Wednesday, January 13, 2016

[TRQ hits new lows; AKM, KOT get rail permits; Kerry adds MMC stake; Mongol Post IPO 2x subscribed; MNT hits new low; and LMMG sues Vattenfall]

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Wednesday, January 13, 2015

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Overseas Market

TRQ sets new low since 2008. Intraday range US$1.86-2.02

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd (TRQ) Price Target Raised to C$4.50 at CIBC

January 11 (MarketBeat) Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd (TSE:TRQ) had its target price increased by CIBC from C$4.00 to C$4.50 in a report released on Friday morning, ARN reports.

Shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) opened at 3.04 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $6.12 billion and a PE ratio of 21.71. Turquoise Hill Resources has a 52 week low of $3.02 and a 52 week high of $5.80. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $3.41 and a 200-day moving average price of $3.90.

TRQ has been the subject of a number of other research reports. 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. Scotiabank lowered their target price on Turquoise Hill Resources from C$5.50 to C$5.25 and set a sector perform rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, December 16th.

Link to article


AKM trading +25% YTD

Aspire Mining finalises rail approvals for Northern Railways

January 6 (Proactive Investors) Metallurgical coal company Aspire Mining (ASX:AKM) has realised a significant milestone in the development of its massive Mongolian infrastructure ambitions after obtaining final approval for a rail connection point and alignment path. 

This progress follows only about month after the company confirmed that its local subsidiary Northern Railways received its construction license for the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway. 

The approval in turn followed a string of other recent milestones, including a Scoping Study which indicated there were no technical obstacles to building a rail connection from Ovoot to the Russian city of Kyzyl.

The Erdenet to Ovoot railway project that spans 547 kilometres and forms part of a national policy aimed at connecting the northern provinces with Russia.

At full operation, the project will have capacity to move 30 million tonnes per annum of bulk commodities, agricultural, general and passenger freight including transit freight between Russia and China.

New negotiations with the Mongolian government have helped establish the project's most recent approvals, which include some redesign and re-engineering by Northern Railways to accommodate Aspire operations. 

As a result, a rail route into the city of Erdenet will now be able to avoid significant relocation of established infrastructure and competing land uses.

Also, the rail alignment will take account of the road and power line requirements of the Egin Golin hydro power project, which was also recently approved by government. 

The paths for both the Erdenet to Ovoot railway and Egin Golin both require access through a 40-kilometre long valley system to the west of Erdenet.

Recent progress

Advancement of Aspire's rail plans for the company's proposed coal operations has coincided with new enhancements of the mining assets themselves. 

Last month, Aspire confirmed that its Nuurstei project will be able to produce a low to mid volatile, top tier hard coking coal that would be attractive to end-users in the market for cleaner coal properties.

Proximate analysis from 31 core holes drilling during the 2015 exploration program at the project have shown the coal to have moderate to high ash, mid to low volatility, low sulphur and high free swelling index.  

This development is particularly relevant in the context of Chinese political initiatives to curb the effects of its older and less efficient coal-fired power plants.

A maiden coal resource at Nuurstei is expected to be established in the near term, with an exploration target contemplating a resource of up to 25 million tonnes (at 0.1 metres coal thickness cut-off, rounded), down to 160 metres depth.

By comparison, Ovoot has a total coal resource of 281 million tonnes that will initially drive a production rate of 5 million tonnes per annum, increasing to 10mtpa over 21 years of saleable high-quality coking coal.


This milestone is significant to Aspire's investment case since it brings the crucial Erdenet to Ovoot railway to the point where all the necessary approvals are in place to prepare the way for the Bankable Feasibility Study, environmental surveys and permitting.

The final approvals allow for important revisions to the rail connections and alignments plan, which will help streamline the logistics of Aspire's metallurgical coal operations. 

Further potential catalysts for Aspire are evident in the company's ongoing efforts to secure funding sources that would complete both the Rail Bankable Feasibility Studies and other environmental permitting activities.

Negotiations on this point have included Chinese and Russian contractors and potential investors.

The fact that Aspire's rail plan is a government plan across three nations puts the company in an enviable position to realise the project.

This will allow for the exploitation of a massive resource which would otherwise be considered stranded by most junior developers.  

Link to article

Link to AKM release


KOT last traded C$0.15 on Jan 11

Khot Infrastructure Announces Issuance of Rail Construction Permit

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 7, 2016) - KHOT INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS, LTD. ("KHOT" or the "Company") (CSE:KOT) is pleased to announce that the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, Ashid Munkhiin Zam LLC ("AMZ") has been awarded a rail bed construction permit by the Ministry of Road and Transportation of Mongolia.

This rail bed construction permit issued effective December 22, 2015 is for an initial period of three (3) years and enables AMZ to bid on a number of major rail projects planned by the Government of Mongolia as an integral component of its countrywide transportation infrastructure commitment, including the USD$1.3 billion, 547 kilometres in railway concessions already announced by the Mongolian Government in partnership with Northern Railway.

James Passin, Khot Chairman, emphasized the importance of this permit in terms of the expanded opportunities it provides the Company in the implementation of its overall road and rail concession strategy, "The combination of road and rail provides a natural synergy to AMZ operations. Our experienced in-country management team and potential strategic partners are unanimous in their enthusiasm for this long term railway construction program."

Proceeds from the private placement announced on December 15, 2015 will be used to accelerate the bid process in both the road and rail bed sectors. The Company will provide more ongoing information to shareholders as the bid process continues.

James Passin, Chair of Khot commented, "Having been awarded a permit allows Khot to actively bid on these fast-moving opportunities."

Khot, through AMZ, recently announced a partnership with Power China's world leading Engineering, Procurement, and Construction ("EPC") company and Chinese state owned enterprise, Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation III ("SEPCOIII"), who will contribute on a 75/25 percent basis, all the required logistical and financial support elements required for large road projects.

Mongolia, through the coordinated efforts with China's larger New Silk Road Economic Belt project, will participate in the international Economic Corridor linking resources and markets between Russia, China and Mongolia, as well as other Central Asian countries.

"Regional connectivity is the main objective of the New Silk Road strategy. We are proud to be a part of this vision and through our Chinese partners jointly push forward the construction of an international infrastructure network and advocate a framework for cross-border trade and financial opportunities," said company president, Don Padgett.

Link to release                  


ERD closed -3.45% Tuesday to C$0.14. YTD -12.5%

Erdene Appoints Gold Mining Executive David Mosher as Strategic Advisor and Provides Project Updates

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 5, 2016) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company"), is pleased to announce the appointment of David Mosher as a strategic advisor to the Company.

"We are very pleased to have Mr. Mosher join the Erdene team and to assist with our rapidly evolving gold projects in southwest Mongolia," said Peter Akerley, Erdene's President and CEO. "With the recent high-grade gold discovery at Bayan Khundii and the nearby Altan Nar gold deposits, we believe we have the necessary projects to move Erdene towards our goal of becoming a gold producer in the near-term. With David's thirty-five years of executive level experience in mine building, project management in foreign jurisdictions and company building, he is extremely well qualified to help guide the Company both technically and professionally as we advance our core projects."

Mr. Mosher is a mining executive with over thirty-five years of international experience. From 1992 to 2008, David was President and CEO of High River Gold Mines Ltd., a TSX listed company involved in the exploration, development and production of gold in Canada, Africa and Russia. In that role, he negotiated the acquisition of two producing Russian gold mines, completed mining investment agreements with the government of Burkina Faso, raised over $300 million to support the company's growth, and supervised the development of two open pit gold mines (the Taparko gold mine in Burkina Faso, and the Berezitovy gold mine in Russia). He has served on many boards including Cambior Inc. and earlier in his career was project manager for Pancontinental Mining Limited, where he and his team discovered and outlined the largest uranium deposit in the world at that time (the Jabiluka deposits in northern Australia).

Over the past decade, Mr. Mosher has been active in the restructuring and refinancing of a number of junior resource companies, both private and public, and currently serves as a director of several mining and exploration companies, including Pancontinental Uranium Corporation (TSX-V) and Pelangio Exploration Inc. (TSX-V). Mr. Mosher received his B.Sc. degree in geology from Acadia University.

Project Update

Bayan Khundii Gold Project (100% Erdene)

Erdene's Q4-2015 drill program at the Bayan Khundii gold discovery in southwest Mongolia returned multiple, high-grade intersections over a 475 m area, including; 7 m of 27.5 g/t gold, including 1 m of 187 g/t gold (hole BKD-01); 35 m of 5.7 g/t gold from surface, including 12 m of 16.0 g/t gold (hole BKD-10); and 26 m of 6 g/t gold, including 15 m of 9.9 g/t gold (hole BKD-09). Visible gold was observed in 10 of the 15 drill holes, with no significant sulphide material present. All mineralized zones were intersected within 50 m of surface and remain open along strike and at depth. Additional exploration of this high-grade gold discovery is in the planning stage and is expected to include a second phase of diamond drilling and metallurgical testing during the first half of 2016.

