Monday, December 21, 2015

[XAM restarts drilling; PCY signs EPC agreement; KOT raising C$510K; Tavan Bogd agrees to buy; and Senate praises Mongolia]

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Monday, December 21, 2015

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Overseas Market

TRQ closed +0.43% Friday to US$2.35, -0.84% from Tuesday

Rio Revising Mongolia Mine Costs After $4.4 Billion Funding

By David Stringer, Michael Kohn

·         Financing package secured for Oyu Tolgoi mine expansion

·         Rio says project costs to be finalized in coming three months

December 15 (Bloomberg) Rio Tinto Group, the world's second-biggest mining company, is revising the cost estimate to expand Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine after agreeing a $4.4 billion financing package.

The estimate for the underground expansion remains between $5 billion and $6 billion, though is being re-costed "because the market conditions have changed dramatically in the last six months," Jean-Sebastien Jacques, Rio's chief executive officer for copper and coal, told reporters Tuesday on a conference call from Hong Kong. "We should have a better understanding of the final costs of the underground early next year. "

A group of 20 lenders, including 15 commercial banks and institutions from Canada, Australia and the U.S., have agreed to provide financing, with final approval to be decided in the first half of 2016, Jacques said. The expansion of the mine, located 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the Chinese border, will probably take five to seven years once approved, according to Rio.

While costs of items including steel, concrete and electrical wiring have fallen, labor rates in Mongolia and China have been rising, meaning it's hard to judge the likely outcome of the review, Sydney-based Deutsche Bank AG analyst Paul Young said by phone. "Intuitively, you'd think it would be cheaper, but there's been some labor-cost escalation in that region."

The financing agreement comes amid production cutbacks by Glencore Plc and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. after copper prices in London slumped to the lowest level in more than six years on prospects for the weakest Chinese growth in a generation. Rio expects the market to recover in three or four years, which is perfect timing for Oyu Tolgoi, Jacques said on the call.

"When Oyu Tolgoi is up and running, we expect the market to be in a structural deficit at that point," Jacques said. "From our perspective, Oyu Tolgoi will be part of the solution to provide the copper that's required in China or anywhere else."

Copper prices have slumped about 26 percent this year in London, their worst annual performance since the global financial crisis in 2008. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expects global surpluses to widen every year through 2019 before the market returns almost to balance in 2020.

"Clearly, what we want is to be able to harvest the next copper cycle," Jacques said on the call. Oyu Tolgoi should see a meaningful increase in output from 2020 under the expansion plan, he said.

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., the Rio-controlled producer, owns 66 percent of Oyu Tolgoi and Mongolia's state-owned Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi LLC holds the balance. Once the expansion is completed, copper production capacity will rise to about 550,000 metric tons a year, a rate that's likely to rank the site as the world's third-largest, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd.

Oyu Tolgoi is forecast to produce 175,000 tons to 195,000 tons of copper in 2016 and 210,000 ounces to 260,000 ounces of gold, Turquoise Hill said in a filing this month. The operation is expected to ramp up to full production between 2021 to 2026, according to Turquoise Hill.

Lenders for the project include the Export-Import Bank of the United States, BNP Paribas SA and Standard Chartered Plc, according to a Rio statement Tuesday. Oyu Tolgoi is seeking to raise up to $6 billion of limited recourse project finance to refinance existing shareholder funding and support development of the underground project, it said.

The all-in project finance interest rate for Oyu Tolgoi, including fees, is Libor plus six percent, Turquoise Hill said in a separate statement.

Link to article

Link to TRQ release

Link to RIO release

Link to Erdenes Mongol release

Link to OT release

Link to Entrée Gold release

Link to EBRD release

Link to IFC/MIGA release


Banks lend $US4.4b for Rio Tinto's Mongolian copper dream at Oyu TolgoiSydney Morning Herald, December 15

Australia's export credit agency confident local firms will win Oyu Tolgoi workThe Age, December 16

Rio Tinto seals $4.4 bln financing for Mongolia copper expansionReuters, December 15

Mongolia's giant Oyu Tolgoi mine gets $4 bn financingAFP, December 15

Rio Tinto completes $US4.4b finance package for Oyu Tolgoi mineThe Australian Financial Review, December 15

Rio Tinto Lines Up More Than $4 Billion to Expand Mongolian Copper MineWSJ, December 15


Turquoise Hill Price Target Cut to C$5.25 by Scotiabank, Maintains "Sector Outperform" Rating

December 16 ( Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd (TSE:TRQ) had its price target reduced by stock analysts at Scotiabank from C$5.50 to C$5.25 in a note issued to investors on Wednesday, reports. The brokerage presently has a "sector perform" rating on the stock. Scotiabank's price objective would indicate a potential upside of 61.04% from the company's previous close.

Shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) traded down 0.61% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $3.24. 829,025 shares of the stock were exchanged. The company has a market capitalization of $6.52 billion and a P/E ratio of 23.14. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $3.56 and a 200-day moving average of $4.11. Turquoise Hill Resources has a 1-year low of $3.17 and a 1-year high of $5.80.

Separately, TD Securities raised Turquoise Hill Resources from a "hold" rating to a "buy" rating and set a C$5.50 target price for the company in a research note on Friday, December 11th.

Link to article


Shearman, S&C, Milbank star in $4.4 bln financing for Mongolia mega mine

December 17 (Asian Legal Business) Shearman & Sterling has advised Mongolian company Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi on a $4.4 billion financing to expand the country's massive Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, with Sullivan & Cromwell representing co-owner Rio Tinto, and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy counselling the lenders.

Shearman & Sterling's team was led by China-based partners Matthew Bersani (Hong Kong) and Andrew Ruff (Hong Kong and Shanghai) as well as Tokyo-based partner Etienne Gelencsér.

The Milbank team representing the project's lender group, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation, as well as Export Development Canada, Export Finance and Insurance Corporation and US Export-Import Bank, and a syndicate of commercial banks was led by London-based Phillip Fletcher.

Located in the southern Gobi desert, the Oyu Tolgoi project is the largest undeveloped copper-gold mine in the world. The Mongolian government holds 34 percent of the mine while Turquoise Hill Resources – in which Rio Tinto has 51 percent stake – owns 66 percent of the mine.

The financing, which is expected to close in early 2016, will help ensure the underground mine's speedy development. Open pit mining of Oyu Tolgoi started over two years ago, but work was halted amid disagreements over construction expenses and taxes, which were cleared earlier this year.

Oyu Tolgoi is projected to generate around 40 percent of Mongolia's gross domestic product as soon as it goes fully operational.

Link to article

Link to Shearman release


American firms dig in on $4.4bn Rio Tinto Mongolian mining project financingLegal Week, December 16


Mongolia PM Receives Oyu Tolgoi Investors

Ulaanbaatar, December 17 (MONTSAME) In regard to the finance signing of the Oyu Tolgoi underground development, the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg received the representatives of Turquoise Hill Resources, Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi companies on December 16.

Present were also the Minister of Mining R.Jigjid, the head of Cabinet Secretariat S.Bayartsogt, the Minister for mega projects M.Enkhsaikhan, the Minister of Energy D.Zorigt, a president of the Bank of Mongolia N.Zoljargal, CEO of Erdenes Mongol LLC B.Byambasaikhan, and a director of Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi D.Ganbold.

PM Saikhanbileg extended a gratitude to the banks and financial agencies for putting such great trust in Mongolia, regardless of its current economic situation.

The sides mainly discussed ways of forwarding the allocation of loans, and actions that need to be taken by the Government.

The underground mine development is planned to commence with the first quarter of 2016.

Link to article


XAM last traded A$0.125 on Thursday

Xanadu Mines restarts copper-gold drilling as geology reveals its secrets

December 17 (Proactive Investors) Xanadu Mines (ASX:XAM) has restarted drilling at its Kharmagtai copper-gold project in Mongolia as newly identified porphyry targets demonstrate potential for significant high-grade carbonate-base metal gold mineralisation.

Exploration drilling and trenching are currently underway and will explore a combination of targets which include high level gold-rich porphyry mineralisation and deeper tourmaline breccia mineralisation within the highly prospective structural corridors defined by a recent multi-disciplinary technical review.

The broadening range of targets at the project has been perhaps best typified by a recent intersection from a diamond drill hole that opened up a whole new model for shallow high-grade gold mineralisation with potentially significant carbonate-base metal gold mineralisation (CBM).

The carbonate-base metal gold vein/breccia epithermal mineralisation appears to be telescoped upon deeper level tourmaline copper-gold breccia mineralisation, indicating a link between CBM mineralisation and the adjacent porphyry/breccia alteration and mineralisation.

Importantly, this observation provides a conceptual model that can aid exploration zones of mineralisation.

This recent CBM intersection correlates with another intersection of high-grade CBM gold mineralisation previously encountered 2-metre interval assayed at 1.68% copper and 98.5 g/t gold.

Given the potential for bonanza grades and significant strike, this style of mineralisation is considered to be a very attractive target.

Further reconnaissance exploration, geophysics, field mapping, and infill soil-sampling are ongoing, and Xanadu is expected to drill test these new targets in the next six months.

Results from current drilling and trench channel sampling are expected in early 2016.

Recent progress

New exploration momentum at Kharmagtai is being underpinned by a A$8.8 million capital raising via a well received share placement and increased support from key investors Noble Group and Asia Capital Advisors. 

This investor backing followed on more than $15 million in capital raisings since the company's 2014 annual general meeting and builds on a cash position of $2.5 million as of the end of September.

Earlier this year, Xanadu defined a maiden resource at Kharmagtai of 203 million tonnes at 0.34 per cent copper and 0.33 grams per tonne gold for a contained metal content of 1,500 million pounds copper and 2.2 million ounces of gold.

Kharmagtai drilling in September returned 484 metres grading 0.57% copper and 0.32 grams per tonne gold from 186 metres, including 158.4 metres grading 0.8% copper and 0.24g/t gold from 342 metres.


The latest observations related to CBM mineralisation at Kharmagtai reinforce the view that the project has sufficient prospects to develop a district comparable to other porphyry districts in the in south Gobi region such as Oyu Tolgoi (located 120 kilometres to the south).

The conceptual geological model for CBM gold mineralisation at Kharmagtai is well supported by geological observations in drill core and represents an encouraging new target.

Xanadu's growing understanding of the complex geology in this area is allowing for more informed targeting, increasing the effectiveness of ongoing exploration work and improving potential the underexplored areas to host large scale high-grade copper-gold mineralisation and potentially shallow high-grade epithermal gold mineralisation.

Future price catalysts for the company may be associated with results from current drilling and trench channel sampling, which are expected in early 2016.

Also, drill testing of Xanadu's new targets is expected to generate positive newsflow in the next six months.

At the district scale, Kharmagtai exploration benefits from the fact that the project hosts a wide range of mineralisation styles, including high level gold-rich porphyry mineralisation and deeper high-grade tourmaline breccia mineralisation. 

The size of the hydrothermal footprint at Kharmagtai is an excellent indicator of the district potential, with porphyry intrusions and tourmaline-cemented breccias extending over a 25 square kilometre area. 

Link to article

Link to XAM release


AKM last traded A$0.008 on Thursday

Aspire: Coking Coal Quality Results for the 2015 Nuurstei Drilling Program

·         Proximate analysis from 31 core holes show coal with moderate to high ash, mid to low volatility, low sulphur and high FSI.

·         Washability test work on samples from the first four holes show moderate yields of a high quality coking coal (product ash 9% ad).

·         Petrography results on five washed coal samples shows:

o    Excellent coking properties,

o    Maximum vitrinite reflectance (a rank indicator) ranges from 1.3 – 1.4 and

o    Vitrinite content averaging 90%.

December 18 -- Mongolian coal explorer Aspire Mining Limited (ASX: AKM, the Company or Aspire) is pleased to announce that its 50% owned Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture (ECJV) with the Noble Group (SGX: N21) has received proximate analysis from core samples taken from the ECJV's 2015 Exploration Programme at the Nuurstei Coking Coal Project (Nuurstei). The ECJV currently has a 90% interest in Nuurstei and Aspire has an option to purchase Noble's 50% interest in the ECJV exercisable to March 2016.

In October, the ECJV completed its 2015 exploration drilling programme at Nuurstei which included the completion of 24 non-core drill holes and 31 PQ diamond core holes (refer ASX Announcements dated 21 August 2015 and 7 October 2015, and JORC Code Reporting Exploration Results shown at Appendix A of this announcement).

Link to release


PCY closed +16.67% Friday on the announcement to C$0.035, -30% YTD

Prophecy Signs EPC and Equity Investment Agreements with China's SEPCO2 for Chandgana Power Plant in Mongolia

Vancouver, British Columbia, December 18 (FSCwire) - Prophecy Development Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY, OTCQX:PRPCF, Frankfurt:1P2) is pleased to announce today, the signing of an Engineering, Procurement and Construction ("EPC") Agreement, Equity Investment Agreement, and Share Purchase Agreement (collectively, the "Agreements") with China-based Shandong Electrical Power Construction No.2 Company ("SEPCO2") to invest in, and build the Company's 600 MW Chandgana power plant (the "Chandgana Power Plant") in Mongolia. 

