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Friday, March 17, 2017

[Teck invests C$500K in ERD; 7 delisted from MSE: MNT gains for 9th day; and IMF will remain patient]

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Friday, March 17, 2017

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Jump to: Int'l Market - Local Market - Economy - Politics & Legal - Business - Ulaanbaatar - Diplomacy - Health & Education - Culture & Society - Nature & Environment - Sports - Art & Entertainment - Travel

Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

HEADLINES

Int'l Market

·         Erdene Announces C$500,000 Private Placement to Teck Resources

·         Eumeralla Resources: Re-Compliance Prospectus to Raise Up to A$6 Million

·         TerraCom kicks goals but dives into red

·         Draig Resources: Interim Financial Report, December 2016

Local Market

·         MSE Top 20 -1.93%, ALL +2.37%, Turnover ₮44.2 Million Shares, ₮1.4 Billion T-Bills

·         Mongolian Stock Exchange Discusses Cooperation Opportunities with Toronto Stock Exchange

·         Bayanteeg JSC announces ₮25.2 million dividend, ₮100 per share

·         7 Joint Stock Companies Delisted From MSE Listing

Economy

·         MNT gains for 9 straight sessions against USD

·         BoM declines USD, CNY ask, bid offers and MNT swap offers

·         Mongolia government seeks IMF financial support

Politics & Legal

·         Potential, overall bipartisan support for IMF program?

·         IMF says they will remain patient with Mongolia despite setbacks

·         Will 2017 meet Mongolia's mega hopes from mega projects?

·         Determined government, punished parliament

·         PM orders local governors to cut expensive welcoming ceremonies

·         New government axes 22,000 civil servants in transition

·         Monocle interviews Parliament Speaker M.Enkhbold

·         OSCE ODIHR director visits Mongolia

·         AmCham Daily Newswire for March 16, 2017

Business

·         Strong interest in Mongolia at PDAC

·         MIAT to increase flight frequency and routes

Ulaanbaatar

·         UB denies 3rd anti-pollution demonstration for coinciding with Soldiers' Day

·         Ministry introduces new wastewater treatment technology

Diplomacy

·         China invites Mongolia to step aboard its economic express train

·         Cabinet approves draft Mongolia-Mexico Cooperation Program

·         Cabinet approves medium-term partnership agreement with Japan, defense with Turkey

·         Mongolia attracts Polish FDI

·         Mongolian peacekeepers return lost boy to parents

Health & Education

·         Consultation Workshop Held on Improving Building Safety at Ulaanbaatar City Public Schools and Kindergartens

·         National Council of Language Policy reports on its works

·         Uvs aimag develops educational ties with Khakassia of Russia

Culture & Society

·         Khusugtun becomes first Mongolian band to perform at UN headquarters

·         'Chinggis Khaan, World Conqueror on Horseback' exhibition opens in the Netherlands

·         Gutal - Mongolian traditional style boots

Nature & Environment

·         Thousands of saker falcons die from electrocution every year

·         Physico-Chemical Composition of Saline Lakes of the Gobi Desert Region, Western Mongolia

·         Comparative analysis of fecal microbial communities in cattle and Bactrian camels

Sports

·         Seven sports figures to run for National Olympic Committee presidency

Art & Entertainment

·         'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' Musical

·         '5ive tones' live concert to be performed on March 18

·         B.Tserendolgor Crowned Mongolia's First Next Top Model

·         Young opera singers to be granted government cash prizes

·         Eagle eye trained on Mongolia

Travel

·         London childcare boss to trek across Gobi Desert for NSPCC

·         Masters' student treks on horseback in Mongolia for her research

·         In Mongolia, Dinner Begins with a Whole Lamb and a Bottle of Vodka

 

 

ARTICLES

Int'l Market

ERD closed +9.52% Thursday at C$0.92

Erdene Announces C$500,000 Private Placement to Teck Resources

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - March 16, 2017) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company"), is pleased to announce it intends to issue, by way of a non-brokered private placement, 543,478 shares to Teck Resources Limited ("Teck") at a price of $0.92 per share for gross proceeds of $500,000 ("Private Placement"). This fulfils Teck's equity investment obligation pursuant to the Strategic Alliance between Erdene and Teck announced by Erdene on April 11, 2013. Net proceeds of the Private Placement will be used for exploration of the Company's Teck-Alliance projects in southwest Mongolia.

The Private Placement is expected to close on or before March 31, 2017, and is subject to certain conditions, including, but not limited to, the receipt of all necessary approvals including the approval and acceptance by the Toronto Stock Exchange. All securities to be issued pursuant to the Private Placement will be subject to a four-month hold period from the closing date.

Link to release

Back to Headlines

EUM trading -5.88% mid-day at A$0.08

Eumeralla Resources: Re-Compliance Prospectus to Raise Up to A$6 Million

March 16, Eumeralla Resources Ltd. (ASX:EUM) --

For the offer of up to 75 million shares at an issue price of $0.08 each to raise up to $6,000,000 (before costs) (public offer).

The public offer is subject to a minimum subscription requirement of $4,000,000. The public offer is not underwritten.

This prospectus is a re-compliance prospectus for the purposes of satisfying chapters 1 and 2 of the listing rules and to satisfy ASX requirements for reinstatement of the company's securities to trading following a change in the nature and scale of the company's activities.

The offers made under this prospectus and the issue of securities pursuant to this prospectus are subject to and conditional on satisfaction of the offer conditions. If the offer conditions are not satisfied, no securities will be issued pursuant to this prospectus and the company will repay all money received from applicants without interest.

4. LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN

Link to report

Back to Headlines

TER trading flat mid-day at A$0.03

TerraCom kicks goals but dives into red

March 17 (Finance News Network) TerraCom Limited (ASX:TER) has announced it has made a total comprehensive $28.54 million loss after tax for the half-year to 31 December 2016.

Despite the loss, the miner with development projects in Mongolia and Queensland says it achieved many significant milestones for the group.

TerraCom executed a binding sale and purchase agreement to buy the Blair Athol Mine in Queensland, while it also secured US$12 million in funding for the mine's working capital.

In Mongolia, the miner also executed a binding agreement with one of the largest private coal companies in China, for 5.5 years of offtake of hard coking coal.

The group also saw its total net assets go further into the red, compared to 30 June 2016, primarily due to TerraCom's finance costs.

TerraCom reported a loss of 1.14 cents per share.

Shares in TerraCom Limited (ASX:TER) last traded 3.4% higher to $0.03.

Link to article (and video)

Link to TER report

Back to Headlines

DRG trading flat mid-day A$0.03

Draig Resources: Interim Financial Report, December 2016

March 16, Draig Resources Ltd. (ASX:DRG) --

RESULTS AND REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES

Mongolia

The Company continued to maintain the two exploration licences that are located in Mongolia. The Company's interest is held by a controlled entity, BDBL LLC ("BDBL"). BDBL is a participant in the Mongolian Coal Joint Venture (No.1) ("MCJV") with two other companies; Khan Mountain Pty Ltd ("KM") and Khan Mountain 2 Pty Ltd ("KM2"). KM and KM2 are wholly owned subsidiaries of Trinity Mongolia Pty Ltd ("Trinity"). BDBL has a 75% interest in the MCJV. KM has a 10% interest, which is free carried, and KM2 has a 15% interest in the MCJV. The Company has a 28% interest in Trinity.

Link to report

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report, March 16: Top 20 -1.93%, ALL +2.37%, Turnover 44.2 Million Shares, ₮1.4 Billion T-Bills

March 16 (MSE) --

Link to report

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Mongolian Stock Exchange Discusses Cooperation Opportunities with Toronto Stock Exchange

March 16 (MSE) During the annual Prospectors & Developers Association International Convention which was held in Toronto, Canada during March 05-08, 2017, Mongolian delegates held discussions regarding potential cooperation opportunities with the Toronto Stock Exchange representatives, Robert Peterman, Director of Global Business Development at the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) & TSX Venture Exchange and Ungad Chadda, President of Capital Formation for Equity Capital Markets at TMX Group (owner of Toronto Stock Exchange). Mongolian delegates present during the meeting included Dashdorj Ts, Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry, Undraa A, Member of Parliament, Baatartsogt B, Head of Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia, Altai Kh, CEO of 'Mongolian Stock Exchange' JSC (MSE) and other government officials. The parties discussed potential cooperation opportunities, particularly the facilitation of dual-listing at TSX and MSE.

