Tuesday, August 28, 2012

[NewsWire: Aspire Mining Granted Ovoot Mining License]

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Haranga Resources locks in 5Mtpa of export rail capacity for Selenge iron ore

August 27 (Proactive Investors) Haranga Resources (ASX: HAR) has inked a memorandum of understanding to secure 5 million tonnes per annum of export rail capacity for iron ore produced from its Selenge Project in Mongolia.

This deal is a major step in the development of the Selenge Project, where recent metallurgical results of the ore and the techno-economic assessment by ProMet Engineers delivered a base case net present value of over US$1 billion, with substantial upside potential.

The agreement was executed with both the Mongolian Railway Authority and the Mongolian Government Ministry for Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development.

Both bodies will support the allocation of up to 1 million tonnes per annum for export rail capacity for the Selenge Project once mining has begun, with the total 5 million tonnes per annum to be allocated from 2015 onwards. 

As part of the agreement, Haranga will share Feasibility Study results on any proposed new rail infrastructure, including any rail track and loading/unloading facilities, to be constructed for Selenge.

In return, the Mongolian Railway Authority and the Mongolian Government Ministry for Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development will do their best to enable Haranga to obtain all the required licences and operating permits to build and operate any new rail infrastructure and facilities. 

Selenge - located in major iron ore province 

Haranga has defined an exploration target of 160 to 320 million tonnes for the Selenge Project, which is located in the heart of a premier iron ore province and has access to the main trans-Mongolian rail line and nearby rail spurs. 

Selenge comprises four major iron ore prospects within 10 kilometres of each other, and is strategically located near to the 304 million tonne Eruu Gol mine, which currently exports over 3 million tonnes of magnetite concentrate per annum.

The company is prioritising its current drilling program to increase the Resource inventory from the current 32.8 million tonnes at 24.4% iron, based on initial drilling at Bayantsogt only.

An aggressive program is underway with nine drill rigs turning on the project. Drilling will continue through until December 2012.

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Mining Licence Granted for Aspire's Ovoot Coking Coal Project

August 28, Aspire Mining Limited (ASX:AKM) --

• Mining Licence provides 30 year tenure until 2042 plus potential for two further 20 year extensions under the existing 2006 Mining Act

• Mining Licence No MV 017098 issued covering 5,758 hectares

Mongolian coking coal explorer and developer Aspire Mining Limited (ASX: AKM, "Aspire" or "the Company") is pleased to announce that  it has received from the Mongolian Resource Authority ("MRAM") Mining License number MV 017098 covering a total area of 5,758 hectares for the Ovoot Coking Coal Project ("Ovoot Project"). This  License area covers both the planned open pit and the potential underground mining area to the north east of the open pit.

Under existing Mongolian Minerals Law, the Mining License has a tenure of 30 years from date of grant with an option to extend for two additional 20 year periods. This certainty of tenure will greatly assist Aspire as it moves closer towards funding of the Ovoot Project.

In June 2012 the Company announced it completed a Pre-Feasibility Study ("PFS") for the Ovoot  Project. The PFS confirmed the Ovoot Project was technically and commercially feasible based on an open pit Probable Coal Reserve of 178 Mt. Work is continuing to increase coking Coal Resources and Coal Reserves at the Ovoot Project.

The Company received Ministerial approval in the June Quarter 2012 for the alignment of a sealed road from the Ovoot Project to the regional capital of Moron which would support project development,  construction and initial coal haulage. Work is currently being undertaken on various trucking based coal operations prior to accessing future rail infrastructure required for full development of the Ovoot Project.

Aspire's Managing Director Mr David Paull noted that "The Ovoot Coking Coal Project is one of the most important new coking coal projects in  Mongolia and has the potential to significantly enhance economic development in Northern Mongolia.

"Achieving a Mining  License is an important step along the path of financing mine development and associated road and rail infrastructure".

