Tuesday, September 8, 2015

[Ovoot-Kyzyl rail has no obstacles; external debt +9%; caucuses back veto; and Invest Mongolia starts today]

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original


Overseas Market

AKM closed flat Monday at A$0.017

Aspire's Ovoot mine to benefit from China-Russia trade corridor

Perth junior Aspire Mining has unexpectedly found itself sitting in a potential international trade corridor between China and Russia that should help its plans to build a $US1.2 billion ($1.7bn) railway from its big but stranded, Ovoot coking coal project in northern Mongolia.

September 8 (The Australian) Last week, Aspire, with a market value of just $16 million in today's depressed coal market, finalised a concession agreement that gives it the right to build and operate a 547km railway capable of moving 30 million tonnes a year of freight and passengers from Ovoot to Erdenet, where it would connect with a railway to China.

Ovoot, which is seen by the market as a longshot in the current environment, is being studied as a 10 million tonnes a year project that would support building the railway and provide plenty of opportunity for extra freight.

The railway project has been given a boost by a recent agreement between the heads of Russia, China and Mongolia to develop an "economic corridor" that could use an extension of Aspire's railway to link China to Russia through Mongolia.

Aspire executive chairman David McSweeney says the economic talks, and potential for more freight, have been like manna from heaven for a company trying to finance its own railway. "We were out there with a stranded asset and now we're the centrepiece of an international rail corridor — it couldn't have gone any better," Mr McSweeney told The Australian.

"This really opens the door for funding solutions."

He said there had been increased interest from potential financiers in the project since the international trade talks stepped up in recent months.

Aspire's share price has slumped from a high of $1.14 in 2011 to 1.7c as coking coal prices slid and foreign investors shrunk back from Mongolia amid a dispute with Rio Tinto over the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine expansion and the 2012 detention of Australian mining lawyer Sarah Armstrong. But investor confidence has improved lately with Rio and Mongolia making and peace over Oyu Tolgoi and restarting its expansion work.

Aspire is in talks with China Railway Construction Corporation around engineering procurement and construction contracts and a bankable feasibility study on the railway.

The company's major shareholder is Hong Kong trader Noble Group, which has a 40 per cent of Ovoot's marketing rights and the option for an extra 10 per cent marketing right.

If all goes to plan, Aspire wants to start coal production in 2019, when most forecasters expect the market to have picked up.

Link to article


Aspire Mining study finds no obstacles for Ovoot to Russia rail

September 7 (Proactive Investors) Aspire Mining (ASX:AKM) has received preliminary results from a Scoping Study indicating there are no technical obstacles to building a rail connection from Ovoot to the Russian city of Kyzyl.

This rail connection provides the remaining link to create the new Steppe Railway trade connection between China and Russia through Mongolia.

In August 2015, Aspire subsidiary Northern Railways was granted a 30 year concession by the Mongolian Government to build and operate the 547 kilometre railway to extend Mongolia's national rail network from Erdenet to its Ovoot Coking Coal Project.

Notably, the geography is suitable for efficient high capacity bulk commodity rail with capital costs to construct base infrastructure ranging from US$2 million to US$2.6 million per kilometre.

Capital costs for the Ovoot-Arts Suuri alignment is estimated at US$450 million to US$550 million for the 230 kilometre to 250 kilometre line while the 300 kilometre to 330 kilometre Arts Suuri-Kyzyl could cost from US$675 million to US$775 million.

The Scoping Study is prepared by Aspire's wholly-owned rail infrastructure subsidiary Northern Railways and follows on the recent execution of the Concession Agreement to build and operate the Erdenet to Ovoot railway in Mongolia.

It is aimed at providing preliminary capital cost assessments, alignment paths and lengths and the early identification of any engineering, construction or operational challenges to develop rail infrastructure through this terrain.

David Paull, managing director, commented:

"Being able to identify an efficient path connecting Ovoot to Kyzyl is important in demonstrating the strategic value of the Steppe Railway from Erdenet through to Kyzyl.

"The Erdenet to Ovoot section of this railway, which Northern Railways has recently received a Concession for, reflects the first half of the Steppe Railway."

Ovoot-Arts Suuri-Kyzyl Rail Alignments Study

The Ovoot-Arts Suuri-Kyzyl rail connection provides the remaining link to create a new trade connection between China and Russia through Mongolia

This is not only consistent with Chinese driven policy to build the Silk Rail Road but will also unlock the development potential of Russia's Elegest Coking Coal Basin located near Kyzyl.

It used data sets and parameters established in the completion of the Pre-Feasibility Study for the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway. 

These were then applied specifically to the region between Ovoot and Kyzyl. 

Northern Railways engaged Trimble Planning Solutions Pty Ltd, based in Melbourne, Australia, to assist with running alignment simulations.

Additional analysis is required to understand the capital cost and operating cost trade-offs in order to identify the optimal alignments.

The terrain between Ovoot to Arts Suuri is relatively flat and similar to the Erdenet to Ovoot terrain which presents excellent conditions for building and operating efficient bulk commodity rail.

While the Arts Suuri to Kyzyl alignment is also generally flat and suitable for rail development, there is about 30 to 40 kilometres that needs to traverse a mountain range

The most suitable alignment appears to traverse through a relatively narrow pass. This requires further investigation into alignment and geometric parameters to balance capital construction costs and operational factors to achieve optimal outcomes in both directions.


While still at an early stage, the planned rail connection between Ovoot to Kyzyl is of strategic value to Aspire Mining given its role as part of the new Steppe Railway trade connection between China and Russia through Mongolia.

Preliminary results from the Scoping Study follows execution of the Concession Agreement to build and operate the Erdenet to Ovoot railway.

Adding value, the Steppe Railway is consistent with Chinese policy to build the Silk Rail Road.

