Thursday, March 31, 2016

[GoM issues $500m bonds; HBOil denies DPRK exit; Feb sees minus FDI; ADB lowers 2016 GDP forecast; and MPP boycotts extra session again]

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

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Int'l Market

Mongolia overcomes macro concerns by paying up for $500m

The Government of Mongolia raised $500m from the international bond market on Tuesday, opting to pay up to compensate investors for its vulnerability to external shocks.

March 30 (GlobalCapital) Having obtained approval to raise up to $1 bn in the international debt market this year, the sovereign was weighing its options to find the best way to meet its fundraising goals, with both loans and bonds on the cards.

"Going for loans was actually cheaper than bonds but the sovereign also wanted to fund part of the money from bonds for diversification purposes," said a syndicate banker at one of the leads on the country's bonds. "The split between loans and bonds depends on the liquidity and conditions at the time in each market, so the sovereign was quite flexible."

Mongolia decided to test out the loan market first for $500m - its debut in the syndication market. A $250m five year portion of the dual-trancher has been already funded by Credit Suisse, while the remaining is structured as a three year facility and is in syndication.

On the bond side, Mongolia's original idea was to make a move into the international debt market earlier this year. The B2/B/B rated issuer travelled around Asia and the US for a roadshow in January via joint bookrunners Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, ING and JP Morgan.

However, the leads were forced to put the plan on halt as plunging commodity prices and slower growth in China took a toll on Mongolia's credit profile. That, however, does not appear to have dented sentiment among all investors.

"To me, Mongolia is a very interesting place to invest, " said a Hong Kong-based asset manager. "You can compare it with Latin American sovereign credits or Sri Lanka if you're looking for a comparable in Asia. But as an inland country that completely relies on China and maybe Russia, you can't really make an apple-to-apple comparison here. One thing for sure is it's got a great economic potential mainly due to its abundant natural resources."

On hold

In late January, the Bloomberg Commodity Index - a measure of returns from 22 raw materials - tumbled to the lowest level of returns from 22 raw materials - tumbled to the lowest level since 1991 on concerns about the faltering global economy as well as ample supply of commodities. The recent slowdown and market rout in China further fanned worries that consumption from the biggest commodities buyer will fall.

Volatility in commodities prices sent Mongolia's outstanding dollar bonds plunging in secondary. In mid-February, yields of the country's $500m 4.125% 2018s and $1 bn 5.125% 2022s, issued in November 2012, surged to 13.76% and 12.1%, respectively.

"Commodities prices directly affect the country but there's not much we could do about that. At those secondary levels it didn't make sense for us to go out to the market to issue a new bond, so we waited until the commodities rout stabilised," said the syndicate banker on the deal.

The wait turned out to be worthwhile as commodities prices rebounded in March, supported by a reduction in supply and an improvement in sentiment around a market recovery.

But still, bankers on and away from the trade admitted that coming up with fair pricing was one of the difficult tasks due to the recent fluctuation in secondary.

"It's a no man's land when it comes to pricing - you can't really get fair value when you can't really calculate recovery value," said a syndicate banker not involved in the trade. "So it wasn't really easy to pinpoint where pricing of the new bond should land."

Feedback from investors on pricing was all over the place, ranging from 9% to 12%.

"It was quite a big bandwidth but high 10%-11% was what our key anchor orders were asking for, and the issuer agreed to go ahead with that level," said a second syndicate banker on the trade.

Paying up

Having seen the sovereign's outstanding 2018s and 2022s tightening to 9.47% and 9.85%, respectively, the leads decided to launch the new 144A/Reg S five year transaction on Tuesday morning with initial guidance at the 11% area. The leads took further comfort from the fact that existing bondholders, who were real money emerging market fund accounts from Europe and the US, submitted anchor orders.

"11% was cheap for investors," said a Hong Kong-based fund manager. "Where can you find this kind of yield throughout the world?" he asked, adding that he was more than happy to buy the bond as long as the yield was a two-digit number.

"We are always concerned about macro factors surrounding Mongolia but they compensate for this by paying up. I don't think any investor would like to see Mongolia to pay as much as 12% given its high vulnerability to external factors. We don't want the issuer to be too burdened with such a high yield that they can't pay interest later. We want sustainable Mongolia," added the fund manager.

Anchor orders from the real money accounts drove the bookbuilding momentum, allowing the leads to revise guidance to 10.875%-11%, before eventually raising $500m from the 2021s. The bond was sold at par with a coupon of 10.875%. The leads garnered $750m of orders from 110 investors.

"I wouldn't say it's a massive book by volume but the quality of the books was very high," said the first banker on the trade.

US accounts bought 45% of the new bond, followed by Europe 35% and Asia 20%. Fund managers/hedge funds took the majority of the notes (91%) with the rest going to insurance and pension funds (6%) and retail (3%).

The new bond was trading at 10.84°/o on Wednesday morning. Proceeds are for refinancing budget deficits, project financing including roads and infrastructure, and refinancing debt.

Link to article


Mongolia mines deep for bond investorsFinanceAsia, March 30

Mongolia paying heavy price in international debt saleFT, March 30


MMC closed +19.5% Wednesday to HK$0.049

MMC Proposes to Sign Forbearance Agreement with Steering Committee

March 30 (AAStocks) MONGOL MINING (00975.HK) noted that on 29 March 2016, which was an interest payment date under the notes, it was obligated to pay accrued semi-annual interests totaling US$26,625,000. 

Given that the company has been in discussion with the Steering Committee and its legal and financial advisers, and taking into account of the company's current financial situation under continuing depressed market conditions, the company was neither able to make the Coupon Payment nor secure any waiver or forbearance from the Noteholders in this regard. This will constitute an event of default under the notes if it continues for a period of 30 consecutive calender days.

The company has proposed to enter a forbearance agreement with the Steering Committee. The company is in discussion with and intends to continue dialogue with the Steering Committee and its legal and financial advisers.

Link to article

Link to MMC statement


MMC 2015 Loss Narrows to US$188M

March 29 (AAStocks) MONGOL MINING (00975.HK) announced the results for the year ended 2015. The loss was narrowed to US$188 million against US$283 million loss in the year-ago period. LPS was US2.03 cents. No final dividend was declared.

Link to article


SouthGobi Resources Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2015 Financial and Operating Results and Update on Ovoot Tolgoi Resource Estimate

HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - March 29, 2016) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HKSE:1878) ("SouthGobi" or the "Company"). The Company today announced its financial and operating results for the quarter and the year ended December 31, 2015. All figures are in U.S. Dollars unless otherwise stated.

Significant Events and Highlights

The Company's significant events and highlights for the year ended December 31, 2015 and subsequent period to March 29, 2016 are as follows:

·         Operating results - The Company continues to operate under difficult market conditions as prices for coal remained weak in the People's Republic of China ("China") in 2015. The impact of these conditions on the Company's operations continues to be exacerbated given the Company's liquidity constraints. The Company sold 0.2 million tonnes of its coal products during the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to 0.4 million tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2014. The production for the fourth quarter of 2015 was 0.6 million tonnes, allowing the Company to position itself to meet its commitments under existing and expected new coal offtake contracts.

·         Updated Resource Estimate - Ovoot Tolgoi Mine - As a consequence of material changes in some key assumptions underlying the analysis of its resources subsequent to the last detailed review of the project in 2012, particularly those relating to ongoing changes in coal market conditions and geologic analysis, the Company has updated its mineral resource estimate for the Ovoot Tolgoi Project, resulting in a decrease in estimated mineral resources from the previous estimate completed in 2012. The decrease is principally based on the exclusion of underground mineralization from the resources estimate and a reclassification of the geology type of certain zones in the mine based on detailed analysis of the results of additional drilling and mining activities since 2012, resulting in updated resources estimated as of January 1, 2015 (and confirmed as at March 24, 2016) of 170 million tonnes (Mt) of indicated resources and inferred resources of 78 Mt, compared to 133.3 Mt of measured resources, 59.9 Mt of indicated resources, and 24 Mt of inferred resources estimated in 2012. The Company previously reported 175.7 million tonnes of proven and probable reserves in respect of the Ovoot Tolgoi deposit based on a preliminary feasibility study completed in 2012. Since the Company's 2012 estimate of reserves was derived from the 2012 resource estimate, and a number of key assumptions upon which the 2012 reserve estimate was based have now materially changed, it is expected that, once all relevant factors have been fully analyzed such that an updated reserve estimate can be prepared, the Company's 2012 reserve estimates will also be quantitatively reduced and qualitatively downgraded. Additional drilling will likely be required to establish the degree of confidence required to produce an updated estimate of reserves. 

·         Tax investigation case in Mongolia - On October 6, 2015, the Company was informed by its Mongolian banks that held $1.2 million of deposits subject to restrictions on use (the "Restricted Funds") that they had received an official request from the Court Decision Implementing Agency of Mongolia (the "CDIA") to transfer the Restricted Funds to CDIA in partial payment of the MNT35.3 billion (approximately $17.6 million on February 1, 2016) tax penalty imposed on SouthGobi Sands LLC ("SGS"), the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, as a result of being found financially liable as a "civil defendant" in the tax evasion case of its three former employees (the "Tax Penalty"). $1.2 million was transferred to CDIA from the frozen bank accounts in October and November 2015. As at December 31, 2015, the provision for the Tax Penalty was reduced to $16.5 million.

·         Novel Sunrise Investments Limited ("Novel Sunrise") private placement - On February 24, 2015, the Company announced it had entered into a private placement agreement with Novel Sunrise providing for the subscription of up to 21.75 million Common Shares for gross proceeds of up to approximately $7.5 million. 

On March 3, 2015, the initial tranche of the private placement consisting of approximately US$3.5 million of Mandatory Convertible Units was closed. The Mandatory Convertible Units were converted into approximately 10.1 million Common Shares on April 23, 2015 at a conversion price of CAD$0.432 per Common Share.

On April 23, 2015, the Company successfully closed the second tranche of the Novel Sunrise private placement for gross proceeds of approximately $4.0 million through the issue of approximately 11.6 million Common Shares.