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Newera Commences Drilling at the Shanagan Coal Project in Mongolia

August 28, Newera Resources Limited (ASX:NRU) --

Mongolia Highlights

·         Newera Resources Ltd is pleased to advise that Mongolian drilling contractor Best Drilling LLC has commenced drilling on Newera's Shanagan coal project in Mongolia.

·         The 1,000 metres diamond core drilling program is forecast to be completed by mid to late September.

·         Any coal intercepts in each hole will be immediately logged on site and then sample material will be sent for analysis as it comes to hand following logging.

·         Down hole geophysical logging will be undertaken as each hole reaches final depth.

Sweden Highlights

·         Newera has received notification from the  Swedish Minerals Department that its two exploration licence applications, covering an interpreted geological environment deemed favourable for the potential discovery of gold and base metals, have been granted.

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Sam Spring, formerly at Ocean Equities, UK.

Kincora Copper hires new VP of corporate development

August 27 (Proactive Investors) Kincora Copper Ltd. (CVE:KCC) Monday has heralded the appointment of senior mining analyst Jonathan Spring as vice president of corporate development.

Spring, whose role is effective immediately, has over 10 years of financial services experiences across many disciplines within Goldman Sachs and Ocean Equities. 

Aside from that, he has five years experience as a metals and mining research analyst covering and providing advisory services to the junior and mid-cap sector.                

In mid 2011, he was involved in the formation and funding of Kincora. Spring has a commerce degree from the University of Melbourne and is a chartered accountant. 

Spring is just the second senior appointment since chief executive John Rickus took helm of the company on August 1. Rickus has over 40 years worth of experience in the mining sector, of which 24 years was spent with Rio Tinto

Earlier this month, Kincora disclosed partial assay results from the West Kasulu zone at Bronze Fox as well as Tourmaline Hills in southwest Mongolia.

The Bronze Fox project is located on the copper-gold belt in southeast Mongolia that also hosts the world-class Oyu Tolgoi deposit.

Partial drill core from hole BF62 hit an 180 metre interval with continuous copper mineralization, the company said.

Average copper grade is 0.5% copper and 0.1 gram per tonne (g/t) gold with associated molybdenum mineralization up to 0.33%.

This includes 0.82% copper, 0.14 g/t gold and 0.04% molybdenum across 37 metres, as mineralization begins from surface and remains open at depth. 

Kincora said core cutting and sampling is on-going with the hole continuing below 1,000 metres. 

Meanwhile, partial assays have been returned for Tourmaline Hills, one of the licenses acquired from Forbes and Manhattan through an exchange of shares in April 2012. 

Hole F61 intersected just one metre of 2.74 g/t gold between 39 to 40 metres and 5 metres averaging 2.65g/t gold between 60 to 65 metres. This includes 3.45 g/t to 4.70 g/t gold across three metres.

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August 27 (BDSec) Mongolia Growth Group (MGG) (CNSX:YAK) is a Canadian domiciled corporation with all of its assets in Mongolia, invested primarily in the booming real estate market of Ulaanbaatar (UB). MGG also started Mandal General Daatgal, the country's best capitalized insurance company. We expect MGG to emerge as one of the dominant players in UB, with a sound investment strategy and a first mover advantage.

We see long term, rapid growth in both the value of the underlying assets, as well as rental yields, both of which are seeing increases of 35%-50%+ per annum. Despite beginning operations only sixteen months ago (Feb '11), management steered MGG to a $0.05 profit in FY'11, (on an IFRS basis) an exceedingly rare achievement for any startup.

Senior Management and board members own 33.5% of MGG, with founding management taking no salary or stock options.

Built for short and long term growth

-       With rents and property prices increasing at such rapid rates, value to shareholders is accruing quickly. Vacancies have consistently remained very low at roughly 5%. We forecast a substantial increase in MGG's rental yield, as nearly half of their portfolio will be renewing their leases in the next 12 months at substantially higher rates.