Although the Securities Markets Law passed in 2013 established the legal framework for dual-listing, Mongolia is yet to see its first dual-listing. Currently, there are eleven companies with operations in Mongolia that are listed on TSX, such as Erdene Resource Development Corp, Southgobi Resources Ltd and Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. The cooperation between the TSX and MSE will facilitate the dual listing of TSX listed companies on Mongolian markets, creating opportunities for Mongolians to share ownership in the mining companies.

TSX is the 9th largest stock exchange by its market capitalization with a total of 3,278 listed companies and the world's largest exchange by the number of mining listings. In 2015, CAD 57.7 billion were raised on TSX and more than half of global mining capital are raised through the TSX.

Link to release

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Bayanteeg JSC announces 25.2 million dividend, 100 per share

March 16 (MSE) Board of Directors meeting of "Bayanteeg" JSC were held on 13 February 2017 and made a decision to distribute dividends to its shareholders with MNT100.00 per share which is total of MNT25.2 million.

The ex-dividend day is 3 April 2017, and dividends will be paid in cash to shareholders accounts at Mongolian Central Securities Depository.

Link to release

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7 Joint Stock Companies Delisted From MSE Listing

March 16 (MSE) Pursuant to the Clause 83.1 of Company Law, the clause of 24.8 of Listing Rule and clause of 8.10.11 of Corporate Rule of MSE, following 7 companies are delisted.

 Symbol

Name of Company

  Number of shares

1

 BAL 

"Bayantolgoi" JSC

127,094

2

 DLA

"Gantumurt" JSC

162,514

3

 ORG

"Zavkhan teekh " JSC

51,110

4

  ZVN

"Zavkhan teever" JSC

135,870

5

 MEG

"Mongol EEG" JSC

114,378

6

 ORI

"Orgil Gobi-Altai" JSC

78,489

7

 LJA 

"Uliastai Tegsh" JSC

1,323,486

Link to release

Back to Headlines

Economy

Reds are when MNT fell, greens when it rose. Bold reds are rates that set a new historic high at the time.

BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, March 15 Close

 

3/16

3/15

3/14

3/13

3/10

3/9

3/7

3/6

3/3

3/2

High

Date

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/e147de94-098c-41fc-a613-e68b961bc287.png

USD

2,454.96

2,457.12

2,458.38

2,458.80

2,461.32

2,464.00

2,466.88

2,468.55

2,470.25

2,470.84

2,498.75

1/10/2017

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/7fff4ee5-d12c-4bd2-8a56-d47fa1ab5b0d.png

EUR

2,633.07

2,614.01

2,615.22

2,629.93

2,607.65

2,595.95

2,613.91

2,616.42

2,598.95

2,604.14

2,681.43

11/10/2016

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/73256f8e-4c86-438d-9d39-350646eb7f40.png

JPY

21.68

21.42

21.35

21.44

21.33

21.51

21.67

21.69

21.62

21.64

23.49

11/9/2016

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/170ec7e9-2636-4b7d-a624-7ae9fef54841.png

GBP

3,012.73

3,005.06

2,983.49

3,005.02

2,992.60

2,995.36

3,015.51

3,029.40

3,030.01

3,035.80

3,183.26

8/13/2014

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/a481156f-5e01-436d-b063-c22ecd3ed0dd.png

RUB

42.23

41.58

41.69

41.61

41.57

41.85

42.35

42.31

41.91

42.33

54.32

6/27/2014

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/56dc9518-41a5-4bb4-9d57-167f6de07f2e.png

CNY

356.17

355.49

355.30

356.03

355.82

356.41

357.53

357.91

357.85

359.01

363.02

1/5/2017

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/ab781b89-2767-4b9c-b3cb-b3c6cc603016.png

KRW

2.17

2.15

2.14

2.14

2.13

2.13

2.15

2.13

2.13

2.16

2.18

2/6/2017

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/9a4a44a5-6be7-4141-8159-5aa30a12bb45.png

SGD

1,748.55

1,739.74

1,737.19

1,741.17

1,735.16

1,736.07

1,749.50

1,750.12

1,746.44

1,751.75

1,758.66

2/24/2017

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/53fdb4a8-f38e-4f01-b01a-c2dee4a6895d.png

CAD

1,845.90

1,825.16

1,825.08

1,827.09

1,823.13

1,826.88

1,842.12

1,841.24

1,844.09

1,850.82

1,908.84

1/18/2017

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/6ec5578f-dca9-4257-b326-e755e3b2400b.png

AUD

1,892.16

1,862.87

1,855.22

1,862.05

1,851.40

1,853.05

1,877.67

1,871.53

1,866.15

1,892.17

1,913.20

2/16/2017

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/d6b9f8ce-b8d2-4ce7-bdce-b85ce1812325.png

HKD

316.22

316.29

316.42

316.65

316.99

317.26

317.67

317.95

318.18

318.29

322.21

1/10/2017

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4296ba475e0a2fd5de8e5bee5/images/ae638f8b-a29a-4d70-90b3-52ad2a79d482.png

CHF

2,455.08

2,438.95

2,435.12

2,431.45

2,430.69

2,427.47

2,439.32

2,446.41

2,439.39

2,445.65

2,497.77

11/09/2016

Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,445 Sell ₮2,458), TDB (Buy ₮2,452 Sell ₮2,462), Golomt (Buy ₮2,445 Sell ₮2,458), XacBank (Buy ₮2,449 Sell ₮2,459), State Bank (Buy ₮2,446 Sell ₮2,459)

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

Link to rates

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BoM declines USD, CNY ask, bid offers and MNT swap offers

March 16 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid weighted average rate of MNT2452.17 for USD10.2 million, asked weighted average rate of MNT2457.07 for USD14.1 million and bid weighted average rate of MNT353.67 for CNY58.0 million respectively. The BoM did not accept the bid offers.

Swap and forward trade: The BoM received buying bid offers of USD3.0 million of MNT swap agreement from commercial banks and the BoM did not accept the bid offers.

Link to release

Back to Headlines

Mongolia government seeks IMF financial support

March 16 (Al Jazeera) Mongolia government seeks IMF financial support

Five years ago, Mongolia was one of the world's fastest growing economies thanks to exports of copper and gold.

But that all came undone when commodity prices crashed.

Now Mongolia is turning to the International Monetary Fund for help. 

Al Jazeera's Pearly Jacob reports from the capital, Ulaanbaatar.

Link to video

Back to Headlines

Politics & Legal

Potential, overall bipartisan support for IMF program?

Chairman of State Structure Committee: Mongolian citizens understand why we have come to the point of the IMF program

By Dale Choi

March 17 (Mongolia Metals & Mining) Chairman of Parliament's State Structure Standing Commitee , senior MPP MP N.Enkhbold was seen on Bloomberg TV Mongolia yesterday commenting regarding IMF program:

  • I think people of Mongolia have started to realise socio-economic condition of the country with or without elections, without politicisation. We are facing choice whether to temporarily apply band-aid treatment, get away with some cosmetic changes or take fundamental measures to make long term change to make financial and economic condition healthy. 
  • I don't see [IMF] issue in relation to elections. More we delay, heavier problems will become. GoM has resolved pressing issue of payment of urgent debt, this is good, I understand that investors oversubscribed to new GoM bonds because of message spreading that Mongolia will sort out its fiscal discipline, responsibility and stability issue. This shows that investors are starting to believe us. I believe this is the way for us to go forward. It is difficult for us to overcome our financial and economic difficulties without participation of international financial organisations, investors and private sector. Although, well, it is possible for us for go without them, it would be surviving from day to day, we would not get far. If we think long-term, then, it's correct to implement IMF program and election promises.
  • Probably it will be hard, probably it will not be easy. I will not refuse possibility of need arising to postpone , to temporarily wait on some election promises that our party, Mongolian People's Party, has made. 
  • I think people of Mongolia understand what kind of condition there were for us to come to this point, I think, people will be patient and treat this correctly. I just came from working at my district, I visited 6 soums out of 8 soums in my district, I explained to voters what result there would be from IMF negotiations, what kind of condition we will be in, how we will overcome problems during macroeconomic stabilisation.
  • As I have felt, our citizens, our voters understand this. Of course, it can be politicised, that we fail our promises, that taxes are being increased. I think that taxes are being raised mostly in part of population that consumes more with larger income.
  • I understand that budget amendment will be the first bill on agenda of Spring session Parliament to start on Apr.5th and issue of cooperation will be finalised.

