June 2015, in order to improve capacity of Mongolian capital market.
During the seminar, MSE participated and presented the presentation "How to list at MSE" and how to raise money on capital market to representatives from domestic Top-100 enterprises. 

Link to release


MSE Marks 5,000th Trading Session, 1.4 Trillion Traded Since 1991

June 17 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) established on 18 January 1991 and secondary market trading launched on 28 August 1995. Since then, there were 4,999 trading sessions organized at MSE and total transaction of MNT1.4 trillion has been made. As of today, there are 237 Joint Stock Companies with a total capitalization of MNT1,436,928,399,304.00  listed at MSE. 

Since 1 January 2015, total of MNT270.0 billion worth tradings have been organized and average daily turnover reached to MNT2.4 billion.

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Mongolia diversifies funding source with maiden CNH bonds

June 25 (The Asset) The Government of Mongolia accessed the offshore renminbi bond market for the first time when it priced on June 24 a CNH1 billion offering - the second non-China sovereign to tap this market after the UK. 

The Reg S three-year deal was priced at par with a similar coupon and re-offer yield of 7.50%, which was an attractive outcome compared with Mongolia's outstanding US dollar bonds, according to a banker familiar with the transaction. 

"It was a good outcome for Mongolia in terms of pricing and in the diversification of their funding sources as well as investor base," the banker adds. "It was also pretty natural for them to tap the CNH market as they conduct a lot of business with China." 

The Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia priced the country's first offshore renminbi issue in January 2014 amounting to CNH700 million. The three-year deal was priced at 99.367% with a coupon of 10% to offer a yield of 10.25%. 

The sovereign deal was announced in the morning of June 24 and the book built steadily throughout the day with the final order book amounting to CNH1.5 billion from 44 accounts. "Investors were already familiar with Mongolia as they've tapped the bond market in the past," the banker says. "While the three rating agencies have negative outlook on the sovereign, investors were focusing on the recent developments in the country." 

In terms of geographic distribution, 93% of the bonds were sold in Asia and 7% in Europe. By type of investors, fund managers accounted for 46%, banks 42% and private banks 12%. 

Proceeds from the bonds, drawn from Mongolia's US$5 billion global medium-term note programme, will be used for liability management purposes, restructuring of existing debt or refinancing local and foreign currency-denominated loans used to fund infrastructure and other industrial projects in the country. 

China CITIC Bank International, CITIC CLSA Securities, HSBC and ING were the joint bookrunners for the deal, as well as joint lead managers together with TDB Capital. Ulaanbaatar Capital acted as co-manager. 

The transaction, the banker points out, is a good indication that investors' appetite in the CNH market is back. The first quarter of 2015 was challenging for the market due to the negative outlook for the renminbi. The currency had been depreciating against the US dollar between November 2014 and mid-March this year. 

In the addition, the CNH market experienced both liquidity and funding squeeze, which saw the yields rising by between 100bp and 150bp. "Mid-March was the turning point for the market," the banker notes. "If you look at the CNH-US dollar FX rate, it started to stabilize around that time and during the past 3-1/2 months, it was steady and traded within a small bandwith. 

"The drop in the cross-currency swap rate has been very positive for the market and brought confidence back among investors. This has been demonstrated by the demand in new issuances in the past months, which show that investors were ready to put their money to work in the CNH market." 

The UK was the first ever non-Chinese sovereign issuer to tap the offshore renminbi bond market with a CNH3 billion offering for three years in November 2014.

Link to article


Bond issues from Mongolia and Bank of China worth US$3.7b break new ground – South China Morning Post, June 25

CNH Tracker-Mongolian government makes its debut in dim sum market – Reuters, June 25


Moody's assigns (P)B2 rating to CNY bonds issued under Mongolia's Medium Term Note Program

Singapore, June 24, 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a provisional long-term rating of (P)B2 applicable to the forthcoming offshore CNY-denominated drawdown under the US$5,000,000,000 Global Medium Term Note Program of the Government of Mongolia.

The rating is subject to receipt of final documentation, the terms and conditions of which are not expected to change in any material way from the draft documents reviewed by Moody's.


Mongolia's (P)B2 government bond rating is aligned with the government's issuer rating of B2 (negative outlook), and is consistent with our methodology scores of low economic strength, very low institutional strength, moderate fiscal strength and high event risk.

The narrowly diversified economy, which is dependent on mining and agriculture, subjects the growth path to mineral price volatility and occasional extremely severe winters. The development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold deposits, and other large mineral deposits, such as high-grade coking coal in Tavan Tolgoi will be transformational for the Mongolian economy once fully realized.

Fiscal strength is constrained by spending pressures and a considerable rise in the debt and debt-payment burdens since the 2008 global financial crisis and recession. Although Mongolia adopted a Fiscal Stability Law (FSL) in 2013 to buffer supply-side and mineral price shocks, only recently have the authorities begin the process of consolidating Development Bank of Mongolia expenditures onto budget. Given the recent rise in government debt and system-wide foreign-currency borrowing, Mongolia has become even more dependent on volatile mining revenues and remains susceptible to boom-bust economic cycles. Nonetheless, the process of transferring off-budget fiscal and quasi-fiscal expenditure on budget has recently begun.

Our assessment of high susceptibility to event risks is driven by the banking sector and external vulnerabilities. The former stem largely from banks' exposure to commodity price cycles, loose monetary policies, and weak risk-monitoring systems. The outlook for the country's rated banking system is negative. Large current account deficits had been more than offset by strong project-related FDI inflows through 2012. Since then, however, the decline in FDI inflows coupled with the contraction in exports in 2012 and 2013 have contributed to a rundown in foreign exchange reserves, a weakening of the currency and an increase in vulnerability to external risks.


The negative outlook on the B2 issuer rating reflects strains on the external liquidity position, with the sharp loss in foreign-exchange reserves over the last year. Although reserves have stabilized, they remain insufficient to cover fully maturing external debt obligations in the event of a sudden stop in credit. The recent resolution of a three-year dispute between the government and Rio Tinto to develop the second phase of the Oyu Tolgoi mining project will boost foreign investment and exports over time. But, until an actual ramp-up in production takes place, Mongolia will remain dependent on external borrowings, as well as short-term liquidity easing measures.

Expansionary monetary and fiscal policies are being gradually tightened under the Comprehensive Macroeconomic Adjustment Plan, which address short-term balance of payments pressures, consolidate fiscal spending that was previously off-budget, and implement longer-term structural adjustment measures. However, the debt burden is high and these measures are yet to translate into a reduction in the country's vulnerability to external and domestic shocks relative to rating peers.


Key factors that could prompt an upward movement in the rating include: (1) a replenishment of official foreign-exchange reserves and reduction in external funding vulnerability, (2) predictability in mineral resource development that bolsters fiscal, external payments and economic prospects (3) a strengthening of government finances, such as by adherence to the fiscal stability law, and (4) greater price stability.


Triggers for a downward movement in the rating include: (1) a rise in external debt in relation to repayment capacity, or decline in official international reserves; (2) a credit boom or further rise in inflationary pressures; (3) a continued rise in the government debt, such as from lax adherence to the Fiscal Stability Law; (4) a significant decline in foreign direct investment that places additional strain on the balance of payments.

GDP per capita (PPP basis, US$): 11,882 (2014 Actual) (also known as Per Capita Income)

Real GDP growth (% change): 7.8% (2014 Actual) (also known as GDP Growth)

Inflation Rate (CPI, % change Dec/Dec): 10.7% (2014 Actual)

Gen. Gov. Financial Balance/GDP: -3.7% (2014 Actual) (also known as Fiscal Balance)

Current Account Balance/GDP: -8.2% (2014 Actual) (also known as External Balance)

External debt/GDP: 173.5% (2014 Actual)

Level of economic development: Low level of economic resilience

Default history: At least one default event (on bonds and/or loans) has been recorded since 1983.

On 14 July 2014, a rating committee was called to discuss the rating of the Mongolia, Government of. The main points raised during the discussion were: The issuer's susceptibility to event risks has not materially changed.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Sovereign Bond Ratings published in September 2013. Please see the Credit Policy page on for a copy of this methodology.

The weighting of all rating factors is described in the methodology used in this rating action, if applicable.

Link to release


Mongolia's Proposed Chinese Renminbi Notes Rated 'B+' – Standard & Poors, June 19


Mongolia Markets First Asian Sovereign CNH After China

By Tanya Angerer and Neha D'silva

June 24 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia may price CNH 3Y bond today (expected ratings B2/B+/B+), with IPT in mid 7% area, according to a person familiar with the offering.

* Mongolia would be the 2nd Asian sovereign to sell a CNH bond after China, according to a Bloomberg Fixed Income search.

* Only China and the U.K. have sold CNH bonds

* Times Property's CNH1.5b 10.375% 2017 (B2/B/-) priced in July at par, traded at 11.38% today: Bloomberg prices


* Issuer: The government of Mongolia
* Issuer ratings: B2/B+/B+
* Expected issue ratings: B2/B+/B+
* Reg S
* Issue Size: CNH benchmark
* UOP: Liability management, restructuring of existing debt funding or refi. local/foreign currency loans used for infrastructure or other industrial project financing
* JBRs: CITIC CLSA Securities, China CITIC Bank Intl, HSBC, ING
* JLMs: CITIC CLSA Securities, China CITIC Bank Intl, HSBC, ING, TDB Capital
* Co-Manager: Ulaanbaatar Capital
* Information in this section also from person familiar, who isn't authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified



Rio Tinto resolution and dim sum first mark Mongolia turning point

June 25 (IFLR) Last month's resolution of the government's dispute with Rio Tinto over the Oyu Tolgoi mine and the country's dim sum sovereign offering may be a turning point in Mongolia's fortunes, according to counsel working in the country.

In the early part of this decade, Mongolia was a popular destination for investors due to its natural resources and its so-called Third Neighbour policy; the country is landlocked between China and Russia, and hoped for outside investors to ...

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Development Bank of Mongolia Assigned 'B+/B' Ratings; Outlook Negative

·         We consider DBM to be a GRE with an "almost certain" likelihood of receiving support from the Mongolian government.

·         We therefore equalize the ratings on DBM with the sovereign credit ratings on Mongolia.

·         We are assigning our 'B+' long-term and 'B' short-term issuer credit ratings to the Mongolia-based bank.

·         The negative outlook on the long-term rating reflects the outlook on the sovereign ratings on Mongolia.

HONG KONG (Standard & Poor's) June 22, 2015--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it had assigned its 'B+' long-term and 'B' short-term issuer credit ratings to Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM). The outlook on the long-term rating is negative.

"The ratings on DBM reflect our view of an almost certain likelihood that the Mongolian government would provide timely and sufficient extraordinary support if the bank faces financial distress," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst HongTaik Chung.

We therefore equalize the ratings on DBM with the sovereign credit ratings on Mongolia (B+/Negative/B). We assess DBM's stand-alone credit profile (SACP) as 'b-'.

In accordance with our criteria for government-related entities, our assessment of the likelihood of government support to DBM is based on the bank's "critical" role as the government's sole policy bank for the economic development of Mongolia. We also assess the bank's "integral" link with the Mongolian government, through 100% ownership and ongoing government intervention. We believe government's full ownership and influence on the bank will not change over the long term. The government has also provided strong support, including equity capital injections and direct guarantees to DBM's debt.

"We expect DBM to focus on managing risks rather than continuing significant business expansion as economic growth has been slowing in Mongolia," said Mr. Chung.

DBM has been growing very fast since its establishment in 2011 and became the largest bank in terms of assets in Mongolia by the end of 2014.

Our assessment of DBM's capital and earnings primarily reflects the bank's very weak risk-adjusted capital (RAC) ratio before diversification and concentration adjustments. We estimate that the bank's RAC ratio will remain 2.5%-3% in the next 18 months, compared with about 2.8% at the end of 2014.

Our estimate is based on our expectation that the bank's growth will be significantly slower for the coming few years although its profitability will be under pressure owing to high provisioning costs.

Our risk position assessment for DBM primarily reflects the bank's high credit concentration in a narrow-based economy. DBM has a larger corporate loan portfolio than major local peers'. Its business is concentrated in some riskier industries, including infrastructure projects. DBM is also exposed to foreign-currency and interest rate risks, given its high dependence on foreign-currency and wholesale funding.

We expect the Mongolian government to continue to provide funding and liquidity support to DBM on an "as-needed" basis. The government provides direct loans and guarantees, which account for about 95% of DBM's total funding at the end of 2014.

The negative outlook on the long-term rating on DBM reflects the outlook on the sovereign rating on Mongolia.

We could downgrade DBM if we lower the sovereign rating. We could also lower the ratings on DBM if the sovereign's willingness or ability to support the bank declines, which we view as unlikely, given the bank's critical role in financing Mongolia's infrastructure development.

We could revise the outlook on DBM to stable if we take a similar action on the sovereign.

Link to release


BoM MNT Rates: Thursday, June 25 Close




























































































Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,930 Sell ₮1,950), Khan (Buy ₮1,932 Sell ₮1,952), Golomt (Buy ₮1,929 Sell ₮1,950), XacBank (Buy ₮1,934 Sell ₮1,950), State Bank (Buy ₮1,935 Sell ₮1,953)

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

Link to rates


BoM FX auction: US$16m sold at 1,929.7, CNY61.5m at 310.6, accepts $47.3m MNT swap offers

June 23 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on June 23th, 2015 the BOM has received bid offers of USD and CNY. The BOM has sold USD 16.0 million in a rate with MNT 1929.70 and CNY 61.5 million in a rate with MNT 310.60. 

On June 23th, 2015, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 47.3 million from local commercial banks and the BOM has accepted the offers.

See also:

·         FX Auction Statistics

Link to release


BoM FX auction: US$15m sold at 1,945, CNY60m at 312.71, accepts $112.2m MNT, $17.5m USD swap offers

June 25 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on June 25th, 2015 the BOM has received bid offers of USD and CNY. The BOM has sold USD 15.0 million in a rate with MNT 1945.00 and CNY 60.0 million in a rate with MNT 312.71.

On June 25th, 2015, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement buying bid offer equivalent to USD 112.2 million and USD Swap agreement selling bid offer equivalent to USD 17.5 million from local commercial banks and the BOM has accepted the offers.

See also:

·         FX Auction Statistics

Link to release


BoM issues 120.9 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -2% to ₮1.25 trillion

June 24 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 120.9 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


BoM Monthly Statistical Bulletin, May 2015

June 17 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Link to report


GoM Treasury Auction: Announced 30 Billion 52-Week Bills Sold at Discount, Average Yield 15.473%

June 17 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 52 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 30.0 billion MNT. Face value of 30.0 billion /out of 89.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 15.473%.

