Monday, July 4, 2016

[XAM drills gold at OU; MATD plunges 48%; MNT back near 2K; new SGK to convene Tue; and AEPF11 starts today]

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Monday, July 4, 2016

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Solidarity Among Civil Societies Of Asia & Europe

198 NGOs to attend 11th Asia-Europe People's Forum in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia--(WireMongolia - Jul 01, 2016) - The 11th Asia-Europe People's Forum (AEPF11) is to take place in the capital city of Mongolia on 4-6 July, 2016. This is the fifth of nine side events taking place leading up to the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting in July, where Heads of State and Government from across Asia and Europe will discuss their priorities and plans for the future.

The first international public discourse since the UK's 'Brexit' referendum, the AEPF11 will allow representatives across the two continents to discuss strategies on major themes that represent the hopes for citizens of Europe and Asia. Under the title "Building new solidarities: Working for Inclusive, Just and Equal alternatives in Asia and Europe," the three-day forum will be an exciting series of interlinked dialogues, workshops, actions, policy debates, and open spaces. The major themes will focus on the following seven areas:

·         Resource Justice, Land Rights, Equal Access to Water, and Participation - Going Beyond Extractivism

·         Food Sovereignty/Food Security – Beyond Zero Hunger

·         Climate Justice - Towards Sustainable Energy Production and Use, and Zero Waste

·         Socially Just Trade, Production and Investment

·         Social Justice – Social Protection for All, Decent Work and Sustainable Livelihoods, Tax Justice and Other Egalitarian Alternatives to Debt and Austerity

·         Peace Building and Human Security - Responses to Migration, and Fundamentalism and Terrorism

·         Participatory Democracy, Gender Equality and Minority Rights

Over 600 representatives from 198 social movements, frontline communities and campaigning networks, progressive NGOs, and academics and parliamentarians across the two continents are to participate in the AEPF11. The participants include Stiftung AsienHaus, HelpAge International, International Peace Bureau, Jawaharlal Nehru University, University of Vienna, and Fresh Eyes. Opening speech will be made by His Excellency Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President of Mongolia, and by Evelyn Balais-Serrano, the Executive Director of Forum-Asia.

About AEPF11 Forum

The Asia-Europe People's Forum (AEPF) is an inter-regional network of civil society and social movements across Asia and Europe. AEPF emerged in the mid-1990s from a common desire and need among people's organizations and networks across Asia and Europe to open up new venues for dialogue, cooperation, and solidarity. The first AEPF interregional conference was organized in 1996 during the 1st Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM1) held in Bangkok, Thailand. Since then, AEPF has been holding a biennial alternative ASEM summit called the Asia-Europe Peoples' Forum. Since its emergence in 1996, the AEPF has evolved by reflecting upon, shaping strategies for, and intervening in a range of issues of common concern to the peoples of Asia and Europe.

Information on activities and on how to register as participant or co-organiser of events at the AEPF is available at

Link to release


11th Asia-Europe People's Forum approachingMontsame, July 1


Abe likely to attend ASEM summit in Mongolia in mid-July

TOKYO, July 1 (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting summit in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator on July 15 and 16, government sources said Friday.

The summit will provide an opportunity for Abe to enhance cooperation with other leaders as they tackle potential threats to global economic stability in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

The possibility of Britain's leaving the European Union was one of several risk factors considered by the leaders of the Group of Seven advanced economies at a summit in central Japan in May, where they committed to using all available policy tools to avert an economic crisis and spur global growth.

Abe is seeking to hold bilateral talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the gathering, ahead of Beijing's hosting of a summit of the Group of 20 major developed and developing nations in September.

If the meeting is realized, Abe would express his concerns to Li over recent sailings by Chinese naval vessels into a zone surrounding Japanese territorial waters near the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, to which Beijing has laid claim, the sources said.

According to the sources, Abe will attend the summit regardless of the outcome of Japan's House of Councillors election on July 10.

He will likely aim to hold bilateral talks also with Russian President Vladimir Putin if the latter attends the summit.

The Japanese prime minister attended the ASEM leaders' summit in Milan, Italy, in 2014.

The visit will be Abe's third to Mongolia as prime minister, the highest-ever number of trips by a Japanese premier. The Japanese government has described Mongolia as an indispensible partner that shares the values of freedom and democracy with Japan.

Abe is expected to seek deeper cooperation with Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj in their eighth round of bilateral talks.

According to the sources, he is also planning to meet Mongolian People's Party leader Miegombo Enkhbold, tipped to become the country's next prime minister after the main opposition party scored a decisive victory in Thursday's general election.

Link to article


Russia's Medvedev to Participate in Asia–Europe Meeting Summit

The Russian PM will participate in the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit.

MOSCOW, June 23 (Sputnik) — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will participate in the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit of Heads of State and Government held on July 15-16 in Mongolia's Ulaanbaatar, the press service of the Russian government said Thursday.

"The heads of state and government will review the forum's performance over the past 20 years, discuss the build-up of practical cooperation within ASEM, including with the aim of strengthening region-to-region ties, and also look at the prospects of improving this multilateral instrument," the statement read.

The summit will reportedly conclude with the adoption of the Ulaanbaatar Declaration and the statements by Mongolia as the country hosting the 11th ASEM Summit.

ASEM is an informal dialogue and cooperation platform established in 1996 which brings together 53 countries.

Link to article


Chinggis Khaan Airport restricts vehicle access between July 13-16

July 1 ( Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia (CAAM) reports that vehicle access to Chinggis Khaan International Airport will be restricted between July 13 01:00 AM to July 16 23:30 PM due to the upcoming 11th ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar.

International flight passengers arrival and departure pick up vehicles will be parked at Buyant Ukhaa Sport Complex parking lot.

From there, passengers and luggages only will be transported by special bus to Chinggis Khaan International Airport (departures - 2nd floor). 

And international arrivals will be picked up by bus (arrivals - 1st floor) and transported to Buyant Ukhaa Sport Complex.

Link to article


Int'l Market

XAM trading flat at A$0.20 in early Monday trading.

Xanadu Mines drills more high-grade gold at Oyut Ulaan

June 30 (Proactive Investors) Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX:XAM) has intersected 9.5 metres at 21.06 g/t gold from surface while diamond drilling at its 90% owned Oyut Ulaan copper-gold project in southern Mongolia.

The drilling is testing the continuity of gold mineralisation discovered through trenching within a large prospective area that is 4.5 kilometres long and 300 metres wide.

Gold mineralisation was intersected in all four diamond holes with grades measuring up to 47.2 g/t gold.

A follow-up program of drilling is expected to commence immediately.

Dr Andrew Stewart, CEO, commented: "The new drill results, which include significant intervals of bonanza gold grades provide the evidence we needed to dedicate additional resources to improving our understanding of the controls on mineralisation and start assessing the size potential of this new discovery more thoroughly."

Assay details

Significant assay results from the four diamond drill holes are as follows:

- 9.5 metres at 21.06 g/t gold and 0.16% copper including 3 metres at 47.23 g/t gold from surface;
- 6 metres at 15.43 g/t gold and 0.22% copper including 1.1 metres at 38.8 g/t gold from surface;
- 2 metres at 16.12 g/t gold and 0.09% copper from 15.2 metres; and
- 2.5 metres at 5.75 g/t gold and 0.20% copper from surface.

Trenching has also continued to identify new zones of gold mineralisation yet to be drill tested.

Highlights from Diorite zone trenching include:

- 32 metres at 3.75 g/t gold;
- 18 metres at 1.53 g/t gold; and
- 6 metres at 4.53 g/t gold.

Recent raising

Xanadu recently raised $12.2 million through a placement of shares to continue developing the Kharmagtai copper-gold project and Oyut Ulaan gold project in Mongolia.

The raising received strong support investors and saw new well-regarded institutional investors join the register.

Oyut Ulaan gold project

The 90% owned Oyut Ulaan project is located within the South Gobi Copper Belt, which hosts the world class Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project, and is 260 kilometres east of Kharmagtai.

Recent drilling has been testing trenched targets, which identified gold assays of up to 589.96 g/t and confirmed the existence of a continuous zone of shallow high grade gold mineralisation.

Exploration has now discovered at least four zones of gold mineralisation within a prospective area - Stockwork, Bavuu, Diorite and Hulan.


The ongoing exploration at Oyut Ulaan represents an opportunity for Xanadu to define a shallow gold resource capable of being economically mined.

This particular round of drilling has successfully confirmed the presence of multiple zones of high grade gold mineralisation below previous surface trenching.

By drilling targets identified through previous trenching, which found bonanza gold grades of 589.96 g/t, Xanadu is able to understand the depth of the mineralised zones.

The share price is up 70% year to date, currently trading at $0.19 per share.

Xanadu maintains broker support from Bell Potter who recently upgraded their price target to $0.51 per share.

A follow up drill program is expected and field exploration activities are underway for which results will be released upon completion.

Link to article

Link to XAM release


AKM closed +383.3% Wednesday on the announcement.

Aspire Mining to soar with new China to Russia rail corridor

June 29 (Proactive Investors) Aspire Mining Ltd (ASX:AKM) is set to be a large beneficiary as the presidents of China, Russia and Mongolia have signed off on the establishment of a new rail corridor between Russia and China through Mongolia.

In August 2015, Aspire's rail subsidiary, Northern Railways LLC received the green light to build and operate a 547 kilometre railway to extend Mongolia's national rail network from the city of Erdenet to its flagship Ovoot Coking Coal Project in Mongolia.

The new 3,500 kilometre rail corridor requires the development of 1,414 kilometres of rail to complete the route. The Erdenet to Ovoot 547 kilometre route is part of this undeveloped section.

The establishment of this new rail corridor confirms that the Erdenet to Ovoot railway has developed from being a rail connection to a large coking coal project, to now being part of an important new trade infrastructure route.

David Paull, managing director, commented:

"It is very significant news that the Erdenet to Ovoot railway is now recognised as a key part of a new rail trade route between Russia and China through Mongolia.

"This new corridor will be of significant long term value to the people of Mongolia.

"The Erdenet to Ovoot railway has now officially moved from a rail extension to service a world class coking coal deposit, to a strategic piece of rail infrastructure to facilitate China's Silk Road Initiative and Mongolia's Step Road trade initiative."

Erdenet to Ovoot access to funding

As Erdenet to Ovoot is now part of the new Northern Rail Corridor and part of China's One Belt One Road Trade Infrastructure Policy, it now becomes, subject to the completion of a feasibility study, a priority funding project.

Aspire may soon be able to access funding from China's Policy Banks, Sinosure, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and funds such as the Silk Road Fund which has been specifically established to support the establishment of One Belt One Road logistics infrastructure.


Aspire is the largest coal tenement holder in Mongolia's Northern provinces and is the 100% owner of the Ovoot Coking Coal Project which is the second largest coking coal project by reserves in Mongolia.

The Ovoot project development is dependent on the construction of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway which is being progressed by Aspire's subsidiary Northern Railways.

Production from the Ovoot project can coincide with the commissioning of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway.

Aspire also currently owns a 50% interest in and is the operator of the Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture (ECJV), and has an option to increase its ownership to 100% of the ECJV.

The ECJV owns a 90% interest in the Nuurstei Coking Coal Project which has a 12.85 million tonne JORC resource.


The inclusion of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway in the Northern Rail Corridor is a massive boost and a momentous important milestone for Aspire as it increases the certainty of its construction which is required for the development of Ovoot.

Subject to the completion of a feasibility study, the Erdenet to Ovoot railway may receive priority funding from China's Policy Banks, Sinosure, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and funds such as the Silk Road Fund.

The inclusion of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway in the Northern Rail Corridor enhances the value adding opportunity for Ovoot Coking Coal to be blended with Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi non coking coals.

This announcement and recognition of the rail corridor as a key part of a new rail trade route between Russia and China through Mongolia and should ensure that Ovoot, the second largest coking coal project in Mongolia, by reserves, gains in prominence and and in priority for development.

As pieces of news flow and significance go, they do not get much better than this one.

Link to article

Link to AKM release


KCC last traded C$0.03 on Thursday

Kincora eyes massive land position in Mongolia's South Gobi

by Matthew Keevil

VANCOUVER, June 28 (The Northern Miner) — Kincora Copper (TSXV: KCC; US-OTC: BZDLF) hopes that a renewed sense of political stability in Mongolia will reinvigorate investor interest, and it recently doubled down on the country with a deal that gives it one of the largest land positions in the highly-prospective South Gobi region.

On May 25, the company announced an agreement with Robert Friedland's High Power Exploration (HPX) to consolidate over 1,500 sq. km of exploration licenses along strike from Turquoise Hill (TSX: TRQ; NYSE: TRQ) and Rio Tinto's (NYSE: RIO; LON: RIO) Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine. The transaction also gives Kincora access to HPX's exploration expertise and one of the world's largest "regional geological and geophysical databases."

"I think the tough markets definitely helped get the consolidation over the line, so to speak, and the recent moves by the government regarding Oyu Tolgoi, and foreign investment generally, definitely improved investor perception of the country," elaborated president and CEO Sam Spring during an interview. "It took some time for the government to work through the details, but the majority of these issues have been resolved regarding the mining law, and exploration licenses are being issued again for the first time in around five years."

Under terms of the deal, Kincora will issue a total of 59 million shares and 29.5 million purchase warrants to HPX subsidiary High Power Ventures (HPV), which will end up owning around 12% of the company. Friedland's involvement is obviously significant due to his role in the Oyu Tolgoi discovery, which fueled the rise of the first iteration of his initial Ivanhoe Mines vehicle.

Meanwhile, Kincora is also in the process of cleaning up its capital structure and balance sheet. In early June, the company announced a 10-to-1 share rollback and $4-million private placement. The first $2 million will consist of 5.3 million post-consolidated shares priced at 37.5¢ each.

The second element involves a debt conversion with China-based private equity outfit Origo Partners. Under terms of the arrangement, $2 million in outstanding notes will be converted into shares under the same terms as the private placement.

"We've essentially received support from our largest shareholder, who has allowed us to clean-up our balance sheet," Spring said.

"When you take our recent moves in entirety we're really trying to recapitalize and restructure to have a nice, clean corporate vehicle that has the right team and technology to get to work on this newly-consolidated and, quite frankly, exciting land package. For HPX, I think they value retaining exposure to these assets as well, so everyone keeps skin in the game," he added.

The company reported that it has "firm commitments" to complete the financial requirements of the Origo loan note conversion, the private placement, and the merger with HPX.

Kincora's next step is a desktop review of the new data acquired in the merger, which covers "at least" [six] advanced porphyry prospects and one epithermal gold target, including what it classifies as "the most significant untested complex in the [Oyu Tolgoi] belt." HPX subsidiaries have spent over US$25 million on the portfolio since 2007.

Kincora spent the 2015 field season working on its Bronze Fox property, where hole F47 cut 18 metres of 0.6% copper equivalent from 29 metres depth. Previous drilling by Ivanhoe just to the east of this zone returned intersections of both high and lower grade gold and copper in a "favorable porphyry setting both due to depth of the system."