-       From a longer term perspective, MGG has acquired an outstanding redevelopment portfolio, strategically positioned on UB's main road, Peace Ave. In many cases, MGG subsequently acquired adjacent property, creating a much larger land package.

-       Large parcels of land in prime locations are rare in UB and far exceed acquisition price. The opportunity for redeveloping these properties is immense, with the potential for creating value several times MGG's current stock price. For this reason, we will focus our valuation methodology with an emphasis on asset value vs. cash flow. We also expect MGG to list its equity in Mongolia soon, allowing locals the opportunity to invest in the company. We expect sustainable cash flow to lead to a dividend within a year.


-       While stated Book Value is $1.63/share, this number vastly undervalues the company's portfolio based on today's real estate prices. Upon an extensive review of MGG's properties here in UB and applying comparable sales, we estimate actual Book Value to be in the range of $2.50-$3.00/share currently. To be conservative, we assume property price appreciation in UB decelerates to 30% in the following 12 months, leaving us with a forward Book Value estimate of $3.25-$3.90.

-       We apply a 1.7x to our forward midpoint estimate of actual Book Value of $3.60 to arrive at our target price of $6.00. As you can see in the following table, a Price/Book Value of 1.7x compares to a peer multiple average of 4.4x's. This peer sampling was made to incorporate other property developers in as many emerging markets as possible. Clearly, multiple expansion beyond 1.7x is reasonable, if not likely, given UB's superior growth characteristics vs. more mature emerging real estate markets.

-       With rents increasing at 50%+ per annum and real estate prices appreciating at a rate of 3-5% per month, its conceivable MGG Equity could be worth $9.00-$10.00/share in 18-24 months, not including value to be created via redevelopment, or multiple expansion.

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Winsway's ratings unaffected by 1H loss - Moody's

August 24 (ET Net) Moody's Investors Service said that Winsway Coking Coal Holdings Limited's (HK:1733) 1H 2012 pre-tax loss of HK$684 million - the first such loss since it listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in October 2010 - will have no immediate impact on the company's Ba3 corporate family rating and the B1 rating of its USD senior notes. 

The outlook for the ratings is negative, reflecting Winsway's deteriorating performance in a challenging year. 

Although operating margin likely will improve in 2H, Moody's expects the improvement to be limited and therefore insufficient to offset the loss recorded in 1H. Winsway's stand-alone financial profile will likely stay under pressure for the rest of 2012. 

But the negative impact of the down-cycle in coal trading has been mitigated by Aluminum Corporation of China Limited's (Chalco)(02600) 29.9% investment in Winsway. Shareholders in both companies have approved the investment. It now awaits regulatory approval by China's Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission.

Given Chalco's strong relationship with its banks, Winsway will have better access to funding. Moody's will monitor the progress of Chalco's investment and review the impact on Winsway's future business strategy and financial position, once it is approved.

Moody's expects Winway's core coal trading business to report a mild margin recovery in 2H 2012, following the disposal in 1H of its high-cost seaborne coal inventory. 

It considers that the company's liquidity will remain fairly manageable in the next 12 months. As of June 2012, the company had a total cash balance of HK$3.9 billion, covering 90% of its HK$4.3 billion in short-term debt (including in HK$2.8 billion in trade & bills payable). Around RMB780 million - out of short-term debt of HK$4.3 billion - represented the first-year amortization of part of the US$350 million in acquisition debt for Grand Cache Coal Corporation (GCC). The loan was from China Mingshen Bank.

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SouthGobi Announces Unaudited Interim Results

August 27, SouthGobi Resources Limited (TSX:SGQ, HK:1878) --

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Modun in Trading Halt Pending Announcement on Management

August 28, Modun Resources Limited (ASX:MOU) --

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MSE: 10 Billion Sharyn Gol Block Traded

27 August 2012 (BDSec) – MSE Top 20 index went up 0.59% to sit at 18,361.65 points on Monday. Berkh Uul (BEU), a diversified mining company located in Khentii Province, jumped 13.58% to close at MNT 2,500 while E-Trans Logistics (ETR) surged 11.54% to finish at MNT 145.

