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Tuesday, April 5, 2016
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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
9 new terminals to be built at Chinggis Airport in ASEM prep
April 4 (gogo.mn) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved action plan on receiving ASEM guests, flight readiness plan, ensuring safety and organizing tasks. Officials confirmed that progress of these works are at 74 percent completion.
In framework of this task, 500 m expansion improvement has been made to runways. 9 new 4C classification airplane terminals were built to receive ASEM guests which increased the number of terminals up to 34.
New transfer halls with capacity of receiving 1200 passengers per hour were established and renovation works to business lounge, luggage area, departures hall and jetbridges are being done right now and will be fully completed in April 20, states B.Badral, director of "Chinggis Khaan" International airport.
Xanadu Mines drilling to test wider porphyry potential at Kharmagtai
April 4 (Proactive Investors) Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX:XAM) has commenced exploration drilling to test wider shallow porphyry potential over the Kharmagtai district in Mongolia.
The program will include 6000 metres of reverse circulation drilling to test a number high-potential copper-gold and gold targets within 100-200 metres of the surface.
Highlighting the potential, Xanadu's Kharmagtai copper-gold project is one of the most advanced porphyry projects in Asia.
It is a large porphyry style deposit with multiple near-surface, gold-rich zones.
Dr. Andrew Stewart, chief executive officer, commented:
"The structures hosting gold-rich porphyry copper mineralisation at Kharmagtai strike for several kilometres under shallow sand cover and have known vertical extents of hundreds of metres, and are associated with widespread magnetite alteration and with weak chargeability highs.
"The clear definition of robust porphyry copper-gold and gold targets along strike from the current resources, strongly supported by geological, geophysical and geochemical datasets, gives the company multiple targets with ability to add additional resources proximal to the existing resource, and the probability of discovering a new centre is high."
Xanadu is focussed on further boosting its resource base by making new high-grade copper-gold and gold discoveries in the highly prospective district.
The resource base currently contains 1,500,000 pounds of copper and 2.2 million ounces of gold.
This represents the results of exploration over only a small portion of the porphyry complex at Kharmagtai to date.
Hence the potential exists to host a large scale high-grade copper-gold mineralisation and potentially shallow high-grade epithermal-style gold mineralisation.
Kharmagtai project structure
Xanadu and its joint venture partner, Mongol Metals LLC, announced the acquisition of a 90% interest in the Kharmagtai porphyry copper-gold project from Turquoise Hill Resources in February 2014.
Under the Mongol Metals LLC joint venture terms, Xanadu has the right to earn an 85% interest in the Kharmagtai project, equivalent to a 76.5% effective interest, by funding acquisition and exploration costs.
The Kharmagtai project is located in the under-explored South Gobi porphyry copper province which hosts the world-class Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold operation, the Tsagaan Suvarga porphyry copper-molybdenum development and Xanadu's Oyut Ulaan copper-gold exploration project.
Earlier in the year, Bell Potter outlined in a report that it had retained its Speculative Buy rating and increased its forward valuation of the company.
The broker raised its 12-month forward valuation by 6% to $0.35/sh.
Xanadu Mines Investor Presentation, Mines & Money Asia, April 5
April 5 -- Please find attached the Company's latest corporate presentation to be presented at the annual Mines & Money conference in Hong Kong 2016.
Xanadu's Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Andrew Stewart will be presenting on the 5th April at 16:10 in Room S421, Level 4 (Plenary).
Directors and Management of the Company will be available at booth C3 at conference for discussions with shareholders and investors.
Please come and visit us at Mines & Money Asia.
Oyu Tolgoi Board of Directors Appoints Chief Development Officer for Underground Development
April 4 (Oyu Tolgoi LLC) Oyu Tolgoi has appointed Marco Pires as Chief Development Officer – Underground, a critical role as the preparatory works for the project continue to progress.
In this position, Marco Pires will be responsible for the Hugo North Lift 1 Underground project. Marco Pires has more than 30 years of global mining experience in copper, gold, potash, nickel and metallurgical coal, working in Brazil, Canada and Australia.
Batsukh Galsan, Chairman of Oyu Tolgoi's Board of Directors, said: "The Board of Directors is pleased to welcome Marco to Oyu Tolgoi's senior management team. His appointment is significant in delivering the potential of Oyu Tolgoi – and our mission of building a safe and globally competitive copper business that contributes to the prosperity of Mongolia."
Andrew Woodley, Chief Executive Officer of Oyu Tolgoi said: "The development of the underground mine is critical to ensuring the long-term future of Oyu Tolgoi, and I am delighted to have someone of Marco's calibre and experience working with us on this project, and to further enhance our culture of safety and excellence."
Marco Pires, Chief Development Officer – Underground, of Oyu Tolgoi, said: "Oyu Tolgoi is one of the most promising copper and gold projects in the world and is already a world-class business. I am deeply impressed with the quality and talent of our workforce, and am looking forward to my time here in Mongolia."
Marco Pires joins Oyu Tolgoi from BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, where he was head of Projects, BMA Coal and responsible for sustaining and brownfield projects from early development to construction. Prior to that, he held senior operations, business development and projects roles with Vale and Anglo American. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering with major in metallurgy and mining, and a Masters of Business Administration.
Eumeralla: Variation to Fully-Underwritten Renounceable Rights Issue
The Board of Directors of Eumeralla Resources Limited (Company) (ASX Code: EUM) wishes to announce a variation to the non-renounceable rights issue announced on 2 March 2016.
The Company will now undertake a fully underwritten renounceable entitlements issue of approximately 52,499,439 Shares at an issue price of $0.025 on the basis of nine (9) new Shares for every eight (8) Shares held by Shareholders on the record date, to raise approximately $1,312,486 (Offer) before costs. Funds raised will be used to satisfy the Company's pending working capital requirements.