Link to Erdene's latest news release on Bayan Khundii - click here

Altan Nar Gold-Polymetallic Project (100% Erdene)

Erdene's Q3-2015 drilling, trenching and metallurgical program at its Altan Nar gold-polymetallic project, 20 km northwest of Bayan Khundii, was focused on the Discovery Zone ("DZ") and Union North ("UN") mineral resource areas. Infill drilling at DZ supported continuity of a high-grade mineralized zone with 9 m of 7.3 g/t Au, 25 g/t Ag, 1.20% Pb and 1.65% Zn within 50 m of surface (hole TND-92). Infill drilling at UN returned multiple mineralized zones including 8.9 m of 5.0 g/t Au, 17 g/t Ag, 1.49% Pb and 0.28% Zn within 36 m of surface (hole TND-81), while trenching at UN extended the mineralized zone by approximately 200 m to the east with a step-out trench (trench ANT-21) that returned 28.5 m of 1.9 g/t Au, 4.3 g/t Ag, 0.78% Pb and 0.35% Zn. Metallurgical test work at DZ North returned high gold recoveries of up to 88% from leaching. Going forward, work at Altan Nar is expected to include additional metallurgical process test work, evaluation of the mining, engineering, transportation, and marketing options, exploration and development related programs, and work required for a mining license application.

Link to Erdene's latest news release on Altan Nar - click here

The drill intersections reported above for Bayan Khundii and Altan Nar are not true width. Additional work will be required to determine true widths. They represent drill intersection widths from holes drilled at 45 to 60 degree angles. The mineralization at both projects is moderate to steeply dipping and approximately perpendicular to the drill hole angle.

Link to release


975 trading -8.88% YTD at HK$0.154

MMC: Resignation of Ochirbat Punsalmaa, Appointment of Khashchuluun Chuluundorj as Non-Executive Director

January 8 -- The board (the "Board") of directors (the "Directors") of Mongolian Mining Corporation (the "Company") announces that Mr. Ochirbat Punsalmaa ("Mr. Punsalmaa") has resigned from his position as an independent non-executive Director, and Dr. Khashchuluun Chuluundorj ("Dr. Khashchuluun") has been appointed as an independent non-executive Director, both with effect from 8 January 2016.

Upon the resignation of Mr. Punsalmaa on 8 January 2016, he has ceased to be a member of the Audit Committee and Nomination Committee, and the chairman of the Remuneration Committee. Dr. Khashchuluun has been appointed as a member of the Audit Committee and Nomination Committee, and the chairman of the Remuneration Committee in place of Mr. Punsalmaa with effect from 8 January 2016.


The Board of the Company announces that Mr. Punsalmaa has resigned from his position as an independent non-executive Director with effect from 8 January 2016 due to advancing age and willingness to ease workload to spare more time for his personal commitments.

Mr. Punsalmaa has confirmed that he has no disagreement with the Board and he is not aware of any matters in connection with his resignation that needs to be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the Company.

The Board would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Punsalmaa for his efforts and valuable contributions to the Company during his tenure of office and wishes him success in his future endeavours.


The Board is also pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Khashchuluun as an independent non-executive Director with effect from 8 January 2016.

Dr. Khashchuluun, aged 49, is a professor at the Department of Economics, a member of the Academic Council and the board of directors of the National University of Mongolia. He serves as an executive director of the Mongolia Oil Shale Association and is engaged in managing a number of non-governmental organizations and research consulting activities. Since 2015, Dr. Khashchuluun has been serving as a member of the working group on Long-term Development Strategy for Mongolia 2016-2030 and a member of the board of directors of Ulaanbaatar City Development Corporation. Dr. Khashchuluun was awarded a bachelor's degree in economics by the Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia in 1989, a master's degree in economics from the Graduate School of Economics, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan in 1996 and a PhD in international economics by the Graduate School of Economics, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan in 2003. Dr. Khashchuluun was elected to the board of the National University of Mongolia in 2014 and served as a visiting professor at the Russian University of Economics, Russia in 2015.

Link to release



Kerry Group Buys 93.5 Million MMC Shares Off-Market at HK$0.176, Increasing Stake to 12.93%

Link to disclosure


CICG last traded 1.43p on Nov 3

CIC Gold Expecting Gobi Report On Thursday Ahead Of Acquisition

LONDON, January 12 (Alliance News) - CIC Gold Group Ltd Tuesday said a technical report on the Gobi Minerals copper and gold project in Mongolia will be released on Thursday, and also said it is set to make new board appointments imminently.

The China-headquartered miner said the technical report on the mine will be released on its website on Thursday. CIC is hoping to acquire Gobi Minerals Ltd for GBP5.6 million in a reverse takeover announced in November, which is waiting for shareholder approval.

The acquisition is to be financed through the issue to the sellers of 280.0 million CIC shares, and shareholders will vote at a meeting booked in for February 19.

The project consists of one exploration lease covering 478.0 square kilometres, which CIC said is "known to contain a number of potentially significant economic gold, copper and rare earth deposits." The project is in the south Gobi region of the country, where the major Oyu Tolgoi mine lies.

When it announced the potential acquisition, Barsbold Ulambayar, independent non-executive director, was named executive director and chief operating officer by the company, with Geoffrey Cowley, the previous chief executive, appointed as non-executive technical director.

On Tuesday, CIC Gold said it was "finalising" new board appointments, and said Independent Non-Executive Luke Webster had resigned from the company.

In addition, the company said it will receive a further convertible loan facility from CIC Capital Fund Ltd, which provided the initial working capital by way of convertible loans in the initial public listing of the company in June 2015.

Currently, the company's principal treasury fund is held in the account of its Chinese subsidiary, Top Ten Co, and to gain approval to transfer funds out of the country is "complex" and can take "significant time," leading the company to secure the convertible loan facility.

CIC Capital Fund will provide a GBP1.2 million facility, which if converted into shares would be at a price of 2.0 pence per share with a full warrant.

"This will resolve the significant issue of funds transfer out of China to discharge remaining creditors of the company in the near future. The funds remaining in its Chinese subsidiary will be used for working capital to fund the human resources and other costs in China in relation to the Gobi Minerals project," said CIC Gold.

CIC Gold shares were trading up 1.8% to 1.45 pence per share on Tuesday.

Link to article

Link to release


TER last traded A$0.005 on Jan 8

TerraCom: Chairman's Address to EGM, 12 January

January 12, TerraCom Ltd. (ASX:TER) --



I will now present an update regarding the resolutions presented for consideration at this EGM.

In the face of ongoing challenging global conditions for the resource sector, the Company remains focused and on track to deliver all aspects of the 2015 strategic review, both on a corporate and an operational level.

In particular, we continue to pursue and explore alternative options to restructure our finances and reduce our debt burden. This process has required more frequent meetings of our shareholders than would normally be the case, and we are grateful for your participation and support. As you will know, at our recent EGM on 30 October 2015 (October EGM) Shareholders supported the efforts of management to amend arrangements with our financiers to provide time for the Company to implement this financial restructuring.

At that meeting, we explained more about the financial restructuring options the Company is considering and evaluating. During this period, the Company has had, and it continues to have, a strong and supportive working relationship with our financial backers in connection with our existing obligations and debt restructuring plan.

This meeting of Shareholders is essentially focused on two further key steps in the Company's financial restructuring plan – the conversion of the Company's existing convertible notes into fully paid ordinary shares (Shares) in the Company, and the placement of additional Shares to SPG Investment Holdings Ltd (SPG) which we recently announced to the market, to raise AUD$7 million in funding for the Company for additional working and development capital (Placement).

Resolution 1: Approval of the issue of Shares to Morning Crest Capital pursuant to the conversion of Convertible Notes

The first resolution for consideration at this EGM is approval of the issue of Shares to Morning Crest Capital Management Limited (Morning Crest Capital) pursuant to the conversion of Convertible Notes first issued by the Company on 30 December 2013.

The Company has been informed that Morning Crest Capital has entered into an agreement to acquire 50% of the Convertible Notes, and intends to convert those Convertible Notes into equity in the Company. The Company is not a party to that agreement and therefore not privy to its details other than what we have been informed.

The Company has also been informed that Morning Crest Capital and SPG are associates.

Resolution 2: Placement

The second resolution for consideration at this EGM is the proposed Placement, which will raise AUD$7 million in funding for the Company. We announced this to the market on 19 October 2015. This is a key step for the Company in its debt restructuring plans.

