Monday, November 9, 2015

[Gobi Minerals seeks LSE listing; new TT bill gains traction; constitutional amendment wants 5-year terms; and Liberty Partners MD on Interpol wanted list]

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Monday, November 9, 2015

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Overseas Market

Mogi: Barsbold Ulambayar (MPP) is the former environment minister, here's his self-profile, also behind the group that sold Khushuut to Mongolia Energy Corp. CICG trading suspension lifts today

LSE-Listed CIC Gold Proposes Reverse Take Over of Gobi Minerals

November 6 -- CIC Gold (LSE: CICG) announced a suspension of trading in the Company's shares on November 3, 2015 as the Company was in discussions regarding a proposed acquisition (the "Proposed Acquisition"). 

The Proposed Acquisition, if exchanged and completed, would constitute a reverse takeover under the Listing Rules.  As the Company was unable to provide a full disclosure under Rule 5.6.15 of the Listing Rules, the Company requested a suspension of trading in its shares. 

The Company is pleased to advise that the board of directors (the "Board") of the Company have agreed with the vendors to progress the acquisition of Gobi Minerals Limited for a consideration of £5,600,000  payable by the issue of 280,000,000 shares each with a half warrant to the vendors. 

Gobi Minerals Limited collectively own a 100% interest (the "Interest") in mineral title Tsagaan Suvarga gold and copper situated in the South Gobi region of Mongolia located in the territory of Mandakh soum, Dornogovi aimag, 560 km from Ulaanbaatar city, known as Gobi Gold Project. It is located near Mongolian Alt Corporation now in production. The mineral lease has no proven reserves or resources and is considered green field. 

The Proposed Acquisition will be subject to a number of conditions including due diligence, the production of a satisfactory Competent Person's Report, documentation, the raising of additional equity finance, the publication of a prospectus, the approval to the issue of new shares as consideration for the Proposed Acquisition by shareholders and Admission of the Company's enlarged share capital to the Main Market. 

Board Changes and Management

HE Barsbold Ulambayar, who is an Independent Non Executive Director has been appointed Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer with immediate effect.  Dr. Geoffrey P. Cowley, the previous Chief Executive, has been appointed Non Executive Technical Director. 

Mr. D. Garamjav, who discovered the potential mineral resources in the lease area, will be appointed principal geologist upon the completion of the Proposed Acquisition.  Mr. D. Garamjav discovered the world class Oyu Tolgoi gold copper deposit being developed by Rio Tinto/Ivanhoe. 

CIC Gold has appointed Dr. Earl W. Abbott Independent Consulting Geologist to produce a Technical Competent Persons Report on the Interest.  The Company then will conduct mineral asset de risk works and seek to divest its interests. 

The de-risking phase may include some of the following actions:

·         Compile a complete detailed technical report to Canadian NI 43-101 report;

·         Conduct Legal mineral title opinion to confirm mineral titles and permits;

·         Produce general and geological maps/plans;

·         Produce a geotechnical report;

·         Produce a structural geology report;

·         Undertake a reconnaissance airborne geophysical survey;

·         Conduct a independent confirmation sampling program;

·         Conduct a bulk sample program for metallurgical testing where required;

·         Acquire remote sensing and satellite photography;

·         Conduct Environmental studies including impacts on past exploration and mining; and

·         Produce a pre-feasibility Report as required. 

The Board has entered into discussions with CIC Capital Fund Limited in order to seek working capital for the Enlarged Company.

Link to release


TRQ closed +0.35% Friday to US$2.87

Turquoise Hill expects Oyu Tolgoi underground funding in place by year-end

TORONTO, November 6 ( – Rio Tinto-owned Turquoise Hill Resources has reassured investors that it expected to close financing for the $6.8-billion underground expansion of its massive Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold mine, in Mongolia, by the end of the year.

The expansion had been delayed for years over a tax dispute with the Mongolian government, as well as to some extent of political turbulence.

The Mongolian government had in September signed a request of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) for host country approval (HCA) regarding guarantees to be issued by MIGA, in connection with the Oyu Tolgoi project financing.

Turquoise Hill billed the signing of the HCA as a significant milestone in the project financing timeline. In October, the project financing information circular was provided to the banking syndicate, allowing for each institution's respective internal consideration and approval.

Rio Tinto had pledged to invest at least $250-million to $300-million in the construction of the underground section of the Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold/silver mine this year.

Construction at the mine was expected to start this year, marking progress for the long-stalled mine that was expected to boost Mongolia's economy by a third when it reached full capacity in 2021.

Before the project was suspended in August 2013, underground lateral development at the Hugo North deposit had advanced about 16 km off Shaft #1. Sinking of Shaft #2, the main operations access and initial production hoisting shaft, had reached a depth of 1 168 m below surface, 91% of its final depth of 1 284 m.

The 96-metre-high Shaft #2 concrete head frame had been built and sinking of Shaft #5, a dedicated exhaust ventilation shaft, had reached a depth of 208 m, 17% of its final depth of 1 174 m. Surface facilities, including offices, mine dry, and workshop, were in place to support initial pre-production development and construction.

The Oyu Tolgoi mine had initially been developed as an openpit operation. A copper concentrator plant, with related facilities and necessary infrastructure to support a nominal throughput of 100 000 t/d of ore, had been constructed to process ore mined from the Southern Oyu openpit.

Long-term development plans for Oyu Tolgoi were based on a 95 000 t/d underground block-cave mine.

On May 18, Turquoise Hill, the Mongolian government and Rio Tinto announced the signing of the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine development and financing plan, which addressed key outstanding shareholder matters and set out an agreed basis for the funding of the project.

After filing the revised schedules for the 2015 Oyu Tolgoi feasibility study with the Mongolian Minerals Council in August, pre-start activities were underway, in parallel with an update to the capital estimate, which was expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.


Turquoise Hill reported net income attributable to shareholders of the company of $21.2-million, or $0.01 a share, compared with a net loss of $94-million, or $0.05 a share in the comparable period of 2014, an increase of $115.2-million.

The increase was mainly attributable to a $227.3-million non-cash impairment charge recorded in the period last year, on reclassifying its Mongolian coal subsidiary SouthGobi to being held for sale.

Revenue in the period dropped 12% year-over-year to $431.7-million, reflecting lower volumes of copper/gold concentrate sales, compounded by a fall in copper prices.

The third-quarter mix of revenue by metals was the result of inventory with higher contained copper and gold drawn down during the quarter, from concentrate produced in second quarter.

The company's gross margin of 41.6% for the quarter was down from 46.4% in the second quarter, owing to the effect of lower copper prices.

All-in sustaining costs in the period were $1.52/lb, compared with $1.26/lb in the second quarter.