The Offer remains fully underwritten by Lead Manager, Broker, Underwriter and Corporate Advisor, CPS Capital Group Pty Ltd (CPS). The Company has executed a revised mandate letter and Underwriting Agreement with CPS.
The mandate also engages CPS to seek to introduce potential assets that EUM may be interested in acquiring and to provide general ongoing corporate advice.
MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.69%, ALL -0.29%, Turnover ₮31.4 Million Shares, ₮9.3 Billion T-Bills
April 4 (Mongolian Stock Exchange) --
GoM Switches Bond Coupon Payments from Semi-Annually to Quarterly Schedule
March 31 (Bank of Mongolia) In past, the coupon of government securities with maturity more than 1 year used to pay semi-annually. So now on, the coupon payment will be paid quarterly.
Historic low ₮2,050.85/USD set March 29, 2016. Reds are rates that set a new low at the time
BoM MNT Rates: Monday, April 4 Close
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
Subsidized Mortgage Report: ₮42.9 Billion Issued at 5%, ₮101.9 Billion at 8%, ₮22.4 Billion Transferred to 5%
April 4 (Bank of Mongolia) As of April 1 banks received ₮202.6 billion mortgage requests of 3,341 citizens, of which ₮42.9 billion of 916 citizens have been approved at 5%, ₮101.9 billion of 1,575 citizens at 8%.
Also, ₮22.4 billion mortgages of 545 borrowers who bought housing in Ulaanbaatar ger area redevelopment zones, satellite districts Baganuur, Bagankhangai, and Nalaikh, new capital housing zones, and 21 aimags have been transferred to 5%.
Link to release (in Mongolian)
DeFacto: Argentina trapped in debt
By Jargal "DeFacto" Dambadarjaa
April 4 (gogo.mn) Argentina is an emerging nation currently considered to be one of Latin America's three largest economies. With an area of 2.5 million square kilometers dominated by agriculture, Argentina has a population of 43 million, 80 percent of which are of Western European descent and the rest coming from Spain and Italy. Argentina's GDP per capita is approximately 14,000 USD. If Argentina had paid back its foreign loans on time and sustainably implemented the economic reform they started in the 90s, they would have had developed much faster than they are today.
In 2001, the Argentine government declared a default on its sovereign debt of 100 billion USD acquired in bonds. Their economy declined for the fourth year by 2003 and was reduced by 20 percent. Unemployment reached 25 percent while the peso, Argentina's national currency, fell 400 percent in its exchange rate against USD.
Armies of unemployed people appeared in every city and were trying to make their living by collecting and selling salvaged materials, such as cardboard boxes and scrap metal. The media named them "cartoneras". For a while, the cartoneras replaced Carlos Gardel, Evita, and Maradona as Argentina's symbolic citizens.
In the 90s – almost 10 years before the 2001 default happened – Argentina, which was crippled with hyperinflation, fixed the peso to the U.S dollar, freed its foreign trade, reduced government involvement in the economy, and started privatizing state-owned enterprises. As a result, the economy grew 30 percent in four years as the inflation rate decreased to a single-digit number. However, then President Carlos Menem did not continue this change, and focused more on internal political conflicts. He was eventually detained in his residence after connections were made to him being involved in a secret arms trade. It is said that he was exonerated later on because he increased the number of judges on the Supreme Court from five to nine and got his own people in.
Néstor Kirchner, who became the President of Argentina in 2003, pursued an economic expansionary policy. Due to an increase in prices for Argentina's main export products, such as corn and beef, the economy grew again. It created five million jobs and brought a great amount of capital into internal expenditure and real estate. Some privatized companies, such as the pension fund, national post, airlines, and railway enterprises, were transferred back to state ownership.
Countries that can no longer pay back foreign loans see their credit ratings fall to the lowest rates while their unpaid bonds become junk bonds. Therefore, such countries (and their private sector) become unable to raise capital by borrowing from abroad. Without access to the international capital market, any country will lose the normal conditions for economic growth and have much more limited opportunities to attract foreign investment and bring new technology in.
Argentina found no success despite taking many measures to settle its foreign debts after announcing their default. With the objective of bond restructuring, the Government of Argentina proposed buying their bonds back at 30 percent of their value in 2005 and in 2010. The proposal was accepted by 97 percent of bond owners. The value of Argentina's bonds kept falling after every trade since the default, so the bond owners found it acceptable to exchange the bonds at 30 percent of their value. However, seven percent of all bonds were already held by vulture funds.
Hedge funds, that also go by the name of "vulture funds", purchase distressed securities like defaulted bonds at cheaper prices, and generate large profits by forcing the bond issuers to pay the full, original price. Former President Cristina Kirchner described these hedge funds as "vultures" when the hedge funds were forcing her to buy the bonds at a price 10 times higher than what they had paid. The vulture funds then attempted to seize Argentina's state-owned properties , such as their ships and aircrafts. Hedge funds such as NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management then filed a lawsuit against Argentina with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Argentina's current president, Mauricio Macri, who was elected in 2015, started negotiating with the two hedge funds to settle the debt row that lasted 15 years and cost 14 billion USD. The final agreement was made this month that Argentina would pay 4.65 billion USD to settle everything for good. In April, Argentina's parliament will discuss and make a final decision on the settlement.
It is expected by everyone involved that Argentina's debt misfortune will end sooner rather than later and that their economy will get back to normal. Moody's has downgraded Argentina's credit rating to Caa1, which is the worst rating. If Argentina manages to get out of this, they will be able to issue bonds in the international market again.