The Chandgana Power Plant Project, under the development of Prophecy's wholly-owned Mongolian subsidiary, Prophecy Power Generation LLC ("PPG") since 2011, has secured power plant land use rights and the construction license, and is included on the Mongolian Government concession list

SEPCO2 was founded in 1952 and is wholly-owned by the Power Construction Corporation of China ("POWER CHINA"), a Global Fortune 500 company with 200,000 employees as of June 2015, specializing in engineering, construction, design consultation and equipment manufacturing in the global energy sector. SEPCO2 has 6,400 employees and has constructed power plants in 11 countries such as: Saudi Arabia, Zambia, India, Malaysia and Sudan. 

The Agreements signing ceremony took place today at the Canadian Embassy in Mongolia's capital city of Ulaanbaatar and was witnessed by Senior Trade Commissioner from Embassy of Canada to Mongolia.  Mr. Zhang Shitao, the President of SEPCO2, and Mr. John Lee, the Executive Chairman of Prophecy, executed the Agreements on behalf of SEPCO2, and Prophecy, respectively. 

Project Summary and Update 

The Chandgana Power Plant is strategically located in Khentii province, 150km east of Baganuur, to provide power to both Mongolia's Eastern Energy Grid and Central Energy Grid.  The Chandgana Power Plant will be a coal-fired mine-mouth power plant where coal will be supplied from Prophecy's wholly owned Mongolian subsidiary Chandgana Coal LLC's adjacent open pit coal mine.  

The total capital investment necessary to complete the 600MW Chandgana Power Plant is expected to be approximately USD$1 billion.  The proposed investment for Phase 1 (150MW x2) is estimated to be USD$600 million, Phase 1 is to be completed within 3 years from the start of construction.  Prophecy has identified the main EPC contractor, and equity and debt investors that are ready to invest and start the project once a bankable Concession Agreement and Power Purchase Agreement including tariff are finalized with the already-established Mongolian government-appointed working group.  

Mongolia currently imports approximately 20% of its electric power from Russia and China. Prophecy is proposing to build a new, modern power plant to provide a stable 20-year power supply in Mongolia, with 100% private funding and with no up-front payment or subsidies from the Mongolia government. Prophecy is offering a fixed, long-term tariff that is lower than those of foreign import to assist Mongolia to save money, create employment and establish its energy independence.  The Chandgana Power Plant and Chandgana coal mine would be expected to employ over 600 full-time skilled local staff, cause the start of many new support businesses, and revitalize Khentii province. 

Prophecy believes having a mine-mouth power plant (as opposed to having a power plant located in the city) is the solution to Mongolia's power shortage, eliminates costly coal and ash transportation, preserves the capital city's limited water resources and reduces severe air pollution in the city.  

In addition to working with the Mongolia government and its people to fulfill growing domestic energy demand, Prophecy with its experienced partners, looks forward to these future steps to expand the Chandgana Power Plant in order to transform Mongolia, into a net exporter of electricity to its neighboring countries. 

EPC Agreement 

Share Purchase Agreement and Equity Investment Agreement 

Project Financing and Financial Close 

SEPCO2 has extensive international project financing experience for power plant projects in developing countries in the Middle East and Africa, and has expressed confidence in arranging debt financing for the Chandgana Power Plant.  In 2014, SEPCO2 provided Prophecy with a bank financing term sheet for the project which needs to be renewed for 2016, based on a 12-year term with 85% of the total value of the EPC Agreement advanced at the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) + 5%. 

In parallel, Prophecy expects to partner with the overseas investment subsidiary of the world's largest coal-fired power generation group (the "Strategic Partner") to jointly invest in the Chandgana Power Plant.  In May 2015, the Strategic Partner signed an exclusivity agreement with Prophecy whereby the Strategic Partner agreed to focus its development and construction activities in Mongolia solely on the Chandgana Power Plant for the remainder of 2015.  Negotiations on a share purchase agreement and equity investment agreement in PPG, between Prophecy and Strategic Partner are ongoing.  The Strategic Partner has stated its readiness to invest in the Chandgana Power Plant upon Prophecy obtaining a satisfactory Concession Agreement and Power Purchase Agreement. 

To achieve project financial close, first the Mongolia government, represented by the Invest Mongolia Agency and Energy Ministry needs to approve the Chandgana Power Plant Concession Agreement and Power Purchase Agreement.  Thereafter, a consortium of equity and debt partners could proceed to arrange project financing at the best terms available.

Link to release


Prophecy Raised $250,000 in Private Placement Announced on November 12, 2015

Vancouver, British Columbia, December 18 (FSCwire) - Vancouver, British Columbia, December 18, 2015 – Prophecy Development Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY, OTCQX:PRPCF, Frankfurt:1P2) announces the closing of the proposed non-brokered private placement previously announced on November 12, 2015.  The Company successfully raised gross cash proceeds of $250,000 through the issuance of 6,250,000 units of Prophecy as announced in its November 13, 2015 news release.

Link to release


KOT last traded C$0.17 on Tuesday

Khot Infrastructure Announces Private Placement and Director Resignation

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA--(Marketwired - Dec. 15, 2015) - KHOT INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS, LTD. ("KHOT" or the "Company")(CSE:KOT) proposes to conduct a non-brokered private placement of up to 3,400,000 units at a price of $0.15 per unit for aggregate gross proceeds of up to $510,000. Each unit will consist of one common share and one-half of a non-transferable warrant, with a whole warrant entitling the holder to purchase one common share at a price of $0.20 for a period of 12 months following the closing date.

The securities issued pursuant to the private placement will be subject to a four month hold period from the closing date. The Company may pay a commission in connection with the private placement, subject to compliance with the policies of the Exchange. Completion of the private placement and the payment of any commission remain subject to the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, including the approval of the Exchange.

The proceeds of the private placement will be used for the completion of the Company's bid on a 167 kilometer Mongolian road construction contract; to finalize and secure a Mongolian rail bed construction permit and for general working capital purposes.

Independent Director Resigns:

The Company also announces that Mr. Anthony Milewski has tendered his resignation as an independent director of the Company to focus on his other continuing commitments and increasing professional obligations.

Don Padgett, Company's president and chief executive officer, on behalf of the board of directors, would like to thank Mr. Milewski for his service and support; "We appreciate Anthony's contribution to the board, and have benefited from his knowledge and experience during his tenure with us. We wish Anthony continued success in his future endeavours."

Link to release


ERD closed flat Friday at C$0.15

Erdene Resource Development Corp. opens the market, celebrating 10 years on TSX

TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2015 /CNW/ - Peter Akerley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Erdene Resource Development Corp. (ERD), joined Loui Anastasopoulos, Vice President, TSX Company Services, Toronto Stock Exchange & TSX Venture Exchange to open the market to celebrate 10 years as a Toronto Stock Exchange listed company. Erdene Resource Development Corp. is a Canada-based resource company focused on the acquisition, exploration, and development of base and precious metals in Mongolia. Erdene Resource Development Corp. commenced trading on Toronto Stock Exchange on December 14, 2005.

Link to release


FMG Mongolia Fund: -2.54% in November, -19.39% in 2015

December 18 (FMG Funds) --






































































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Local Market

MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 +1.29%, ALL +0.46%, ₮609.7 Million Stocks, ₮9.85 Billion T-Bills

December 18 (MSE) --

Link to report


10 Billion 28-Week 14% Discounted T-Bills, ₮10 Billion 3-Year 15.75% Bonds on Offer at MSE

December 16 (MSE) Buy order of 28 weeks Government bonds with 14.00% annual coupon rate and 156 weeks Government bonds with 15.750% annual coupon rate starts from 16 December 2015 until 22 December 2015 through brokerage companies.  

Click here to see detailed information of short-term /6 months/ Government retail bonds.  

Click here to see detailed information of long-term /3 year/ Government retail bonds.   

Link to release


10 Billion 12-Week 13.86% Discounted T-Bills Sold with 21.8 Billion Bids

December 15 (MSE) On 15 December 2015, the bond orders of 12 weeks Government bonds with 13.86% annual interest, placed on order book, and Ministry of Finance supplied 100,000 or MNT10.0 billion out of total 217,927 or MNT21.8 billion. 

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

Companies' name



Tenger Capital






Standart Investment



 Novel Investment









 Ace&T Capital



 Golomt Securities





Link to release


BDSec, Tenger Capital Leads in Market Making for T-Bills in November

December 15 (MSE) Regarding the "Market Makers" introduction into securities market by Mongolian Stock Exchange /MSE/, MSE will publish a month Market Makers performance report to the public.

As of 30 November 2015, total of 12520 order of the Government retail bonds have been planned to submit and performance of Market Makers shows following results "BDSec"-64.8%, "Standard Investment"-0.0%, "Tenger Capital"-36.1% and "Novel Investment"-80.0%.

As of 30 November 2015

Securities company

Orders planned to submit

Orders submitted








Standard Investment





Tenger Capital





Novel Investment




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BoM MNT Rates: Friday, December 18 Close










































































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,990 Sell ₮1,999), Khan (Buy ₮1,990 Sell ₮1,999), Golomt (Buy ₮1,989 Sell ₮1,999), XacBank (Buy ₮1,991 Sell ₮1,998), State Bank (Buy ₮1,992 Sell ₮1,999)

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

Link to rates


Mogi: two straight auctions BoM has declined bids. Is BoM now ready for 2K?

BoM FX auction: USD, CNY bid offers declined, accepts $8.19m MNT, $23m USD, CNY 20m swap offers

December 17 (BoM) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on December 17th, 2015 the BOM has received buying bid offers of USD 1.3 million in a rate between MNT 1994.20-1996.05 and buying bid offers of CNY 2.0 million in a rate between MNT 307.0-307.10. The BOM has not accepted any offers.

On 17th, 2015, the BOM has received MNT Swap agreement buying bid offers equivalent to USD 8.19  million, USD Swap agreement selling bid offers equivalent to USD 23.0 million and CNY Swap agreement extension offers equivalent to CNY 20.0 million from local commercial banks respectively and the BOM has accepted the offers.

Link to release


BoM issues 184 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +11.3% to ₮511.65 billion

December 18 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 184 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


BoM Monthly Statistical Bulletin, November 2015

December 17 (BoM) --

Link to report


₮10 Billion 3-Year GoM Bond Auction Receives No Bids

December 16 (BoM) Auction for 3 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. The Government bond was not sold the due to absence of both competitive and noncompetitive bids.

Link to release


5 Billion 28-Week 14% Discounted T-Bills Sold from Available ₮10 Billion

December 16 (BoM) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 1.0 billion MNT. Face value of 5.0 billion /out of 5.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 14.000%.

Link to release


Key Indicators of Mongolia Banking System Balance Sheet

December 17 (Bank of Mongolia) --








Bank reservers







Central bank bills







Foreign assets







Government securities







Other securities














In domestic currency







In foreign currency







Non-performing loans







Total Assets





















Current Accounts







In domestic currency







In foreign currency














In domestic currency







In foreign currency







Foreign liabilities







Government deposits







Total Liabilities





















Profit/loss of current year







Link to release


Mongolia: Back in the saddle?

After a period of unstable politics, frail finances and flagging growth, Mongolia may be turning a corner

Ulaanbaatar, December 19 (The Economist) A PHRASE is repeated like a mantra around Ulaanbaatar, the steppe capital: "Mongolia is back in business." The prime minister, Chimed Saikhanbileg, has said it several times. Foreign mining executives and diplomats have also taken up the refrain. And there is something tangible to cheer at last. After years of squabbles and delays, development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in the Gobi desert, by far Mongolia's biggest investment project, seems to be back on track with the signing on December 15th of a new financing package worth $4.4 billion.

A Mongol hoard

It is certainly welcome news after a period of spectacular mismanagement, both of the economy and of relations with foreign investors, by the coalition government led by the Democratic Party. In 2013-14 the government introduced disastrous steps to counter a slump in growth that a couple of years earlier had peaked at 17% (see chart). Measures to stabilise prices and subsidise mortgages involved huge injections of central-bank money and off-budget financing. Bad loans in the banking system ballooned. The currency, the togrog, slumped. Foreign-exchange reserves shrank. A balance-of-payments crisis loomed. Mongolia had to turn to China, its overbearing neighbour, for help.

Most inept of all, the government fell out with Oyu Tolgoi's foreign investors just as worldwide commodities prices were tumbling. The mine, boasting a copper deposit that is among the world's biggest and purest, is controlled by Rio Tinto, a British-Australian firm, with the Mongolian government holding a 34% stake. The open-pit portion of the mine began operating in 2013 and has already produced 1.5m tonnes of copper concentrate, most of it for China. But four-fifths of the project's value may lie underground.

This week's financing deal, which involves 15 commercial banks and the American, Canadian and Australian export-credit agencies, will allow work to begin on the underground mining phase. When it is at full tilt, Oyu Tolgoi may account for a third of Mongolia's entire economy. No wonder that the protracted squabbling between Rio Tinto and Mongolia over taxes, management fees and other issues seemed like a bad omen. Foreign direct investment in Mongolia fell by 85% between 2012 and 2015. But now the new package is a "huge milestone", says America's ambassador to the country, Jennifer Galt.