Link to release


GoM Treasury Auction: Announced 30 Billion 12-Week Bills Sold at Discount, Average Yield 14.415%

June 24 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 30.0 billion MNT. Face value of 30.0 billion /out of 79.5 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 14.415%.

Link to release


GoM Bond Auction: 10 Billion Bids for 17% 5-Year Notes Declined

June 17 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 5 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Although 10 billion MNT in competitive bid was received, the Government bond was not sold.

Link to release


Consolidated Balance Sheet of Banks, May 2015

June 17 (Bank of Mongolia) --

/in million of togrogs/









Bank reservers








Central bank bills








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Non-performing loans








Total Assets
























Current Accounts








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In domestic currency








In foreign currency








Foreign liabilities








Government deposits








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Profit/loss of current year








Link to report


Mongolia's Foreign Trade Review, May 2015

June 19 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Total trade turnover: $3,316.3 millions

As of May 2015 the total cumulative trade turnover decreased by 18.3% (USD 743.5 millions) from that of the previous year and reached USD 3,316.3 millions. The decrease in the trade turnover was due to the decrease in imports by USD 684.9 millions.

The structure of the trade flows with the neighboring trade partners is as following: (i) trade with PRC: 63.1% or USD 2,093.2 millions and (ii) trade with Russia: 12.9% or USD 426.5 millions. The trade volume between Mongolia and China increased by 4.3% and the trade volume between Mongolia while Russia decreased by 2.8%.

Trade balance: $422.3 million

As of May 2015, the cumulative trade balance improved by USD 626.3 millions from that of the previous year and reached USD 422.3 millions. During the reporting period even though the total exports decreased by 3.0% from that of the previous year, imports decreased by 32.1% from that of the previous year, thus the trade balance improved by USD 626.3 millions.

The three-month moving average value of the difference between annual growth rates of exports and imports started to decline since the beginning of 2015. The high export growth rate during 2014 was due to the exports of copper concentrate and it started to stabilize.

Trade balance of paid trade flows: $518.1 million  

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

As of May 2015, the trade balance of paid trade flows reached USD 518.1 millions. During the reporting period, paid imports decreased by 33.56%, and paid exports decreased by 3.19% from that of pre-vious year.

Terms of trade: 1.738 (test estimation)

As of May 2015, terms of trade index (2012 base year) increased by 6.0% from that of the previous year and reached 1.738.

This increase in the terms of trade is mainly attributed to the de-crease in import price of machinery, equipment and petroleum.


Composition: 87% + 13%

The share of mineral exports in total exports decreased by 1.0 points from that of the previous year and reached 87%.

Exports of coal, copper concentrate, iron ore and concentrate and crude oil have a weight of nearly 74% of total exports and 85% of mining exports.

In addition, these 4 products' share in the mining exports de-creased by 4.7 points from that of the previous year, share in the total exports decreased by 3.1 points.

Growth: -3.0%

Mongolian export decreased by 3.0% from that of the previous year, which was mainly affected by decrease in commodity prices.

Exports of copper concentrate increased by 24%, which accounted for 10% in growth of mining export. On the other hand, coking coal, iron ore and crude oil export decreased by nearly 33%, 37% and 39% respectively, which accounted for 16% decrease in the growth of mining export.


As of May 2015, Mongolian export decreased by 58.6 million USD from that of the previous year. It is affected by the increase of export commodities' quantities (USD 178.5 millions) and decrease in export commodities' prices (USD 237.1 millions) .

Because of the increase in quantity of crude oil, nonmonetary gold and copper concentrate export, mining export increased by 273 millions USD. On the other hand, because of decrease in prices of mineral exports, mining export declined by 213 million USD.

Cashmere, cashmere products' export decreased by 57 million USD, while other exports increased by 29 million USD.

World market prices for primary commodities

As of May 29 2015, gold price reached 1,190.6 USD, decreased by 4.7% from that of the previous year and increased by 0.5% from that of the last month.

As of May 29 2015, copper and iron ore prices reached 6,005.2 USD and 60.0 USD. Copper price decreased by 5.6% from that of previous month and decreased by 13.2% from that of previous year. Iron ore price increased by 1.7% from that of previous month and decreased by 34.6% from that of previous year.


Composition: 30% + 36% + 19%

As of May 2015, 30% of total imports were consumer goods, 36% were capital goods and 19% were fuels.

Share of the capital goods in total imports decreased by 5% from that of the previous year, while the share of other major imports increased by 2-4%.

Growth: -32.1%

Mongolian imports decreased by 32.1% from that of the previous year. Main contributors of this decrease were capital goods de-crease, which equals to 17% of the total decrease, and consumer goods imports which equals to 6% of the total decrease.

Capital goods and consumer goods imports decreased by 17% (366 millions USD) and 21% (119 millions USD) respectively. Thus total import decreased from that of the previous year.


Main contributors of decrease in consumer goods import were both in durables and non-durables. Passenger cars import de-creased by 33% (52 millions USD) and foods import decreased by 17% (34 millions USD).

Capital goods import decreased by 42% (366 millions USD) which was mainly contributed by 48% decrease in machinery, equipment and supplies (251 million USD). In addition, import of construction materials decreased by 30% (80 million USD) from that of previous year.

Intermediate goods and industrial materials import decreased by 14% (34 millions USD).

Fuels import decreased by 39% (172 millions USD). The border price of oil has been decreasing since the end of 2013 (Figure 8). In parallel with global oil market price, it declined sharply in last 6 months, reaching the lowest level since 2010 in February.

Import of the consumer goods

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

Even though, the import growth of non-durable consumer goods was relatively stable, it started to decline by bigger phase in last 3 months.

Link to report


Southeast Asian central bankers convene in UB

June 16 (UB Post) Policy-level decision makers from central banks in 14 Southeast Asian countries are gathering in Ulaanbaatar for the "Extracting Information from Financial Markets for Monetary Policy Making" forum, being held from June 14 to 19.

The main goal of the forum is to provide knowledge on gathering information, conducting analysis on useful information, and working on financial policy. The forum attendees are exchanging their views and experience on working with financial data for planning strong financial market policy, and discussing the improvement of policy implementation.

Mongol Bank is organizing the forum and central bank representatives from Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand are participating in the forum.

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Politics & Legal

Tavan Tolgoi to Be Reintroduced as Group Deposits

June 25 ( -The Government is backing the "Tavan Tolgoi" project, and it will again be high on the agenda for discussion in Parliament. What differences will be included in this new version of the project?

-In the previous version, it was planned to have a railway company in the consortium for the first 30 years, after this Government would take its 51% share back.  In the second version, it is planned that Mongolian Railways own at least 51% from the outset.  Regarding attracting investors - East and West Tsankhi and the Group Deposits of Tavan Tolgoi will be on offer.

-Mining revenue is constantly decreasing. Is this related to reduced prices or to industrial overheads?

-The reason for reduced income is because of low world market minerals prices.  Nevertheless, we are paying attention to coal. We believe the Japanese research which indicates that coal prices will rise.

-There is information that indicates due that a gas-field with 1700 years reserves has found. When did the research begin?

-A Korean Governmental Organization started the research in middle of 2014. Last year the Mongolian "Petroleum Law" was altered and a new Article entitled "non-traditional petroleum" was added. This "non-traditional petroleum" consists of shale gas, natural gas, and other useful hydrocarbons. The "Petroleum Law" facilitates exploratory drilling for shale oil, but so far there is no provision for gas-exploration. But in order to explore gases, we must do drilling. Therefore, this work can commence when the Government makes the appropriate legal condition for gas exploration.

Link to article


Unpublicized Mega Projects Highlighted at MBS Panel

June 25 ( -Journalist L.Bolormaa opens up information regarding mega projects-

It was not that long that Minister M.Enkhsaikhan has announced that Mongolia has stepped into Mega Projects era. Since then almost every citizen of Mongolia would have heard about Tavantolgoi, Oyutolgoi, Gatsuurt, Fifth Power Plant as those mega projects are crucial for the small economies like ours as those require huge investments and quite a lot of time and effort to be implemented.

Mega projects should be open and transparent. This we heard a lot. As Editor of Mining Journal L.Bolormaa says these words are only true in theory as in reality Mongolia has deviated a lot from this principle.

During the Mongolian Business Summit 2015 L.Bolormaa opened up about three major mega projects which were not publicized at all.

Closed project #1

In 2013 Ministry of Industry and Agriculture acquired ICM project on coal liquefaction according to the order of then minister. The owner of the company which sold the project was advisor to the minister.

No information was released on the amount of the deal and where the proceeds went. The initial amount of the project was at EUR 2-3 billion, but now the amount reached USD 4 billion. This project is valued more than Tavantolgoi and the Parliament haven't discussed it. Main investor of the project is the BB Potsdam, German company specializing in real estate market in post-soviet countries and Russia.

Project #2

Sinopec project. There was information that last Saturday representatives of Chinese side visited Mongolia to sign the agreements. No information on what the agreement is about and what benefits it carries for Mongolian side. Information is not disclosed to journalists referring to the directions given by National Security Council. Information will be disseminated at the right time. Strangest thing here is the amount of the project which totals to USD 34 billion, way much of two Tolgois, that Mongolian state is vigorously discussing. 

The project foresees coal gasification and coal liquefaction and as a result of this project total of 710 km gas pipes and 450 km of water pipes to be constructed, but nothing is known on the routes of those. Feasibility Study of the project has been done, while the detailed FS is not finished yet.

Project #3

Altanbulag-Ulaanbaatar-Zamiin-Uud Highway project. Important project to connect Mongolia into international road network which is to increase the transit transport inflow. Total amount of the project is at USD 10-12 billion, the number 3 times more of the Tavantolgoi project. Chinggis Land Development Group with mixed foreign and domestic investments has been established in the scope of the project. No information is on investors, how many companies it has and nothing was disclosed regarding the agreements made.

L.Bolormaa also emphasized that every project has hired advisory company services, FS done and the investments are being attracted and questioned why Parliament haven't discussed those projects at all and suggested to have clear distinctions as to when and how the state to participate in the project.

Moreover, she questioned as to what happened during the talks of Tavantolgoi by the State since it has been submitted to Parliament two months ago for discussions by the cabinet as Minister S.Bayartsogt was saying the solutions to be quite different from what was initially proposed by the cabinet.

While all that is happening Minister M.Enkhsaikhan firmly believes that Mega Projects should be open and transparent and if those are closed they are deemed to fail. Projects of value of more than USD 1 billion are to be considered as Mega Projects and those are implemented through public and private partnership, where the state is not obliged to own a share in the project. State participation should be focused on support rather than involvement.

L.Naranbaatar, Economist specializing in mining sector has also had his say about the projects during the Mongolian Business Summit 2015. He also introduced the projects which are to start soon.

Project #1

Areva Group of France conducted explorations for 17 years in Mongolia and received their uranium operations license recently and the project is to be implemented by French, Mongolian and Japanese joint venture. The project is not only provisions the production of yellow cake, but envisions the leverage of the metallurgical manufacture in Mongolia.

"In Erdenet copper concentrates have been produced for over 30 years, but Mongolia failed to develop smelting factories yet, as there was no solution for the use of the by-product which is Sulfuric Acid. Now with the Areva we can utilize sulfuric acid in metallurgic production."

Project #2

Khuvsgul aimag has huge phosphorite deposit, where it can be mixed with sulfuric acid to produce fertilizers which is valued at USD 600-700. This project will leverage agriculture sector a lot. In order to prepare for the project the FS for the 450 km railroad from Murun to Erdenet has been done by the private sector.

These and many other projects  are lined up capable to increase the investment inflow up to USD 10-15 billion. While we are discussing the fate of Mega Projects located far from Ulaanbaatar city we might be losing opportunities and interest directed from abroad.

In conclusion, we should not be limited with only Oyutolgoi and Tavantolgoi only when talking about Mega Projects. Probably those two are only ones which are open and transparent that media, state and others are so interested in them.

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World Bank to Invest $100 Million to Assist Mongolia's Budget Deficit

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) A managing director and the Chief Operating Officer at the World Bank Sri Mulyani Indrawati said she believes that Ch.Saikhanbileg's government will successfully overcome the current economic difficulties, on June 25.

The Mongolian Premier said the World Bank's role in the country's economic growth is dearly appreciated. He also expressed a belief that the Bank will continue cooperating in the overcoming of the economic difficulties.

The sides mainly discussed Mongolia's monetary policy in the current situation.

The World Bank expressed a readiness to back implementations of the budgetary and investment policies for 2016, and promised a support for improving the economy of Mongolia. The Bank also announced that it is to invest USD 100 million to Mongolia in order to recover the state budget deficit.

The World Bank is an international financial institution that gives financial assistance to developing countries in order to implement development programs, with 188 member states. It was founded after the World War II, with purposes to intensify the reconstructions and reduce poverty.

The Bank provides free-of-interest or low-interest loans to promote education, health, social governance, infrastructure and developments of fiscal and private sector, and support investments in agriculture, environment protection and natural resource management.

Policy advising, research and studies and technical assistance are also given by the World Bank as incentives. It has put two main goals to reach by 2030: to reduce extreme poverty by containing within 3.0 percent the number of people with income of less than 1.25 USD per day, and to achieve 40 percent income growth rate in all countries of operation.

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PM Discusses Attracting Investment with JP Morgan

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) With a working visit to the USA, the Prime Minister of Mongolia Mr Ch.Saikhanbileg Wednesday met Mr Daniel Silicon, a director of the JP Morgan Bank in charge of governmental cooperation affairs.

One of the largest commercial banks of the USA, the JP Morgan Bank has played a main role in the investment and bond markets of Mongolia and has collaborated in issuing of the "Chingis" bonds.

The Premier expressed a satisfaction with the cooperation with the JP Morgan Bank, and said Mongolia wants to continue the ties in other issues, such as resolving a financial matter of the investment fund and the cashmere market.

The sides also discussed an issue of attracting investments to Mongolia, such as establishing a joint investment fund. The bank expressed a willingness to make investments in infrastructure and mining sectors.

Mr Silicon said the bank is ready to make direct and non-direct investments or in bond form to Mongolia.   

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Prime Minister visits Microsoft Innovation Center

June 25 ( Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg, currently visiting the USA, has met the commercial and strategy director of the Microsoft Corporation Dorothy Dvoskin, and the Central Licensing Director for Eastern Europe Yevgenia A.Danilov.

The Microsoft Innovation Center is responsible for product marketing and working with third-party organizations such as official or governmental agencies. It also deals with issues of copyright protection, development of new technology products, and innovation.

The Prime Minister confirmed that the Government of Mongolia is ready to implement 180 actions to the public online in order to support parental advisory control and combat copyright violation after hearing Microsoft's products are widely used in Mongolia without parental control and due attention to copyright law.