MP Altankhuyag: "President is the one behind the conspiracy group"
Ulaanbaatar, April 4 (MONTSAME) A member of parliament, former PM N.Altankhuyag called a press statement on April 4 at the State House. "Justice has been lost in Mongolia, the activities of conspiracy groups have gotten out of hand", he stressed. "It is inevitable for me to expose those groups in order to save the democracy and justice", he said.
"During the last parliament sessions of spring and fall, I was proposing to have a closed meeting of the State Great Khural to discuss whether the state is able to run normal operations, whether parliament is independent, and who is ruling the state. Sadly, this suggestion was rejected, and this makes me make a public speech.
"The conspirators have crossed the limits, having created all conditions for forming a puppet parliament.
"The source of the current economic crises is the justice crisis. The Mongolian state has been presented as declining, while the conspiracy groups have been strengthening. They have buried the wealth-makers under layers of fear, threatened them with law enforcement and have been plainly robbing their businesses and licenses.
"Even state servants have been suffering, with a loss of reputation and their fate. The conspiracy government has started affecting the Democratic Party which was built on the people's will and aspirations. The conspirators have organized many actions to defile the deeds of the DP.
"The conspirators have grouped in a pack. They are now using the law enforcement for their dirty works. They have built a tunnel of few authorized people within the law enforcement. Victims of their conspiracy, who cannot be "abducted" right away, are being framed up with factitious cases.
"The conspirators have been stonewalling the developments, from which Mongolian people can benefit, and false-accusing the figures who have worked for the people. They have been threatening the people with debt and forged sensations, and have induced anarchy.
"I would like to name the leader of all these organized conspiracies. Everyone knows this fact but is too afraid to speak up, because of the fear from that tunnel.
"The person behind all these is the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj who have been elected with a motto 'Let's build justice!', and his conspirators–the group of billionaires, whose wealth comes from the state.
"The President might defend himself by saying 'it has become too difficult to deal with corrupters', implying that I have obstructed the actions for combating corruption.
"I have nothing to fear, although my statement is a danger to my family and friends. It is high time we saved our democracy, the people--got rid of their fright and dividing. It is time that corrupters stopped imprisoning their friends and victimizing their country.
"Mongolia has a great destiny. I appeal the supporters and members of the Democratic Party and the people of Mongolia. I will fight to my bitter end to stop the justice crisis and to build actual justice. May our Mongolia thrive forever!", concluded Mr Altankhuyag.
Shivee Ovoo coal mine wants government guarantee for stable operations
Ulaanbaatar, April 4 (MONTSAME) During a working tour to Dornogobi and Gobisumber aimags, the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg got acquainted with the "Shivee-Ovoo" coal mine in Gobisumber on April 1. This mine provides 30% of coal consumption of the country and 50% of the UB city's fourth thermal power station.
The mine currently employs 547 workers, whose average salary stands at one million 200 thousand Togrog, said the mine's authority. By the governmental resolution of 2013, this mine has become a subsidiary company of the "Erdenes MGL" state-run company. In 2013-2015, the mine underwent technical renovation, with own 30.2 billion Togrog. Since 2012, the mine has not received investments from the government, the mine's authority said.
Adding that they are trying to reduce cost of operations and to augment a productivity, the authority went on that they want to increase the sale of coal by two million tons by commissioning a coal coking plant in 2018. Here the PM was asked to issue a governmental guarantee for resolving debt to petroleum providers and for introducing eco-system of ensuring the constant operations.
The Premier ordered the mine to formulate this request and to submit it to the government.
Speaker gets acquainted with developments in Bulgan and Orkhon
Ulaanbaatar, April 4 (MONTSAME) The Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) Z.Enkhbold worked in Bulgan, Orkhon, Selenge and Darkhan-Uul aimags April 1-3 to get au fait with their developments and implementations of newly adopted laws and cabinet decisions.
First leg of his appointment was at Mind Tech factory of oil products and animal fodder on April 1. The factory has a processing capacity of 100 tons of oil seed per day and 30,000 tons per year, of which 35 percent is used to produce vegetable oil and the rest–to make livestock fodder named "Khuchit" (Powerful). Energy output of the 40kg packed "Powerful" equals to that of around 105kg of patched grass. The pack of 40kg fodder costs 20,000-23,000 MNT.
The same day, the Speaker visited a branch of State Bank in Bulgan aimag's center. The branch has outstanding credit balance of 25.1 billion MNT from 8,531 debtors. Pensions, herders and payday's loans make up almost 80 percent of these credits.
Later on, Z.Enkbold witnessed activities of nursing house for elders and an ongoing construction of a swimming center with 97 percent completion.
He held a meeting with the Bulgan citizens after this.
The Speaker also visited a State Bank branch in Orkhon aimag on Friday. The branch is the only one that is allowing credits for herders with 10% annual interest. He, then, met with the local people. On April 2, he legged a factory of elastic materials and a new Family Health Complex which had unified three family health centers among apartment housing districts. The health complex provides health services to 16,314 people from 4,469 families.
The Mainspring elastic factory has been supplying elastic materials required for Erdenet Mining Corporation's productions since 2013.
NRGI's Kaufmann Meets Mongolia President, Delivers Economic Forum Keynote in Ulaanbaatar
April 1 (Natural Resource Governance Institute) In March, NRGI president and CEO Daniel Kaufmann was a featured keynote speaker at the Mongolia Economic Forum in Ulaanbaatar, and launched the expansion of NRGI's engagement in the country.
Kaufmann held high-level gatherings with senior government officials, industry heads, and with leaders of Mongolian civil society and international non-governmental organizations. He also visited the Zaamar mining region, where he met with the local leadership and with company executives.