MP Z.Narantuya (DP, member of Parliament's Fiscal and Economic Standing Commitee, former Chairperson of Financial Regulatory Commitee) also was seen on Bloomberg TV Mongolia saying:

  • IMF program's positive side is funding from international financial organisations such World Bank and Asia Development Bank for fiscal loss and, that funding from countries such as Korea and Japan will go toward implementation of major projects. This is probably correct step.
  • We are only concerned on profitability of such invested projects and support funding not for new projects, but to continue already started budget-funded projects, we have expressed such united position.
  • Program is more oriented for short term stabilisation, and we feel it could have been improved with more medium-term approach and structural change to increase non-tax revenues. Further, we think real sector could have been supported more by letting investment go. As opposition, we will pay attention that GoM will not forget in medium-term to support real sector and investment.

Dale: Quite pleased with generally supportive public comments from senior MP-s from both parties. Very encouraged by MP Z.Narantuya's ,overall ,positive communication. As mentioned, it's really critical that the IMF program is explained well to the public, and would not be politicised, who has been responsible and what not . If there would be broad, overall bipartisan(=national) constructive, forward-looking support( not necessarily on all details) , it would be pretty cool thing to have and would provide good foundation for successful implementation of IMF Program.

Link to MMM FB page

Back to Headlines

IMF says they will remain patient with Mongolia despite setbacks

March 16 (UB Post) Through their Resident Representative Office in Ulaanbaatar, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that they will remain patient despite the postponement of Parliament's discussion of the budget amendments required for enrollment in its extended fund facility (EFF) program.

The foreign financiers of Mongolia's overall relief package have not yet verified their commitments. Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, and the governments of Japan and South Korea have committed to providing budget and project support as part of the IMF's staff-level EFF agreement. This package, coupled with a currency swap agreement between the central banks of Mongolia and China, make up a 5.5 billion USD financial package.

Mongolia needs to have a minimum financial commitment of three billion USD in order to enroll in the EFF. Reports indicate that the ADB is already in the process of discussing the financial commitment at their headquarters in Manila.

Even though World Bank has committed to contributing to the financial package, it is not clear how much will be offered and under what terms it will be provided.

Link to article

Back to Headlines

Will 2017 meet Mongolia's mega hopes from mega projects?

by B.Tugsbilegt

March 17 (Mongolian Mining Journal, Feb'17 - 099) In late 2016, the price of coking coal surged, the oil industry outlook brightened, and there were positive signs in other commodity markets also. As producers and exporters celebrate the return of good times, however temporary these might turn out to be, Mongolians have another reason to feel optimistic about 2017, when work on several mega projects, including Tavan Tolgoi and Gatsuurt, is slated to begin, after years of false hopes, dashed expectations, and broken promises. Let us see how things stand with some of these projects that will change Mongolia's economy and Mongolians' life in many ways. 

Gatsuurt

Ts.Dashdorj, the present Mining Minister, is the fourth in a series to try to bring the Gatsuurt deposit into the economic cycle. D.Zorigt initiated the talks with the investors on developing the deposit, but the tenure of D.Gankhuyag was marked by growing opposition to the project. R.Jigjid soothed popular feelings and took some real steps towards operating the mine by getting the mineral law amended to allow the state to forgo its 34% ownership in favour of receiving 3% special royalties. Draft investment and deposit development agreements were prepared but things then slowed down as elections drew near. How quickly will the current government be able to fulfil expectations, and boost morale in the mining sector?  

Progress might not be easy. The NGO Save Noyon Mountain moved court and in May 2016, the extraction licence of Gatsuurt mine, issued to Centerra Gold by the MRAM, was suspended. The company appealed against the ruling to The Capital City Administrative Court, which refused on 9 February to hear the case, sending it back to the primary court.

On the other hand, there have been two positive developments in recent days. In one, the Ministry has set up a working group charged with preparing the deposit development and investment agreements with Centerra Gold. This replaces the working group formed in 2015, which became defunct with the coming of the present government. In the other, the Mineral Resources Professional Council earlier this month approved a revised feasibility study of the Gatsuurt deposit. 

The Gatsuurt mine holds 50 tonnes of gold in about 17 million tonnes of ore. There could well be 26 tonnes more of precious metal and the mine lifetime would be around 10 years. The project would need a total investment of $215.9 million, while operational costs would be $1026 million. Estimated sales revenue would be $1769 million and the state budget would get $432.3 million in tax and other payments. It will have around 1000 workers. 

Oyu Tolgoi

The Oyu Tolgoi expansion project will be the strongest pillar of the Mongolian economy in 2017. Turquoise Hill Resources, which owns 66 percent of the mining project, has said this year's capital expenditure in the open pit mine and the underground mine would be $100 million and between $825 million and $925 million respectively. 

In December 2015, Rio Tinto raised $4.4 billion from 15 commercial banks with government support. The banks are ready to lend up to  $6 billion and might be willing to give $1.6 billion more. Whether Rio Tinto takes these further loans or not will depend on what the market situation does for Oyu Tolgoi's own financial capacity. 
The underground mine is the heart of the project where 80 percent of Oyu Tolgoi's total reserve lies. Sales would start in 2021 and full capacity of  production would come in 2027. 

Tavan Tolgoi

How all efforts to operate the Tavan Tolgoi deposit in a big way have failed ever since S.Bayar's government took it under state ownership in 2008 is a story well-known. The latest round was flagged off last October by J.Erdenebat's government, which gives the impression of being really serious about the job. 

There are many obstacles on its path, even though the time is propitious with coking coal prices rising. The rise followed the Chinese government's sudden decision in mid-2016 to reduce the number of working days in domestic coal mines from 330 to 276. However, the government had second thoughts as prices kept going up, and it soon began to re-extend the operating days. The result has been that some market experts are taking coking coal price trends as not being reliable. However, even if there is no spectacular recovery as in 2008 and 2011, coking coal prices will remain reasonably high, and not hit the bottom anytime soon.

That makes it all the more important to raise production at Tavan Tolgoi. A working group was set up in the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry late last year to resume discussions with the "old acquaintance" consortium, which consists of Energy Resources, Sumitomo, and Shenhua. Maybe this time will be lucky, and Tavan Tolgoi would be freed of the jinx. Much, of course, depends on how prices move. All parties would lose interest if the expected commercial returns are not high enough. In any case, so much has to be done – finalizing the investment process, completing studies, developing infrastructure etc. – that expecting any spectacular benefit from Tavan Tolgoi this year could be unwise. 

The TT power plant and CHP-5

The investment agreement for the Tavan Tolgoi 450-MW coal power plant was signed in June 2016, with MCS Power as the domestic and Marubeni as the foreign investor. Little has progressed since, except for successful negotiations with Oyu Tolgoi LLC to buy 70% of the generated power. The rest would be used at the Tavan Tolgoi and Tsagaansuvarga projects. We can only hope that work on the power plant will move forward this year but it seems several details are still to be worked out to the satisfaction of all the parties involved. 

Failure to progress in building the Combined Heat and Power Plant – 5 has been attributed to lack of finance, the market situation, and political disagreements. Several other coal power plant projects have also been on the drawing board for long. The government should take a quick decision on which of these it would take up first. 

The proposed projects include the Baganuur power plant, Bodi Group's Buuruljuut coal power plant, and the Shivee Ovoo power station. Buuruljuut will be built by the private sector, but Baganuur, Tavan Tolgoi, and CHP-5 are government projects. However, only the Tavan Tolgoi power plant is mentioned for development in the government's Economic Recovery Programme (2016-2020), while the others are just said to be under study. Prime Minister Erdenebat should be knowing the need to start work on at least some of these, as a power-hungry China would welcome long-term agreements on buying electricity from Mongolia.

The only good news is that work has finally begun on expansion of CHP-3. That would alleviate to a certain extent the country's shortage of energy and heat. 