Oyu Tolgoi's output was at record levels during the quarter, producing 56 000 t of copper, 123 000 oz of gold and 388 000 oz of silver. 

Turquoise Hill owned a 66% stake in the Oyu Tolgoi mine, and Mongolian government agency Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi held the remaining 34%.

Oyu Tolgoi was expected to produce 175 000 t to 195 000 t of copper and 600 000 oz to 700 000 oz of gold in concentrates this year.

The company expected copper output to be at the top of the range, while gold output was expected to be in the middle of the range.

The company's TSX-listed stock on Friday rose 3.03% to C$0.68 apiece, having lost nearly 28% in value over the past 12 months

Link to release


Turquoise Hill Resources' (TRQ) CEO Jeff Tygesen on Q3 2015 Results - Earnings Call Transcript


MMC trading -2.7% in early Monday trading

New bill expected to bring better resolution of Tavan Tolgoi coal mine

November 6 ( 40 MPs have signed on draft law of regulation in relation to Tavan Tolgoi agreement. It has been two weeks since the draft law was soon to be announced. MPs agreed this time that the quote of 1072 shares is going to remain unchanged in the agreement. As a result, the agreement will be beneficial for public.

Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi Company must own not less than 51% of Tavan Tolgoi mine, as Mongolian Railway has to possess not less than 51% of soon to be constructed new railroad, according to being mentioned in the draft law. Also, policy of third neighbor country must be reflected in the agreement. Head of the working group L.Erdenechimeg said: "The draft law signed by over 40 MPs is much different from the one, which allowed 98% of Tavan Tolgoi mine to be owned by a foreign company."

If the draft law is submitted and supported by government and parliament, it is going to enable us to carry out Tavan Tolgoi mine's operations apart from interests of individual politicians.

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 -3.71%, Stocks ₮127.97 Million, T-Bills ₮9.9 Billion

November 6 (MSE) --

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Historic low ₮1,997.26/USD set September 11

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, November 6 Close


































































































Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,988 Sell ₮1,996), Khan (Buy ₮1,986 Sell ₮1,995), Golomt (Buy ₮1,986 Sell ₮1,994), XacBank (Buy ₮1,987.5 Sell ₮1,994.5), State Bank (Buy ₮1,986 Sell ₮1,995)

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

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BoM issues 86 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -11.5% to ₮502.5 billion

November 6 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 86 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


No one wants an increase in fuel prices

November 8 (UB Post) There is one thing that thoroughly scares Mongolians, especially its humble citizens: rising prices. The fear has been awakened, since Parliament has been discussing the draft of the 2016 state budget and the Finance Ministry has been brainstorming on where to find money, demanding that customs and taxation offices find money. These solutions impact the basic prices of everything in the marketplace, making our daily lives even more difficult.

Since the end of 2014, oil prices started dropping in the global market, however, that change didn't apply to us. We wondered why, but the lawmakers explained that even though oil prices were low in foreign countries, it was still expensive due to currency exchange rates.

They also explained that fuel prices didn't go up thanks to the implementation of a program to stabilize them, a program carried out by the government and Mongol Bank. Many people stopped complaining, and instead of expecting fuel prices to drop, they seemed satisfied that the prices had not gone up. But now, the program to stabilize oil prices won't be able to keep people satisfied.

Parliament approved the Law on Excise Taxes on June 29, 2015, stating that excise taxes will be set differently, depending on the ports that fuel and diesel are brought through.

Excise tax of up to 217,000 MNT can imposed on a ton of A-92 petrol and up to 221,000 MNT is taken per ton of diesel brought through the Tsagaannuur, Yarant, Borshoo, Burgastai and Bichigt ports. Taxes of up to 229,000 MNT are taken per ton of A-92 petrol and 226,000 MNT per ton of diesel fuel brought through the Khankh and Uliankhar ports. Excise tax of up to 252,000 MNT is taken per ton of A-92 and up to 265,000 MNT is taken from a ton of diesel fuel imported through Sukhbaatar, Zamyn-Uud, Ereentsev, or Altanbulag.

However, the Cabinet has developed a plan to generate revenue by increasing the highest limit of customs and excise taxes for petrol and fuel. The plan aims to increase tax limit on A-80 petrol brought through the Sukhbaatar, Zamyn-Uud and Altanbulag ports by 200,000 MNT, making it up to 452,000 MNT; tax on AI-92 would go up by 200,000, making it 459,000 MNT per ton; and to increase excise tax on diesel fuel by 300,000 MNT, making it 565,000 MNT.

It is obvious that oil importers will increase the retail prices of fuel when they are forced to pay double the amount of excise taxes. Pouring salt on the wound, the Cabinet is discussing increasing customs taxes on top of these increases.

In 1999, Parliament approved that oil customs taxes would be no more than five percent of a barrel's wholesale value, and gave the Cabinet the right to make a decision on where to set the tax within that five percent limit. Cabinet eliminated customs and excise taxes on imported oil products in November 2011. Then, in January 2015, it decided to set customs taxes on oil products at five percent and set the highest possible amount of excise taxes on fuel brought through the Altanbulag, Sukhbaatar, Zamyn-Uud, and Ereentsav ports.

Now, the Government of Mongolia – under the pressure of debt, is trying to empty the citizens' pockets, because fuel importers will recover their losses from regular citizens. In October 2015, Russia exported diesel fuel at a cost of 868 MNT per liter, then importers sold it for 1,450 MNT per liter to wholesalers, adding customs and excise taxes. Customers ended up paying 1,790 MNT per liter.

If fuel taxes are increased, the wholesale price of a liter of fuel will be increased by a minimum of 350 MNT minimum. In that case, we will pay 2,000 MNT per liter at gas stations. Everyone knows the consequences: transportation companies will increase ticket fares, commodity prices will increase, and we will see higher prices for everything we use in our daily lives. We will be driven to debt as the government scrambles to escape its own.

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Politics & Legal

Mogi: it proposes expanding SGK to 99 members and 5-year terms, electing the President from an enlarged parliament with 6-year terms. Constitutional scholars I know say this amendment will be a major setback to Mongolia's democracy

Draft Amendment to the Constitution Submitted

November 6 ( On November 6, 2015, Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) Mr. Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD was presented a draft law to make amendments to the Constitution of Mongolia.

The Constitution of Mongolia was enacted 23 years ago in 1992 and to date, the Constitution was amended only once in 2000.

According to the second draft amendments, it is reflected to clarify the interdependence, equality as well as differences and boundaries between offices of Parliament, President and Government.

Moreover, a national referendum will be held prior to discussion at the plenary session of the Parliament and it is cited in the draft amendments to hold the national referendum on November 26, 2015.