"We did a nice drill program at Bronze in 2014 that hit a lot of smoke," Spring continued. "We were limited at the time since one of our licenses was being reviewed, but last year we resolved that and then spent time reviewing the data and getting out in the field to go over the surface geology. We'll be looking for something a bit closer to surface that could be de-risked more efficiently. We've been keen to get out there and do some trenching that would lead into that shallower drilling."

Kincora has traded within a 52-week window of 1¢ and 5¢, and closed at 3.5¢ at the time of writing. The company maintains 314 million pre-consolidated shares outstanding for an $11 million press-time market capitalization, and is hoping to complete the private placement and equity re-structuring early in the third quarter. HPV has rights to maintain their ownership percentages through further capital raises.

"It really wasn't so long ago that major miners and strategic groups were keen on getting a foothold in the South Gobi, and we were having a lot of conversations," Spring concluded. "The rocks haven't changed and now there really aren't too many companies that have managed to survive the downturn. I think we're beginning to see some positive momentum now, and there's that potential for the South Gobi to really rival some of the major copper belts in South America."

Link to article


MATD closed +4.6% Friday to 1.7 pences, after plunging 47.8% Thursday on the announcement

Petro Matad: Financial and Operational Update 

June 30, Petro Matad Ltd. (AIM:MATD) -- Further to the announcement of 29 April 2016, the Company is pleased to provide a financial and operational update. 


As a result of Shell's decision to exit the Block IV and V PSCs, Shell's affiliate company is required to pay a contractual exit fee to the Company's affiliate company (Central Asian Petroleum Corporation Limited - "CapCorp"). The exit fee, stipulated in the farmout agreement, is circa $10 million. Shell's affiliate company has not yet paid the exit fee but have stated their willingness to do so. 

The Petroleum Authority of Mongolia (PAM) has stated that it will not submit documents providing for the reassignment of Shell's affiliate company's interest to CapCorp to the Mongolian Cabinet for approval until such time it is satisfied that all minimum work obligations required to be undertaken by Shell's affiliate company and CapCorp will be met. This specifically includes fulfilment of the three-year work program approved by PAM after passage of the new Petroleum law in 2014. Shell's affiliate company is responsible for funding 78% of this minimum work program. For CapCorp as operator to be able to complete this work program following Shell's exit, substantially more funds will be required over and above the exit fee. Shell's position to date is that it has no further obligation in respect of the minimum work obligations. If Shell does not fund its part of the minimum work obligations, this will put CapCorp in a financially difficult position and could lead to the Company eventually losing the acreage. Furthermore, a continued delay in receiving at least the exit fee will seriously jeopardize the Company's ability to continue as a going concern. 

The Company is in continuous discussions with Shell in an effort to obtain a resolution. PAM is requiring Shell and CapCorp to come to a resolution on completion of minimum work obligation before it will consider the reassignment


A 174 kms infill seismic acquisition in Block IV commenced and completed during the month of May. This programme was designed to better define previously identified leads and mature them to drillable prospects during the main Block IV seismic acquisition programme that was carried out in late 2015. Seismic processing is underway and the preliminary results are very exciting. There is no doubt that a number of viable and exciting drillable prospects will emerge as interpretation continues. 

Seismic acquisition recently commenced in Block V. Depending on the results there will be further potential to acquire infill lines to de-risk the leads to drill-ready prospects at the end of the main programme. Although the programme in Block V is at an early stage, results so far already show high quality leads are present.

Link to release


Petro Matad: Final results for year ended 31 December 2015

June 30 -- Petro Matad Limited ("Petro Matad" or "the Company"), the AIM quoted Mongolian oil explorer, announces its audited final results for the year ended 31 December 2015.

Operational Highlights 

·         The net loss after tax for the Group for the 12 months ended 31 December 2015 was $0.19 million (31 December 2014: Loss $3.940 million). 

·         During the year the Group focused on exploration activities on its Production Sharing Contracts ("PSCs") with the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia ("PAM") on Blocks IV, V and XX in Mongolia. 

·         After year-end, exit notice received from BG Group on Blocks IV and V. Compensation of at least $10 million to be paid to the Company to partially enable the Company to satisfy minimum spend obligations on Blocks IV and V. 

Link to release


SouthGobi Announces Annual Meeting of Shareholders for September 30

June 28, SouthGobi Resources (TSX:SGQ, HKEx:1878) --

Pursuant to a request from the above-mentioned reporting issuer, we wish to advise you of the following information in connection with its Annual Meeting of Shareholders:

Date of meeting:                                            September 30, 2016

Record date for notice:                                  August 8, 2016

Record date for voting:                                 August 8, 2016

Beneficial ownership determination date: August 8, 2016

Link to release


SouthGobi Resources Announces Retirement of Director

HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - June 30, 2016) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HKSE:1878) ("SouthGobi" or the "Company") announces that Mr. Pierre Bruno Lebel, is retiring as Lead director and as an Independent non-executive director on June 30, 2016, the date originally scheduled for the Company's annual general meeting (the "AGM"). Effective upon his retirement, Mr. Lebel will cease to be a member of the Company's Audit, Nominating and Corporate Governance and Compensation and Benefits Committees.

Mr. Lebel joined the Company's Board of Directors in 2003, prior to the Company's initial public offering, and was instrumental in the Company's transition from an exploration company to an operating mining company. Mr. Ningqiao Li, Chairman, said, "On behalf of SouthGobi, I would like to thank Mr. Lebel for his long term leadership, dedication and significant contributions to the Board of Directors and the Company and wish him the best."

Mr. Lebel has confirmed that he has no disagreement with the Board and there is no matter relating to his retirement that needs to be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the Company.

Following Mr. Lebel's resignation, the Company, through its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, is actively seeking North America based, qualified candidates, with experience in the Canadian capital markets for appointment to the Board as Independent directors.

The Company also announces that effective June 30, 2016, Mr. Zhu Liu will join the Audit Committee, Ms. Jin Lan Quan will join the Compensation and Benefits Committee and Mr. Mao Sun will Chair the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

The Company's AGM, originally scheduled for June 30, 2016, has been rescheduled to September 30, 2016 which provides sufficient time for the Company to complete an exhaustive search and evaluation of candidates for director succession.

Link to release


Origo Partners: Announcement re timing of publication of Annual Report

June 30 -- Origo announces that work continues with respect to the finalisation of its annual report and accounts for the year ended 31 December 2015. However, the Company will not be in a position to publish its annual report and accounts today, as required by the AIM Rules for Companies. The Company will publish its annual report and accounts for the year ended 31 December 2015 as soon as practicable.

Link to release


TerraCom to acquire the Blair Athol Coal Mine

July 4 -- TerraCom Limited (TerraCom or the Company) (ASX: TER) is pleased to announce that its wholly owned subsidiary Orion Mining Pty Ltd, has reached agreement to acquire the Blair Athol Coal Mine (mine) in Queensland, Australia from the Blair Athol Coal Joint Venture (BACJV) subject to certain conditions precedent as outlined below.

The acquisition price is AUD$1 and TerraCom will receive AUD$80m from the BACJV (vendor) to meet Blair Athol Coal Mine's rehabilitation liability as determined by Queensland's Department of Environment Heritage Protection in November 2015. The Financial Assurance will be provided as cash to be held in a bank account approved and controlled by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

Link to full release


TerraCom Bonds Listed on Euroclear

July 1 -- TerraCom Limited (TerraCom or the Company) (ASX: TER) is pleased to announce the completion on 30 June 2016 of the new bond issue described in the ASX announcement on 23 June 2016. All conditions precedent have been satisfied and the bonds are now traded on Euroclear with ISIN Code XS1385372773.

The Bond will pay interest semi-annually in arrears (except the first payment, which will be made after 12 months) with a fixed component of 12.5% p.a. and a variable component linked to revenues. Further, the Company shall have the option, at its discretion, to capitalise 50% of each fixed interest payment to assist with cash flow management.

Link to release


TRQ closed +2.96% Friday to US$3.48, +7.7% for the week

Rio Tinto's young guns herald new era of growth for miners


Sydney, June 30 (Reuters) After a rapid rise at Rio Tinto, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, 44, is the youngest boss at a major mining company: the first in a generation that will need to shift from an era of cuts to one of cautious growth.

The mining industry, worth nearly $2.5 trillion at its peak in 2011, has reeled from the excesses of the boom years, when companies turned to frenzied dealmaking and building to keep up with China's insatiable appetite for raw materials.

After iron ore prices crashed, empire-building mining executives who had struck overpriced deals were dumped and replaced with cautious conservatives who sold off billions of dollars in assets and squeezed costs.

"Mining companies are just beginning to signal a change. Just cost compression, capital compression is not enough – you need to find a way to grow," said one former Rio executive.

Known to colleagues as "JS", French-born Jacques is the first executive of a major miner to have joined the upper ranks after the boom years - representing a fresh generation, Rio insiders and industry executives say, that must find a way to secure future growth while keeping an eye on costs.

"Organic growth is ok, but at some point you need to look to buy stuff, particularly if Rio is changing its focus. That's the challenge JS faces," said an investment banker in Australia who oversaw several of Rio's major deals.

Jacques, who takes the helm on July 2, has already signaled a shift with a mostly new and unknown leadership team, turning the focus away from iron ore, where Rio still generates the bulk of its profits, and to more controlled supply.

Rio's veteran chairman, Jan du Plessis, and its chief financial officer, ex-BHP Billiton executive Chris Lynch, are also expected to leave in the medium term, two industry sources said, in another change of guard. Rio declined to comment on those roles.

Jacques is a relative newcomer in an industry where executives serve for decades. He was hired by Rio in 2011 after stints at L'Oreal in his youth and later Tata Steel, and is best known for his skills around the negotiating table in Mongolia.

His major test now, however, will be managing Rio's $9.4 billion in cash and a portfolio of less-promising divisions, including energy coal, uranium and Canadian iron ore, which many in the market expect will be sold, eventually.


Jacques has certainly not shied away from cuts: $2.3 billion of assets have gone under his watch as head of the copper and coal division.

Growing will be tougher, as Rio shifts from a strategy that depended on tonnes of iron ore, at a time when Chinese growth is slower and investors, bruised by the mid-2000s, unforgiving.

"It's just a good way to say that chapter is closed and we are still mining iron ore, but we are going to look at other things," said Mike Young, former head of BC Iron, whose mine in Australia's Pilbara iron belt neighboring Rio operations shut in December because of a global supply glut.

Growth under Jacques will not necessarily come in big bites, but rather at a staged, or "modular", pace, say analysts and industry executives, pointing to his approach in Mongolia, where Rio operates the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.

Good deals will be tougher.

More than $30 billion of mining assets are up for sale, but few mining assets have flown off the shelf in recent years. Jacques has a reputation as a tenacious negotiator, most recently handling delicate talks around a $6 billion expansion at the Oyu Tolgoi mine.

Asked about Jacques, a Mongolian official recalled he once remained at the negotiating table for two straight days to secure a deal.

"He doesn't take risks in business, he mitigates risks," said an Australian mining executive who observed Jacques in Mongolia. "He's methodical."

Link to article

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 +2.75%, ALL +0.95%, Turnover ₮251.1 Million Shares, 100 Million T-Bills

July 1 (MSE) --

(Mogi: MSE had the Mongolian and English reports mixed up)

Link to report (in Mongolian)

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Historic low 2,050.85/USD set March 28, 2016. Reds are rates that set a new low at the time

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, July 1 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮1,980 Sell ₮1,995), TDB (Buy ₮1,975 Sell ₮1,995), Golomt (Buy ₮1,978 Sell ₮1,995), XacBank (Buy ₮1,995 Sell ₮2,009), State Bank (Buy ₮1,975 Sell ₮1,996)

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

Link to rates


BoM sells US$36m, CNY47.5m at undisclosed prices; accepts $70m MNT swap offers

June 30 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid MNT and CNY and the BOM accepted bid offers of USD 36.0 million and CNY 47.5 million.   

Swap and forward trade: The BOM accepted the bid offers of USD 70.0 million of MNT swap agreement, asked USD 10.0 million of USD swap agreement from commercial banks. The BOM accepted the bid offers of buying USD 70.0 million.

Link to release


BoM issues 352.25 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +42.9% to ₮615.95 billion

July 1 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 352.25 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mongolia Jan.-May Inbound FDI Reaches $400.6m

By Michael Kohn

July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Inbound FDI was $400.6m in the first five months of 2016 vs. -$16.2m yr earlier, according to preliminary data released by central bank.

* Mongolia had $175.1m of Inbound FDI In May vs. $85.4m yr earlier

* YTD current-account deficit at end-May was $11m vs. $269.2m yr earlier

* YTD capital and financial account was a surplus of $226.2m, compared to surplus of $239.7m a year earlier



BoM Mortgage Report, May'16: Total +2% MoM, +18.4% YoY to 3.7 Trillion, Subsidized 76.5%

July 1 (BoM) --



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Politics & Legal

President sets July 5 as date of first session of new parliament

Ulaanbaatar, July 1 (MONTSAME) President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj issued Friday his decree on fixing a date of the very first session of new parliament which was formed after results of elections.

Pursuant to the decree, the first session of parliament will start at 11.00 am on July 5, 2016.

Link to article


President applauds GEC's successful organization of elections

Ulaanbaatar, July 1 (MONTSAME) Head of the General Election Commission (GEC) Ch.Sodnomtseren, and its members presented Friday to the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj a report on official results of the 2016 parliamentary elections which took place from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm on June 29.

The GEC head emphasized that voters' registration, voting and counting processes were carried out with help of automatic system and machine. Preliminary results were directly aired via TV. GEC handed over temporary certificates to newly-elected parliamentarians on Thursday, he said.

The election results show that the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) secured the overwhelming majority of seats in parliament (65), the Democratic Party (DP)--nine seats, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and one independent candidate--one seat each. The new MPs' ages range from 29 to 62, and 13 of them are women, Sodnomtseren underlined.

"There were no technical failure in the counting process in 841 voting sections out of 1,998. It is the first time in the period since 2000, when the GEC submitts to the President a full list of all newly-elected members of parliament," he emphasized.

After hearing the GEC report, Ts.Elbegdorj, the President applauded the GEC and its sections for successful organization of the parliamentary elections, and highlighted the election results were accurate and summed up quickly.

"Our achievements should go on. This is not only progress of Mongolia, but also a contribution the Mongolians make to democratic elections. Good experiences and accomplishments of Mongolia are being acknowledged at the regional level and among international observers. I am very happy with this success, but we shall not give up going ahead," Elbegdorj said.

The President also applauded political awareness of the people who cast their votes at this elections. It was gradually declined since 1990.

"The election is over, so we need to commence actions promptly. New Speaker and Prime Minister must be appointed before the Naadam celebration, while new parliament and cabinet should start their activity by August 1 in full composition," the President said.