The railway and other projects 

Last December, the government announced a list of energy, road and transport projects to be implemented in 2017.  Among them are the 45.3-km railway from Nariinsukhait to Shiveekhuren, the 281-km railway from Zuunbayan to Khangi port, the 192-km railway from Choibalsan to Khuut mine, and the 234-km railway from Khuut mine to Bichigt port. Later, Road and Transport Minister D.Ganbat expressed his hope that work on the Nariinsukhait-Shiveekhuren segment would start in the spring. When completed, SouthGobi Sands, Mongolyn Alt, and Usukh Zoos can then use the railway to transport their coal. The 45-km heavy and paved road now used has a capacity of just 11 million tonnes per year while these companies can together produce over 30 million tonnes. However, construction is likely to be delayed beyond the planned one year, as many related issues are still to be sorted out. 

The Zuunbayan-Khangi track is likely to have a wide gauge, according to the draft resolution on ensuring implementation of the state policy on railway transportation submitted by the government to the Parliament. Rough estimates put the total cost of construction at $1 billion. Mainly iron ore would be transported through the railway. 

It is unlikely that this would see the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry make any real progress on  'ambitious' projects such as the oil refinery, the copper smelter, and the steel plant, besides conducting some preliminary studies. Actual construction could begin only after the money is found and in the present situation, this might take quite some time. 

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Determined government, punished parliament

by Ts.Elbegsaikhan

March 17 (Mongolian Economy) Nearly one month has passed since the government announced that it will implement the IMF's Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme. However, this program is still yet to begin implementation. The decision regarding whether to provide a USD 440 million loan will be made by the IMF board at its next meeting to be held on April 10 after reviewing whether Mongolia completed its homework. This past month raised many expectations as the government hopes that donors will "pour" USD 5 billion after the IMF loan.

During this period, there was an expectation that parliament would immediately announce a special session and make amendments to the budget. The government, which waited for half a year before hearing the aforementioned answer from the IMF, did expect the issue to be prolonged further.

Many interests affecting individuals and society at large will be affected by such budget amendments, such as through increases in excise taxes on fuel, alcohol, tobacco and passenger vehicles; increasing customs tax on tobacco; reducing social welfare spending; and whether the state mortgage programme will continue. Therefore, everyone pictured that a favourable opportunity for the opposition to make a power play will arise during the special session by making strong points while the parliamentary majority show their obvious power against them.

Yet, nothing has happened. Although the opposition attempted to blame the government – saying "The government is working poorly as they have not immediately announced a special session to discuss the pressing issues" – it did not garner that much attention. The Mongolian People's Party is determined to discuss the issue by the spring session of parliament.

However, it would be biased to say that nothing has been done. The government has successfully changed the name of a bond. Initially the prime minister sounded very confident and said that the government will fully pay the USD 580 million bond of the Development Bank. At the time, the head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Budget stated: "Make it clear from what source it will be paid. Resolve the bond issue without creating pressure on the budget." In any case, it seems like the PM's plan failed as he informed Reuters and Bloomberg that the bond is going to be replaced by another one a day after the Ministry of Finance and IMF representatives made their joint announcement on February 19.

The new bond is named "Khuraldai," and the USD 476 million bond was replaced by a seven-year, 8.75 percent interest bond. A new bond of USD 124 million was also sold on the market at 7.625 percent interest. Thus, Mongolia's debt increased by USD 20 million and the payable interest rate increased by two percent. The main objective of the newly issued bond is to pay off the remainder of the old bond.

The budget amendment issue will clearly be a priority when the session begins. It is likely that not much time will be spent discussing this issue as the opposition might use the opportunity against the government. The budget amendment issue was not supported by parliament previously during the fall session. The Ministry of Finance was behind the budget amendment proposal last time. This time around, the all mighty IMF will be behind the upcoming proposal.

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PM orders local governors to cut expensive welcoming ceremonies

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) On Wednesday, Prime Minister J.Erdenebat directed all aimag governors to stop hosting expensive welcoming and farewell ceremonies for government officials, going on local visits. 

He also tasked the officials to study feasibilities to make changes to the State Protocol Regulations, to refrain from the ceremonious welcoming for Prime Minister at the border of aimags and to organize small welcoming events at cheaper cost instead.

The Prime Minister views such a decision is necessary in these times of economic restraint. 

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New government axes 22,000 civil servants in transition

March 16 (news.mn) According to unofficial statistics, the Mongolian government has cut 22,000 civil service jobs since the parliamentary election in June, 2016. To break these figures down: 10,000 civil servants have been removed from their posts in the Ulaanbaatar City Administration and Government Ministries; and in each of the 21 provinces  between 350-700 have been dismissed.

The Centre for Human Rights & Development is calling to stop the abnormal practice whereby political parties switch civil service jobs with their members after winning parliament election. This has undermined a "professional" Mongolian civil service and has resulted in some glaringly unqualified and inept people being appointed to senior level posts.

A total of 2000 new civil service jobs were created in Mongolia in 2016. At present nearly 100,000 people work in the country's civil service.

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Monocle interviews Parliament Speaker M.Enkhbold

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) On March 16, Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament – State Great Khural M.Enkhbold gave an interview to the resident correspondent of Monocle Magazine in Tokyo Kenji Hall.

Headquartered in London, Monocle covers a wide range of topics, such as international affairs, business, art and culture and is published every month.

The magazine has representatives in New York, Zurich, Tokyo, Toronto, Istanbul and Hong Kong. Monocle is enjoyed by readers in nearly 70 countries of North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

Mr. Kenji Hall talked with the Mongolian Speaker about politics, society, economy and democracy of Mongolia. 

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OSCE ODIHR director visits Mongolia

March 16 (news.mn) Michael Georg Link, director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) made a visit to Mongolia on 14-15th of March. During the visit, Ts.Munk-Orgil, the Foreign Minister of Mongolia received Mr Link and discussed cooperation on improving the skills of election observers and establishing a training centre in the country.

Mr.Link expressed his appreciation for Mongolia's successful parliamentary election in 2016. He noted that Mongolia has become a good example for its neighbours in the region.

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Foreign Minister meets ODIHR DirectorMontsame, March 16

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AmCham Daily Newswire for March 16, 2017

GOVERNMENT

Plans approved for a copper concentrate factory to be built in Khanbogd

Summary: Cabinet approved plans to build a copper concentrate factory in Umnubogi Province's Khanbogd soum. Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry Ts. Dashdorj will be in charge of selecting investors and making the appropriate agreements for the factory. No less than 10% of the factory will be owned by the Government of Mongolia without any investment cost. The proposed factory will have the capacity to produce one million tons of concentrate annually, and is expected to be operational by 2020. Analysts believe that based on available natural resources, logistics, and efficient transmission of energy, the factory should be built next to Oyu Tolgoi's mine in Khanbogd soum.

Keywords: Cabinet, infrastructure, copper | The Official Gazette /page 11/


ECONOMY

Mineral exports increased by 57.3%

Summary: The National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that in the first two months of the year, Mongolia exported 727.7 million USD in minerals, an increase of 57.3% compared to last year. Mongolia exported 4.8 million tons of coal for 327.3 million USD, an increase of 3.5 times in terms of volume and 8 times more than last year's exports in terms of monetary value. The export of gold and copper concentrate decreased. For crude oil, 1.1 million barrels valued at 58.5 million USD were exported. Officials highlight that 8,000 tons of zinc ore valued at 26.9 million USD was exported, and the price tripled compared to last year.

Keywords: trade, export, minerals, NSO | The Official Gazette /page 11/


MINING

D. Zagdjav appointed as Vice Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry

Summary: During Cabinet's regular session, D. Zagdjav was appointed as Vice Minister of the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry. D. Zagdjav earned his master's degree in management, holds a PhD in public management, and is professor at the Defense, Safety and Law Academy. He holds degrees from the Ministry of Social Protection's Military Academy, Institute of Development of Public Management, and Novosibirisk's Economics Academy of Management. D. Zagdjav served as a Member of Parliament from 2008-2012, and has also served as the President of the Democratic Students Association, Governor of Khan Uul Province, General Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, and President of the Mongolian Peace and Friendship Organization.

Keywords: Cabinet, Ministry of Mining | National post /page 1/


Debt to Chalco approaches full repayment 

Summary: Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi reported that its debt to Chalco is decreasing. Last month, Executive Director D. Ariunbold noted that the debt stands at 56 million USD, and that it is possible to completely pay off the debt this year. After the debt is paid off, the company is set to supply the Chinese market with a certain percentage of minerals from Tavan Tolgoi's East Tsankhii mine at market price. State-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi sold around 800,000 tons of coal at the beginning of February, double what it sold last year. The company is planning to export 11.5 million tons of coal this year and plans to increase export volume and the price of its coal. In January, coal from thr West Tsankhii mine was sold at 71.5 USD per ton, an increase of 165% over a five-month period.  The management of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi announced that after the debt is paid off, the company is planning to release an IPO on the international market to raise capital in 2018. In the future, the company is planning to invest in roads and infrastructure projects, including a power plant.