Link to release


Rio Tinto, Turquoise Hill count cost of wall slip at Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia

March 25 (Sydney Morning Herald) Workers at Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia will spend Easter weekend evaluating the damage caused by a geotechnical incident at the copper, gold and silver mine.

The wall slip occurred in the open pit section of Oyu Tolgoi, which is in a remote section of the south Gobi desert.

Rio Tinto's exposure to the mine comes through its 51 per cent stake in Toronto-listed miner Turquoise Hill Resources, which owns 66 per cent of Oyu Tolgoi.

Turquoise Hill has not announced the incident to the market, and there have been varying views about the severity of the wall slip.

Though it is understood that no one was hurt, one Mongolian source said the wall slip was significant, particularly for a single mine company such as Turquoise Hill.

He said full-year guidance could be affected, and mine staff were understood to be working on a plan to recover sufficiently to avoid the impact on annual production guidance.

But a second source said the incident was a "bench scale failure", meaning it was smaller than a wall slide.

The second source said he was confident the incident would not affect Turquoise Hill's production guidance.

Under full-year guidance revealed earlier in March, Oyu Tolgoi should produce up to 195,000 tonnes of copper in 2016, and as much as 260,000 ounces of gold.

The incident came just days after the management of Turquoise Hill presented their March-quarter results, meaning investors may have to wait almost three months before getting a chance to ask management about the impact of the incident.

Grades of copper and gold in the Oyu Tolgoi open pit are expected to be weak for the next two years, but both Turquoise and Rio are focused on developing the second, underground stage of the mine, which is estimated to contain 80 per cent of its value.

The companies made significant steps towards developing the mine in 2015, when they settled their differences with the Mongolian government and secured a $US4.4 billion debt package from a syndicate of banks and financial institutions, including the Australian Government's Export Finance and Insurance Corporation.

The miners are now re-evaluating the exact capital cost of the underground expansion and are expected to reveal that sum shortly.

In 2014 the expansion was tipped to cost $US4.9 billion, and the revised estimate is expected to be of a similar scale.

The boards of Rio and Turquoise Hill are likely to make a final decision to proceed with the expansion within the next three months, which would allow construction to begin in mid-2016.

Oyu Tolgoi's underground mine is expected to start producing around 2021, which should coincide with a stronger copper market, with many miners expecting a shortage of copper to emerge later this decade.

Oyu Tolgoi will represent a large portion of the Mongolian economy when the underground mine is in full production, and the project is never far from political debate in the developing nation.

Elections will take place in Mongolia in coming months, and they will be closely watched by Rio and Turquoise.

Link to article


Mogi: I'll post the next ones in next issues

The Uranium Shakedown: How Mongolia and Russia Conspired Against Western Investors (Part 1 of 3)


March 28 (Frontera News) The curious case of Khan Resources exposes how Mongolia seized uranium mine deposits from their Canadian legal owner and transferred them to Russian government control. And with elections imminent, the Mongolian government is now trying to clean up the mess. (Part One of a Three Part Series)

Mongolia is racing against time to make friends.

After years spent reneging on mining deals with the likes of Rio Tinto, the government has suddenly begun to settle its disputes with the promise of compensation and fresh projects.

The reason? Here too, it's election time. And if you think America's Democrats face a hard time defending their record, pity Chimediin Saikhanbileg. Mongolia's Prime Minister has presided over one of the world's most spectacular nosedives in economic growth – from 17% five years ago to near zero now.

Not all of this is the government's fault, of course. More than any other country on Earth, Mongolia's economy relies upon China, with 90% of its exports flowing to its southern neighbor. Sales and prices of its copper, coal and other commodities have crashed with the Chinese slowdown.

But many of Mongolia's economic troubles are self-inflicted. The government has sent foreign investors packing with punitive new laws to seize their assets. As a result, giant joint mining projects remain idle. Now, under the weight of disappointment from 3 million increasingly impoverished Mongols, the regime is scrambling to mend bridges to foreign investment. After freezing out Rio Tinto in its clamor for a bigger slice of copper and gold projects, the government struck a deal in 2015.

And after years of contesting international court orders, it has finally agreed this month to settle its long-standing dispute with a small Canadian mining company called Khan Resources. Khan's story reads like an international espionage thriller, and is perhaps the most enlightening in assessing whether Mongolia really is changing – or just papering over the pre-election cracks.

The $70 Million Question 

A decade ago all was going well for Khan – a relatively junior company in Mongolia, then known in international mining circles as the land of opportunity.

Khan was issued exploration rights to mine uranium in Dornod, the easternmost of Mongolia's 21 aimags, or provinces. Its licenses from 2005 were extended for a further three years in 2008. And in 2007 Khan published a feasibility study that confirmed a substantial uranium deposit, with an expected annual production rate of 2.9 million pounds of U3O8 and an expected mine life of over 15 years.

But the next year, everything changed. Under its recently-passed Nuclear Energy Law, Mongolia designated uranium as 'a strategic mineral,' which retro-actively gave its government control over all existing and future investment agreements.

In an adolescent democracy, prone to bouts of nationalism and inherent in tribalism, this should have rung alarm bells in Vancouver, the global center of the mining industry. Companies like Khan had every reason to fear the ambiguities in the new law.

And it wasn't only the Mongolian government that they needed to watch. The national media had revealed only months before the law's enactment that the country was being "courted" (actually, targeted) by its uranium-hungry neighbor and creditor to the north – Russia. 

Khan's Eviction Notice 

By April 2010, such fears had been realised. The government suspended Khan's two licenses, then reinstated them, then suspended again, and finally revoked them following an investigation.

Viewed jealously within the country, Khan's 58% stake in the rich Dornod province deposits was also openly coveted by Khan's junior joint venture partner, Atomredmetzoloto. The company, also known as ARMZ, is the mining unit of Rosatom, the Russian state-owned nuclear energy company.

Khan was informed by Mongolia's Nuclear Energy Agency that it had failed to address violations of the 2009 law and that as a result its licenses had abruptly been invalidated. The company's chairman, James Doak, responded with a question: "[It's] difficult to understand why only the Canadian partner should be investigated when there are two other partners in the joint venture. Are they to be investigated as well?" But no answer was forthcoming from the Mongolian government.

Khan sued for $326 million on the basis of 'expropriation and unlawful treatment.' That sum was reduced to $100 million in international tribunals before a finding was passed in Khan's favor – in two separate arbitration hearings. Still, Mongolia rejected the settlement, dismissing appeals in Ottawa which placed the country in breach of the multilateral Energy Charter Treaty.

And now, four years on, it seems the government has had a change of heart. Just two days before a major mining convention in Toronto this month, Mongolia's Finance Minister announced that the government would pay a reduced fee of $70 million to Khan. Settlement would be completed by May 15, a few weeks before Mongolia's parliamentary elections. Of course this sudden change of heart was driven by cold-hearted pragmatism. With the country's finances in a dire state, and its sovereign bonds trading at toxic levels, the finance ministry was desperate to raise money from investors. Yet, while the Mongolian government may not have given a second thought to investor sentiment until now, even they realized that they would have been laughed out of Canada had they not offered closure on the Khan affair.

So, all's well that ends well? Signs from within the country suggest otherwise.

The nationalist rottweiler is tugging at the government's leash. When hospitals are cramped and Mongolians are struggling for a roof over their heads, a large payment to a foreign mining company won't shower the government in glory just six weeks before the general election. In our view, final payment is far from assured. 

The curious case of Khan Resources continues tomorrow, documenting a deal between Moscow and Ulaanbaatar that traded Khan's uranium mines for hundreds of millions of dollars. Click Here to Read Part 2 

Phill Hynes and Mark Burke are analysts at ISS Risk, a frontier and emerging markets political risk management company covering North, South and Southeast Asia from its headquarters in Hong Kong. 

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.27%, ALL -0.27%, 101.2 Million Shares, 7.1 Billion T-Bills

March 30 --

Link to report


HBOil Denies Claim It Has Pulled Out of North Korea Oil Deal

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – 25, March 2016 -- HBOil JSC (MSE: HBO; Bloomberg Code: HBO MO) a specialty oil recycling and an emerging E&P company, hereby refutes the South Korean publication known as "KOREA JOONGANG DAILY", for irresponsible reporting and dissemination of erroneous news on 23 March 2016; asserting that HBOil JSC has withdrawn from its joint venture in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ("DPRK" or "North Korea").

By way of this public announcement, HBOil JSC:

1.    Confirms that it remains fully committed to its joint venture with Korea Oil Exploration Corporation ("KOEC") of the DPRK, and continues its tenacious efforts to progress the joint venture's ambition for exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources onshore North Korea, including the [ongoing] creation of geological, geophysical, and technical data-room to support the international tendering of rights for certain basins that benefit from previous exploration successes by KOEC; and

2.    Affirms its resolute belief that its commercial objectives in the DPRK will not only prove to be an exceptional business opportunity, but also an important contribution to the welfare of the DPRK society.

HBOil JSC is reviewing the implications of the recently enacted United Nations sanctions against North Korea, with respect to any future potential business activities of HBOil JSC in the DPRK through its indirect joint venture with KOEC, and will analyze its corporate and strategic options regarding future North Korean business initiatives; following the analysis of such review.

For more information, contact: Mr. Purevbaatar Bayarsaikhan, Board director and CFO of HBOil JSC,

Link to release

Link to JoongAng article

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Historic low 2,050.85/USD set March 29, 2016. Reds are rates that set a new low at the time

BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, March 30 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮2,043 Sell ₮2,050), Khan (Buy ₮2,043 Sell ₮2,050), Golomt (Buy ₮2,043 Sell ₮2,050), XacBank (Buy ₮2,043 Sell ₮2,050), State Bank (Buy ₮2,043 Sell ₮2,050)

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

Link to rates


BoM FX auction: US$2.3m sold at 2,050.2, CNY21m at 314.2, accepts $81.2m MNT swap offers

March 29 (Bank of Mongolia) During the Foreign Exchange Auction held on March 29th, 2016, commercial banks bid MNT2048.52-MNT2051.65 for USD11.1 million and MNT313.30-MNT314.50 for CNY51.7 million. The BOM sold CNY 21.0 million in a closing rate of MNT314.20 and USD2.3 million in a closing rate of MNT2050.20.