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Prime Minister meets with Stanford University representatives in DC

June 25 ( On the first day of Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg's visit to Washington he met representatives of Stanford University headed by Medicine School professor Jeffrey Glenn.

During the meeting, the two sides exchanged their opinions about cooperation in establishing bio-technology and bio-pharmaceutical industries in Mongolia. Currently, Mongolia is encountering high rates of the Hepatitis C virus. The doctors at Stanford have suggested that it is possible to outsource the production of anti-Hepatitis C virus medicine in developing countries, such as Mongolia, and then to supply it to developed countries. Under such a model, the initial finance of USD 20-40 million would be incurred by both sides.

Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg said – Mongolia's mining-based economy is also able to support other sectors. In particular, we are ready to seriously study your proposal regarding biotechnology.

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President Presents Amendments to Laws on State Service, Political Parties

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) The leader of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj Wednesday presented to the media his draft new wordings of the laws on the state service and on political party.

These drafts have been formulated in frames of the President's policy and action program and within his "From big government to the Smart government" initiative.

Mr Elbegdorj is confident that these draft amendments will be vital to the political life and to solution of urgent problems facing Mongolia. 

Firstly, the six principles must be kept in the state service as its professionalism, stability, complete separation from conflicts of interest and politics, openness, responsibility and control, and continuity. "Let's make appointments on a competitive basis, and promotions and rewarding--by taking into account the knowledge, skills, work experience, productivity and leadership qualities," he said.

Secondly, the state service must be performed step by step, "no strangers must be allowed in". For example, to achieve in 18-20 years a post of Secretary of State of a Ministry, head of an agency or governor of aimag and the city's district, one must go through all the stages of the state service, spending four-five years for every step/level. This will not allow assign unwanted or unnecessary people".

Thirdly, "we must toughen the responsibility of state servants, to this will contribute a recently adopted general law on administration".

Fourthly, it is necessary that decisions of the Council of State Service are carried out rigorously, "a right to monitor the implementation of the decisions will be given to police or other authorities". If the decision is regarded wrong, one can apply to a court, he added. "I have also highlighted all the activities that a state employee is strictly forbidden to carry out, it is 19, for example, abuse of power, putting pressure on the other, claiming a compensation for the services, and so on".   

Fifthly, "we must completely separate the state service from the politics by avoiding such a situation when the lack of progress in the work of the party, which has the mandate of parliament, leads to a lack of progress in the work of the state, and vice versa".
Sixthly, it is necessary to stop the appointments and layoffs of state servants. "Following an example of other countries I want to introduce a '3+2' principle, that is, when a new appointee--political state servant--can appoint three political officers that is his advisor, assistant and a press secretary, and two state administrative servants--a chauffeur or somebody more. That's all, no more people can be touched," he stressed. 

At seventh, the new version proposes having "glass record" on state services operations, "let's build an information network where all records are open to public about the attendance and results of the state service example, plus, information on warnings and responsibilities imposed by the State, and the observances of those responsibilities must be shared publicly."

At eighth, the people are to be given the monitoring authority of the implementation of this law. "In other words, disputes within the state services will be settled by administrative court. This is currently a responsibility of the State Service Council".  "Citizens and media should enjoy a right to demand for status reports from any state authority on the implementation of the law". 

At ninth, the State Service Council itself must be more responsible, "this is the way it can impose the responsibility on others".

"And the last one: I want to ban any amendments to this law within one year after parliamentary elections and an appointment of a Prime Minister, and within one year before parliamentary elections," underlined Mr Elbegdorj.

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Bill Submitted on Development Policy and Planning

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) Head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government S.Bayartsogt Thursday submitted to parliament a draft law on development policy and planning.

The draft has been worked out with aims to improve a quality of formulating policy documents on development, to ensure their cohesion and implementation, to make their monitoring and evaluation, and to create a legal environment for reporting the documents' realization.

If the law is adopted, he went on, the documents on development policy will become more ordered and understandable, and the continuation and cohesion of short-, middle- and long-term documents of developmental policies will improve. It will also create a legal environment for sustainable and united conditions of the development policy.  

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Parliament Session Agenda for June 25: Plenary Session

June 25 ( Plenary session is scheduled for today.

1. Approval of credit agreement of reforming the payment system established between the Government of Mongolia and the Asian Development Bank

- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

- Introduction by MP L.Bold

2. Draft resolution of State Great Khural on "Approval of Mongolia`s 2014 budget performance"

- Introduction by MP S.Bayartsogt

- Introduction by Mongolian General Auditor A.Zangad

3. Amendments to draft law on real estate mortgage and affiliated other drafts

4. Amendments to draft law on land

- Introduction by MP Su.Batbold

5. Draft law on public hearing and affiliated other drafts

- Introduction by MP Kh.Temuujin

6. Draft law on child care service and affiliated other drafts

- Introduction by MP Ts.Oyungerel

7. Draft law on movable property and immovable property collateral and affiliated other drafts

- Introduction by MPJ.Batzandan

8. Draft law on violation and affiliated other drafts

- Introduction by MP D.Ganbat

9. Draft law on fire security and affiliated other drafts

- Introduction by MP D.Lundeejantsan

10. Draft resolution of State Great Khural on approval of state policy on food and agriculture and state policy on establish Khalkh Gol free zone 

- Introduction by MP R.Burmaa

- Introduction by MP G.Bayarsaikhan

11. Draft law on urban redevelopment and affiliated other drafts

- Introduction by MP G.Batkhuu

12. Draft law on firearms and affiliated other drafts

-- Introduction by MP Kh.Temuujin

- Introduction by MP Ts.Oyungerel

13. Draft law on the proceedings of the Constitutional Court  law and affiliated other drafts

- Introduction by human right and legal policy advisor to the president Ch.Unurbayar

14. Amendments to draft law on social insurance

- Introduction by Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare S.Erdene

15. Draft law on future heritage and affiliated other drafts

- Introduction by Citizen Participation and Economic policy Advisor to the President L.Dashdorj

- Introduction by MP R.Amarjargal

16. Amendments to draft law on Intelligence Organization and affiliated other drafts

- Introduction by MP S.Bayartsogt

- Introduction by MP N.Nomtoibayar

17. Draft law on damages and affiliated other drafts

- Introduction by MP S.Bayartsogt

- Introduction by MP Ch.Khurelbaatar

18. Draft law on custom tax exemption and draft law on value added tax exemption

- Introduction by Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat

- Introduction by MP D.Gankhuyag

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MP Uyanga: MPs supporting dismissal of PM not reaching required 19

June 25 ( It has been over a month since MP O.Baasanjav announced of his intentions to dismiss Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg.

In order to submit the resolution draft on dismissal of the Prime Minister it requires at least 19 Members of Parliament to sign on the petition.

The collection of the sign is under responsibility of MP G.Uyanga and the latest update on the sign collection given by the MP was around 10.

While today at the Plenary Session she stated: "Number of MPs supporting dismissal of Ch.Saikhanbileg is not reaching 19."

Link to article


Mongolia and World Bank sign credit agreements for projects supporting education quality and transparent and efficient service delivery

ULAANBAATAR, June 18, 2015 — (World Bank) -- Minister of Finance J. Erdenebat and World Bank Country Manager James Anderson signed on June 18 credit agreements totaling  US$63 million for three new projects: the Education Quality Reform Project, the E-Health Project and the SMART Government Project.

"The World Bank and the Government of Mongolia have partnered for nearly 25 years on many projects in a variety of sectors. We are pleased to be working together on education, health, and smart government, three priority areas for the government, and we look forward to collaborating with the World Bank in the future," said Minister of Finance J. Erdenebat.

The Education Quality Reform Project ($27.4) aims to improve the quality of education for primary school children in Mongolia. The project will create a results focus within the education system and strengthen the country's capacity to provide classroom-level support for teaching and learning in every primary school in the country. The project will extend access to high-quality learning materials, establish a national assessment system, improve teacher professional development, and implement a school grants program.  

The E-Health Project ($17.9) will design an e-health system to provide faster access to more integrated health information systems. This will speed the processing of referrals, avoid duplication of tests and procedures, and facilitate follow-up care. The project will pilot the new e-health system in three aimags allowing for information to be shared among hospitals and healthcare providers, even in remote areas, according to the World Bank.

The SMART Government Project ($17.8) aims to use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve accessibility, transparency and efficiency of public services in Mongolia. The Project will support the government in achieving its vision of leveraging the ICT sector as a key driver of growth, competitiveness, and improved governance. The project will support competitiveness of the economy and contribute to Mongolia's improved global rankings for e-government.

"We look forward to working with the government to improve the quality of primary education and health services across the country, and to leverage Mongolia's vast broadband infrastructure and ICT to make public services more efficient and accessible to everyone," said James Anderson, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia.

The concessional credits are supported by the International Development Association, a part of the World Bank Group.

Link to release


Bill Submitted on Ratifying Safety and Health in Mines Convention

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) The head of Cabinet Secretariat S.Bayartsogt MP submitted to the Speaker a draft law on ratifying the Safety and Health in Mines Convention (No.176), on June 24.

Mongolia has been required to reflect on the laws, regulating occupational safety and health in mining, to change the laws in line with international standards, and to increase an accountability on the implementations. Bayartsogt noted. He also said Mongolia's parliament should ratify the International Labor Organization's Convention No.176, as required by the National Human Rights Commission and by a resolution No.13 of the Standing committee on Justice issued in 2013. "Also it is one of Mongolia's duties before the trilateral agreement between labor unions, social institutions and the Government," he said. 

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1,000 students set off for military service under Student-Soldier Program

June 16 (UB Post) Some 1,000 students headed to begin their military services on Monday, as part of the President's Student Soldier Program.

This is the second year the program is being implemented to increase the number of men enlisted into the state military service. Only 30 percent of men eligible for military service are enlisted every year, according to the Mongolian Youth Federation (MYF).

The Student Soldier Program enabled students to fulfill their military service during their summer breaks.

President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj approved the MYF's initiative for the program after consulting with military organizations.

First year students who are above the age of 18 are qualified to the program. Candidates will serve for two months during their summer breaks until they graduate.

The criteria also requires students to pass a medical examination, attend all general military exercises and pay their university fees on time to qualify for the service.

Last year, 418 first year students enlisted and served for two months from 30 universities, while 1,000 first year students from 40 universities in Ulaanbaatar and 21 provinces are enlisting this year.

The ceremony to see them off took place at the National University of Defense. Families and friends of the students gathered at the event to wish them success.

Out of 1,165 students who registered to enlist, 1,000 passed the physical examination and other requirements this year.

"Several second year students who were underage last year are enlisting this time. We are glad that more students have shown interest in serving the military through the program this year," said President of the MYF N.Sanchirbaatar.

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The rich don't understand the suffering of the poor

- Conceding will turn the energy sector's loss to profit –

June 16 (UB Post) What are our daily needs dependent on? Obviously, we need food and water to survive, buses for transportation, and cellphones for keeping in touch with others. However, there's one essential thing that all our daily needs are dependent on: energy.

Although everybody consciously knows that our lives would be complicated without energy, we don't actually realize this. Many seem to realize the significance of power and electricity only when encountering a blackout, considering that electric distribution network operators receive countless complaints and inquiries asking when the power will be back on. Consumers become infuriated at news of price increases for electricity, but they haven't got a clue as to how expensive it is to produce one kilowatt (kW) of electricity. As a matter of fact, a kW of electricity is delivered to consumers after completing many production procedures which have considerable costs.

The average cost of producing, transmitting and distributing one kW-hour to a household is up to 144 MNT, according to distribution network operators. Yet, electricity is provided to consumers for 122 MNT per kW.

The effort of many, and a considerable amount of money, is required for producing the most crucial need of the public – electricity, and providing them with a comfortable life with limitless access to hot water and power. While the price of consumer commodities rise due to economic situations and market fluctuations, the power sector is unable to freely increase the price of electricity, as it would cause a huge commotion and numerous difficulties.

Presently, Thermal Power Plant No.2 generates one kW-hour for 101.84 MNT, Darkhan Power Plant for 133.55 MNT, Erdenet Power Plant for 166 MNT, and Sakhit Plant produces one kW-hour for 184 MNT. The power sector has to import Russian energy at a cost of 161.38 MNT for one kW-hour during peak hours.

Then there is Thermal Power Plant No.4, a government owned shareholding company, which supplies 70 percent of electric needs in the central region of Mongolia. This power plant sells energy to distribution network operators at the price of 46.57 MNT per kW. The conditions of other power plants are quite obvious, considering that the largest power plant in Mongolia is straying from market rules and supplying power at such a low price.

Everybody would agree that increasing electricity and heating tariffs and prices would put a burden on the public. Most people wouldn't even be interested in knowing why electricity tariffs are increasing, and oppose it firmly. The price of electricity has been manipulated for a long time in Mongolia. Members of the energy sector underline that artificial pricing has led this sector to operate with massive losses.

For example, there is a gap of 22 MNT between the cost of per kW produced and per kW distributed to consumers. This amount seems small, but the loss can be measured in billions when accounted for over the 250,000 consumers of each power plant.

In 2010, the parliament passed Resolution No.72, which aims to completely transfer the energy sector to free market relations. In accordance with this resolution, projects to liberalize prices and have the energy sector work without a loss by 2014 should have already started. Unfortunately, the fact that decision makers didn't seek ways to implement Resolution No.72 has led Mongolia to its current state with billions in losses.

The parliamentary Standing Committee on Economy recently made a decision to make the energy sector in the central and western provinces work more efficiently. The Ministry of Energy also announced the enforcement of this decision. Still, enforcing the decision doesn't mean that energy prices will be fully liberalized. The Minister of Energy proclaimed an increase to the price of electricity in stages without impacting household economies. The date of when this decision will be executed isn't specific, and it's still too early to determine how much longer people in the energy sector will have to endure existing conditions.

There's a saying that the rich don't understand the suffering of the poor. This Mongolian folk saying well describes the present situation of the energy sector. In other words, the rich are consumers and the poor are the producers of energy – the energy sector. It's certain that the poor will not stay poor forever. The situation would be reversed if power plants stopped their operations, or if a fire broke out at a power plant. The whole nation would become "hungry" for energy if this were to happen. Strictly speaking, when that happens, people wouldn't be able to get access to electricity even if they were willing to pay 200 or 300 MNT per kW of electricity. But, this is only the worst-case scenario. The energy sector is working at full capacity and continuing to distribute electricity and heat to all residents in Mongolia. Most importantly, the loss from the price gap has become the noose around the neck of the energy sector.

The energy sector faced a loss of 68.5 billion MNT last year, according to official statistics from the Ministry of Energy. Experts of the energy sector emphasized that this loss came from selling energy for cheaper prices than production costs. It is necessary for people to stop complaining for a moment, exercise patience, and to boost the price of electricity for the sake of the future of this sector and Mongolia's economy.