Aspire had $4 million in cash and term deposits as at 30th June 2015.

Link to article

Link to AKM release


MMC closed +2.56% Monday to HK$0.20

MMC: 2015 Interim Report

September 7, Mongolian Mining Corporation Ltd. (HKEx:975) --

Management Discussion and Analysis


As of 30 June 2015, the Company had USD813.7 million in outstanding short-term and long-term borrowings, including indebtedness incurred under (i) USD600 million senior notes ("Senior Notes"), (ii) USD150 million facility with BNP Paribas Singapore Branch and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (the "BNP and ICBC Facility"), (iii) USD180 million facility with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, FMO – Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. and DEG – Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (the "EBRD, FMO and DEG Loan"), (iv) USD40 million revolving credit line from Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia, and (v) USD10 million short term loan from Golomt Bank of Mongolia.

The Senior Notes bear a fixed interest rate of 8.875% per annum payable semi-annually. The Senior Notes will mature in March 2017, unless earlier redeemed. As of 30 June 2015, the outstanding principal amount was USD600 million. Upon the sale, transfer, conveyance or other disposition (other than by way of merger or consolidation) in one or a series of related transactions of all or substantially all of the properties or assets of the Company to any person other than one or more of the beneficial owners of less than 30% of the total voting power of the Company, the Company must make an offer to repurchase all outstanding Senior Notes at a purchase price equal to 101% of their principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any, to (but not including) the date of repurchase.

On 5 March 2014, the Company as a borrower entered into the BNP and ICBC Facility Agreement for a coal pre-export loan facility of USD150 million. The loan bears an interest rate of LIBOR plus 6.00% per annum, and is repayable in 10 quarterly installments starting from September 2014 and ending in December 2016. As of 30 June 2015, the outstanding principal amount of the BNP and ICBC Facility was USD108 million. Under the BNP and ICBC Facility, the Company shall not issue any shares if such issue results in (i) the creation of a new share class of the issued share capital of the Company, and (ii) a change of control of the Company where the controlling shareholder of the Company ceases to beneficially hold (directly or indirectly) at least 30% of the total issued share capital of the Company.

The EBRD, FMO and DEG Loan bears interest on a semi-annual basis at the rate of six-month LIBOR plus 3.75%- 4.25% per annum. The USD120 million principal amount of the loan is repayable in 11 semi-annual installments ending on 15 May 2016, and the USD60 million principal amount of the loan is repayable in two equal installments on 15 May 2015 and 15 May 2016, respectively. As at 30 June 2015, the outstanding principal amount was USD62.7 million. Under the EBRD, FMO and DEG Loan, the controlling shareholder of the Company may not cease at any time to own directly or indirectly more shares of the Company than any other shareholder, or at least 30% plus one share of the issued and outstanding shares of the Company, and the Company may not cease to be directly majority owned by entities domiciled in Mongolia.

The loan granted by Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia is a revolving credit facility maturing on 20 March 2016. The loan initially bore interest of 10% per annum, which was subsequently changed to 11.2% per annum from March 2015. As of 30 June 2015, the outstanding principal amount was USD40 million.

On 23 March 2015, the Group obtained a short term loan of USD10 million maturing in January 2016 from Golomt Bank of Mongolia. Such loan bears interest of 8.80% per annum. As of 30 June 2015, the outstanding principal amount was USD10 million.

Link to full report

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Trading: MSE ALL +1.13%, Market Cap +1.97%, Turnover 28.2 Million Stocks, 11.15 Billion T-Bills

September 7 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 5 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT 11,178,978,787.00 with daily average transaction of MNT2,235,795,757.00 between 31 August 2015 and 04 September 2015.

Share trading:

149,348.00 shares of 37 joint stock companies worth of MNT 28,230,847.00 were traded.

Most actively traded securities


Securities Name

Value /MNT/





















 Most active brokerage companies 


Company Name

Value /MNT/



Standard investment








Argai best








Golomt securities 


Government retail bonds trading:

100,000 Government retail bonds worth of MNT10,000,000,000.00 /10 billion/ traded through one trading session. In addition, 11,782 government retail bonds traded on secondary market  1,150,747,940.00 transaction has been  made.       

Most active brokerage companies in government securities trading 


Company Name

Value /MNT/



Tenger Capital 




Golomt securities 




Standard investment 








Daewoo Securities Mongolia 


As of September 2015, market capitalization was MNT1,296,786,566,436.00 which indicated increased of 1.97%, and MSE ALL index reached 962.16 units which indicated increased of 1.13% from the previous week.  

Link to release


MSE Glass Account Report, August 2015: Revenue 964.2 Million, Expense ₮726.7 Million January-August

September 7 (MSE) As of 31 August 2015, "Mongolian Stock Exchange" JSC had revenue of MNT964,165,290.91  and expense of MNT726,708,042.75.  Salary and related other expenses were MNT410,309,602.56 and maintenance and other expenses were MNT316,398,440.19. Overall, total profit accounted to MNT237,457,248.16.

There is no transaction worth over MNT5.0 million has been made.  

Link to release


MSE to Mark 25th Anniversary of Establishment on 18-20 January 2016

September 7 (MSE) The 25th anniversary of establishment of Mongolian capital market and the Mongolian Stock Exchange /MSE/ have been set on 18-20 January 2016 by the Resolution No.:11 of Board of Directors of MSE dated on 28 August 2015. The Minister of Finance, the shareholder of Mongolian Stock Exchange will assign the team which responsible for making the further arrangements of the celebration. 