In a meeting with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Kaufmann discussed the importance of rule of law, budget transparency, anti-corruption and areas of collaboration on natural resource governance with NRGI. Read about their meeting in English here, in Mongolian here and in Russian here. He also met with the prime minister, the minister of mines and the CEO of the Mongolian mining state-owned entity, among others.
Kaufmann's keynote presentation slides at the Mongolia Economic Forum are in English here and in Mongolian here. Among others, the Mongolian Mining Journal covered his speech. He also delivered a more detailed public lecture on national governance challenges and opportunities a special event hosted by GIZ. That lecture is also available in Mongolian here.
Throughout his visit he worked with Dorjdari Namkhaijantsan, NRGI's Mongolia manager, who is based in Ulaanbaatar.
MP S.Demberel evaluates economic development solutions
April 4 (UB Post) Business and government leaders covered pressing economic issues at the annual Mongolian Economic Forum (MEF) last week and created a common ground for accelerating the development in the country.
The following is an interview with Member of Parliament and head of Civil Will Green Party S.Demberel about some discussions and ideas raised at the forum and other economic issues.
The Asian Development Bank evaluated that Mongolia's current economic situation and outlook need to be improved during the MEF. It stated that Mongolia will face difficulties starting from 2017, when the sovereign bond repayment starts. Can you comment on this?
Everybody is saying this. We've practically memorized every word. The economy is looked at through three different perspectives. The first is the perspective of producers, including people in industry, agriculture and mining sectors. The development of small and medium-sized entities can be discussed for the industrial sector. We've talked about this for many years and the public now has extensive knowledge about industries. This is very good.
The second perspective belongs to families that review final products, as well as public and government consumption. Every economy creates savings. This perspective monitors net exports, and the difference between Mongolia's total exports and imports. All these factors contribute to economic growth. If we look closer at household consumption, Mongolian households don't have savings. Everyone is using their income. It's impossible to create savings. Some banks are now talking about creating savings. To achieve this, we need to create an income source through several channels or open new stable jobs.
Mongolia began receiving bond money from February 2012. Roads were built and factories received investment through loans. Yet, household income plunged rather than increasing. Savings went into negative values from late 2014. This is a problem. It's definitely a challenge that needs a solution. We need to talk about ways to boost real household income, but no one is raising this issue. I've already spoken out about this so I'm hoping people would start discussing household income issues soon.
Economists talked about creating a wealthy middle class. Would this be effective for preventing economic slowdown and crisis?
Yes, but it all depends on internal factors. Those with poor lifestyles will get a slightly better life. The lower middle class will be raised to middle class and the middle class will try to become richer and advance to upper class. This is mankind's inherent desire. Looking at Mongolia's social structure, around 30 percent of the population is poor, 40 to 45 percent fit in the lower middle class, and merely some 20 percent belong to the middle class. Six to seven percent of the population fit in the upper class.
We can launch the "Tsakhiur Tumur" policy, which involves confiscating livestock of the rich and distributing it to the poor. It's a policy that opens everyone's opportunities and supports the poor. There are similar policies, such as pawnshops. It's a daily financial service. However, we don't know who's in charge of pawnshops even to this day. The Financial Regulatory Commission has been in charge of pawnshops in accordance with the one-sentenced law. Offices doing not so well these days are all rented by financial organizations. During economic difficulties, people get loans from financial businesses no matter how high their interests are because they need money. A pawnshop owner said that the annual interest rate of most pawnshops in Mongolia is 48 to 60 percent.
This is internationally known as a money laundering business. Yet, Mongolia has allowed this business for over 20 years. People's income isn't increasing, poverty has stopped at one spot, and even the middle class is stuck at one place, unable to raise their livelihood. Financial opportunities that arise naturally haven't been freed. This is the main cause for herders' high debt: pawnshops' dreadfully high interest rate and high interest rate of business loans.
Economists and experts in this field say that the economy needs to be stimulated. The public must have cash. Increasing the maximum pension amount for the lowest social class is one way we can financially support the public. Everything would go smoothly if the minimum pension rate is increased to 60,000 MNT.
The state is unable to pay off the state budget deficit. Where would funds for additional pension come from?
UN coordinator's address to "National Forum on Women's Participation at the decision-making level"
Ulaanbaatar, April 4 (MONTSAME) Ms Beate Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative, gave a speech at the National Forum on Women's Participation at the decision-making level on April 4.
Mongolia is holding parliamentary and local elections this year. UNDP applauds last year's decision by Parliament to include a mandatory 30 percent quota of female candidates in the amended election law. But a quota alone will not get women elected. Political parties need to embrace women candidates and actively promote them. Women candidates need to be given more visibility and access to media, and the electoral oversight bodies have to continue enforcing compliance with the law in the registration process of political parties for elections. We also commend the Democratic Party's decision to apply a voluntary quota for women candidates in local elections. I hope that other parties will follow a similar practice. Underrepresentation of women at the Aimag and the Capital City level deserves special attention in this regard. Over time, it would be desirable for mandatory quota to be applied in all elections whether national or subnational. And this will still only be the beginning. This Forum is an excellent opportunity to debate and start planning for those changes.
I would like to thank you all for coming to this Forum. A special thanks goes to the Parliament Secretariat and the Women Caucus of the Parliament for organizing this Forum, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the International Republican Institute and the Embassy of Canada for their generous support.
I wish you all productive discussions. Thank you.
The Uranium Shakedown: How Mongolia and Russia Conspired Against Western Investors (Part 3)
By PHILL HYNES
In the third and final part of our probe into the curious case of Khan Resources (part one and part two) , and the reallocation of its uranium mine to Russian control, we review events leading to the seizure of the company's Mongolian assets and its chairman's unusual death in an Ulaanbaatar hotel.