Link to article


Ulaan, as oldest MP, to open new parliament's first session

July 1 ( The State Great Khural (Parliament) spring closing session was scheduled on Tuesday but did not happen due to insufficient attendance. Six draft laws were planned to be discussed.

Parliament law did not state that next plenary session will commence after an official closing of last. Therefore, the next plenary session will commence commence as soon as the new parliament is formed.

It's by Mongolia's law that oldest MP to open and chair parliament session. This parliament's oldest member is Ch.Ulaan and he is 62 years old.   

Next session's date will be fixed by the President of Mongolia when General Election Commission present a list of new MPs to the president within 15 days after election.

Link to article


Temporary IDs issued to elected MPs

July 1 (Mongolian Economy) The Chairman of the General Election Committee, Ch.Sodnomtseren, handed over temporary passes to recently elected 76 members of parliament. "Your names will be delivered to the President of Mongolia. Good luck," he said after handing over the passes.

One major improvement seen this year's election was figures on voter turnout and the vote counting progress being reported online without any delays. The Secretary of the General Election Committee, B.Boldbaatar, said he would like to thank the committee's information technology staff for their diligence.

According to preliminary results, the MPP won 65 seats, the DP9, the MPRP1, and an independent candidate one, with the hand recount still in progress but expected to be complete by the end of the week, according to the secretary.

There have been no reported discrepancies between the results of the vote-counting machines and the manual recount.

Link to article


New parliamentarians receive temporary passes to ParliamentUB Post, July 1

New parliament members receive their temporary certificatesMontsame, July 1


Mogi Badral Bontoi -- Mongolia's new government could face a short honeymoon

July 2 (Nikkei Asian Review) Mongolia voted out the ruling Democratic Party on June 29, and returned the left-wing opposition Mongolian People's Party to power after a four-year absence, handing it a clear victory in parliamentary and local elections.

With economic growth close to zero, the economy and unemployment were the key issues in the election. This is in sharp contrast to 2012, when Mongolia was declared to be the world's fastest-growing economy, and voters this time focused on the fair distribution of mineral wealth and more national control over major mining assets.

The MPP, the former communist party that ruled Mongolia for most of the 20th century, won 65 out of 76 seats in the State Great Khural, Mongolia's unicameral parliament. The MPP also won all but one local council elections, sweeping 20 out of 21 aimags (provinces) and the capital city, Ulaanbaatar. The MPP victory echoes the 2000 election when it swept the Democrats out of power by winning 72 out of 76 parliamentary seats.

Opinion polls ahead of the election showed the MPP to be the clear favorite, but many analysts were surprised by the size of its victory. Not even outgoing Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed and Speaker Enkhbold Zandaakhuu managed to keep their parliamentary seats as voters appeared to blame them for the deteriorating economy and growing unemployment. The DP's minority coalition government had been mired in an internal power struggle, resulting in Saikhanbileg replacing Altankhuyag Norov as prime minister in late 2014.

Despite having significantly improved the legal framework for foreign investors in the last four years, it was too little, too late for the current government.

When the Democratic Party took power in 2012 it inherited a difficult situation.

A month before the 2012 election, the MPP-dominated parliament passed the most restrictive foreign investment law since opening the economy in 1990. In addition, the government was engaged in a cost-overrun dispute with Mongolia's largest foreign investor, Rio Tinto, which halted the expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, the country's biggest mining project.

In many ways this election demonstrated the growing maturity of Mongolian voters. Most of the more "populist" and "resource nationalist" politicians lost their seats despite being ranked highly in polls as recent as this March.

The ruling government had rolled out several state subsidy programs aimed at reversing falling confidence among voters, such as the state buyback of shares owned by citizens in Mongolia's largest coal mine, Tavan Tolgoi.

What perhaps was the tipping point for DP was the government's admission, just a day before the election, that it had approved the sale of Russia's 49% stake in the Erdenet copper mine to a private Mongolian commercial bank. Erdenet was for decades Mongolia's largest taxpayer until Oyu Tolgoi claimed that honor last year.

Faltering economy

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank all forecast that economic growth this year would be the worst since the 2008 global financial crisis, with the growth rate near zero before the economy begins to pick up slightly in 2017.

Although prices of Mongolia's major exports, copper and coal, are not expected to recover soon, the $5.3 billion underground expansion of Oyu Tolgoi is expected to help revive growth. Oyu Tolgoi began open-pit operations in 2013 and is projected to become the world's third-largest copper producer when it reaches peak production by 2030.

Despite this, the MPP, which oversaw Mongolia's earlier mining boom, will have to struggle with low single-digit growth over the next few years. If Rio Tinto had not approved the expansion of Oyu Tolgoi, the economy would have been in danger of falling into a recession.

The next step will be for the MPP to elect a new prime minister, who will face the daunting task of turning around the $12 billion economy to benefit Mongolia's 3 million people. The new government must deal with growing government debt, a depreciating currency and a record budget deficit, while finding ways to repay more than $1 billion in sovereign bond payments over the next 18 months.

Other challenges include reviving foreign direct investment -- which has fallen sharply -- along with improving the country's sovereign credit rating. It must also move forward with stalled major projects, including the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, several power plants and railways to improve access to key mining areas.

The MPP has a lot on its plate and is hoping that its image of "stability" will convince investors to return. It is also committed to Mongolia's long-standing "Third Neighbor Policy" of maintaining balanced ties with China and Russia, while fostering closer relations with other regional powers, such as Japan.

ASEM host

President Elbegdorj Tsakhia, a Democrat, has answered the MPP's wish for a swift transfer of power by calling the first session of the new parliament on July 5. The first order of business will be electing a new PM. With a clear majority, the MPP will waste no time in forming a new government, as Mongolia is about to host its largest ever international event, the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, on July 15-16.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russia's President Vladimir Putin are expected to attend, along with 5,000 delegates from 53 Asian and European countries.

Link to article


Economy top priority for Mongolia's new ruling party - Nikkei Asian Review, July 1

Mongolian People's Party Routs Democratic Party in Parliamentary ElectionsThe Diplomat, July 1

Photo Essay: Mongolia VotesThe Diplomat, July 1

Landslide win for Mongolian People's PartyThe Economist Intelligence Unit, June 30

Mongolia opposition scores landslide election victory - Financial Times, June 30

Mongolia vote landslide stinging rejection of government policyAFP, June 30

Ruling party defeated in Mongolian parliament elections – Ganbat Namjilsangarav for AP, June 30

Economy Woes Lift Mongolian Opposition to Power in LandslideBloomberg, June 30

Mongolian opposition wins landslide, voters fed up with hard timesReuters, June 30

Copper miner Rio Tinto faces new government in Mongolia after landslide election - The Sydney Morning Herald, June 30

Julian Dierkes: Immediate Reactions to MPP LandslideMongolia Focus, June 20

Sluggish economy casts shadow over Mongolians elections AP, June 29

Mongolian voters head to the polls amid economic uncertaintyAFP, June 29

Five questions about Mongolia's national electionsAFP, June 29

Mongolians go to polls amid gloom of a slumping economyDeutsche Welle, June 29

Long walk to the ballot box for Mongolian nomadsAFP, June 29


Interesting facts about the new parliament

July 1 (UB Post) The Mongolian People's Party (MPP) has claimed an overwhelming victory over the ruling Democratic Party (DP) in the 2016 legislative and citizen representatives' council elections, winning 65 out of 76 seats in Parliament, reported the General Election Commission of Mongolia on Thursday morning.

The DP claimed only nine seats in Parliament. Interestingly, one independent candidate and one member of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) won seats the 2016 parliamentary elections.

The attendance of eligible voters in the legislative election was at 72.1 percent nationwide, out of eligible 1,912,901 voters.

Unusual facts of the new Parliament

The eldest member of the MPP chaired the first parliamentary session of the new Parliament.

Forty out of 76 members of the new Parliament are newcomers, with many of the representing the public for the first time.

Youngest parliamentarian in history elected

Twenty-nine-year-old member of the MPP D.Gantulga became the youngest person in history to win a seat in the Mongolian parliament. He led in 42nd parliamentary electoral district, collecting 5,735 votes. D.Gantulga was previously the head of the Social Democracy Mongolian Youth Federation of Khentii Province.

Parliament with most women

Throughout 2016 to 2020, some 13 female parliamentarians are to represent Mongolia on the legislative level for the first time in history of Mongolia. The previous Parliament had 11 female members.

Only one out of the 13 elected women is from the DP, while the rest are members of the MPP.

Parliament of journalists, writers, wrestlers and singer

Many skillful writers and journalists, who express their mind with no fear of the consequences, were elected into the new Parliament. In particular, members of the MPP D.Sarangerel, M.Oyunchimeg and G.Munkhtsetseg

Sportsmen and wrestlers have always fared well in parliamentary election. This year's election was no exception, with three state champion traditional wresters claiming seats in Parliament, namely B.Bat-Erdene, D.Sumiyabazar (re-elected) and A.Sukhbat (elected for the first time).

J.Bat-Erdene collects most votes

MPP member J.Bat-Erdene, who ran in Bulgan Province (10thelectoral district), won most votes in this year's election with a total of 16,329 votes to his name.

In terms of the percentage, Ts.Davaasuren won 63.75 percent the total votes in Khuvsgul Province (38th electoral district).

Member of Parliament O.Baasankhuu had least votes by percentage, winning only 30.1 percent of votes in Orkhon province (47th electoral district). He received 4,222 votes.

Parliament of family

Many sibling and family rivalry occurred during the 2016 parliamentary elections.

For instance, brothers S.Byambatsogt and S.Battsogt competed in the parliamentary elections from Khovd Province, resulting in S.Byambatsogt's victory. Brothers Sh.Saikhansambuu and Sh.Batsambuu, who ran campaigns in Zavkhan Province, could not win seats in Parliament.

Siblings B.Saranchimeg and B.Narankhuu both won seats in Parliament. B.Narankhuu, known as one of the wealthiest people in Mongolia and founder and director of Mon Uran LLC, won a seat in Parliament from Dundgovi Province, while his older sister B.Saranchimeg, former director of the National Garden Park, was victorious in Bayanzurkh District's 51st electoral district.

Link to article


New ruling MPP promises housing for families with four or more children

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) The new government will be formed by the Mongolian People's Party (MPP), the country's first-ever political party and the party which won 65 seats in the 76-seated parliament. The MPP election platform reflects certain important social issues as child healthcare, vulnerable groups-oriented welfare and population growth encouragement.

The MPP promises improving care for mothers and children and reducing infant mortality rate, through financing the medicine expenses for children under five from the Health Insurance Fund, strengthening immunization from scarlet fever and chicken pox, as well as increasing the amount of maternity leave benefits.

Maternity leave period will be acknowledged as fulltime employment and added to the total length of employment of the women. The MPP has also reflected in their platform a goal of creating disabled children-friendly environment, and favorable space for all school-age children by restricting the number of pupils in one class within 30.

Children from herder's family will be able to attend school starting from 6-8 years of age.

Young families and the families who have four or more children under 18 years of age will be provided favorable housing opportunities.

Link to article


E.Bat-Uul "This election was like a tsunami to us"

June 30 ( After yesterday's parliamentary and citizens' representative khural election, Democratic party faced big defeat in both election, losing majority of seats to Mongolian People's Party. Today Capital city governor and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city E.Bat-Uul made press and media statement.

During the press conference, E.Bat-Uul told the press that he will resign from leader of capital city democratic party and compared the election result as "tsunami to our democratic party".

Link to article


E.Bat-Uul resigns as chairman of Capital City Democratic Party

July 1 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-uul announced on Thursday that will be resigning from his position as the chairman of the Capital City Democratic Party.

In his statement, E.Bat-Uul stressed, "The Mongolian People's Party has made an absolute victory in the city council election.

"First of all, I want to express my gratitude to the General Election Commission for organizing the 2016 elections with excellent preparations and arrangement. I want to thank all supporters of the Democratic Party. I want to thank all citizens who were involved in the city's development during last four years. I hope that everyone is on the same page with me that the capital city's environment and appearance has changed.

"The results of the 2016 elections was a political tsunami for the Capital City Democratic Party. We were confident that we [Democratic Party] would have the victory in the 2016 legislative elections."

Mayor E.Bat-Uul stressed that voters supported deniers of development rather than developers, and added that this election showed how one can succeed through libel and defamation.

E.Bat-Uul concluded that he accepts the absolute victory of the MPP in the city council election and wished success to the new policy makers.

Link to article


Mongolia bans protest marches for 17 days

June 29 ( UB City mayor E.Bat-Uul has prohibited protest rallies on Chinggis Square and other parts of the city for 17 days from today (29th June). The decision is aimed at maintaining public safety. But public events planned by the government or city administration will be held as normal. In July, Ulaanbaatar city will host Mongolian the traditional celebration of 'Naadam' which will be followed by the Asia-Europe meeting (11th ASEM). For these big events, ensuring public safety is paramount.

Link to article


No demonstration until July 17Montsame, June 29


413 journalists to cover Mongolian parliamentary election

June 29 ( Preparation for the general election is now complete. Currently, 450 observers from 50 countries including the USA, the Russian Federation, Canada, Sweden, Germany, France and Australia as well as Mongolia have obtained permission from the General Electoral Commission to monitor the event. In addition, 413 journalists from Mongolian and international media have received permission from the General Electoral Commission to cover the Mongolian parliamentary election.

Link to article


OSCE: STATEMENT OF PRELIMINARY FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS - Mongolia — Parliamentary Elections, 29 June 2016

Ulaanbaatar, 30 June 2016 (OSCE) – This Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions is the result of a common endeavour involving the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) and the European Parliament (EP).

Laima Liucija AndrikienÄ— (Lithuania) led the EP delegation. Ambassador Audrey Glover is the Head of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission (EOM), deployed from 20 May.

The assessment was made to determine whether the elections complied with OSCE commitments, other international obligations and standards for democratic elections, and with domestic legislation. Both institutions involved in this International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) have endorsed the 2005 Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation.

This Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions is delivered prior to the completion of the electoral process. The final assessment of the elections will depend, in part, on the conduct of the remaining stages of the electoral process, including the tabulation of results and the handling of possible post-election day complaints and appeals. The OSCE/ODIHR will issue a comprehensive final report, including recommendations for potential improvements, some eight weeks after the completion of the electoral process.


Election day was orderly, following a competitive campaign. This, however, did not offset the impact of late fundamental changes in the electoral legislation on Mongolia's democratic development. The elections were highly contested and the freedoms of assembly and association were respected. Restrictive campaign provisions coupled with the media's subservience to political interests limited impartial and comprehensive information available for voters.

Following an inclusive process, a new election law was adopted on 25 December 2015, which consolidated various election laws, a positive development toward establishing a cohesive electoral framework. However, in May 2016, the parliament changed the mixed electoral system to a solely majoritarian one, established 76 single-mandate constituencies and approved their boundaries through a process that lacked transparency, public consultation and adherence to established criteria. It resulted in profound population discrepancies among constituencies, which is inconsistent with the principle of equality of the vote provided for by paragraph 7.3 of the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document and other international obligations and standards.