Tavantolgoi (TTL), the largest MSE-listed company by market cap, also gained 2.15% to MNT 9,500.

Trading value for Monday reached MNT 10.1 billion (US$7.4m). MNT 20.9 million (US$15.3k) worth of 64.2k shares were traded on the MSE excluding block trades.

The decliners were Khukh Gan (-2.63%), Sor (-1.36%), and Aduunchuluun (-1.13%).

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BoM issues 10 billion 28-week 17.09% bills

August 27 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 28 week bills worth MNT 16.5 billion at a weighted interest rate of 17.09 percent per annum.

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Mongolia to continue expanding ties with China

August 27 ( The new Mongolian government will continue its foreign policy priorities of developing bilateral ties with China and make efforts to expand exchanges and cooperation between the two countries, Mongolian Prime Minister Norov Altanhuyag said on Thursday.

Altanhuyag made the statement when meeting with visiting Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo.

On the occasion of the establishment of the new Mongolian government, Dai's visit shows that China attaches great importance to developing bilateral ties with Mongolia, Altanhuyag said.

He said in recent years Mongolia-China collaborations in all spheres have developed steadily and Mongolia is satisfied with the fact that the two countries" relationship has been promoted to strategic partnership.

Altanhuyag also expressed his willingness to learn China"s experience in developing the economy to help develop Mongolia"s economy and improve the livelihood of the Mongolian people.

During the meeting, Altanhuyag also reiterated Mongolia"s one-China policy and promised Mongolia will not allow external forces to engage in political activities against China on the Mongolian territory.

For his part, Dai said China and Mongolia share a long border of over 4,700 kilometers, their economies are highly complementary to each other, and that the two countries enjoy unique conditions to conduct cooperation.

Dai pointed out the establishment of China-Mongolia strategic partnership is a milestone in the development of the two countries" relationship, adding bilateral exchanges and collaborations are at the best time in history.

Dai said the two sides should keep the overall China-Mongolia relationship in the right direction, maintain the principle of mutual respect, deepen mutual trust, and take into account each other"s major interests and concerns, without interference in each other"s internal affairs.

Dai said China respects Mongolia"s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, as well as the social system and the path of development chosen by the Mongolian people.

He hoped the two countries will further expand bilateral economic and trade cooperation, increase cultural exchanges and continuously enrich the China-Mongolia strategic partnership.

Also on Thursday, Dai also held talks with Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister D. Terbishdagva.

During the talks, Dai said that China and Mongolia are important neighbors to each other and developing bilateral ties meets the fundamental interest of both sides.

Dai spoke highly of the "culture month" activities held respectively in each other"s country and hoped the two sides will continue to expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, among others.

China supports Mongolia"s active participation in regional cooperation in Asia, Dai said, adding the two sides should strengthen coordination within the framework of the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting, and the Organization of Shanghai Cooperation to safeguard their common interests.

Terbishdagva said that the strategic partnership cemented between Mongolia and China last year is historic in the relations between the two countries.

Mongolia is willing to work together with China to constantly strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two countries, said Terbishdagva.

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Mongolia, N. Korea look to Russia than China

Jargalsaikhan Mendee has worked at the Mongolian Defence Ministry, the Mongolian embassy in Washington and the Institute for Strategic Studies. The article originally appeared in the Pacific Forum CSIS Pacnet series.

August 28 (Bangkok Post) Russia is favoured by Mongolia and North Korea just as the United States is welcomed by some of its Southeast Asian partners. At the same time, Mongolia and especially North Korea provide opportunities for Russia to raise its stakes in Northeast Asian matters.

Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and relative inattention by the Kremlin in the 1990s, Ulan Bator and Pyongyang never abandoned their attempts to renew ties with Russia. High-ranking political and military officials constantly made calls to advance political, military, economic and cultural ties with Moscow.

Positive responses came after a decade. President Vladimir Putin's visits to North Korea and Mongolia in 2000 demonstrated the Kremlin's new emphasis on its former allies, whose industrial facilities and enterprises were built with Soviet assistance and technology.

Their treaties of mutual assistance with Russia were replaced by treaties of good neighbourliness in 1993 with Mongolia and in 2001 with North Korea. And the US$11-billion debts incurred during the Soviet era were resolved favourably for Mongolians in 2003 and North Koreans in 2012.

As a result, Russia seems to have secured its stake in key infrastructure development projects. In North Korea, Russia will invest in the trans-Korean railway, a gas pipeline, special economic zones and education. In Mongolia, Russia will invest in the trans-Mongolian railway, its extension and the mining of uranium and aluminum.

Economic cooperation with Mongolia and North Korea will play an important role in Mr Putin's agenda to develop Russia's long-neglected Far East and Siberia and to secure Chinese and East Asian markets for its mineral exports.

Three reasons explain Mongolian and North Korean collaboration with Russia. First, all three fear Chinese demographic expansion. North Korea and Mongolia have always been attentive to the number of Chinese nationals in their countries. Both expelled a significant number of Chinese nationals during the Cultural Revolution and closely monitored those who remained.

Mongolia is even more vulnerable than the other two because of its small population _ a mere 2.8 million people, a number even smaller than the population of ethnic Mongolians in China. Even during the Soviet period, when both nations welcomed Soviet citizens, most Russians perceived both Mongolia and North Korea as a strange land, culture and civilisation and had no intention of settling down. Chinese are likely to think and act differently.

Mongolia, North Korea and the Russian Far East are considered the most marginalised and underdeveloped (despite abundant minerals) parts of Northeast Asia. Conversely, China, Japan and South Korea are seen as economic powerhouses. Although Mongolia and North Korea have the largest mineral deposits, both lack fuel and natural gas; therefore, they long for benefits from the long-discussed gas pipelines from Siberia to China and South Korea.

Russia is the only way for Mongolia and North Korea to reach Eurasian markets and to import fuel and technology. While there are various explanations for North Korea's reluctance to follow the Chinese recipe for economic reform, North Korea, like Mongolia, avoids increasing dependence on Chinese investment, technology and markets.

This explains Mongolia's welcoming of Russia in key mining and infrastructure projects while adopting laws against the investment by Chinese state-owned enterprises in strategic sectors of its economy. Similarly, Kim Jong-il's visit to Ulan Ude in 2011 after his learning trip to China's northeastern provinces signals a similar desire to get involved with Russia.

All three have distinct geopolitical needs. For Russia, North Korea traditionally provides a strategic buffer from the US and Japan, while Mongolia seeks the same insulation from China. Russia's partnership with North Korea increases its ability to deal with South Korea and Japan on economic issues and with the US on security issues such as Nato expansion and missile defence. Mongolia, similarly, increases Russia's stake in Sino-Russian relations and offers leverage for Moscow when dealing with Beijing. In recent years, Russia has resumed its military assistance to Mongolia quite actively. For Mongolia and North Korea, Russia has been the only source of political, economic and military support in the face of an assertive China. Their learning of Russian culture strengthens their non-Chinese identities.

Finally, unlike Central and Eastern European former communist states, Mongolia and North Korea have positive views of their past ties with Russia, hiccups notwithstanding. Both countries established their state institutions with Russian assistance, while Russians destroyed similar institutions in Central and Eastern European states. Mongolia and North Korea became members of the current international system with Soviet backing in 1961 and 1991 respectively. At the same time, both want to formalise ties with the US and Japan, though only Mongolia has succeeded so far, following its political changes in the 1990s.