March 30 (Frontera News) In April 2015, a 59-year-old Canadian named James Doak travelled to Ulaanbaatar to negotiate with Mongolia's government.
His company, Khan Resources, had been granted $100 million in compensation for the government's decision to expropriate the Dornod uranium project. But Mongolia was refusing to pay.
Doak, Khan's chairman, and Grant Edey, its CEO, met with officials on April 22. Then, during lunch at his hotel, Doak fell ill. He went to his room to rest before their flight home.
When Doak didn't answer his phone later that day, hotel staff opened the door. He was dead. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was complications related to the onset of late-stage Type 1 diabetes.
A mere three days later, in what could charitably be described as blithely insensitive toward the Doak tragedy, Mongolia's Justice Minister announced that the government would rescind the payment awarded to Khan and attempt to annul the international arbitration claim.
How to Dismantle a Uranium Mine
Doak's death has not been treated as suspicious – though whispered rumors abound in Mongolian business and government circles. But the events that stripped his company of its Mongolian assets should be.
It is clear that the government used the reactionary Nuclear Energy Law in 2009 as a construct to re-acquire the Dornod deposit licenses and sell them to Russia. The detail of the law was left opaque on the matter of how to avoid violation. Much clearer was the compulsion that all license holders must re-register, or re-apply – an essential element to coerce foreign mining companies to sign new and disadvantageous investment agreements with MonAtom Mongolia's Nuclear Energy Agency and MRAM (Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia).
Russia – through ARMZ, the mining unit of the state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom – sealed the deal with a hostile bid for Khan's equity stake, valued at 65 Canadian cents per share. The Russian government also extended some juicy offers to its southern neighbor: debt forgiveness, agricultural loans, and the promise of infrastructure financing and possible nuclear energy plant construction.
China duly provided the decoy with its offer from the China National Nuclear Corporation, or CNNC, of 96 Canadian cents per share for Khan's stake. And Khan accepted the Chinese offer – less than two days after it had signed a new memorandum of understanding with the Mongolians which paved the way for its licenses to be reinstated.
Khan insists that it had every right to make such a decision on commercial grounds, and of course it did. However, the opaque new laws and anti-Chinese sentiment allowed the government to block the Chinese-Canadian collusion on grounds of national security.
Khan was held in technical breach of the terms of its license by proposing to accept the offer from CNNC. Rather than entering into dialogue or suspending its license, Mongolia confiscated it, revoked it and handed it to the Russians. Khan made a fatal error by misreading the Mongolian political climate in an election year when it agreed to do business with the Chinese.
We also noted a very interesting statement from CNNC, reported earlier this month. In its 2015 year-end financials, published by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last week, the Chinese company announced:
"During the Year, [CNNC] had negotiations with the representatives of the Mongolian Government in relation to the formation of a joint venture company for the operation of the uranium mine in Mongolia. The Group is still waiting for feedback from the Mongolian Government."
While the exact nature of this 'joint venture company' is not yet known, it will be interesting to see whether CNNC soon announces any involvement in the formerly Khan-controlled Dornod project. (Mogi: the license CNNC owns is different, bought from Western Prospector in 2009)
A Change of Heart?
But now, to the bigger question: has anything changed?
In these final months before the June elections, everything feels hauntingly similar to events in the run-up to 2012.
Yes, 2015 saw the restoration and re-tendering of the all-important yardstick – the licenses revoked in 2013. And, yes, the Rio Tinto debacle was finally resolved in a 'work-out' agreement – seven years in the making. Even Khan – after its five-year battle – has been promised a much-tapered $70 million payment.
But these events, coming in such close succession, seem to be the hallmarks of a jittery government that desperately hopes the investor confidence issue will just go away.
Its actions are being sold to the electorate as being in the public interest. The reality is that Mongolia remains captive to the same old system of tribal protectionism under the guise of national politics. Backdoor deals are the norm in Mongolia, where economic inequality is shockingly high. A 2014 report stated that the country's 76 members of parliament control nearly 8 percent of national GDP. It is therefore not surprising that the electorate has lost faith in the government's ability to negotiate resource extraction deals that benefit the public interest.
The economic malaise is matched by political stagnation. This election will see a greater influence from fringe parties, and therein a government with many voices. In a country where intra-party factionalism is already a significant barrier to political cohesiveness, Mongolia's worst fate in 2016 may become a reality: an even weaker government coalition.
Fractured leadership could become Mongolia's worst nightmare as it attempts to improve its well-deserved reputation within the global mining industry as a wholly unreliable and unpredictable investment partner, where political risk eclipses business opportunity.
To the educated observer, the Rio Tinto workout and Khan settlement look like last-minute attempts to demonstrate commitment to economic reform and improved investor relations. Yet the drumbeat from the main parties is populist. Their reforms have failed to incentivise the return of big business beyond the state sector.
What Lies Ahead?
This year marks the third election cycle in which Mongolia's government is entering a bind of its own making. The investor confidence issue won't just go away. Will Mongolia now begin to court international investor confidence by repealing more of the restrictive laws? Or will it choose to continue with the nationalist politics and xenophobic legislative activity that have had such a disastrous effect on its economy?
A transition to more investor-friendly policies would be a tall order for even a united and strong government. Mongolia was unable to accomplish this after the 2012 elections, and it would be little short of miraculous if Mongolia finds such a transition possible after June of this year. The proliferation of fringe parties and rhetoric from the government's leadership has collectively bred political impotence, with an inability to dampen down resource nationalism or channel it into a more useful force.