Link to release

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BoM MNT Rates: Monday, September 7 Close


































































































Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,987 Sell ₮1,997), Khan (Buy ₮1,984 Sell ₮1,994), Golomt (Buy ₮1,984 Sell ₮1,994), XacBank (Buy ₮1,988 Sell ₮1,996), State Bank (Buy ₮1,986 Sell ₮1,995)

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

Link to rates


BoM issues 97.5 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -4.07% to ₮436.6 billion

September 7 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 97.5 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mongolia's Gross External Debt Position, Q2

September 3 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Gross External Debt Position by Sector  3/ 4/

US$ (in thousands)








General Government





















Central Bank





















Deposit-Taking Corporations, except the Central Bank





















Other Sectors





















Direct Investment: Intercompany Lending







Gross External Debt Position








Link to full table


WEF Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2015: Mongolia

Country Profile (Lower Middle Income)

Dashboard of National Key Performance Indicators

Growth and Competitiveness





GDP per capita*

3,972 $ US

+ 7.68%

10 / 38

Global Competitiveness Score (1-7 scale)


+ 0.11

22 / 38

Income-Related Equity





Pre-transfer gini (0-100 scale)


+ 0.05

4 / 34

Post-transfer gini (0-100 scale)


+ 0.31

4 / 34

Intergenerational Equity





Natural capital accounts (Adjusted Net Savings, % GNI)


- 2.22

18 / 37

Government debt (% of GDP)



30 / 38

Note: Rankings in this table are based on the value (most recent year). Trends are based on a ~10 year horizon. Those denoted with an asterix are based on the average annual percent change and the rest are based on the absolute difference. See technical notes for more information.

Link to profile

Link to WEF report page


UNDP Seeks International Consultant: Joint Review of National Data Availability for Reporting on the Proposed Sustainable Development Goals

Location :

Ulaanbaatar, MONGOLIA

Application Deadline :


Type of Contract :

Individual Contract

Post Level :

International Consultant

Languages Required :


Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)


Expected Duration of Assignment :

30 days


Governments are set to adopt 17 SDGs and 169 associated targets in September 2015 with implementation and reporting beginning in 2016. At the global level, the UN Statistical Commission is developing a set of global SDG indicators for consideration by member states but in addition, the draft outcome document for the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda and SDGs in September calls for governments to 'set its own national targets guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances'. During the 3rd session of the Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations, 23 to 27 March 2015 in New York, member states also reiterated that national indicators, to be developed by national bodies, would comprise an important part of the overall indicator framework. To ensure effective reporting against the proposed 169 SDG targets, member states will therefore need appropriate national indicators and accompanying metrics to be available, adequate monitoring protocols and data collection modalities agreed, and sufficient resources mobilized.

The global UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has also highlighted the need at an early stage to comprehensively examine data gaps and compilation limitations country by country and theme by theme, with a view to addressing them systematically in national statistical services. The Task Team also noted that the new fields under consideration for post-2015 will to a large extent re¬quire the development of new data sources, some along more traditional lines, such as house¬hold surveys, some with methods outside the official statistics mainstream, such as opinion and satisfaction surveys, and civil society.  In many cases, new indicators will have to be developed, together with information gathering systems, to cover SDG targets areas. This will require major investments in national capacity to collect and analyze data. The state of negotiations at the global level indicate that it is highly unlikely that the SDG goals will change from those proposed by the Open Working Group and that the SDG targets are unlikely to be substantively changed.

Duties and Responsibilities

Link to release

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Politics & Legal

Mongolia PM Names Members of Parliament to Fill Cabinet Posts

By Michael Kohn

September 7 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolian Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed names 6 lawmakers for vacant ministerial posts, according to statement on parliament website.

* Selected in consultation with President Elbegdorj Tsakhia: statement

* List includes 3 members of ruling Democratic Party and 3 members of the Justice Coalition, a minority group within ruling coalition govt

* Nominees: Oyunbaatar Tserendash (JC), deputy prime minister; Bolor Bayarbaatar (DP), finmin; Battsereg Namdag (JC), environment and tourism minister; Bayanselenge Zangad (JC), construction and development minister; Zorigt Munkhchuluun (DP), transportation minister, Bayarsaikhan Garidkhuu (DP), labor minister

* Selected candidates unlikely to veer from prime minister's economic agenda, Munkhdul Badral, head of market intelligence firm Cover Mongolia, writes in e-mail. "I'm not expecting much to change from this cabinet shake-up," he writes. "That's probably a good thing for investors, considering that a number of nationalist-leaning candidates were in the running but did not make the final cut."

* NOTE: Parliament to convene for special session Sept. 7-18. Appointment of cabinet members among issues for discussion

* NOTE: Democratic Party announced July 3 its intention to remove Mongolian People's Party from coalition due to lack of cooperation; the 6 MPP ministers in govt were formally dismissed on August 7.



President Does Not Back Cabinet Nominees, All Members of Parliament

Ulaanbaatar, September 7 /MONTSAME/ The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj gave a response last Friday to a proposal of the government on appointing some members of the government.

In his response, the President affirmed his principal position which does not support an appointment of a person holding the membership of both parliament and government. Thus, Mr Elbegdorj said he will not back the nomination of some cabinet members offered by the government, and wished the government re-considered its proposal of new members of the government.    

Link to article


Deputy Speaker Gonchigdorj Opens Irregular Plenary Session of Parliament

September 7 ( On September 7, 2015, Vice-Chairman of State Great Hural (Parliament) Mr. Radanaasumberel GONCHIGDORJ has opened an irregular plenary session of the parliament.

In his opening remarks, Vice-Chairman R.Gonchigdorj stated, "According to the Law on Government, Article 21.2., the State Great Hural shall appoint the succeeding member(s) of government within 30 days, if member(s) of government is/are dismissed.

Also, according to the bylaw of the State Great Hural, Article 31, Section 31.1, if President of Mongolia issues veto on Law or decision of the Parliament, the Parliament shall discuss within 14 days during the regular plenary session and within 10 days since an irregular session is commenced.