The Company has been informed that SPG and Morning Crest Capital are associates.

Link to release

EGM Results


YAK closed +7% Tuesday to C$0.38, MNGGF +3.38% to US$0.26

Mongolia Growth Group: Bruised Or Broken?


·         At a sixth of book value with no debt, MGG is very cheap if you believe that Mongolia's tremendous natural resources will eventually be developed.

·         While I believe MGG management is exceptional, I'm also not sure if they have enough levers to pull to create value, while we're waiting for things to clear up.

·         Significant risks from political instability and the Mongolian government's poor fiscal management leave me on the sidelines for now despite the valuation.

By Terrier Investing

January 4 (Seeking Alpha PRO) Mongolia Growth Group (OTCPK:MNGGF) (TSX:YAK) is the sort of stock that certain investors usually only dream about - it's trading at a sixth of tangible book value with no debt, the CEO is an owner-operator (and likely a certifiable genius) who doesn't draw a salary, and under the right circumstances, it could be a hundred-bagger. If you want to get contrarian, I'm not sure you can get more contrarian than this.

It's an alluring story on many levels, and one I've wanted to like ever since meeting founder-CEO Harris Kupperman ("Kuppy") several years ago - but I'm obviously glad I've stayed on the sidelines. I couldn't resist taking another look after the complete battering shares have taken since July, and while I want to throw caution to the wind and make this a jockey bet, there are still several issues I can't get over. Since Free Cash Flow 50 wrote a good overviewin August (and there's a good writeup on VIC that I'll link to in the next paragraph), I'm not going to waste space repeating the basics - I'll just highlight the reasons why I'm not yet ready to hop on board here.

1: Mongolian Political and Economic Stability Still A Wildcard

Part of the thesis, as expressed by Kuppy and others, has been that investments in Mongolia don't entail the same risks as other frontier markets due to the massive, imminently-to-be-exploited resource potential, as well as the pro-Western government. VIC author AAOI, who wrote up the bullish case in October 2012, went so far as to say this:

"I realize this isn't orthodox opinion but I just don't see Mongolia as particularly risky on an absolute basis or relative to other western developed nations. That's not to say that Mongolia doesn't have its owns very real risks and issues, just that the range of outcomes here is relatively predictable and many of the typical pitfalls associated with investing in frontier markets don't really apply in this case. The more you peel back the Mongolian onion the more this becomes obvious I think. That, and the embedded growth derived from OT & TT "turning on" is a lock, which will fuel substantial gains in GDP and average incomes (from present run rates) and hence in the value of MGG's RE portfolio."

"Think about it like this, even if we assume the worst-case scenario where the government goes nuts (highly unlikely IMO) and rips up OT's existing agreement and reinstitutes a new contract where Rio is essentially nothing more than a contract miner earning a 10% IRR after it recoups its initial investment (with the rest of the economics going to the government) - Even then, Mongolia still powers through as OT & TT still get built and hence run rate GDP of $8B becomes "steady state" GDP of ~$16B. The takeaway is that GDP should approximately double in 2-3 years regardless of the macro and that this doubling is predictable."

… well, I guess the charitable way to put it is that didn't happen. Oyu Tolgoi is now expected to be fully operational by 2020 at the earliest - and that's if there are no more hiccups along the way. Mid-next year, the country will host parliamentary elections; there's really no way to tell how FDI-friendly the populace will be feeling.

Even though, for now, OT is now back on track - with project financing lined up earlier this month - I'm not holding my breath for smooth sailing ahead. In February, the Mongolian government conducted a national referendum, polling 3.3 million cell phones (more than the country's population of 3 million) and asking whether respondents preferred austerity or continued development. The response rate was only 10%, and the approval rate among those who did respond was only 56%. This is only one data point, and it's admittedly anecdotal and likely not a large enough sample size, but it's really all we have. In an article this November, the East-West Center referred to FDI as "controversial" among Mongolians. This November, in protest of a contract change at Tavan Tolgoi, the head of the Mongolian Labor Union set himself on fire. From what I understand, he's been a rabble-rouser for several years, and has a decent following.

In addition to the political questions, there's also the issue of the debt and non-FDI-related economic policy. The IMF's report in March concluded that Mongolia is "at high risk of public debt distress under the baseline scenario", and S&P downgraded Mongolia's rating in November. Miners have already paid $1.3B to the Mongolian government, and it's not clear that the government has managed that money wisely (indeed, historically, the country's financial record has been patchy). I'm also not sure that more money necessarily solves the fiscal management problem - this may be a "mo' money mo' problems" situation; I don't think it would be entirely inaccurate to draw parallels to star athletes who have no idea how to manage their money and end up bankrupt mere years after they stop playing. The Mongolian Togrog - which Kuppy thought would go substantially higher - has gone in the opposite direction, and has been partially responsible for obscuring increases in value of the portfolio over the years.

2: Is The Commodities Supercycle Over?

I won't spend much time here, because I think the question is enough - but with slowing growth in China hitting copper, the gold bubble likely over, and coal all but dead between increasingly stringent environmental regulations worldwide and the abundance of cheap natural gas in the U.S. - it's worth asking if the 10-year outlook is really as bright as originally thought. This isn't necessarily an OT-specific issue; it's been described by Rio Tinto as their "best project" and it seems to be pretty low on the cost curve. That said, if other projects prove to be less economical (coal in particular appears to be going the way of the dodo), it would put a damper on the likelihood of the "exponential" upside scenarios that I would need to believe in to offset the risks discussed in point 1. Finally, it's worth noting that there is reflexivity here - in a high commodity price environment where there's more "pie" to share among the Mongolian government and populace, it would seemingly be easier to get things done than in an environment where the economics don't allow as much room for negotiation.

3: NAV May Not Be A Margin Of Safety

This is my biggest question mark. I'm going to be careful how I word this, because I don't want to imply anything negative whatsoever about Kuppy or how NAV is marked - I want to make it clear that I 100% trust the audited numbers, and Kuppy. That said, I also don't think that NAV might be all that meaningful or "protective" if continued economic and political volatility pushes the resource development story out another year, or two, or three… again, it's a bit reflexive; if you believe in the long-term story then it would perhaps be irrelevant if NAV was $1 or $2 or $0.50. But in the meanwhile, this isn't a story where you can say "oh, NAV is X, so downside is protected." In the short term, assets are worth what you can earn from them or what you can sell them for. It's widely believed (and most likely true) that MGG is the preeminent real estate investor in Mongolia. Some commentary from Kuppy suggests that they're significantly outperforming the broader market; while they're more focused on retail than office, Kuppy did mention in an August interview that half the office space in the country was vacant, vs. only mid-single-digits for MGG.

I could crunch numbers here but I think that would be besides the point - this is not an investment where you can model your way to success. As an investor, you have to consider the scenario where further delays cause rental rates and occupancy to continue to fall. MGG doesn't have a ton of cash on the balance sheet, and not much room to cut expenses (Kuppy's already working for free). If the company had to sell assets to raise liquidity, it seems reasonable to assume that they might have to take a markdown from current NAV. The new move into a capital-light brokerage business is interesting but it's unclear that it has the potential to be material in the current environment.

Finally, it's worth noting that even with no debt (i.e. no interest costs to pay), it would be a cause for celebration if MGG maintained AFFO breakeven. There really hasn't been any of the "compounding" to NAV over the past few years that bulls expected, and I think it's too optimistic to expect that to suddenly materialize. This is not a developed-markets REIT that operates on a spread between cap rates and interest rates… it's a pure-play bet on price appreciation of Mongolian real estate driven by the exponential GDP growth that would result from resource development. Until such time as that actually occurs, the NAV will likely remain static.

Conclusion: I Really Want To Make A Jockey Bet… But I Can't

I really, really, really like Kuppy. His backstory is fascinating and he essentially gave up running an extraordinarily successful hedge fund to build this business in Mongolia. If there's anyone I want to be invested alongside in an emerging market, it's him - and I don't fault him for any of the "mistakes" and business model pivots some commenters point out; it's part of the entrepreneurial process, particularly in a market like Mongolia. I think he's making all the right decisions; I'm just not sure there are enough levers he can pull to offset the factors that are outside of his control.

Given how negative most investors seem to be on mining and Asia, I don't see much risk of the share price of a highly illiquid frontier market play suddenly running up over the next few quarters. I've wanted to throw a couple thousand shares of MGG in my PA for quite some time and just let them sit there for the next 10 years, just based on Kuppy, but every time I sit down and think about it seriously, there are just too many risks for me to stomach, even for a tiny personal account position. It's still one of the most fascinating and unique stories around, though, so investors with higher risk tolerance than me should read the linked write-ups (as well as Kuppy's blog) and consider checking in on the company's progress every few quarters. I still want to believe this will "hit" someday, even if that day isn't as near as originally thought… and if shares got cut in half again from here, I'd have to think about taking a speculative position.