On March 29th, 2016, commercial banks bid for USD81.2 million of MNT swap agreement and asked for USD20 million of USD swap agreement. The BOM accepted the MNT swap agreement.

Link to release


BoM issues ₮141 billion 1-week bills at 12%, total outstanding +0.3% to ₮601.3 billion

March 30 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 141 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mongolia Sees Negative $14.9 Million FDI in February, Current Account Surplus $84.9 Million YTD

Preliminary Balance of Payments for February, 2016

March 30 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Main indicators 

Current account amounted to the surplus of $84.9 million increasing by 158% or $52.0 million compared to the same period of the last year. The change was mainly due to decrease of $42.0 million or 35% in income account. Goods and services account surplus reached $142.6 million which was close to last year's level. This was primarily due to the set off for decrease of service deficit by decrease of goods surplus.  

Capital and financial account had deficit of $147.4 million bringing the positive change of 42% or $108.0 million compared to the same period of the last year. The change was substantially due to the increase of foreign direct investment to the enterprises.

Detailed information

·         Preliminary Balance of Payments for February, 2016

·         External sector statistics

Link to release


7.5 Billion 28-Week T-Bills Sold at 14.05% Discount from Available 15 Billion

March 30 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 15.0 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 7.5 billion /out of 22.5 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 14.05%.

Link to release


10 Billion 3-Year GoM Bond Auction Receives No Bids

March 30 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 3 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. The Government bond was not sold the due to absence of both competitive and noncompetitive bids.

Link to release


Mogi: previous estimate was 3% for 2016

Mongolia's Growth Moderates amid Global Uncertainties

Mongolia's economic growth will stagnate at 0.1% in 2016 and 0.5% in 2017.

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA, March 30 (ADB) – Growth is slowing across much of developing Asia as a result of the continued weak recovery in major industrial economies and softer growth for the People's Republic of China (PRC). This will combine to push growth in developing Asia for 2015 and 2016 below previous projections, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

ADB's flagship annual economic publication, Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2016, forecasts gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.7% in 2016 and 2017 for the region. In 2015, GDP growth was 5.9%.

For Mongolia, growth will stagnate at 0.1% in 2016 and 0.5% in 2017, reflecting the regional and global trend, as well as the decline in mining production. Mounting balance of payments pressures and debt management will require tight fiscal and monetary policies. 

"Consistent fiscal policy, effective continuing efforts to diversify the economy, and ensuring social protection, are important challenges of economic management in Mongolia," said Ayumi Konishi, Director General of ADB's East Asia Department. "In this light, the decline in the country's consolidated deficit from 11.4% of GDP in 2014 to 7.9% in 2015 is a commendable achievement, although further steps are needed." 

Industrial economies' growth will stay at 1.8% in 2016, before inching up to 1.9% in 2017. Growth continues to moderate in the PRC—the world's second largest economy—as exports slow, labor supply falls, and supply-side reforms reshape the economy toward more domestic consumption and a further reduction in excess industrial capacity. Output will increase 6.5% in 2016, down from the 6.9% increase in 2015, but within the government's growth target. In 2017, growth will slow to 6.3%. Due to its outsized linkages, estimates suggest the drag from the growth moderation in the PRC may be as much as 0.3 percentage points across the region.

Potential interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve combined with broader weakness of emerging markets mean that risks to the regional growth forecast remain tilted to the downside. Heightened investor risk aversion, intensified global financial market volatility, and a sharper-than-forecast growth slowdown in the PRC would further weaken the global outlook and directly hurt regional exports and growth. Tepid oil and commodity prices will continue to dampen the prospects of Asia's commodity-dependent economies. 

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.

Link to release


Mogi: the guy doesn't know Mongolia

MACRO ADVISOR: Mongolia is finely balanced between default and the next boom

By Chris Weafer of Macro-Advisory  

March 29, 2016 (bne intelliNews) Four years ago, Mongolia's economy grew at 17.3%, the world's fastest. This year's growth is expected to be little more than 1.0%. The reason for the collapse is because of the big drop in foreign direct investment (FDI) from $4.7bn in 2011 to only $230mn last year. The economy is very sensitive to the volume of FDI and, in particular, to activity in the mining sector.

The core reason for the decline in FDI was self-inflicted; during the last parliamentary election in 2012, the main opposition Mongolian People's Party (MPP) campaigned with an anti-foreign investment message and secured one-third of the votes. That allowed it to influence government decisions and to block many major mining projects. (Mogi: lol)

The country's biggest mining project is the Rio Tinto-controlled Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine. $6bn was spent in Phase 1 of the project, but it was stopped in August 2013 as a result of the political pressures. However, the removal of the MPP from the grand coalition has allowed the government to resolve many of the disputes with the mining companies and to approve several very big projects. Phase 2 of Oyu Tolgoi has now been approved by the state and financing put in place. Also, Centerra Gold has resolved its dispute over the ownership of a major gold mine and an Australian company has been given the go-ahead for a $1.3bn rail project. A consortium led by EnGie has also been green-lighted to go ahead with a $1.3bn power plant in the capital.

Link to article


IFC EAP Director: Mongolia Economic Forum is the most significant event Mongolia organizes

March 30 ( This year's Mongolian Economic Forum (MEF) 2016 is organized under the motto 'Lessons, Challenges, Solution'.

During this event, we had the opportunity to interview Mr.Vivek Pathak, Director, East Asia and Pacific, IFC.

He has extensive emerging markets experience in principal investments, restructuring and risk management across all industry. Over the past 16 years at IFC, he has covered Asia-Pacific, Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia in various leadership capacities.

For more interesting information and on his take on Mongolian economic considerations please watch the video below.

Link to article


Mongolia Economic Forum 2016 starts

By R. Adiyasuren

March 30 ( Mongolia Economic Forum 2016 starts with the opening remarks from the P.Tsagaan, Head of Presidential Office. This year's forum is being held under slogan "lessons, challenges, solutions". GoGo Mongolia will bring you live coverage from State Palace for the full duration of this event.

B.Bolor, the Minister of Finance attends the plenary sessions. He stated that the Government of Mongolia bought USD 500 million bond in order to repay the domestic bond. 

Break out session on Vision for Mongolian Mining Industry starts at A Hall. 

Session is moderated by the S.Jamba, chair, Mongolian Mining National Association and will discuss following topics:

  • Solutions and challenges 
  • Competitiveness of Mongolian Mining Industry 
  • Development trends 

The session is opened with the speech of M.Dagva, researcher and director of QMC LLC. 

Right now break out session on Development Partnership - Past, Present and Future starts. The session is moderated by E.Sodontogos, chef, national coordinator, national secretariat for the second compact agreement between the Government Mongolia and Millennium Challenge Corporation of the USA. 

The first speech was delivered by the Robert Shoellhammer, country director of the ADB. He cited that Mongolia must think carefully about how the nation is getting the values out of all these investments or aid. 

Following Beate Trankman, UNDP Resident Representative, United Nations Resident Coordinator noted that Mongolia needs better governance system, resources distribution and policy alignments with target objectives. UNDP will support the integrated financing assessments. The government should find ways to expand the partnerships with more organizations in more broad sectors.

Q&A session of the plenary session on Economic Outlook starts. 

N.Zoljargal, the President of the Bank of Mongolia:

"95 percent of the foreign investment went to mining sector. Mongolian inflation reached its lowest rate in last two years from Asian countries. Low inflation can have various advantages to the economy.

Further we should develop economy based on knowledge rather than economy based on mining. In 2011 and 2013, we had issued social welfare to the public from the taxation of foreign investment. During that time, inflation rate was high. Unless we have not stopped it, we would have fallen from the sky. At that time we learned that providing welfare from the taxation of foreign investment is wrong. We understood that the average savings is important. 

Four years ago, we were aiming at inflation rate of 6%. Today inflation rate is Mongolia is 2%. 

New balance or the policy is challenging us. It is important to let it continue."

B.Bolor, the Minister of Finance answered on opportunity of approving budget has not budget deficit. 

"There is urgent need to approve budget has not budget deficit. As a result of budget deficit, we are facing economic crisis now. We see opportunity to erase budget deficit. We should move forward together to male healthy economy."

MP Ts.Bayarsaihan:

"Mortgage loan supports the savings and real estate market. In scope of policy on expanding economy, we should create different types of loans in addition to mortgage loan. Next year, we need to approve healthy budget."

Q&A session of the plenary session on Economic Outlook starts. 

N.Zoljargal, the President of the Bank of Mongolia:

"95 percent of the foreign investment went to mining sector. Mongolian inflation reached its lowest rate in last two years from Asian countries. Low inflation can have various advantages to the economy.

Further we should develop economy based on knowledge rather than economy based on mining. In 2011 and 2013, we had issued social welfare to the public from the taxation of foreign investment. During that time, inflation rate was high. Unless we have not stopped it, we would have fallen from the sky. At that time we learned that providing welfare from the taxation of foreign investment is wrong. We understood that the average savings is important. 

Four years ago, we were aiming at inflation rate of 6%. Today inflation rate is Mongolia is 2%. 

New balance or the policy is challenging us. It is important to let it continue."

B.Bolor, the Minister of Finance answered on opportunity of approving budget has not budget deficit. 

"There is urgent need to approve budget has not budget deficit. As a result of budget deficit, we are facing economic crisis now. We see opportunity to erase budget deficit. We should move forward together to male healthy economy."

MP Ts.Bayarsaihan:

"Mortgage loan supports the savings and real estate market. In scope of policy on expanding economy, we should create different types of loans in addition to mortgage loan. Next year, we need to approve healthy budget."

Mr. Neil Saker, resident IMF representative for Mongolia:

Future of Mongolia seems bright. It is right to support savings which will later help to solve the facing issues of economy before. If Mongolia follow the right policy, it can overcome the crises. 


N.Zoljargal, the President of the Bank of Mongolia: "We had bad news for the first two months of 2016. We started to hear good news after Lunar New Year. 

We are granting loans which are able to be issued. Businesses must plan their vision for 2016 within this March. Currency rate is expected to be stable this year. Money-supply is able to be grown due to stable inflation. 

I hope that loans will be increased in order to support economy based on knowledge."