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Mongolia Climbs 3 Spots to #7 in Foreign Policy's Baseline Profitability Index

June 25 (Foreign Policy) --

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Macmahon Holdings shares soar after sale of Mongolian operations

June 25 (Sydney Morning Herald) Shares in Macmahon Holdings have soared 39 per cent after the struggling mining contractor offloaded its Mongolian operations for $US65 million ($85 million), extricating the company from a 10-month payment dispute with its client on the project.

The sale of the Singaporean subsidiary that houses its Mongolian business to an unnamed private company is expected to net Macmahon $US62 million.

The news sent Macmahon's shares up 39 per cent to 6.4¢ at midday. The stock was the biggest gainer in the All Ordinaries index on Thursday morning, although it is trading well down on the 12-month high of 14¢ hit last August.

Macmahon chief financial officer Sybrandt Van Dyk said the company was pleased it had recovered some of the money it invested in Mongolia.

"The recoveries we get from the deal are higher than the asset carrying value we have the project at on our books, net of provisions," he said.

The payment dispute was ignited in August 2014 when Macmahon revealed Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, the project's Mongolian coal miner, was $22 million behind on progress payments.

Sustained negotiations followed, with Macmahon at one stage considering international arbitration to resolve the dispute. Macmahon said the sale would result in its exit from the troublesome contract, with the buyer managing it going forward. The $US500 million, five-year contract was expected to expire in 2017.

"They take over the contractual obligations and obviously the risk as part of the deal," Mr Van Dyk said.

The dispute hasn't turned the company off operating in Mongolia in the future, with Mr Van Dyk saying Macmahon had considerable expertise in the region that could be applied to future projects.

"We still see Mongolia as a potential market place for us to do business. Rio has a big operation out there and we should be in a very good position to provide services to them if and when they kick off their underground operations."

Under the sales agreement, Macmahon has "provided certain warranties about the entities involved in the transaction and their assets and operations" but Mr Van Dyk said they were "the bare minimum of warranties one would provide in a transaction of this sort" and did not leave Macmahon tied to the contract.

"The buyer is fully aware with the position we were in up there and have done due diligence as such so they are really up to speed," he said.

The news comes after Macmahon on Monday revealed it would book a writedown of between $95 million and $125 million on its equipment and inventory values in its full-year report, in addition to a $130 million impairment recorded in its first-half results.

Macmahon has been hit by a slowdown in the mining services sector and the loss of major contracts, including a $1.8 billion contract to work on Fortescue's Christmas Creek project, worth $260 million a year.

The company is currently in extended talks with its banking syndicate about resizing its $317.5 million facility.

Mr Van Dyk said the deal meant the company was now in a net cash position, which might improve the outcome of its debt talks.

"With this inflow of money hopefully the talks do take a different tone," he said.

"We will see if we actually do need to continue with the syndicate … our options are to either continue with the syndicated facility or retire the syndicate and work on a working capital basis plus an asset financing methodology going forward."

The talks were expected to be wrapped up by June 30, but Mr Van Dyk said they might be extended.

Chairman Jim Walker said it had been "a tough run" for the company in recent months but it was bidding on $2.2 billion of tenders and had progressed to the final stage of some tenders.

Link to article

Link to MAH release


Macmahon set to win reprieve on Mongolia contractThe Australian, June 25

Impairment of AssetsMacmahon, June 22


Macmahon provides business update following sale of Mongolia business

·         Sale of Mongolian business for US$65 million resulting in net cash position

·         Organisational restructure completed – significantly reduced overhead and operating costs

·         Current tendering pipeline of $2.2 billion (50:50 split domestic and offshore)

June 25 -- Macmahon Holdings Limited (ASX:MAH) is pleased to confirm it is now in a net cash position following the sale of its Mongolian operations for US$65 million.

Macmahon Executive Chairman Jim Walker, said the Company's positive cash balance represented a milestone in the transformation of Macmahon.

"As a result of our cost reduction program, the recent settlement of our CSA claim, and now the Mongolia sale, we are in a cash positive position." he said.

As previously announced to the ASX, Macmahon has been engaged in lengthy discussions with its lenders about a facility review event triggered in February 2015. These discussions were close to finalisation prior to the Mongolia sale. However, it is likely further discussions will now occur given the Company's improved financial position.

Business strategy and tendering

Since the cancellation of the Christmas Creek contract, the Board and management of Macmahon have moved decisively to reduce costs and streamline the business.

"Our business strategy is simple" Mr Walker said.

"Firstly, we are resetting the business by stripping back our cost base. This has helped us to significantly improve our pricing and our competitiveness.

"Secondly, in relation to new work, we plan to diversify our order book by broadening our business development focus to include a greater number of smaller opportunities.

"We are currently tendering more than a dozen opportunities totalling more than $2.2 billion.

"This work is spread across Australia and internationally, with more than half of the opportunities relating to gold projects that run for 3 or more years.

"The mining services sector has recently faced significant headwinds. However, this has always been a cyclical business. We are determined to prove we can generate cash no matter what the market is doing, and be well positioned for the next upturn," Mr Walker said.

Link to release


Areva Subsidiary in Mongolia Receives Licenses to Mine Uranium

By Michael Kohn

June 25 (Bloomberg) -- A unit of France's Areva SA receives 3 mining licenses in Mongolia, according to Thierry Plaisant, general director of AREVA Mongol LLC.

* Licenses to allow mining at Dulaan Uul and Zuuvch Ovoo uranium deposits.

* Licenses issued to Cogegobi, a minerals exploration company 100% owned by AREVA Mongol LLC.

* Licenses to be transferred from Cogegobi to AREVA Mines LLC, a JV 34% owned by Mon-Atom, 66% owned by AREVA Mongol

* AREVA Mongol 66% co-owned by Areva SA and 34% by Mitsubishi Corp. of Japan



R.Jigjid: Five companies have permission to extract uranium

June 25 ( During a press conference hosted by the Ministry of Mining, Minister R.Jigjid provided the following information:

-Since, we started to process exploration license applications online, we have received 926 applications. In accordance with the "Natural Resource Law", following careful study of the applications we have approved 343 special licenses.

In addition, we have given three special licenses to Kojegobi LLc (sub-company of Areva mining) to extract uranium in "Dulaan Uul" and "Zuuvch Ovoo" districts in the Ulaanbudrakh sum of the Dornogovi Aimag. The "Dulaan Uul" reserve is estimated at 7000 tons and "Zuuvch Ovoo" at 54000 tons of uranium. The Natural Resource Authority also informed that reserve estimates may well increase following exploration.

Currently, Areva Mining (France) owns 27 special licenses of the 49 uranium exploration licenses which Mongolian Government has approved.  Of the Areva Mining licenses, 15 are in the Sukhbaatar aimag and 12 in the Dornogovi aimag.

In total, Mongolia has given five A-Licenses for the extraction of uranium. But, due to the Governmental Policy and Laws, companies must extract uranium only in the primary state to produce yellow cake.  

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Sgurr engineers Tsetsii role

June 25 (RENews) SgurrEnergy has been appointed in the owner's engineer role by Clean Energy Asia, a joint venture between Mongolia's Newcom Group and Japanese Softbank Energy.

The renewable energy consultancy will undertake the role for the pre-construction and construction phase of the 50MW Tsetsii wind farm in Umnugovi aimag, Mongolia.

Sgurr already has experience of the development, construction and operation of Mongolian wind farms, having previously undertaken a prominent role in delivering the country's first, Salkhit. That project saw the first new power source connected to Mongolia's grid in more than three decades.

The Tsetsii wind farm is located in Southern Mongolia, 500km south of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and 20km south of the Tsogttsetsii settlement. The site comprises of approximately 72km² of remote, open desert and an isolated mountain location.

The team began working on the Tsetsii project in 2014, conducting feasibility studies and environmental and social impact assessments which included visits to the remotely located site.

The pre-construction phase of the project began in May 2015 with site works expected to begin in 2016. Mongolia has a target of achieving 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Sgurr's senior project manager, Conor Manning, said: "Our role in delivering Tsetsii wind farm is a great opportunity for SgurrEnergy to maintain and grow our strong working relationship with Clean Energy Asia and to continue working in this important region."

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RE/MAX Real Estate Network Increases Presence In Asia with Mongolia Franchise

Real Estate Network Offers Franchise Opportunities Overseas

DENVER, June 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- RE/MAX, LLC continues to grow and expand its international presence, particularly throughout Asia. As master franchises and regions are sold and offices open, the RE/MAX brand is able to provide international buyers new real estate opportunities in China, Mongolia and Japan.

Master franchise RE/MAX China previously sold its first regional franchise, RE/MAX Beijing, to owners Catia Kong and husband Andy Gu, who opened the company's first office in Beijing last year. Shortly after, RE/MAX China sold RE/MAX Shanghai, RE/MAXGuangzhou and RE/MAX Shenzhen regional rights to Nathan Yang.

In February, RE/MAX sold master franchise RE/MAX Mongolia to principal directors Batbaatar Narantuya and his wife, Bujinlkham Bold. Both seek to professionalize the mostly unregulated real estate market.

In May, master franchise RE/MAX Japan sold its second regional franchise, RE/MAX Kansai, to the current owner of RE/MAX Osaka, Kazuya Moto-oka. Moto-oka will continue to serve as owner of both regional franchises and Machiko Kotani will serve as CEO. The RE/MAX Kansai team will continue creating opportunities for women in Japan by leveraging the company's agent-centric business model.

"Our top priorities for international development are to continue to provide professional real estate services across boarders and to revolutionize the real estate industry in each country," said Larry Oberly, Vice President, Global Development of RE/MAX, LLC. "We're happy with the progress made throughout Asia thus far and look forward to the many opportunities to come."

RE/MAX in Asia currently consists of operations in China, Guam,India, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau,Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand. It is currently seeking franchise candidates for each of these countries, as well as Hong Kong, Macau, Myanmar, Taiwan and the Federated States of Micronesia.

RE/MAX has a presence in nearly 100 countries, a global reach greater than any competitor. In October, RE/MAX received the highest global ranking among real estate franchises by Entrepreneurmagazine.

With more than 6,740 independently owned and operated offices around the world with more than 100,000 sales associates, RE/MAX offers buyers and sellers the experience and knowledge of the most productive real estate network. 

About the RE/MAX Network:

RE/MAX was founded in 1973 by Dave and Gail Liniger, with an innovative, entrepreneurial culture affording its agents and franchisees the flexibility to operate their businesses with great independence. Over 100,000 agents provide RE/MAX a global reach of nearly 100 countries. Nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX.

RE/MAX, LLC, one of the world's leading franchisors of real estate brokerage services, is a subsidiary of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: RMAX).

With a passion for the communities in which its agents live and work, RE/MAX is proud to have raised more than $150 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals® and other charities.

For more information about RE/MAX, to search home listings or find an agent in your community, please visit

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BCM Monthly Meeting Presentations, June 22

"Xanadu Mines: Driving Ahead In a Copper Hotspot" Dr. Andrew Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Xanadu Mines Ltd. 

"Meat export: Mongolian pipe dream" Suvdmaa Munkhzaya, Managing Director, PRECOM Co., Ltd. 

"Applus Velosi – Engineering for a Safer World" Michael Marshall, Executive Director – Mongolia, Applus Velosi 

"Mastering the Mind: Focus on EQ", by Mr.U.Ganzorig, the President of Golomt Bank and Chairman of Mandal Insurance

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New World Bank Report Looks at How to Bring On-site Sanitation to Ger Areas of Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar, June 18, 2015 (World Bank) — Representatives from municipality, districts and government ministries, as well as CSOs and development organizations gathered today to participate in a Roundtable discussion on improving sanitation in Ulaanbaatar city's ger areas.

The roundtable was organized by the Capital City Governor's Office and the World Bank around a World Bank-supported report entitled Improving Sanitation in the Ger Areas of Ulaanbaatar City to discuss potential areas of support to the Government of Mongolia to implement the report's recommendation: to invest in on-site sanitation in ger areas.

Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital city in the world, with a sub-arctic continental climate. The intense cold has a number of effects on sanitation systems, affecting a large proportion of the ger area population. More than 98 percent of the residents of these areas have access to sanitation facilities, but about 95 percent of these facilities are basic pit latrines. As such, residents have ranked sanitation third among the public services that should be improved, after electricity and water supply.

Improved sanitation can improve health and the environment and produce economic benefits from increased tourism. Improved sanitation in the ger areas will reduce health risks for the entire city. 

The report and roundtable discussion focus on how to support significant upgrades to improve the quality of life for all ger area households. The report complements the City of Ulaanbaatar's Ger Area Redevelopment Plan by addressing sanitation for households that will not be connected to sewer networks in the near future. 

"We hope the analysis and recommendations in this new report will help the Government of Mongolia in their efforts to improve sanitation in ger areas of Ulaanbaatar city," said James Anderson, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia.

The results of the study in Ulaanbaatar will inform further reports, including a Catalog of Technical Options for Sanitation in Cold Regions and a synthesis report summarizing potential options for sanitation improvement in cold regions worldwide.

The World Bank currently supervises a portfolio of approximately US$22 billion in lending through 181 projects and about 200 reports and studies in the water and sanitation sector.  In the last three years World Bank activities helped provide access for over 36 million people to improved water supply, and 10 million people to improved sanitation services. The World Bank Group commitments to developing countries towards sustainable water and sanitation solutions stand to reach an average of 30 million people each year.

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Asian Development Bank: Ulaanbaatar Related Projects

June 25 (Mongolian Economy) L2301-MON: Urban Development Sector Project-The urban development sector in Mongolia faced many challenges including deficiency in the quality of urban infrastructure and services, especially in ger areas; lack of community participation in the management and operation of urban services; lack of cost recovery and inadequate financial management in public services; lack of financial and organizational autonomy of the Public Utilities Service Organizations; lack of capacity of local governments, through the PUSOs, to provide and operate urban infrastructure and facilities, and inadequate urban roads and their poor maintenance in Ulaanbaatar. 

ADB stepped in to address these issues with the Urban Development Sector Project. The project, executed by the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, aims to improve living conditions and quality of life of the urban population through upgrading basic urban services, roads and facilities. The total project cost is USD 46.3 million, of which ADB finances USD 35.23 million, Government provides USD 9 million equivalent as counterpart funds; DED and the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GIZ) co-finance USD 1.2 million and USD 0.2 million respectively. While major project activities included provision of clean water and sanitations services in provincial towns, Khailaast, Baruunsalaa and Orbit-Takhilt, roads in UB city totaling 12.5 km were built providing the residents with better access to services and jobs. The project started implementation on 26 Feb 2008 and is due to finish in July 2015. 