Although Russia is favoured by its East Asian partners, its geostrategic rebalancing is complicated _ much like the US "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific region. Russia has the ability to upgrade its Far Eastern military presence, but it cannot engage in intensive security ties with both nations. Any military move would undermine relations with key investors China, Japan and South Korea. Assertive moves might also push Mongolia and North Korea closer to China.

Like the US, Russia faces economic turbulence, but it remains the most approachable and understandable partner for Mongolian and North Korean political elites and public. Both nations will serve as Russia's economic gateways to Northeast Asia and a strategic buffer from its competitors.

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Mongolia opens State Palace to visitors

ULAN BATOR, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia opened its State Palace to visitors on Sunday to attract more tourists at home and from abroad.

At the opening ceremony, government officials said, it was the first time that the government headquarters was opened to Mongolian and foreign visitors.

They hoped the decision, made at the first regular government meeting on Saturday, can strengthen Mongolians' love for their history and culture, and help foreigners to learn more about local culture and tradition.

The State Palace or Government House, built in the 1950s, is the work place for Mongolian president, parliament speaker and prime minister, and the parliament hall is also located in the building.

Inside the palace, a traditional Mongolian ger is used as a reception site for foreign leaders or dignitaries. It also houses a statue of Genghis Khan and nine white flags symbolizing the state power of Mongolia.

The palace is open to the public only at weekends.

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Mongolia: Volatility in cashmere

August 27 (Oxford Business Group) Unexpected fluctuations in cashmere prices in 2012 have -dampened optimism in Mongolia's textiles sector, despite the introduction of incentives from the government aimed at streamlining the industry. However, industry players say a planned commodities exchange will resolve the issue.

After opening at MNT70,000 ($52) per kg in the March-April buying season for the country's pivotal cashmere industry, prices quickly fell to as low as MNT40,000 ($30) per kg. Local media reported that herders had expected to see prices climb as high as MNT100,000 ($75) per kg.

Producers and herders blame the dip on traders from China, accusing them of straying from National Cashmere and Wool Association (NCWA) price estimates, which were between MNT56,000 and MNT58,000 ($42-43). However, officials say the instability was a result of government loans being misused by domestic producers who "conspired" to drive prices up.

Reports by international groups suggest local traders indeed attempted to influence the market. The World Bank wrote in its Quarterly Economic Update, published in June, that "herders and traders attempted to push up prices of greasy (raw) cashmere by limiting the volume of greasy being sold on the market and available for export". As a result, export earnings from greasy cashmere were down by 57% year-on-year (y-o-y) in the first quarter of 2012, while export volumes were 36% lower.

In September 2011, the Ministry of Finance issued MNT300bn ($223.55m) worth of Mongolian bonds to raise funds to support the wool and cashmere sector. The world's second-largest producer following China, Mongolia produces around 6700 tonnes of raw cashmere annually, accounting for about 28% of total world supply.

"Herders and traders tried to set the price of greasy at record-high levels by holding on to their stock. Chinese buyers are dominating, while local de-hairers and spinners are still very quiet," wrote the Schneider Group, a global wool-processing firm, in an update in April.

According to T. Sedvanchig, a member of parliament, the failure of local producers to buy domestic raw cashmere at reasonable prices was irresponsible, given this year's fund injection. Sedvanchig also told local media in April that it is unfair to blame Chinese traders. "Even when the Chinese traders are not buying cashmere or its raw materials, the Mongolians should still be buying cashmere at a constant price and rate. We did not issue these loans so local firms can conspire with each other and put the lives of our herders at risk," he added.

Of the MNT300bn ($223.55m) raised by the government, MNT150bn ($111.77m) was slated for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, MNT50bn ($37.26m) was allocated to herders who sell camel and sheep wool to domestic factories and MNT100bn ($74.52m) was meant to support the producers.