Mongolia is not out of the woods yet. Hard currency remains in short supply, inflation is stubbornly high and the budget deficit is way above the target of 2% of GDP, despite tax rises and cuts in public-sector pay. Above all, the country's political turbulence is all but certain to continue. The government's fragility was laid bare in August when the Mongolian People's Party, the country's former communists, was ejected from the coalition and six cabinet ministers were replaced.

A new round of parliamentary elections takes place next spring. According to Sumati Luvsandendev of the Sant Maral Foundation, an independent polling outfit, ineptitude and squabbles within the Democratic Party have led its approval ratings to decline "quite dramatically". Mr Sumati predicts solid gains for the Mongolian People's Party.

The party will appeal to Mongolians' sense of nationalism over mining. One of its MPs, Sodbileg Otgonbileg, says that the Democratic Party's hopes of winning public applause for the Oyu Tolgoi deal are misplaced. Rio Tinto, he says, has been allowed to get away with too much control, excessive management fees and procurement irregularities; instead of maximising the benefit for Mongolians, it is saddling them with debt—"as if we own a beautiful apartment but get treated like a squatter". Activists are critical, too. Sukhgerel Dugersuren of OT Watch, an NGO, says the mine's use of the area's scarce water is unsustainable. She says the mine pays too little tax—and inadequate attention to the interests of local herders.

Executives at Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi insist that the project is run to the highest international standards, that 95% of its workforce is Mongolian and that it has already paid $1.3 billion in taxes and other fees to the Mongolian government, with much more to come as production increases. They also expect copper prices that are depressed by a sharp drop in Chinese demand to recover by the time the mine's underground phase is ready to produce. And the executives have faith that, whatever the outcome of the election next spring, Mongolian resource nationalism will be kept in check and the project will remain resolutely on track. Indeed, they repeat it like a mantra.

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Politics & Legal

Prime Minister yet to decide on his deputy

December 17 ( The director of the Democratic Party (DP) Group, Sh.Tuvdendorj has provided information about a meeting of the group which took place on 14th December. During the meeting, Speaker Z.Enkhbold and Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg made speeches. The following issues were discussed:

The Mongolian People's Party (MPP) has demanded that election votes be counted both manually and automatically; this would involve changing the "General Electoral Law". The DP Group has discussed and considered this matter and concluded that the demand of the MPP is not acceptable.

Mr Sh.Tuvdendorj also answered some questions.

-During the DP Group meeting, was the issue of the Deputy Prime Minister discussed? What was the reaction of the members to this issue?

- The appointment of the Deputy Prime Minister is the sole responsibility of the Prime Minister. The DP Group did not discuss this issue. Prime Minister must decide who to appoint on his own.

-The commercial banks have stopped providing mortgage loans, following the decision of the "Constitutional Court". The DP Group and Justice Union Group have announced that they will initiate a draft law project related to mortgages. When will the law project be presented to Parliament? Will this new law be able to solve the mortgage problem?

-There is no point saying anything about the decision of the Constitutional Court's.  We are currently exploring options within the framework of the constitution. The working team, headed by the Director of the Judicial Standing Committee, D.Ganbat is preparing the draft legislation.

The Constitutional Court has the complete authority to make a decision within the framework of the constitution. The Democratic Party will work on the draft law, in a way that does not to damage the interest of people's wishing to obtain apartments. The decision of the Constitutional Court demonstrates that the constitutional change is required immediately.

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President urges parliament-seated parties to get back to work

Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) The leader of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj convened December 16 the representatives of political parties with seats in parliament.

For the meeting came the Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) and head of Democratic party (DP) Z.Enkhbold, a head of the DP's faction B.Garamgaibaatar, a Deputy head of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) faction D.Khayankhyarvaa, a head of the "Justice" coalition's faction N.Battsereg, and a secretary-general of the MPP J.Monkhbat.

Mr Elbegdorj noted that Ulaanbaatar is hosting these days a meeting of the governors of aimags and soums. "I have attended this meeting, some people called on parliament to do its work and address the problems". 

The Office of the President initiated the Law on Glass Account, Law on Public Hearing and the General Administrative Law, essential legislations for public administration to strengthen accountability and to monitor and promote a civil participation, he said.

"Parliament already passed these laws. However, some important laws such as the Law on Accountability of Elected and Appointed Officials, the Law on Public Servant and the Law on Wealth Fund are so far left unconcerned. These laws must be discussed and passed by parliament urgently", he reminded.

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President meets MPP leaders on political party law, election voting system

December 18 ( Yesterday morning, the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj met with representatives of the political parties. During the meeting, there was an exchange of opinions about the draft "Political Party Law". For certain reasons, the heads of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) were not able to attend this meeting.

Therefore, the President met the Chairman of MPP, MrM.Enkhbold and the General Secretaryof the MPP,J.Munhbat, on the afternoon of 17th December. The President and MPP representatives also discussed the draft "Political Party" law and the automatic vote counting system.


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MPs Erdenechimeg to Submit Draft Resolution on Tavan Tolgoi

December 18 ( During a press conference which was held on 2nd November, Member of Parliament L.Erdenechimeg and Kh.Battulga announced that they intend to present the Parliamentary protocol project, entitled, the "Usage of the Tavan Tolgoi Coal Field" to the Director of the Governmental Executive Administration S.Bayartsogt. For the last month, S.Bayartsogt has been saying that no information could be provided, as a month is required to obtain the decision of the ministers and ministries.

Therefore, we have obtained clarification from MP L.Erdenechimeg about the Tavan Tolgoi project:

-It has been one month, since the TavanTolgoi Coal Field project was presented. How is the project is going?

-The one month of polling finished on 10th December. We have heard that this issue is going to be discussed at a session of the Governmental. Therefore, if we finish collecting all the required documents, we are preparing to present the law project to Parliament via Parliamentary Speaker Z.Enkhbold next Monday or Tuesday.

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Kh.Temuujin MP submits draft amendments to laws on Constitutional Court

Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) A member of parliament Friday submitted to parliament draft amendments to the laws on the Constitution Court and on dispute tribunal at the Constitution Court.

The draft amendment to the Constitution Court has been formulated with aims to regulate issues of basic principles of the Constitution Court's operations, status of its members on neutrality, fundamentals of retirement, acting the Constitution Court's chair in absence of him/her, and reconsidering disputes at the Constitution Court, Kh.Temuujin MP said.

The draft amendment to the dispute tribunal at the Constitution Court is aimed to provide citizens and legal subjects with a right to copy notes of the Constitution Court's decision or open discussions, to not let the CC's member ask prejudiced or arguable questions, and others.

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Minister Bayartsogt Submits Bill Integrating All Government Assets Under State

Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) Speaker Z.Enkhbold received December 18 a draft law on State Property from a Minister and the head of Cabinet Secretariat S.Bayartsogt. The document integrates the separate laws on State Property and Local Property.

Today, state properties are divided into more than 400 separate properties, belonging to the state, aimags, the capital city, soums and districts. The owning administrations have authorities to own, occupy and manage the properties.

As reflected in the Constitution, Mongolia is a unitary state, therefore, said S.Bayartsogt, state properties should be owned by Government and managed through parliament. The local administrations should be granted an authority to only occupy, he said.

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Minister offers comprehensive policy to deal with aging population

Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) On December 18, Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare S.Erdene presented the draft of State Comprehensive Policy on Population Development to the Chairman of the State Great Khural Z.Enkhbold.

The policy document addresses the issues of promoting births, stabilizing the population growth, maintaining favorable age structure and preparing for the expected rapid aging of the population.

In our population, children aged 0-14 cover 28.1 percent, people aged 15-59 cover 65.7 percent and 60 and older make up 6.2 percent. According to updated estimation for 2010-2040, the share of labor-force age has a tendency to be larger in the population in the next decade.

Although this is a good indication of future economic growth, state savings and population growth, it is expected that the number of reproductive age women is to fall starting from 2025 and the number of people aged 60 and more will triple by 2040.

As of 2014, two third of the population is living in cities and settlements, of which 68.5 percent settle in Ulaanbaatar. Considering the intensified migration caused by lack of workplaces and access to social and cultural services, the initiator viewed that it is only right to ensure favorable living environments in localities, implement regional developments and to promote the development of the traditional livestock herding.

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Chinggis Airport Unveils New Lab to Check Documents

December 18 ( The Immigration Office at Chinggis Khaan International Airport has opened a laboratory to check documents. The new facility has been set up with the aid of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The Director of the Immigration Office at Chinggis Khaan International Airport, D.Munkhbadral, Deputy Director, L. Baatarchuluun, and Mr Par Liljert who is the regional representative of the IOM participated in the handover ceremony of the laboratory equipment.

The new laboratory, which has a passport and fingerprint scanner as well as a web camera, will be used for the registration of passengers and vehicles during ASEM-2016. Eight members of staff at the Immigration Office are undergoing a "Train the Trainer" program at the laboratory.

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48 mines and concentrators commissioned in 2015, creating 6,000 jobs says MoM

Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) In scope of the legal reforms of the mining sector, parliament has adopted draft amendments to the laws on minerals, on nuclear energy, on the budget and on the Human Development Fund (HDF), said R.Jigjid, the Minister of Mining at the "Hour of Minister" weekly meeting on Thursday.

Parliament has passed draft laws on a rule of maintaining the law on prohibiting mineral exploration and exploitation near water sources, protected areas with water and forests, and on ratifying the 176th Convention of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on mining safety and hygiene, he went on.

As amending the law on minerals, the special license of mineral has been issued from January 26 of this year on 31 million hectares (19.9% of the country's territory) located by the government, the Minister said.

A total of 48 mines and concentrating factories were commissioned in 2015. Having received investments of MNT 1.3 trillion, the new mines and factories created almost 6,000 jobs, he said.

The Oyu Tolgoi project will receive loans of 4.4 billion US dollars from 15 banking and financial organizations after the signing of the finance agreement the Oyu Tolgoi's underground mine on December 16 of 2015, he added.

The Minister also said measures have launched for supporting the gold exploitation and purchase in current times of economic difficulties, a size of gold purchased by the Bank of Mongolia (BoM) has sharply increased thanks to setting a payment for mineral resources exploitation at 2.5%. By November of this year, the BoM bought 13.9 tons of gold, the volume is likely to reach 20 tons after the financial support for gold explorers, he hoped.

As of present, Mongolia imports 94% of petroleum from Russia, two percent--from China and South Korea each, and the rest--from Lithuania and Singapore. If to classify the types, 54 percent of the products are diesel fuel, 36%--automobile petroleum, nine percent--gas and black oil, and one percent--airplane fuel, the Minister said.

He also reported that the excise tax on oil products has been imposed upon localities differently, by a governmental resolution.

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MOU signed to protects rights of border patrolmen

Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) and the General Authority for Border Protection (GABP) will collaborate in ensuring rights of servicemen, in improving their responsibilities and discipline, in preventing illegal relations in military organizations, and in  correlating joint works of the organizations.

To document their willingness, the sides inked a cooperation memorandum Friday. Accordingly, the sides will carry out examinations in employment rights of military servicemen and in ensuring of the education rights for children of the servicemen living in remote military units. Serial trainings will run  dedicated to servicemen and staffers of military organizations on human rights, on forming the tendency based on human rights, and on empowering servicemen.

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Parliament extends income tax exemption on personal deposits until 2018

Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) At its plenary meeting on Friday, the parliamentary session adopted a draft amendment to the law on the income tax of individuals, after running its first discussion.

By the amendment, tax will not be imposed upon the interest of bank savings owned by people. It will be in force until 2018.

The same day, the session passed a draft amendment to the law on customs tariff and customs tax, which are to exempt importing facilities from customs tax in conjunction with boosting renewable energy sector. The law has been initiated by S.Oyun MP.

After this, the MPs carried out first discussion of a bill on the General Authority of Customs Tax, and passed it to the final discussion.

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Moody's: Entry of National Bank of Canada as strategic investor is credit positive for XacBank

Hong Kong, December 15, 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service says that National Bank of Canada's completed acquisition of a 10.5% stake in TenGer Financial Group LLC -- the parent of XacBank LLC -- is credit positive for XacBank (B2 local currency deposit rating, negative; b3 baseline credit assessment).

Both the Bank of Mongolia and Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions in Canada have approved the transaction.

National Bank of Canada (Aa3 local/foreign currency deposit rating negative; a3 baseline credit assessment) acquired the stake from an existing shareholder of XacBank.

"This transaction is the first investment by a foreign commercial bank in the financial sector of Mongolia and is credit positive for XacBank," says Hyun Hee Park, a Moody's Assistant Vice President.

Moody's views National Bank of Canada as a strategic investor of considerable financial strength, as reflected in its a3 baseline credit assessment.

Its dominant position in commercial banking and strong second largest share of the retail banking market in Québec Province are the primary credit strengths supporting its high ratings.

Moody's also notes that National Bank of Canada has prior experience in foreign acquisitions.