The elections were administered by a four-tiered election administration, headed by the General Election Commission (GEC). In preparation for election day, the GEC met key operational deadlines and fulfilled its mandate. At the same time, the GEC lacked transparency and accountability towards stakeholders, thus diminishing trust in the credibility of the process. Testing of vote counting machines was conducted by the GEC professionally in the presence of stakeholders. To address concerns over their accuracy and integrity, the law was amended to stipulate that up to 50 per cent of polling stations would be subject to a manual recount. However, procedures stipulating the manual recount were finalized only two days prior to the elections, which did not allow time for the relevant training of lower-level commissions.

Voter registration is passive and based on the national civil register that uses biometric data. A total of 1,910,878 voters were registered for these elections. Stakeholders expressed general confidence in the accuracy and inclusiveness of the voter register. However, persons declared incompetent by a court or those serving a prison sentence, regardless of the severity of the crime, are ineligible to vote. Following amendments in May, even after preparations had already been initiated, out-of-country voting was abolished for parliamentary elections, which effectively disenfranchised 150,000 citizens living abroad.

Candidate registration was largely inclusive, providing voters with a range of political choices. There was a total of 498 candidates, including 69 independents. However, contrary to OSCE commitments and other international obligations, the legislation sets disproportionate restrictions on candidacy rights, disqualifying a person for overdue debts or taxes, for not having completed compulsory military service as well as for having a criminal record regardless of the crime committed.

Despite undue campaign restrictions, the freedoms of assembly and association were respected and candidates were generally able to convey their messages to the electorate. Several large-scale promises by the ruling party distorted the fairness of the campaign. At times, the lines were blurred between the administration, both national and local, and parties. The OSCE/ODIHR EOM was made aware of multiple alleged instances of vote-buying, which resulted in a number of formal complaints and the deregistration of two candidates. These are the first elections that the State Audit Office (SAO) will audit contestants' campaign finances. However, key legal provisions enabling effective SAO oversight are still to be developed. Overall, campaign finance lacks key transparency measures.

All parties and coalitions complied with the 20 per cent gender quota provided by law, resulting in 26 per cent of contestants being women. However, there were no women candidates in more than one-third of the constituencies. While there is only one woman among the GEC members, women were better represented on lower-level election commissions. Overall, women remain underrepresented in political life.

The media offered extensive election coverage, but abandoned its intermediary role, primarily granting direct access to the politicians. Paid political advertisements and free airtime overshadowed editorial content, and campaign material prepared by political parties was also included within news programmes, disrupting credibility of the media. Consequently, voters were deprived of independent and analytical reporting.

The GEC received some 50 pre-election complaints. Courts reviewed 21 cases regarding candidate registration and the police handled over 1,000 campaign-related complaints. Although legislation clarifies to some extent the complaint and appeal process, a general lack of formalization and transparency in the process within the election administration and protracted handling of electoral disputes in courts undermined the right to an effective remedy.

Several civil society organizations monitored the pre-electoral environment, including campaign finance and the media's conduct, and issued timely statements highlighting key shortcomings of the process. They also contributed greatly to civic education and voter information initiatives on national and local levels. Five citizen observer groups were accredited to observe on election day, three organizations were denied accreditation.

Election day proceeded in an orderly manner throughout most of the country. Overall, voting was assessed as positive, although the secrecy of the vote was not consistently ensured. The IEOM's assessment of the vote count and tabulation of results notably departed from the positive assessment of voting with the principal cause being significant procedural errors or omissions. While the GEC immediately released aggregated results on television, results were not broken down by polling station nor made available on its website, limiting the possibility of independent scrutiny.

Link to full report


Reporter Terrence Edwards: This election is 'about who can best fix the economy'

By Lila Seidman

June 29 (UB Post) New York-born, Ulaanbaatar-based freelance reporter Terrence Edwards arrived late, flustered and apologetic to our interview. It was totally understandable, given that elections were two days away and Edwards juggles deadlines tied to its processes and outcome via multiple positions, including co-hosting of VTV's weekly English-language program DeFacto Review, serving as editor-in-chief of Business Council Mongolia's NewsWire and covering Mongolia for Reuters and other publications. He's been "very busy," he understates.

Edwards was politically oblivious for his first two years in the country. He arrived in 2009 as a Peace Corps volunteer with a journalism background when the country "was still dark." There were no houses or buildings flanking the airport, just empty fields. He didn't stop in the city once on his way to the small, rural soum where he taught English, lived with a local family and learned Mongolian.

"So I had no expectations [of UB]. I knew it was a city, but I didn't really know how developed it was," Edwards says. He visited UB only months after arriving.

At the end of his volunteer service, in 2011, he began exploring reporting opportunities in Mongolia. BCM was, coincidentally, looking to hire someone with his exact resume: a Peace Corps alum with experience in journalism.

"It was kind of just perfect timing," he explains.

Edwards has been living in Ulaanbaatar ever since, going home for vacation just for one month every year.

"I quite like living in Mongolia because I do feel it's a free country," he says. "It's not a police state like its neighbors. It's not a one-party state. Sometimes things aren't perfect or fair, but I don't know any democracy that's perfect or fair."

The UB Post sat down with Edwards to discuss his views on politics, the economy and more.

How have the election years you've witnessed differed? Is there anything that is significantly different about this election?

I feel like every election has a theme. Here it's easy to classify what the elections are about.

In 2008, which I was not around for… it was all about politicians trying to trump one another [with] who could offer more cash to the voters. It wasn't like they were trying to buy votes directly, but they were saying, "If you vote for us, we'll have these social welfare payments that you can depend on."

In 2012, it was more about taking back the resources and improving people's lives that way. Foreign investors had gotten too much control, and they were somehow getting in the way of the people and the benefits from the mining industry.

This year, it seems to be about who can best fix the economy at this point.

The Mongolian People's Party (MPP) will tell you [to] look at their record. They had been overseeing the largest growth this country had ever seen, when it was number one for economic growth in the world – and to look at all the disastrous mistakes the Democratic Party (DP) has made.

The DP would say, not only have they learned from their mistakes, but the MPP had a part in where we are today as well.

What's your take?

Two weeks before the [2012] election occurred, a very controversial law was passed. It was called the Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law, and basically, it was a reaction to a Chinese state-owned company trying to buy a Mongolian coal deposit.

Without getting too detailed, there was this resource nationalist backlash. People were not talking about how this deal should go through [or] what it should like. Right off the bat, they were saying, "How do we block his deal?" It was a very knee-jerk reaction.

The MPP was leading the government at the time, so it's really important to realize that this one law that really set off the downward spiral in foreign investment was passed by the MPP government. That kind of set the tone for what the DP had to work with.

Yes, the [DP] didn't make things much better when they got into disputes with Rio Tinto over the Oyu Tolgoi mine, when they revoked licenses, when they refused to pay Khan Resources… But it's still a young democracy. They're learning from their mistakes. Sometimes, it's hard to make those difficult decisions when society wants you to act this way [or that way]. How do you make that tough decision and go against their wishes, even though [you] maybe know it's for the best? I'm not trying to make excuses for them, but there is that as well.

It seems some of the major mining disputes have been or are being resolved and foreign investment is beginning to pick up. For example, you reported in May that Rio Tinto paid 5.3 billion USD to expand Oyu Tolgoi. Does that signal positive change – politically, socially, economically?

Last July, Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg was in London and said, "Pay Khan Resources." Flat out. Now, the government doesn't always move as a well-oiled machine. Sometimes that gear goes this way, and that spoke goes that way, to the left and the right. So that was his intention, but other factions within the government tried to renege on that.

The fact that Mongolia did come to an agreement with Khan Resources and did pay about 100 million USD to this Canadian company that the Paris Tribunal ruled in favor of shows that Mongolia does honor international agreements. It does recognize arbitration. Those are very, very good things, and it sets a better example than a lot of Latin American countries, for example.

What role do election oversight committees and independent journalists,  like you, have in the election process? Do they help keep it honest?

If they are truly independent, that is what should happen. Unfortunately, there are people that aren't independent journalists – they may claim to be – but they're on the payroll of a politician and they're basically writing promotional material. They might be ghostwriting for the politician, and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that, but to dress it up as news is something different.

Have you ever experienced any pushback for the work you've written?

No, but I don't think I'm on the same vulnerability level as local journalists. At the end of the day, they can kick me out of the country, but I can still live my life. Whereas Mongolians, it's either owing a lot of money from a huge fine or it's spending time in prison, which has happened.

According to a recent UN Human Development Report, youth voting and political engagement has decreased. Why do you think that is?

It's not different than the States, where young people feel like their vote doesn't matter, doesn't count, doesn't change anything. It's a similar sentiment, but also, put on top of that, that there is this advantage in this country of being born to the right family. You could say that about a lot of societies, but it's a little bit more classist here because disparity is so wide between the classes.

…If there's someone pulling the strings in government, it's not so much a secret. People know who the oligarchs are, and often, they've met them or they know someone related to them. [You can] look across the street and maybe you live in a ger and they live in a condo.

How do you hope this election plays out?

I have no stake in which party wins. I want to see a fair election and I want to see results that, [confirmed by] the observers, there was not any abuse of powers, that there wasn't any fraud. And I don't expect that. I think that Mongolia will have a fair election.

I want to see a quiet election day. I don't want to hear people shouting on Chinggis Square. I don't want to see protests because in 2008 that led to violence. That's the worst-case scenario. So my hopeful outcome is a boring election day.

What do you think could be done to promote more confidence in the election? What can be done to increase youth involvement?

It's been the same people running the show for so many years that the young people, especially those coming back from studying abroad – learning that there's new or better ways to manage the country, manage companies – I think they get very frustrated when they see the same people running the country as ten years ago and making the same mistakes, when they feel they could do it better [and] fairer.

So, what that means is that young people want to vote for young people. There is a division between the older and younger generation, and I think young Mongolians are tired of waiting for older folks to retire.

Link to article


Vietnam, South Korea, Mongolia the only Asian countries to back UN LGBT watchdog

July 2 (Asian Correspondent) THE only Asian countries to back a United Nations mandate to safeguard gay and transgender people from violence and discrimination all around the world are Vietnam, South Korea and Mongolia. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted on Thursday to appoint the independent monitor.

The Geneva-based UNHRC debated the issue for nearly four hours before agreeing to appoint an "independent expert" to identify what causes violence and discrimination towards the LGBT community, and work with governments to find ways of protecting them.

Vietnam, South Korea and Mongolia voted in favor of the mandate, the only three supporters from the Asian region to do so. The rest of the 23 members to support the mandate were from Europe and Latin America.

Six countries abstained from the vote, including the Philippines, India and South Africa, while 18 opposition votes came from mostly from Muslim and African countries, as well as China and Russia.

According to the Washington Post, the resolution included a last-minute amendment as a nod to countries where homosexuality is not widely accepted, which said "the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind".

However, it added: "It is the duty of the States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms."

A spokesperson for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in statement to journalists in New York: "I can tell you that the Secretary-General believes that the Human Rights Council marked another important step forward when it decided to appoint a UN Independent Expert to monitor and report on levels of violence and discrimination against LGBT people globally.

"It is clear that there's still so much that needs to be done to protect people from violence, tackle discrimination at work, end bullying in schools and ensure access to healthcare, housing and essential services."

The expert will be appointed in September, and carry out a three-year term to carry out country visits and take up individual allegations with governments.

Link to article


US-funded training supports efforts to combat domestic violence

Ulaanbaatar, July 1 (MONTSAME) More than 30 representatives of Mongolian government agencies and Mongolia's Law Enforcement University have strengthened their ability to respond effectively to domestic violence, U.S.-funded "training of trainers" course in Ulaanbaatar, the US Embassy's website in Ulaanbaatar reported Tuesday.

The training featured international judicial and prosecution best practices presented by two visiting experts, Ramona Gonzalez, a U.S. judge who handles domestic violence cases; and Jennifer Long, the director of a U.S.-based non-profit organization. The training also drew on the experience of eight Mongolian experts representing psychologists, university professors, and other practitioners in the field.

Course participants will build on their training by jointly developing a handbook and subsequently training more than 200 Mongolian judges, prosecutors, police officers, marshals, and bailiffs to enhance their coordination and strengthen their capacity to address domestic violence, in line with Mongolian legislation and international and Mongolian best practices.

This "training of trainers" was funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs through the "Combatting Gender-Based Violence in Mongolia: Strengthening Justice Sector Capacity" project implemented by the International Development Law Organization (IDLO). IDLO continues to expand its partnerships with key rule of law actors in Mongolia, working closely with the Ministry of Justice, the Judicial General Council, the Office of the Prosecutor General, the National Police Authority, the General Executive Agency of Court Decisions, and the Marshals Authority.

In addition to this work, the U.S. Department of State Secretary's Full Participation Fund supports a complementary project to combat domestic violence in Mongolia titled "Combatting Gender-Based Violence in Mongolia: Providing a Foundation for Domestic Violence Shelters" which aims to increase the capacity of the Mongolian government and NGO partners working with victims of domestic violence through exposure to domestic violence shelter management techniques and domestic violence response and prevention strategies.

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Rostec Agrees to Sell Copper and Gold Ventures to Mongolian Bank

By Andrey Lemeshko and Yuliya Fedorinova

June 29 (Bloomberg) -- Russia's state-controlled Rostec Corp. agreed to sell its stakes in Mongolian copper- and gold-mining joint ventures to a unit of Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia

Rostec signed an accord to sell its 49 percent stake in Erdenet Mining Corporation LLC and Mongolrostsvetmet, RT-Business Development, the investment arm of the Russian corporation, said by e-mail on Tuesday. Mongolian Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed later confirmed the deal.

The parties didn't disclose the price of the assets. The Mongolian bank unit will pay about $500 million, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information wasn't official.

The joint ventures were set up by the former Soviet Union and Mongolia in the 1970s. Mongolrostsvetmet mines metals, including gold and iron ore, while Erdenet is focused on copper and may produce up to 530,000 metric tons of copper concentrate annually.

--With assistance from Michael Kohn.


Link to Rostec statement, June 30


PM: Mongolia has taken 100 percent ownership of Erdenet Mining Corporation

July 1 (UB Post) Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg announced that Mongolia has acquired 100 percent ownership of the Mongolia-Russia joint venture Erdenet Mining Corporation (EMC), on Tuesday.

In the past, the government of Mongolia owned 51 percent, and Russia's Rostech Corporation owned 49 percent of EMC.

The Prime Minister said that as a result of negotiation with the Russian side, Mongolia will continue owning 51 percent and the remaining 49 percent will be owned by Mongolian Copper Company on behalf of the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia.

Through the transaction, EMC's status has changed from a joint venture, regulated by international agreement, to a domestic entity, regulated by the Law on Companies of Mongolia.