Keywords: Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, coal, Chalco | The Official Gazette /page 11/


ONLINE STORY

8.4 trillion MNT now being saved at commercial banks

Summary: At the end of January, there was a reported 8.4 trillion MNT being saved at commercial banks, 70% of which was held in MNT accounts with the rest in foreign currency. The Deposit Insurance Corporation announced that from 2015-2016, the amount of money saved in personal accounts had not risen due to minimal salary increases across the country. Of all the savings depositors, 1%  had more than 100 million MNT in savings. With the staff-level agreement between the IMF and the Government of Mongolia, Parliament is likely to approve legislation to tax income from personal savings accounts starting on April 1. Analysts speculate that this will drive customers to move their assets to other form of investment, such as stocks and government bonds. Economists believe that even though it would be good to see the transfer of capital from the banking system to the securities market, a sudden transfer of capital could disrupt the banking system.

Keywords: personal savings, commercial banks | www.bloombergtv.mn

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Business

Strong interest in Mongolia at PDAC

Investors liked Mining Minister's candid responses; OT LLC success is now at the center of Mongolia's unique selling proposition NAMBC Newsletter

March 16 (Mongolian Business Database) Attendance at the March 5 Mongolia@PDAC investors forum during the annual convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada in Toronto was the highest of any prior Mongolia event at PDAC. "When Mining Minister Ts. Dashdorj spoke," noted NAMBC Chairman Frank Herbert, "it was standing-room only." Advance registration – 300 -- for the event was more than double the highest previous level. The success, stability and smooth expansion of Oyu Tolgoi LLC was front and center in Mongolia's unique selling proposition by both government and private sector speakers, which included Dr. Galsan Batsukh, Chairman of OT LLC, who was Mongolia's first resident ambassador to Canada, as well as the CEOs of other established foreign miners in Mongolia who have been able to attract significant new capital investment as investors warm again to Mongolia's prospects, including presentations by Steppe Gold, Aspire, Xanadu and Erdene Resource Development (ERD).

At and on the fringes of the PDAC meeting, Minister Dashdorj and other government officials emphasized that:

-       Mongolia has no plans to change the size of its stake in the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine and no intention of changing the terms of its relationship with OT;

-       Mongolia intends to double the amount of land available for exploration and hopes to build a copper smelting plant; and that the Mineral Resource and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia (MRPAM) will improve the transparency and methodology of bidding for new exploration licenses, in response to wide-spread complaints from both domestic and international investors about the deficiencies of the previous computerized system;

-       the government is seriously examining issues involved in the discounted royalty for gold sold to the central bank, which expires on January 1, 2019 and which has been a major incentive to gold mining investment; and that the government was in serious discussions with Centerra on moving forward with the Gatsuurt gold mine, which is the only major new mining project that is even close to shovel-ready;

-       the government will take a fresh look at resolving problems with the vast number of mining licenses abruptly suspended because of overly-broad definitions of environmental considerations in the so-called "Long Name Law;"

-       the government's plan for amending the mining law would not affect the basic structure of existing law on royalties and other basics but was rather intended to codify technical and regulatory requirements (such as on reclamation and restoration) that were missing or unclear in prior versions of the law;

-       the government continues to study options for the Tavan Tolgoi LLC coal mine with interested investors and relevant government ministers with no fixed timetable for a final agreement.

From Toronto, Minister Dashdorj went on to Ottawa for the seventh Canada-Mongolia Roundtable Meeting on Intergovernmental Cooperation on March 9 in Ottawa. The amicable meeting was co-chaired by Dashdorj and the Assistant Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, Mr. Donald Bobiash; Mongolian Ambassador to Canada R. Altangerel and Canadian Ambassador to Mongolia Ed Jager also participated. Concurring that both nations highly valued Canada's status as a "Third Neighbor," both sides agreed to activate collaboration in mining, agriculture, infrastructure and environment, noting that the FIPA investment promotion agreement would help boost two-way trade and investment. The two sides agreed to improve efficiency and broaden the scope of development cooperation; six projects are currently underway in mining, agriculture, public and other sectors.

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MIAT to increase flight frequency and routes

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) Yesterday, March 15, Minister of Road and Transportation Development D.Ganbat visited MIAT Airline National flag carrier, and stated that the company would be supported with government policy and its flight frequency and routes would be increased.

MIAT company works on lowering operational costs and increasing income, including from non-transportation sources and plans to launch new flights to 7 routes in Australia and South East Asia including Busan of South Korea and Bangkok of Thailand, according to Director of MIAT, state-owned company T.Tamir.

Minister D.Ganbat said that the ministry started to take some measures regarding rendering policy support to improve business activities of the company so that the company operates without loss and to overcome financial difficulties; renewing air relations agreements to improve travelers' flow and protecting market of international transportation.

"- Increase of international flight frequency and flight routes should be aimed at improving economic efficiency" Minister D.Ganbat underlined. The minister highly valued the skill of engineers and technical officers of the company, expressing that he will pay attention to enlarging the capacity of aircraft maintenance service and improving professional skills of technical officers further. MIAT company has a capacity to conduct maintenance service to over 30 aircrafts in a year and has an agreement with 9 international airlines to conduct maintenance services to their aircrafts.  

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Ulaanbaatar

UB denies 3rd anti-pollution demonstration for coinciding with Soldiers' Day

March 16 (news.mn) 'Parents against Air-Pollution' has been planning its third air pollution protest on Sukhbaatar Square, on 18th of March. However, the Ulaanbaatar City Administration has suspended the demonstration because it coincides with the state ceremony for Armed-Services Day.  

Since December, several hundred Mongolians have joined in these protests which have been organised by 'Parents against Air-Pollution'. These demonstrations are a crowd funding campaign calling on the government to do more to protect citizens from air pollution and build hospitals.

The last winter has been the coldest in a decade and has seen the worst smog in the Mongolian capital for years. At its worst, the hospitals had problems coping with the large numbers of children and infants being brought in by anxious parents.

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Ministry introduces new wastewater treatment technology

March 16 (gogo.mn) Due to lack of law enforcement of water pollution fee and operational failure of treatment plant, Tuul river pollution exceeds the standard as Tuul river provides the only supply of water for all uses including industrial supply and drinking water for Ulaanbaatar city. 

In scope of upcoming World Water Day, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism held a press session today. 

Mongolia uses 500-600 million cubic meters of water per year and produces 470 million cubic meters of waste water. However, the country does not reuse the waste water due to lack of treatment technology. 

Meanwhile many countries are using nanotechnologies in wastewater treatment and purification by removing the pollution and contamination with mechanistic biology, biotechnology, nanotechnology and membrane technology. 

Mongolia has testing new technologies in wastewater treatment since 2012. Until then the country successfully introduced the "Khuvsgul" wastewater technology and put into operation a wastewater treatment plant which is capable of purify 25 cubic meters of wastewater per day in Gatsuurt village in 2016.

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Diplomacy

China invites Mongolia to step aboard its economic express train

March 16 (news.mn) China's Ambassador to Mongolia, H.E. Xing Haiming has made an announcement about National People's Congress of China as well as talking about relations between Beijing and Ulaanbaatar. The statements were made earlier today (16th of March).

Ambassador Xing Haiming said 'According to statistics, Chinese economic growth is set to steadily expand and our country will (continue to) be an important power in the world economy. It will be a positive influence for its neighbours, including Mongolia'. The Chinese Ambassador repeated the words of President Xi Jinpin, that 'China invites Mongolia to step aboard its economic express train' which he said when he visited Ulaanbaatar.

He stressed that Mongolia is a good neighbour and partner. Mr. Xing Haiming said, 'China will support Mongolia to overcome its economic difficulties, and further develop economic cooperation.

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Cabinet approves draft Mongolia-Mexico Cooperation Program

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) Cabinet approved a draft of Cooperation Program between the Government of Mongolia and the Government of the United Mexican States for 2017-2020 in areas of education, culture, youth development, physical culture and sports at the regular meeting held Wednesday, March  16. 