In March 2015, the bank acquired a 20.9% stake in NSIA Participations (unrated), a financial group based in Côte d'Ivoire. It also holds a 42% stake in ABA Bank (unrated), based in Cambodia, and 9.5% in AfrAsia Bank Ltd. (unrated), a bank based in Mauritius with operations in Zimbabwe.

Therefore, it is positioned to support XacBank, if needed.

"We expect National Bank of Canada, as the sole foreign commercial bank among TenGer's investors, to play an active role in strengthening some commercial aspects of XacBank's operations; particularly in regard to risk management and control, as well as lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises. National Bank of Canada's presence could also broaden XacBank's access to long-term foreign currency funding," adds Park

National Bank of Canada's contribution will add to the technical transfers that XacBank already receives from key existing international investors in TenGer Financial Group LLC.

These investors include the International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Both have contributed in areas like governance and microfinance.

XacBank LLC, headquartered in Ulaanbaatar, reported total assets of MNT1.9 trillion (US$1.0 billion) at end-September 2015.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

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Hyosung Signs MOU with Mongolian Government to Build Electrical Grids

December 18 (Business Korea) The Hyosung Corporation has become the nation's first company to establish an electrical grid in Mongolia, which shows more than 10 percent growth every year.

The company signed a 142 billion won (US$120.29 million) memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Mongolian Government at Shangri-La Hotel in Ulaanbaatar City, Mongolia, on Dec. 16 to set up two 220 kV substations, transmission lines approximately 315 km-long, and 975 transmission towers. The signing ceremony was attended by Hyosung Vice Chairman Lee Sang-woon and Dashzeveg Zorigt, minister for energy of Mongolia.

With the latest MOU, Hyosung has succeeded in becoming the first mover into the Mongolian power infrastructure construction market. Accordingly, the company now has an advantage over winning the Mongolian government's power projects, which will be carried out in earnest in the next two to three years. Hyosung is also able to target the Mongolian electricity market, which will have a capacity of 3,090 MW in total by 2030, in earnest.

The company will complete the construction of transmission lines that cross from Ondorhaan in eastern Mongolia to Choybalsan and two substations by as early as 2018, contributing to power industry development and power supply stabilization in Mongolia.

Thanks to mineral resource exports and foreign investments, Mongolia is considered to be a rapidly developing market with annual growth of more than 10 percent. The country has abundant energy resources, such as coal, uranium, solar power and wind power, but the energy industry is generally underdeveloped due to a lack of electrical technologies and infrastructure. Therefore, it really needs social overhead capital investments.

To do so, Hyosung plans to reduce power losses and address the imbalance of power supply and demand by using a static synchronous compensator, of which the company succeeded in the development and commercialization for the first time in the domestic industry, and energy storage system (ESS) technologies for stable and efficient power supplies.

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Lithuania's FL Technics to represent Future Metals in Baltics, Mongolia

BC, Vilnius, 18.12.2015 ( The Baltic Course) FL Technics, an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services company that is part of the Lithuanian-owned, Warsaw-listed aviation group Avia Solutions Group (ASG), expanding its partnership with Future Metals and will from now on represent the US-based supplier of aerospace quality metals and other materials in the Baltic countries and Mongolia, reports LETA/BNS.

FL Technics will offer a broad range of Future Metals' products, such as metal sheets, tubes, bars and safety wires, to customers in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Mongolia, ASG said in a press release on Thursday. 

The Vilnius-based company already is Future Metals' exclusive representative in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, it said. 

FL Technics  is fully owned by ASG, which is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

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AmCham Mongolia Announces New Board Leadership in 2016

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, December 16 – The American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia (AmCham) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 with the The Honorable Jennifer Zimdahl Galt, U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia and over 50 of AmCham's members and other leaders of the business environment. During the AGM, AmCham members discussed, voted on, and set the priorities and direction of the organization, and elected new board leadership for 2016.

Jay Liotta, a Letterhead Partner for the law firm MahoneyLiotta LLP, who has served on AmCham's Board of Directors for the past year, was elected to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Additionally, Oybek Khalilovthe CEO of Tenger Insurance LLCand Daniel Kesl, Senior Manager, Information Technology at Oyu Tolgoi LLCwere elected to serve on the Board of Directors.

AmCham's newly elected chairman Jay Liotta delivered remarks stating, "Let's make 2016 a year of cooperation and optimism between Mongolia and America by advancing our mutual interests through expanded business and trade." He went on to say, "I strongly encourage you to get to know the American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia and, in particular, the exceptional companies that are our members"

Following the Chairman's remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia, Jennifer Zimdahl Galt, delivered keynote remarks and noted, "I am excited to learn how AmCham Mongolia is growing, what it has accomplished, and what it hopes to achieve in the coming year, embracing its evolving role as Mongolia's leading advocate for free enterprise." She also added that, "Many business organizations struggle to maintain membership during tough times. Not so AmCham Mongolia."

AmCham Mongolia is an independent membership-driven organization that seeks to build, strengthen, and protect business between the United States and Mongolia and to actively promote Mongolia as a destination for American investment. AmCham Mongolia is the official local office of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Based in Washington, DC, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the largest business federation in the world with over 3 million member companies. American Chambers have been established in over 100 countries in the world – Mongolia being one of the most recent.

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AmCham Mongolia Vacancy Announcement: Director of Communications

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Mongolia is an independent organization with the mission to build stronger commercial ties between the United States and Mongolia; actively promote Mongolia as a destination for global investment; and advocate for policies to improve Mongolia's business environment. AmCham is the official local affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is the largest business federation in the world with over 3 million member companies.

AmCham Mongolia is currently looking for a Director of Communications, who will:

-       Develop and implement AmCham's annual communications plan;

-       Effectively promote AmCham's events and activities;

-       Manage AmCham's social media sites and messaging;

-       Design and launch integrated communications strategies related to AmCham's advocacy efforts;

-       Manage the development, distribution, and maintenance of all communications and marketing materials; and

-       Manage and maintain strong relationships with all media contacts.


Deadline for submissions: Friday, January 15, 2016. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. For more information, please or call the AmCham office at 7000-3437

Link to release


Talk with Me: Zolboo Naranbaatar, Songo Delivery

December 14 (Star TV) --

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Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2015: Post Conference Report

Ivy Hall, Shibuya & Embassy of Mongolia in Japan December 9-10, 2015

Message from CEO

Summary of the conference

·         Invest Mongolia Tokyo conference welcomed 400 attendees and 30 speakers from 10 different countries.

·         This year's conference gathered 220 Mongolian and foreign organizations and companies from various industries including mining, real estate, tourism, agriculture and finance.

·         We had many Japanese government institutions and companies participated at the conference. Japanese government institutions included: Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, Japan Exchange Group, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI). Also many Japanese financial institutions, trading companies, family offices, asset managers and corporations have participated, including Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui & Co., Sumitomo Corp, Marubeni Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd just to mention a few. Other attendees included: Honda Motor, Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management, Sumitomo Chemical, Suruga Corporation, Nomura Re-search Institute and many others.

·         Attendees from Mongolia include Governor of The Bank of Mongolia, Parliament Member, Former Ministers, Head of major State Own Enterprises, Mongol Stock Exchange ,major banks and corporations who are curious to find partners in Japan and many others.

·         Attendees from Foreign countries include: International Monetary Fund, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Finance Corporation, Moody's Investors Services, Mongo-lian British Chamber of Commerce, CRU, Union Bank of Switzerland and many others.

·         In addition to the sponsors mentioned before, we also had 15 Media Partners and Supporting Organizations, including Embassy of Mongolia in Japan, DMUV, HKIMA, AmCham Mongolia, Mongolian Economy, Aoyama Mongolia, Forbes Mongolia, Cover Mongolia, ABN Newswire, Goldletter International, Zaza Corporate Counsel, Eurekahedge, Private banking, ASIA-FIRST, The Business Council of Mongolia and the WTO center at Aoyama Gakuin University.

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2nd in Line, Tavan Bogd Group Agrees to Buy of Ulaanbaatar Times Building

December 18 ( In accordance with the Decrees No.13/48 of the Capital City Citizens' Representatives Khural issued in 2013 and No.29 of the Capital City Privatization Commission issued in 2015, the authority of Ulaanbaatar city made a decision to privatize old building of "Ulaanbaatar Times" Printing House in 2015.

Accordingly, open auction was held on November 30, 2015. At the auction, Mongolian citizen Abdul Karim offered highest price and bought the building by 24 billion MNT (Tugrug).

However, a statement of Ch.Gankhuyag, a well-known Mongolian businessman commonly called as "Khas" Gankhuyag among people because he is considered to be founder of Khas Bank (XacBank), and who also participated the auction, has become a reason of scandal regarding Abdul Karim.

Mr. Abdul Karim has come to Mongolia 30 years ago from the State of Kuwait and become a citizen of Mongolia in 2012. He is known as a wealthy person in Mongolia. Later, Mr. Abdul Karim has informed that he is quitting his procurement through a public letter even though the scandal was groundless.

After Abdul Karim, the purchase right comes to Tavan Bogd Group. President of Tavan Bogd Group, Mr. Ts.Baatarsaikhan has offered second highest price of 23.85 billion MNT.

Tavan Bogd Group will submit official application to purchase the building of Ulaanbaatar Times to the Capital City Property Relations Department within December 18, 2015.

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Huawei Meets Mayor Bat-Uul, Pitches for "Smart Ulaanbaatar" Program

December 18 ( Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-Uul has held an official meeting with the Deputy President of China's "Huawei Technologies", Mr Jang Tayan. During the meeting, both sides exchanged their opinions about co-operation in the "Smart Ulaanbaatar" program.

Mr Jang Tayan said that: "Our company currently is implementing "Smart City" programs in 60 locations around the world. Regarding Ulaanbaatar; in the first phase, we would like to co-operate in the IT sector, which would involve installing control cameras and information display at UB's crossroads. The estimated cost would be USD 5.5 million".

In reply, Mayor E.Bat-Uul has said that: "We are glad for your offer of co-operation. First of all, we need to work, taking into consideration our mutual interests and without any problems. The 16th session of the City Representative Assembly has approved the "Smart Ulaanbaatar" program. This program will be implemented in the three phases in the period up 2020. It will be a great pleasure to co-operate with your company".

Source: Media Bureau at the City Administration

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Anji Sauve Clubb: Ger districts should not be wiped out; they should be improved and preserved to the extent possible

December 18 ( We invited Anji Sauve Clubb, director and producer of "Nomad Meets the City", a documentary telling three stories of migration from rural nomadism to city life in Mongolia, for an interview. She holds a master's degree in urban planning from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she also gained experience in cinematography, storytelling, and video editing. Currently she is working full time on her film project. She has the vision to do more in Mongolia; we will get more insight through her interview.

Could you introduce yourself briefly to us, please? How did you initiate the film project?

My name is Anji Sauve Clubb and I am from the US. I was born in Georgia. My family moved away from the US. My mom moved to Taiwan and my dad moved to Australia. Actually I grew up in Asia for about ten years. Then I went back to the US to study. I earned master`s degree in urban planning at Harvard University. When I was there, I met my friend who did research on the ger districts in UB and I was also getting really interested in film making and making videos at that time. Also we have another Mongolian classmate who was in the same program as well. After my graduation, I was faced with two choices: whether to go work at a normal urban planning job or follow my passion. I thought that what was happening here is really interesting and fascinating to me. So I decided to try and come here. My Mongolian classmate introduced me to some people here. Her contacts helped me to set up a team for the project. That is how I started the film project. 

Why did you decide to make a film in Mongolia as the urban planning is not only an issue for Mongolia? 

I think Mongolia is very unique because the contrast between where people are coming from in the countryside and the city life they come to is so different. It is almost polar opposites. So, people are coming from a culture that is nomadic, free, very independent, and with wide open spaces; and when you move to the city you have to live in one place with neighbors all around you. It is very dense. It is a totally different way of living. That contrast is very interesting to me. Also I think it is interesting that we can see this transition happening even now in Mongolia and it's been happening quite a while. But even now the traditional culture is still very strong. In some places that is not the case. I think it is a big story because it is universal, it is a story that is happening in many places in the world. It is something that many people can actually relate to. It is unique but it is also universal.

Do you have experience in film making before?

This is my first film. I started making videos in 2012 about three years ago, but this is my first full-length film. 

When will your film be finished?

Now we are about half way done with our filming. We are going to film with three characters and we filmed with two so far. We will probably film until next summer, and then it will take at least six months to put the film together. It will be released some time in 2017. 

I heard that your characters are not professional?

This is a documentary, so the stories and people we film are real. We have almost finished filming with one of our characters. The next one is a college student, so we are going to film with him for the whole school year. And we are looking for a third person who is a young woman now living and working in the city. It is good if she came from countryside so that she can reflect on the differences. Ideally, it would be nice to find someone who is engaged with the community or social issues in some way. Because it is nice to have a character who can talk about some of those things through her work. We are still looking. 

What is the main message of this film?