The Prime Minister underlined that in the past, dividends from 51 percent of the total profit of EMC remained in Mongolia, and the other 49 percent went to Rostech. He claimed that now 100 percent of the EMC profit will remain in Mongolia.

Ch.Saikhanbileg said that he was concerned that inaccurate and false information might be reported following the transaction, and made further clarifications.

"All public organizations, including EMC, will be under Mongolia's authority. No changes will be made to the staff of EMC. The joint Monrostsvetment factory also became Mongolia's domestic entity though the same principle. Currently, EMC is operating normally and will conduct normal operations in the future," the Prime Minister said.

He noted that Mongolian and Russian sides will make official statements soon, adding that the Russian side has resolved the issue on a high level. Ch.Saikhanbileg said that there will not be any participation from a third party, and that Mongolia will not face any financial and payment issues following the changes.

Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg stated that after finalizing the negotiations with Russia, the Cabinet will submit and introduce the ownership issue to Parliament.

"This is a thing that many governments of Mongolia and its citizens have been waiting for to come about. We have resolved the issue on big debts owed to Russia, and the Cabinet paid the remaining portion to Russia. Now, EMC has become Mongolia's domestic entity," said Ch.Saikhanbileg.

Even though the Russian side didn't release any official statements, Russian Business Development Company highlighted in their report that this will be a deal with the highest cash value in the history of Rostech. Bloomberg reported that Rostech is expected to get 500 million USD as a result of the negotiation with the Mongolian government.

Link to article


Erdenet share selling "largest transaction in history of Rostec"Montsame, July 1

Mongolia to own Erdenet and Mongolrostsvetment 100% -, July 1


Speaker votes and expresses his view on EMC ownership

Ulaanbaatar, June 29 (MONTSAME) Chairman of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Mr Z.Enkhbold cast his ballot at 7th polling station of the parliamentary elections' 59th constituency, located at the 45th secondary school of Sukhbaatar district.

The Speaker noted that this year's elections are being organized under excellent management while also satisfying all legal standards.

When asked about Mongolia's purchasing of the 49 percent share of Erdenet Mining Corporation that once belonged to Russia, the Speaker noted this issue was on the table for a long time as Mongolia had been proposing the Russian side to sell its share of the EMC. Finally, this was settled during the tripartite meeting of the presidents of Mongolia, Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

To be finalized, this issue must be approved by the parliament, which is to be put together as a result of these elections. "Politicizing this decision must be stopped. Russian side also offered Mongolia to buy Ulaanbaatar Railway joint venture, which offer, however, has been denied due to extreme politicizing of that time. We should purchase our major industries when possible for the sake of our economic independence", he noted.

Link to article


Over 30 projects lined up for trilateral economic corridor

By B. Dulguun

June 29 (UB Post) Three years of negotiation between the presidents of Mongolia, China and Russia has finally shown its first tangible result as the three heads adopt a program on the development of a trilateral economic corridor during their latest trilateral meeting.

President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Xi Jinping sealed the agreement on June 23 and 24, 2016 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on the sidelines of the 16th summit of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States. The trilateral economic corridor is a major cooperation initiative aimed to boost infrastructural and trade integration of the three nations through the aligning of China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, Russia's Trans-Eurasian Belt Development initiative, and Mongolia's Steppe Road Program. Joint working groups of the projects have met 17 times in the last three years.

Within the scope of the program, the Mongolian side will carry out 32 projects, out of nearly 300 recommended projects. Over 190 projects were proposed from the Chinese side alone and the Mongolian side selected 32 projects, considered beneficial to the nation, reported the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Tashkent.

Among these 32 projects, 13 are focused on transportation infrastructure. According to the minister, an Investment and Planning Center will be established in Ulaanbaatar before 2017 and financial issues will be negotiated. Though China has enough funds to cover the majority of the projects' costs, the Mongolian side wish to seek investment from other countries as well. The three presidents plan to equally divide costs required for building the Investment and Planning Center, where all financial matters related to programs and projects of the economic corridor will be managed.

As stated in the program on the development of a trilateral economic corridor, Mongolia, Russia and China will strengthen cooperation in areas of transportation infrastructure connectivity, ports and border checkpoint construction, customs control, industrial capacity, investment, trade and economy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and environmental protection. Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China's National Development and Reform Commission, and Russia's Ministry of Economic Development will be in charge of the program's implementation.

Below is a list of projects to be implemented for the trilateral economic corridor program.

Transportation infrastructure:

1. Conduct a feasibility study for comprehensively redeveloping the main railway links of the economic corridor (UlaanUde-Naushki-Sukhbaatar-Ulaanbaatar-Zamiin Uud-Erenhot-Ulaan Tsav-Zhangjiakou-Beijing-Tianjin), constructing a double-track railway, and distributing electricity to it.

2. Conduct studies on northern railway links of the economic corridor (Kurangino-Kyzyl-Tsagaan Tolgoi-Arts Suuri-Ovoot-Erdenet-Salkhit- Zamiin Uud-Erenhot-Ulaan Tsav-Zhangjiakou-Beijing- Tianjin). In the case of a positive feasibility study result, the construction work will start immediately.

3. Conduct studies on western railway links of the economic corridor (Kurangino-Kyzyl-Tsagaan Tolgoi-Arts Suuri-Khovd-Takashiken-Haxi Prefecture-Urumqi). In the case of a positive feasibility study result, the construction work will start immediately.

4. Conduct studies on eastern railway links of the economic corridor (Borzya-Solovevsk-Ereen Tsav-Choibalsan-Khuut-Bichigt-Zuun Khatavch-Ulaan Khad-Chifeng-Jinzhou). In the case of a positive feasibility study result, the construction work will start immediately.

5. Conduct studies on Tumen River Transportation Corridor project, also referred as "Coast-2" corridor, (Choibalsan-Sumber-Rashaan-Ulanhot-Changchun-Yanji-Zarubino). In the case of a positive feasibility study result, the construction work will start immediately.

6. Conductstudies on "Coast-1" railway corridor (Choibalsan-Sumber-Rashaan-Manchuria-Qiqihar-Harbin-Mudanjiang-Suifenhe-Vladivostok-Nakhodka). In the case of a positive feasibility study result, the construction work will start immediately.

7. Study opportunities to connect Mongolia with the superhighway between Moscow and Beijing.

8. Organize a joint discussion session on establish a trilateral logistics company.

9. Actively use Asian Highway Networks AH-3 (Ulaan Ude-Kyakhta, Altanbulag-Darkhan-Ulaanbaatar-Sainshand-Zamiin Uud, and Erenhot-Beijing-Tianjin) for transportation, and conduct feasibility study for building a highway joining Mongolia to AH-3.

10. Construct AH-3 routes Novosibirsk-Barnaul-Gorno-Altaysk –Tashanta, UlaanBaishint-Khovd-Yarantai, and route Takashiken-Urumqi-Kashi-Honqiraf.

11. Conduct a study on East Highway Corridor (Borzya Borzya-Solovevsk-Ereen Tsav-Choibalsan-Baruun Urt-Bichigt-Zuun Khatavch-Xi Ujimqin-Ulaan had; routes between Zuun Khatavch and Chaoyang, between Chengde and Jinzhou) and begin construction if feasibility study shows positive result.

12. Establish anIntergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network between governments of Mongolia, Russia and China.

13. Rampup construction of communications infrastructure, manage technological operations and ensure safety of transportation corridors running from Ulaan Ude to Kyakhta, as well as on routes Altanbulag-Darkhan-Ulaan-baatar-Sainshand-Zamiin Uud and Erenhot-Ulaan Tsav-Beijing-Tianjin.


14. Boost construction of the main part of the Mongolia-Russia-China economic corridor and study opportunities for establishing an industrial cooperation agreement between the three nations.

15. Conduct a feasibility study on building an economic cooperation zone between Heilongjiang Province in China, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, Mongolia and Russia.

Border checkpoint reform:

16. Repair Russian border checkpoints in Zabaikalsk, Pogranichny, Kraskino and Mondi, Chinese border checkpoints in Manchuria, Suifenhe, Hunchun and Erenhot, as well as Mongolian border checkpoints.


17. Research cooperation opportunities with Chinese companies on renewing Mongolian and Russian electricity distribution network.

Trade, customs, specialized inspection, and quarantine:

18. Carry out the Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Development of Ports of Entry and Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Creating Favorable Conditions to Facilitate Trade Development among China, Russia and Mongolia, established on July 9, 2015.

19. Approve and support the implementation of agreements between Russia's Federal Customs Service, China's General Administration of Customs, and Mongolia's General Taxation and Customs Administration, which calls for mutual recognition of the result of custom control inspections of certain goods.

20. Implement the joint declaration of Mongolia, Russia and China on food security cooperation, made on October 3, 2015, and strengthen cross-border trade control on food products, and improve trade conditions.

21. Provide support for the agreement signed between customs authorities of Mongolia, Russia and China on June 23, 2016 through cooperation on bolstering customs control inspections of products of animal and plant origin, preventing spread of animal and plant diseases and harmful biological outbreaks, as well as ensure trade security controls on products of animal and plant origin.

Environmental protection and ecology:

22. Boost practical cooperation on special protection areas that are beneficial to all sides, and strengthen relevant communication. Mongolia, Russia and China will organize consultative meetings and improve mutually beneficial cooperation within the scope of Mongolia's Daguur Strictly Protected Area measures.

23. Strengthen tripartite cooperation on protection of wild animals, plants and immigration birds, and on scientific exploration and inspection related to wild plants, animals and bodies of water.

24. Study opportunities for creating an information exchange system between authorities, and collaboration on environmental protection and ecology sectors.

Scientific and technological cooperation:

25. Science and technological parks and innovative companies of Mongolia, Russia and China will boost cooperation in transportation, environmental protection, rational use of natural resources, science and technology for sustainable livelihood, information and communication technology, nano technology, energy, energy conservation and waste reduction, agricultural science, new industrial technologies, and natural and technological disasters.

26. All sides will expand scientific and technological development of information exchange and promote exchange and training of academics.

27. Expand the scope of international student exchange and advance educational exchanges for young people based on resources of educational organizations.

Humanitarian cooperation:

28. Develop cross-border tourism destinations, including Mongolia's Khuvsgul Lake, Russia's Baikal Lake, and China's Hulunbuir Grassland. The three sides will co-establish a tourism circle across Mongolia, Russia and China.

29. Produce "Great Tea Road" brand for Mongolia-Russia-China tourism.

30. Enhance film trade and exchanges among the three nations and develop a joint film industry.


31. Carry out the protocol signed on September 12, 2015 between Mongolia's Department of Veterinary and Animal Breeding, Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision, and China's Veterinary Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Medical science:

32. The three sides will co-organize international seminars on medical science and health, and cooperate in the public health sector.

Link to article


Mongolia to increase sea buckthorn export

July 1 (UB Post) The Ministry of Food and Agriculture reported that it is working toward increasing sea buckthorn exportation to foreign markets.

This year, Mongolia planted sea buckthorn in 5,860 hectares of land, and expects to harvest around 2,044 tons of sea buckthorn.

Mongolia started exporting sea buckthorn to Japan in 2010. The Fruits and Berries Association of Mongolia reported that it is seeking advice from Japan on sea buckthorn reserves, technology and packaging through the economic partnership agreement established between Mongolia and Japan.  Through the economic partnership agreement, sea buckthorn export customs tax is to be exempted. The customs tax on sea buckthorn in Japan was 14 percent before the agreement.

The Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry reported that sea buckthorn cultivation is highest in Selenge Province, at 19.6 percent, and in Uvurkhangai Province, at 13.2 percent. There are a total of 37 sea buckthorn processing factories in Mongolia, which have the capacity to process over 5,200 tons of sea buckthorn annually.

In 2015, Mongolia planted fruits and berries at around 6,000 hectares of land, 92 percent of which were for sea buckthorn.

A total of 1.08 million USD worth of sea buckthorn oil, fruit juice and dried leaves were exported to Russia, Japan and Singapore last year. Industry analysts underline that in order to increase sea buckthorn export, Mongolia needs to diversify sea buckthorn products and improve its packaging and labeling.

Link to article


AmCham Mongolia and US Chamber of Commerce host roundtable discussion

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Mongolia and the US Chamber of Commerce hosted a roundtable discussion with support from Oyu Tolgoi titled "Mongolia – Back on Track: Opportunities for the U.S. Private Sector" on June 24 at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

The roundtable convened over 35 leaders including representatives from the U.S. Government, the Embassy of Mongolia to the United States, the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC), the U.S. private sector, and other key stakeholders.

The roundtable was organized on the occasion of AmCham Mongolia's third annual U.S. Trade Mission that took place in Washington D.C. on June 20-24, 2016. Participants discussed the current state of business in Mongolia in various sectors and what AmCham Mongolia is doing in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber and APCAC to forge stronger bilateral trade and commerce between the U.S. and Mongolia.

Tami Overby, Senior Vice President for Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce highlighted the importance of AmCham's mission and remarked, "The U.S. Chamber recognizes that Mongolia is an important political ally and commercial partner for the United States. We share the AmCham's mission in highlighting the commercial opportunities in Mongolia for our members and are committed to deeper engagement and stronger bilateral ties."

"APCAC provides members of AmCham Mongolia a valuable resource as it links them to the members of 28 other AmChams throughout the Asia-Pacific region.  The AmCham-APCAC-US Chamber represents a powerful team dedicated to advancing the interests of their members," said Jackson Cox, Chairman of APCAC and board member of AmCham Mongolia.

Link to article


Cash card consumption grows in 2016

June 29 (UB Post) Bloomberg reports that the number of credit card consumers (Mogi: debit cards)  in the banking system increased by 5.8 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

A total of 4.2 million credit cards are registered in Mongolia, 1.9 million of which are being actively used. The report underlined that MNT credit card usage increased by 9.6 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2015, and 73.4 percent of the MNT credit cards are being used in Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan-Uul Province, and Orkhon Province.

The report says that UnionPay card usage grew among international credit cards being used by local cardholders, as 11,240 new UnionPay cards were ordered in the first quarter of this year. The number of American Express cardholders went up by 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2016. While a total of 1.4 million people hold Visa cards.

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Presidents of Mongolia, Russia and China will meet again in Ulaanbaatar next year

June 30 ( Foreign minister L.Purevsuren reported to press on the Meeting of Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation /SCO/ in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and the third trilateral meeting between the heads of state of Mongolia, Russia and China.

Trilateral meeting was first initiated by president of Mongolia and held it's first meeting on September 11, 2014, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The third trilateral meeting signed the memorandum of understanding on establishing "Economic corridor" between Mongolia, Russia and China.

"Economic corridor" agreement mainly covered transportation sector. China proposed some 190 projects but Mongolia expressed it's interest and finally settled on 32 projects." said FM L.Purevsuren.

The 32 projects reflects some key areas of development in Mongolia such as transit railway, new corridor, and high speed internet lines, as well as future gas and petroleum pipelines etc.