Link to release


Cabinet backs in principle draft amendments to elections laws

Ulaanbaatar, November 6 (MONTSAME) The irregular cabinet meeting on Thursday discussed and backed in principle a draft amendment to the law on parliamentary election. Related to it proposals will be conveyed to the draft initiators. The cabinet also backed a bill on elections initiated by R.Burmaa and other MPs, and considered as necessity to convey them some proposals. 

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Draft amendment to law on parliamentary election submitted

Ulaanbaatar, November 6 (MONTSAME) A member of parliament S.Batbold Friday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold a draft amendment to the law on the parliamentary election. Batbold said he has altered one of the clauses in order to ensure an equality of participants in the parliamentary election, to refine upon the legal environment, to improve the law's quality, and to enhance correlation of laws.

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New Consolidated Election Bill Submitted to Parliament

Ulaanbaatar, November 6 /MONTSAME/ A.Bakei MP presented to Speaker Z.Enkhbold the Election bill on November 6. The bill was prepared by 16 members of the State Great Khural.

The draft law comprises all laws about elections, namely, the Law on Presidential Election, the Law on Parliamentary Election, the Law on Election of Citizens' Representatives of Capital City, and the Law on Elections of Citizens' Representatives of Aimags, Soums and Districts.

It has 19 chapters and 164 articles, sophisticating the legal basis of Mongolia's election processes in harmony with the more developed society of today, informed the initiator.

Link to release


Cabinet submits draft amendments to laws on territorial units, holidays, ITU convention

Ulaanbaatar, November 6 (MONTSAME) Head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government Friday submitted to parliament draft amendments to the laws on territorial units of Mongolia and their administrations; on public holidays and remarkable days; and a bill on ratifying the amendment to the Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The Cabinet Secretariat head said that the draft amendment to the law on territorial units of Mongolia and their administrations has been worked out in order to refine upon structures and organization of state organizations, to abolish the operational duplication in state bodies and to minimize expenses for public services.

Another amendment to the law on public holidays and remarkable days has been formulated with an aim to propagandize importance of democratic elections to the public. By this amendment, the day of July 29 will become a public holiday to celebrate the Day of Democratic Elections.

The amendment to the ITU Constitution and Convention was approved during the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2010 (PP-10) which took place in Guadalajara, Mexico on October 4-22 of 2010.

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Mogi: Bolorchuluun, who was elected from Dornod, voted for the FTZ in July, now he's trying to backpedal

Draft resolution submitted on turning Khalkh Gol into an organic agricultural zone

Ulaanbaatar, November 6 (MONTSAME) Kh.Bolorchuluun MP presented Friday a draft parliamentary resolution on establishing Khalkh Gol agricultural zone for organic industry to the Chairman of the State Great Khural Z.Enkhbold.

Parliament adopted on this year's July 9 the resolution no. 75 on establishing Khalkh Gol agricultural free zone in Khalkhgol soum of Dornod aimag, and directed that this zone would cover 500 thousand hectares. "However, it is not suitable for enforcing am agricultural free zone regime in 'such a remote depth of the locality", considered Kh.Bolorchuluun MP and suggested creating agricultural organic industry free zone there.

The draft resolution offers ensuring of national security and territorial integrity of Mongolia and reducing of foreign trade deficit, moreover, it meets Mongolia's economic policy to enhance its competitiveness in agricultural products' and food markets, he said.

It will also assure the inhabitants of Khalkhgol soum and also entities who hold land permits their rights to land ownership, freedom of movement and travel, said Kh.Bolorchuluun MP.

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Parliament might consider increasing herders' pensions under new bill

Ulaanbaatar, November 6 (MONTSAME) Draft amendments to Law on Pensions and Benefits Provided by the Fund of Social Insurance was submitted by D.Battsogt MP on November 6.

According to the future perspectives of the population aging, average life expectancy has lengthened and the number of seniors has increased, resulting in increased expenditure of pension fund. Moreover, the households put more load on their shoulders, in terms of finance, as they have to take charge for their elderly members.

Rather than lowering the retirement age for livestock herders, increasing the pension amount basing on an estimation extending their premium paying years, on the account of their difficult working conditions, such as harsh weather and unscheduled events and work-shifts and many other factors. This estimation is used upon designating the pension amounts for diplomats, military servicemen, police officers and forensic analysts.

The bill initiator considered that increasing the pensions for herders will raise their interest to be subjects to superannuation insurance, helping to increase the revenue of social insurance fund.

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MPRP claims arrest of Minister G.Shiilegdamba was orchestrated by President

November 8 (UB Post) The Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) arrested Health and Sports Minister G.Shiilegdamba on Wednesday on charges of corruption, and the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has responded with claims that the arrest was a political attack directed by President Ts.Elbegdorj.

Unofficial sources reported that Minister G.Shiilegdamba, who is also the general secretary of the MPRP, was arrested while allegedly receiving around 500 million MNT in foreign currency from a government tender winner, and was taken to the General Executive Agency of Court Decision's detention center No.461. The minister's driver and assistants were also arrested and interrogated, according to local media.

Shortly after the arrest, MPRP members pointed a finger at President Ts.Elbegdorj for ordering the arrest and claimed that it was politically motivated.

"Who can order the IAAC and General Prosecutors' Office to take action against the MPRP? Ts.Elbegdorj is the only one. How should I know how many conspired with him, and how many friends he's got," said former Deputy Justice Minister and MPRP member E.Erdenejamiyan.

The MPRP believes that the arrest was part of a series of political attacks meant to discredit their party before the election.

"First of all, I want to officially state that this arrest is the next step in an attempt to discredit the MPRP," said E.Erdenejamiyan during a press conference held on Thursday. "This is part of a purely politically motivated effort to sabotage our operations and intimidate us before the election, in connection with the MPRP's increasing popularity and operations… We are not frightened of this persecution."

He also said that the whereabouts of G.Shiilegdamba are unclear, and that the IAAC has been interrogating him under a violation of human rights.

"When I went to the IAAC for G.Shiilegdamba, I was told he wasn't there and that he was in detention center No.461. But he wasn't there. Is there a secret prison or did he disappear," E.Erdenejamiyan tweeted on Thursday.

"We don't know where [G.Shiilegdamba] was kept from midnight to 4:00 a.m. in the morning. We don't know how they interrogated him. The IAAC interrogated him without a lawyer all night and pressured him. Four to five people were arrested with [G.Shiilegdamba]. They were interrogated for a long period without food and released [Thursday] morning," he added.

The IAAC did not comment on the claims of the MPRP.