Editor's Note: This article covers one or more stocks trading at less than $1 per share and/or with less than a $100 million market cap. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.95%, ALL -0.88%, Turnover ₮9.2 Million Stocks

January 12 (MSE) --

Link to report


Mongol Post's 6.3 Billion IPO Double-Oversubscribed

January 7 (MSE) Primary market trading order of "Mongol Post" JSC went successfully between December 28, 2015 and January 6, 2016. '

There were total number of 68,134,427 shares of buy order registered at MSE's trading system.

Link to release


Mongol Post IPO Offering 34% Stake, Raising 6.26 Billion

January 4 (MSE) According to resolution № 594 of State Property Committee of Mongolia , the total number of shares of "Mongol Post" state-owned company is 99,586,363 and 34% of the total number of shares will be privatized by conducting IPO. The primary market trading of the company's shares started and the primary market trade will end on  January 6, 2016. 

"Gauli" LLC is an underwriter of the company. If you are interested to invest in "Mongol Post" JSC, please contact your brokerage companies. 

Percentage of the company offered: 34%
Number of shares offered: 33,859,363
Offer price :185 MNT
Capital Raising: 6,263 Billion MNT
Capital Expenditure: Logistic Service
Primary Market Trading: December 28, 2015-January 6, 2016

Link to release


Successful Privatisation Kicks Off the New Year

January 12 (Mongolian Economy) January 8, 2016 will be remembered as a turning point in the history of the Mongolian Stock Exchange. The formerly state-owned Mongol Post was privatized,with Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg ringing the symbolic cymbal to officially begin trading.

In accordance the government and parliamentary decree, the total number of shares of Mongol Post is a fixed 99,586,364, and 34 percent of the total shares were offered to the public. Although a total of 33,859,363 shares worth MNT 6.3 billion were offered to the public for MNT 185 for each share, as a result of demand for the stock, the value of the shares offered doubled to MNT 12.6 billion. "This event demonstrates that people are interested participating in the privatisation of state-owned enterprises as well as the possibility to do so," stated M.Bolor, Acting Executive Director of the Mongolian Stock Exchange.

It is likely that the company's stock will rise further in secondary trading, if initial orders are any indication. Orders for 68,134,427 shares were registered by investors. In addition, Munkh-Erdene, an analyst at Gauli Securities Company, which provided underwriting services, said that there are many people who were unable to give their buy orders on time. These people can be offered the company's shares in the secondary market.

After the successful IPO of Mongol Post, small shareholders account for 5 percent of the company's total shares and major shareholders account for 19 percent. It was reported that Ard Financial Group bought a total of 17,309,974 shares, or 17.38 percent of the company's total shares.

The privatisation of Mongol Post was the first of the eight companies to be privatised this year. There remain five companies in the energy sector and two companies in the mining sector to be privatised. The chairman of the Financial Regulatory Commission, Z.Narantuya, announced that the next case of privatisation will be held in spring. This successful IPO raises hope for the privatization of other state-owned companies and properties.

Certain parts of these SOEs are being privatised by issuing additional shares. The raised capital will not go into the state budget, as it will instead be used as investment to expand and improve the company's operations. It has been ratified by parliamentary Resolution No.70 "guidelines for privatizing and restructuring state properties in 2015-2016"and Resolution No.330 "approval of the list of state-owned and state-linked legal entities to privatise and restructure in 2015-2016."

Link to article


MSE: 831 Million 6-Month T-Bills Sold at 14.933% Discount, 500K 6-Year Bonds at 15.75%

January 12 (MSE) On January 11, 2016, 6 months Government retail bonds worth MNT 831 million with 14.933% annual interest rate and 3 years government bonds worth MNT 500,000 with 15.75% annual interest rate traded successfully on primary market at Mongolian Stock Exchange.

Below member brokerage companies participated in the bond trading follows:

1.    6 months Government bond 

Companies' name



"Novel Investment" LLC



"Daewoo Securities Mongolia" LLC 






"Standart Invesment" LLC





2.    3 years Government bond 

Companies' name



"Golomt Securities" LLC 





Link to release


Mongol EEG JSC Shareholders Meeting Announced on February 5

January 12 (MSE) According to the resolution of board meeting of "Mongol EEG" JSC , the shareholders meeting will be hold at "Metro Business Center" building, room № 706 on February 5th, 2016 at 12 pm.  The shareholders meeting will be about choosing the board members of the company. 

Link to release

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Historic low ₮1,998.88/USD set January 12, 2016

BoM MNT Rates: Tuesday, January 12 Close





























































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,992 Sell ₮2,000), Khan (Buy ₮1,994 Sell ₮2,000), Golomt (Buy ₮1,993 Sell ₮2,000), XacBank (Buy ₮1,995 Sell ₮2,000.5), State Bank (Buy ₮1,995 Sell ₮2,000)

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

Link to rates


BoM issues 169 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -54.7% to ₮380.4 billion

January 11 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 169 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mogi: still can't seem to face 2,000. At least till election day.

BoM FX auction: US$11m sold at 1,998.81, accepts $9m MNT, $20m USD, CNY20m swap offers

January 12 (BoM) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on January 12th, 2016 the BOM has received bid offers of USD 28.4 million between the rates of MNT 1996.50-1999.21 and CNY 2.0 million in a rate of MNT 302.50. BOM has accepted the offers and sold USD 11.0 million in a rate with MNT 1998.81.

On January 12th, 2016, The BOM has received MNT swap agreement bid offers equivalent to USD 9.0 million, USD swap agreement selling bid offers equivalent to USD 20.0 million and CNY swap agreement extending bid offers of 20.0 million from local commercial banks respectively and the BOM accepted the offers.

Link to release


Gross FX Reserves Rise 3.7% in November, Down 11.6% from 2014


Gross Reserves

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Link to release


15 Billion 3-Year GoM Bond Auction Receives No Bids

January 6 (BoM) Auction for 3 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 15 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


13.5 Billion 28-Week T-Bills Sold at 14.933% from Available 25 Billion

January 6 (BoM) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 1.0 billion MNT. Face value of 13.5 billion /out of 25.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 14.933%.

Link to release


UB Housing Price Index Falls 1.3% in December, Down 11.3% in 2015

January 12 (BoM) --


New Housing

Old Housing

Index change /from 2013.01 base/




From previous month




From year beginning




From previous year




Link to release (in Mongolian)


Monthly rent to be set at 200-280 thousand for state rental housings

January 12 ( Monthly fee for rental housing is set to be at MNT 200-280 thousand in Ulaanbaatar city and MNT 140-230 thousand in the countryside, depending on its total square meter and number of rooms.

The Government has approved a resolution to implement measures for "Rental Housings" program. 

According to the resolution, housing for 929 households commissioned in both Ulaanbaatar and local by the order of State Housing Corporation was decided to be transferred to the state-owned rental housing fund. 

Specifically, 350 housings constructed in Ulaanbaatar city and 579 housings constructed in the center of Arhangai, Uvs, Darhan-Uul, Hentii and Hovd aimags as well as Zuunharaa city of Selenge aimag, Bur-Undur soum of Hentii aimag will be transferred to the state-owned rental housing fund. 

Source: Press Department of the Government

Link to article


Government offering cheap rental apartmentsMontsame, January 12


167 km paved road to be constructed by China firm under $102.7 million concession

Ulaanbaatar, January 12 (MONTSAME) A project will run on constructing a 167km hard-surfaced road in a Tosontsengel crossroad--Nomrog--Songino direction under a concession.

The cabinet Monday authorized the Investment Authority to establish the concession contract with the "China First Highway Engineering" company, and obliged D.Erdenebat, the Minister of Industry, to manage the contract establishment in accordance with a related law.

The project has been calculated to cost USD 102 million 735 thousand and 996, the construction will be completed in two years. It has been agreed that at least one third of the works will be performed by the Mongolian companies.

Link to article


Mongolia Year in Review 2015

December 29 (Oxford Business Group) Like many of its emerging market peers, Mongolia felt the weight of falling commodities prices and weaker global demand in 2015. However, progress made in moving major mining and transport infrastructure projects forward is expected to pave the way for recovery in the near to medium term.

In particular, slower growth in China, the country's largest export market, had a moderating effect on the Mongolian economy, with analysts forecasting slower growth in 2015. The World Bank put year-end growth at 2.3%, down from 7.8% in 2014, while the IMF and Standard & Poor's (S&P) are projecting 3.5% growth for the year.