President Ts.Elbegdorj proposed some main principles to follow for the implementation of these projects. These are equality, Mongolia to be centre for trilateral cooperation, projects' investment planning center to be established in Ulaanbaatar.

"Transit transport is becoming an important issue in 'Economic Corridor' project between the three countries. President Putin said Russia will increase the railway's throughput capacity to 100 million tonnes of freight a year. At the moment, our railway capacity does not reach even 5, 6 million tonnes. 100 million tonnes is tremendous goal." notes the FM.

Also presidents signed an agreement on mutual recognition of customs inspection result. This enables the trilateral customs authorities to cooperate directly.

Russia and China supported Mongolia to host the fourth trilateral meeting of heads of state between Mongolia, Russia and China, and Russia in Ulaanbaatar next year.

Link to article


Mongolian Ambassador to Hungary Singing a Hungarian Song

June 30 --

Link to video


Mongolia: Clash of Nature and Modernization

By Suren Badral, Himalayan Consensus Advisory Board Member

Mongolia is the 18th largest country in the world in terms of the size of its territory. But it is a sparsely populated country. The rural population density is 1 person per square kilometer (excluding 3 major cities).

Mongolia lies at the cross of the Northern Siberian cold and the Southern China warm. it has an extreme continental climate that is unstable and unpredictable.

It inhabits the southernmost tips of the Siberian permafrost and the northernmost ranges of the Gobi deserts.

Therefore, any persistent change in the temperature has a very deep impact on the land and poses severe challenges to human and livestock survival.

Mongolia has experienced an increase in average temperature by 2.07° between 1940 and 2013[1] and this warming is expected to further accelerate.

Mongolia is fully dependent on climate for animal husbandry which is one of the largest contributors to the economy and the only means for the livelihood of a one-third of the population.

The recent mining boom in Mongolia has greatly exacerbated the worsening of habitat for human and natural life. Uncontrolled and irresponsible mining poses serious threats to the livelihood of many nomadic herders.

The global warming coupled with mining fever has led to a rapid decrease of water resources, a deep degradation of land and soil, a rapid melting of permafrost and glaciers which are the major source of surface water in Mongolia.

That is why the ongoing process of negotiations on a new climate change agreement is crucial to Mongolia.

Mongolia's position in these negotiations is common with that of the Group of 77 (and China), an umbrella organization of the developing countries at the UN negotiations.

Mongolia stands for upholding the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and for the developed countries' responsibility and action to provide technology, financial support and capacity-building to the developing nations to tackle the severe impacts of the climate change.

For Mongolia the international efforts are necessary but not sufficient. It is Mongolia and its people who must do much more on coping with the climate change and be prepared for the negative impacts of the global warming.

Lack of good governance, weak rule of law and persisting poverty are among the major domestic factors of a multiplier effect on the deteriorating environment in Mongolia.

The traditional culture of the Mongolians living in harmony with nature has helped keep the pristine nature of the land for centuries. But now it is being seriously eroded by increasing urbanization and modernization. It is now an immense problem how to keep this tradition alive and working and adapted in the new conditions of global warming.

The new economic paradigm advocated by the Himalayan Consensus suggests a far-reaching solution in Mongolia's dilemma. Its proposal to focus on renewable-efficient energy, water-food security, applying traditional knowledge to present challenges, community empowerment and inclusive finance, points to the policy priorities we should adopt in Mongolia.

What the Himalayan Consensus is advocating is, in essence, to live decently today while following the advice of Mahatma Gandhi: "The earth, the air, the land and the water are not an inheritance from our fore fathers but on loan from our children. So we have to handover to them at least as it was handed over to us."

It is possible. It is becoming more a must.

[1] "Mongolia Second Assessment Report on Climate Change – 2014"

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Health, Education

Scientific conference held on pathohistological diagnosis

Ulaanbaatar, July 1 (MONTSAME) The ninth Mongolia-South Korea joint scientific conference themed "Pathohistological diagnosis issues" took place on June 27-28 in Ulaanbaatar.

This conference was co-organized by the National Center of Pathology (NCP), the National Center of Oncology (NSO), the school of Pharmaceutics and Biomedicine at the National University of Medical Sciences, the Mongolian Association of Pathohistology (MAP), their counterparts of South Korea and branches, with participation of some 100 people of both countries.

Remarks were made by director of the National Health Development Center of Mongolia Ch.Bat-Erdene; chair of the National Center of MAP Sh.Enkhtuya; the NCP director G.Uyanga; deputy head of the NSO; and a consultative pathologist of the S.Korean National Health Center Dr Han Sin Gwan.

The parties addressed issues of broadening their cooperation, and came to terms with scheduling the next 10th conference in 2017.

Link to article


Diplomas and references to become available online

June 29 (UB Post) During Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, it was announced that Mongolians living abroad will be available to obtain copies of their diplomas and transcripts online beginning on July 15.

Throughout the 2015 to 2016 academic year , Mongolian embassies in foreign countries approached the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences of Mongolia to request copies of educational references for a total of 7,148 Mongolians who are studying at foreign universities, colleges, and schools.

The number of Mongolians who want to study in the United States, Japan, Canada, China, Russia, Germany, Austria, and Italy is increasing year by year, and there is rising demand for certified copies of diplomas, references, and transcripts. Documents are requested by the Consulate Department of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, foreign embassies in Mongolia, the State Service Council, General Police Department, General Authority of State Registration and Statistics, Education Assessment Center, and State Training Fund.

By providing educational background documents online, the service will become more prompt and Mongolia's operations in the education sector will become closer to meeting international standards.

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Culture, Society

Naadam festival program

Ulaanbaatar, July 1 (MONTSAME) Mongolia's biggest and most festive national holiday takes place in mid-July. This year's Naadam is celebrating the 2225th anniversary of the Mongolian Statehood, 810th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire and the 95th anniversary of the People's Revolution. The official state celebrations are beginning onJuly 7 with national archery tournaments at the archery field next to the Central Stadium.

On July 10, horse races will start at Khui Doloon Khudag – Naadam venue with three-year-old horses' race at 08.00 am. Meanwhile, knuckle-bone shooting tournaments will be commencing in Ulaanbaatar. Archery tournaments will continue.

This day marks the State Flag day and "Deeltei Mongol" traditional costumes festival, in which anyone who dresses up in deel (traditional clothes) can take part, at the Chingis Square. A ceremonial concert for the grand anniversaries will be staged at the Central Palace of Culture. Later this day, one of Mongolia's best classic operas "Three Dramatic Characters" (also known as "Three Sad Hills") will be staged in open air at the central square of Ulaanbaatar.

July 11 events will start with the Stallion races at Khui Doloon Khudag at 08.00 am. In Ulaanbaatar, The State's Nine White Banners will be escorted from the Government Palace to the Central Stadium by the mounted honor guards.

After the Nine White Banners are exalted at the center of the stadium, the Naadam Opening Ceremony will start at 11.20 am.

The first rounds of the national wrestling competitions will begin at 12.00 and end at around 4 pm. Meanwhile the semi-finals of the knuckle-bone shooting will continue.

General demonstration of national archery will take place at 1-2 pm. At the same time, the children's wrestling matches will commence.
Later this day, the second rounds of the national wrestling starts, along with the next round of the national archery.

"Ulaanbaatar's night" concert will be staged at the Chingis Square between 10 and 11 pm, followed by ceremonial fireworks.

Between 07.00 and 09.20 am of July 12, the most awaited and the most watched Soyolon (four-year-old) horses' race will run at Khui Doloon Khudag site. Finals of wrestling, archery and knuckle-bone shooting games will take place on this day.

After the final wrestling match, the Nine White Banners will be escorted out from the stadium back to the Government Palace.

July 13 "Naadam of Horse Trainers" will start with half-bred horses' races at Khui Doloon Khudag. The complex will also host a race of best amble horses from around the country, followed by a dedication concert and wrestling match for horse trainers.

Link to article


Art and Culture Events offered during Naadam

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, July 1 (MONTSAME) Apart from the usual annual events, such as three manly games (wrestling, archery and horse racing), Naadam festival offers a variety of exhibitions, festivals, fairs and concerts, including circus, horsemanship, dance and music performances.

Outside of Central Stadium:

 July 11 and 12, 10.00-20.00 – "Mongolian Heritage in World Culture" concert and exhibition and "Wonderful Art of Mongolia".

At Khui Doloon Khudag:

July 10-12, 10.00-18.00 – "Awakened Steppe" (named after a famous composition by B.Sharav) cultural festival,

July 11, 14.50-15.20 – "Horsemen Mongolians" show of circus and excellent horses.

At Chinggis Square:

July 2nd, 21.00 – "Best of Classics" classic show,

July 10th, 16.00 - "Deeltei Mongol" traditional costume show; 22.00 – "Three Dramatic Characters" Opera,

July 11th, 21.00 – Kharanga rock band's "Night of Ulaanbaatar" concert,

July 12th, 21.00 – "Steppe Dance" World Mongolians' dance festival

July 13th, 21.00 – "Morin Khuur" International Festival

July 14th, 21.00 – "Ulaanbaatar Swing Night – The Great Steppe's Jazz" International Festival

At the National Music and Dance Ensemble:

July 11th, 18.00 and 20.00 – "Wonders of Mongolian Art" concert

July 12th, 18.00 - "Wonders of Mongolian Art" concert

At Children's Palace of Mongolia:

July 9th, 11.00 – Children's Gala Concert for Naadam

At Tserendorj Street:

July 5th, 16.00 – "Great Steppe Jazz" Festival

At National Gardens:

July 12th, 22.00 – "Silence White" DJ Party

At Ulaanbaatar Museum:

July 10-15th, 10.00-18.00 – Open exhibitions

At Mongolian Fine Art Gallery:

July 1-25th, 10.00-22.00 – Jewelers' exhibition

At the gallery of Union of Mongolian Artists:

July 8-16th, 09.00-18.00 – Silk Road Exhibition

At Mongolian National Museum:

July 6-15th, 08.00-22.00 – "Mongolian horse culture and heritage" exhibition

At Fine Arts Museum:

July 6-15th, 08.00-22.00 – Exhibitions

At Choijin Lama Museum:

Everyday, 09.00-20.00 – Exhibitions

July 11-13th, 15.00 and 17.00 – "Legendary Nomads" ballad concert

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Are you ready for Naadam Festival?

July 2 (UB Post) A little more than a week remain until one of the grandest celebrations in Mongolia, the Naadam Festival. State Honored Artist and General Director of the State Academic Drama Theater N.Naranbaatar will direct this year's Naadam Festival, concurrent to the 2,225th anniversary of Mongolian Statehood, 810th anniversary of the Mongol Empire and the 95th anniversary of the Mongolian People's Revolution.

This year's Naadam opening ceremony will be resounded with a new song, composed especially for the big celebration.  "Mongol Naadam" song was composed by Mongolian Cultural Merit Worker L.Balhjav, the lyric was written by Cultural Merit Worker and novelist Sh.Gurbazar, and the musical composition was directed by composer B.Chinbat.

The music video for "Mongol Naadam" will be released today and it features 25 talented Mongolian artists from all genres of music, and musicians and dancers from the State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, Song and Dance Ensemble of the Border Forces, Military Song and Dance Academic Ensemble, and the State Academic Drama Theater.

Important notices:

      Tickets for the opening of Naadam Festival and wrestling tournament will be sold for the same price as last year. Depending on seats, ticket prices for locals range from 16,000 to 24,000 MNT. Tourist tickets cost 25 USD. Tickets can be purchased from the Wrestling Palace and Central Cultural Palace from July 6.

      The number of public buses to transport passengers to Khui Doloon Khutagt field, where horse racing will take place during Naadam Festival has been doubled to 30 buses this year. The organizers have provided a special area for buses to recharge as well.

      Three-thousand new street benches and chairs were bought with city funds, increasing the total amount of chairs in the city to 6,000. Around 4,000 of these benches and chairs will be set up at Khui Doloon Khutagt field, which is 2,000 chairs more than 2015.

      Businesses and vendors that will sell goods and services at Khui Doloon Khutagt field, Chingeltei and Khan-Uul Districts, and the Central Stadium must get permission from districts. The organizers plan to allow 250 to 280 businesses to operate at these locations.

      A car park for over 6,000 vehicles and 30 toilets will be available in 15 locations at Khui Doloon Khutagt field.

      Kharanga band will perform for free at Chinggis Square on the first day of Naadam Festival, June 11.

      Child jockeys will be allowed to participate in the horse racing with approval from a guardian and after they are insured.

      1,024 wrestlers will wrestle in this year's tournament.

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Annual 'Deeltei Mongol' festival to be held on July 10

July 1 ( The Naadam Festival is Mongolia's major holiday and a wonderful time to experience the nomadic culture of our country. In the Naadam Stadium, the three sporting passions of the Mongolians, namely - horse racing, wrestling and archery, are to be played out in competitions over two days. On Chinggis Square, which is the main square and heart of the capital, Ulaanbaatar, a traditional costume festival will take place. Entitled 'Deeltei Mongol' – literally meaning "wearing the Mongolian deel" – the colourful event will take place on 10th July. This is always one of the biggest public events in UB during the Naadam days. The cultural show is comprised of a folk music concert, a fashion parade and contest as well as a fair of Mongolian traditional costumes. "Deeltei Mongol" attracts many foreign tourists and Mongolians alike. The "deel" (pronounced 'del') is the traditional Mongolian garment and is made of silk and, in the case of a winter deel, of sheepskin. Styles and colours differ from region to region.

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Annual Buryat international festival 'Altargana' begins in Ulan-Ude

July 1 ( The International Buryat National festival of Altargana-2016 has been scheduled to be held in Ulan-Ude, capital city of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia on July 1st. Ethnic Buryats from all over the world will participate in the 'XII Altargana' festival. Traditional songs, folktales, competitions of skill and strength for Buryat men and the 'Dangina' beauty contest will be held as part of festival. Since 1994, when the first 'Altargana' took place, the Buryat festival has been organized every two years over two decades with increasing diversity. Over the past years the festival was hosted in Shinhen in Inner Mongolia and Dadal soum (district) in Mongolia's Khentii aimag (province).

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Skateboarding Through Mongolia's Capital With the Uukhai Crew

July 1 (Vogue) There's a movement happening in the middle of nowhere. Steeped in old-world traditions, landlocked, and blanketed by vast, rugged terrain, the East Asian country of Mongolia has bred a young, surprisingly artistic, and somewhat revolutionary generation within its capital city of Ulaanbaatar. This group of kids in their teens and early 20s may not have much—nearly 1 in 4 youths are unemployed and more than a quarter of the population is below the national poverty line—but what they do have are their skateboards and a tight crew called Uukhai, a word that was used as the cry of Mongol warriors as they went into battle. The crew's fearless leader—in a nation that has become distrusting of its leadership—is Erdenedalai Purev, or "Eddie," as he's most commonly referred to in his stateside home of Queens, New York, where he moved to from Mongolia at the age of 13. From his American base, he works with NGOs and skateboarding companies like Carhartt to help raise awareness and funds for the skaters back home, sending them donated boards and working to build a proper skate park in Ulaanbaatar. In 2014, Purev was invited to speak about his cause in a TEDx Talk.