E.Erdenejamiyan said that the story of G.Shiilegdamba's arrest sounds like a "movie script" and too good to be true, and that the odds of catching him in the act of receiving a bribe are too suspicious.

MPRP Secretary Ts.Sharavdorj said, "The fact that senior members of the Mongolian People's Party requested cooperation from the MPRP must have caused fear. There is no such thing as clean politics in Mongolia. There is no fair competition."

G.Shiilegdamba was previously accused of selling off Bogd Khaan Mountain and Zaisan area land, but the claims of illegal activity were not proven in court. He served as Minister of Environment and Tourism for one year, in 2007, and became general secretary of the MPRP in 2012. He was appointed to Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg's cabinet in 2014. In political circles, G.Shiilegdamba is regarded as head of the MPRP and a trusted member of former President N.Enkhbayar's political circle.

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Mongolia adds Liberty Partners' Ganbat Chuluunkhuu on Interpol's Wanted Persons list

Link to Interpol page


Mongolia's rocky travails of mineral wealth

by Mendee Jargalsaikhan, PhD candidate in political science at the University of British Columbia. He has served as Senior Fellow at the Mongolian Institute for Strategic Studies and Defence Attaché to the United States.

November 6 (East Asia Forum) Having held its first multi-party election in 1990, Mongolia is a democratic outpost in a tough authoritarian neighbourhood. Thus the country enjoys a wide spectrum of political and economic support from developed democracies. Political power has been transferred peacefully between two contending political parties, civil and political rights are respected and public discontent is freely expressed. Moreover, Mongolia overcame a daunting economic transition from socialism with the assistance of international financial institutions and donor countries like the United States, Japan and Germany, and with help from its own agricultural economy, shuttle traders and foreign remittances.

In the 2000s, the commodities boom seemed to promise a windfall for this fledgling democracy, which possesses mineral resources such as gold, coal, copper and uranium. But, in retrospect, the boom is where things started to go wrong.

The minerals boom reduced international pressure on Mongolia's democracy. In the 1990s, democracy was a strong currency that attracted Western political and economic support, which in turn served as a source of domestic legitimacy for Mongolian political elites. In the absence of economic and military (geo-strategic) interests, the West's embrace of Mongolia was purely ideological. It was also clear to Mongolian political and business elites that any move toward authoritarianism would lead to isolation, the least desirable option for Mongolia. International isolation, for a smaller, peripheral state, naturally increases its dependency on its powerful neighbours.

The minerals boom attracted the interest of global and regional mining giants and supply businesses, the majority of which are capable of influencing foreign policy agendas in major capitals. Since 2000, all high-level talks between Western and Mongolian dignitaries have overwhelmingly focused upon mining investment and related infrastructure development. At the same time, the minerals boom has provided opportunities for local political and business elites to engage in rent- and fame-seeking competitions. Mongolian politicians wanted to be involved in major mining and infrastructure development deals mostly to advance their parochial and private interests.

The minerals boom intensified unhealthy competition among politicians, parties, political-business factions and interest groups over political power and state resources. Since 2007, the collective wealth of Mongolia's parliamentarians has increased markedly based on self-reporting. In 2012, parliamentarians' collective wealth was equivalent to 7.6 per cent of GDP. But it does not stop there. Violating the constitution and the law, they have attempted to assert their influence in the cabinet, ministries, agencies, state-owned enterprises, and even in the judiciary and law enforcement by appointing political party-affiliated individuals. Certainly, this provides more opportunities to advance their interests and to marginalise their opponents.

For a new democracy, this leads to a deeply politicised and nepotistic state bureaucracy, which is vulnerable to any changes on the political landscape following elections or changes in the balance of power of political forces. Worse still, the state bureaucracy becomes less effective in both enforcing laws, rules and regulations and in serving as a gatekeeper against parochial or private interests. As a result, groups aim to profit as much as possible while leveraging their influence with new politicians in order to remain unaccountable for their past behaviour. In this cosy relationship, no one wants to talk about accountability.

The minerals boom triggers public discontent for three reasons. First, foreign investors and politicians promote false hopes of sustainable economic growth, increased employment and spill-over benefits from the mining industry. But they usually remain silent about the mining industry's 'maximum profit at minimum financial cost' approach or that a politician's primary motivation is to remain in office. In order to gain popular support, mining companies provide the government with upfront payments. Governments borrow in expectation of continued economic growth, but politicians largely spend these funds carelessly as they expect a continuous inflow of large sums in mining royalties and taxes.

Second, exploitative mining results in major negative impacts on the environment, especially where regulatory and enforcement mechanisms are weak. Like in any developed state, people in Mongolia do not want to see extensive, unregulated mining activities in their backyard, since it disturbs the natural environment and peoples' livelihoods. While the major polluters are typically small- and medium-sized Mongolian and Chinese mines, as well as illegal 'ninja' miners, the only way to get government officials and politicians to act in favour of environmental protection is to use major Western investment projects as leverage.

Third, mining generates rents from licensing fees, taxes and royalties, but the process of awarding, collecting and distributing revenues is not as transparent in developing states. As seen in the Mongolian experience, it usually results in mismanagement and widespread corruption. This ignites public discontent and also provides rent-seeking opportunities for political and civil society actors and movements.

If investors and politicians follow only profit motives and their short-term interests, mineral wealth will easily accelerate the ongoing institutional decay in Mongolia's democracy even though the commodities boom is likely to peak in the coming years. To save Mongolia's democracy, instead of attempting to bend the rules in their own favour, politicians must take the rule of law seriously by bringing themselves under the laws, rules and regulations that they themselves approve. This would restore trust in democracy, strengthen the state bureaucracy and assuage public discontent. The alternative is opportunistic behaviour, blame-game tactics and a deceptive democracy.

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MFA Signs MOU with National University's School of International Relations

Ulaanbaatar, November 6 /MONTSAME/ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will cooperate with the School of International Relations and Public Administration at the Mongolian State University (MSU) in several works.

A memorandum of mutual understanding was signed Friday by Kh.Bekhbat, director of the Diplomatic Academy and S.Battulga, director of the School of International Relations and Public Administration.

Main aims of the memorandum are to determine norm of their mutual understanding and principles of cooperation, boosting direction and policy analysis on urgent problems to Mongolian security, foreign policy and multilateral cooperation, to unite capabilities of organizations, diplomats and scholars for preparing national trained staffers on diplomacy and administration.

Present at the signing ceremony were T.Tegshjargal, director of the Public Administration Department; A.Gerelmaa, the second secretary of the Department; D.Bayarkhuu, deputy director of the Regulatory Department of Policy Planning; and other officials. 

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Bill on protecting rights of people with disabilities submitted

Ulaanbaatar, November 6 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare S.Erdene MP Friday submitted to parliament a draft law on protecting rights of people with disabilities.