Looking ahead, projections are mixed for 2016. While ratings agency Fitch predicts growth of around 1%, on the back of an expected further weakening in commodities demand, the IMF has kept its forecast at around 3.6% and the Asian Development Bank expects GDP to expand by 3%.

Notable progress

Mongolia recorded some economic progress in 2015, narrowing its current account deficit (CAD) from 11.7% to an estimated 5% of GDP, according to the World Bank, in part due to lower imports and tighter monetary policy. In a note issued in mid-November, ratings agency Moody's estimated that the CAD could fall as low as 3.2% by the end of the year.

Inflation also slowed during the year on the back of weaker domestic demand. By October, the rate of inflation had dropped to 3.4%, down from double-digit figures in late 2013.

The China effect

Weaker demand for commodities, especially from China, has taken its toll on Mongolia. Chinese imports dropped sharply in the fourth quarter of the year, down almost 20% year-on-year (y-o-y) in November, according to the General Administration of Customs, with lower sales expected to continue in early 2016.

With China receiving roughly 90% of Mongolian exports, persistent lower demand, particularly for coal, is expected to present significant downside risks to the Mongolian economy in the short to medium term.

Ratings outlook

In its latest investors' note, issued in mid-November, Moody's said slowing growth due to falling commodity prices, coupled with sizeable fiscal deficits and a thin import cover, had weighed on Mongolia's credit quality. Moody's held the government's bond rating at "B2" and maintained the country's negative outlook, in place since mid-2014.

Mongolia's rating was supported by its strong growth potential and extensive natural resources, the agency said. It noted, however, that the economy remains susceptible to external risks, which are exacerbated by relatively low foreign exchange reserves and a dependence on commodities.

Fitch was also cautious about the immediate prospects for economic recovery, lowering its rating from "B+" to "B" in late November. According to Fitch, the downgrade was a response to continued pressure on external liquidity as a result of weaker commodity exports and limited capital inflows. However, in a positive development, the agency raised its outlook for Mongolia from negative to stable, noting that upside and downside risks were currently balanced.

November also saw S&P revise its credit rating for Mongolia, lowering its long-term sovereign credit note from "B+" to "B" early in the month.

Platform for growth

Investor confidence looks to be on the rise headed into 2016, after the government reached an agreement in May with investors on key issues related to the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine expansion. Work on the second phase of the project had ground to a halt in 2013 when the two sides failed to reach agreement on taxes and construction costs.

As much as $9bn is expected to be channelled into developing the underground component of the venture, according to Rio Tinto, whose subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources owns 66% of the mine.

Mongolia's $4bn Tavan Tolgoi coking coal project is also on track to move ahead, with the parliament reportedly close to giving its final seal of approval to the venture.

Developments in both projects could see a strong inflow of foreign direct investment into the country, boosting investor confidence and laying the foundations for renewed growth in the medium term. According to S&P, if the projects come on-line as planned, they have the potential to significantly transform Mongolia's external and fiscal profile in three to four years, assuming its terms of trade improve in tandem. Areas of the economy expected to benefit from heightened mining sector activity include construction, logistics and technical services.

Link to article

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Politics & Legal

President Submits Revised Draft of Law On Political Parties

January 11 ( Human Rights and Legal Policy Advisor to the President of Mongolia Ch.Unurbayar has submitted the renewed composition of draft Law on Political Party to the Speaker of the State Great Khural Z.Enkhbold. The draft law which has 9 chapters and 53 provisions was initiated by the President of Mongolia.

New regulations of financing of political parties, taxes, transparency of donations, monitoring, and Glass Account were reflected in the draft law. The initiators of this new draft bill are deeming that this law will bring the political parties into a new stage of development, strengthen parliamentary democracy, reduce risk of political convulsions, and improve national security and democratic society in Mongolia.

Link to article


Mogi: again with the universal handouts

Universal Allowance to Return for 1,030,000 Children

January 12 ( The Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare, S.Erdene, has presented a project which proposes changing Government Protocol 113th, to provide a MNT 20,000 child allowance, depending on the living standards of the family.

The MNT 20,000 child allowance has been provided since 2012. Three years have elapsed and living conditions for many families have deteriorated. It is now becoming increasingly hard for families to save the child allowance by putting it in a bank account.                                                                                                                 

The families which have average income used to save their children's MNT 20,000 to the bank account. There are 1,030,000 children and teenagers, from infants to eighteen-year-olds in Mongolia today.

The 2016 State Budget includes the MNT 147 billion necessary for the for the MNT 20,000 child allowance. This is currently amount is enough to provide this allowance until August 2016. There is a possibility to change the State Budget provision in August.

Link to article


Former Deputy Construction Minister G.Baigalmaa Appointed Non-Staff Advisor to Speaker

January 12 ( On 11th January, Parliamentary Speaker Z.Enkhbold, issued an order appointing, Baigalmaa Gochoosuren as his adviser responsible for Mortgages and the Building Sector. The appointment took effect from from 11th January 2016. Previously, G.Baigalmaa has been working Deputy Minister of Building and Urban Construction.

Source: Parliamentary Administration Media Bureau

Link to article


Standing Committee on Petitions Backs MP J.Batzandan for Chairman

Ulaanbaatar, January 12 (MONTSAME) At its meeting on Tuesday, the parliamentary Standing committee on petitions discussed and then backed a matter on appointing J.Batzandan MP as its head.

Office term of the incumbent head of the committee O.Baasankhuu will finish this January 16.

By an agreement between the Democratic Party (DP) and the "Justice" coalition--Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP)--the Standing committee on petitions will be chaired by a member from the DP, while the Standing committee on security and foreign policy--by a member from the "Justice" coalition.

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Mogi: interesting!

A Tough Sell for Vattenfall

A Mongolian company has launched legal action against Vattenfall, after the Swedish energy giant refused to allow it to bid for a brown coal operation in Germany.

January 12 (Handelsblatt) Magnus Hall can't afford to be picky. The head of Sweden's Vattenfall hasn't received many offers for the energy company's brown coal division in eastern Germany. With Berlin pushing the country toward renewable energies, the mining operation in the Lausitz region isn't exactly an attractive investment.

One man's trash, however, is another man's treasure. Vattenfall did receive one particularly generous offer, according to correspondence obtained by Handelsblatt. LMMG, a project company based in Dresden, was prepared to pay the Swedes €1.85 billion ($2 billion). By comparison, the German electricity provider Steagmade an offer in the three-figure million range.

But there was a problem with LMMG's offer. When the unofficial bids were submitted on December 21, the company had already been disqualified from the process by Vattenfall and its investment bank, Citigroup.

LMMG is short for Lausitz Mongolia Mining Generation AG. It is headquartered in Dresden but is backed by Mongolian investors. On its website, it states its mission as buying and managing "strategic power generation companies in Germany and in Mongolia."

Horst Schmidt, the head of LMMG, told Handelsblatt said the company should have been allowed to bid for Vattenfall's business.

"I cannot understand why we were excluded from the bidding process,"  he said. "To this day it hasn't been justified."

LMMG submitted a complaint to the European Commission alleging discrimination and a lack of transparency. The complaint, obtained by Handelsblatt, personally singles out the head of Vattenfall, Mr. Hall, as well as his representative in Germany, Tuomo Hatakka, and the Kingdom of Sweden, which owns the energy company.

There's been speculation that LMMG was excluded for political reasons. The Swedes perhaps didn't see an advantage in doing business with a company backed by investors in an isolated Asian nation.

At first glance, it might seem curious that the Mongolians are interested in German brown coal. Mongolia is among the 10 most resource-rich nations in the world, but it needs expertise to develop those resources. By purchasing Vattenfall's eastern German coal operation, the Mongolians hope to acquire knowledge about how to build modern mines.

LMMG received an e-mail from Citigroup informing the company that it didn't meet the criteria for the bidding process. But the criteria weren't listed in the e-mail.

"We have the necessary financial power and know-how," said Mr. Schmidt, who has worked for 35 years in eastern Germany's brown coal industry. He was the managing director of the Central German Brown Coal Association among other positions.

A spokesman for Vattenfall declined to comment on the case, citing the confidentiality of the bidding process. He simply said the process wasn't discriminatory and was conducted by experienced investment bankers and legal experts.

Vattenfall does have to respect the sensitivities of German trade unions and public authorities. The Industrial Trade Union for Mining, Chemicals and Energy is pressuring the Swedes to find a buyer that will protect the interests of the coal operation's 7,000 employees.