The program will enable Mongolia to send off representatives to international cultural events, such as festivals and exhibitions, and involve more Mongolian students in the Mexican government scholarships. Also, Mongolian diplomats will be regularly participating in the foreign policy training hosted by the Mexican Diplomatic Academy, Matias Romero Institute.

The sides recognized that the program implementation will strengthen bilateral ties and deepen cooperation in education, culture, youth development and sports.

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Cabinet approves medium-term partnership agreement with Japan, defense with Turkey

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) At Wednesday's regular meeting, the cabinet approved the latest revision of the Common Rule for Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) on Implementation of Policy Documents and Operations of Administrative bodies. The cabinet members, agencies and aimag governors were tasked to develop and pursue special M&E methodologies suited for the concerned sector.

- The cabinet gave Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil a permission to finalize and sign the Medium-Term Program on Mongolia-Japan Partnership for 2017-2021. The program consists of general sections regarding the cooperation in politics and security, economic, cultural and people-to-people ties.

- The cabinet approved the Agreement on Financial Cooperation for Defense Sector between the Government of Mongolia and the Government of the Republic of Turkey. 

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Mongolia attracts Polish FDI

March 10 (Polish Investment and Trade Agency) "We will support Polish companies interested in doing business in Mongolia" - said Tomasz Pisula, opening the Polish Mongolian Economic Seminar that was arranged by Polish Investment and Trade Agency.

"Ladies and Gentleman, you are in the right place, if you are interested in developing economic relations with Poland", Pisula said to Mongolian companies taking part in the seminar. "The Agency will be the first public institution in Poland offering a complex support for global expansion of Polish companies" he stressed.

Poland is considered as one of the main economic partners of Mongolia in the European Union. To strengthen the economic collaboration between the two states, a Polish-Mongolian Parliamentary Group has been created. "The parliamentary cooperation plays a very important role. It links the countries", explained Mr Damba-Ochir Dorjdamba, the chairman of the Parliamentary Group.

Mining is the strategic sectors of the Mongolian economy and the main area of the activity of foreign companies. 73% of direct foreign investments are located in the mining sector. Mongolia also specializes in agri-food industry with a high position of milk, meat and wheat production. "We are interested in cooperation with Poland in tractors assembly, construction of warehouses, development of road infrastructure, equipping vocational schools and milk processing" - said Mr. Nemekh Bataa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Poland.

"The country's economic situation is not exemplary. However, we are doing everything to improve it. It is worth to remember that Mongolia is neighbouring the two large markets: the Chinese Russian market", Ambassador added. Representatives of the Mongolian government assured that they will support any initiative to foster cooperation between the two countries.

The seminar was arranged on the occasion of the official visit of the Mongolian Parliament to Poland.

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Mongolian peacekeepers return lost boy to parents

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 /MONTSAME/ Good news has been reported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Mongolian Battalion with March 18, Mongolian Soldiers' day and the 96th anniversary of Mongolian Armed Forces just around the corner.

Members of the Mongolian Battalion first sergeant T.Buyanzul and second sergeant O.Tsend-Ayush rescued a 2-year-old Sudanese boy from danger zone. Following the event and around midnight, three civilians came looking for a child to the patrol base. The child was returned to his parents.

UN Police and Community Watch Group for internally displaced persons extended their appreciation of the Mongolian peacekeepers.

Moreover, General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces reports that the UNMISS Mongolian Battalion successfully organized a march-tactical competition among the Mongolian peacekeepers on March 11-12. A total of 12 groups were challenged by various exercises along a 3 km route in the competition.

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Health & Education

Consultation Workshop Held on Improving Building Safety at Ulaanbaatar City Public Schools and Kindergartens

ULAANBAATAR, March 16, 2017 (World Bank) – Representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, Ulaanbaatar city municipality, the World Bank, and civil society organizations gathered together at a consultation workshop on seismic resilience of public schools in Ulaanbaatar today.

Participants discussed the preliminary findings of the seismic vulnerability assessment of Ulaanbaatar schools, a study jointly conducted by NEMA and the World Bank with support from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. They also discussed further actions that stakeholders can take to improve the resilience of Ulaanbaatar to earthquakes.

Among the proposed recommendations of the study were cost-effective interventions to improve resilience of Ulaanbaatar schools, such as retrofitting school buildings to resist larger earthquake forces. Such retrofitting interventions could be the anchor for a broader disaster risk reduction program, not only to prevent damage and collapse of buildings, but ultimately to save lives.

Participants also highlighted the need to start a similar program in other cities that are subject to earthquakes, as well as for other types of older buildings with high occupancy such as hospitals.

Ulaanbaatar occupies only 0.3 percent of Mongolia's land area, but is home to 44 percent of the total population. The city generates 63.6 percent of national gross domestic product. 

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National Council of Language Policy reports on its works

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) Today, March 16, the National Council of Language Policy delivered a report about its works to the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj in accordance with the law on Mongolian language.

The council has started examine appliers to public service jobs on Mongolian language and has taken measures to prepare young Mongolists, to preserve local dialects and original names of sites without changing them as well as to compile a comprehensive wordbook, according to the report.

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Uvs aimag develops educational ties with Khakassia of Russia

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) Uvs aimag has been developing ties with the Republic of Khakassia of Russian Federation in education sector. Boris Ustinovich Amzarakov, Chairman of International and Regional Relations Department of Scientific Research Institute of Language, Literature and History has been working in Uvs aimag, exchanging views with the authorities of Uvs aimag on broadening the cooperation.

Mr. Boris Ustinovich Amzarakov was awarded the medal dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Marshal Yu.Tsedenbal, for his contribution to the development of relations between Uvs aimag and the Institute.

Last July, delegation of the National University of Khakassia, named after N.F.Katanov visited Uvs aimag and renewed agreement between the university and Department of Education and Culture of Uvs aimag. Within the agreement, 12 Mongolian students are studying at the National University of Khakassia as well as an officer of the Department participated in an international scientific conference with theme "People and Culture of Sayan Altai and neighboring regions" held in Abakan city.

Uvs aimag intends to broaden relations with Khakassia not only in education sector, but also in humanitarian and economic sectors.

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Culture & Society

Khusugtun becomes first Mongolian band to perform at UN headquarters

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) Khusugtun Mongolian ethnic ballad group is on a concert tour named "Khusugtun Team at World Stage 2017" in the USA and Canada until March 26. The band has a big aspiration to promote Mongolian traditional folk music to the world.

So far, they have performed in 5 cities of the US and Canada, since its inception in Ottawa, Canada on March 3.

Khusugtun team has performed at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada International Convention, Trade Show and Investors' Exchange held in Toronto, Canada between March 3 and 8 as well as in Rubin Museum of Art, where some unique paintings and sculptures of Buddhism, especially precious paintings of High Saint Zanabazar are kept.

Khusugtun band has become the first band to perform at the UN Headquarters in New York, letting the audience of over 100 countries of the world travel through the wonders of Mongolian traditional folk music art. 

The tour will continue in 6 more cities, Vancouver, Canada and Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, USA. 

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'Chinggis Khaan, World Conqueror on Horseback' exhibition opens in the Netherlands

March 16 (UB Post) An impressive exhibition called "Chinggis Khaan, World Conqueror on Horseback" launched at the National Military Museum in the Netherlands last month.

Over 200 rare masterpieces and special treasures, such as a golden saddle, clothes, and weapons that were believed to have been used by Chinggis Khaan and jewelry worn by Mongolian queens, on loan from the Inner Mongolian Museum in Hohhot, China, are displayed in the exhibition.

Visitors of the exhibition have the chance to create their own bow and arrow, and to taste Mongolian dishes.

The museum also published the book "Khaan for Kids", which gives children the opportunity to learn more about the "Chinggis Khaan, World Conqueror on Horseback" exhibition in an appealing and creative way.

The National Military Museum of the Netherlands is the first museum in Europe to host an exhibition about Chinggis Khaan.

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Gutal - Mongolian traditional style boots

March 2017 (Khan Expedition) Mongolian boots or gutal is nowhere in the world with its traditional style and derivation. It was founded in the period of Khunnu, 200 B.C., and the shape of recent form was created during the XII century. Foreigners might be interested in the shape of gutal with its slightly upturned toes. It is not a decoration but has several reasons as to why it takes this form. The space inside upturned toes circulates air that keeps warm in winter and cool in summer, also the sole of a boot is smooth and won't dig the grass. The upper side is made by thick buffalo or horse skin that is very convenient in riding as well as wrestling. The socks are worn specially made for gutal by cotton or felt. The gutal is handmade work and has up to 32 ornaments which each one show the origin of nationality.