The draft reflects measures for improving all conditions for the disabled so that they have the power resolved urgent problems they face in public transportation, roads designs, apartments, and public organizations.

In 2008, Mongolian parliament ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was approved at the 61st session of the UN General Assembly in 2006. In addition, Mongolia accepted last year the Incheon Strategy to "Make the Right Real" for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific to be realized by governments of the ESCAP between 2013 and 2022.

With an aim to fulfill goals of these documents, the government has worked out the bill on rights for people with disabilities in accordance with a plan of realizing the 2012-2016 action programme and the UN Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities. The current law on the social welfare for the disabled mostly says about state assistance and support, medical and social welfare services, that is why the bill aims to change this tendency. Clauses have been put into the bill based on key regulations of the UN Convention in order to protect the disabled from discrimination, to ban this discrimination, and to ensure their right to participate in social life as others. 

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The Estonian Tech Revolution: Lessons for Mongolia

By B. Enkhtsetseg

November 6 (Mongolian Economy) In some countries, computer programming may be seen as the realm of only nerds, but not in Estonia, where it is seen as fun and simple. The people from the northernmost of the three Baltic states break the stereotype and redefine trends in global development. Now this country, recently dubbed "e-Estonia," uses the Internet as an engine of growth. They use e-services like they breathe air and eat food.

It is a paperless society where its 1.3 million citizens use their digital signatures to pay taxes, pay for parking space, and the population's health records are stored in the cloud. The interconnected computer network covers Estonia like a spider web. In 2007, it became the first country to allow online voting in general elections. This year, they became the first to offer e-residency to foreigners.

To understand the digital culture of this powerful player in the tech arena, seven journalists from Mongolia travelled to Estonia with the help of a cooperation project between Tallinn University's Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School and the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Oyu Tolgoi Underground Development Supplier Forum a major success; 600 companies participating, strong Mongolian presence

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 6 November 2015 (Oyu Tolgoi) Oyu Tolgoi's Underground Development Supplier forum, a major event designed to bring together domestic and international suppliers, was successfully held on Wednesday. The event, which aimed to provide potential suppliers with information about the development of the underground mine, saw strong interest, with approximately 600 Mongolian and international businesses – translating to over 1,200 attendees - taking part.

Oyu Tolgoi President and CEO, Andrew Woodley, said: The Forum is an important milestone and major step forward towards the development of the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine. We are on a journey to unlock 80 per cent of Oyu Tolgoi's value, which will require strong partnerships and real commitment to build such a complex project. We are delighted with the marked enthusiasm from the 600 companies in attendance today, and this forum has created opportunities for greater collaboration between international and Mongolian companies, leveraging global expertise to build local excellence."

Erdenes Mongol CEO, and non-executive Board Director of Oyu Tolgoi, Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal, said: "Oyu Tolgoi is on a journey to build a safe, sustainable and efficient world class business. Oyu Tolgoi has set a world-class standard in safety, environmental performance, tax payments, and investments in the social and education sectors.

"In order for Oyu Tolgoi to further succeed, we need support and participation from all suppliers. I appeal to them all to build efficient businesses and contribute to Oyu Tolgoi."

The event highlighted 16 categories of supplies and services required for the project: Bulk materials; Electrical and Telecommunications; Freight and Logistics; Pipes and Pumps; Underground Refuge; Ventilation; Construction and Civil Works; Fire services; Fuel systems; Process and Materials infrastructure; Site services; Drilling; Underground mining fleet; Ground support; Professional services; and Steel.

Specialist suppliers from Mongolia and 28 countries around the world accessed information on the areas relevant to them, while also understanding the key principles behind working with Oyu Tolgoi, including safety, compliance, and efficiency.

In addition to representatives from approximately 600 Mongolian and international businesses, the event was attended by Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi senior management, Erdenes Mongol CEO Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal, and Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi CEO Da. Ganbold.

Government and local authority representatives included the Prime Minister's office, Mining, Road and Transport, Industry, and Foreign Affairs ministries, Invest Mongolia, and representatives of Khanbogd soum.

Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, India, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, the UK, and the US were also in attendance, along with international financial institutions including the International Financial Corporation, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, and the International Monetary Fund.

Notes to the Editor:

·         Oyu Tolgoi is among the best safety performers in Rio Tinto

·         Over 95 per cent of Oyu Tolgoi's workforce is Mongolian

·         In 2015, Oyu Tolgoi worked with approximately 885 suppliers, of which 576 were national businesses. Behind these companies stand over 35,000 workers, and their families, from all over Mongolia.

·         Oyu Tolgoi's in-country spend, since major construction began in 2010, has crossed US$5.13 billion – making a real impact here in Mongolia. This includes salaries, payments to Mongolian suppliers, taxes, and other payments to the Government of Mongolia.

·         We have built strong relationships with our neighbour communities – including through the signing of a Cooperation Agreement with partner communities earlier this year. This agreement paves the way for an annual investment of US$5mn in social development and infrastructure projects.

·         Oyu Tolgoi's Scorecard can be accessed here.

Link to article


Mogi: interesting. Maybe they were thinking of applying for a license here

Casino Operator Genting Singapore Applies to Deregister Mongolian Subsidiary

November 4 -- Genting Singapore PLC (the "Company") wishes to announce that North Spring Enterprises LLC ("NSE"), the Company's indirect wholly-owned subsidiary incorporated in Mongolia, has applied for de-registration.

The de-registration of NSE is not expected to have any material impact on the consolidated net tangible assets and earnings per share of the Company for the financial year ending 31 December 2015.

None of the Directors or substantial shareholders of the Company has any interest, direct or indirect, in the above de-registration other than through their respective shareholdings in the Company.

Link to release


Mogi: it's not their main Mongolian operation, but a representative office they opened before the Hunnu Coal acquisition

Banpu Announces Dissolution of Mongolia-Registered Banpu Coal LLC

October 30 -- Banpu Public Company Limited ("the Company") would like to notify the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) that Banpu Coal LLC ("BLLC") has dissolved by registration to the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority, the registrar of department of business in Mongolia on BLLC and BLLC already completed the process of liquidation.

The Company wishes to further inform that BLLC is one of the Company's subsidiaries in which the Company holds 100% of shares.

BLLC has no business relating to energy sector and has not been operated the business for several years. Therefore, the dissolution of BLLC has no impact to the business operation of the Company.

Link to release


"Mongol Brand - ASEM 2016" expo to involve over 120 national producers

November 6 (GoGo Mongolia) "Mongol Brand - ASEM 2016" expo being opened today at "Misheel Expo" center are involving over 120 national producers and manufacturers.