This irregular plenary session of the State Great Hural is called to discuss two issues: To appoint six members of Government and review the President's veto in the period from September 7th to September 18th of 2015.

Moreover, 25 years ago on September 9th incumbent parliamentarians D.Lundeejantsan, L.Tsog, S.Bayartsogt and L.Bold were elected as new members of the State Baga Hural and in the meantime, current MP D.Demberel had been a member of the Baga Hural. On this occasion, I would like to congratulate these and other members of the State Baga Hural /1990-1992/.

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of permanent functioning parliament of Mongolia, some measures will be organized on September 11-13, 2015 and thus, I want members of the parliament to take part in the commemorative event broadly".

Link to release


DP caucus will accept cabinet nominees, President's partial veto on amnesty law

September 7 ( Today, the Democratic Party (DP) Group, during a regular meeting, took the decision to accept the Presidential Veto on the "Amnesty Law".  The DP Group, also accepted the candidates for the ministerial positions as proposed by the Prime Minister.

After the meeting the DP Group Head, B.Garamgaibaatar, answered the following:

-       Today, the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) Group informed that the non-regular recall of Parliament was a violation of the law. What reaction will you give to this?

-       The Speaker announced that he will call the non-regular meeting before he left the country on a foreign trip; the non-regular meeting has been called in accordance with this order. There is no violation of the law.

Link to article


Is Khalkh River FTZ Unconstitutional?

September 7 ( The Mongolian Parliament has alreadyapproved the establishment of the "Khalh Gol Free Economic Zone" (FEZ). The decision to approve the 500 hectare site took place during the spring session of Parliament.  Several lawyers, however, consider that the "Khalh Gol FEZ" decision violates the Mongolian Constitution. Therefore, they decided to make an official complaint to the Constitutional Court. This took place today at 10.30am. There is also unofficial information that people living on the site will be evicted on 12th-17th September.

Link to article

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EBRD-financed Senj Sant cement plant opens in Mongolia

Company under female management will eventually produce 1 million tonnes of cement and employ 500 people in the Gobi region

September 7 (EBRD) A newly opened dry process cement plant is set to boost Mongolia's domestic supply of building materials at a time when the country is looking to stimulate new investment and construction.

The technologically and environmentally advanced Senj Sant cement plant was opened on 13 August 2015 in Urgun Soum, Dornogovi province, 450 km from the capital Ulaanbaatar.

The project has several unique features. First, the plant will be the first greenfield cement plant in Mongolia to use the environmentally friendly dry process. It is especially significant in the Gobi region where water is scarce. The plant will use the latest know-how in energy-saving technologies – currently used by only 10 per cent of similar sites in the European Union.

Second, it will make provision for a waste heat recovery power plant, which will help save energy and water.

Third, the project includes a gender action plan, which means there will be more opportunities for women. The Senj Sant company is already a success story in terms of female entrepreneurship. Most of the directors of Senj Sant are women. The plant will be overseen by Munkhnasan Narmandakh, the female CEO of its parent holding company, Monpolymet Group, one of Mongolia's leading mining operations. The holding company has an all-female board of directors. 

The EBRD provided a financing package of US$ 85 million, which consisted of a US$ 20 million equity investment and a US$ 65 million loan to Senj Sant. The Development Bank of Mongolia lent US$ 65 million.

The remaining US$ 80 million of the total project cost of US$ 230 million was funded by the Monpolymet Group.

The EBRD's senior banker in charge of the project, Azjargal Ulziitogtokh, attended the opening ceremony on behalf of the Bank and said: "This project will be a major step towards establishing domestic cement supply and substituting for imports. It is also important for the country's economic diversification."

"The EBRD is proud to highlight that the project meets EU requirements and will be using best available technology. Personally, as a Mongolian female professional, I am also very pleased to say that the company has a gender action plan to ensure equal opportunities, which goes beyond industry standards, not only in Mongolia but in the whole region where the EBRD works."

To date, the EBRD has committed over US$ 1 billion to Mongolia's economy. All of the Bank's projects so far have supported private sector companies.

Link to release


13th Annual Discover Mongolia Mining Forum Held in UB

September 7 (Mongolian Economy) The "Discover Mongolia 2015" forum was held on September 3-4 under theme of "Rebuilding Partnership." (Mogi: umm, wasn't the theme Mining withot Populism?) Organised for the 13th consecutive year, the annual mining conference brings together leaders from the private sector, the government and civic societies. We asked a few people for their thoughts regarding the conference and the future of investment.

Jim Dwyer, Executive Director of the Business Council of Mongolia:

-What things are being highlighted at this conference, and what do you think will come out of this conference?

-The session this morning (Sept. 3) had two important elements. One which I thought was most important was Munkhsukh from Rio Tinto talking about the underground mine, and I think perhaps it's the first presentation that has been made on the underground mine, about what is going to be happening over the next 50 years and how important it will be to get the major part of the wealth of Oyu Tolgoi out of the ground. That was number one.

Number two is that the head of Erdenes Mongol, the major sponsor of this event, spoke about the difficulties for an exploration company in Mongolia in recent times and the fact that for five years, there was no exploration allowed. No mining licences were being issues. He quoted somebody saying what you have to do is find things underground, but you can't find things if you are not allowed to explore. That has now changed, which is a positive. However, he pointed out that there has been a real holdback because of government policies. That has to change for things to get going better again. 

-Something mentioned quite often is investor confidence and the legal environment. Some progress has been made in addressing this issue, but in your opinion, what's the next step? 

-We need to get the biggest megaproject, the OT underground, going. That is the bright light. Beyond that, we have to get more going next year, such as the Tavan Tolgoi power plant, which is in part relying on OT as a customer. We need to see other megaprojects. We need to speak about the megaprojects, why they are very important, and what you have to do to have a good chance of them succeeding, most don't. There are others as well. Power Plant number five was mentioned, as were some other power deals. So we need to have more than one bright light, but we have to get that burning, and then some more.