First it is very good to document this historic time. It is quite historic that now almost half of Mongolia's population lives in the city. But I hope people will also be inspired by these characters in our film who are struggling through their own hardships. For example, the young guy really does not like the city and did not want to go to college; he wants to be a herder. The older guy has to live apart from his wife and son. I think that they are very strong. What I like about them is that in spite of any circumstances and any challenges they have, they are strong and they move forward. So I am hoping that this film can document the reality of what is happening and also show people the strength of the human spirit.

How did you attract the funding for your film?

When I started there was no funding. There was just me and some friends. We were all volunteering basically. But then we were lucky to get a grant from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation here, and then the US Embassy also gave us a grant, and we got private donators to donate some money, and the Arts Council of Mongolia is also helping us with various things. We are lucky that after some hard work we were able to attract partners. At first our budget was very low obviously. Now we really want to make a very high quality film. So we need enough money to finish our filming and create a really good final product that can go to international film festivals and be broadcast on TV. 

You completed a master`s degree in urban planning. How do you see the urban planning of UB? Can you name the advantage and disadvantage?

I think that various stakeholders have made good efforts to make a better plan for urbanization in UB. One of the advantages is that so many international organizations are also here providing more brain power and contributing ideas. It is nice to see a lot of improvements in connectivity, for instance sidewalks have been improved, and there have been changes to the bus system. It is good to see that progress is being made. There are obviously also many challenges. Because so many people are migrating to the city. The city does not have the capacity to support these people. So I think that is going to be a long term issue for UB, and providing affordable housing is one of the key policies that the government needs to put in place to help that issue. I also think it is important for UB to pay attention to what is unique about this city. UB has a unique heritage of Soviet architecture and ger districts. I think the ger districts should not be wiped out; they should be improved and preserved to the extent possible. We can find a way to do that in a smart way that provides the necessary services to those residents. I think it is the smartest solution and most desirable. 

How about the disadvantage of urbanization in UB?

One problem that has happened here and elsewhere all over the world is that the Government and urban planners have not listened to the people when making their plans. They have just acted as designers who impose their designs on the city. That approach had disastrous consequences in American cities. Cities where built essentially for cars. They separated the places where people live and work. You have to drive forty minutes to an hour to get to work. They also created public housing or affordable housing in places far away from the city in horrible buildings. Now, we all try to take a more human-centered approach, and it is really important to listen to the people. If you want successful development or planning you need people` s input. I know that UB is doing that somewhat. But it is just at the beginning and could definitely be pushed further. 

Furthermore, it is not just important for the Government to listen to people. It is also important for people to speak up for themselves. One important thing I learned is that if you creating living environment, there is something you should fight for. The collective voice of a neighborhood or whole district or khoroo or even just your building is very meaningful and can be impactful. 

Are there any other projects that you are working on now?

We launched a campaign on, a crowdfunding website. We raised funding for speed skater Zulaa who needed to compete in Canada about two months ago. We were lucky that her video went viral and people liked her story. We successfully raised money for her. Now we have started a similar campaign on for our film.

Sounds great and good luck to you. Let`s talk about your life experience here in Mongolia. How long have you been here?

I have been here since last July. 

You lived in an Asian country for a while before. Compared with other countries in Asia, how is it living here in Mongolia? Do you enjoy living in UB?

I do enjoy living in UB. I think that it is hard for me to compare Mongolia with Asian countries. I lived in Taiwan and China for quite a while. I think Mongolia is really quite different from most East Asian countries that I have been in. Something I can relate to is Mongolians use the Lunar Calendar and celebrate Lunar New Year. There are some Chinese influences I can recognize. But there are also a lot of things I can relate to as an American. Americans also have tradition of herding cattle. We have cowboys. Something like that I feel is similar to the culture that I come from. I feel quite comfortable here actually.

You were here during Lunar New Year. Could you share with me your Lunar New Year experience in Mongolia?

I spent Tsagaan Sar with the character who lived in Rashaant soum, Huvsgul aimag. It was amazing. They made me a deel. On the first morning of the New Year I did not know what was happening because I did not have a good translator. So they just woke me up at 6am in the morning and said, "Put on your deel!"  Then we climbed a nearby mountain. The whole time I did not understand what was happening. Then I started to realize people were waiting for the sunrise. I got some good footage that morning. I think it is such a beautiful tradition to have. Because you really paying attention to nature and appreciating our place in nature. I really loved visiting the different households and all the rituals there were of greeting people and offering things. My experience in China and Taiwan around Lunar New Year – it was little bit boring to me! We went to our friend`s house and ate lots of dumpling and had a big meal. But there was not same kind of ritual. So I really enjoyed the experience that I had in Mongolia.

Great. So you will spend New Year here. What is plan for celebration of New Year?

Actually my mom is living here with me in UB. So we will spend Xmas together. 

What is the best places you like to visit in UB?

I really love to go hiking in Bogd Khan mountain, and I love to visit the Choijin Lama Temple located in the heart of city. I also love walking by the Tuul River. And I just love going to visiting the little cafes around the town like Green Zone. 

You are now an expat of UB. What would be your advice to newcomers in UB?

One thing I would definitely say is if someone is going to be here for more than two or three months, I would say take Mongolian lessons. I took some in the beginning and stopped for few months. Now I starting again and I feel like the world is opening up around me. Because I'm just beginning to understand more and more. So many expats come here and say it is too difficult to learn Mongolian and say it is not useful because not many people speak it. I do not think those are good enough excuses. If you live in this place, you should make effort to understand it. 

Plus I would say, bring more warm clothes! 

Thank you for the interview. 

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Mogi: less than a year into her job, she heads to Russia. She came back to Mongolia before her term as amb. to SG too. Previous amb. to Russia is also returning before his term. Something is up!

Senior PM Advisor B.Delgermaa Appointed as Ambassador to Russia

December 17 ( At the plenary session of the Parliament held today, issues of recalling and appointment of Mongolian Ambassadors were discussed by MPs. 

During President`s visit to Russia in May to attend the Victory Day Parade, Mongolian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation Sh.Altangerel proposed to recall. Therefore, the Government agreed to recall Ambassador Sh.Altangerel after negotiating with the President. 

MPs asked questions and expressed their positions, following the majority of them approved to appoint Banzragchiin Delgermaa as  Mongolian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation.

MP N.Battsereg advised B.Delgermaa to focus on trans-boundary water agreements between the two countries and its bilateral different views and its consequences as well as trans-boundary protected areas

MP D.Sarangerel wanted to pay attention to residents who could not enter Russian border standing in a queue for several days at Altanbulag port. MP Ts.Oyungerel views that issue of recalling ambassador should be discussed by the State Great Hural, it should not be decided by non-procedural way.

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Standing committee approves appointing B.Delgermaa Ambassador to RussiaMontsame, December 17


South Korea's Premier Signs Several Agreements on Mongolia Visit

December 17 (MONTSAME) These days, at the invitation of Prime Minister of Mongolia Mr Saikhanbileg, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Mr Hwang Kyo-ahn is paying visit to Mongolia. The visit is coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This is the second visit of South Korean Prime Minister since 2001 when the ex-Prime Minister Lee Han-dong visited Mongolia.

At the beginning of the visit, two PMs held official talks during which they have discussed issues on regional and international co-operation.

In frames of this official visit, a number of documents were signed on Wednesday.

The Mongolian Minister of Finance and the South Korean First Deputy Finance minister signed a letter on prolongation of the intergovernmental general agreement regarding loans to be taken in 2011-2015.

A memorandum of mutual understanding was signed by M.Zorigt, Mongolia's Minister of Road and Transportation and by Yoon Hag-bae, South Korea's Deputy Minister of Oceans and Fisheries.

Memorandums of mutual understanding on cooperation were also signed between the Development Foundation for small and middle-sized entities at Mongolia's Ministry of Industry and the South Korea's Corporation of SME and between the Development Center for Energy at Mongolia's Ministry of Energy and South Korea's laboratory at the National Institute of Technology and Technical Standards.  

On Wednesday, President of Mongolia Mr Elbegdorj welcomed Mr. Hwang Kyo-ahn, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea who paid a courtesy call on the President.                                                        

On the same day, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea has paid a courtesy call on the Chairman of the State Great Khural of Mongolia Mr Enkhbold.

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S. Korea, Mongolia agree to open direct flights linking Busan, Ulaanbaatar

SEOUL, Dec. 17 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn returned home Thursday after a five-day trip to Laos and Mongolia during which he discussed enhancing bilateral ties.

Hwang first visited Vientiane, Laos, to mark the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the Southeast Asian country.

Wrapping up a three-day visit to Laos, Hwang headed to Ulaanbaatar for talks with his Mongolian counterpart, Chimediin Saikhanbileg, and President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj on how to boost cooperation in trade and infrastructure.

The two sides agreed to open a direct air route linking South Korea's second-largest port city of Busan and Ulaanbaatar.

Currently, a local carrier flies six weekly flights from Incheon, west of Seoul, to Ulaanbaatar. However, calls have grown to expand the air routes.

The two sides also agreed to smoothly proceed with a 1.5 trillion-won (US$1.34 billion) project to build and operate a combined heat and power plant in the suburbs of the Mongolian capital.

A consortium that includes a unit of South Korea's top steelmaker POSCO plans to start building the power plant with an annual generating capacity of 450 megawatts in 2015 and complete it by 2019.

Hwang's visit also reaffirmed the two countries' cooperation in the joint exploration and development of uranium ore and rare earth elements, officials said.

Mongolia is believed to have the world's 10th-largest deposits of energy and resources.

The trip was the second of its kind since September, when he traveled to France.

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Direct Ulaanbaatar - Busan, December 17


Mongolia ushers in new generation of defence educators

December 17 (NATO) NATO is working with the Mongolian National Defence University (MNDU) as part of the Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) to strengthen the provision of military education in Mongolia. The first class of the Mongolian Staff Officer Course (MSOC) successfully graduated on 11 December 2015.

Cooperation through DEEP aims at cementing collaboration between Mongolian and NATO country professional military education institutions. This has helped to modernise teaching methods and curriculum, strengthen the interagency dimensions of the MNDU's academic programme, and carve out a niche for Mongolia as a provider in the NATO and partner education and training community.

Speaking before the new class of graduating officers, Major General Yadmaa Choijamts, President of the MNDU, expressed his hope that "future cooperation will strengthen day by day." He highlighted the significance of the new Mongolian Staff Officer Course: "This course will play an active role in preparing the high-level staff officer corps in not only in our Armed Forces, but also in other national security agencies."

DEEP-Mongolia was initiated in 2013 at the request of the Mongolian Ministry of Defence. The programme has bolstered the MNDU's faculty and curriculum development efforts through the academic co-leadership of the George C. Marshall Center and the active involvement of experts from institutions such as the German Staff College in Hamburg and the Slovak Armed Forces Academy in Liptovský Mikuláš.

Through DEEP, Mongolia has taken an integrated approach to officer professional development, as demonstrated by the presence of the Commander of Mongolia's Land Forces at the MSOC graduation as well as high-ranking representatives from the Law Enforcement University, Police Academy and National Emergency Management Agency.

Mongolia and its partners reviewed annual progress achieved on the reform of professional military education at the MNDU from 9 to 11 December 2015.  Colonel D. Baasandamba, MNDU Vice President for Academics, explained that Mongolia is "in the process of moving to a new PME system. DEEP's support to faculty development reaches throughout the NDU, bringing about a culture shift at all levels, from tactical to strategic."

DEEP is active in NATO member and partner countries. Through tailored activities, it provides a platform for the sharing of methods and lessons learned, as well as exchange of expertise in counter-terrorism, operational design, exercise planning and crisis management. It has grown since 2007 to support reform in more than a dozen countries, thanks to contributions of more than 70 defence and security studies institutes and the co-leadership of the Partnership for Peace Consortium, co-located with the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Link to article


U.S. Senate Approves Resolution on 25th Anniversary of Democracy in Mongolia by Unanimous Consent

December 18 (Mongolia Embassy in USA) On the 16th of December 2015, the United States Senate approved a resolution congratulating the people and Government of Mongolia on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of democracy in Mongolia and praised it for its successful and peaceful transition to democracy.

The resolution emphasizes that Mongolia, in 1990, adopted a lasting, multiparty democracy and free market reforms and has demonstrated a commitment to democracy and continues to strengthen democratic institutions in Mongolia.

It also highlights  Mongolia's successful chairmanship of the Community of Democracies and sponsorship  of the United Nations General Assembly resolution on "Education for Democracy" to promote democratic institutions, civic life, and human rights as well as  its commitment to freedom of expression and other basic human rights.

The resolution underscores that as Mongolia prepares to host the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in 2016 in the country, it endeavors to strengthen partnership and cooperation between the two continents in the political, economic, social, cultural, and educational fields.

Mongolia, an important leader in and model for the successful and peaceful transition to democracy, established an International Cooperation Fund to share experiences with, and to support the advance of democratic values in other emerging nations, including Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and Myanmar, the resolution said. In this regard it highlighted Mongolia's willingness to serve as "a center of democracy education, a life model for challenges and opportunities of freedom" as President Ts.Elbegdorj stated.