The expo with the motto of "Let us welcome ASEM representatives with locally produced products" will display handcraft, textile, souvenir, jewelry, packaging bags and others from over 120 local companies.

The expo aims to promote Mongolian products and encourage using them for services of ASEM Summit. 

The expo will be open until November 9. 

Link to article


Online English training organized for employees of ASEM11 hotels

November 6 ( Virtual English training for ASEM11 partner hotel staff commenced at Bayangol Hotel on November 3. The partner hotels are selected to collaborate with ASEM office and host the honorable guests and visitors of 11th Asia-Europe Meeting summit in 2016.

More than 100 employees of over 40 hotels were given a one-month pass code to be enrolled in online English lesson as part of this training.

The training combines online and class education, and is operated by internationally certified training centers "Burton English" and "Macmillan Practical English" as a pilot. The expansion of this training will depend on the results of the pilot training.

ASEM Office of Mongolia is organizing 12 types of training for staff of ASEM11 partner hotels and this is the second component, with the "Diplomacy and Providing Services to High-level Visitors" component for senior managers being the first. The 11th ASEM Summit will be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in July of 2016.

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Residents blame Mayor E.Bat-Uul for sewage treatment stench

November 6 ( The Central Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) has been terrorizing its surroundings with its stench coming from 450 thousand cubic meter unprocessed sewage sludge gathered for 30 years for long time.

Residents of Songinokhairkhan district had to live in this unhealthy condition with constant headache in past years hoping that city authority would take actions. When winter comes, situation gets little bit better as cold air suppresses the stench. But authorities did nothing to improve the situation even though the stench has already spread further to other districts.

As Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, expends following its population growth, the current WWTP cannot meet the increasing need because it was built during Soviet time by old technology designed for household usage. Ulaanbaatar serves as both political and industrial center of Mongolia. The central WWTP needs new technology suitable for industrial need and extensions to increase its capacity.

In 2015, the Government finally decided to take actions to solve the problem within its urban development plan for 2020 and 2030.

On November 04, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul and other officials of relevant government agencies visited the central WTTP to check the situation at the scene. However, residents of Ulaanbaatar city did not like the look of officials wearing a mask during their visit. Especially, Mayor E.Bat-Uul has become the main target of discussion among social media.

"The person who is in charge of dealing such issues cannot show such disrespect to people who elected him. It is his responsibility. We literally live in this stench without mask. Did he think of that?" says a resident of Songinokhairkhan district.

Link to article


PM orders immediate action to fix the broken Central Sewage Treatment Plant

November 8 (UB Post) After paying a visit to the Central Water Treatment Plant on November 3, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg ordered immediate action to improve the conditions of the facility.

The PM, Government Secretariat S.Bayartsogt, Minister of Construction and Urban Design Z.Bayanselenge, Ulaanbaatar Mayor S.Bat-Uul, Director of the National Water Management Authority S.Unen and other officials paid a visit to the treatment facility.

The facility was built in 1964 with the capacity to cleaning 170,000 cubic meters of waste water a day. Due to industrial waste water, the facility receives four to eight times the capacity of water but only cleans 160,000 to 180,000 cubic meters daily.

The facility has been naturally drying all the filtered sludge since it was established. The sludge field covers 15 hectares of land. The facility engineers said that 400,000 cubic meters of the sludge is conglomerated, which may impose great danger to human health and environment.

The PM ordered immediate action on the issue urging his "Decision Hour" meeting.

"The 60-year-old facility is not only an issue to the state but one to the whole country as 45 percent of the entire population resides here. There's no choice but to pay attention to this. Mayor S.Bat-Uul is here. It is hard for the capital to deal with this issue alone. The government needs to support, so I brought my team here. Today is not the day to talk but to act," said Ch.Saikhanbileg.

He ordered S.Bat-Uul and S.Unen to hurry with the blueprint and feasibility study for the new water treatment plant.

"We all know the stink situation in all areas of Ulaanbaatar. We are currently at the source of all the stink. I'm coming to the conclusion that we must improve the environment of the facility's workers and us. The first step is to solve the current problem beforehand and find investment," said PM Ch.Saikhanbileg at the end of his talk.

The PM declared he will create a large team with experts from related ministries and city officials for the construction of the new water treatment facility. The team will work on improving the conditions of the current facility and construction of the new facility.

Since the 2016 budget is being discussed, they initially planned 8.1 billion MNT to remove the sludge.

According to S.Unen, the new water treatment facility will cost 312 million USD, but the feasibility study is still in process.

"The blueprint will be done by January 2016," S.Unen said.

Link to article


"Made in Ulaanbaatar 2015" Trade Expo, November 20-22, Misheel Expo

November 6 ( The Support Center for Small and Medium Enterprises holds "Made in Mongolia" trade exhibition each year to promote small and medium business in Ulaanbaatar within the action plan of Mayor of Ulaanbaatar.

This year, "Made in Mongolia" trade exhibition is going to be held from November 20 to 22, 2015 at Misheel Expo Center among 140 enterprises of Ulaanbaatar city.

Link to article


800 million in sales generated at annual Great City Sale

November 8 (UB Post) During the Ikh Khotiin Khyamdral trade fair held on October 29 at Chinggis Square, over 310,000 visitors made purchases totaling 800 million MNT from domestic entities.

The event was organized on the eve of the 376th anniversary of Ulaanbaatar, and over 107 entities participated in the trade fair. Businesses offered product samples valued at 17.9 million MNT which were given to 231 lottery winners.

A total of 65 entities, including 39 trade, 12 food service, 15 cashmere, and four leather production companies, sold their products at discounted prices. Around ten vendors in catering and food service participated in the trade fair by providing 10 to 20 percent discounts on their food, appetizers, and beverages.

Chansaa Shoe Store organized a car giveaway during the event, and General Manager of Ulaanbaatar B.Badral announced the winner of the Toyota Estima. The winner of the lottery was a customer who bought a pair of shoes for 95,000 MNT from Chansaa's booth at the trade fair.

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Foreign Minister Addresses ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting

November 6 (MFA of Mongolia) The 12th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting is being held on November 5-6 in Luxembourg. Mongolian Foreign Minister L. Purevsuren has addressed the second part of the meeting being held under the theme "Working Together for a Sustainable and Secure Future" and the theme of his speech was "Asia-Europe Contact and ASEM's Future."