"The price fluctuation was not to be more than MNT5000 ($4)," Sedvanchig said. "The loan granted to producers was supposed to be used to make their textile factories operate at full potential, to provide more jobs, and to buy raw materials, including materials that are currently going directly to foreign countries without being processed for added value. It is a government competition strategy to make sure that Mongolian companies and traders buy the raw materials before the Chinese do."

Current annual revenues of around $180m are dominated by sales of raw cashmere, mostly to China, which make up 80% of total exports. However, if the country had the capacity to refine all of its cashmere before export, it is estimated profits could rise to between $480m and $520m. The industry-wide goal for 2012 was to turn at least 30% of raw cashmere into yarn domestically.

Despite the controversy over the funds, the introduction of a unique trademark for Mongolian cashmere products by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry (MFALI) in April is a sign of progress toward improving the industry's profitability. B Batsetseg, the head specialist at the Light Industry Strategy Implementation Department of the MFALI, told local media that the brand, "Mongolian Tansag Shirhegt" (Mongolian Luxurious Texture), will be used for goat cashmere, camel and yak furs.

Industry players have told local media that the implementation of the Agricultural Market Law, which established the Mongolian Agricultural Commodity Exchange (MACE) for trading agricultural goods and raw material, could resolve price issues within the industry. The MACE, established in July, has been designed to cover all products of animal origin and raw materials, as well as act as a mechanism to ensure fair prices.

It is expected that MACE, based in Ulaanbaatar, will communicate with rural regions at auction sales and with raw material cooperatives in provinces to communicate prices by internet or telephone. Some 34% of Mongolia's 1.1m labour force works in agriculture, primarily tending livestock, which includes the goats that yield cashmere fibres.

"It was difficult to complete the preparation work needed quickly enough [to use the exchange this year]. Direct enforcement would have not been easy. It was impossible to implement it this year," said G. Yondonsambuu, the vice leader of the NCWA. "But next year, we will start selling on the bourse."

However, unless the government can improve communication between its ministries and cashmere business associations, as well as improve coordination in the industry, even the new commodities exchange will struggle to end the instability affecting this pivotal segment of the economy and vital source of income for rural Mongolians.

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President Elbegdorj meets Member of the Russian Duma from Buryatia

August 27 ( President Elbegdorj received the Member of the Federal Assembly of the State Duma of Russian Federation Mikhail Viktorovich Slipenchuk. He is one of the two candidates elected to the Federal Assembly of the State Duma from the Republic of Buryatia

At the meeting Mikhail Viktorovich Slipenchuk said "The faction consisting of 15 Members was created in the State Duma. By creating the group we are able to pay close attention to expanding relations and partnership in the entire border region of Mongolia".

"Also the Lake Baikal Forum was founded. Recently, the session of this Forum was held and we would like to express our interest in establishing cooperative relations with Mongolia. We greatly appreciate and support your commitment for environmental protection initiatives and we express our willingness to work with you in this sphere" noted Mikhail Viktorovich Slipenchuk.

Both sides exchanged views on enhancing bilateral economic ties between the two countries.

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Multinational Exercise in Mongolia Comes to a Close

FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia, August 28 (Alaska Native News) – After intense training during Khaan Quest 12, a regularly scheduled, multinational exercise sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and hosted annually by the Mongolian Armed Forces, the participants of the exercise came together one last time for the closing ceremony Aug. 23.

Khaan Quest 12 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security. This exercise marks the tenth iteration of this regionally significant training event. Among those in attendance at the ceremony was Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

"Khaan Quest serves as a practical example of the closeness of the Mongolian – United States relations," Mabus said. "It serves as a symbolic commitment to peace and security throughout the world that is demonstrated by all the participants of Khaan Quest."

Over the last two weeks, the multinational conglomerate of organizations has undergone training designed to enhance the skillsets of the participants in peacekeeping operations. The training included a field training exercise, a staff exercise, medical first responder training and a medical humanitarian civic action outreach project.