The German federal government and the states of Brandenburg and Saxony, for their part, want a buyer that will phase out the coal operation in an orderly fashion over the coming decades.

Though Germany is moving toward renewables, LMMG's Mr. Schmidt believes Germans will continue to get electricity from brown coal for some time to come.

"I am convinced that taking over Vattenfall's brown coal division makes economic sense for us," Mr. Schmidt said. "The power plants will be lucrative for some time."

Before going through with a deal to purchase the Vattenfall operation, LMMG would need to know how long German authorities will allow brown coal mining in Lausitz to continue, Mr. Schmidt said. He's not alone with that demand. The three bidders have called for the same.

The German electricity provider Steag and two Czech energy companies, CEZ and EPH, made it into the next round of the bidding process. They have until March to submit binding offers.

Whoever wins the bid will own five mines in Lausitz, Germany's second-largest coal region after the Rhineland. Four coal plants and 10 waterworks are also part of the deal. The operation remains profitable, having brought in €647 million before interest, tax and write-offs last year.

Mr. Schmidt with LMMG remains determined to participate in the bidding process and is banking on the political support of the Mongolian government.

"The Mongolian embassy in Sweden will contact the Swedish foreign ministry," Mr. Schmidt said.

Link to article


Ametros showcasing home automation system at CES 2016

January 12 ( Ametros Solutions, a company which developed and designed wireless charger at first, is presenting their home automation system at the biggest technological exhibition CES 2016 today. 

Their products are unique, innovative and they are running business in highly competitive sector which requires intelligence. 

The Greek adjective Ametros describes what is immense, immeasurable or extravagant. 

Dobu home automation system is a comprehensive home automation and security system that integrates advanced technologies, such as IoT, embedded operating systems, and wireless sensor networking. It is a smart home assistant that offers a convenience of universal remote controller and acts as an information hub of the house. Dobu system enables a real-time communication between the house and the owner. It gives the owner the total control of the house, including its appliances, while serving as a protective shield. More importantly, Dobu features true automated functions that are rooted in intelligent decisions done by self-learning algorithm.

It was proud to see that Mongolian youth make design, assemble and develop the electronic solutions as well as operating system based on Android by themselves. 

It is worth to mention that they produced better products compared with foreign brands in some way.

Today there are many big and small companies developing home automation system including Google, Philips, Amazon. However, most of them partially developed the home automation system. 

CEO of Ametros Solutions D.Tulgabaatar stated: "As our operating range becomes wider, more opportunities to be created. On the other hands, we see that developing home automation system comprehensively is the key to success."

The simplest package of the company is "Dobu Essentials" worth MNT 2,9 million which includes two sensors, smart switches, smart socket and Dobu control panel. 

Ametros Solutions released their products two months ago and attracted more than 20 users including Burger King branch restaurants in Mongolia, private entities and public organizations. 

Technically, the company is operating successfully. The products have been launched successfully on domestic market with very positive feedbacks from its customers and now they are presenting at the biggest technological expo.

Currently, they are making negotiations with investors from USA and Mongolia on expanding the production, developing the products and improve the marketing operation with the aim to raise big investment.  

Besides they are practicing students of National University of Science and Technology at their industry. 

May the development of Ametros Solutions Co., LTD which supports new generation and follows new technological developments, will be limitless as their name. 

Link to article


Talk with Me with Grace Brown: Ganzorig Ulziibayar, President, Golomt Bank

January 10 (Star TV) --

Link to interview


Realscreen's Trailblazers 2015, Part One: Nomin Chinbat, CEO, Mongol TV

January 12 (Realscreen) In what was a challenging year in the non-fiction and unscripted industry, there was still plenty of work worth celebrating. It's time once again to salute the risk-takers, innovators, explorers and pace-setters of the past year with our annual selection of Trailblazers. We begin our look at 2015′s Trailblazers with Discovery Communications' Rich Ross (pictured), Mongol TV's Nomin Chinbat and Secret Location's James Milward. 


In the four years since taking the reins as CEO of Mongol TV, Nomin Chinbat has shown that Mongolia's got talent, and some tenacity, too.

For years, the television market in the East Asian country of just three million has been saturated with about 150 channels competing for viewership – often turning to piracy to broadcast top programming they can't otherwise afford. Chinbat has long pushed for legitimate acquisitions in order to create an even playing ground for all broadcasters, and in 2014 she helped to launch the Mongol TV Forum to discuss these issues and attract international suppliers to the country. The latter crusade paid off for Chinbat in a big way this year when Mongol TV launched a localized format of Got Talent, after a multi-season deal inked with producers Syco Entertainment and FremantleMedia last December.

Following a 13-week run that ended in early December, Mongolia's Got Talent smashed the country's ratings record by earning 90% of the market share. Production is now underway for a Mongolian Gogglebox, set to air next March, and Chinbat is busy preparing for the third annual Mongol TV Forum in February.

You've mentioned in the past that it could be "all hands on deck" at Mongol TV to produce a show such as Got Talent. How did the production go?

We're not a big station, the country is small and the talent pool for tradespeople isn't as big as for any other country, so we always have to pull in our own talent within the station. Everybody from our station – from different productions – pitched in and we were able to push it on to the exact air time and it went on without any glitches.

I imagine Gogglebox will be a little less intense for you? 

After you've done Got Talent, you feel like you can do anything else.

In the future, how will you handle acquiring more international formats?

We've now learned how to deal with the larger formats, and how much capacity and human resources we need, so we're looking to produce about four formats – one large, one medium, one small and one kids' format – a year.

In what ways has the Mongol TV Forum grown since 2014? 

As a station, we kind of thought that being on your own and pushing the content rights or format rights and acquiring content on your own wasn't working as well as it should be. We were competing on unfair ground and we were buying when others are pirating. If the copyright laws were followed, I saw a way out of unnecessary complications, so that's why we started the [Forum].

It started a dialog on copyright, and because of it a lot of people got to know international suppliers and they actually started communicating. Some stations didn't have a way in to the international market, so they started to [learn]. This year, we're really hoping to push people to actually try to find the proper format instead of stealing formats. Before, we were more into [developing] content, but now we think formats are the next [step] because we've shown that Got Talent can be successful.

Do you see a reduction in piracy among other broadcasters?

Yes, because – first of all – at least people are aware now that they're pirating. Secondly, larger or bigger networks are more cautious about pirating and they're starting to acquire. They still have some piracy but it's not as big [an issue] as it used to be.

What are you most proud of from this past year?

I think I never realized how a TV program can change the country's view of something or unite the country. With Mongolia's Got Talent, I see that Mongolia is in a crisis and everybody's having a very difficult time but this [show] has brought something bright into people's lives and united the country, which is amazing. Manori Ravindran

Link to article


Story of Naadam Cashmere

NEW YORK, January 11 (FOX 5 NY) - What can you do with $3 million in cash in 35 plastic bags in the back seat of a Land Cruiser in the middle of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia? Purchase 40 tons of cashmere from nomadic herders and create your own business.

That's how Matt Scanlan built Naadam, a New York City-based cashmere startup that works with Mongolian herders. Scanlan calls the business "millennial capitalism," a term he coined to describe businesses that have both profitable and non-profit components.

His goal is to disrupt the cashmere industry by providing better-quality sweaters and better prices, while also supporting the herders back in Mongolia.

Scanlan and his business partner Diederick Rijsemus drove on dirt roads in Mongolia for 20 hours straight, going through mountain passes and wide open plains until they finally reached a group of herders. They had no idea where they were or what time it was, but they got to work.

Scanlan and Rijsemus spent three weeks talking amongst the goats, figuring out how to create a business that would benefit everyone involved. The herders needed medical care for their families and their goats and fair wages for their cashmere. Scanlan and Rijsemus realized they could do both.

Scanlan says they could effectively outbid the rest of the marketplace while still providing profitability to the people they were working with, and then on top of it, be sure the herders stayed there because they had healthy animals and healthy product through a non-profit piece of the business.

Then it came time to raise money, something they did through a combination of friends and family, a $100,000 Kickstarter campaign, and most recently, fundraising.

Scanlan says they needed to raise $1.2 million to launch the business and break even after 2 years. They raised $750,000 and still reached their goal of breaking even after 2 years, even though they were underfunded, which he calls amazing.

Naadam is still raising money today, but in the meantime they're selling cashmere yarn wholesale and cashmere sweaters both at boutiques and direct-to-consumer on their website.

They also recently launched a subscription service.  Sign up, pay $500, and get three different sweaters in three different colors.  Naadam will send one to you every month.

Scanlan swears his sweaters are the best out there. He says no other area on earth is producing cashmere of this staple length and this micron all at once in a pure white cashmere, which is then shipped to Italy and spun into high-quality yarn.