The Fourth Health Sector Development Project and Fourth Health Sector Development Project-Additional Financing projects support establishment of a demonstration multifunction general hospital in Songinohairkhan district, the poorest district of Ulaanbaatar. This will include construction of new hospital, equipping the hospital, and introducing innovative management systems. Civil works are planned to start in 2016 and completed by end of 2018. The government aims to use the new demonstration general hospital as a model to be replicated in the nine districts of Ulaanbaatar. This 250-bed hospital will include modern features such as surgical and maternity services, adequate diagnostic and laboratory capacity, integrated management of out- and inpatient departments, model nursing care, proper medical waste management, adequate infection prevention and control measures, and advanced information technology tools for patient and hospital management. Total project cost is USD 41.5 million, where the government is contributing USD 5.5 million, and USD 36 million is funded from ADB.

Urban Transport Development Investment Program aims to develop of efficient, safe, and affordable urban transport services in Ulaanbaatar for sustainable economic growth of Ulaanbaatar. The estimated total cost of implementing the program is USD 274.4 million equivalent over the next 6 to 9 years from 2015. The program will help build bus rapid transit (BRT) along the main corridors in Ulaanbaatar; develop infrastructure for urban roads, bridge, intersections; purchase low-emission buses, install an intelligent transport system (ITS)  elements, including ticketing bus management system (BMS) and bus information system (BIS). The program will be reviewed for the ratification during the 2015 Spring session of the Mongolian Parliament.

Ulaanbaatar Urban Services and Ger Areas Development Investment Program will support the Ulaanbaatar city master plan in upgrading priority service and economic hubs (subcenters) in ger areas, to respond to the urgent need to basic urban and socio-economic services. It will establish a network of six well-developed urban subcenters, providing employment, economic opportunities and urban services, as catalysts for growth. The program implementation time will be up to 9 years (until 2022) and will comprise three tranches/projects. 

The program has four outputs: (i) roads and urban services are expanded within priority subcenters, and connectivity between them is improved; (ii) economic and public services in targeted areas are increased; (iii) service providers become more efficient; and (iv) institutions and capacity are strengthened. The total cost of the program is USD 320 million. ADB will provide USD 163.70 million, the European Investment Bank will provide a parallel co-financing up to EUR 50 million. Project 1 will cost USD 104.52 million. ADB will finance USD 53.70 million. The Municipality of Ulaanbaatar is the executing agency of the program.

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ADB Presents Housing Projects Suitable for UB Redevelopment

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) At a meeting with the Ulaanbaatar City administrators, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) presented some housing projects, suitable for Ulaanbaatar's re-structuring plans and paying abilities, on June 24.

Mayor E.Bat-Uul thanked the ADB for implementing many projects and programs, collaborating with the UB City, and for supporting its actions, and expressed a satisfaction with the project proposal  presentation, "which is harmonized with the city's re-structuring plans and paying capacities, two of most important issues of Ulaanbaatar".

The ADB's team in charge of paying capacity project implementation started working in Mongolia on June 1, including members from the Asian Cities Development Initiative, and is to continue to work here until January of 2016. The ADB representatives also said that certain funding opportunities such as alternative and private loans have to be settled before executing the projects. Accordingly, the ADB plans to conclude the loan documents by May of 2016 and to get approval from the ADB Board by the following December. The Bank will also provide technical assistance for its projects. 

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Mayor Seeks UK Assistance in Ulaanbaatar Development

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) The capital city of Mongolia wants to have consulting service from British experts for specific projects on a general planning of Ulaanbaatar.

The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city Mr Bat-Uul said it during meeting with Ms Catherine Arnold, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the UK to Mongolia on Thursday. Expressing his satisfaction with the new Ambassador of the UK, Mr Bat-Uul exchanged views with Mr Arnold on the general planning of UB and cooperating in other directions.

"London City has promised to us to back our works, and we have the willingness to cooperate with London. So we hope Ms Arnold will also support us," Mr Bat-Uul said, adding that Ulaanbaatar wants to collaborate with the Foundation for Ecology and Green Development.

"It is planned to establish a memorandum on developing sustainable cooperation between the capital cities," said Mr Bat-Uul.

In response, the Ambassador Ms Arnold said she will contribute to the collaboration between Ulaanbaatar and London. There are many directions to develop the cooperation with Ulaanbaatar, she said.

Ms Arnold pointed out that the Globe Theatre will perform in Mongolia on August 12, 2015 within its tour around the world, and it will stage Hamlet.

The Mayor said the UB Administration will fully support the event in frames of the "Friendly Ulaanbaatar" program.   

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How much does it cost from Zaisan to Chinggis Hotel? 5,500 or 10,000?

June 25 ( Many are quick to judge the services of the unofficial taxis. Some doubt if the driver charges the right amount or asks for more and many may say that the driver's attitude is not of the best. But how is it for the foreigners or tourists to be served by those unofficial ones?

We have to be hospitable to anyone who came to visit our country and stopped by at our capital city, whether the person stays in a five star hotel or dwells in a guest house. This will be turning point to attracting more visitors for the next years.

Ulaanbaatar city envisioned its development through 2030 and by then the city aims to become the tourist and business hub in north-east Asia. But with this big vision how is the city's taxi service on tourists, foreigners or expats living and working here in UB?

Is it favourable, safe and honest enough for those who would catch a taxi on a street and get where the person was heading regardless of being local or foreign? In order to answer these questions we have conducted test on this matter.

Tudor Illiescu, expat from Romania working in UB for a short time, volunteered with our test and helped us to be tourist or expat trying to get help from taxi to get to the destination.

Test 1.

He went on to catch a taxi from Chinggis Khaan Hotel to Tom&Tom's Coffee Shop located in Zaisan at Zaisan Square Building. Before getting into the taxi Tudor asked on fare fee per kilometer. Taxi driver of age 40 nicely answered him it is to be MNT 800 per kilometer.

The driver proceeded to the Peace Avenue and turned left at the crossing near Ministry of Foreign Affairs, going on further all the way to the Traffic Police Authority and further went on Olympic Street to the final where we agreed to meet at the Zaisan Tom&Tom's. The driver charged Tudor MNT 5,500 for the total ride of 7 km. We were following the taxi for the whole time.

Odometer on our car also showed the distance of 7 km from Chinggis Khaan Hotel to the Tom&Tom's Coffee shop located in Zaisan Square. This time the taxi driver was a nice middle-aged man with good attitude. He was friendly and even talked to Tudor and even taught him few Mongolian words.

Tudor also was satisfied with the service of the taxi and told us that the driver started the odometer and charged accordingly with the distance.

Test 2.

Here at Zaisan we decided to do another test back to Chinggis Khaan Hotel. We sent Tudor to catch another taxi to go back from where we started the whole experiment. The taxi confirmed the charge per kilometer to be MNT 800 and proceeded all the way to the Marshall Bridge from Zaisan area.

This time the driver detoured a bit, but still Tudor succeeded to get to the destination safely. Tudor also noticed that and sent us sms jokingly saying: "I think we're close to the Chinese border".

The driver went through the Marshall Bridge and made right turn at the intersection at the Traffic Police Authority (We are not exaggerating, the driver made right turn.), headed to east passing Naitonal Park went on pass Narantuul Market intersection. Then made left turn to Sansar Tunnel and finally we got to the Chinggis Khaan Hotel. This was one long ride. Tudor was charged for the ride from Zaisan to Chinggis Khaan Hotel total of MNT 10,000.

Previous driver charged MNT 5,500 while the second driver charged MNT 10,000 while detouring to get to the destination.

This time we did our test two times. One was with nice attitude and charged honestly and the second one make the ride longer and charged twice as much. We have documented the two tests with videos and photos.

There is wrong attitude among the service industry people in Mongolia that if the customer is foreigner he or she has a lot of money. Second driver proved this as well. To think of this situation, tourists or any other person has a budget and tries to spend within the budget. When we are travelling abroad we are also calculating every penny.

In order to improve tourism in Mongolia we have to pay attention to infrastructure, public transportation and services. Taxi is not an exception in this regard. Therefore, it is not necessary to speak English as people can communicate even using body language. What is more important is to be honest and deliver good service. 

This experiment intended to reveal the real life situation foreigners are facing in every day live in the streets of UB city. Therefore, we intentionally chose to test how unofficial taxis are delivering their services. In this scope, we did not use the services of official taxis, which are considered as safe and licensed to conduct the services.

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Readout of Vice President Biden's Meeting with Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg of Mongolia

June 25 (White House) Today, Vice President Biden met with Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg at the White House. In the meeting, the Vice President congratulated Mongolia on twenty-five years of democracy. The Vice President thanked Mongolia for its important contributions to Afghanistan and peacekeeping operations in South Sudan and elsewhere. Vice President Biden and Prime Minister Saikhanbileg discussed our mutual interest in expanding bilateral commercial and investment ties. To that end, the Vice President encouraged and expressed support for Mongolia's efforts to reform its economy. The Vice President and Prime Minister reaffirmed both countries' commitment to broadening and strengthening the bilateral relationship, based on shared values and common interests, in the months and years to come.

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PM Meets Members of US-Mongolia Friendship Group in Congress

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) Paying a working visit to the USA, the Prime Minister of Mongolia Mr Ch.Saikhanbileg Wednesday met Jim McDermott and Joseph Pitts, the members of the US Congress.

The US-Mongolia friendship group at the Congress was established in 2004, Mr Pitts has been serving  as its head since 2010 alongside Mr McDermott. The latter also is the head of the Committee on safety of population income and of the Sub-committee on supporting families.

At the meeting, Mr Saikhanbileg thanked the Congressmen for backing Mongolia since it transferred to the democracy and market economy, and hoped that the Mongolia-US relations will forward.

On occasion of the 800th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire, a 828th resolution was adopted by the Congress, initiated by 27 Congressmen, on boosting the relations with Mongolia. This resolution mirrors issues of fortifying the bilateral strategic ties in politics, economy, education and culture, developing the multilateral and bilateral commercial ties, supporting the private sector's investments, expanding the business relations, and encouraging Mongolia's enthusiasm in taking part in actions of international organizations. 

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Mongolia PM Receives Congressman Peter Roskam in DC

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister of Mongolia Mr Ch.Saikhanbileg Wednesday received Mr Peter Roskam, a member of the US Congress in Washington DC, the USA.

25 years passed after Mongolia became a democratic country, Mr Saikhanbileg noted and said Mongolia is thankful to the U.S. Congress for supporting its democracy, and hoped that the bilateral cooperation will widen.

In response, Mr Roskam said he is glad the PM is visiting USA with the working visit, "it will contribute to the bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding".

Mr Peter Roskam used to serve the Chief Deputy Majority Whip at the House of Representatives, now he is the member of the Ways and Means committee. He also has been appointed the leader of the Partnership for Democracy at the US Congress which cooperates with the legislative bodies of 16 countries. Mongolia joined the partnership in 2006. 

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Myanmar president to visit Mongolia soon

YANGON, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar President U Thein Sein will pay an official visit to Mongolia soon, said an official announcement Thursday without giving specific date of his visit.U Thein Sein's upcoming Mongolia trip will be a reciprocal one to Myanmar by his Mongolian counterpart Tsakhia Elbegdorj in November 2013.

Then first visit to Myanmar by a head of state of Mongolia has marked the opening of a new chapter in Myanmar-Mongolia relations.

Both sides vowed to expand mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of trade, mining, tourist, culture and economic sectors.

During Elbegdorj's Nay Pyi Taw visit, Myanmar and Mongolia signed an agreement on mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and special passports of the two countries. 

The two countries established diplomatic ties in 1956. However, there were few exchanges between the two countries.

Mongolian Embassy to Myanmar is stationed in Vientiane, Lao.

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Russia, Mongolia to march in China parade to mark end of World War Two

June 25 (Reuters) Troops from Russia and Mongolia will march together with Chinese forces in a parade in Beijing in September to commemorate the end of World War Two, the government and state media said on Thursday, confirming the first two foreign participants.

China has been coy about which countries it plans to invite to the parade, but says it will also likely invite representatives from the Western Allies who fought with China during the war.

President Xi Jinping could be left standing on the stage with few top Western officials, however, diplomats have told Reuters, due to Western governments concerns over a range of issues, including the expected presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Xi attended a parade in Moscow in May to mark 70 years since the end of the war in Europe. Western leaders boycotted the Moscow parade over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis.

Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said that a "certain number" of country's militaries had already responded to the invitation for the Beijing event, which will be held around Tiananmen Square.

"Russia and others have already clearly said that they will send representatives to participate and watch the parade," Yang told a regular monthly news briefing, without providing details.

The Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, said that Mongolia, sandwiched between China and Russia, will also send a 75-strong military delegation to march.

The Beijing parade will be Xi's first since he took over as Communist Party leader and military chief in late 2012 and as state president in early 2013.

Sino-Japan relations have long been affected by what China sees as Japan's failure to atone for its occupation of parts of the country before and during the war, and Beijing rarely misses an opportunity to remind its people and the world of this.

In April, U.S. President Barack Obama's top Asia adviser, Evan Medeiros, said that he had questions about whether a large military parade would really send a signal of reconciliation or promote healing, drawing a rebuke from China.

This week, a senior Chinese official complained about what he said was a lack of appreciation in the West about China's sacrifices and contributions during the war.

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China's WW2 Military Parade to Include Russia, Mongolia - and TaiwanThe Diplomat, June 25


Mongolia opens 3rd consulate in China's Inner Mongolia

HOHHOT, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia opened its third Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region consulate in the city of Hulunbuir, north China, on Thursday.

The new consulate opened on Thursday. The two other consulates are in the regional capital of Hohhot and Erenhot City. The Hulunbuir consulate is the only one in the east of the region.

Tsedenjav Sukhbaatar, ambassador of Mongolia to China, said the eastern and southern parts of Mongolia are rich in mineral resources, which need to be sent to China and the Asia-Pacific market through eastern Inner Mongolia.

China and Mongolia are also looking to expand cooperation in areas such as tourism, economy and culture.

Niu Zhensheng, vice head of Hulunbuir, said the city is an important economic channel that connects the northeast with north China. The consulate will not only boost the local Hulunbuir economy, but also regional cooperation.

Sharing a 682 kilometers border with Mongolia, Hulunbuir has three national-level trading ports that channel goods to Mongolia.

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U.S. soldier returns home to Mongolia for training

FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, TAVANTOLGOI, Mongolia, June 23 (DVIDS) — When you think of home, what's the first thing that comes to mind? For some, it's the place you were born. For others, it's the place where you make a life for yourself. For one U.S. soldier, it is so much more.

U.S. Army Spc. Gunbold Ligden, an Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, native, is an infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Ligden is currently deployed to Mongolia to participate in Khaan Quest 2015.