The reality in Mongolia is that politicians, not businessmen, are in control of the private sector – and these are the same men who are responsible for re-starting the economy. Too many are fixated on protecting themselves, their personal interests, their factions, and their tribes. The country's economic health and long-term prosperity is of secondary importance – or, more likely, not even a consideration.
The idea that Mongolia's government might renege on its promised payment to Khan Resources almost defies logic. The country's finances are in a dire state, and it has effectively been locked out of the global bond market for the past two years. Both Standard & Poor's and Fitch downgraded their sovereign ratings to 'B' – effectively beneath where most private fund managers will consider offering support.
Earlier this month the Mongolian Finance Ministry announced that they would retain investment bank Credit Suisse to lead a syndicated loan to help shore up the country's desperate finances. This was after several failed attempts to raise capital from the bond markets in Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA. And on 30 March the country managed to raise $500m, though the expected yield of 11 percent is certainly unfavorable and a far cry from the 4.125% bond that they raised just four years ago. While final terms for the new debt are not yet known, it is safe to assume that any astute would-be investor will be watching to see whether Mongolia honors its commitment to Khan Resources.
It is worth mentioning that, after five years of legal wrangling and false horizons, the agreed bill of $70 million is a significant compromise from Khan's original position. Still, unlike Rio Tinto, Khan has been waved an unequivocal dasvidaniya. Its commitment to Mongolia has been deemed unimportant, and unlike Rio Tinto, it is dismissed as replaceable.
The same short-sighted politicians who sealed Khan's fate in 2009 are still at the forefront of government and party decisions now. Failure to make a final payment to Khan would certainly put Mongolia at risk of an indefinite lock-out from the global capital markets. Yet Mongolia's politicians have shown a disturbing tendency to act against their country's national interest during election years.
To that point, it should be noted that the final $70 million payment to Khan Resources will need to be incorporated in the national budget, which will require approval by parliamentary vote before the May deadline – and only a few short weeks before parliamentary elections in June.
In summary, May 16 will make for a very interesting Monday morning. If Khan understands now what it failed to appreciate when its troubles began, it will have little faith in the payment deadline being met.
Phill Hynes and Mark Burke are analysts at ISS Risk, a frontier and emerging markets political risk management company covering North, South and Southeast Asia from its headquarters in Hong Kong
Mogi: we'll send a separate email blast on Mongolia's participation in the conference
PM to participate in Annual Asian Investment Conference
Ulaanbaatar, April 4 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg will take part in the 19th Annual Asian Investment Conference which will run this April 5-8 in Hong Kong.
To be organized by the Credit Swiss Bank of Switzerland, the conference is to bring together some 2,800 representatives and investors, prominent political, economic, financial and academic figures, institutional and hedge funds' investors, as well as high-net-worth individuals and business leaders. During the conference, the Premier will also meet Mr Leung Chun-ying, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China; and Mr Jin Liqun, the president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Tomortei-Khandgait railroad carries first iron ore load
Ulaanbaatar, April 4 (MONTSAME) An official opening of and the first shipping by a 33.4km railroad, connecting Tomortei deposit and Khandgait station, took place on April 3. The decision was made on this February 1 about transferring the railroad to the Mongolian Railways state-owned company.
In frames of the implementation of a project on Mining and Metallurgy Complex in Darkhan-Selenge region, QSC LLC have completed the railroad construction as part of infrastructure development, on a concession agreement with the government. The rail station has three loading terminals, equipped with latest technologies, alarms and communication devices.
The Mongolian Railways shipped the first load of iron ore at the opening. One million tons of iron ore is planned to be shipped from Tomortei deposit this year, with an intention to increase the annual shipping to 8-10 million tons.
In the project implementation, QSC LLC has taken part as the main investor, Mongolian Railway Corporation LLC, Peak Development LLC, Khutul Ceramsit LLC, Maximal LLC and Ulaanbaatar Railway Society have participated as executors.
Desire for Competition
April 4 (Mongolian Economy) If you are reading this article, you are probably one of 2.1 million people in Mongolia using the internet. Then again, you may also be one of 700 thousand people uncertain as to how you are going to make ends meet without a stable income, as mentioned in the speech delivered by Kh.Khaliunbat, the Director of Mongol Idea LLC, during a plenary session under topic Business Environment in Mongolia, which was held on the last day of the Mongolia Economic Forum.
If judging from the mood at the second day of meetings, Mongolia's business environment is not that bad. It can be seen from the number of directors that came to represent private companies at the forum. There are thousands of opportunities to do business in Mongolia. However, the situation regarding governance is the obstacle that weakens market competition. President of the Natural Resource Governance Institute Daniel Kaufmann, the honoured guest of the second day meetings, gave an interesting speech about challenges faced by economies dependent on mining similar to Mongolia, lessons to learn from them and possible solutions. He said that the difference between good and bad governance can be defined in three parts and by six criteria. A government that has credible and stable politics is a good example of governance. In addition, ensuring the implementation of policies demonstrates a government's quality and compliance with law, and corruption control in implementation is the third, according to Mr.Kaufmann. However, it can be seen from the other plenary sessions that governing the state, doing business and even getting medical treatment in Mongolia have become difficult, because there is this misunderstanding among the people that governance means authoritativeness.
Even competition in the health sector is divided into public and private. It can be seen from the session "National health insurance" that this field of competition has a very big market for the insurance sector. Access to healthcare is further worsening, according to President Elbegdorj, who stated: "Forget beds; there is not even enough floor for mothers carrying their sick child to stand on." One way to solve this issue is also competition and good governance, and systemic reforms must set the foundations. Today, everything under the label of the state has fallen into disrepute in every sector. It has been quite a while since state hospitals became unable to handle the intake. A simple example of this is that you have to wait for a month in order to get a tooth extracted at a state hospital. We nearly become permanent fixtures like the seats and plants inside a hospital just waiting to get an ultrasound. However, people with money seek more and more developed private hospitals that compete with one another. During the session it was noted that the public sector has no way to compete with private sector in the current situation. The participants of the session said the reason is the existing institutional system.