It expressed the longstanding commitment of the United States, because of its interests and values,  to encourage Mongolia's economic and political reforms and calls on the support for the continued efforts of the Government of Mongolia to promote democracy, transparency, rule of law, and other shared values between Mongolia and the United States.

The U.S Senate acknowledges the shared interest of the United States and Mongolia in promoting peace and stability in North East and Central Asia.

The resolution was sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and co-sponsored by Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Dick Durbin as well as Marco Rubio and subsequently approved by the Senate unanimously.

About the resolution on

Link to release


UK Electoral Commission Representative Meets Speaker Enkhbold

December 18 ( On 16th December, Mongolian Parliamentary Speaker Z.Enkhbold held an official meeting with Scott Martin who is the legal advisor to the Scottish National Party (SNP) and John Franks the legal implementation manager of the UK Electoral Commission. The meeting was also attended by Ms. Ashleigh Whelan who is the local UB representative of the International Republican Institute.

At the beginning of the discussion, Mr Enkhbold expressed his specific thanks to Mr Franks of UK Electoral Commission for the possibility to discuss election financing and control.

During the discussion, the Mongolian side discussed the automatic voting machines which have been introduced and the benefits and disadvantages. It is secret who has voted for whom. In addition, there is no way to argue with the results, because the machine is totally transparent. There are mixed views in Mongolia about the voting machines; roughly 20% or all candidates to parliament are selected. Therefore, the 80% who are not elected have no confidence in the new machines.

Mr Franks of the UK Electoral Commission thanked the Speaker for his time, and said that: "We have been using the automatic system to count the votes in elections in London and Scotland. We are looking at extending this system to the rest of the UK.

Link to article


Draft resolution on establishing diplomatic relations with several new countries submitted

December 18 ( The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Mr. Lundeg PUREVSUREN handed a draft resolution on establishing diplomatic relations with several new countries to the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD on December 17, 2015.

The draft resolution reflects intention of Mongolian government to establish diplomatic ties with all member countries of United Nations, covering concepts of Mongolian foreign policy and National security strategy and goals indicated in the Government's Action Plan for 2015-2016.

For this purpose over the past years, Mongolia contacted 45 member countries of UN through its embassies and consulates expressing its interest in establishing diplomatic relations. As a result, 32 countries have accepted Mongolia's offer so far.

Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren informed Speaker Z.Enkhbold that Mongolia has official diplomatic relations with 181 countries and recently five countries such as the Gabonese Republic, the Saint Lucia, the Republic of Niger, the Republic of Cameroon and the Republic of Marshall Islands have agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia and required documents are already signed.

Link to article


Draft law to establish diplomatic relations, December 18


Mongolian Woman Representing UNICEF in Turkmenistan

Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) The Mongolian citizen, Ms Dendevnorov Oyunsaikhan, has been received by the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, said on Friday our Ministry of foreign affairs. 

Oyunsaikhan--the UNICEF Representative in this country--and the President discussed  Turkmenistan government's actions in terms of rights of children and the bilateral issues.

Stressing the achievements of the government such as building schools and kindergartens equipped with the latest hi tech, protecting children's health, improving conditions to do sports and physical exercises, Ms Oyunsaikhan introduced to him programmes that will be implemented in this country in the years to come.

In response, the Turkmenistan's leader Berdimuhamedov highly spoke activities of the UNICEF Representative Office in Turkmenistan and outlined the main directions of the cooperation with this organization.

Ms Oyunsaikhan worked as an officer at the UNICEF Representative Office in Kosovo in 2001-2003, UNICEF Representative in North Caucasus of the Russian Federation in 2003-2005, UNICEF Deputy Representative in the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2005-2012, and has been working as UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan since 2012.

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Health, Education

Mogi: would've been a so-much-better story if she was here during December-January, not in September.

Fighting to Breathe in Mongolia

As air pollution gets worse, maternal health suffers

By Liana Aghajanian in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Photos by Chiara Goia for Al Jazeera America

December 20 (Al Jazeera) It's September, the morning after the first snowfall of the season, and Otgontuuya already knows that winter will be brutal. She sits on a pink plastic chair in her living room, takes off her thick jacket and breast-feeds her crying toddler. She has just gotten home, having walked across the uneven dirt roads overlooking the city, where the white ground is slowly turning a slushy gray. Even when the weather is nice, sharp turns and steep inclines often make it impossible for off-road vehicles to reach her neighborhood.

Otgontuuya is 28, and like most Mongolians, goes by only her first name (Mogi: no, we don't! We all have 3 names!!!) . She is married, a stay-at-home mother who spends her free time sewing traditional tunic-like clothes for her kids. "I live for my children," she says, rocking her 1-year-old daughter in her lap.

Along with freezing temperatures, winter brings memories of the child that never came. Six years ago, Otgontuuya was informed during a routine checkup that her baby had stopped growing. She miscarried at 12 weeks.

The culprit, doctors told her, was air pollution.

Her story isn't unique; she has heard many accounts of expectant mothers who have suffered miscarriages because of Ulaanbaatar's devastating air quality.

"It's been here for many, many years," Otgontuya says, "but the problem is that no one really cares."

Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital in the world, and about 60 percent of its 1.5 million residents live in combinations of brick housing and traditional felt gers, or yurts, in informal settlements on the outskirts of the city. The sprawling, haphazard ger districts lack sanitation, sewage systems, electricity and central heating. Instead, residents use iron stoves and burn plastic, rubber, trash and cheap coal. Smoke covers the city in a dense, impenetrable fog. During winter, which lasts from November to February, the city is so blanketed by fog that it looks like 17th century England.

The pollution dates back to 2000, when a mining boom made Mongolia one of the world's fastest-growing economies. When harsh winters known as dzuds killed off entire herds of livestock, rural nomads began migrating to Ulaanbaatar in search of health care, education and economic opportunities. Settlers took gers and traditional stoves, bought plots of land and set up their homes, and as their density increased, so did air pollution. By 2010, the capital had more than 800,000 new residents, and the World Health Organization ranked it the second-most-polluted city in the world, just after Ahvaz in Iran. Two years later, a World Bank Study found that toxin levels in Ulaanbaatar's ger districts were 10 times higher than permitted under Mongolia's air quality standards.

Pollution from coal is known to cause health issues such as asthma, pneumonia, heart disease, lung cancer and even premature death. A 2011 study by researchers at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, showed that 1 in 10 deaths in Ulaanbaatar is connected to air pollution. Now focus is shifting to the links between air pollution and women's maternal health. A 2014 report by the Saban Research Institute of the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles found "alarmingly strong statistical correlations between seasonal ambient air pollutants" and pregnancy loss in Mongolia. The study, which looked at data collected from 10,000 women, established a connection between seasonal patterns and miscarriages: The number of spontaneous abortions jumped from 23 per 1,000 live births in May to 73 per 1,000 live births in December, when temperatures have been known to drop to –40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Though the impact of pollution on pregnancies has not been studied in depth, these findings confirmed the beliefs of Delgerzul Lodoisamba, a professor of environmental health at the Health Science University of Mongolia. She says she has observed that miscarriages are more common from November to January, when toxin levels in the air are higher. "It seems like if you get pregnant within those three months, it's not possible to carry to full term," she says. "Our government encourages women to have more babies, but they don't pay attention to how and if the children come out healthy."

At the moment, the influx of migrants, along with their gers and stoves, is not stopping. And there is little infrastructure in place to help women in ger districts get the care they need during pregnancy.

In the Songino-Khairkhan district, a nondescript white building serves as the first stop for nearly 15,000 residents when they want medical attention. Six doctors and four nurses work at this local clinic, and for many women, the only way to reach it is by walking long distances. Because of these obstacles, nurses say that pregnant women often wait until the last minute to be seen by medical professionals.

The majority of new arrivals do not register with local administrations and aren't informed about clinic procedures, so it's common for women to experience significant delays in receiving medical care. "Most of the people who have migrated, they settled here without permission," says Yamsuren, a nurse who works in the clinic. "We just can't access the pregnant people." This makes it harder to treat many of the pollution-related problems that the clinic routinely addresses, from premature delivery to respiratory issues to low birth weight. In the ger districts, babies are born with everything from hypoxia, in which the fetus doesn't receive enough oxygen, to cleft palates and more severe birth defects, such as underdeveloped organs and developmental problems.

Taivanjargal, 37, lives with her husband and six children in a ger on top of a steep hill overlooking Ulaanbaatar's Khan-uul district. She's pregnant and due to give birth in December. She is increasingly worried about her baby's health, as doctors have warned her that the newborn might experience severe developmental difficulties. "All the pregnant women here, they always talk about how pollution causes problems, that it causes both their children and them to be sick," she said. "We can't see anything outside in the winter because there's so much smoke. All the children and their clothing smell of smoke, and they often get sick." She has already experienced some effects of the pollution. One of her boys suffered neurological problems and anemia; he eventually improved after receiving treatment from an international nonprofit group.

In 2013, Ulaanbaatar approved plans to upgrade water, sewage and road infrastructure in the ger districts — which would give residents better housing and access to services. The plan would turn some ger settlements into apartment buildings. This means that residents, through land swap agreements, would get apartments with central heating, running water and sanitation services in exchange for giving up their land. Reaction to this proposal has been divided, since many families live on shared plots of land and there's concern that the arrangement would leave some residents homeless.

Bolormaa, 29, who lives in a ger district and suffered respiratory problems last winter during her pregnancy, dreams of living in a warm apartment. "The children would be healthy. There would be no pollution, no dirt. I wouldn't have to worry about running water and the coal," she says. "As a woman, it would be a very good, clean environment for me." But her brother owns the land she lives on, and she worries that she might no longer have a home if he accepts the government's offer to exchange his land for an apartment.

As temperatures rapidly drop and yellow bags of coal pile up along the roads of the ger districts, talk among residents anxiously turns to 2016's designation as the year of the monkey. According to the Chinese zodiac, a monkey year brings severe and devastating winter weather, so some people are intent on leaving their gers by any means necessary.

After living in gers for many years, two months ago, Enkhzul, a 29-year-old beautician, moved her husband and three children into a cramped, windowless basement apartment. She often hears tenants drunkenly fighting on the ground floor, and the damp environment has given her 2-month-old bouts of diarrhea. Still, she says, the basement is much better than a ger.

"It was difficult because there was smoke everywhere. Here it's much better because we have central heating," she says, changing her crying son's diaper. He's bundled on a mattress, their one piece of furniture, beneath a poster that reads "Happy childhood."

Across town, Otgontuuya is in the waiting room of the Blue Skies Day Care Center, the only free day care in the city. She is dropping off her daughter, the child who made everything better again after she lost her first baby.

She dreams of having more children and of giving them a good life. Growing up, she went days on end without food or proper clothing, and she wants to make sure her children avoid that. But she knows the future will bring a different set of problems.

"Yes, of course I am worried about the air pollution," she says. "But what can I do? I just have to take the risk."

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

Link to article


Mogi: we're totally clueless, aren't we? How about encouraging people to wear masks? Starting with our kids? Incentivizing pharmacies to market masks? How about even making masks here?

Air pollution committee discusses nanotech approach to car fumes

Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) The third meeting of the National Committee on reducing air pollution held December 18 considered the issue of offering nanotechnology products at the localities' gas stations to improve durability of diesel and other types of automobile fuels.

The committee also touched upon the measures to be taken in the regions with immediate need of air quality improvement in 2016. The committee decided to issue a plan for improving air quality in Khovsgol, Ovorkhangai, Omnogovi, Bayankhongor, Darkhan-Uul, Orkhon and Khovd provinces in January and February, the peak of air pollution season.

Link to article


Education Minister submits draft amendments to laws on higher education

Ulaanbaatar, December 17 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Education, Culture and Science L.Gantomor Thursday submitted to parliament draft amendments to the law on higher education and on other related laws.

The draft law on higher education has been amended to improve effectiveness of the education quality's guarantee, to make the monitoring system as well as the legal status of certification body more precise, to motivate a support for the education quality, and to make clearer a status of training organizations, their management and governance principles, the Minister said.

The other related drafts aim to keep the higher education separated from political effects, to make its management and organization based on democratic, independent and open principles, to create several ways for financing higher education, and to exploit multilateral opportunities.

Moreover, the amendments reflect clauses on increasing responsibilities of parents in providing children with all opportunities to study and in sharing expenses of school lunch.

Link to article


Teachers and students of a school without a school demand a school

December 18 ( The secondary school No.14 of 13th khoroo of Bayanzurkh district of Ulaanbaatar city named after Ho Chi Minh, a famous Vietnamese communist revolutionary leader, was closed due to collapse occurred in December 2013.

Fortunately, there were no victims. After the accident occurred in the restroom on the first floor experts from the Capital City Specialized Inspection Agency and National Emergency Management Agency of Mongolia (NEMA) concluded that the building of the school is not safe and must be closed.

Accordingly, students and teachers were transferred to other three schools (30th, 44th and 92nd secondary schools) and part of students stayed in its own extension building built in 2008 with financial assistance of Japan temporarily until a new school is built.