Ranjeet Sundher, Director of Canrim Development Pte Ltd.:

-What things are being highlighted at this conference, and what do you think will come out of this conference?

-As far as what is going to come out of today, I think what you are going to see is a lot of the people who are negative are always going to be negative. There are certain sections of media, certain sections of politicians and certain sections of foreigners here who just love to think about everything negatively all the time. I am of the opposite. I think there has been lots of positive development. I think it is demonstrated all the time, and not enough emphasis is put on that. So, what is the outcome of this? There is still going to be the two sides. People are negative, and people are positive. All in all, I am pretty happy with the conference. 

-Do you see sectors other than mining that have the potential to attract investment?

-As far as investment in sectors other than mining, there is infrastructure – roads, bridges, tunnels, new sidewalks or any infrastructure that would make people happier on a day-to-day basis: not necessarily infrastructure for businesses, but for people – taking the kids to school, going for dinner to restaurants and getting home quicker.

-Do you think the return on investment on such infrastructure projects can be competitive with mining?

-It is a completely different business. I don't think it can be competitive with mining, but can be competitive from a risk point of view.

Masa Igata, Founder and CEO of Frontier Securities LLC:

-Would you tell us a little bit about the "Invest Mongolia Tokyo" conference being held in December in Japan?

-This event will take place on December 9th in Tokyo, and this is the third year. We are growing every year. We had about 280 attendees last year. We are anticipating that number to grow to 300-350 this year. This event is the biggest Mongolia-related investment conference in Japan and draws quite a bit of attention from both Mongolia and Japan, as well as the third neighbours such as the U.S., Europe, Asia and so on. This is truly an international event to bring Japanese investors to Mongolia.

-Do you see sectors or than mining that have the potential to attract investment?

-Aside from Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi, there is potential in power projects such as Thermal Power Plant 5, Baganuur, the TT power project and so on. There is big potential; however, the problem is that there always has been potential, but no real story. Not one dollar has been spent on the OT underground financing yet. Unless the money is spent, people will remain sceptical of Mongolia and will not be likely to invest in this country. So, we want to see the signing of OT in terms of the project financing as soon as possible. If this is done, then we should start to see a change in sentiments. Then, that may bring the investors as the big projects start to run.

Of course, the government is trying to diversify the economy and produce more value-added products in every field. Even in mining, they are trying to construct a smelter. All these have potential. That is why we are talking about opportunity in the non-mining sector at our Invest Mongolia conference.

Link to article


Mongolia Takes First Step Towards Industrialisation

September 7 (Mongolian Economy) The days when the government was criticised for not taking significant steps to promote manufacturing are over. The government has taken a step forward and approved a decree to determine the customs tax rate of certain imported goods on August 17 during a cabinet meeting. Customs duties on imported goods and services that are also produced domestically will be increased.

Customs tax rates on food such as eggs, meat products, ice cream, as well as materials such as cement, doors and windows will be increased from 5-10 percent to 6.5-20 percent. This will boost domestic industries and jobs will be created. "[The changes] have economic benefits because this will protect domestic manufacturers. Now they have an opportunity to expand in the market. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will take the next step and start exporting more if manufacturers expand and domestic industries become stronger. This industrialisation policy is happening in three phases. The first is to protect domestic businesses and support exports, and then new technologies and support for creative productivity will be introduced," said G.Bilguun, Head of the Small and Medium Enterprises Policy Coordination Department at the Ministry of Industry.

According to the spokesman of the Ministry of Industry Kh.Unurjargal,  the final types and tax rates of products have not yet been submitted to the Ministry of Industry,  even though the government decree have been issued. Most citizens are receiving the steps taken by the government positively,  but some of them are worried that domestic industries will increase the price of their products in turn. Some importers are unhappy, saying, "It's good to support domestic industries, but imports should not be hindered. Imported goods keep prices at a certain level." Ulaanbaatar resident Ts.Munkh said, "I trade cement. Today, one tonne of cement is MNT 85,000 in Erenhot, while it's MNT 155,000 in Khutul. I just don't get it at all." However, the director of the furniture factory Gobi Khangai Mebel LLC D.Batchuluun stated, "By doing so, we will support domestic industries and the lives of Mongolians will improve as more jobs are created. Our company manufactures 2000 metres, or 800-900 sets of sofas per month. When we first established the business, our aim was to produce high-quality sofas cheaper than imported ones. Thanks to this, we are surviving the downturn." 

People are reminding domestic manufacturers to pay more attention to the quality of their products in the future. Even though the price of imported goods is higher than domestic goods, they are regarded as being of better quality than the latter. In any case, the state has given significant support to domestic manufacturers. Now, domestic manufacturers must try to satisfy the domestic demand for high-quality, affordable products. During a national conference of SMEs in April, it was said that in most developed countries, including Taiwan, development was connected to the SMEs. They, Taiwanese SMEs, were supported in the same spirit and principle Mongolia has in mind.

The parliament decree gave the government the right to determine customs tax rates of imported goods by taking every sector's unique product and business features into account. Thus, the government has the right to increase or decrease the customs tax rate of more than 300 kinds of goods. Mongolia, as a member of World Trade Organisation, can increase tariffs on imported goods by up to 15-20 percent.

Domestic manufacturers often say that sales of goods are poor, even when they work hard. The government took a significant step this time by increasing the customs tax rates of certain types of goods, but they have also issued the list of goods to buy locally with money from the state budget. It means that they have made a decision to purchase certain domestically produced goods. The list includes approximately 80 products such as all kinds of felt products, wool, cashmere, wood and wooden products, leather clothing, construction materials, steel products and packaging. The list will be submitted to state and local government budget administrators. Mongolia has a history of sharp increases in purchasing in such ways to support domestic production. The purchase of domestically produced goods increased from MNT 5 billion to MNT 50 billion in just a year when this kind of list was approved by the Government Resolution No.103 of 2011.