Ligden lived in Ulaanbaatar for 15 years until he came upon a very rare chance to live and study in the U.S. under a privately funded foreign exchange program in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"Moving to the United States was wonderful!" said Ligden, 28. "When I lived in Mongolia, I watched a lot of Hollywood films. I had many expectations about the culture that I had seen through my exposure to popular media. I grew up watching movies with action stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme, so I grew up with an admiration for the U.S. military because of that. While I did not have any exposure to the American military while I lived in Mongolia, I did get a lot of exposure to the U.S. culture at a young age, which allowed me to practice my English and adapt to the American culture."

After high school, Ligden attended Broward Community College and majored in business. Shortly after, he transferred to Nova Southeastern University and almost immediately after that, attended graduate school at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship. It was at this point in his life when he discovered a higher calling.

"I was given the opportunity to grow, thrive and prosper in the United States, and I've seen all the good that the United States does throughout the world," Ligden said. "There were all these things that I appreciated about this country. Living in the United States and reaping all of the benefits that the country has to offer comes at a price. I found myself at a position where I was the beneficiary of many things, so it made sense for me to give back and pay it forward, and one of those ways I know is through military service."

Joining the military is a serious and life-altering decision for anyone to make in any country. Input from family members and peers can play a significant role in the decision to commit. 

"My family was quite shocked at my decision to join the [military], particularly in the United States," Ligden said. "They weren't sure if it was the best choice for me going forward, but I explained to them how this would help me grow and actually create many opportunities further down the road. They were very understanding and respected my decision and career choices thus far." 

Ligden joined the U.S. Army in April 2013 and began the nine weeks of basic military training at Fort Benning, Georgia, which immediately rolled into four to five weeks of infantry training. Ligden completed his training in August later that year, and upon graduation, received orders to Fort Wainwright, Alaska, where he is currently stationed.

"I've met a lot of different soldiers along the way with varying levels of experience and various cultures," Ligden said. "It has been very enriching. It has helped me grow physically, mentally, emotionally and it's helping me take my life to the next stage."

Military service can be one of the most adventurous and rewarding career choices that anyone can make. It will introduce you to all kinds of cultures and people who will create impressions that last a lifetime.

"Early on in my life, I wondered how I may be of service to my community, family, country and the world as a whole," Ligden said. "I always thought about ways to bridge the gap and make a connection between Mongolia, which is the place of my ancestry, and the United States, which is my new home. I draw from my experiences from both environments to try to help make connections. It's actually quite amazing that I'm in a position where I can really make an impact by translating and being an ambassador representing the U.S. Army in my homeland."

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Khaan Quest 2015 Commences

FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia, June 20 (DVIDS) — Mongolian Armed Forces and U.S. service members, along with more than 20 other nations, held an opening ceremony June 20 to mark the beginning of Exercise Khaan Quest 2015 at the Five Hills Training Area.

Khaan Quest is a regularly scheduled, multinational exercise hosted annually by MAF and co-sponsored by U.S. Army, Pacific, and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.

"This exercise is an event which truly contributes to the enhancement of peace keeping and peace support capacities of armed forces of different nations," said Tserendash Tsolmon, the minister of defense of Mongolia. "Furthermore, the Mongolian Armed Forces appreciates the accumulated experience gained by organizing this event. I am content that the range, importance and reputation of Khaan Quest has raised year by year and has now become one of the major events in the region."

By working side-by-side with other nations and combining their skills, KQ15 promotes and strengthens regional security, according to U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Christopher J. Mahoney, the deputy commander for U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.

"We live in a world full of opportunity and promise, but at the same time it is ever-changing and dangerous," Mahoney said. "It requires people of unusual skill and dedication who, through their action, can guarantee that opportunity. Through our collective efforts in Khaan Quest we can do just that."

Khaan Quest enhances the relationship of mutual respect between the MAF and U.S. service members, as well as strengthens multinational relationships around the world. 

"Humanitarian events such as engineering civic action program projects and incorporating health engagement events are an integral part of the exercise which raise the importance of this event," said Maj. Gen. Zagdsuren Boldbaatar, deputy defense minister of Mongolia. "They are comprehensive events that occur in the real environment."

There are over 1,200 military personnel from over 20 nations around the world here to participate in KQ15. Over the next two weeks, the service members will participate in a field training exercise focused on peacekeeping operations, survival training and competitive events. At the same time, the command post exercise will simulate realistic scenario-based missions to hone peacekeeping operations' command and control capabilities.

"The common thread between these elements, in my opinion the most important aspect of this exercise, is the forging of personal relationships," Mahoney said. "Not only will we create professional military-to-military relationships, we will build personal and lasting connections."

Mongolia has extensive experience in peacekeeping operations, having deployed its forces in peace support operations in South Sudan, Sierra Leone and the Balkans. Exercises such as Khaan Quest set the stage for all countries to learn from one another's experiences.

"There's something to be said about the troops in the FTX, buddy-rushing side-by-side in the dirt, becoming friends and brothers in arms; leaders around the terrain model practicing tactical decision-making together form bonds and trust through these learning experiences," Mahoney said. "What we accomplish here may answer the call of a nation in need and rest assured Khaan Quest will prepare us to answer that call. Khaan Quest 2015 is sure to live up to the high standard set in years previous. I know that everyone is ready to get started."

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Alaska service members depart for peacekeeping exercise in Mongolia

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska, June 16 (DVIDS) – Approximately 80 service members from the Alaska National Guard and U.S. Army Alaska's 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, departed here aboard two Alaska Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft bound for Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, yesterday.

The service members will join efforts with approximately 1,200 participants from across the Pacific region to participate in Khaan Quest, a peacekeeping operations focused, combined training event co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and hosted annually by the Mongolia Armed Forces. 

"This exercise allows our National Guardsmen to get out of Alaska and train in a new environment where they can experience another culture," said Maj. Aaron Kelsey, tactical command post officer for AKARNG's 297th Battle Field Surveillance Brigade. "Having familiarity and learning perspectives of other cultures will help them adjust quicker in a deployed setting. In the end, I think all sides will better appreciate what each brings to the fight."

The exercise is designed to enhance international interoperability and military readiness, develop peacekeeping capabilities, and build military-to-military relations between the U.S., Mongolia and other international forces in the Pacific region. 

"I think it's really beneficial, especially for junior enlisted Soldiers, to be emerged in and around other countries," said Capt. Pancho Gonzales, 3-21 Infantry Regiment, exercise platoon leader. "With the Army's change in mission and identity from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I think peacekeeping operations is going to be the next significant focus."

This year Khaan Quest consists of a command post exercise and field training exercise. During these events, Mongolian, U.S. and multinational forces will work to enhance regional interoperability, and mission effectiveness, as well as develop common tactics, techniques and procedures.

"I think one of the best things for us to take away from this as a platoon is to improve our troop leading procedures and take the best of what other countries have to offer," added Gonzales. "Hopefully, we can show them a few things that we do differently."

Mongolian and U.S. armed forces, along with other regional partners, will also collaborate to conduct Engineering Civic Action Program projects, as well as Cooperative Health Engagement events in Ulaanbaatar, enhancing joint Mongolian and U.S. medical capabilities and providing outreach to undeserved communities. 

Gonzales explained that even being from foreign countries, all Soldiers share a communal bond.

"We have a lot in common and the more we are able to experience this, the easier it will be to work beside each other in the future," explained Gonzales. "I really feel like as allied countries we are all brothers-in-arms." 

Partnered in 2003, Alaska and Mongolia have formed a bond sharing information through multiple exchanges and exercises. 

"Khaan Quest is one way we continue to enhance the relationship between the U.S. and Mongolian militaries," said Kelsey. "I'm hoping my troops appreciate the interaction with other countries and take their new skills and knowledge back home with them."

In addition to U.S. and Mongolian military forces, personnel from 25 other nations are slated to observe or participate in various portions of the exercise, including Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, Czech, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, and Vietnam.

2015 is the thirteenth year of this regionally significant training event and will run from June 20 to July 1 at the Mongolian Armed Forces Peace Support Center near Ulaanbaatar.

Link to article


China participates in Mongolian peacekeeping military exercise

ULAN BATOR, June 20 (Xinhua) -- China has for the first time sent troops for Exercise Khaan Quest, one of the world's largest training exercises focused on peacekeeping operations, which began on Saturday at a military base near Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia.

More than 1,200 military personnel from 23 nations, including Mongolia, the United States, China, France, Japan and others, are scheduled to participate in command post exercises and field training exercises.

According to the military attache office of the Chinese Embassy to Mongolia, this is the first time that China has sent troops to join the annual exercises, which began in 2003.

This year's exercises, which will last until July 1, aimed to enhance cooperation on international peacekeeping operations between all the participant countries, the Mongolian Defense Ministry said.

Link to article


Mongolian Armed Forces, US Service Members Conduct Health Services Support Engagement

SEVENTY-NINTH HIGH SCHOOL, ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, June 24 (DVIDS) — Throngs of people gathered outside of the high school eager to receive medical care from military professionals from around the world.

Mongolian Armed Forces and U.S. service members, along with other nations participating in Khaan Quest 2015, established a primary care outpatient clinic at the 79th High School to provide direct patient care to local residents through June 27.

"The health services support engagement is an international opportunity that allows medical providers from around the world, invited by MAF, to collaborate and conduct a subject matter exchange in health care practices from their respective nations," said U.S. Navy Lt. Nii Adjei J. Oninku, the lead medical planner for III Marine Expeditionary Force. "The overarching goal is for each provider, in their specialty, to learn from their counterparts from different nations. It's an exchange of general ideas and practices to better each other, because multiple nations are better than one."

The focus of the operation is to identify and treat acute or minor surgical conditions, provide health maintenance screening, as well as coordinate definitive treatment and home care for non-ambulatory patients. Various services to include dental, pediatrics, ophthalmology, neurology and cardiology are offered by multinational medical professionals throughout the seven day engagement. 

"It's good to train alongside other nations, especially during humanitarian missions where we will more than likely be working beside them," said Canadian Navt Lt. Cindy Rochette, a nursing officer with 1 Canadian Field Hospital. "Having the opportunity to learn how other nations operate with actual patients is invaluable." 

The goal of HSSE is to enhance combined multinational medical capabilities while providing outreach to local communities.

"After each day, we have a discussion about what went well and what we could have done better," said MAF 1st Lt. Ochbayar Naranochir, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. "We are better equipped and more knowledgeable than the last time, so I would say this year has been an improvement so far."

The skills gained during this engagement by the medical personnel are secondary to the immediate impact made in the lives of all patients. More importantly, however, are the lasting benefits felt throughout the Mongolian community long after Khaan Quest 2015 ends.

"This has been a great experience for all of our medical personnel," said Naranochir, an Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, native. "I'm very thankful for all of the participating nations for coming to Khaan Quest and helping my people."

Link to article


Energy Minister and UK Ambassador Discuss Ties

Ulaanbaatar, June 25 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Energy D.Zorigt Thursday received Ms Catherine Arnold, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the UK to Mongolia, to discuss with her the bilateral relations and cooperation issues.

Mongolia is one of the leading countries in natural resources especially in coal, the UK Ambassador noted and asked the Minister about his Ministry's policy and ways of developing collaboration between the two countries in this sphere. 

Answering her question, the Minister said the energy sector of Mongolia, which has a small population and big territories, needs investments, and that it covers 80% of the needs, the rest is supplied by Russia.

"Our nearest goal is to fully provide the country with energy. We have made a basis for producing electricity from renewable sources, which can produce 20% of the total energy by 2020. As of today, the amount of energy provision made from renewable energy sources is 6-7%, and we intend to lift up this number to 30% by 2030," he said.

Mongolia intends to implement several projects in order to satisfy an increasing consumption of energy and to reduce the energy import, "the already planned five projects are the 5th thermal power station of Ulaanbaatar, power stations in Baganuur and Tavan tolgoi, and the 'Eg River' hydropower station. There are others that are on a level of feasibility and environmental impact studies, for example, the 'Shivee-Ovoo' power plant of 750 megawatt, being realized by the 'I am Power' British company".  Zorigt also added that parliament recently adopted a policy document on the energy sector, which reflects the policy until 2030, and that he aims to introduce know-how and management and other fruitful technological solutions in the energy industry.

The Ambassador Arnold said she is pleased to hear that Mongolia started many-staged measures for developing its energy sector, and emphasized that her country is ready to attract British energy companies to the collaboration with Mongolia's energy industry. Related organizations plan to hold a meeting during a visit of the Mongolian Premier to the UK next week, she added. 

Ms Arnold also thanked the Minister for giving the information and said she would like to cooperate with his Ministry.

Present at the meeting were also S.Bayarbat, a head of the Finance and Investment Department of the Energy Ministry, and G.Enkhtuvshin, a head of the External Relations and Cooperation Department.  

Link to article


What's behind the Mongolians' hostility toward mainlanders

June 22 (EJ Insight) A recent attack on Chinese tourists in Mongolia has caused a diplomatic ruckus.

The Chinese consulate in Mongolia complained to the government in Ulan Bator which later apologized, but the Chinese media accused Mongolia of being insincere.

To understand how Mongolians regard China, it's important to consider the subject in the context of international relations.

Professor Wang Hao of the Mongolia Research Center of Peking University says Mongolia has a "small country complex" that comes from being sandwiched between two big neighbors — China and Russia.

Increasingly, Mongolia has been engaged in multilateral diplomacy in recent years to improve relations with Japan, the United States and the European Union.

Since 2003, it has been holding a series of military exercises, dubbed Khaan Quest, with the US.

In 2010, it contributed peace-keeping troops to the US-led coalition effort in Afghanistan and signed a partnership framework agreement with the European Union that same year.

These actions have shown that Mongolia is keen to balance the influence of different powers, particularly China.

With the rise of the mainland, many Chinese businessmen are investing in Mongolia's mining and energy sectors.

However, while Chinese companies bring foreign capital to Mongolia, they also stand accused of taking jobs from local workers, causing disaffection in the population.

Many rightist organizations have emerged in Mongolia, usually targeting China.

These include the neo-Nazi group Khukh Mongol and other entities such as Tsagaan Khass and Dayar Mongol.

In Russia, neo-Nazism has given rise to so-called "skinheads" who are known to attack Asians in the streets.

Mongolia's neo-Nazism can be traced to Russia.

In fact, their followers are very similar in that both emphasize the purity of blood and promote xenophobia.

In addition, Mongolia's neo-Nazis appreciate German orthodoxy.

Members of the Tsagaan Khass have publicly said they respect Hitler for his efforts to preserve racial purity, although they don't agree with his decision to start World War II.

Also, Tsagaan Khass strongly opposes the idea of Mongolian women marrying Chinese workers. Offspring from such unions are discriminated against.

A rightist group, Dayar Mongol, recently attacked Chinese workers of a mainland company.

Nyam Puruv, a scholar in Mongolian history and sociology, believes the rise and influence of neo-Nazis have been exaggerated.