However, it has been two years already since the accident and still no sign of a new school. Therefore, teachers and parents of students decided to stage a demonstration in front of their old school to draw attention of the government to current matter on December 17, 2015.

Parents of students said: "The government did not even allocate any funding into the state budget last year. Due to work pressure some teachers already quit their work and classes end too late because of intense schedule. Therefore, our children have to go home late evening. Even with parents it is not safe to walk that late in the city. It is serious violation of children's rights."

Link to article


IRIM Annual Reception 2015: "SDGs 2030: The Role of the National Evaluation Framework"

December 5 (Independent Research Institute of Mongolia) Since its establishment, IRIM has been actively involved in supporting international initiatives to promote evaluation policies and evaluation usage, and to incorporate them into the national public policy agenda.

In this regard, on 4 December 2015, IRIM successfully organized its first Annual Reception in Ulaanbaatar, under the topic of 'SDGs 2030: The Role of the National Evaluation Framework'.

The event aimed to provide participants with a platform to engage in dialogue on the topic, and IRIM introduced its initiatives to improve national policies and capabilities for results-based governance in Mongolia.

The reception was hosted by Dr Bekhbat Khasbazar (Ambassador, and IRIM's President) and discussions were moderated by Mr Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa (De Facto); whose friendly and engaging manners provided for an open atmosphere among the guests, promoting engagement in productive discussions.

More than 45 guests gathered at the Annual Reception, demonstrating the importance of the topic discussed. The guests comprised of government officials, including representatives from the Ministry of Finance, National Statistics Office and International Cooperation Fund of Mongolia; representatives of international organizations such as Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, JICA, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, IFC, UNDP, World Vision, International Republican Institute and GIZ; embassies of Japan, Canada and USA; and national and international experts.

The first, keynote address was presented by Mrs Beate Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator. In her speech, she described how the SDGs will be monitored, and the UN's overall approach to the SDGs. Most importantly, she shared her views about some further ideas for strengthening monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs in Mongolia, by highlighting the importance of identifying 'what indicators are relevant, how data can be collected, how to establish baselines and monitoring and evaluation systems, and review mechanisms'.

The second presentation was made by Ms Dolgion Aldar, CEO of IRIM. She introduced current data and evaluation gaps in Mongolia and described measures to improve the situation by identifying three areas of opportunities: knowledge-sharing and consultation networks, evaluation capacity development, and the establishment of a national evaluation framework in Mongolia.

Participants suggested that: it is important to promote a culture of evaluation, where evaluation is considered as a learning tool rather than merely inspection and auditing; and the current SDGs call for unprecedented involvement from the private sector and evaluation of SDGs should mean inclusion of private firms as well (through associations such as BCMongolia);

It was widely accepted that the event was very timely, as it was organized in light of the formulation of Mongolia's National Long-term Development Policy and Sustainable Development Goals Adoption and the '2015 International Year of Evaluation' as declared by the United Nations.

Finally, Jargalsaikhan concluded the event by summarizing IRIM's initiatives for promoting a National Evaluation Framework. And he emphasized that - through the participation and synergies of like-minded people - Mongolia can become a regional and international best practice in implementing and evaluating its SDGs.

Link to release

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New social insurance scheme launched to encourage youth to remain herders

Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) On Friday, the head of Standing Committee on social policy, education, culture and sciences D.Battsogt MP gave more information on the amendments made to the law on pensions and benefits from the Social Insurance Fund, at a press conference.

"As of 2014, only 11 percent out of 293.6 thousand herders are paying social insurance voluntarily, a total of 59.1 thousand herders receive pensions, of whom 45.9 thousand are provided with superannuation, 8.0 thousand–with disability benefits, and 5.2 thousand–with pensions in respect of the loss of the breadwinner," he said.

Livestock herders live and work in conditions that greatly depend on weather and grazing lands in four seasons of a year. "This leads to their poor health, earlier loss of work ability and lower income, this is why it is suitable for herders to be allowed superannuation estimated by same methods as in superannuation for diplomats, military personnel, police and forensic specialists," he said.  D.Battsogt also emphasized that encouraging more herders to pay social insurance and then receive pensions will be a major step addressing the obstacles facing the livestock industry, which constitutes 15 percent of GDP, more than 10 percent of export income, and 30 percent of economically active population.

It is also expected to give an impetus to encouraging younger generations to become herders, added the MP.

The law will take effect on January 1 of 2017.

Link to article


Pacific Yurts Unveils "YURT BUILDER 3D™," Industry's First Online Yurt Visualizer

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore., December 18--(BUSINESS WIRE)--You'll find one at 10,000 feet, welcoming intrepid heli-skiers in Nevada's Ruby Mountains. Near Austin, Texas, couples enjoy their morning coffee while taking in panoramic views from one that's perched 60 feet high in a majestic Cypress tree. At the United States Embassy in Mongolia, a modern Pacific Yurt stands alongside its traditional counterparts, and these days it's rare to visit an American campground, music festival or military resort that hasn't embraced the structure as a cost-effective yet luxurious way to house guests in both style and seclusion.

Since pioneering the modern yurt nearly 40 years ago, Pacific Yurts, the Cottage Grove, Oregon-based leader in yurt technology and customer service, has seen its innovations brought to life in myriad ways by private and commercial customers who recognize the structure's seemingly endless possibilities. If you've experienced a yurt yourself, it's likely that Pacific Yurts built it, and with "YURT BUILDER 3D™," the newest addition to its website,, the company has placed those possibilities directly at your fingertips.

YURT BUILDER 3D™ works like a virtual shopping cart for Pacific Yurts' many options and amenities, an online visual tool that allows prospective buyers to choose their yurt's size, color and accessories, then view their custom creation from any angle and even take a look inside. As they build their ideal yurt, a price quote is automatically generated, and for the final touch, the online visitor can place their yurt in one of several idyllic virtual settings.

"We're streamlining the process of helping our customers gather information on the yurt visually, on their own, and helping them decide how it's going to work best for them," said Pacific Yurts founder and President Alan Bair.

Bair said there's nothing quite like the YURT BUILDER 3D™ elsewhere in the yurt-building industry, and he added that it's only natural that Pacific Yurts be the company to pioneer the technology.

"We've been the leader in yurt innovation for decades, so why wouldn't we want our website to reflect that?" he said.

The company's revamped site also offers a chance to explore the accommodations of yurt getaway destinations through its "The Yurt Experience" page, which showcases the many backdrops for one of the world's most adaptable and versatile buildings while boosting the online audience — free of charge — of commercial yurt owners throughout the U.S. and Canada. They have also incorporated 360° virtual tours of their four largest yurts onto their website to help capture the unique feeling of being inside a yurt.

It's this kind of online accessibility that no doubt helped convince Airbnb to dub 2014 the "Year of the Yurt," recognizing the most popular type of rental chosen by the listing site's users. It's also the kind of relationship that comes with every Pacific Yurts purchase.

Because it's only after the online yurt experience begins that the lasting value of the modern yurt — and the company that has brought it to millions worldwide — really shines through. Pacific Yurts knows it's the quality of their yurts' construction, the innovations that only they can offer and the reliability in customer service they've honed over decades as the industry's leader that are the keys to their continued success.

Throughout the listings found on the Yurt Experience page, you'll find Pacific Yurts customers that have learned to rely on the company's ability to deliver quality yurts in less time than their competitors. Recently, a state parks department was able to order three Alpine yurts — their largest models, which feature an ability to withstand snow loads that could crush a lesser structure — and have them delivered in no time.

"We've had customers tell us that they don't even go out for bids anymore, because we're the only company capable of turning around a large order, quickly and with quality," Bair said.

And the enhancements keep coming from Pacific Yurts' inviting Cottage Grove headquarters, where 90 percent of each yurt's materials are sourced regionally and assembled by local employees and where thermal glass windows and a new line of low-maintenance fiberglass doors with optional programmable keypads have helped to further expand the yurt's appeal.

It's business practices such as these that have continued to help new generations discover Pacific Yurts and, by extension, the possibilities of the company's stock-in-trade.

"Many people that we talk to are discovering the yurt for the first time," Bair said. "It's so impressive that our modern yurts have continued to be trendy for almost 40 years, and that innovations have continued to open up new and exciting ways to use them."

To begin designing your custom yurt, visit the YURT BUILDER 3D™ page.

Link to release


Photo Review of 2015

December 18 ( There is saying that everything else will fade away, while photos will remain for long and remind us of the history.

Even though memories last in our minds the great way to restore those are the photos.

Year 2015 has brought us both moments of proudness, happiness and laugh as well as moments of sadness and sorrow. We are delivering the year review in photos.

Social Events of the year

·         Mongolia welcomes its 3 millionth citizen

·         People unite against child abuse

·         PM signs the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Mine Development and Financing Plan

·         Residents use smart card for ride on buses

·         New building of "Amgalan" maternity hospital with 150 beds commissioned

·         New roads connected Narnii road with 19th micro district were constructed

·         "City Parade" was held

·         Children`s Hospital with 140 beds commissioned


·         Order of Chinggis Khaan confers to G.Mend-Oyo

·         Head of Labor Union of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC S.Erdene set himself on fire

·         Jounalist L.Bolormaa died

·         Buses made in Mongolia started to serve

Political Events of the year

·         Indian PM Narendra Modi paid state visit in Mongolia

·         MPRP Leader N.Enhbayar arrived in Ulaanbaatar city

·         New ministries received their stamp

·         The President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck paid state visit to Mongolia

·         Japanese Prime Minister Mr.Shinzo Abe paid the second visit to Mongolia

Cultural Events of the year

·         "Mongolian Academy Awards" held

·         "Unforgettable" concert was held

·         The play "Romeo and Juliet" staged after 19 year

·         Goyol 2016: H.Uyanga wins Top Model award



·         "Egshiglent Chimee" children group became the first winner of Mongolia`s Got Talent show.

Sports Events of the year

·         Otgontsetseg became judoka of Kazakhstan

·         Tugstsogt became professional boxer

·         Hakuho M.Davaajargal sets new record in sumo wrestling

·         Hakuho M.Davaajargal and Kakuryu M.Anand received State Medals

·         2015 Judo World Championship held in Astana, Kazakhstan

·         2015 Free Style Wrestling World Championship held in Las Vegas, USA

Link to article

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Nature, Environment

Mongolian dog tradition revived to protect sheep, leopards

By Grace Brown

Tuv Aimag, December 20 (AP) Through three decades of marriage, they have wandered together across the rolling hills of Mongolia's northern Tuv Province, accompanied by their herd of sheep and stalked by the wolves and snow leopards that threaten their livelihood.

Five months ago, Chulunjav Bayarsaikhan and Tumurbaatar Davaasuren were joined by a new partner, Hasar, a shaggy, 11-month-old bankhar dog that a hundred years ago would have been a far more common sight outside the country's tent homes known as gers.

"Now, nothing comes near our herd at night," Tumurbaatar said. "If anything does, she barks in an alarming way, so we come out before it can attack. She learned to patrol all night and is protecting them well."

As years of overgrazing increasingly push Mongolian nomads into the territory of their oldest foes—snow leopards and wolves—a group of researchers and herders are trying to reinstate the bankhar, a close relative of the Tibetan mastiff, to its historic place beside their masters. The dog is native to Mongolia but nearly disappeared over the course of mass urbanization drives during the Soviet era.

DNA analysis conducted by Cornell researchers and released this year points to Mongolia as the location where domesticated dogs first appeared some 15,000 years ago. That makes the bankhar even more of a Mongolian icon.

For thousands of years, the giant dogs roamed the Mongolian steppes with their nomadic masters, so much a part of the landscape that they featured in Chinese Qing Dynasty paintings of Mongolia and the 13th century travelogues of Marco Polo.

Now experts are hoping to revive that legacy.

At the small nonprofit Mongolia Bankhar Dog Project outside the capital, Ulaanbaatar, biologists and breeders say the shaggy, intelligent bankhar could help conservationists convince herders that they need not aggressively trap and hunt endangered predator species.

The center raises bankhar, which can grow as large as a small bear, and hands them over at 4 or 5 months old to herders like Chulunjav and Tumurbaatar, who must continue to train them under a strict regime aimed at developing their bond with livestock rather than humans. The center is a result of efforts to revive the bankhar launched in 2004 by U.S. biologist Bruce Elfstrom.

Hasar now follows sheep day and night and wards off, but doesn't attack, predators that once decimated the couple's herd.

"I have high hopes for my dog as a herder, because she has learned a lot so far," Chulunjav said. "I hope in the future she can be my good friend and partner in my nomadic life."

Although the country of less than 3 million people is rapidly urbanizing, mostly around sprawling Ulaanbaatar, roughly one-third have held on to their traditional nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle. Cattle or sheep losses can spell catastrophe for households.

Using dogs to protect herds also can help protect snow leopards as their population falls below 1,000, mostly in the western Altai mountain range and in the south, near the Gobi Desert, according to WWF Mongolia director Batbold Dorjgurkhem.

"The habitat that is needed by snow leopards is shrinking, due to increasing livestock numbers in Mongolia," says Batbold. "Because of this, there is a conflict between herders and this top predator."