The state policy is focused on supporting domestic manufacturers. Now, manufacturers need to produce goods such as eggs, cement, doors and windows with the "Made in Mongolia" label. The key is being as flexible as possible whenever, wherever.

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Ulaanbaatar, Ulan-Ude Cities Hold Business Roundtable Meeting

Ulaanbaatar, September 7 (MONTSAME) In frames of an official visit of Mr E.Bat-Uul, the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city to Ulan-Ude city of Russian Buryatia Republic, a roundtable meeting of businessmen was held on Sunday between the city.

During the meeting, the sides reached an agreement to export and import some kinds of goods including wheat, flour, meat and meat products. In addition, the Mongolian business delegates got familiarized with a bread factory in Ulan-Ude, seeing a technology for prolonging storage-life of the product. The sides also exchanged views on supplying food products to Mongolia.

The roundtable meeting brought together Yu.G.Dagdanova, the Vice Minister of Food and Agriculture of Russian Buryatia Republic; S.A.Tereshenko, head of the Authority of Food, Trade, Service and Industry; and O.Narantuya, head of the Section of Food, Trade and Service at the Administration Office of Ulaanbaatar. Moreover, the meeting attracted leaders of Mongolian food and trade companies and their counterparts of Buryatia.

Link to article


Ulaanbaatar, Ulan-Ude Cities Establish Cooperation Agreement

Ulaanbaatar, September 7 (MONTSAME) The capital city of Mongolia--Ulaanbaatar--will cooperate with Ulan-Ude city of Russian Buryatia Republic in boosting the cooperation around the border areas and in the tourism sector.

A memorandum on the matter was established last Friday during an official visit of Mr E.-Bat-Uul, the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar to Ulan-Ude city which is celebrating its 349th anniversary.

Following the signing ceremony, the head of Ulan-Ude put forward proposals to exchange experiences in the fields of health, culture and arts and to cooperate in developing roads and infrastructure.

A cooperation memorandum was established between Ulaanbaatar city's Chingeltei district and Ulan-Ude's Sovertsky district as well.   

Link to article


Statues of UB #10: Tank Monument

September 7 ( Probably there are very few who isn't familiar with a tank monument on a pedestal with an inscription: "Revolutionary Mongol tank brigade established with the proceeds of the Mongolian people took part in war against Hitler Germany."

But not many know why this tank has become a monument and what is history behind this specific tank. This is the T-34 tank, which was invented by a candy maker.

It might sound a bit odd. But the truth is that this most famous model was invented by Mikhail Ilich Koshkin and this model is one of those that has been put into mass production and was the most famous during the World War II.

He was earning for his life by making candies and selling them. But one day he decided that he wants to an engineer and started his studies. Since 1937 the candy maker turned into an engineer started working on his T-34 tank model.

The name of the model is very simple. Koshkin started the concept of his first tank in 1934 and it is the short version of TANK-1934 and therefore simple as T-34.

The model design was done by the order of Stalin by Koshkin. The production of the tank started only in 1940 and unfortunately Koshkin passed away that year at the age of 42 because of lung illness.

Since 1940 seven models has been produced and the tanks of 1943 were gifted to the Soviet Army from Mongolia with the proceeds of the Mongolian people.

History tells that Mongolia also gifted half million horses to the Soviet Army. ΠΆ-34 model of 1943 was produced with RUB 135,000 each, which is USD 3.8 million today.

Model of 1943 was manufactured 35,119 pieces and one of them is displayed in Ulaanbaatar at the foot of the Zaisan Hill facing the west. The tank has been awarded 8 orders and Guardian Order and was gifted back to Mongolian nation during the 23th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War by the Soviet People.

The first location of this monument was at the current location of the Silk Road monument with caravan of five camels on May 9th of 1968. 

Link to article


Making Ulaanbaatar More Resilient to Floods

August 17 (World Bank) Despite Mongolia's semi-arid climate, its capital city Ulaanbaatar is highly vulnerable to floods, particularly as it develops and expands. With a few critical changes, however, they can successfully mitigate flood risk. 

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Mongolia, U.S. to Hold Annual Consultative Meeting on Tuesday

Ulaanbaatar, September 7 (MONTSAME) The 10th consultative meeting of the Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Department of State will take place on Tuesday in Ulaanbaatar.

The consultative meeting is expected to gather Mr D.Gankhuyag, the State Secretary of the Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Mr Daniel R. Russel, the Assistant US Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

The sides will consult issue of the Mongolia-USA relations, regional and international matters, and will exchange views on goals and tendency of the bilateral ties and cooperation.

After the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr L.Purevsuren will meet Mr Daniel Russel. 

Link to article


New General Consul of Australia to Mongolia Receives Exequatur

Ulaanbaatar, September 7 (MONTSAME) The State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr D.Gankhuyag Monday handed over the exequatur to Mr Brendan Vincent Coyne, the General Consul and Trade Representative of Australia to Mongolia.

At the meeting held after the presentation, the State Secretary noted about boosting of the Mongolia-Australia relations and cooperation in the mining, education and agricultural spheres. He hoped that Mr Coyne will make all his efforts to widen the bilateral relations and cooperation within his office term.  

Link to article


Mongolia - The Democratic Anchor of the East

July 29 -- Documentary film about the Mongolian international relations. Narrated by the President of Mongolia, Elbegdorj Tsakhiagiin.

Link to video


Mongolia - Man of the People

July 29 -- Historical stories of Mongolia told by President Elbegdorj Tsakhiagiin in the year of celebrating 25th anniversary of democratic changes.