After all, there are only several hundred neo-Nazi supporters in Mongolia.

They are mainly young unemployed people or individuals who have not received higher education.

They are the ones most affected by the influx of Chinese investment into Mongolia and are thus showing the strongest opposition.

But rightists in China are equally hostile.

After the latest incident, many Chinese netizens left messages in online forums, suggesting China should do to Mongolia what Russia did to Crimea when Moscow annexed it from Ukraine, in order to "reunify Mongolia".

Such comments show how susceptible Chinese rightists can be to extremist manipulation.

Link to article


EEC, Mongolia sign memorandum to develop transport cooperation

MOSCOW, 17 June (BelTA) - The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) and the government of Mongolia have signed a memorandum of cooperation, BelTA learned from the EEC press service.

The document was inked by Chairman of the EEC Board Viktor Khristenko and Mongolia Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg at the EEC headquarters in Moscow. 

The parties will develop trade and economic cooperation in a number of areas, including transport industry to set up safe and stable transport routes and to provide transportation services. "Agricultural cooperation will help ensure food security and create conditions for enhancing the competitiveness of the farm businesses of the EEC member countries and Mongolia," the press service said.

Besides, the memorandum provides for cooperation in trade policy, technical regulation, and veterinary and phytosanitary surveillance.

The Eurasian Economic Commission is a permanent supranational body of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). It began its work on 2 February 2012. Today the EEC comprises representatives of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. EEC's decisions are mandatory for implementation on the territory of the EEU member states.

Link to article


Parliamentary committee approves agreement between governments of Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia on cooperation in combating terrorism

June 22 (24 News Agency) The Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security approves the agreement between the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia on cooperation in combating terrorism. The decision is taken at its meeting.

According to representatives of the National Security Committee (GKNB), adoption of the document will strengthen the joint struggle against terrorism, cyberterrorism. "It includes training of staff, information support. The agreement is standard, it will help to forestall the threats," security officers added.

The MP Ismail Isakov said that we don't have common borders with Mongolia, the countries are not in the same organization. "Why do we need such an agreement? But the way, there is no corresponding body that will represent the country. While the document is not specified, it is necessary to wait before its ratification," he added.

The National Security Committee noted that the initiative came from Mongolia. "Today fight against terrorism has no borders, and Mongolia understands the need for joint efforts in combating this scourge. We meet them half-way. Yes, they didn't write, which authority represents Mongolia, but there is only one Main Intelligence Directorate. It surely will be responsible," the department added.

Link to article


Mongolian ambassador to Vietnam updates media on bilateral ties

June 25 (VNA) Mongolian Ambassador to Vietnam D.Enkhbat said he is pleased with regular high-level visits and exchanges by Vietnamese and Mongolia leaders at a press meeting in Hanoi on June 24.

He informed the press that in its multilateral diplomatic policy, Mongolia treasures the expansion of ties with Southeast Asian countries and fully believes that Vietnam will act as a helpful bridge for such relationship.

The ambassador noted that the two countries have long provided mutual support within the United Nations frameworks as well as at regional and global organisations. They have recognised each other as market economy.

Two-way trade between the two nations hit 28.1 million USD last year, with Mongolia selling to Vietnam sheep wool and leather items and buying tea, coffee and garment. Over the past 23 years, Vietnamese companies have invested in 163 projects in Mongolia.

Enkhbat expressed hope for more bilateral trade-economic activities and cultural exchanges between young generations.

On the occasion, he also announced several upcoming celebrations in Mongolia, including the 809 th anniversary of the establishment of the Great Mongol State, the 94th anniversary of People's Revolution. In 2016, the country will host the Asia-Europe Meeting.

Link to article


Former Foreign Minister urges Malaysia to repeal death penalty

June 16 (UB Post) Former Mongolian Minister for Foreign Affairs L.Bold has urged Malaysia to use the memory of murdered model Altantuya Shaariibuu as a reason to abolish the death penalty, speaking at the 1st Asian Regional Congress on the Death Penalty on Friday in Kuala Lumpur.

He said that Altantuya's death should serve as a lesson that killing someone is not right and added that the death penalty is cruel, and the execution of criminals by governments sets a bad example.

Altantuya was murdered on Oct 18, 2006, and her remains were found in a forest near Puncak Alam, Shah Alam. Two former police commandos were found guilty of the crime and handed the death sentence.

L.Bold added that abolishing the death penalty would require the political will of governments. "The government should take the lead and be a role model to their citizens… human life is the most important value," he said.

During the conference Former Minister L.Bold told conference delegates about Mongolia's path to abolition. There was a time during the communist regime in Mongolia when one in six adult men were executed, L.Bold said. "More than 700 Buddhist temples were burnt to ash and their monks were executed." Mongolia had, however, learnt its lessons. "Under no circumstances is capital punishment acceptable. This is our belief today."

There have been no executions in Mongolia since June 2009, and in 2012 Mongolia ratified the second optional protocol to the U.N.'s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The death penalty will be officially abolished very soon with the adoption, during the current parliamentary session, of a new criminal code, said L.Bold.

Later, when asked by The Star Online whether he was urging the Malaysian government to commute the sentences of Altantuya's killers, L.Bold said it was not a question for an individual. "We want justice. As a human rights activist I have one opinion, but as a Mongolian citizen I also have an opinion," he said. When pressed again on the matter, he said "I oppose the death penalty anywhere."

L.Bold cited some of the key reasons for the Mongolian government's decision to abolish the death penalty. They included the country's international treaty obligations, the right to life and human dignity, the risk of execution of innocent people, and evidence that the death penalty did not decrease the number of crimes in society.

To date, 98 countries have abolished the death penalty in all circumstances and seven have abolished it for common crimes. There are 35 countries in which there have been no executions for at least ten years.

Link to article


Foreign Ministry monitoring shooting case of Mongolian woman in Malaysia

June 16 (UB Post) A Mongolian woman was shot multiple times by unknown people in the Bandar-Utama district of Selangor, Malaysia, on June 15 at 5:45 p.m.

The victim was in a Toyota Land Cruiser with a man when two men on a motorcycle reportedly fired while driving by. According to one source, one of the men on the motorcycle fired eight times, and four bullets hit the victim. The suspects left the scene immediately. The man who was with the victim was not hurt and called the police right away.

The victim was transported to KPJ Damansara Hospital, but is now under the care of the University of Malaya Medical Center. A source notes that the victim is in stable condition but still unconscious and under intensive medication. Doctors will be deciding on whether to remove two bullets from her body depending on her health.

N.Bataa, Director of Consular Services at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Mongolia, noted the lack of a consulate in Malaysia. "We contacted Interpol and the Malaysian MFA through Thailand to clarify this situation. It's taking a lot of time to find out who was staying for what reason and got shot," he said.

MFA Mongolia contacted Azmi Abu Kassim, a Petaling District police chief and investigator, about the shooting through the Mongolian embassy in Thailand.

"We're checking the case of the shooting of a Mongolian woman. The criminals might have been aiming for the Malay businessman who was in the car with her, but missed and shot the Mongolian woman. The motive for shooting may be revenge," the investigator said. He also mentioned that the businessman had been attacked and shot at before.

The reason for the victim's stay in Malaysia is uncertain, and the Malaysian authorities have been unable to reach any of her relatives. They're working to find out who she is, what she does, and when she came to Malaysia based on her passport number and name.

Link to article


Kuwait delivers its contribution for Kuwaiti-Mongolian scientific center

KUWAIT, June 16 (KUNA) -- Kuwaiti Ambassador to Mongolia Khalid Al-Fadhli has delivered Kuwait's contribution to the first year budget of the Kuwaiti-Monogolian scientific research center.

The contribution was handed during a joint press conference between Al-Fadhli and Mongolian Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism on Tuesday.

Contributing to the center's first year project is part of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation to protect the environment, signed previously by the two sides in 2008, the Ambassador said.

Meanwhile, Kuwait had paid USD 3.5 million to build the center in October 2014.

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Social, Environmental & Other

Belarus' Nadine Koutcher crowned BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Mongolia's Amartuvshin Enkhbat wins Audience prize

June 22 (BBC News) Nadine Koutcher from Belarus has been crowned BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

She beat off competition from 19 other finalists from across the world to take the title.

The week-long competition was whittled down to five for Sunday's final at Cardiff's St David's Hall.

Ms Koutcher will take home the coveted trophy, £15,000 prize money, and will perform a new piece by composer John Lunn at the BBC Proms 2016.

Meanwhile, Amartuvshin Enkhbat from Mongolia won the Audience prize.

The finalists who missed out on Sunday evening included Lauren Michelle from the United States, Oleksiy Palchykov from the Ukraine, and Jongmin Park from South Korea.

Devised in 1983, the competition is designed to find the talented classical singers of the future.

Link to article


Cardiff Singer: Amartuvshin Enkhbat (Mongolia), The Final, 2015

June 21 (BBC) Baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat sings Si può? si può? Signore! from Pagliacci by Leoncavallo in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Final 2015.

About the music: Tonio, one of the clowns of the troupe, delivers the prologue to the opera in front of the curtain. He asks the audience to remember that what they will see are not feigned emotions but a slice of real life.

Link to video (can only be viewed from UK)


BBC Cardiff Singer of the World: Mongolian baritone through to the final

Amartuvshin Enkhbat joins Lauren Michelle from the USA and Ukrainian tenor Oleksiy Palchykov in the final

June 18 (Wales Online) Amartuvshin Enkhbat, a 29-year-old baritone from Mongolia is the latest young singer to make it through to the final of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

And it is the first time Mongolia has been represented in the world famous contest for emerging singers.

Amartuvshin is one of the 20 finalists who have travelled to Cardiff from across the globe, performing their own programmes of operatic and concert worksthroughout this week.

He said: "It's been a very good night. I'm quite overwhelmed by it all and I not sure what to say. I'm in the final and now I have to prepare for it!"

Ukrainian tenor Oleksiy Palchykov was the first singer to book his place in the final, which will take place at St David's Hall in Cardiff on Sunday, June 21. American soprano Lauren Michelle has also made it after beating off tough competition from Swansea mezzo soprano Celine Forrest in the second heat.

Meanwhile, Amartuvshin is also among the five singers who have made it through to the Song Prize final tomorrow (June 19).

Aviva Fortunata from Canada, Ilker Arcayurek from Turkey/Austria, Nadine Koutcher from Belarus and Jongmin Park from South Korea will compete with him at St David's Hall.

The Song Prize Final is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 (Friday 19 June, 7.30pm), on BBC Four (Saturday 20 June, 7.30pm) presented by Petroc Trelawny and American soprano Angel Blue, and on BBC Radio Cymru (Sunday 26 July).

Link to article


Calgary singer off to jazz festival in Mongolia

June 23 (Medicine Hat News) Deanne Matley will be heading off to a place with a thriving jazz scene.

It isn't New York. It isn't Los Angeles. It isn't Paris.

It's Mongolia.

The Calgary-based jazz singer, who performs with the Prime Time Big Band, will be heading to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 1-8 for the Giant Steppes Jazz Festival.

"The piano player I work with (Bruce Petherick) has been there before, and there was an e-mail out a few years ago asking people who wanted to come and perform and I said 'let's do that,'" she said following her performance on Sunday.

A grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts will be sending Matley and Petherick to Mongolia, where they will perform at the festival, take part in workshops and perform at the Canadian Embassy on Canada Day. The pair will be leaving June 29 and will be back in Canada July 13.

"I'm extremely excited to perform at the festival," she said, noting it would be her first time in the country.

The festival got its start in 2004, with Canadian musician Debra Rasmussen among the performers. It attracts jazz musicians from around the world and also serves as a showcase for Mongolian artists.

Jazz has been growing in the country since the 1990s, when American musician Bob Bellows came to Mongolia and began teaching jazz improvisation to the National Philharmonic Orchestra, according to the festival's website. Since then, musicians around the world and Mongolian musicians have been helping develop performers.

Matley's experience with jazz began in high school, when she auditioned for the jazz choir, and was instructed to perform an Ella Fitzgerald tune.

"I was hooked ever since," she said. "Now I'm singing with a big band, and it's been an incredible journey."

Link to article


"All religions intersect on one main idea"

June 16 (UB Post) Tuluyhan Ugurlu, a Turkish pianist and composer, presented his works at the Turkish Cultural Days on Thursday, June 11. The pianist notes his joy in playing for Mongolians.

Can you tell us about yourself.

I started playing piano at the age of four, then enrolled into a conservatoire. I had my first concert at age seven. While I was studying at the conservatorium in Istanbul, I took a test to enroll in the Vienna Music Academy (VMA) at 16. At VMA, I studied as a pianist and composer because I was interested in playing as well as composing. At age 17, I started performing my own concerts with the music I composed. People liked my work from the beginning. I have played in almost every country around in the world. Annually, I play 105 concerts that solely consist of my compositions. On Thursday, I played "Sun Country Anatolia" at the Turkish Cultural Days.

Why did you choose to learn the piano? 

My mother is a pianist, and I already had a piano at my house. She used to play me lullabies and I was raised very close to the melody. I used to sing along when she played. My mother decided that I had good hearing and enrolled me into a music conservatoire. 

Is your father also a musician?

No, he was a poet. We are an artistic family.

What was the first tune you learned to play on the piano?

My mom taught me Clementi and Czerny, and then moved on to Bach.

What was the first melody you composed?

I was six when I composed my first music, a children's song.

Are there any famous composers you admire?

I respect Bach's works. I admire Mozart too but respect Bach more.

What's your inspiration?

I draw my inspiration from everything I see in life: from medicine, technology, religion, and from my belief in extraterrestrial life and the science that studies it. So I work at night because it's so peaceful.

Which of your artworks do you love most?

For me, all of my works are like my children. But if you have a lot of kids, you tend to love one kid more than the other, although fathers don't show it. Just like that, I like playing my "Sun Country Anatolia", but I love my works "Temples of the Holy East" and "Verses from the Holy Books". I named two of my albums "Verses from the Holy Books".

Why do you like them?

In those melodies, I wanted to show that all religions explain the beginning of the universe. This melody is where all religions coexist in harmony. All religions intersect on one main idea, and that is what I presented. For example, we Turks worshipped Shamanism before, but then we received Islam and the Quran very peacefully without any war. That is because the main message is the same. I love them because these religions, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity all convey the same message and this is my way of, connecting them and wishing them to peacefully coexist. I'm really proud that I composed them.

What's the hardest part about being a musician and composer?

Being a composer, writing your own music and playing it is the hardest part itself. Playing your own music means you're playing something people have never heard before. Questions like "Will people like it or hate it?", "How will the next concert be?", "Will they come to the next concert?", or "Will the audience fill the concert hall?," nag my head all the time. It would've been easy if I were a musician. I could play Chopin, or someone famous that everyone already likes. Anyone can do that. But playing my own music on my concerts is the hardest part. Sometimes you have no money, or if people didn't like your previous concert, they won't come to the next. Generally, being a composer is the hard part.