There is a need to expand competitive opportunities in the financial market sectors. The sector's panel session showed us that the time to focus on raising funds domestically instead of looking abroad has come rather. The attendees took up every seat, indicating that the role of the financial market is large in our economy. However, everyone agrees that this sector's level of development is trailing way behind. The state always talks about supporting the stock market. However, it is difficult to say that the methods they employ are effective. In particular, privatisations are going through processes such as concessions rather than through the stock market, making it difficult to say it is a truly supportive policy. On the other hand, it was said that corporate governance needs to be improved. In addition, participants stressed that Mongolia lacks experienced personnel.
Another interesting session on the second day was under the topic "Mongolians' intellectual value." According to the speech by Kh.Khaliunbat, the number of Mongolian citizens seeking asylum in Switzerland increased over the past 10 years, and Mongolia has climbed to top three in the list of countries whose citizens seek to immigrate to Switzerland. Mongolian people and Mongolian brains are being exported, as the number of people who return decrease year by year. According to the guests in attendance for this session, a policy and regulation to "bind" the Mongolians in foreign countries with their home country is needed. Professor of the Anesthesiology Department and Head of the Critical Care Research Center of the University of Texas P.Enkhbat said: "There needs to be a crossing for both sides." S.Nyamkhishig, Senior Scientist at the Henry M.Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, said Mongolians living in foreign countries have no network to share their knowledge with those back home due to the lack of organisational structure.
The Mongolia Economic Forum concluded after two days as it does. Although the theme of the forum was "Lesson Learned, Facing Challenges and Solutions Pending," representatives of each sector expressed desires to compete as a result. Founder and President of iCodice LLC P.Amgaabaatar said: "Quality, time and money cannot all be gained at the same time. "We definitely need to focus on improving the quality of the economy. We cannot do that if we do not have the money. The unofficial theme of this year's forum proved that the economy is lacking competition, which is what is required to make money. Then again, we need time in order to create competition.
Foreigners without visas
April 4 (news.mn) It is estimated that between 25,000 and 30,000 foreigners are currently living in Mongolia on a permanent basis. The main reasons for domicile are labor, study and receiving medical treatment. Many of them face problems because their visas have expired; sometimes, it would appear that this is deliberate on the part of the foreign nationals. At present, Mongolia does not have an immigration removal center where the foreigners without visas can be held in humane conditions pending the necessary steps being taken for them to leave the country. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has noted that the only facility available is one room at the Mongolian Immigration Authority where they are examined; there is nowhere for them to stay and they are not put into custody – although technically they are in violation of the law.
Although they are responsible for the fact that their visas have expired, they should neither be classed as criminals nor left in limbo. Therefore, the NHRC considers that the custody house is necessary to have. There are cases, that Mongolians abroad whose visas are expired are placed in an immigration removal center in that particular country. The NHRC raised the matter of the lack of an immigration removal center during a press conference held on 31st March.
IRIM Celebrates 8th Anniversary Today
April 4 (Independent Research Institute of Mongolia) Today is a special day for us. IRIM was established in April 4th , 2008 and since then we have been operating sustainably with a vision of becoming world-class professional organisation that provides high-quality, independent consulting services and research outcomes and impact.
Our greatest achievements of this year have been the strengthening of our human resource capacity with skilled international and national experts, and expansion of our institutional structure. During our journey this far, IRIM has successfully implemented more than 100 projects. We would like to express our highest gratitude to our partners for being part of this success history.
Mogi: nice article but the author's information is a bit out of date
A New Chapter in Australia-Mongolia Relations
Author: Martin Foo, Australian Centre for Financial Studies
March 25 (East Asia Forum) In February 1987, a pair of junior American diplomats arrived in pre-democratic Mongolia to lay the groundwork for establishing a US embassy — no simple task in Ulaanbaatar, the world's coldest capital. When the embassy opened a year later, its American staff resided in a ramshackle apartment building that they nicknamed 'Faulty Towers'. Much has changed since then.
A 'band of brothers' forged from many nations in Kabul
A commander's method for bringing disparate cultures together with humour and mutual respect
April 4 (FT) Thirty years in the British army has provided me with countless challenges, from ducking petrol bombs in Northern Ireland to securing oilfields in Iraq. But the challenges of my latest role, Commander of the Kabul Security Force, required some thinking that they did not teach me at staff college.
The Kabul Security Force was set up in December 2014, a month before I took it over, to protect the 7,000-plus Nato advisers still operating in the Afghan capital. The multinational force comprised 1,000 soldiers from the US, UK, Australia, Denmark and Mongolia. All the soldiers under my command were highly skilled and trained. The problem was that they were not skilled at working together.
Sport proved a great way to bind everyone together. Friday, the Islamic day of rest, tended to be the quietest day in Kabul and became a regular competition fixture. The Americans were the masters of our makeshift basketball court but amateurs at five-a-side soccer. Volleyball provided a more even match. We also held a half-marathon around our 1km perimeter, and a Tour de France on stationary bikes, complete with videos of the French countryside. Our most surreal event was Kabul's inaugural Highland Games: the sight of a Mongolian soldier in a kilt tossing the caber will never leave me.