The Foreign Minister said, "The importance of talks and discussions are growing significantly today as the world is increasingly globalizing. This is a noble principle that ASEM has been pursuing from the time of its inception 20 years ago. We believe that this is one reason for Mongolia joining ASEM and a contribution of the people of Mongolia on the international arena. Lately the notion of Asia-Europe contact has not only become a watchword of ASEM but also Mongolia appreciates this notion in a broad and deeper context. We attach paramount significance to extending both "soft" and "hard" relations and ties between Asia and Europe, and we attached enormous significance to promoting political, economic, social and cultural cooperation and we are making effort to make its own contribution to this cause."

As regards Mongolia, one way of bringing talks and discussions to a successful conclusion is by way of sustained development of cooperation encompassing 19 concrete sectors. Mongolia is making energetic effort within this framework and an illustration of this is the successful organization of the workshop on renewable energy last spring.

Mongolia is also would like to see broader participation and involvement of the private sector, academics and researchers, students and young people, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties in the Asia-Europe dialogue.

Link to release


Foreign Minister Attends 12th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Luxembourg – MFA of Mongolia, November 6


Foreign Minister Meets EU High Representative on Foreign Affairs

November 6 (MFA of Mongolia) Mongolian Foreign Minister L. Purevsuren, attending the 12th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Luxembourg, being held from November 5 to 6, on November 4 has met with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Commission Federica Mogherini.

At the outset of the meeting, Foreign Minister L. Purevsuren thanked the European Union for its support and assistance in ensuring preparations for the ASEM Summit which is scheduled to be held in Mongolia next year. He underlined that Mongolia attaches paramount significance to its ties with the European Union, which is Mongolia's Third-Neighbor, and stands for the promotion of all round extension of these relations. The Mongolian Foreign Minister also requested support for expediting the process of ratification by all the EU member countries of the Partnership and cooperation agreement with the European Union, intensifying bilateral commercial and economic cooperation and give priority to increasing private investment of the EU member countries for the purpose of diversifying the economy of Mongolia.

Foreign Minister L. Purevsuren also briefed the Vice President of the Commission F. Mogherini on Mongolia's foreign policy initiatives and actions including the policy of permanent neutrality of Mongolia as well as Mongolia's actions to guarantee security in Northeast Asia, and they also exchanged opinions on issues of mutual interest.

Link to release


MFA Hosts Forum on Roles of Media in Promoting Mongolia Abroad

November 5 (MFA of Mongolia) As part of the drafting process of the Program on Promoting Mongolia abroad", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been organizing a series of forums involving professionals, scholars and representatives of various domains.

The sixth forum held on 2nd November was under the topic "Promoting Mongolia abroad – Role of Press and Media" where national television, radio, newspaper, magazine, electronic media company executives, as well as reporters, professional associations have come together to exchange views on the above stated draft Program.

The forum was inaugurated by the policy address of Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren. The open hearted discussion followed with a topic whether views and initiatives on providing general policy background, defining roles and responsibilities by press and media were reflected in the Draft Program on Promoting Mongolia abroad. Researcher J.Bodibaatar delivered his complete presentation on soft power theories that was sparked with speed of light over public diplomacy and promotion concepts. Next presentation was given by "Cover Mongolia" founder and CEO B.Munkhdul about coverage of Mongolia on foreign media, respective topics and corresponding content statistics. A.Baatarkhuyag, Director of Montsame Agency, accounted past promotion practices and potentials for future advancement. Reporter D.Boldkhuyag, who has substantial experience in public relations, also shared his views on ways and opportunities to promote Mongolia and how to raise its image abroad. CEO of Confederation of Mongolian Journalists P.Bayarmagnai has briefed about International press club activities and shared his views on promotion. In capacity of a leader of the Mongolian Press Club, he was greatly invested in promoting Mongolia and advised of various possibilities to cooperate with international media on this topic.

The forum further proceeded with open discussions on expanding international cooperation of media such as radio, television, newspapers, magazines and web pages, also addressed the challenges in and ways to improve their international public coverage. The forum is the final in the sequence of forums held as groundwork for the drafting the Program on Promoting Mongolia abroad and has aided in reflecting views of the media sectors in forming a comprehensive plan in frame of the Draft Program.

Link to release


Cambodia Opposition Leader Rainsy Leaves for Mongolia, Japan and South Korea

November 6 (The Cambodia Daily) Two days after returning from a weekslong trip to Europe, opposition leader Sam Rainsy was set last night to leave Cambodia once more for a two-week trip to Mongolia, Japan and South Korea.

"I am leaving tonight at around midnight. It's for a number of meetings," Mr. Rainsy said Thursday, explaining that he would attend meetings of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats in Mongolia before going to Japan to meet lawmakers and Foreign Ministry officials.

"We will mainly discuss the election process and the assistance that Japan has committed themselves to providing, and what our concerns are. But on the whole it will be a positive message."

Mr. Rainsy said he would then meet with some of the 30,000 Cambodians living in South Korea before returning to Cambodia on November 16.

He defended his decision to take another trip amid the current political turbulence, saying that his presence in the country would change little, and that the trip to Japan was an important step toward electoral reform.

"The only hope for Cambodia is to have credible elections. That's why everything is centered on the election process," he said.

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Health, Education

Mathematician suggests naming Catalan numbers after its Mongolian inventor

Ulaanbaatar, November 6 (MONTSAME) Ninth meeting of Ulaanbaatar Open Mathematics Seminar ran at  Olonlog school last week, gathering scholars from the Mathematics Institute, professors from the Mongolian State University (MSU), the Mongolian State University of Education, and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, along with teachers of 1st, 11th and Olonlog general education schools.

The keynote presentations were given--"Malfatti's problem and global optimization" and "Contemporary development of mathematics" by R.Enkhbat DSc, and "Myangat Catalan Number" by MSUE Prof. Dr Ts.Batkhuu.

R.Enkhbat, honorary professor of Irkutsk State University of Russia, consulting professor of Inje University of the Republic of Korea and a professor at the MSU, initiated Mongolia's hosting of international conference on Optimization. The conferences took place in Mongolia in 2002, 2007, 2010 and 2013, attracting over 300 (overlapped counting) scientists and scholars from 32 countries.

He had reached his goal to solve Malfatti problem using global optimization, and presented his methods, along with some information on contemporary mathematics developments and academic researches by Mongolian mathematicians.

Dr Ts.Batkhuu raised an interesting issue about Catalan numbers. According to historic scientific evidences, it was clear that 18th century Qing-ruled Mongolian mathematician Myangat (known as Minggatu, Mongolian script spelling) used Catalan numbers in his researches before western scientists declared the inventing of it. Moreover, several scientists named Myangat as the founder of Catalan numbers in their scholarly articles, he said. Then, he made a suggestion to call Catalan numbers "Myangat-Catalan numbers". The seminar participants approved this proposal.