The biggest boot created by human is a Mongolian traditional gutal

The biggest boot created by human is a Mongolian traditional gutal, a 9 m tall and is preserved at the Genghis Khan Statue Complex in Tsonjin Boldog. To create this boot a total of 225 pieces of buffalo skin, 4,500 meters of rope, 120 m² of felt, 72 m² of sponge, 13 m³ of wood, 300 liters of glue and 180 m² of tarpaulin were used. The Gutal was initiated to create by 18 years old girl B.Nomin who spent two years with assistance of 10 craftsmen and cost about 200,000,000 MNT (approximately 150,000 USD by 2011 rates).

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Nature & Environment

Thousands of saker falcons die from electrocution every year

March 16 (gogo.mn) Due to inefficient solutions in power lines, over 4000 saker falcons worth MNT 64 billion die annually in Mongolia. This number increases twice in some years. 

Study conducted by researchers at Wildlife Science and Conservation Center shows that the majority of the saker falcons died from sitting on power lines are baby falcons or one-year-old falcons.

"A bird needs to rest and relax while flying and the best place for them seem power lines. It is common in all over the world. Thus we need to introduce environmentally friendly power line solution in order to ensure the safety of the birds. Birds electrocute when sitting or taking off from the utility poles of power lines", said Dr. B.Nyambayar. 

Moreover study reveals that 63 percent of electrocuted falcons were females due to females are bigger than the males. Furthermore, it adversely affect fertility. 

Environment and energy industries began to focus on that issue several years ago. In regards they installed insulators to 250 utility poles of power lines connecting Bayan-Ovoo and Galuut soums of Bayankhongor aimag. 

As a result, number of electrocuted birds were decreased to 39 from 52. However 32 of them were found under the utility poles without insulators. 

Experts highlights that insulators should be installed to all utility poles.  

The Government set ecological and economic assessment for each saker falcons at MNT 16 million and banned to hunt saker falcons until 2018. 

Bird repeller such as mirror fan was installed in power lines to ensure the safety of birds. However this method was not effective and not suitable for Mongolian climate. 

The country urgently needs to update the relevant regulations and standards in order to save the saker falcons by making 4,000 km of 15 kV power lines safe.

About 6-18 thousand saker falcons were counted nationwide 11 years ago. Since then no census were conducted until today. However thousands of saker falcons are died from electrocution every year.

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Physico-Chemical Composition of Saline Lakes of the Gobi Desert Region, Western Mongolia

Bayanmunkh B1*, Sen-Lin T2,3, Narangarvuu D4, Ochirkhuyag B5 and Bolormaa O6

Received date: February 16, 2017; Accepted date: February 24, 2017; Published date: February 28, 2017

(Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change)

Abstract

Mongolian saline lakes have been rarely studied. In particular, physicochemical composition of small shallow lakes of the Gobi Desertregion in western Mongolia is simply unknown. Objectives were to characterize chemical composition and describe biogeochemical characteristics of saline lakes in the Gobi Desertregions and steppe mountains, with an emphasis on environmental parameters associated with heavy metal ions. Major physicochemical parameters were determined in 14 lakes (with varying degrees of salinity) located in western Mongolia and associations with geographic variation and distance were determined. Vertical profiles for temperature, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen were characterized. Salinity and pH were measured with multiparameter submersible profilers. Heavy metal ions (i.e., As, Pb, and Cd) and microelements (i.e., K, Na, Zn, Cu, Ni, Cr, and Co) were analyzed with Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. Hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate were also determined by commercial kits for elemental analysis. Overall, 43 environmental parameters were determined from 31 water samples from various locations, representing distinct geographic features, including Gobi Desert, mountain range and steppe area. Several of these lakes had harmful concentrations of arsenate (< 0.34 mg/L). Heavy metal concentrations were correlated with selected physico-chemical variables of lake salinity and geographic specificity. We inferred that various environmental features, in addition to environmental pollution and mining activity, may be responsible for increased heavy metal concentrations in the Gobi Desert of the western Mongolia. The outcome of this study not only provided insights into lake chemistry, but should also be valuable for water resource management to mitigate potential poisoning and improve public health.

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Comparative analysis of fecal microbial communities in cattle and Bactrian camels

Liang Ming, Li Yi, Siriguleng, Surong Hasi, Jing He, Le Hai, Zhaoxia Wang, Fucheng Guo, Xiangyu Qiao, Jirimutu

Published: March 16, 2017 | PLoS ONE

Abstract

Bactrian camels may have a unique gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome because of their distinctive digestive systems, unique eating habits and extreme living conditions. However, understanding of the microbial communities in the Bactrian camel GI tract is still limited. In this study, microbial communities were investigated by comparative analyses of 16S rRNA hypervariable region V4 sequences of fecal bacteria sampled from 94 animals in four population groups: Inner Mongolian cattle (IMG-Cattle), Inner Mongolian domestic Bactrian camels (IMG-DBC), Mongolian domestic Bactrian camels (MG-DBC), and Mongolian wild Bactrian camels (MG-WBC). A total of 2,097,985 high-quality reads were obtained and yielded 471,767,607 bases of sequence. Firmicutes was the predominant phylum in the population groups IMG-Cattle, IMG-DBC and MG-WBC, followed (except in the Inner Mongolian cattle) by Verrucomicrobia. Bacteroidetes were abundant in the IMG-DBC and MG-WBC populations. Hierarchical clustered heatmap analysis revealed that the microbial community composition within the three Bactrian camel groups was relatively similar, and somewhat distinct from that in the cattle. A similar result was determined by principal component analysis, in which the camels grouped together. We also found several species-specific differences in microbial communities at the genus level: for example, Desulfovibrio was abundant in the IMG-DBC and MG-WBC groups; Pseudomonas was abundant in the IMG-Cattle group; and FibrobacterCoprobacillus, and Paludibacter were scarce in the MG-WBC group. Such differences may be related to different eating habits and living conditions of the cattle and the various camel populations.

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Sports

Seven sports figures to run for National Olympic Committee presidency

March 16 (UB Post) The general assembly of the Mongolian National Olympic Committee (MNOC) is scheduled to be held on March 24, where the committee's president, vice president and executive board members will be elected.

A total of 167 members of the MNOC will participate in the election. Thirty-two Olympic sports federations, 36 non-Olympic sports federations, 29 members from the Mongolian Olympic Council, one member from the International Olympic Committee, and two representatives from athletes' council will vote for new administrators.

A total of seven people have been nominated for the MNOC presidency.

Nominees are president of the Mongolian Knucklebone Shooting Association Ya.Batsuuri, president of the Mongolian Volleyball Association Ts.Bat-Enkh, secretary-general of the Mongolian Draughts Federation Ch.Bat-Erdene, president of the Mongolian Weightlifting Federation D.Zagdsuren, secretary-general of the Mongolian Athletics Federation Ch.Zorigtbaatar, president of the Mongolian Biathlon Association E.Munkh-Ochir, and president of the Mongolian Gymnastics Federation L.Khaltar.

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Art & Entertainment

'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' Musical

March 16 (UB Post) Students of Orchlon International School will present "You're a good man, Charlie Brown" musical on March 16 and 17.

The musical will have four parts and all proceeds will be donated for visually impaired students of School No.116 and the Mongolian Special Olympics Committee.

Details

Where: Orchlon International School

When: March 16 and 17

Admission: 10,000 MNT

More Information: 77113377

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'5ive tones' live concert to be performed on March 18

March 16 (UB Post) Musicians of the Ulaanbaatar Ensemble are set to perform a live concert titled "5ive Tones", dedicated to the Men's and Soldiers' Day of Mongolia, on March 18.

Judge of "Mongolia's Got Talent" TV show and violinist Ch.Delgertsetseg, zither player N.Otgonchimeg, hammered dulcimer player Kh.Barkhuu, flutist B.Myagmartseren, and horn trumpeter O.Chinbat will perform at the concert.

Kh.Barkhuu and B.Myagmartseren are one of the top participants of the first edition of "Mongolia's Got Talent" show.

They will play with the Khangarid national music orchestra and FIX electric music band at the event.

Performers will play masterpieces of notable Mongolian and foreign composers.