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School #3 students receive their new school building

September 7 ( Today was the start of the new school year for the students of the school No 3, one of the oldest schools established in the capital city.

In 2012 investments of MNT 45.7 billion were allocated to the development of the education sector in Capital city and the project selected four schools and 12 kindergartens to have new facilities.

The school building has the capacity of 960 seats and the construction works started in 2014 by the contractor Altanbulag Trade LLC.

Opening of the new school building was attended by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science L.Gantumur and in his opening speech emphasized how the contractors implemented the project in a very short time and made it possible for the students to start the new school year in comfortable facilities. The building project was made in accordance with Eurostandards therefore, making it possible to become the model building for the upcoming new school buildings.

During the three years of having no facilities the students of school No 3 were having classes at schools No 4 and No 16.

1,800 children have registered to attend the school for this year and the arrangement are to be made to have two shifts.

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Talk with Me: Saranchuluun Otgon, Founder/Director, Achilles International Mongolia

September 6 (Star TV) --

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Nature, Environment

Harvest regions to experience sudden cold weather today

September 7 ( Weather forecast warns on sudden cold at agricultural region due to the precipitation expected during the day at Eastern and mountainous regions today.

Eastern regions will have increased clouds. Most of the eastern and central region will have rain showers and thunderstorms.

Winds at SW in eastern region and NW at other parts of the country with 6-11 m/s getting stronger in Gobi region reaching 16 m/s.

Temperatures today will be 8-13C in Altai, Khangai and Khuvsgul mountainous areas, 22-27C in Gobi and eastern regions and 14-19C at other parts of the country.

Ulaanbaatar city will have few clouds, no rain is expected. Winds at NW at 6-11 m/s. Temperatures will be 14-16C.

For an extended weather forecast please click here.

Link to article


PM works in agricultural regions of Selenge, Bulgan and Orkhon aimags

September 7 ( Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg is working in agricultural regions of Selenge, Bulgan and Orkhon aimags in connection with harvesting works started throughout the country.

On September 06, PM Ch.Saikhanbileg has visited wheat field of "Gazryn Undraa" LLC located in Saikhan sum of Selenge aimag to check harvesting process and during his visit he had conversation with company workers.

"Gazryn Undraa" LLC has 2,300 hectares of field and plants wheat in 1,200 hectares annually. Company officials informed PM Ch.Saikhanbileg that they use their own domesticated Lutescens-936 wheat also other varieties such as Darkhan-34 and Altaiskaya-90.  

After seed producing works started in 2001, the company has managed to establish own seed bank of Darkhan-34 variety. Darkhan-34 is high quality elite seed that gives good sustainable harvest and resistant to drought, and produces high quality flour.       

Link to article


Premier Works in Bulgan AimagMontsame, September 7


3.5 magnitude earthquake registered in Zavkhan Aimag

September 7 ( Yesterday earthquake with magnitude of 3.5 was registered in Naluu region of Asgat bag of Bayankhairkhan soum Zavkhan aimag at 10PM.

There were no damages registered as a result of the earthquake according to the report sent by National Emergency Management Agency.

Link to article


The sustainable use of scarce water resources in Mongolia

September 7 ( To conserve and sustainably manage the scarce water resources of Mongolia, it is imperative that permanent and robust measures are introduced to address these issues. These are the commitments of the collaborative project "Integrated Water Resources Management, Model Region Mongolia (MoMo)", which has been coordinated by the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) since 2006. Project phase III will start with a kick-off meeting planned for the 8th September 2015 in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia. The goal of this phase is to put environmental monitoring, innovative water technology applications as well as integrated river basin management concepts into practice.

The objective of the project "Integrated Water Resources Management for Central Asia: Model Region Mongolia (MoMo)" is to implement an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). To achieve this, the project has three core research areas: environmental monitoring, water technologies and river basin management.

Core area "environmental monitoring"

Mongolia is faced with numerous challenges: water is becoming increasingly scarce and rivers and groundwater are polluted from intensive industrialisation and increased mining activities throughout the nation. Moreover, data on the state of the environment are generally limited. In recent years, a team of German and Mongolian universities, research institutes and enterprises were able to collect and analyse essential environmental data for a model region in Mongolia. Now these data are being made available to Mongolian users and decision-makers via a web-based GIS as well as a long-term data management system established. Furthermore, extensive training programmes are being conducted in environmental monitoring.

Core area "Water technologies"

In Mongolia, it is not only urban settlements that are the focus of water consumption, but also the wastewater discharge into surface waters and out-dated infrastructures mainly from the 1960s certainly do not help. For example, the unofficial yurt settlements on the outskirts of cities that have seen an unprecedented rate of expansion over recent decades are usually not connected to central public utility services. Consequently, the project has introduced some pilot measures over recent years to reduce water losses from pipe leakages in the urban public utility services distribution network as well as a pilot project for the central, semi-central and decentralised treatment of wastewater. Such solutions are now to be implemented on a larger scale and it will be tested as to whether they can be transferred to other regions of Mongolia.

Core area "River Basin Management"

The Mongolian government has declared the Integrated Water Resources Management concept as a role model for managing the country's water resources and it is now planning to develop and implement management concepts for all larger river basins. The project is supporting this process: on the one hand through scientists who are keeping in close contact with the Mongolian Ministry for Environment, Green Development and Tourism, the National Water Committee as well as the respective river basin management authorities for the model region Kharaa and offering advice about concepts, and on the other hand by examining Mongolian "water governance", which is going through an extremely dynamic phase of development. The results will be used to draw conclusions on framework conditions in the field of water management in Mongolia and for comparable regions in Central Asia.