Plenary session on Economic Outlook which has two parts starts. Part 1 to discuss World at Large while Part 2 to discuss Mongolian in specific. 

Right now, Director East Asia & the Pacific International Finance Corporation. Mr Vivek Pathak is delivering speech.

He noted that we are happy that loans provided to Mongolia from IFC has been higher than other organizations. We are focusing on mining, small and medium enterprisers.

Youths accounted for most of the Mongolian population. Mongolian youths can be skilled and competitive to the world. Also Mongolians can adapt to anything and it would be advantage to the current unstable situation.

Mineral prices have been going up and down. Even in 1990, mineral prices were low. Gradually, demand in mineral sector have grown. 

If Mongolia can create environmental policy and attract investments, the economy will be risen in further. 

Even it is hard to make decision before the election, there is no way left. Mongolia has enough opportunities in many sectors including tourism, food products, mining, finance as well as information and technology sector.  

Mongolia should create many sources of economies by spending the foreign investment earnings to other sectors. 

If Mongolia can solve the current challenges, the future seems good. 

I think it is important to create many sources of economies and partners as well as to develop low cost agriculture and tourism.

Next honorary guest is Mr.Ayum Konishi, Director General, East Asia Department, ADB. 

"This year, we marks the 25th anniversary of Mongolia's membership in the Asia Development Bank. Cooperation between ADB and the Government of Mongolia has been fruitful and we have collaborated in many sectors as we see solid improvements throughout Mongolia.

Mongolia is rich in natural mineral resources and it is one of the most important areas to focus in order to ensure sustainable development.

ADB will continue to be strong and supporting partner to Mongolia. I would like to congratulate PM Ch.Saikhanbileg and his economic teams for organizing this significant event."

Right now, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg delivers speech. 

"This year's motto is 'lessons, challenges, solutions.

First, I would like to discuss about challenges - Mongolia faced few challenges in the past. Economic crisis in 1998, which covered most of Asia. Next was the world economic crisis that began 2008. We overcame these challenges with our little economy and assistance from other international organizations.

Second, I would like to discuss about lessons learned - Bad foreign investment policies scared away international investors and we took the blow hard, not just the government but the people too.

Third, I would like to discuss about solutions - In the past four years, we have witnessed that we can work together. For example, we built 100 thousand household apartments within one year, infrastructure development and social welfare improvements etc.

So let us work together and learn from our mistakes to overcome the challenges and find the right solutions."

Link to article


Mongolian Economic Forum, March 30


MEF 2016: Mongol Dream

March 30 ( Plenary session on Mongol Dream starts. Mr. Byambasaikhan.B, Executive Director of Erdenes Mongol LLC is moderating the session. 


  • Mrs. Nomin.Ch, director, Mongol HD television 
  • Mr. Enhmunh.Z, director, Sant school
  • Dr. Unenbat.G, National cancer center
  • Mr. Ariunbaatar.G, State honored actor, 
  • Ph.D Batzaya.B, postdoctoral research fellow in Harvard Medical School


  • Possibility to increase youth participation in politics 
  • Define ways to help youth reach their dream 

Moderator B.Byambasaikhan: "To simply say it we all came here to discuss the opportunity. We all have a dream. For me mongol dream would be freedom of finance."

Enhmunh.Z, director, Sant school: "In my opinion unity and education is Mongol dream." 

Mrs. Nomin.Ch, director, Mongol HD television: "I am m glad to be among these incredible young leaders. I think I am not qualified enough to define Mongol dream. But I would like to invite all of you here in this hall to think and discuss as a group."

Dr. Unenbat.G, National cancer center: "Mongol mind is the sum of all Mongolians. It is too big to focus on one person`s measurement."

Link to article


MEF 2016: Lean and Capable Government

March 30 ( Plenary session on Lean and Capable Government starts which is being moderated by Mr. Amartuvshin.O, Executive director, Ulaanbaatar city chamber of commerce and director general of UFC group. 


  • B.Batbayar, senior advisor to the PM, translator, columnist and politician 
  • E.Bat-Uul, City mayor 
  • B.Odsuren, Metro development group, founder and chairman of BoD
  • D.Tsogtbaatar, general director 
  • D.Jargalsaikhan, the president of Mongolian investment holding


  • Government regulation and its involvement 

Moderator Mr. Amartuvshin.O asks what makes a good, strong and capable government. 

City Mayor E.Bat-Uul: "A good government can be compared to supermarket with excellent service. Supermarket must provide the necessary commodity to attract customers. In recent years, public position is considered as business. Therefore it attracts lots of young generations.

One must never confuse government with business. In order to distinguish this, solid policy reform needs to happen. Government is regulating body."

B.Batbayar, senior advisor to the PM: "The government is not the place that gives out goody. If you can desperately try to get involved in politics. Stay out of it.

What do you think about government involvement in private sectors and business? The question is directed to L.Enkh-Amgalan, MP. 

L.Enkh-Amgalan, MP: "There are lots of involvement from the government. Our policy is not stable. Changes can happen, but we need to look at the long term and stay consistent."

We have long history and we went through different government systems. What kind of government structure is best for us, asked the moderator Amartuvshin.O to Mr. Tsogtbaatar D.

Mr. Tsogtbaatar D: "There is always opportunity. Mongolia has low population compared to other countries. We can take a look at countries like Singapore, Luxembourg. As our market, economy is small we need to manage our budgets effectively. Corruption will exist whenever there is unmanaged budget.

I want to point out few things that I would like it make it happen:

1.    Only diplomats must have immunity, not MPs. So we need to remove this privilege.

2.    Have moral and professional ethic.

3.    Responsible government that follows their commitment to their country and people."

Link to article


MEF 2016: Green Business

March 30 ( Plenary session on Green business starts and is being moderated by the D.Nergui, CEO, Mongolian innovation commons partners, founder and BoD member of Mongolia Green Building Council, economist.


  • S.Oyun, MP
  • Sir Paul Judge, Chairman, Schroder income growth fund
  • D.Tumurkhuu, BoD member of TOC program, Mongolian bankers association, CEO of Arig bank
  • D.Gankhuyag, CEO, Clean energy Asia LLC
  • Jon Lyons, country representative, Global green growth institute
  • Uchida Haijime, chief representative, Sumitomo mitsui banking corporation  


  • Experience in green business
  • Green business and innovation 

Moderator D.Nergui emphasized that green business topic might be new, but it is very relavant topic to us. 

First question: What would be the role of business sector in sustainable and long-term development of Mongolia? 

S.Oyun, MP: Green business has bright future 

"Five years ago, issues related to environment and green business have not discussed much. This issue is addressed at the policy level in worldwide in past five years. If you notice, heads of 150-160 countries discussed and approved the sustainable development goal at UN General Assembly, held in September, 2015.  

The reason of talking about the environment is that the world is becoming not enough for us. According to the increase in population, food, energy and water consumption have increased. In 2015, 70 percent of the world population is expected to be settled in the city. Thus, the consumption grows rapidly and the global population will rise to 11 billion at the end of 21st century. Therefore we need to change our attitude as consumption expands.

Green business has bright future and is beneficial. It is time to join in green business. Investment banks declared not to invest in coal. Consumers started to support only eco-friendly business. Thus, businesses need to focus on that."

D.Tumurkhuu, BoD member of TOC program, Mongolian bankers association, CEO of Arig bank:

"Arig bank is working to establish green loan fund which is targeted for environmentally friendly companies. Green development is created by the multilateral engagement results between the citizen, companies and the government."

Sir Paul Judge, Chairman, Schroder Income Growth Fund:

"Mongolia has only three million people and is rich with its territory and cattle. The Government must solve the environmental issues including air pollution and desertification at first.  

Previously, London was one of the most polluted cities like Ulaanbaatar city. Therefore, the air pollution in UB city can be solved."

Uchida Haijime, Chief Representative, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation:

"It is impossible to develop business not protecting or caring the environment. Attitude to business in 19th century became the opposite today. Now it is important to proctect nature and environment when operating a business."

Link to article


MEF 2016: Development Partnership - Past, Present and Future

By A. Odontuya

March 30 ( Break out session on Development Partnership - Past, Present and Future starts. The session is moderated by E.Sodontogos, chef, national coordinator, national secretariat for the second compact agreement between the Government Mongolia and Millennium Challenge Corporation of the USA. 


  • Contributions by international organizations and it`s impact to Mongolia`s development
  • Lessons, challenges, solutions in the past 25 years
  • Future cooperation and policy 


  • Mr. Gantulga.B, head, development financing and debt management department, Ministry of Finance
  • Mr. James Anderson, country representative, World Bank 
  • Mr. Mutsimu Sato, chef representative, JICA
  • Mr. Robert Shoellhammer, country director of the ADB 
  • Mrs. Beate Trankman, UNDP Resident Presresentative, United Nations Resident Coordinator 

The first presentation was presented by the E.Sodontogos, chef, national coordinator, national secretariat for the second compact agreement between the Government Mongolia and Millennium Challenge Corporation of the USA.

She noted that Millennium Challenge Corporation of the USA plays important role in relations between Mongolia and the USA. The first compact agreement has implemented during 2008-2013. It has funded USD 269 million to six project in five sectors. In 2015, Millennium Challenge Corporation decided to implement the second compact agreement. It will take more than two years to make the assessment and economy research. Following Mongolian side will establish millennium challenge account. Therefore the second compact agreement is expected to start implementing in 2018. During its mission in Mongolia, MCC gained experience in working with private sectors. Due to everything has not finalized yet, I could not give detailed information. 

Issues of concern in scope of the second compact agreement between the Government Mongolia and Millennium Challenge Corporation of the USA:

1.    Instable macro economy 

2.    Weak micro economy - Business and government policies are not aligned well. It needs economy diversification.

3.    Health issues - Air pollution

4.    Water issues

We have discussing on concerning the 1, 2 and 4th issues. 

The second speech was delivered by the Robert Shoellhammer, country director of the ADB. He cited that Mongolia must think carefully about how the nation is getting the values out of all these investments or aid. 

Following Beate Trankman, UNDP Resident Representative, United Nations Resident Coordinator cited that Mongolia needs better governance system, resources distribution and policy alignments with target objectives. UNDP will support the integrated financing assessments. The government should find ways to expand the partnerships with more organizations in more broad sectors.