Ticket prices for the concert range from 10,000 MNT to 15,000 MNT.

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B.Tserendolgor Crowned Mongolia's First Next Top Model

March 16 (UB Post) The winner of an officially licensed Mongolian adaptation of "America's Next Top Model" was announced last Sunday and participant B.Tserendolgor became Mongolia's "next top model".

"Mongolia's Next Top Model" was co-produced by Edutainment TV and Buro 24/7 online fashion magazine to promote the Mongolian fashion industry. Model B.Tserendolgor competed against 14 participants during the two-month long reality show.

In the grand final of the show, three participants (B.Tserendolgor, Yu.Baljidmaa and T.Nomin-Erdene) became the finalists of the competition.

B.Tserendolgor collected 67 points from judges and audiences, and became the winner. She received 20 million MNT in cash prize, a right to travel to Paris, and a two-year modeling contract with Looque Agency of Singapore.

The other finalists, Yu.Baljidmaa and T.Nomin-Erdene, received 48 and 39 points respectively.

Mongolia's newest "top" model B.Tserendolgor currently studies dentistry at Ach University of Medical Sciences.

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Young opera singers to be granted government cash prizes

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) Soloist of the Military Music and Dance Ensemble of Mongolia Ch.Badral will be granted a cash prize of MNT 24 million for becoming the first runner-up of the International Rimsky-Korsakov Competition of young opera singers. The decision was made at the cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

Also, a cash prize of MNT 19 million is granted to a master student of Saint Petersburg Conservatory T.Enkhbat for becoming the second runner-up of such a prestigious international competition.

Since 2006, a total of MNT 1.430 billion cash prize were given to those 155 people who have shown excellent success in international competitions, festivals and exhibitions. 

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Eagle eye trained on Mongolia

March 16 (The West Australian) The Eagle Huntress is a documentary about a 13-year-old girl, Aisholpan, who wants to become the first female eagle hunter in her Kazakh community.

Aisholpan and her encouraging father are determined that she should capture an eagle and train it to hunt foxes, despite the fact that this has been an activity restricted to men for many generations.

Photographer Sophie Howarth travelled to Mongolia and took pictures of the landscapes and the colourful customs of the Golden Eagle Festival featured in the film.

Sophie was not a part of the film crew but was at the festival at the same time and captured Aisholpan's sensational entry into the festival. Her photographs show the vast Mongolian landscape and the nobility of the eagle. She spoke to ED! about her experiences taking photographs in Mongolia and watching Aisholpan and her eagle compete.

Sophie said the relationship between the eagle and human was powerful.

"They really revere and respect the eagle. When it spreads its wings and that moment when it decides it wants to lift off and let go and start soaring, it's such a huge animal. Those claws are huge."

The Eagle Huntress documentary shows Aisholpan as an intelligent, talented and determined teenager who pushes to become a hunter. Her enthusiasm makes her a delightful subject.

"You're very attracted to her," Sophie said. "It uplifts your heart because she's so gorgeous to watch."

At the festival, Sophie saw how Aisholpan handled her big predator bird.

"Because she's female, I'm thinking she has a different approach to the craft of eagle hunting. If we look at that film it is a really powerful thing to take away for young girls in our culture."

Aisholpan's father Agalai Nurgaiv encouraged his daughter to follow her dreams.

"She didn't know anything about why you could or you couldn't do it," Sophie said.

"Her dad is a great dad who didn't say 'you're a girl, you can't be an eagle hunter'. I think he might be unusual, a bit ahead of his time."

Sophie, who has photographed music festivals for years, said the colour and excitement of the eagle festival had many similarities.

"Those eagle hunters are almost like rock'n'roll stars.

"They're on the stage and they strut around and they look amazing and they wear their best clothes. And they do their best performance."

As well as the colour of the festival and the grace of the eagle, she found the landscape in Mongolia beautiful to photograph.

The Eagle Huntress opens incinemas today.

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Similar:

PLIMOTH CINEMA: 'The Eagle Huntress' - Old Colony Memorial, March 16

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Travel

London childcare boss to trek across Gobi Desert for NSPCC

A London childcare boss is to trek across the Gobi Desert to raise money for the NSPCC.

March 15 (Evening Standard) Mat Bennett, 37, the founder of Acorn Group children's care homes for young people with behavioural and emotional issues, aims to cover 1,400 miles from the desert's western edge to its eastern edge in Mongolia.

He and fellow explorers Luke Richmond and Elise Hoefsmit will set off on April 16, dragging their supplies in custom-built trailers. 

They face temperature lows of -25C,  violent sandstorms and possibly snow on the 60-day trek.

Mr Bennett, of  Notting Hill, said: "When I heard that no one had crossed the Gobi desert unaided before, I perhaps stupidly saw it as a challenge."

Last year, he completed a 50-day Atlantic row from Portugal to Venezuela.

The Gobi trip has been self-funded.

Go to mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/mathewbennett1.

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Masters' student treks on horseback in Mongolia for her research

March 15 (Stellenbosch University) There will be times, when the research for your Masters' degree will take a strange turn and you will end up traveling hundreds of kilometres on horseback to collect information.

This was the case for Barbara Seele, M-student at Stellenbosch University's Faculty for AgriSciences who travelled on horseback to interview Mongolian pastoralists in order to learn more about their use of medicinal plants.

Mongolia, a country between China and Russia, has a population of about 2.8 million people. The country is especially known for its rivers and streams, majestic mountains, and stretching grasslands. About a third of the residents of the country follow are nomadic livestock herders.

Barbara obtained her M-degree on Monday (14 March) at SU's March Graduation Ceremony. Her research focussed on how the nomadic Mongolian herders use medicinal plants for their livestock and how this knowledge can be protected. (This research is relevant to South Africa where researchers are increasingly focussing on the use of medicinal plants.

 Barbara says after participating in an endurance ride in Mongolia, and seeing how the people there used plants to treat livestock against diseases, she was very interested in going back to learn more about this.

"It is a somewhat unusual topic and I would not have been able to achieve it without the support of my supervisors."

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In Mongolia, Dinner Begins with a Whole Lamb and a Bottle of Vodka

Where we're going, we don't need roads

March 16 (Saveur) To make khorkhog, first gather stones from a river. Now set the stones over a bed of coals. When they're blazing hot, toss into a large cauldron and add the meat of one lamb, salt, potatoes, a little water, and some vodka.

The animal, butchered and killed that day in honor of our arrival, had hung to dry from the rafters of one of the gers (yurts) belonging to the Bayraa family of Mongolian nomads. The master tent where we would sleep was a wonderland of oilcloths, Soviet garb, and bright cacophonous Asian fabrics.

We'd set out from Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, with our driver and guide, Shatarbal Dugerjav, former diplomat to Bulgaria, and a single cassette tape of Mongolian folk music that sounded like horses whinnying and eagles screaming. At the city's edge, the roads stop and the tire tracks begin.

There are no road signs outside the capital. A guide leads by memory, intuition, and a thoughtful crawl of 15 miles per hour. You rarely see more than a one-story building between minuscule towns. But you do see Mongolian families packed three generations deep into Land Cruisers migrating through the countryside. Because many Mongolians living outside the capital are nomadic, they pay no rent or tax and the government encourages them to preserve this way of life.

After days of driving we arrived at the Bayraa family camp in the Arkhangai region, 330 miles to the west of Ulaanbaatar. Along the way we ate instant Korean noodles and kimchi, both popular here. We saw horses on the flatlands, a vulture feasting on a fallen sheep, a double rainbow after a rainstorm. Beauty and brutality and, for long stretches of the drive, green pastures, blue sky, and nothing more.

Inside the yurt, a woman cut handmade noodles on the bed. Three boys took us to collect rocks from the river. After we'sd gathered a couple dozen smooth stones, the boys' uncle set them over a bed of glowing hot coals to begin the khorkhog.

Once added to the pot, the river stones sizzled, searing the ribs and chops like little cast-iron skillets. Vodka and water were poured in, creating a giant puff of steam. Sealed with a lid weighted down with a wrench, the cauldron of rocks was put over fire, and in an hour, the steam was gone, the meat brown and tender.

We ate this offering with our hands, and after the last rib was picked clean, we drank vodka. The river stones, still warm and slick with lamb fat, were passed from host to guest, thawing chilly hands and feet as we sat, elbow to elbow, communing beneath that big Mongolian sky.

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