Implementation as an inter- and trans-disciplinary collaborative project

From the German side, the project consortium comprises of partners from science and industry with the following participants: the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research – UFZ (coordination), the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), the Fraunhofer Application Center System Technology Ilmenau, and the German Development Institute (DIE). From industry the following partners are involved: p2mberlin GmbH, Bergmann Beton + Abwassertechnik GmbH and terrestris GmbH & Co KG. In Mongolia, the consortium cooperates with a number of Mongolian institutions, including the respective national and regional ministries and authorities, scientific institutes such as the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, as well as implementation partners such as the municipal water utility in Darkhan or the river basin authority of Kharaa.

Explore further: Water for Mongolia

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Mongolian boxer D.Otgondalai crowned Asian champion

September 7 ( The Asian Confederation Boxing Championships 2015 was held on August 25 - September 05, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. A record number of 188 boxers from 28 nations competed in the biggest ever ASBC Asian Confederation Championships, where 15 individual nations were able to win a medal.

Champion of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games D.Otgondalai, one of the nine Mongolian boxers who participated in the championship, has become the Champion of Asia in men's 60 kg category.

After defeating Indonesian boxer Farrand PAPENDANG in the second bout (bye in the first bout) Dorjnyambuu OTGONDALAI advanced to the quarterfinals, where he matched with and defeated boxer of hosting country Pachanya LONGCHIN. Later in the semifinals, Mongolian boxer fought against boxer from Uzbekistan, Elnur ABDURAIMOV. During the bout, D.Otgondalai's eyebrow was cut but he continued to fight ignoring his injury and could take out his opponent. In the final, Kazakhstan's Zakir SAFIULLIN challenged Mongolian boxer.

The match was stopped twice because of D.Otgondalai's eyebrow injury but he kept fighting dominating Kazakhstani boxer for three rounds. Thus he become the Champion of Asia in 60kg men's category.

Moreover, G.Gan-Erdene (49 kg), E.Iderkhuu (56 kg), D.Otgondalai (60 kg), and B.Tuvshinbat (69 kg) were able to proceed to the quarter-semifinals, earning their tickets to the AIBA World Championships in Doha, where they'll fight for their spot in the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Mongolian boxers G.Gan-Erdene and B.Tuvshinbat won bronze medals in their respective weight classes.

Along with the medals on offer, a total of 66 boxers qualified for the Doha 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships from this event.

Link to article


Boxing, September 7


O.Gundegmaa Wins Silver in ISSF World Cup Final

Ulaanbaatar, September 7 (MONTSAME) A State Honored Sportswoman O.Gundegmaa has grabbed a silver medal in the ISSF World Cup Final which is continuing in Munich, Germany.

Our shooter competed in the women's 25 m pistol contest took place last Friday. In the preliminary round, Gundegmaa was qualified to the final by collecting 583 points. In the final, she came second. Gold and bronze medals went to Chinese shooters Zhang Jingjing and Cao Lijia, respectively.

The ISSF World Cup will be concluded on Monday.

Link to article


Asian U-23 Fencing Championship 2015 Starts in Ulaanbaatar

September 7 ( The 2015 Asian Under-23 Fencing Championship starts on September 07, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

210 Fencers from 35 countries of Asia-Pacific will compete for the title of Champion for five days.

For the first time, Mongolia participates with full team of 15 fencers with 4 coaches in all three weapon categories: foil, sabre, and epee.  

The championship will take place at Buyant-Ukhaa Sports Complex, admission is free. In addition, free transportation service will be provided during championship between the State Academic Drama Theatre and Buyant-Ukhaa Sports Complex every hour.

Link to article


General Assembly of the Asian Fencing Federation, September 7


Fantastic Porsche Expedition From Siberia to Mongolia!

September 7 ( Determined to continually test the limits of its vehicles, Porsche frequently embarks on some epic road trips around the world. Most recently, the German marque headed to Russia with a selection of Cayenne and Macan models on a truly epic expedition.

The journey started in Siberia and travelled through to Mongolia and was organised with the help of Porsche partner, Michelin Russia. Throughout the trip, the trying conditions of Siberia and Mongolia were tackled head on by the participating Porsche models with everything from expansive green fields through to rocky outcrops and deep sands on the agenda.

While the Porsche Macan is the German automaker's entry-level SUV, it performed valiantly alongside its older and larger brother, the Cayenne.

Link to article (and photos)

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Art, Entertainment

Ch.Badral takes 2nd at 10th International Elena Obraztsova Youth Opera Singer Competition

September 7 ( Saint Petersburg, Russia hosted the 223 opera singers of 19 countries who competed at the World Opera Singer Competition during the August 15-25th.

The event was the 10th Young Opera Singers Competition named after Elena Obraztsova and Mongolia has participated for the first time and won the second place.

Bardral Chuluunbaatar received the special prize in opera character creation nomination from this prestigious competition which was held at the famous Marinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg. Ch.Badral is a singer at the Military Song and Dance Ensemble. This was the second time earning a prize from the world competition.

Photos are taken from the Facebook Page of Military Song and Dance Ensemble.

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FCO Mongolia Travel Advice Update: Bringing Cars

Updated: 7 September 2015

Latest update: Local laws and customs section - if you bring a car into Mongolia you may have to pay a small fee; if you don't leave with your car you may also have to pay an import tax

Mongolia takes border security very seriously and foreign nationals are not routinely permitted access to border areas. The authorities can regard zones of up to 100km inside the border as a border area. If you wish to travel in these areas, you must get permission from the State Frontier Guard Authority. Only a few specified land border crossings are open to foreigners. See Border crossings.

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism.

Avoid going out on foot alone at night. Foreigners stand out and can be targeted for attack because of their comparative wealth. See Crime.

Around 6,000 British nationals visit Mongolia annually. Most visits are trouble-free.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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