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Inspired by Zaya: Arjia Rinpoche, Buddhist Lama

November 6 ( "Future of Mongolia is not just mining. Instead I believe our future is dependent on educated, intelligent and multifaceted youth". I want to proudly introduce those talented and educated young professionals to others.

Editor E.Ariunzaya

I am very lucky women interviewed with such an amazing person. Today`s episode features with Arjia Rinpoche who was born in Huh Nuur, Tibet. Arjia Rinpoche is the only Tibetan high lama of Mongolian descent settled in US. His latest and the biggest humanitarian work was establishment of hospital for children with blood disease and cancer. I felt peace and great soul when I talked to him who has not involved quite often in entertainment talk show. During the interview, he introduced himself and gave his valuable advice to Mongolian youth. For the full interview please click here.

Link to article


1700 prisoners being freed these days under amnesty

November 6 ( The General Executive Agency for Implementing Court Resolutions has provided information about the implementation of the "Amnesty Law". According to the Agency 1700 prisoners are being freed these days. Social integration, job search, transportation and assistance with winter clothes will be financed by a MNT 130 million budget allocation.

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Mongolia brings two silvers from Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities

November 6 ( The Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea, Korean Society of Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities (KSRPD) jointly with the Ministry of Communication and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia hosted the "2015 Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities" on October 25-29, 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

This year, 25 teams of 200 young people from Asia Pacific joined the event, where Mongolian team, led by T.Munkh-Ochir, Deputy Director of the National Center for Rehabilitation and Development affiliated to the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection of Mongolia, showed great results wining two silver medals.

B.Angarag-Erdene, B.Enkhtuvshin and D.Khongorzul could capture silver medal from team match while Sh.Samdan won silver medal in the individual category.

During the event, IT forum was held among representatives of 15 participating countries under the theme "The 2015 Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities" and Mr. T.Munkh-Ochir gave a presentation themed "Current Progress of Introducing IT to People with Disabilities in Mongolia".

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Art, Entertainment

NOISE PRODUCTION Present METAL FEST 2015, November 14, UB Palace

Link to Facebook event


Hidden treasures of a remote record shop

By Liana Aghajanian

Ulan Bator, November 9 (BBC) Until recently, people in Mongolia had to travel more than 1,000km (600 miles) across the Gobi desert to Beijing to get to their nearest record shop. But this year, a new specialist store opened in the capital, Ulan Bator.

Batbold Bavuu began collecting records by accident 10 years ago, rescuing them from rubbish bins at the music college where he was a student.

Those discs formed the basis of his collection and the inspiration for his new shop, Dund Gol Records. The business started off in the corner of a children's library, tucked away in a tiny area with tall, dusty windows. His mission: to make vinyl cool again in Mongolia.

"It's not just what I do, it's who I am," says Bavuu, who usually goes by his nickname, Boldoo. "The most important part is the music, it's a big part of my life, so that's why I'm doing this."

His mother, who used to sing him Mongolian folk songs, first introduced him to music, and then in the early 1990s he got into hip hop.

"What I liked most was hip hop's sampling culture. I like funk, soul, jazz music, and later I just got into everything… I'm not the typical collector, I collected very fast. I collected because I like to sample music, that's why I like every genre."

Boldoo moved to London to study, took sound engineering courses, and then eventually began to write rap lyrics. He released a record with a Japanese artist in 2007, before returning to Ulan Bator to run a club and host underground parties.

Now he's put his 3,000 records on sale - an eclectic mix that includes Cuban tracks, Yemeni Jewish music, hip hop, Edith Piaf, pop groups from Belarus and rare state-sponsored Mongolian rock bands.

With possibly the largest record collection in the country, he has a wide selection of albums from the Soviet era - some that were officially released and others that were smuggled into the country, evading strict controls imposed by the Communist authorities.

As far as he knows, this is the country's first specialist record store. During Mongolia's 65 years as a Soviet satellite, when it came under Moscow's influence, music was sold in book shops and department stores.

Dund Gol which means Middle River, is nostalgically named after the river that flows though the city. Boldoo grew up nearby and spent his childhood fishing there, though as Ulan Bator expanded, water levels dropped and the fish have all but disappeared.

Development has brought foreign visitors though. Boldoo has welcomed shoppers from Israel, South Africa, the US, Germany and Egypt who come to dig for forgotten musical treasures.

Billy Macrae, a photographer from London, heard about Dund Gol from a Norwegian friend who introduced him to Boldoo via the shop's Facebook page.

When Macrae walked into the store, some of the first things he noticed were the Bee Gees and Beatles albums.

"It's quite unique in that these records have been sitting in someone's ger (yurt) for about 30 years, and some of them seem really well preserved," he says. "I think a lot of the particular copies would have been issued in the USSR and I don't think you'd find them in a shop in London for example."

Now, rather than sifting through rubbish bins, Boldoo finds that vinyl comes to him.

His foreign customers often post him records when they get home and sometimes local families call asking him to sell their discs in his shop. "Every Mongolian family used to have few records," he says. "It was very trendy during the 80s, but most of them played Frisbee with them."

On one of the last days of summer, before the air turned thick with the smell of coal fires, Boldoo got a call from young man living in one of the slum districts, where close to 800,000 nomads have set up their traditional yurts.

Between sips of milky Mongolian tea, he inspected 100 or so records and came away with music by Charles Aznavour and Elvis Presley, a rare set of flexible and colourful German 78s, a disc in the shape of a postcard and an album of African-American gospel music pressed in the Czech Republic in 1963.

Boldoo suspects the collection once belonged to a Mongolian diplomat who acquired the music on trips abroad more than 25 years ago - someone in such a position would have been able to bring them into Mongolia undetected.

Though his loyal customer base consists mostly of European and American visitors, Mongolians are also starting to take more notice.

Baapii came to Dund Gol just to see a record player - she'd only ever seen them in films. "I was thinking, 'Why don't we have this in Mongolia? I want to see this too,'" she says while flicking through Beethoven records.

"It's so nice to see it." She plans to come back another day to buy a turntable - Boldoo recently imported 10 to sell to his customers.

The shop seems to be doing well and has already moved to a larger site a few blocks away from the children's library. Boldoo is now sharing a place with a delicatessen where he has more space to display the albums that were once confined to cardboard boxes. He is also cataloguing his collection in the hope of selling online too.

"The good part is that I acquire a lot of knowledge," he says. "I learn languages because all these records have been pressed and written in different languages. I meet lots of interesting people with lots of stories. It's very profitable to meet like-minded people from all around the world to exchange knowledge and culture."

This article was made possible through a fellowship from the International Reporting Project.

Link to article (and video report)


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Ulaanbaatar 15160, Mongolia
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