Humour also helped to break down national barriers and banter permeated the ranks. An argument over strategy was finished by an American officer's put-down: "If you Brits were any good at counter-insurgency, then Americans wouldn't exist." Few of the American soldiers could understand the Ashes cricket series, but they all enjoyed the sledging between the Australian and British troops watching the matches.
The Mongolian detachment was probably the most difficult to integrate into the force. Few could speak English and the other nations had little understanding of how effective Mongolians were as soldiers. So when their commander offered to stage a cultural display I encouraged it. The Mongolian soldiers impressed all with their military prowess in wrestling, martial arts and knife throwing. The finale, in which soldiers smashed bottles on their own foreheads, confirmed to all that they were the right men to have next to you in a fight.
Coalition operations can draw the best from all the cultures involved. I felt great pride when soldiers from different countries lined up ready to respond to an incident. The comradeship on their faces suggested they were no longer a mix of nations but a band of brothers.
Brigadier Gerhard Wheeler CBE was Commander of British forces in Afghanistan and KSF Commander from January 2015 to January 2016
Young Mongols: A Lot Has Happened Since Chinggis Khan Conquered the World
By Aubrey Menard
When I decided to move to Mongolia for a year, my family and friends couldn't conceptualize what my life would be like in this distant land. Perceptions of Mongolia haven't really been updated since the 13th century and for many foreigners, mention of Mongolia still conjures images of conquering hordes on horseback.
I'm recording this series of video interviews to allow Mongolians to tell their own stories and to help the rest of the world better understand what the country is like today.
This project has been funded by the U.S. Department of State, but the views expressed herein are those of the people speaking, and do not reflect the U.S. Department of State's endorsement.
"Gobi Wolf" Mongolia-USD disaster response exercise starts today
Ulaanbaatar, April 4 (MONTSAME) Co-organized by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the US Embassy in Mongolia and the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), the "Gobi Wolf-2016" international exercises on abolishing aftermath of damage, caused by earthquakes, started Monday in Ulaanbaatar and Erdenet cities.
The participants are some 100 servicemen of the NEMA (NEMA), of agencies and Ministries on ensuring the national security, the USPACOM and the US Pacific Army. This year's exercises differ from previous ones because they are running localities for the first time.
The participants are exercising in scenarios settled with artificial damage zone caused by earthquakes, in train and mine accidents. This will improve management skills in times of possible damages.
Gobi Wolf is a part of the Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange program, which focuses on interagency coordination and foreign humanitarian assistance. It is designed to test disaster response processes while maximizing realism through a series of scenarios.
The exercises evaluate Mongolia disaster readiness through five separate focus areas including national emergency management, media relations/communication, military considerations, first responder, and international government and non-governmental agencies.
Gobi Wolf is also a part of the U.S. Army Pacific's Pacific Resilience program, USARPAC's main platform for identifying best practices and lessons learned across the humanitarian assistance/disaster relief spectrum. Its mission is to enhance all parties' abilities to respond and recover from an emergency situation.
D.Altansukh grabs silver at Samsun Judo Grand Prix
Ulaanbaatar, April 4 (MONTSAME) Judokas of our national team have captured two medals in the 2016 Samsun Grand Prix tournament, which was held last weekend in Turkey.
International master of sports D.Altansukh won a "silver" in the men's below 66kg contest. Until the finals, he had defeated his opponents from Turkey, Great Britain, Belarus and Russia. In the finals, he lost to S.Korean Kim Limhwan.
Kh.Tsogtgerel IMS claimed a bronze medal in the men's -100kg after defeating a judoka from the United Arab Emirates at the bronze medal match. He beat his rivals from Turkey and Belgium but was defeated by a Brazilian Rafael Buzacarini in the third preliminary round.
Other judokas did not grab medals in this tournament.
Mongolian to conquer Everest for the third time
April 4 (news.mn) Mountaineer B.Tseveendash is planning to climb Mount Everest …. for the third time. The International Master of Mountain Sports provided this information at the Mongol News center. The climber will start his trek on 7th April; he plans to climb the world's highest peak from the rear side. On this occasion Mr Tseveendash will be climbing alone.
The journey is expected to cost USD 30,000. So far the mountaineer has raised just under a third of the required amount – so he is asking organizations which support the sport to assist with the required funding.
Generations of Mongolian beauties walk Missosology runway
Ulaanbaatar, April 4 (MONTSAME) At the Missosology Fashion Show, which took place at Tuushin hotel on April 3, generations of top models and beauties have shown the collections of prestigious brands. The collections included "Maral" haute couture purse brand by designer D.Otgonjargal from Precious Fashion House, Gobi Cashmere and Loriblu.
The fashion show was organized in the anticipation of the Face of Beauty International 2016, to be hosted by Ulaanbaatar between this September 23 and October 9.
The winners of Face of Beauty International 2013 winner Tongan beauty Diamond Langi, and the 2015 winner Hungarian beauty Dalma Karman were invited. Mongolian beauties and models, who represented their country in international contests, namely N.Anu, T.Battsetseg, A.Bayartsetseg, B.Badamtsetseg, B.Bilguunzaya, B.Gunzaya, G.Bilguun, Ts.Enkhjin, E.Altanzul, B.Nomin-Erdene and S.Pagmadulam walked the runway.
A singer T.Delgermoron, along with the harp player Ch.Munkh-Erdene gave the show an opening performance. Other artists, including Lemons band, a finalist of Mongolia's Got Talent contortionist A.Uranbileg and a singer from Ballet and Opera Theatre, dedicated performances to the fashion show.
Missosology Mongolia fashion show takes place – UB Post, April 4
Suite 303, Level 3, Elite Complex
14 Chinggis Avenue, Sukhbaatar District 1
Ulaanbaatar 14251, Mongolia
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