What other instruments can you play other than the piano?

I play church organ too.

Can you play Turkish traditional instruments as well?

No, I can't. I know them very well so I can include my traditional instruments in my music. But I can't play them.

What other hobbies do you have other than playing the piano?

Nowadays, I barely have any leisure time because of concerts. But if I do have free time, I collect old cars such as Rolls Royce and Cadillac.

Is it your first time in Mongolia?

It's my first time here, and I'm staying for four days in Mongolia. I have enjoyed my stay here so far.

What do you think of Mongolia?

I would like to return later and stay for a longer period. The women are very beautiful and are always smiling. The children are very lovely and cute. The thing I like most is that Mongolians have lovely and welcoming smiles.

Mongolians are my brothers. We're celebrating 46 years of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Turkey through the Turkish Cultural Days, and I'm very proud to perform on this occasion. I was elated to play on Thursday because I met my brothers.

As a pianist and composer, what's your advice for younger generations?

For kids who love music, I want you to learn to play your own traditional musical instruments. Even if you're learning classical instruments like the piano or violin, I think you should learn traditional ones as well. Maybe you learn it so well that you go abroad, and go to Western countries to advance your career and learn their culture. But you should always love and never forget your amazing traditions. You have to learn to play because no other people can play your music as well as you. Anyone can play Mozart and Chopin very well. Even technology can do it nowadays. The most important thing for Mongolians is to introduce their music to the world with their own hands. Maybe you compose something that combines both classical and traditional instruments. That's what I did.

What are you planning in the future? Will you work with an orchestra?

I have played with an orchestra, and released a symphony album with an orchestra. I play with other Turkish traditional musical instruments in my concerts too. Sometimes I combine Western and Eastern music, which sounds amazing in the hall.

Link to interview


Street Art & Gender in Mongolia

By Emily O'Dell, Writer, Better World Advocate, & Assistant Professor at the American University of Beirut

June 24 (Huffington Post) Whenever I'm heading off to Mongolia for research, colleagues and friends react with a mix of bewilderment and concern -- as if I'm flying away to a faraway planet. But when I send them photos from my research on the road, they get a different glimpse of Mongolia than the one in their imaginations. Take, for instance, my photographs this summer of street art in Ulaanbaatar that focuses on the female form.

Graffiti images in Mongolia pull from a variety of aesthetic influences--anime, punk, hip hop, and traditional Mongolian art. Most of the activist-art images in this piece I found underground in a tunnel filled with graffiti commissioned by the Mongolian Ministry of Justice and an NGO called the Young Women's Club (Залуу Эмэгтэйчүүдийн Клуб) -- which raises awareness about violence against women and other women's issues. 

The graffiti scene in Ulaanbaatar emerged in the late 1990s in the wake of the fall of the country's Communist government. The introduction of MTV inspired the formation of early Mongolian rap groups like Black Rose (Хар Сарнай/Khar Sarnai) and hip hop groups like War and Peace (Дайн ба Энх/Dain ba Enkh). Before long, Mongolian hip hop crews and rappers began tagging city walls, paving the way for graffiti crews like ROAAD Crew, S-UNITEDREDEGGS Crew, and SAS to emerge.Tatym, an international street art festival in Ulaanbaatar, opened up the graffiti scene in 2012 to artists from abroad.

Just as Mongolian hip hop weaves together hip-hop rhythms with Mongolian throat singing and traditional long songs, street art in Ulaanbaatar mashes together modern and traditional imagery. This summer, I became especially interested in strong visual representations of women in graffiti. Because women played such a central and vital role in nomadic life in pre-twentieth-century Mongolia, they have historically held considerable domestic and political power compared to their counterparts in the region. The Persian historian Rashid al-Din wrote that Khubilai Khan's mother Sorghaghtani Beki was "extremely intelligent and able and towered above all the women in the world." When I taught the secret history of the Mongol queens at Columbia University, my students were shocked to discover how much influence some royal women wielded. Nevertheless, nomadic women remained subordinate to men and restricted to the domestic sphere.

Under socialism in Mongolia, government policies were aimed, in theory, at ensuring equality in the workplace, politics, and education. Maternity leave, nursery schools, modernized health care, pensions, and welfare for the disabled provided much-needed support for women. By 1990, women constituted about three-quarters of doctors in Mongolia. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet system and the rapid economic transition of the 1990s, women had to adjust to a changed economic landscape shaped by privatization and globalization. According to a recent survey of 9,000 Mongolian women, Mongolian women today are less interested in making large families and more interested in pursuing their careers.

Whether I'm riding a camel with nomadic women in the Gobi desert, conversing with female department chairs at the National University, or studying Mongolian music with female shamans, I feel inspired by the strength of Mongolian women. Last week, when I asked a few female Mongolian friends if they feel empowered walking by these graffiti images, they laughed at my question -- since they already feel empowered enough. They enjoy equal pay, 120 days of paid maternity leave, and the respect of their colleagues and peers. To them, these graffiti images are "just art."

When I'm busy recording graffiti in Ulaanbaatar, I like to watch how pedestrians consume these colorful and striking images. Take, for instance, the older woman below in a traditional Mongolian silk robe who gazed carefully at each image as she walked through the tunnel. How does she view these spray-painted images and interpret the rapid changes of the past few decades? How will her life, and the lives of many other Mongolian women, be further shaped by the large-scale economic and environmental changes soon to come?

Link to photo essay


'Made in Ulaanbaatar' film shows different lives of Ulaanbaatar and countryside

June 16 (UB Post) "Made in Ulaanbaatar" film by Mill film studio and Nuden Film will open in cinemas today.

The film tells the story of the difference between life in Ulaanbaatar and countryside in comedic way. Ch.Davaabayar worked as general producer of "Made in Ulaanbaatar", while State Cultural Artist D.Battumur worked as a producer. The movies was directed by L.Lkhagvajargal.

State Cultural Artist G.Erkhembayar, Mongolian Academy Awards winner O.Dolgor and D.Battumur starred in the film.

Link to article


Mongolia meets Echo Park during annual Lotus Festival

ECHO PARK — With only about 2,000 Mongolians living in the Los Angeles area and no notable institutions to speak of,  getting familiar with Mongolian culture is a challenge.  And, despite what you may think, that platter of Mongolian BBQ you once ate is not authentic or even Mongolian (it was created in Taiwan).  But next month,  Angelenos will be able to learn more about the landlocked Asian nation as the 35th annual Echo Park Lotus Festival will highlight the culture of Mongolia during weekend-long event.

This is the first time the Lotus Festival, which will be held July 11 & 12 at Echo Park Lake,  has celebrated the culture of of Mongolia after spotlighting numerous other Asian countries.  "I hope this cultural event will be a big cultural event, [one] that other Americans cannot experience in other places," said Bayarkhuu Dorj, consulate general of Mongolia  in San Francisco said during a recent press conference covered by the Asian Journal.

"The reward is, of course, we are showcasing something that's new for the first time that people are not familiar with, and also bringing in a new member of the family to the festival," added festival organizer Leo Pandac.

In addition to Mongolian dance and music, this year's festival will also include entertainment, arts crafts and food stalls from different Asian countries, according to the Lotus Festival Facebook page. Who knows? Maybe even one of the vendors will be selling real Mongolian cuisine.

Link to article


Numerous Experts Agree that 200-year-old Mongolian Mummy Isn't Actually Dead

Call it fascinating, call it horrifying, call it a bunch of crap, call it what you will… but several experts have come forward with their belief that the mummified monk which was found in the lotus position in Mongolia last month is actually in an extremely rare state of deep spiritual meditation.

This state of consciousness is referred to as "tukdam", and if this is in fact what is going on with this mummified monk, then he is only a single step away from becoming a real-life Buddha.

And this isn't the first time it's happened, either. Apparently there have been 40 similar cases found in the last 50 years alone.

This particular mummified monk was found covered in cattle skin in the Mongolian province of Songinokhairkhan on January 27, and is now being carefully analyzed by forensic examiners.

Ganhugiyn Purevbata, founder of Ulaanbaatar Buddhist University's Mongolian Institute of Buddhist Art has offered to explain the subject.

"Lama is sitting in the lotus position vajra, the left hand is opened, and the right hand symbolizes of the preaching Sutra," Purevbata said. "This is a sign that the Lama is not dead, but is in a very deep meditation according to the ancient tradition of Buddhist lamas."

Dr. Barry Kerzin, a well-known Buddhist monk, echoes Purevbata's opinions on the mummified monk.

"I had the privilege to take care of some meditators who were in a tukdam state," he told The Mirror.

"If the person is able to remain in this state for more than three weeks – which rarely happens – his body gradually shrinks, and in the end all that remains from the person is his hair, nails, and clothes." 

"Usually in this case, people who live next to the monk see a rainbow that glows in the sky for several days," he added.

"This means that he has found a rainbow body. This is the highest state close to the state of Buddha. If the meditator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha."

So basically, while we shouldn't expect this guy to stand up and start walking around asking for some coffee and today's newspaper anytime soon, he may well and truly still be alive.

Link to article


Shear determination helps Mongolians to ride on the camel's back

June 19 (Sydney Morning Herald) Life can be bumpy when your finances ride on the camel's back, but some Australian expertise is making things easier for the nomadic herders of the South Gobi Desert.

In the barren expanse that separates Ulan Bataar from Beijing, camels are relied upon for food, milk and woollen clothing, and it was the latter that drew champion Australian shearer Roger Mifsud to Mongolia.

Having represented Australia at international shearing contests and with experience of defleecing alpacas, Mifsud was selected to deliver modern electric shears to the herders and to demonstrate elite shearing techniques.

The herders sell most of their camels' wool for cash, yet Mifsud found the operation was far from efficient.

"They were typically using heavy drapery scissors, and it was taking them more than an hour to shear an animal," he said.

"The traditional way was to drop a camel by tying their legs together and then they push the animal over, and they would leave the legs tied up, hog-tied beneath the belly of the animal. 

Mifsud sought a new technique that was kinder on the camel and more efficient for the herder.

"I stretched the animal out so the front legs went forward and the back legs went back so they were laying more comfortably on their side and they didn't have that pressure on their stomach, so it was more comfortable for the animal and they didn't move as much and didn't play-up as much," he said. 

"Obviously there were no trees in the desert so we just stretched them out between two Toyotas using a pulley system."

Community support

Such innovation is a by-product of Rio Tinto's investment in Mongolia – so far worth $US6.2 billion ($7.9 million) and potentially north of $US10 billion. The Anglo-Australian mining giant's Oyu Tolgoi mine has been producing copper and gold in the South Gobi desert since 2013, and a plan for expansion was recently agreed between the company and the Mongolian government. Mifsud's shearing exchange to Mongolia is funded by Rio Tinto, a typical example of the community programs that miners run in developing countries in a bid to win community support for mining nearby.

The same dynamic has seen BHP Billiton create a biodiversity park in the Tasmanian wilderness and run a goat-breeding program for developing communities in Mozambique, among scores of other programs.

According to the United Nations' food and agriculture organisation, 100 grams of raw camel wool can earn a Gobi desert herder about US50¢, and it rises in value to $US4 once it is spun.

Mongolian camel wool is sold in Australia by Gary Sheen's company Feltfine for about $28 per "hank", which is about 170 to 200 grams.

Despite being used for luxury garments, Sheen says Australian audiences typically preferred to stick with their traditional wools.

"It is a beautiful wool but most people in Australia prefer to buy merino rather than the camel wool for some reason," he says.

Certainly merino sheep are far more happy to be shorn compared to camels. Even when afforded more comfort thanks to Mifsud's Toyota pulley technique, double-humped bactrian camels can be more temperamental than the average Australian merino.

"I got spat on once and it was not very pleasant. It involved a lot of cud or whatever else was in the contents of the stomach at the time," says Mifsud.

"It was the only one that had a decent crack at me and given the amount of camels we had shorn I thought that was quite a good result actually."

With the new technique in place, Mifsud said the electric shears – plugged into nearby generators – cut more than 60 per cent off shearing times.

"It was taking them more than an hour to shear an animal and we got them down to an average of about 20 minutes and the quickest one we did there was about 13 minutes," he said.

"They couldn't believe we could knock 40 minutes off shearing a camel just with a change of technique and the modern equipment."

Link to article


Mongolian Women of the Year Awards 2015 + International Conference "Asian Women in Europe"

(Association for the Development of Mongolian Women in Europe)

Link to video


Kate Humble: Living with Nomads - Mongolia

Ahead of the final part of her new BBC series Living with Nomads, Kate Humble recalls her time in Mongolia

June 19 (The Telegraph) A line of dust rising from the steppe told us the truck was on its way. We'd been up since before dawn sorting the sheep and goats, getting them ready for the journey ahead. Now it was time to start dismantling the ger, the traditional yurt that sheltered the family from the brutal Mongolian winter.

Spring had arrived and we were preparing for the first seasonal migration of the year. Once all the family's possessions would have been carried on animals – camels, horses and yaks – but modern herding families are just as likely to use a truck. After bowls of milky tea we got to work, carrying out the few bits of furniture, the trunks of bedding and clothes, the rugs, television and cooking equipment.

Everything fitted neatly on the back of a single flatbed truck and there was even room for some of the youngest kids and lambs that it was felt would not make the journey on foot. Modern-day nomads in Mongolia may use technology that can make their lives easier, but their precious herds are moved the same way as they always have been. I mounted a horse and with two members of the family rode out through a steep-sided canyon, our whoops and yells echoing off the rocks and driving several hundred sheep and goats ahead of us.

Mongolia's nomads have faced many challenges over the centuries but it is probably now that living as a traditional herder is at its most precarious. Two years previously, a severe winter storm devastated many herds and left families destitute. Many had to give up and move their gers to the outskirts of the fast-growing cities in the hope of finding work. The recent mining boom offers an alternative, the lure of a regular salary and a life that seems easy in comparison with one at the mercy of the elements.

It is hard to criticise anyone for wanting those things. Yet what of the herding families who remain out in the mountains and plains of the southern Gobi desert? They seem as determined as ever to hold on to their way of life. Educated and with access to books, radio and television, they are not cut off from the outside world, not unaware of alternatives. They see the impact that mining is having on their environment, but for the time being, at least, these families are unshakeable in their belief that their knowledge of animals and their landscape matters as much today as it always has.

Firms offering trips to Mongolia include In The Saddle (01299 27299; and Intrepid Travel (0808 274 5111;

The final part of 'Kate Humble: Living with Nomads' airs at 9pm on June 19 on BBC Two.

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