Falling numbers of snow leopards are also unsettling Mongolia's ecosystem, Batbold added. Among the snow leopard's prey are disease-carrying marmots, whose numbers are proliferating as their chief predator's population declines.

Greg Goodfellow, a scientist at the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project, said larger herd sizes and the ensuing demand for grazing land are key factors behind the shrinking snow leopard habitat. With fewer livestock lost to predation, the group hopes herders will be able to reduce livestock numbers, easing the need to push further into leopard territory.

The dog project is seeking grants to set up regional breeding centers throughout Mongolia.

There are now 10 adult dogs at the group's first breeding center. A further 15 dogs already have been placed with qualified herders, including in the Gorkhi-Terelj and Hustai national parks where wolves reside, and in South Gobi province, where snow leopards prowl.

If trained correctly, the bankhar's large size and intelligence makes it especially suitable for guarding livestock, said dog project caretaker Davaasuren Munkhsuld.

"Mongol bankhars know how to act in difficult situations. They know how to take control," Davaasuren said. "They sense if a person or other animal has come with good or bad intentions, then decide whether or not to attack. They are very intuitive."

Link to article


NRGI Vacancy Announcement: Mongolia Officer

December 14 -- The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) helps people to realize the benefits of their countries' endowments of oil, gas and minerals. We do this through technical advice, advocacy, applied research, policy analysis, and capacity development. We work with innovative agents of change within government ministries, civil society, the media, legislatures, the private sector, and international institutions to promote accountable and effective governance in the extractive industries. For more information, please see


NRGI seeks a Mongolia Officer to provide necessary support for NRGI's expanding work in Mongolia. NRGI's Mongolia team currently consists of a Mongolia Manager overseen by Eurasia Regional Director. NRGI recently completed a new strategic plan for 2015-2017 for Mongolia, which is a priority country. This plan includes a significant expansion of NRGI's activities and will require additional staff members on the ground including a Mongolia Officer.

This role will be actively involved in NRGI's work with civil society organizations, government institutions and other key stakeholders in extractive industry by supporting an informed development or revision of oil, gas and mining legal frameworks as well as their enforcement, many of these are high in the reform agenda of the governments. He/she, under guidance of the Mongolia Manager, will act as a key liaison for NRGI with different stakeholders in Mongolia including at the local community level, maintain a database of extractives policy documents and other relevant information related to NRGI's work, and communicate NRGI's work to public and policy community. He/she will report primarily to the Mongolia Manager.


SALARY: Commensurate with experience.

LOCATION: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

START DATE: As soon as possible

TO APPLY: Please send a cover letter, CV/resume to by January 8, 2016. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Please include in subject line: NRGI/Mongolia Officer.

Link to release


Earth From Space: Southern Mongolia Marvel

December 18 (SpaceRef) This stunning, false-colour image captured by Sentinel-2A on 15 August features southern Mongolia, bordered by China to the south and Russia to the north. Known for its vast, harsh stretches of space and its nomadic people, Mongolia sits deep within eastern Asia, distant from any ocean.

Home to the two-humped Bactrian camel, herds of horses and the Gobi Desert, Mongolia is predominantly a sandy and rocky plain, with an average elevation of some 1500 m above sea level.

The Gobi Desert covers parts of China and of southern Mongolia. It is a rain shadow desert, formed by the Himalayas blocking the Indian Ocean's rain from reaching the Gobi territory. Asia's largest desert and the fifth largest in the world, much of the Gobi is not sandy, but rocky.

With long, cold winters and short, cool-to-hot summers, the climate of the Gobi Desert presents powerful extremes, with rapid temperature shifts of as much as 35ºC, not only seasonally but also within 24 hours.

At the bottom of the image, part of the Baga Bogd Mountain range is visible. Its highest peak has an elevation of 3600 m.

Low vegetation is present during the warm month. This along with some scattered trees gives the red tones that we see in the image. Varying tones of red represent the various types of vegetation and the varying density and condition of the plants.

The sharp images from Sentinel-2A's high-resolution multispectral instrument reveals spectacular erosion patterns where the eroded soil, with the help of rain, is carried from the mountain slopes to lower lands.

There is a very distinct body of water towards the top right part of the image, the Taatsiin Tsagaan Lake, one of the four saline lakes that make up the Valley of the Lakes. Mongolia joined the Ramsar Convention on 8 April 1998, which covers Wetlands of International Importance.

The lake's depth and high concentration of salt give the water a vivid turquoise colour.

Sentinel-2A has been in orbit since 23 June 2015 as a polar-orbiting, high-resolution satellite for land monitoring, providing imagery of vegetation, soil and water cover, inland waterways and coastal areas.

Link to article (and video)

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Mogi: no Inner Mongolia, guess we shouldn't be surprised

Winners of the First Pan-Mongol Boxing Tournament

December 17 ( The First Boxing Festival "Mongol Tuurgаtan 2015" was held on December 12-14, 2015 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The event was initiated by World Mongolians Global Association (WMGA) and hosted by Mongolia among boxers from the Republics of Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tyva (Tuva) of the Russian Federation and Mongolia according to AIBA rule, and women boxers were restricted. Boxers from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China did not participate in this year's competition.

After three days harsh competition, "Mongol Tuurgatan" (Mongolians) ended with the total victory of Mongolia. However, as a hosting country, Mongolia used its privilege and participated with four boxers in each weight category, while visiting countries could participate with only one boxer in each category.

Medal winners were granted 3,000,000 MNT (Tugrug) for gold, 2,000,000 MNT for silver and 1,000,000 MNT for bronze medal.

Competition results

49 kg category:

Gold - G.Gan-Erdene (Mongolia)

Silver - Nikolay Kharanakhoev (Buryatia)

Bronze - D.Munkh-Erdene (Mongolia)

52 kg category:

Gold - Kh.Enkh-Amar (Mongolia)

Silver - M.Gandulam (Mongolia)

Bronze - Aleksandr Nimgirov (Kalmykia)

56 kg category:

Gold - E.Tsendbaatar (Mongolia)

Silver - E.Iderkhuu (Mongolia)

Bronze - B.Misheelt (Mongolia)

60 kg category:

Gold - O.Batkhuu (Mongolia)

Silver - D.Otgondalai (Mongolia)

Bronze - Ts.Purevsuren (Mongolia)

64 kg category:

Gold - B.Chinzorig (Mongolia)

Silver - Nachyn Chambaldoo (Tyva)

Bronze - T.Bayarkhuu (Mongolia)

69 kg category:

Gold - B.Tuvshinbat (Mongolia)

Silver - Nazar Prosyannikov (Buryatia)

Bronze - O.Batzorig (Mongolia)

Link to article


Mongolian boxers win every, December 18


Mongolia ends 2015 Asian Aerobic Gymnastic Championships with one gold, one silver

December 17 ( The 5th Aerobic Gymnastics Asian Championships 2015 was held on December 11- 13, 2015 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

This year, around 250 athletes from ten countries of Asia competed between ages 12-14, 15-17 and 18+ for the top.

Mongolian athletes of the University of Science and Technology (MUST), National Institute of Physical Education (NIPE) and Mongolian State University of Agriculture (MSUA) concluded the championship with one gold and one silver medals.

The team of MUST coached by G.Yeruulbat and led by athlete S.Enkhtuya has won gold at aero-step competition, becoming two-time Asian champion of Aerobic Gymnastics, while joint team of NIPE and MSUA coached by E.Munkh-Orgil could grab a silver medal in aero-dance event.

Link to article

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Art, Entertainment

US seeks to return auctioned dinosaur skull to Mongolia

NEW YORK, December 16 (AP) — Federal authorities said Wednesday they are seeking to return a Tyrannosaurus bataar skull to Mongolia after an anonymous buyer purchased it at auction in the United States in 2007 for $276,000.

Prosecutors filed papers in Manhattan federal court to formally secure the 32-inch-long skull after the California buyer who purchased it agreed to give it up.

The 67 million-year-old skull will be among more than a dozen dinosaur skeletons that have been returned to Mongolia since 2012. Federal prosecutors said in a news release that other items returned to Mongolia include a nest of dinosaur eggs and the relics of numerous small, unidentified lizards and turtles.

"Each of these fossils represents a culturally and scientifically important artifact looted from its rightful owner," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Glenn Sorge, acting head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Manhattan office, said cultural artifacts such as the skull "belongs to the people of Mongolia."

"These priceless antiquities are not souvenirs to be sold to private collectors or hobbyists," Sorge said.

Prosecutors said in court papers that the skull, unlawfully taken from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, was smuggled into the United States in June 2006 by being falsely labeled as "fossil stone pieces."

They said it had been shipped from Japan to Gainesville, Florida. It was auctioned in Manhattan on March 25, 2007, selling for $230,000 plus a commission that raised the fee paid by the buyer to $276,000.

It had been marketed as an "extremely rare" Tyrannosaurus skull from the late Cretaceous period, which ended about 65 million years ago.

"The battery of huge, knife-like, serrated teeth are quite impressive and are in excellent condition," court papers quoted the auction catalog as saying of a skull that was 65 percent complete. "Overall, this remarkable specimen is scientifically accurate and important."

Link to article


Tyrannosaurus skull sold for $230,000 in New York must go back to MongoliaThe Guardian, December 16

Mongolia Is Getting Its Stolen Tyrannosaurus Skull BackGizmodo, December 19

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These Are 2016's Hottest Destinations: #1 Mongolia

December 19 (The Daily Beast) From luxe in Mongolia to gastropubs in Wales, the beauty of Botswana, and snowboarding in North Korea… here's where you should be booking to go.

The world continues to open up as a fresh crop of destinations lay the groundwork for more mainstream tourism. Our top three picks for 2016 are—now, more than ever—easier to reach, explore, and enjoy. The others are all tangible choices worth adding to your bucket list. No gimmicks here, just a clutch of destinations across the planet that are poised to welcome new guests. So get here before everyone else does. 

1. Mongolia

The land of Genghis Khan just got an upgrade.

New luxury digs are reinvigorating the tired glamping cliche—now yurts come with flushing toilets and steaming hot showers.

Three Camel Lodge, the true pioneer in Mongolian travel, uses an African safari model to up the ante at its stunning camp in the Gobi Desert, located a stone's throw from the ancient dinosaur graveyards made famous by a museum near you.

Luxury has found a home in Ulan Bator, the capital, as well. The glittering new outpost of Shangri-La Hotel promises a massive upgrade from passable international-style options of the past.

It's a big step for the dusty, landlocked country to open its frontiers to curious but less intrepid travelers. And the upswing in accommodation means a trickle-down effect in the food category as well.

Influenced by Chinese and Russian dishes (plus heaps of mutton), local fare is showing signs of improvements, led by Shangri-La's culinary initiatives.

Link to article


The Pampered Guide to Mongolia: Nomadic Expeditions offers full-service trips that make traveling the country easy and comfortable | AFAR, November 19


In the steppes of Genghis Khan: How an Australian man spent three years in the Mongolian wilderness to capture rare insights into life in one of the world's most remote places

·         Tim Cope spent three years on horseback retracing the ten thousand kilometre route taken by warrior Genghis Khan

·         The 35-year-old explorer, from Victoria, travelled from Mongolia, through Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Hungary 

·         From icy mountains to scorching deserts, Cope travelled with three horses, the occasional camel and his dog Tigon

·         The accomplished adventurer was selected by the Australian Museum as one of Australia's 50 greatest explorers

December 20 (Daily Mail) Navigating rugged mountain terrain in bitterly cold snow, sweltering through vast stretches of dessert sand, evading cunning thieves and forging a fear and respect for the wolves who hunt in the forest once darkness has fallen.

Explorer Tim Cope, from Gippsland in Victoria, spent three years on horseback retracing the ten thousand kilometre route taken by famed warrior Genghis Khan from Mongolia to Hungary across the great Eurasian Steppe.

From the ice-capped Altai Mountains to the burning heat of the Kazakh desert, Cope said he truly experienced a nomadic way of life travelling with three horses, the occasional camel and his faithful canine companion Tigon, who still lives with the 35-year-old adventurer in regional Victoria. 

The accomplished traveller has ridden a bicycle across Russia to China and rowed a boat through Siberia to the Arctic Ocean, however he said what truly stuck with him in the years after his ambitious journey was the warmth and hospitality of Mongolia's nomadic people, who became the 'linchpin of survival on the steppe'.

'We can see every square metre of the planet on Google Earth. But there is no substitute for that sensory experience of going out into the world and discovering things for yourself,' said Cope, who was recently selected by the Australian Museum as one of Australia's 50 greatest explorers for the Trailblazers exhibition.

'Had I not stepped into the saddle in the first place, entire cultures, histories, and most importantly, profound connections with people and animals whom I now counted as my friends would have otherwise passed by, invisible,' he added. 

A writer and photographer, Cope, who was named Australian Geographic 'Adventurer of the Year' in 2007, has told of the 'kaleidoscope of countries' he visited and the deep understanding of the steppe's nomadic people in his award winning book, On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads Cope.  

Link to article

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