"As Khaan Quest 2012 comes to a close, we can unequivocally state that through teamwork we have achieved our goals," said Command Sgt. Maj. Clinton K. Brown II, command sergeant major, 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, Alaska Army National Guard. "Using our closely forged relationship with the Mongolian Armed Forces, we will conclude this exercise knowing that we all have learned valuable lessons and made lifelong partnerships."

On the parade field, the participants from each nation stood in formations as the Mongolian Honor Guard band played the Mongolian national anthem, the crowd saluting in mutual respect for their host nation's generosity and partnership during Khaan Quest 12. At the end of the ceremony, the formations marched past the distinguished guests and hosts, one last procession ending the tenth iteration of the Khaan Quest exercises.

"Over the past weeks, the participants have done a lot of great work," Mabus said. "The skills learned here can and will translate into real world military and peacekeeping operations. Together, you have built expertise, interoperability and most importantly, you have built trust. In the future, whatever mission is needed, we already know each other."

"I want to thank Mongolia for the strong partnership that the United States has with Mongolia," he said. "Thank you to the Mongolian government and the Mongolian Armed Forces for hosting Khaan Quest, along with the Alaska National Guard, here at Five Hills."

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Random Airline of The Week: Mongolian Airlines

There are literally hundreds of different airlines operating scheduled passenger services around the world. Most people, if they are lucky, will only get to fly a small handful. This series looks to show-off the lesser known airlines, past and present.

Mongolian Airlines

August 27 (FlymeFunky) Not to be confused with the similarly named flag carrier MIAT Mongolian Airlines, this airline was founded in September 2011 and runs domestic and international services with its fleet of four aircraft. Two Fokker F50s are used domestically in an all economy configuration, while two Airbus A319s are used to shuttle passengers between Ulan Bator and Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai.

Mongolian Airlines revived their name with the purchase of an old Antonov AN-2 and has absorbed the history of the aircraft as its own, proudly proclaiming on the side of their aircraft that they have been operating since 1956.

Mongolia Airlines also runs an 'in town check in' for those passengers travelling from Hong Kong where baggage can be checked and tickets issued in both Kowloon and Hong Kong Central Station. Due to the limited services and that its first revenue flight was not until January 2012 service quality and in flight experience are an unknown factor, though they are used sometimes by the Mongolian President when he is travelling domestically, so one would think they are not too bad.

Has anyone flown domestically in Mongolia? I am a fan of the purple livery but what do you think about it?

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Former US Ambassador Addleton Brings First Mongolians to Wesleyan College

August 27 (GlobalAtlanta) Since China's famous Soong sisters attended Wesleyan College in the early 1900s, the Macon women's school has always had strong links to Asia.

It has also hosted students from Russia, but it wasn't until a native son was posted as ambassador to Mongolia that it began recruitment in the cold, sparsely populated country sandwiched between the two great powers.

This fall the first two Mongolian students began classes at Wesleyan, thanks in part to the family connections of Jonathan Addleton, who was recently reassigned after a three-year stint as U.S. ambassador to Mongolia.

Mr. Addleton, born in Pakistan to missionaries deep family roots in Macon, mentioned to his sister, Macon City Councilwoman Nancy White, that he would eventually like to see some Mongolians study in his hometown. Ms. White relayed the message to Steve Farr, vice president for enrollment services at Wesleyan.

Already planning a trip to China and Singapore, Mr. Farr tacked on a three-day visit to the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, where he braved temperatures of 30 degrees below zero Celsius to present Wesleyan at local high schools teaching the International Baccalaureate curriculum.

Bringing diversity into the classroom helps local students as much as those making the trek from abroad, Mr. Farr told GlobalAtlanta.

"Nowadays when you're talking about what does it mean with the changes in Russia or China or South America, and when you have students that can present that firsthand perspective, it's that much more of an enriching educational perspective," he said.

For more on Wesleyan, visit .

Learn more about Dr. Addleton and Mongolia by reading GlobalAtlanta's special report on the country here.

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