The Uukhai crew now has more than 25 official members and more than 200 nonofficial riders, made up of idealist guys and girls who find freedom and friendship through skateboarding through the streets of Ulaanbaatar. Though much of the colorful architecture may be crumbling, the city is home to a vibrant national park, the stunning Zaisan monument atop a scenic hill, and restaurants like The Ivy and the local Sakura Bakery. However, the most provocative sight to see in current Ulaanbaatar is the vast youth subculture that is Uukhai. "Aside from skating, we are all pretty supportive of the arts," says Purev. "The younger generation, which makes up a huge portion of the population in Mongolia, has started to open art galleries to display their work. There are new musical bands being started too. All of our communities are really starting to work together."

It seems as though other parts of the world are beginning to recognize this new wave of creative spirit, visiting Mongolia not only to experience the countryside adventures but to also delve into the local vibes within Ulaanbaatar. "The city has really started to open up to music and the arts and skateboarding, and visitors from the U.K., Australia, and the U.S. have started to travel to our yearly Playtime music festival," says Purev. "It's the Mongolian version of Coachella." Through this festival, travelers are being granted the opportunity to engage in Ulaanbaatar's slow but steady growth. With skateboarding and his Uukhai community, Purev aims to open Mongolia's city center to even more visitors. "Most of our dreams haven't been accomplished yet," he says. "But they will be in due time. We have to act together and support one another in these desperate times. We have to work incredibly hard to make our country substantial and whole again." He adds, "We as skaters, artists, musicians, socially awkward kids, athletes, or just straight-up geeks can absolutely pursue and accomplish this. The key is unity—with a love of kicking up the dust."

In the middle of nowhere, the Uukhai skateboarders are making noise. They show off this place, their city, on wheels and with an unprecedented curiosity and local attitude. Ulaanbaatar is their makeshift skate park and their playground, which they hope to one day soon share with the rest of the world.

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Dogs Save Snow Leopards and Wolves in Mongolia

By Nomin Dari

June 27 (Huffington Post) The Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project, is a non-profit, non-governmental, conservation organization registered in Mongolia since October 2014. The organization built the first livestock guardian breeding and training facility in Mongolia. The concept is unlikely: raise dogs to protect sheep to save wolves and snow leopards. In fact, this is an ancient and effective method to guard livestock.

The Nomadic Guardian Foundation initiated work in 2004 in the United States, by Bruce Elfstrom, a biologist. In 1998, after establishing Overland Experts, an off road driving school and logistics company, Bruce traveled to Mongolia frequently for work, where he saw first-hand the devastating realities of livestock predation; "I was amazed, one evening a family lost 7 colt horses...". Eventually, Bruce and his partners raised private funding for the operational costs of the first year of the project.

The organization, specifically breeds and trains Bankhar dogs. Bankhar dogs are an ancient landrace, not a breed but a type of dog shaped through thousands of years of co-evolution with humans driven by the need for an effective guardian of livestock on the Mongolian steppe. Bankhar are large, athletic, protective, and need comparatively little food for their size. In practice, puppies form an early bond with the herd of sheep, goats and other livestock such as cows, horses and camels and they protect the herd for life from predators like snow leopards, and Mongolian gray wolves.

During the Soviet Occupation of Mongolia, from 1924 to 1990, this ancient tradition was lost, as were many other cultural norms and heritages. Under Soviet occupation, the structure of ownership of livestock was replaced with ownership by the state. Herders were forced into collectives, and trained as specialists to take care of specific areas of herding. Families also lost traditional grazing lands. By 1960, the majority of Mongolia's livestock and cultivated land had been collectivized. After the collapse of communism and departure of the Russians, herders in each collective divided up the animals and tried to reclaim their former grazing pastures; there were few of them at the time so the division worked to some extent.

In recent years, nomadic herder families of Mongolia have used these livestock guardian dogs less frequently as they are costly, and a target for theft. There have also been "modern" modifications in herding practice. For instance, some families are using motorcycles to herd sheep, instead of traditional horseback riders.

Without the dogs, the herds are vulnerable to predators, especially during the long winter. If there are attacks on the herd, it is not uncommon for the nomadic herders to hunt the predators. After all, their herd is their livelihood.

This type of hunting is defined as retribution killing for livestock loss, and is one of the main threats to the snow leopard, an endangered species. Mongolia is in fact, home to the second largest population of the species, following China. Snow leopards are highly adapted to their natural habitat in the cold high mountains and steppe of Central Asia. According to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), they number at fewer than 6,400.

The vulnerability of the snow leopard is compounded by the connotation of snow leopard fur as a luxury item, which makes snow leopards profitable to poachers. The poachers also trade hides, and bones. The recent boom in the mining economy of Mongolia, has also resulted in habitat loss for the animals. The habitat of the snow leopard is also threatened by changes in weather patterns, linked to climate change. These changes include more frequent occurrence of extreme weather hazards and patterns such as longer droughts, and colder winters.

In the first year of operation, the organization brought together 10 dogs. They bred 18 puppies who were given to screened nomadic herder families in Terelj National Park, one of the largest national parks east of the capital city, as well as Khustaii Nuruu National Park located southwest of the capital city, and Umungovi Province, located in the South Gobi. The idea is that, the Bankhar will protect the herd, and ward predators away, encouraging them towards hunting their favored wild prey, such as the ibex and Argali sheep, to decrease the likelihood of retribution killing. According to the WWF, the snow leopard keeps a balance in the ecosystem, because without them, there would be too many herbivores, which could overgraze the habitat, and leave no food for other wildlife.

Mongolia is in a particularly delicate situation today, as many nomadic families keep herds larger than ever before, numbering at over 1,000 animals for some, which contributes heavily to overgrazing and eventually desertification.

On the ground, three young men, Douglas Lally from New Jersey, USA and Soyolbold Serguleng, from the South Gobi of Mongolia, and Devin Byrne from Connecticut, USA have been the main actors in mobilizing the organization. Doug, who is the field coordinator of the NGO, arrived in Mongolia in January 2014 and had to find a translator fast. He joined the "Expats in Mongolia" Facebook group, with over 10,000 thousand members, and posted an advert. Soyolbold, who at the time was planning to take a break from his mining job and pursue his passion of photography saw this as a good opportunity to travel and decided to join in. He became the translator, and photographer for the project. Devin, heard of the project through word of mouth, and after completing high school decided to take a year off to travel and do some hands-on conservation work, before continuing his education at the University of Maine in wildlife ecology.

Their backgrounds are extremely different, but their calling has always been the same. Doug, completed a Bachelor of Arts history and philosophy degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2009, and upon graduation pursued work that connected him to nature: fighting wild fires, for instance.

Soyolbold, pursued a degree in English Language at the National University of Mongolia, and upon graduation in 2010, pursued a well-paid and stable career in mining, while always maintaining his interest in wild life photography. Soyolbold witnessed the harsher winters, and severe droughts that have devastated the livelihood of many herder families in recent years, and catalyzed the transition from a nomadic lifestyle to urbanization. For Soyolbold, this is why he always wanted to work in conservation: to protect the environment, but also the nomadic way of life.

Devin, has traveled all across the states with his family, and ever since he was little, had dogs in his life. After finishing high school, he had a typical "I'm looking for a job that will take be anywhere but home" attitude, but never expected to end up in Mongolia. However, he explains he couldn't have asked for a better opportunity than to travel, train dogs and work in wild life conservation during his gap year between high school and university. For Devin, the unique nomadic culture, harsh environment, and recent economic growth made Mongolia an unpredictable, but extraordinary learning experience.

Together they built the dog breeding and training facility from the ground up. They chose the land together, and they built the fences, dog sheds, and kennels, with their own hands. The process of putting the facility together took nearly three months. Afterwards, they found dogs to breed across the country, in markets and with families. Their efforts came to fruition with 18 healthy puppies. At the facility, the puppies, were placed with herds of sheep at 3 to 4 weeks, to begin the bonding process as early as possible.

After nearly a year of hard work, Doug and Soyolbold sat with me to reflect on their efforts. For Doug, the organization not only gave him hands on experience in conservation work but, more importantly, gave him a glimpse into nomadic life and traditions. For instance, he explains to me how initially surprising it was that any person can visit any ger or nomads' home, and before anyone even knows why or how you got to be there, the family serve you tea and just talk. This open and warm spirited hospitality, he explains was just one of the many lessons the nomads unintentionally taught him.

For Soyolbold, the year of work came full circle when the team placed their first pup with a family in Umnugovi Province. After several months of discussion with a young herder family of six with over 1,000 animals, Doug, Soyolbold and Devin arranged the drop off. After driving 14 hours to the family's ger, they pulled up right next to the families herd. They then quickly took the puppy from the back seat of the truck and placed him near the sheep. They then ran, back to the car, and drove a few hundred meters away. With hand-held binoculars, they watched as the puppy darted back and forth between where the car was parked, and where the sheep were. For a few minutes, it was unclear whether the puppy would stay with the sheep, but in the end,it stayed. For this puppy to meander into the herd, Soyolbold explains, was the culmination of a year's hard work and marked a renewed optimism in the project. "It was a huge sigh of relief and a very emotional moment for us... I could see tears brimming in Doug's eyes".

Both agree that for the future continuation of this project, the organization must build stronger alliances with local organizations. Doug explains how some aspects of the project, such as finding homes for the puppies, were not as straightforward as the logic would imply, and were not so simple to implement. However, he clarifies that this is not a failure by any means, "but just means that for any project such as this, there must be continual readjustments". The NGO will look to deepen and open wider relationships with local partners as "this could really change the outcome of the project, because we found that how we present ourselves to the herders really matters. Allied with strong local forces, I think will facilitate more opportunities to collaborate with the herders, open dialogue and eventually lead to more optimistic outcomes".

As for Devin, who flew back to the States to begin university, his time in Mongolia invigorated his passion for nature and wild life. Working alongside the dogs, and having an opportunity to become a part of and learn from the nomadic herders, strengthened his passion for traveling and the environment. Devin was also surprised at, in the least densely populated of countries, "how many people I met and by how many of those people were friendly". His take away: "hospitality is quite different in Mongolia and I hope to take a bit of that home with me". Reflecting on the project, Devin explains that it has a long way to go before it can show some solid results. He explains, "It's hard work and takes a long time. If you look at what you've accomplished in a day you won't ever see a change. But when I look on the past year, it's astounding what we've done".

For Devin, it was his first time living in another country and he sums up his experience concisely: "when traveling you find that language is not much of a barrier, food is universal, and kids don't care what language you speak - they will laugh regardless".

All three young men explain that the hardest part of the project was in fact not playing with the puppies, which in turn, was also the best part. "They are just irresistible, especially when they are such social animals", explains Soyolbold, smiling.

Devin and Doug are now in the States and their successor is Greg Goodfellow. Greg completed an undergraduate degree in biology at Connecticut College in 2012 and has since been working in environmental conservation. He heard about this opportunity in Mongolia through a professor at Connecticut College, and was immediately interested in the opportunity. The allure of travel, hands-on fieldwork, and project management motivated him to take the job. Greg is looking forward to continuing the project, "now that we have Bankhar pups with herding families throughout Mongolia, we can start collecting data on the effectiveness of our 'puppy raising protocol' and on the ability of the Bankhar to reduce livestock predation. It's an exciting time to join the organization and I plan to take the Project to the next level."

To learn more about the project please visit  Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project Facebook

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Nature, Environment

NEMA ensures safety of 30 thousand voters

July 1 ( The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) subsidiary center, local Emergency Office and unit have worked in 80 soums to ensure the safety of some 30 thousand citizens who were crossing river and water to give their votes in parliamentary, aimag and citizens' representative khural election.

140 emergency officers and 47 equipment have worked in flooding and high water level Arkhangai, Bayankhongor, Bayan-Ulgii, Bulgan, Darkhan-Uul, Zavkhan, Uvurkhangai, Selenge, Tuv, Uvs and Khovd aimags and ensured citizens with cross river and water safely to give their votes in the election.

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Save Mongolia's Dinosaurs

Fund a science outreach and conservation expedition across Mongolia.

How do you save an animal that's been extinct for 80 million years?

This fall, paleontologist Bolortsetseg Minjin and a team of Mongolian and American collaborators are driving a mobile museum across Mongolia for a month-long expedition with that precise goal. Using specially-designed exhibits, activities and educational materials, we plan to combat fossil poaching at some of the world's most important dinosaur quarries, and save the last remains of Velociraptor, Protoceratops, Oviraptor and the animals they shared the Mesozoic with. We also hope to inspire a new generation of Mongolian paleontologists and improve the communities we visit by using dinosaurs to foster interest in science and the environment.

The expedition is lead by the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs (ISMD), a nonprofit founded in 2007 by Bolortsetseg Minjin, a Mongolian paleontologist and National Geographic Explorer who works at the American Museum of Natural History. The ISMD helps repatriate illegally exported fossils, host science outreach events in Mongolia and the US, and plans to build a permanent museum in the Gobi desert near one of the world's most famous dinosaur fossil beds. 

Help Mongolian communities and protect globally-significant fossils

In 1922 paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews took the first automobiles to the Gobi desert on an expedition for the American Museum of Natural History, and he found a wealth of dinosaur fossils that changed the field of paleontology and the communities of the Gobi forever. He was followed by a century of adventurers motivated occasionally by science, but too often by personal gain, and many fossils have been lost with no regard to the local communities who would benefit most from their preservation and public display.

Today, we're planning a new expedition of a very different nature. Instead of taking dinosaurs from Mongolia, we're on a mission to bring some back, along with the knowledge science has gained from them and a plan for protecting Mongolia's fossil sites in ways that benefit local communities first.  

The ISMD was founded by paleontologist Bolortsetseg Minjin in 2007.

Since then, we've worked tirelessly to preserve the fossil heritage of Mongolia and use dinosaur fossils to promote scientific literacy and community well-being throughout the country. Our year-round work is currently done in the US, and during the summer months we do outreach in Mongolia. Last year, we successfully brought a Moveable Dinosaur Museum–donated by the American Museum of Natural History–to Mongolia for its first tour. This year we're stepping up our efforts for our most ambitious project yet.

Contributions will fund a four-week expedition dedicated to education and conservation. As we travel to communities near several major fossil quarries, we'll conduct research laying the groundwork for a permanent museum that benefits the community and facilitates research, conservation and education year-round. Kids in the communities we visit will board the moveable museum to experience the interactive exhibits, and join classroom activities about dinosaurs, fossils and the relationship of dinosaurs to modern birds. Activities vary for three separate age groups. In the Gobi, we'll also do outdoor activities.

Link to Indiegogo campaign


Stunning Photographs of Mongolia's Transformation into Desert

A South Korean photographer's project on climate change and the nomads living with it everyday.