Link to article

Back to top

Politics & Legal

State Great Khural: Speaker announces spring-session debate schedule

March 29 ( On 28th March, Parliamentary Speaker Z.Enkhbold announced the discussion schedule, for the spring session of the State Great Khural.

1.    Parliamentary project to "Declare the Dates of Regular Elections of Parliamentary and Civic Representative Assemblies of Municipalities and Provinces";

2.    Parliamentary project to "Approve the Organization for Public Hearings";

3.    Implementation of the "Guidelines to Develop the Mongolian Economy and Society in 2016";

4.    Parliamentary project to "Approve the Guidelines to Develop the Mongolian Economy and Society in 2017";

5.    Projects for "Budget Framework in 2017" and "Budget Expectations in 2018-2019";

6.    Parliamentary project to "Approve the 2015 Budget  Implementation", and Governmental Consolidated Financial Statements for 2015;

7.    Parliamentary project to "Approve the Expenses of the Regular Parliamentary and Civic Representative Assembly Elections";

8.    Parliamentary project to "Approve the National Program for Anti-Corruption and Strengthening the Rule of Law";

9.    Project of "Law on Family" and additional changes project to the "Law on Family";

10.  Project of "Law on the State Prize"

11.  Project of "Law on Trades"

12.  Other possible legislation

(The above is listed as Parliamentary Pronouncement Number 41)

Link to article


Mogi: paid article

NLP confident as new chairman elected

March 29 ( Recent events in the National Labor Party (NLP) have seized the news headlines – who exactly should the chairman of the party be? In a complex battle of competing candidates, S.Ganbaatar proposed himself for the position. The acrimonious issue went to the Supreme Court, which rejected his registration as chairman – twice! 

Yesterday, the Central Committee of the NLP held a meeting, during which S.Ganbaatar withdrew of his own accord. In his place, party member T.Ganbold is chosen with an almost unanimous 98% votes.

T.Ganbold is considered a skillful leader and an innovative entrepreneur. The decision seems to be welcomed within the ranks of the NLP, where members are confident that the internal controversies of the last two months are now in the past.

Link to article


MPRP nominates Ts.Lhagvasuren for Minister of Health and Sports

March 29 ( The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has decided to nominate Ts.Lhagvasuren as the new Minister for Health and Sport. It is reported that the MPRP has talked long and hard about this appointment. Previously, the majority rejected the proposal to nominate former MPRP secretary Erdenetuya for the job.

Ts.Lhagvasuren - the current nominee, used to work as Director of the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences. Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Ts.Oyunbaatar said that the appointment of the new Minister for Health and Sport would be made during the spring session and was currently under discussion.

Source: Parliamentary Administration Media Bureau

Link to article


DP group to submit draft law prohibits the disposing or dumping of nuclear waste

March 29 ( Meeting of DP Group in State Great Hural has just finished and heads of the DP group made a statement. 

They concluded that draft laws on nuclear issues set to be discussed at the irregular session of the Parliament should not be recalled. Rather, the Government should initiate an additional draft which prohibits the dumping of nuclear waste in Mongolia. 

According to the critics and negative attitudes of the public on discussion of nuclear issues, the Government has decided to recall the drafts. 

Following the statement, journalists asked B.Garamgaibaatar, the Head of DP Group and S.Odontuya, Deputy Head of DP group about current affairs.

Link to article


Nuclear debate: another delay

March 30 ( Yesterday, the Democratic Party Group held a non-scheduled meeting as a result of the delay in the start of the non-regular session of Parliament. The group decision was: "Government should present the new law projects about nuclear safety to Parliament". In other words, the Government decided not to postpone the law projects including the "Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Management". As we reported, there had been discussion about submitting these to Parliament at a later date. So the Government has submitted them. Therefore, Parliament now needs to discuss and approve these projects which the Government presented yesterday.

According to DP Group director, B.Garamgaibaatar, the new law project contains provisions banning the entry of nuclear waste into Mongolia or the import of such materials. According to the decision, yesterday, R.Jigjid the Minister of Mining presented the law project to the Parliamentary Speaker. This morning, again the non-regular session could not start due to inadequate attendance by the Opposition. Therefore, the non-regular session has been recalled at 14.00 pm.

Link to article


"MPP supports nuclear waste entering Mongolia"

March 30 ( The director of Democratic Party Group B.Garamgaibaatar has given the following information to the media:

-Today is the second day of the non-regular parliamentary session. Today, the Speaker's council held a meeting. We had scheduled to discuss the law projects presented by the Government during the parliamentary discussion; however, no-one from the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) came to the hall. The Democratic Party is trying to work. Everybody is obliged to work, when the Speaker issues an order for a session to be convened. The MPP is not supporting a law project, which is aimed to be beneficial to Mongolia. The law project presented by the government yesterday has three provisions, all of which ban nuclear and radioactive materials from entering Mongolia. We still have an opportunity to discuss and approve this bill. But the MPP is apparently supporting nuclear waste entering Mongolia. If these three provisions are approved, Mongolia will not have to worry about anything. The non-regular session is planned to start today at 14.00 pm.

Link to article


Police make arrests at nuclear bill demonstration at Chinggis square

March 29 ( Today at the irregular session of the Parliament was planned to approve complex draft law on joining the 1997 Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. 

However over 30 residents were gathered at Chinggis square and expressed their protest against joining the 1997 Joint Convention. 

Due to the residents brought yellow powder and poured it on the ground, polices considered the powder as an uranium and took the demonstrators. Emergency Management Agency is investigating the powder whether it is uranium or not. 

The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management was adopted on 5 September 1997 by 84 states at a diplomatic conference convened at Vienna by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It is the first treaty to address radioactive waste management on a global scale.

Press Department of the Parliament stated that according to the Article 12 of the Convention, countries joined the convention must accept the country`s ban on importing the spent fuel and radioactive waste management used by another countries.

Link to article


Civil Will-Green Party: Who to Join?

March 30 ( The Political Council of the Civil Will Green Party (CWGP) has scheduled a meeting of their national commission for 16th April, during which, the decision will be taken about which party to join up with in the run-up to the election. The possible candidate parties include the National Labor Party, the Mongolian National Democratic Party and the Ekh Oron Party. There is also the option of not forming an alliance with any of them and facing the election on their own. The CWGP has formed a working team to study a possible agreement with other parties; this is being led by party chairman Ts.Gankhuyag.

Link to article


Bill submitted on taking Tost Mountain area under special protection

Ulaanbaatar, March 29 (MONTSAME) L.Erdenechimeg, Ts.Oyungerel and other MPs Tuesday submitted to parliament a draft resolution of parliament on taking some lands under state special protection.

By the resolution, mountains of Tost and Toson Bumba would be taken under the state special protection, and relevant studies and reasons would be made in order to implement several documents such as the Mongolian Millennium Development Goals-based (MMDGs) complex policy on national development and a policy on green development.

For working out this draft resolution, the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism had formulated reasons of taking the lands under special protection, together with scholars and researchers from the Geological Institute at the Academy of Sciences. Lines of the lands have been settled with a related institution as well.

If parliament approves the resolution, the total areas under the state special protection will expand by 896 thousand 527.44 hectares or 0.4%.

Link to article


GEC meets on parliamentary election voting abroad

Ulaanbaatar, March 30 (MONTSAME) The central commission with responsibilities for providing and monitoring integrated election management and organization work for the 2016 Mongolian State Great Khural election for Mongolians abroad held Wednesday its first meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They exchanged views about how to run a voting among the Mongolians abroad and then reached some decisions.

The incumbent State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs D.Gankhuyag has been appointed the central commission's head, a member of the General Election Commission (GEC) B.Ganbat--the deputy head. Relevant organizations and officials have been selected as organizers.

Link to article


National report on human rights and freedom submitted to parliament

Ulaanbaatar, March 30 (MONTSAME) Head of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) J.Byambadorj Wednesday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold the 15th report on human rights and freedom situation in Mongolia.

This report is a document focused on attracting attention of the legislative body, the government, their organizations and the public to urgent problems of human rights, on stopping violations of human rights, and making reforms at a policy level for improving realization of human rights.

This year's report contains issues about an implementation of the rights on being separated from tortures and on receiving legal assistance for suspects, defendants and accused people, on rights for elders and staffers of the body on implementing court decisions.

Proposals from the NHRC are reflected in the report as well.

Involving all information about human rights matters and situation in Mongolia, the report has been worked out on a basis of results of surveys, examinations and monitoring, made by state bodies, NGOs and the NCHR, of petitions and complaints to the NCHR. It is submitted to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, National committee of national organizations for human rights, and the national organizations of human rights in Asia-Pacific region.

The presentation of the report was witnessed by N.Ganbayar and P.Oyunchimeg, members of the NCHR; and other officials.

Link to article


Kh.Battulga's former assistant addresses letter to President from jail

March 30 (UB Post) MP Kh.Battulga's former assistant G.Tuvshinjargal, who is currently being held in custody for suspected involvement in the Ukhaakhudag-Gashuunsukhait railway project embezzlement case, sent a letter to President Ts.Elbegdorj on March 25, concerning the President's "biased" statement.

In her letter, G.Tuvshinjargal said that she served the Democratic Party and the "democratic President" and that she has supported them since she was able to vote.

"I'm writing this letter as I heard from my lawyer that you said 'Poison and theft should not hide behind mother's white milk'. I don't understand how you know that I'm hiding poison and theft with my white milk. I wasn't found guilty and nor have I committed a crime; but it seems to me that it's already decided that I will be accused and sentenced because the democratic President that I have been serving for is now proclaiming me as a 'criminal'," wrote G.Tuvshinjargal.

She also claimed that the state is violating her child's rights.

"I am truly offended to be a sacrifice in a false charge for the democracy that I've supported.

"I don't see any other options but to declare a hunger strike to fight against this cruelty. You will probably say again that we don't have to care. Mongolia is a member of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children. From what I remember, the convention states, "A country has to support and take all measures to not separate a mother and a child'. Today, my child's rights are being violated in her home country, and she is being punished at such a young age for a crime her mother didn't commit."