Meanwhile, medical supplies are also being shipped to Mongolia to help the herders whose cashmere keeps Naadam going.

Scanlan says they've already inoculated 250,000 goats for 1,000 families of herders in a region that's about the size of Rhode Island. They've saved each family $1,200, which is about 25 percent of their income. This June, Scanlan plans to go back to Mongolia and help the herders with breeding.

So where does the name come from? Naadam is a Mongolian festival that celebrates the heritage of the nomadic herder. Scanlan says they picked the name because they'd like the brand to celebrate those herders as well.

Link to article (and video)

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Russian Radiation Defense Troops to Hold Exercises With India, Mongolia

Russia's Eastern Military District (EMD) Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defense Troops (RChBD) will take part in two international exercises the Russian-Mongolian Selenga-2016 exercise and the Russian-Indian Indra-2016 exercise, according to the EMD's press service.

KHABAROVSK (Sputnik) — Russia's Eastern Military District (EMD) Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defense Troops (RChBD) are due to take part in two joint international military exercises with India and Mongolia in 2016, the EMD's press service said Saturday.

"The new year for the RChBD will be full of combat training events, which include RChBD unit personnel taking part in two international exercises: the Russian-Mongolian Selenga-2016 exercise and the Russian-Indian Indra-2016 exercise, as well as tens of special tactical exercises, hundreds of training and practical events on the district's polygons," the EMD press release said.

In 2015, RChBD personnel took part in 100 training events, the release added, mentioning the interdepartmental exercise in the Primorsky region involving liquidation of an emergency at a hazardous radioactive installation.

The Selega-2016 will be the ninth joint exercise between Mongolia and Russia since 2008. The two countries' troops will engage in a simulated counter-terrorist operation and practice detecting, blocking and eliminating simulated illegal armed groups, according the Russia's defense ministry. The Indra exercises are a long-term training program held by Russia and India from 2011 until 2020.

Link to article


Azerbaijani President receives credentials of newly appointed Mongolian Ambassador 

January 12 (TREND News Agency) President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the credentials of the newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia Badamdorj Batkhishig Jan. 12.

Batkhishig handed his credentials to President Aliyev, who then held conversation with the ambassador.

President Aliyev said Azerbaijan was interested in developing cooperation with Mongolia in all fields, adding there was a good potential for doing this.

The president recalled with pleasure his meetings with President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj at various international events and their talks on the development of bilateral relations. President Aliyev said the development of political and economic ties was important for both nations and states. The head of state said cooperation between the business circles of Azerbaijan and Mongolia was not so active, adding that it was important that the two countries better know each other and correctly direct business and investment opportunities.

The president expressed his confidence that the bilateral relations would develop during the diplomatic tenure of Batkhishig in Azerbaijan, and wished him success in his activities.

Batkhishig extended greetings and best wishes of President Elbegdorj to President Aliyev.

The ambassador highlighted his country`s economic accomplishments in various fields. He said he would spare no efforts to develop the bilateral relations between the two countries during his diplomatic tenure.

The president thanked for the greetings of President Elbegdorj and asked the ambassador to communicate his greetings to the president of Mongolia.

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Health, Education



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The Haunting Origins of Horse Culture in Mongolia

January 7 (Explorers Journal, National Geographic) From the steppes of Central Asia to the Great Plains of North America, domestic horses have had an incredible impact on human societies—changing the way we eat, organize, and interact on a nearly unprecedented scale.

In no place is this significance more apparent than in modern Mongolia. In the still nomadic countryside, horses are essential to daily life, while even the urbanized capital of Ulaanbaatar falls under the shadow of the great mounted empires of Genghis (in Mongolian, Chinggis) Khan and his grandson Khubilai. Nonetheless, archaeologists still know precious little about when, how, and why horsemanship was first adopted in the Mongolian steppes.

Supported by a grant from the National Geographic Society this summer, a small team of researchers from the National Museum of Mongolia and I set out for the far northern reaches of Mongolia's Darkhad Valley. This large basin sits at the border between the great grasslands and the vast expanses of Siberian taiga forest to the north.

A physical and geographic crossroads, it also boasts some of the earliest evidence for domestic horses in Mongolia: small burial mounds containing the head, neck, and hoof bones of sacrificed horses.

From the capital, a two-day journey led us over winding dirt tracks and mountain roads to our primary study site, Zeerdegchingiin Khushuu.

The site is nestled on the north shore of beautiful Tsagaan Nuur ("White Lake"), and boasts a Bronze Age burial mound known as a khirigsuur. The burial mound is ringed on nearly all sides by horse burial features.

These ritual features are found near stone burial mounds and standing stones belonging to the late Bronze Age culture known as the Deer Stone-Khirigsuur Complex (ca. 1300-700 BCE). Although scholars suspect that this "DSK Complex" may have been the earliest horse-riding nomads in Mongolia, precious few man-made artifacts are available to help us evaluate this idea.

Through excavation and study of ancient horse remains, we hoped to shed some new light on how these animals were used. Were they bred and managed along with other livestock? Were they used for chariots or horseback riding? These are questions with major implications for our understanding of the ancient world.

Over a two-week study period, we carefully mapped the site and several others nearby, excavating five horse heads from six small mounds (see a site before and after excavation below). In the lab, we were able to assess the sex and age at death of each horse using its teeth, while physical distortions to the skull helped us assess which horses might have been harnessed and used for transport.

During the dig, we also unearthed what may be the first true artifact associated with the Deer Stone-Khirigsuur Complex: a beautiful bronze knife with an elaborate design, perhaps a clan symbol called a tamga. Combining this new data with a large sample from museum collections, our project results support the idea that horses, particularly adult males, were used to pull chariots or in mounted horseback riding.

Work at Zeerdegchingiin Khushuu also corroborates earlier suggestions that transport horses were buried in a special location: along the east/southeast edge of burial mounds, where they might face the rising sun.

This means that for Bronze Age Mongolians, horses played important roles not only as livestock and in transportation, but also in funerary practices and beliefs—signs that this was a true "horse culture," perhaps one of the first in the Eastern Steppes of Eurasia.

The author would like to extend a special thanks to his collaborators and mentors T. Tuvshinjargal, J. Bayarsaikhan, the National Museum of Mongolia, Dr. Julia Clark, and Bryce Lowery of the University of Chicago for their guidance and effort, along with the many others who contributed to this project.

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Nature, Environment

Snow Leopard Trust awards late conservationist Sumbe with posthumous Helen Freeman award

January 12 ( "Helen Freeman 2015" award paid honors to the former biologist and conservation ranger at Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation of Mongolia T.Lkhagvasumberel for his contribution for the protection of leopards in Mongolia.

He had graduated with bachelor`s degree from National University of Mongolia as biologist in 2008 and started to work in the countryside besides conducting research, which is essential for protecting leopard. 

He was completing many effective tasks including the protection of wild goat, which is considered as the main prey for snow leopard, current situation of wild goat, how to install automatic camera on snow leopard and address the research. 

Helen Freeman Award, provided by the Snow Leopard Trust goes to the best researcher of year. 

Today the award was handed over to T.Lkhagvasumberel`s family.

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Snow Leopard Trust posthumously awards Mongolian conservation rangerMontsame, January 12


Snow leopard conservationists and family pay tribute to Sumbe

January 12 ( Today the family members, colleagues, teachers and Snow Leopard Trust paid tribute to the late biologist and leopard researcher T.Lkhagvasumberel and kindled an offering lamp.

During the event, "The 2015 Helen Freeman Award" is awarded to the former biologist and conservation ranger at Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation of Mongolia T.Lkhagvasumberel for his contributions to protecting the snow leopards of Mongolia.

It was emphasized that he was doing research works acknowledged not only in Mongolia but also in the world. His research were presented while his colleagues, teachers and researchers discussed on how to continue the research and to achieve results. 

Science and Conservation Director of the Snow Leopard Trust Charudutt Mishra stated;

"I have worked with Sumbee for many years. I was cooperating with him and giving advice to his research. He was such a nice and funny man to work with. In some ways, he was my teacher. He used to teach me the desert plants and animals. 

Last year, I have visited at his family in Huvsgul aimag and it was an amazing. He was loyal, honest and hardworking. A man who puts his all efforts and hearts to work as him is very rare. We were talking about conducting research in other countries and earning PhD degree.  

His death is great loss for both Mongolia and the world. I would like to say again that Sumbee was a star who was shining and progressing. 

Most importantly, his works will be continued in further. We will continue what we had planned to accomplish. Tost, Tosonbumba area should be conserved and the Government of Mongolia and the public can solve this issue." 