July 1 (Outside Magazine) Nomadic life has been central to traditional Mongolian culture throughout history. Even with development and urbanization in recent years, more than 25 percent of Mongolians are living a nomadic life. They are dependent on their vast, open surroundings for survival.

But life has become increasingly difficult due to serious changes in the land. Hundreds of lakes and rivers are disappearing and a majority of the country is at risk of desertification. Photographer Daesung Lee set out to capture this issue by creating backdrops of what the landscape used to look like and how the nomads are interacting with it today. The effect is similar to viewing a museum display. 

"It is based on an imagination that these people would have to place themselves in a museum diorama to survive into the future," says Lee. He brought billboard-size images into the countryside for the project.

A Korean non-governmental organization (NGO) Green Asia, a group focusing on planting trees in the barren regions of the county, helped Lee with logistics and locations during his shoot. Many of the nomads in the images have since been hired by the NGO to plant trees, which has become their main source of income.

"By doing this, I hope to accomplish a sense that the lives of these nomadic people occur between this reality and a virtual space of a museum," says Lee on his images.

Lee successfully captured many facets of the Mongolian nomadic life in this project, including traditional clothing, wrestling, and golden eagles used for hunting. "This nomadic lifestyle is better alive in an original society or culture than preserved as a fossil in a museum," says Lee.

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Pinoy MMA bet Eric Kelly suffers painful KO loss to Narantungalag Jadambaa in China

Jadambaa, a former ONE Championship featherweight titleholder, needs only 44 seconds to finish off Kelly

MANILA, Philippines, July 3 (Rappler) – Filipino fighter Eric Kelly suffered a vicious defeat at the hands of Mongolian kickboxer Jadambaa Narantungalag in the main event of ONE Championship's "Dynasty of Champions 6" card at the Hefei Olympic Sports Centre in Hefei, China on Saturday, July 2.

Jadambaa, a former ONE Championship featherweight titleholder, only needed 44 seconds to finish the job against Kelly, who is widely regarded as one of the most talented products of the Philippine mixed martial arts scene.

The 40-year-old Mongolian scored an emphatic knockout by delivering an explosive right hand and a thunderous follow-up shot on the ground that forced the referee to halt the contest in less than a minute.

With the impressive victory over Kelly, Jadambaa improves to a 12-4 professional record and is now riding high on a two-fight winning streak.

Link to article


Narantungalag Jadambaa, 40, Believes He Is a Better Fighter Now Than Ever BeforeMMA Weekly, June 28

Kelly faces best MMA fighter from MongoliaBaguio Midland Courier, June 29


Legendary footballer Zico to visit Mongolia in September

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) Mongolian Ambassador to Brazil Ch.Sosormaa has met Arthur Antunes Coimbra known as Zico, a Brazilian legendary footballer to hand over him an invitation of the Football Association of Mongolia (FAM) to visit Mongolia, the Foreign Ministry reported Thursday.

Zico accepted the invitation, saying that he is able to visit Mongolia in September of this year.

He leads a football center in Rio de Janeiro dedicated to children from low-income families, so the Ambassador and the footballer exchanged views on founding a children's and professional football club named after him in Mongolia or naming any football club in Mongolia  after Zico. Regarding this issue, the sides agreed to establish a cooperation memorandum during Zico's visit to Mongolia as the Zico Foundation and the FAM are performing relevant negotiations.

Initiated by the Mongolian Embassy in Brazil, this work aims to introduce Brazilian football team's techniques and culture in Mongolia and to prepare competitive footballers for Mongolia. The Zico's football club in Mongolia will have Brazilian coaches, and trainees will exercise by international standards as well.

Often called the "White Pele", Zico was a creative player, gifted with excellent technical ability and vision, and he is considered one of the most skilled finishers and best passers ever. He played in the Brazilian squads at the FIFA World Cups for 1978, 1982 and 1986, and also coached the Japanese national team in the 2004 Asian Championships and 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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Mongolians win int'l bicycle adventure in N. China

HOHHOT, China, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia's Sainbayaer Jambaljamts and Enkhjargal Tuvshinjargal Sunday won the men's and women's long-distance titles respectively at the 2016 Ghenghis Khan mountain terrain bicycle (MTB) adventure in West Ujimqin Banner (County), north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The 19-year-old Jambaljamts finished fastest the men's race in six hours, 33 minutes and 54 seconds, while Tuvshinjargal was the first among the female rides in 7:23:15.

This year's race, which was contested along a 100km pastoral and hilly route over three days, attracted more than 600 cyclists from China, Mongolia, Russia, Germany, the Philippines and other countries and regions.

In addition, the 2016 Grassland Marathon, attended by more than 1,000 runners from home and overseas, had concluded at the same place on Saturday.

China's Pan Lihui won the men's race in two hours, 41 minutes and 16 seconds and the women's title went to Mongolia's Sanjidmaa who clocked 3:13:24.

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Taiwan defeat Mongolia 2-0 in EAFF qualifier

July 3 (Taipei Times) Taiwan netted two goals in the second half against a scoreless, 10-man Mongolia in Guam yesterday to win their second game of the East Asia Football Federation (EAFF) Championship qualifying tournament.

Taiwan coach Toshiaki Imai started with a 4-5-1 formation as he had in their first game on Thursday, but made five personnel changes, including resting in-form striker Wu Chun-ching in favor of Tseng Chih-wei and replacing goalkeeper Chiu Yu-hung with Pan Wen-chieh.

The five midfielders did not dominate the field and boss the opposition around as they had in their impressive 8-1 victory over the Northern Mariana Islands in the previous match, with the more experienced Mongolia players fighting for every inch of territory and forcing a scoreless stalemate in the first half.

The second half began with more open play, both sides having good chances in front of goal.

In the 52nd minute, Mongolia forward Bayarjargal Oyunbat was sent clear in front of goal, but goalkeeper Pan made a good save from a close-range shot.

Five minutes later, Taiwan took advantage of a counterattack, with midfielder Lin Chien-hsun collecting a long pass on the left side of box and beating two defenders and shooting into the far corner to put them in front.

In the 71st minute, the referee sent off Mongolia striker Murun Altankhuyag, judging him to have chopped down Taiwan defender Huang Wei-min during a goal-mouth scramble.

Three minutes later, Mongolia nearly scored through Oyunbat, who dribbled past the defense, rounded Pan and shot on target, only to see defender Huang Wei-min make a sliding, goal-line clearance to preserve a clean sheet.

Taiwan grabbed their second goal near the end of the game when midfielder Lin Shih-kai made no mistake on a rebound to drive into the net from right side of the box.

Taiwan face Macau tomorrow in their final game of the qualifying tournament.

In yesterday's other result, Macau collected their first win by defeating the Northern Mariana Islands 3-1.

In the tournament opener on Thursday, Macau and Mongolia played out a 2-2 draw.

Taiwan will advance to next round of the EAFF if they beat Macau.

Link to article


49 Mongolian athletes will head for Rio 2016

July 1 ( Mongolia will send 49 athletes in the forthcoming XXXI Summer Olympic Games & Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Our athletes will compete in:

  • Judo - 13
  • Free style wrestling - 9
  • Boxing - 6
  • Track and fields athletics - 4 
  • Shooting - 3
  • Swimming - 2 
  • Weightlifting - 1
  • Recurve archery - 1
  • Taekwondo - 1
  • Paralympics - 9

Also three referees are included in team Mongolia. Farewell party for athletes heading to Rio 2016 will be hosted on July 20.

Rio 2016 games will run on August 5-21.

Link to article


Judo: Hosts Mongolia finish top of the medals table in home Grand Prix

July 4 (euronews) The heavyweights in were action on the third and final day of the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix.

Hosts Mongolia produced a fine performance on home tatami and topped the medals winning nine of the 14 gold medals available.

One of which came in the -78 kilo division when Lkhamdegd Purevjargal beat Junior World Championship winner Brigita Matic of Croatia in the final courtesy of an ippon.

Olympic champion Idalys Ortiz continued to warm up nicely ahead of the Rio Games and the defence of her title next month.

The Cuban judoka celebrated her third consecutive victory in an IJF event defeating world number 36 and home hope Javzmaa Odkhuu in the +78 kilo class.

Ortiz won by two waza-ari scores to extend her winning run to 11 contests.

The -100kg final was a teenage affair.

19-year-old Mongolian Ishdorj Dashdulam was hoping to add to his nation's gold medal haul but he came up against a superb 17-year-old Zelym Kotsoiev from Azerbaijan.

In one of the youngest Grand Prix finals of all time it was Kotsoiev who prevailed with the only score of the contest – a waza-ari after just 90 seconds.

Mongolian pair Temuulen Battulga and Otgonbaatar Lkhagvasuren won gold in the +100kg and -90kg respectively to complete a stunning showing from the host nation.

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Mongolia clinch three golds as IJF Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix draws to close Inside the Games, July 3


K-Electric fined for fielding English FA player against Khoromkhon

Karachi, July 3 (Pakistan Observer) — Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) disciplinary committee imposed a fine of 2000 dollars on K-Electric for fielding an England-based player in the 2016 AFC Cup playoff qualifiers held in Bhutan last year without getting International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

England-based Pakistani players Ifran Khan and Shani Abbasi had been fielded by K-Electric in the playoff qualifiers.

KE defeated Khoromkhon FC of Mongolia 1-0 and they held Bhutan's Druk United FC 3-3 to make it to the playoff where they lost to Bahrain's Al-Hidd early this year in Manama.

Both Irfan and Shani were released by KE before the playoff against Al-Hidd. A source in the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) told media persons that the actual objection was against Irfan's participation in the qualifiers as he was registered with English FA and had played for different clubs in England.

"There was no problem with Shani," the source said.

"K-Electric FC (PAK) is ordered to pay a fine of USD2,000 for violating Article 55 of the AFC Disciplinary Code 2014 Edition (Code) on two (2) occasions in the AFC Cup 2016 (Playoff Qualifiers)," the AFC said.

"The fine shall be settled within 30 days from the date that this decision is communicated in accordance with Article 15.3 of the Code. In accordance with Article 31 of the Code read together with Article 55.1 of the Code, victory shall be awarded to the following team with the score of 3-0: (1) Druk United FC of Bhutan for the match on 11 August 2015; and Khoromkhon FC of Mongolia for the match on 13 August 2015," the AFC added.

"As Khoromkhon FC of Mongolia was ordered on 18 January 2016 to forfeit the match against K-Electric the match is declared null and void. K-Electric FC is informed that a repeat violation of these provisions will be met with more severe punishment," the AFC added.

The PFF source added that KE had admitted the mistake and apologised. England-based coach Majid Shafiq was KE's coach in the qualifiers.

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Art, Entertainment

Another Mongolian invited to work at Mariinsky Theatre

Ulaanbaatar, June 29 (MONTSAME) T.Enkhbat, a Mongolian student at the Saint Petersburg State University named after N.Rimsky Korsakov, has received an invitation to work as a soloist at the city's most famous Mariinsky theatre. The invited is a son of Mongolia's State Honored Artist D.Tuvshinjargal.

T.Enkhbat is the winner of Grand Prix of "Star Rapsody" international opera competition held last March, of the first prize of 17th Spring Romance competition and Grand Prix of Spring Songs competition that took place last April.

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Paintings tell stories of "Secret History of the Mongols"

Ulaanbaatar, July 1 (MONTSAME) Complex fine art exhibition named "Great Chronicles of Mongolia" by painter B.Otgontuvden opened June 30 at the Gallery of the Union of Mongolian Artists. The exhibition is showcasing the 30 paintings inspired by the stories from the "Secret History of the Mongols".

The exhibition displays works called "Mongolian Game", "Dev Tenger", "Lust" and "Childhood", expressing the beauty of Mongol queens and spirits of heroes.

"Great Chronicles of Mongolia" project has been underway since 2014 under management by S.Chuluun, director of the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences, caricaturist S.Tsogtbayar, painters B.Otgontuvden and B.Dolgoon, and the director of Gamma Studio S.Tsatsralt, along with a team of more than 100 people.

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Enjoy the songs of the nomads in UB

July 1 ( 'Legendary nomadic songs marquee' opens at the Choijin Lama Temple on July 1st. It is designed to help promote our country's intangible cultural heritage to foreign tourists and Mongolians alike. The two week event is being coordinated by the museum. In this marquee skillful Mongolian artists such as Altai harp composer D.Ganpurev and lyrist Ch.Munkh-Erdene will select nomadic songs twice a day from 1st July to 15th July. Tickets for the 'Legendary nomadic songs' performances cost MNT 25,000.

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Mongolian and China's Inner Mongolian photo-reporters to stage joint exhibition

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) Press photographers from Mongolia and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China are set to stage a joint exhibition in August in Mongolia to display photographs taken by several Mongolian photo-reporters during their visit to Inner Mongolia's cities and beautiful landscapes between June 22 and 27.

The visit was the first-ever large-scale gathering of Mongolian and China's Inner Mongolian photographers to share experiences and skills. The photography team of the two countries have travelled through Inner Mongolia's biggest centers – Ordos, Huhhot and Bugat (Baotou), and landmarks – Hailaar and Holonbuir.

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Azerbaijan, Mongolia to establish direct air services

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 30 (Trend) Azerbaijan and Mongolia are considering to implement regular flights between the two countries, said Azerbaijan's State Civil Aviation Administration in a message posted on its website.

The negotiations between the Azerbaijani and Belarusian delegations have been held in Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar in accordance with the previously reached agreement.

"Both delegations have agreed the draft of "Air Services Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of Mongolia," said the message.

The two delegations also discussed the issues of bilateral cooperation in the field of air transportation and the prospects of scheduled flights between Azerbaijan and Mongolia, according to the message.

As a result of the meeting, the Agreed Minutes have been signed by the heads of delegations, which will serve as a basis for regular passenger and cargo operation's commencement between Azerbaijan and Mongolia.

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Turkish travel agencies visit Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) Delegates of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (ATTA) visited Mongolia on June 22-30 at the invitation of tourism organizations of Mongolia.

On Wednesday, the ATTA delegates attended a business meeting held at the Turkish Embassy where the parties exchanged views on the present situation of the Mongolia-Turkey cooperation in tourism industry. Murat Karagoz, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkey to Mongolia underlined that Mongolia has a potential for attracting tourists by its natural landscapes, traditional history, custom and culture. The visa-free agreement between the countries and the direct flight by the Turkish Airlines are essential factors favoring bilateral cooperation in tourism, he emphasized.

B.Margad, Department head of the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism expressed his satisfaction with receiving the visiting Turkish delegation, and said Mongolia wants to learn Turkish experiences in tourism.

In turn, member of the ATTA's Executive Board Sinan Halic also expressed a satisfaction with visiting Mongolia, and pointed out that his country has the willingness to augment Turkish tourists to Mongolia.

In scope of the visit, the Turkish delegates travelled to Arkhangai and Ovorkhangai aimags, Terelj National park, the "Tsonjin Boldog" camp and Tonyukuk's statue in Tov aimag.

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