G.Tuvshinjargal said that she is a victim of those who are trying to sell of the country for quick money.

"Protector of the people's unity and parent to many, President of Mongolia! I am being repressed and separated from my baby, imprisoned for a crime I didn't commit. They've sacrificed and forced a false charge on me, a regular state servant, in their fight. Political and business groups who are trying to trade their country for wealth are using the law enforcement to beat the ones who tried to stop them.

"This is really just an imitation of democracy'," G.Tuvshinjargal concluded.

G.Tuvshinjargal was arrested on March 16 under Criminal Code Clause 148.4, a class one felony. On March 18, the Bayanzurkh, Sukhbaatar and Chingeltei District primary courts ruled to keep her in custody for two more weeks regardless of her status as a nursing mother. She is currently being held in custody at the General Executive Agency of Court Decisions' Detention Center No.461.


Link to article


Almost 30,000 hectares to be available for residential ownership in 2016

March 30 (UB Post) During the Cabinet's regular meeting this week, the ministers approved the disbursement of nearly 30,000 hectares of land for private ownership by citizens for residential use in 2016.

The specifics of the total hectares, location, and authorized use of the land was approved after Cabinet ministers reviewed a request issued by the Civic Councils of Ulaanbaatar and the provinces. Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg instructed Minister of Construction and Urban Development Z.Bayanselege to monitor the implementation of the resolution to distribute the land.

It has been decided that 29,820.97 hectares of land nationwide will be available for residential ownership, and 39.26 hectares will be distributed for agricultural purposes.

Some 4.5 percent of the land being allocated for residential ownership in 2016 is land currently in use, 93 percent of the land is unoccupied, and 2.5 percent of the land is located along paved public roads.

Some 6.5 percent of the land to be distributed for agricultural purposes will be used for the cultivation of wheat, 55.1 percent vegetables, and 38.2 percent is designated for other agriculture purposes.

As of December 2015, since the law allowing the distribution of land for private ownership by citizens of Mongolia took effect on May 2003, a total of 446,004 citizens have registered ownership of 47,840.57 hectares of land.

Link to article


YPO Mongolia NGO recommends setting boundaries for government involvement in businesses

March 30 (UB Post) The following is an interview with chairman of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) Mongolia NGO and member of the organizing committee of the Mongolia Economic Forum Ts.Erdenebat about the upcoming Mongolia Economic Forum 2016, the business environment in Mongolia, and other important topics.

The Mongolia Economic Forum 2016 will be taking place from March 30 to 31.

Mongolia is taking a wide range of measures to improve its legal environment. Has the business environment improved?

The business environment is improving in some areas, but drawing back in other areas. International credit rating agencies have lowered the credibility of Mongolia. Loans for businesses and the private sector are directly dependent on the nation's credit rating. They attract financing by paying slightly higher interest rates than Mongolian bond yields. Businesses have limited opportunities for taking out long-term loans required for expanding their operations. The stock and insurance market must develop.

Mongolia changed its legislations and legal environment related to investment. The situation will not improve immediately. There are tons of work to do. A boundary needs to be set for the works the state should manage and works the private sector should handle. The legal environment hasn't become specific because there isn't a general concept and understanding of what the state should do and not do. Many challenges await businesses in the future.

The new VAT Law has created an unfavorable environment for foreign investors regarding input credits and refunds. It states that any input of VAT incurred on a business' capital expenditure for foreign services will not be deducted as input credits or refunds. This is causing considerable difficulty for some businesses.

How is Mongolia's taxation system? Mongolia is said to be a low-tax country, but aren't small businesses displeased with the new VAT system?

The tax system is a relative concept. Norway, which has a natural resource fund, imposes 60 to 70 percent in taxes. European countries like France have high tax rates and many stages. Compared to these countries, Mongolia's tax rate is reasonable and affordable. However, the tax system isn't quite accurate.

For example, VAT is supposed to support wealth creators. This form of tax has become a burden to consumers in Mongolia, which is unable to primarily use domestically produced products. VAT is increasing business' expenditure instead. It should be a value-added tax for creating wealth, not a value-adding cost.

Producers should be supported in a roundabout way. I personally don't believe that VAT is essential to Mongolia nor supportive to businesses and producers.

The Mongolia Economic Forum 2016 will take place from March 30 to 31. Will it cover boundaries for state involvement in businesses?

Link to interview


Activists demonstrate against nuclear waste bill

March 30 (UB Post) Approximately 30 representatives from activist groups, including the Bosoo Khukh Mongol Movement and Evlen Manduulakh Khuch Movement, demonstrated outside the Parliament House on March 29 as Parliament was scheduled to discuss the signing of international treaties concerning radioactive waste.

The demonstrators poured yellow powder on the ground during their protest against the government's policy on radioactive materials. Police officers suspected the powder could be uranium, and removed the demonstrators. The National Emergency Management Agency is currently investigating the powder.

On March 29, Parliament had planned to discuss a bill submitted by Minister of Mongolia S.Bayartsogt on joining the 1994 Nuclear Safety Convention and the 1997 Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, as well as ratifying the 2005 protocol on amendments to the 1980 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

The head of the Evlen Manduulakh Khuch Movement, B.Tumenjargal, says that based on the domestic and international legal environment and current issues in management policies regarding radioactive material, Mongolia should not join the conventions. A statement of protest was printed for the 76 Members of Parliament and the President of Mongolia, and presented to them on the morning of March 29. "Our main concern is that Mongolia is not ready to join the convention yet and the legal environment is not sufficient, so we have decided to demonstrate," said B.Tumenjargal.

The demonstrators believe that the bill includes articles capable of posing great danger to national security. "The 1997 Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage states that nuclear waste must be disposed of in its country of origin. By signing on to the convention, Mongolia would be agreeing to being responsible for nuclear waste resulting from the export of nuclear material.

"In 2015, the Government of Mongolia issued three uranium mining licenses to a French company called Areva, and the company is working to export uranium starting from 2017. We don't support this law, as Mongolia will face the responsibility of taking back the nuclear waste," one of the demonstrators said.

A Parliament spokesperson reported, "The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management was approved by International Atomic Energy Agency member states on September 29, 1997. It entered into force on June 18, 2001, and 69 states have ratified it."

According to the spokesperson, Mongolian lawmakers will accept the right to prohibit the import of radioactive substances and spent fuel from other countries stated in Article 12 in the convention's introduction if the government agrees to sign the treaty.

Three protesters were arrested under an order from the Sukhbaatar District Court. The following is a short interview with the head of the Evlen Manduulakh Khuch Movement's Board, P.Shinjeeravdan, about the demonstration and the people arrested.

What's the reason for three people being arrested?

Ts.Buyanduuren from the Bosoo Khukh Mongol Movement; Ganbaatar, a coordinator at the National Center against Disaster; and journalist Ch.Munkhbayar were arrested under an order from the Sukhbaatar District Court. The reason is not clear yet.

Didn't you organize a demonstration without a permit?

Technically, today's event is not a demonstration. In addition, the public only heard about Parliament organizing their irregular meeting yesterday (March 28). Even if we were to organize an official demonstration, we didn't have time to get permission. There's no way to get permission in this case.

How many organizations and people participated in this gathering?

Evlen Manduulakh Khuch, Urangui Mongol (Uranium-Free Mongolia) Movement, and over 20 organizations gathered to represent the public. I think more than 20 to 30 people participated in this event.

We expressed our views on the Parliament meeting to discuss dumping nuclear waste in Mongolia and joining international conventions. We demonstrated at the west entrance of the Parliament House. Mongolia gave a two-year mining license to Areva. In the end, there's a high probability that the nuclear waste will be sent back to Mongolia. We refuse this condition that might be brought about by the corrupted 76 who stand against national security. We demand that they act better. That's why we poured and threw yellow powder at the west entrance of the Parliament House. I'm not sure if they tried to give a politicized image about this gathering, but police officers paid extra attention to this and placed the Parliament House under high security.

It has been five years since the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant had a meltdown. It released hundreds of thousands of tons of nuclear waste. There's radioactive water in the ocean. If this waste was really not harmful, why isn't Japan burying it themselves? Why does Japan choose Mongolia? They're trying to use the fact that Mongolia has a small population and a vast land, and that the public is sleepy and not well-informed about the negative impacts of nuclear waste. You have to understand that they chose Mongolia because it's a soft country.

Why did you pour the yellow powder?

We threw it to express that we're against this issue. We used yellow ochre powder used in construction to represent nuclear waste. Some of our members licked and even ate it, if you have been watching. But they've got to stop stirring this up. Anyhow, I don't know if the members didn't want to attend the session or if there was another issue, but the meeting was postponed. It is beneficial to the public.

Link to article


Demonstration: police arrest, March 30


Mogi: lot of errors in this one. Looks like the rally orchestrated/hijacked by our "favorite" politicians. All the familiar faces.

Thousands rally in Mongolia over foreign mining concessions


ULAN BATOR, Mongolia (AP) — A rare public protest in Mongolia's capital on Wednesday drew thousands of demonstrators who criticized foreign mining concessions and demanded action to prop up the tottering economy.

More than 2,000 demonstrators gathered in Ulan Bator's Freedom Square also called for parliament to be dissolved and a new government formed over alleged corruption and the economic crisis battering the vast, landlocked nation.

Protesters say the mineral wealth that accounts for 94 percent of the nation's exports has been exploited by foreign firms with few benefits going to Mongolia's 3 million people, one-third of whom live in poverty.

"Our wealth is shipped outside of country. Where is that money going?" former wrestler and opposition lawmaker Battulga Khaltmaa asked the crowd assembled by an umbrella group of small political parties and civil society organizations known as Ethical Mongol.

Battulga was particularly critical of the terms extended to Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto PLC to develop the $5.4 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper mine. Talks on expanding the mine have bogged down over the government's demand for more revenue.

Battulga and others also criticized efforts to revive the Tavan Tolgoi coal project, alleging that members of around two dozen influential families with ties to both ruling Mongolian Democratic Party and opposition Mongolian People's Party stand to benefit the most from the deal through their ownership of shares in the Hong Kong-listed Mongolian Mining Corporation.

"This business-political group … has already swallowed its brother, democracy," said Erdenechimeg Luvsan, a Democratic Party lawmaker.