Snow leopard is endangered species. Due to it lives hidden from the human, it is difficult to conduct research. T.Lkhagvasumberel started his research in 2008 and worked as main researcher since 2010 at the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation of Mongolia. His research work was more efficient than previous studies, mentioned his colleagues. 

His colleagues said that it takes a lot of time to prepare knowledgeable and sensitive researcher like Sumbee.

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This winter colder than average as temperatures expected to drop as low as -52°C

January 12 ( According to the Mongolian Meteorological, Hydrological and Environmental Research Institute, this winter is proving to be between 2oC and 10oC colder than the average; temperatures of -32oC, have a been registered.

The coldest month of the year is always January. This year, the absolute minimum night-time temperature is expected to reach lows of between -38oC and -52oC.

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Ice Marathon: Shona Douglas Thomson off to take on ultimate test in Outer Mongolia

January 9 (The National) A MARATHON is, for many, the ultimate physical test but for Shona Douglas Thomson, that's nowhere near challenging enough. Later this month, Thomson, along with a small group of fellow adventurers, will travel to Outer Mongolia to compete in the first-ever Genghis Khan Ice Marathon.

It is impossible to overstate quite how tough a challenge this will be for the group of 10 runners; Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated places on Earth and the athletes will have to contend with temperatures as low as -40C.

The race will be run not on land but along the frozen Tuul Gol river and just to add some extra spice, the area is heavily populated with wolves. To ensure the runners' safety, a pack of 60 huskies will accompany them on their 26.2-mile adventure.

It sounds like an almost unimaginable challenge to undertake but Thomson shows no sign of nerves and, in fact, is palpably excited about her upcoming trip. "We're staying with the nomad community in Outer Mongolia so I think it's going to be very rural and pretty brutal conditions," she says. "Mongolia is one of those places on Earth, where you take a step and it's possible that no-one has ever stood on that piece of land before. I expect it to be absolutely beautiful."

Thomson is no novice when it comes to running extreme marathons. She has competed in the North Pole, South Pole and Antarctic marathons and, in 2013, became the first Scottish woman to run a marathon on all seven continents. Only 28 women in the world have achieved this remarkable feat. But, Thomson admits, the challenge Outer Mongolia will present her with when the race takes place on January 26 is another level altogether.

"I've run in cold conditions before – it was -30 at the North Pole – but -40C is a whole different ball game," the 38-year-old said. "At the North Pole, I remember being so cold that it goes through to your bones and I also got a bit of frostbite – I still can't feel my pinkie so I don't think that's ever coming back!

"Keeping your extremities covered is very important and we can't take much water or nutrition with us because it'll just freeze." The threat posed by the wolves sounds daunting, to say the least, but Thomson brushes this off.

"That's not actually all that scary," she says in a remarkably blas̩ manner. "It was similar at the North Pole with polar bears, but you just don't overthink it Рalthough there might be points in the race when I'll be wishing

I would be eaten by a wolf." Completing the marathon is just one of the aims of the expedition though, with one of Thomson's primary goals being to raise money for charity. She supports Riding for the Disabled and the Scottish Association for Mental Health – and the group will also help local projects.

There are few people in the world who have the mental strength to push themselves to the limit in the manner that Thomson will be required to do later this month but she is charmingly modest about why she takes on these exceptional challenges.

"I like testing what your body can do in different conditions," she said. "Marathons are amazing things to do but nowadays, they're quite mainstream. That's not meant in a disparaging way but it's nice to find a different angle to it.

"With the more adventurous marathons, you don't know what the conditions are going to be like so you can't target a time to complete it so in some ways, there's less pressure and more fun.

"It's an amazing way to see the world too – Mongolia is one of those places that so few people get the opportunity to go to. It's so undiscovered and this race is truly a world first.

"Life's pretty short so I thought, 'I'll give it go because what's the worst that can happen?'. With something like this, you really get to see what you're capable of."

The funny thing about Thomson is that despite her achievements, she has never been an elite-level athlete and describes herself as "not a particularly good runner", which is surely the understatement of the year.

She competed in Scottish Schools cross-country but gave up running when she started university. It was only when she began working that she returned to the sport as a way to wind down from the office.

So, how does someone who began as a recreational runner get to the stage that they are competing in the most challenging races on Earth? "Someone said to me: 'I bet you couldn't do a marathon,'" Thomson recalls. "And I thought, I bet I could. That's how it all started."

So, with perhaps her toughest expedition to date beckoning, will Outer Mongolia sate Thomson's appetite for adventure? No chance. "I'm always looking for the next challenge so as soon as I get home from Mongolia, I'll be thinking about what else I can do," she said.

"It becomes harder and harder to find unique races, so it's just about keeping your ear to the ground to find out what's going on next."

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Art, Entertainment

ACMS Speaker Series: Narantsogt Baatarkhuu - Stocky: How Mongols have Been described in the American Pop Culture

January 12th, 2016 - Starting 5:30 PM

Location: American Corner, Ulaanbaatar Public Library

Tel: 976 7711-0486

Since the 1990s, Hollywood films and Western literature have been seeing a great consumption in, among other countries, Mongolia. And it has been quite an experience for this speaker to find the words Mongol or Genghis or Kublai or Ulan Bator referenced in works of international art with certain connotations. This presentation lists and analyzes Mongolia-related references in films, books and songs in the U.S.--and to a certain extent--Western pop culture. Some references include: Citizen Kane and Conan the Barbarian in films; Robert Heinlein, Herman Melville, and Stephen King in books; and Eminem and Kanye West in music.

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Mongolia's Dukha tribe, and the reindeer they can't live without

They hunt, sleep and pray with them. But thanks in part to modern conservation, the Dukha people's extraordinary symbiosis with Mongolia's reindeer is under threat

January 10 (The Independent) Hamid Sardar first visited the Dukha people, an endangered tribe of nomadic hunters in Mongolia, in 2000, when he was working for an American university. Fascinated, he sensed an opportunity to "make a collection of photographs of a culture that was about to change drastically". Sardar has since returned many times, befriending the tribe and braving avalanches to record the Dukha's hard lives, centred around their relationship with reindeer.

"I study languages but I veered into ethnography," he explains. "I was always taking photographs on the side and I managed to integrate it into my research. That research, in turn, gave me certain insights that I wanted to capture on film, such as the spiritual connection with reindeer."

In this marshy, mountainous land, unsuitable for horses, the reindeer are vital for the Dukha, who ride them when hunting and use them to transport belongings from camp to camp. The reindeer, meanwhile, need to stay on the move to find food, and travel between high and low ground depending on the season. But the relationship goes deeper.

"The deer is a totem and each person in the tribe is connected to one spirit deer which protects that person, absorbing all disease," says Sardar. "The Dukha do not have enough reindeer to use them for meat, so the only time they eat deer is when the spirit deer dies; it's a ritual, almost Christian – [like] eating the body of Christ. The shamans also transform into spirit animals, crossing over into the spirit world to commune, and sometimes the spirits come over in the guise of an animal. It's very beautiful when you go into the forest, because every animal they encounter is loaded with hidden significance."

Their way of life, however, is now under threat, in part self-induced. The Dukha are staying closer to towns so that their children can be near hospitals and schools; some even trained as vets in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, and are now integrating veterinary science with their traditional beliefs. However, if the deer don't keep moving, they suffer. "They are caught in this crossroads," says Sardar. "Do they stay close to their kids in town, or do they move around for the sake of their reindeer? Often, families split up for the winter then gather together on the plateaus for summer, when the children are out of school and it's an easier way of life. Then, from September, the reindeer can be herded by a single person while the rest of the family stays in town."


·         Mongolia: On the hoof in the Gobi Desert

·         Video appears to show three suns in the skies above Mongolia

·         Russian police want reindeer to help them fight crime

·         Reindeer threatened after heavy rains in Norway freeze their food

·         Why has David Cameron been feasting on reindeer?

Further challenges come from the Mongolian government, which now protects some of the animals the Dukha once hunted – including moose, red deer and bear – in the name of conservation. "This is basically a traditional tribe who ride reindeer through an inhospitable terrain to hunt other species – but those species are now on the endangered list," says Sardar.

The Dukha are given compensation, which they spend on cows and goats, thus cementing their increasingly static existence. But the agreements mean the Dukha are no longer permitted to visit forests that contain sable and squirrel – as well as the shrines of their ancestors – since these have been turned into nature reserves. "They bury the drums and clothes of shamans among the trees," says Sardar. "It becomes a shrine, where they pray to their ancestors. Now you're forcing a culture to change its ways so drastically – its hunting, its migration and even its passage to its ancestral shrines. This is their culture and, with these pressures from outside and within, that culture is in a precarious place."

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