Protesters carried banners reading "Tavan Tolgoi is public property" and "Whatever happened to democracy?"

Parliament last year blocked a proposed deal with an international consortium led by Chinese state-owned mining company Shenhua and Mongolian Mining Corporation and Japan's Sumitomi.

New parliamentary elections are scheduled for June, but critics say the rules will ensure re-election for lawmakers with mining interests in both the ruling and opposition parties.

The global slump in commodity prices has pummeled Mongolia's economy, impoverishing thousands of former herders who'd moved to its few cities looking for jobs. China, which receives almost 90 percent of Mongolia's exports, also has an economy that is slowing sharply, further eroding demand for copper, coal and other exports. Foreign investment in the country has practically disappeared.

Economic growth is set to fall below 1 percent this year, down from 17.5 percent earlier in the decade.

Protesters also criticized the arrest by Mongolia's anti-corruption body of several of Battulga's associates, saying those were politically motivated.

Link to article


Mogi: lot of things I disagree here

Protests, defaults bring more bad news for Mongolia's troubled mining industry

By Terrence Edwards

Ulaanbaatar March 30, 2016 (bne IntelliNews) Mongolia's mining industry, once a beacon of hope for the country, is now under a harsh spotlight. Thousands of demonstrators massed on Ulaanbaatar's Freedom Square on March 30 to protest against foreign mining concessions, just a few days after a foreign-listed coal miner, once hailed as a model for the next generation of Mongolia's fledgling corporations, defaulted on $600mn of debt.

According to newswires, more than 2,000 protesters gathered in the capital's main square to call on the parliament to be dissolved and a new government formed, over alleged corruption and the economic crisis that has caused growth to fall from 17.3%, the world's fastest, four years ago, to just 1% expected this year.

For many Mongolians, the main culprits are the foreign corporations, which are perceived to have bought up the country's rich mineral resources for a song, and then not shared the wealth with the general population. "Our wealth is shipped outside of the country. Where is that money going?" the former wrestler and opposition lawmaker Battulga Khaltmaa railed at the rally, according to AP.

However, this ignores the fact that many miners are struggling as prices for commodities fall amid a slowdown in China, which is the biggest market for Mongolia's resources.

Take the coalmining companies. Depressed global coal prices mean the sector earned the country last year a third of what it did in 2012. ($555mn vs $1.9bn)

This resulted in Mongolian Mining Corporation (MMC) announcing on March 23 that it had failed to make certain repayments on the principal instalments and interest on its bank facilities with BNP Paribas and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China without securing any waiver or forbearance from the two banks. This represented a cross-default event under the indentures of its $600mn of senior notes.

Moody's Investors Service said MMC has been in negotiations with its bondholders and other lenders since January 2016 to restructure its debt, and has proposed entering into forbearance agreements with its lenders. Moody's last September downgraded its rating on the miner to 'Ca' with a negative outlook from 'Caa2'. It saw a high likelihood that MMC would be unable to make payments on its $600mn in debt due in 2017 after reporting that its cash balance had fallen by nearly three-quarters to $70mn at the end of last June.

Investors have also been fleeing the stock. From a high of HKD7.45 hit five years ago, the shares have fallen virtually continuously to close at just HKD0.05 on March 30. "The company is faring badly," says Ankhbayar Bilguun, chief executive officer at Mongolian Investment Banking Group (MIBG), pointing to falling prices for coal products and inefficiencies in bulk transport of the product.

The biggest strikes against MMC is the world turning its back on coal as countries try to convert to more environmentally clean energy. Another is slowing growth in China. Market oversupply has caused prices to slide by a quarter to $83 a tonne from the start of 2015, Moody's said in September.

More specifically for Mongolia, the country badly needs a railway link between its mines and China to cut down on shipping costs, says Ankhbayar. He adds that Mongolian coal miners are also suffering from an out-of-sync tax code. "Companies are getting squeezed by coal exporting companies, pressured by their buyers to accept lower coal prices," says Bilguun. "However, companies are required to pay taxes based on prices from a Chinese index, not taking into account the contract price agreed upon." (Mogi: this was changed to contract prices recently)

Political winds

But as the protests in Ulaanbaatar show, it's not just market factors that are beating MMC and its peers.

During the 2010-2012 mining boom in Mongolia, MMC was hailed as the model for Mongolian-run companies, and buying its shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange was a way for many investors to gain exposure to the mineral-rich country. "This company was probably one of the largest coal-driven positive investor sentiment [stories] for Mongolia," says Bilguun, adding that its proximity to China and the quality of its coal made the miner "so much superior to competitors' assets" during its IPO in 2010.

For many, it would set the benchmark for Mongolia's young elites in business on how well Mongolian management teams could steer a public company. But in addition to the declining market conditions, MMC had trouble keeping account of its affairs at home as the government began dropping contracts held with the company.

In 2013 MMC lost a contract to build a key railway route to the Chinese-Mongolian border when the government established its own railway company. Then in 2014 it missed out on a deal to take over management of the state-owned Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, which holds reserves of about 1.8bn tonnes. On the day MMC and consortium partners Sumitomo of Japan and Shenhua of China expected to sign a contract after months of negotiations, the speaker of the parliament, Zandaakhuu Enkhbold, stepped in. He blocked the deal potentially worth $4bn on the grounds that it had not received consent from the legislature.

The blocking of the deal was a sign of division between the prime minister, Chimed Saikhanbileg, and the speaker, even though they hail from the same party. And it was especially noteworthy since the tender bid for the project looked especially tailored for MMC. The tender required a consortium that included a Mongolian-owned entity with at least three years' experience washing coal — a process that provides a higher price for the coal — and MMC was the only valid option at the time.

Since the obstructive Mongolian People's Party (MPP) was ousted from the grand coalition in 2015, Prime Minister Saikhanbileg's Democratic Party has had a freer hand to push ahead with approvals for some big projects in the mining, railway and power sectors. Currently, the state-owned holding company for mining licenses is negotiating a new investment deal for the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, but analysts believe a deal is unlikely before the next election, scheduled for June 29.

In the meantime, MMC has hired J.P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) and SC Lowy Financial as restructuring advisers for negotiations with investors. "With MMC's bonds trading at $0.16 cents on the dollar, there is ample room for a debt restructuring which bondholders may find attractive," says Nick Cousyn, chief operating officer for Ulaanbaatar-based brokerage BDSec.

Unfortunately, there appears little respite for MMC's business anytime soon. The International Energy Agency has cut its five-year coal demand forecast for a third year amid slowing economic growth in China, from an increase of 2.1% a year to just 0.8%. It also noted that anti-climate change policies would keep prices under pressure.

Link to article


Exploring the challenges facing Mongolia's tourism industry

By Charlie Kitcat

March 30 (UB Post) Some countries are lucky, their consistently warm and sunny climates draw the masses who want nothing but a sun tan and a sit-by-the-pool retreat. Some countries, like Mongolia, are not so lucky.

Since the dawn of democracy, tourism has blossomed, with 55,000 visitors in 1997 rising to 476,000 in 2012. However, this is largely thanks to Mongolia's lovely summers that provide a perfect climate to compliment the perfect surroundings. But the frostbite-inducing winters remain a hefty barrier for Mongolia's tourism industry. Though Chinggis' homeland wholly satisfies a tourist's thirst for breathtaking scenery, charming people, a vast and extraterrestrial landscape, and more, winter's bitter cold tends to repel foreign visitors from November to April. So, how do the tour guides in this beautiful country survive these challenging months, and what do they think of the barriers affecting Mongolia's ever-changing tourism industry?

I spoke to Magnai and Munkh, two tour operators based in Ulaanbaatar. We all agreed Mongolia is a fascinating, beautiful, and diverse country to explore, but recognized the underlying problems in the tourism industry. Some that can be solved, and some not, unfortunately.

Magnai is wonderfully friendly, smiling, and knowledgeable, with a heartwarmingly giggly laugh. He founded his business, GBMG, in 2013. He runs tours year round, in packages for a maximum of four people, but predictably suffers a dramatic blip during the harsh winter months. Last year he had 60 to 70 tourists during the year, with only five tourists visiting during winter. These tours were only brief trips to Terelj and Hustai national parks, rather than wallet-busting weeks roaming the Gobi. However, with a part-time job as an accountant, he stresses that he has no intention to embark on long trips when the weather is at its worst. When asked, he says, "Very risky. It's people's lives."

Munkh is well-read, intelligent, and witty. His business, Nomadic Discovery Mongolia, is in a similar position. He runs tours for groups of twelve people at most, and has also been doing so since 2013. During the off-season he holds odd jobs, but still organizes tours. In 2015 he ran tours every month, but with very low frequency. He says that during the winter there isn't enough of a market for conducting tours.

It is obvious why tourism declines when the -40 degree Celsius cold hits the country. Westerners accustomed to comparably warmer winter weather are unlikely to be compelled to visit a land possessing such mind-boggling chill. Though various winter festivals, like the 1,000 Camel Festival and Khuvsgul Ice Festivals in March, and the Golden Eagle Festival in the Altai mountains in October are organized, they have not yet fulfilled their potential. Munkh insists that they are poorly scheduled, and that tourists can't be at two different festivals at the same time, especially with the camel festival in the Gobi and the ice festival in the north thousands of kilometers apart. If they could be organized so tourists can hop from one to the other with their guides, winter tourism revenue would inevitably soar.

Magnai noted that roads to places of major tourism interest have yet to be constructed. Though major road networks built in 2013 and 2014 provide access to the major cities, many soums and popular areas remain impossibly out of reach over the winter. Even in early March, when I visited the Gobi, the Valley of the Vultures was inaccessible. Though it can be argued that these places of natural beauty should be wholly preserved, if winter tourism is a priority, some kind of compromise must be made. At Yolyn Am the ice field is at its highest during winter, and this novelty could attract a range of tourists. However, if it remains unreachable from November to April, will the tourists come? I think not.

Munkh has also encountered setbacks with the operational schedules of accommodations for visitors throughout the year. As owners are unwilling to remain open for visitors year-round, there are no places to stay in Mongolia's more remote areas. He mentioned that when they do open for the winter the "transitional period" causes a deterioration in service, a warming-up period of sorts. If there is nowhere to stay during the winter, then no one can visit. Not exactly ideal for a country that wants to expand its tourism.

Mongolia's winter has further repercussions too. "When it comes to June, you can't find a single room to sleep in," said Munkh, "they only keep it at peak level for four weeks". It was reported in 2013 that the only 3,000 four and five star-level hotel rooms were planned to be available by 2015, and only 5,300 by 2020. The government has declared a target of receiving one million tourists by 2020. Though there are other places for accommodations, 5,300 of these rooms would not satisfy the demand of the target number of visitors. If this is the case, the rapid construction and renovation of hotels needs to occur sooner rather than later.

The overcharging of tourists is yet another barrier, according to Munkh. He suggested that mid-range companies in need of instant expansion tend to rip tourists off, charging excessive amounts for poor service and discomfort to clamber up the market ladder. Even the National Museum of Mongolia, though brilliant, is quick to discriminate against foreigners. From personal experience, my Western face prompted an 8,000 MNT entrance fee, but a Mongolian face is greeted by a paltry 4,000 MNT ticket. I am happy to pay the extra money, and it is understandable why these practices occur. Attractions such as these require a constant stream of money, and so when a tourist strolls by, overcharging must occur to make up for lost time and money. However, some tourists who are little more frugal may begin to lose their faith in the industry. Ultimately, no one wants to be ripped off, and ripping off a demographic that can carry Mongolia's future economy is somewhat unsustainable.

There is no denying that Mongolia faces some issues if it wants to expand its tourism industry. The issues are both controllable and uncontrollable. The cold climate needs to be embraced with issues of bias, accommodation, and infrastructure ironed out. That's the hard bit. So how exactly can that be done?

Munkh mentioned a government-enforced tourism scheme in Bhutan, a small country just north of India. There, they aim for "high value, low impact" tourism, and so a daily fee of 250 USD is charged for every day a tourist remains in the country. Munkh suggested a similar scheme for Mongolia, with bills picked up by the government during the low-season with the money raised by a daily fee charged during peak season. It would mean ger camps, albeit state-owned, would remain open year-round with consistent service and ample space. The fee could also contribute to clearing up trash in national parks and building new roads to Mongolia's most beautiful but inaccessible locations, like Khermen Tsav.

When I asked Magnai how Mongolia can leap over these barriers, he brought up the new airport under construction 52 kilometers from UB. Chinggis Khaan International Airport only receives direct flights from nine locations around the globe. He said increasing the number of direct flights was an essential step in boosting tourism. Though MIAT Mongolian Airlines conducts flights from Germany and Russia, more direct flights from European and North American destinations are required. Surely, a newer, shinier, and all-improved airport would boost the likelihood of this happening. It will be the biggest airport in Central Asia when completed next summer, and having had the pleasure of seeing it in mid-construction, it will be a real feat of civil engineering. Perhaps, and let's hope, it is a sign of further international travel opportunities for Mongolia.

Mongolia would benefit from further advertising and publicity. Though an increase in festivals spanning all seasons has begun, the event calendar can always get bigger. Mongolia is a land of huge cultural and physical diversity. How about a festival devoted to throat singing held at Chinggis Square, or an international contortion exhibition? There's a wealth of areas Mongolia excels in and should show off to the world. Exposing them can only lead to more people saying, "oh, that makes me want to go to Mongolia!" The 1,000 Camel Festival in the Gobi at the start of March is leading the way. It set a world record for the biggest camel race of all time, and had an article featured on the Guinness World Record website. Boom, that's publicity. Green tourism nitiatives like Munkh's, who says he plants a tree for every person who goes on a tour with him, also help build appeal. He now has three fast-growing tree farms just outside UB, with over 8,000 trees growing, and hopes to keep expanding it to make up for the damage his tours have caused the environment. Again, efforts like this, if publicized, will attract a wide variety of different people to the country. Munkh can show more people Mongolia, and plant many more trees in the process.

So, really, the main question is, just how big can tourism get here? Magnai said he was thrilled that many more people now know where Mongolia is and believes with certainty that tourism can rise above the nine percent of GDP it generates now. Munkh thinks Mongolia can attract four million visitors by 2020, providing the government "gets it right". This is the kind of optimism Mongolia needs if it wants to take advantage of its vast opportunity. There are obviously barriers that need to be overcome, but with the help, guidance, and initiative of the government, Mongolia's people, and the world's winter adventurers, Mongolia can become a globally renowned magnet for tourism throughout every season. It makes you think, if all goes to plan, is four million tourists a year too easy for Mongolia?

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March 30 (Khan Bank) Khan Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of John Bell as new Chief Executive Officer with an effective date of April 1, 2016. John Bell succeeds Norihiko Kato, who has been the CEO of Khan Bank since 2011.  

Mr. Bell joined Khan Bank as the First Deputy CEO in Charge of Business in August 2015. John Bell has been in the banking and financial industry since 1994, taking the positions of Personal Banker, Branch Operations Supervisor, Liabilities and Investment Product Manager, and Wealth Management Business Head at Citibank. Mr. Bell held senior Citibank positions  in USA, Poland, and Czech Republic. He moved to ABN AMRO as a Retail Product Management and Distribution Head in 2006, and later joined the Royal Bank of Scotland in Romania as Retail Banking Head.

Bank Chairman Hideo Sawada said, "Khan Bank has maintained its strong, competitive position in the banking and financial industry of Mongolia, consistently delivering reliable, accessible and innovative banking services to Mongolian customers. We are delighted that Mr. Bell is taking on the role of CEO. His background and experience is well suited to lead our team in the further growth and success of the Bank."

Mr. Sawada also added, "We thank Norihiko Kato for his service and contributions. Mr. Kato has been instrumental to the organization and made invaluable contributions to bringing Khan Bank to its present position as one of the nation's leading banks with the highest standards of corporate governance, risk management, and financial strength in Mongolia. He has taken the Bank to a new level of performance and he leaves the Bank in very good standing. We are grateful for all his endeavors. "

Mr. Bell has more than 20 years of international expertise in the banking business, particularly in retail banking, investment, cost management, payment cards, credit, risk management, banking strategy, and business growth. John Bell's breadth of experience – spanning various roles and senior positions in the banking sector around the world – will be of tremendous benefit to the next phase of meeting and exceeding our commitments to Khan Bank customers. 

On behalf of all Khan Bank employees, customers, and partners, we extend our warm regards and wishes for the continued success of our newly appointed CEO.

Link to release


Model agreement between local government and mining permit holders adopted

Ulaanbaatar, March 29 (MONTSAME) On provisions of the laws on Government of Mongolia and on Mineral Resources, a model agreement between aimag governor and mining permit holder, as parties, was adopted Monday by the Cabinet.

The model agreement is about infrastructure development and jobs creation in the extent of environmental protection, mine operations and plant constructions. The parties of the agreement will negotiate the length of effectiveness. 

The model agreement also considered implementing certain projects and programs to be selected from the planned actions for the local development by the localities Citizens' representatives Khurals. The development projects will be sensitive to the locals' needs.

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Mongolia Mineral Exploration Roundup 2016 takes place

March 28 (UB Post) The Mining Ministry, Mongolian Society of Economic Geologists, and professional associations organized the eighth Mongolia Mineral Exploration Roundup 2016 from March 24 to 26, at Corporate Convention Center.

Mining Minister R.Jigjid presented the opening remarks at the forum, underlining that since the government started issuing exploration licenses, activities of the nation's geological and exploration sectors are intensifying, having a positive influence on drawing in foreign and domestic investment, strengthening the sector's future development, and improving its competitiveness. He said that the issuance of new exploration licenses is also important to infrastructure, the creation of new jobs, and increasing the population in rural regions.

Beginning the forum, a discussion on special exploration licenses was held. Entities engaged in geological and exploration activities asked state officials about when application numbers for exploration licenses will be issued through petitions, and when it would be possible to submit exploration plans online. Officials from the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) said that the MRA has great workload, and acknowledged that companies are interested in submitting their plans online. They said that the MRA is cooperating with Germany to create an integrated system for reviewing operational plans for exploration.

Government representatives said they are working toward accurately studying the nation's geological features, finding mineral resource deposits, and improving the scope of regional geological studies. During the three-day meeting, geologists underlined that the falling prices for raw materials and the economic slowdown has impacted exploration projects.

The Geological Department of the MRA noted that the private sector invested around 300 billion MNT for conducting exploration last year. Even though Parliament approved 11.3 billion MNT in funding for the geological sector in 2016, due to difficult economic conditions, the budget was cut to 9.3 billion MNT.

Minister Jigjid emphasized that even though the prices for mineral products have been falling in the global market, over 250 mining companies carried out activities in 2015, making up 16.1 percent of GDP, 67.2 percent of industrial products, and 78.8 percent of export revenue.

R.Jigjid also announced that the Mining Ministry started negotiations with Centerra Gold, which owns the exploration license for the Gatsuurt deposit, and Areva, which owns special exploration licenses for uranium deposits in Zuuvch Ovoo and Dulaan Uul, to establish deposit development and investment agreements.

Link to article


Ministry of Mining to cooperate with Canadian "MERIT" project

March 30 (Mongolian Economy) The Ministry of Mining of Mongolia and a Canadian consortium in charge of the implementation of the "Enhancing Resource Management through Institutional Transformation (MERIT)" initiative signed a memorandum of understanding, with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Mining, D.Artag, and Project Director of the MERIT initiative, Cindy Fair, signing on behalf of the organisations.

In order to strengthen the capacity of the ministries and relevant government agencies of Mongolia and create a more favourable economic environment, the parties will try to contribute to Mongolian economic development opportunities through system improvement of minerals and energy sector management, administration, regulations and operations.

MERIT is a consortium composed of the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) and World University Service of Canada (WUSC). An agreement on a project to strengthen capacity and organise trainings from 2016 to 2022 was signed on January 4 with the project financier, the Department of Global Affairs of the Ministry of Global Affairs of Canada.

Link to article


Some 30 km roads to be constructed this year

Ulaanbaatar, March 30 (MONTSAME) The Road Authority reports that 33.3 km paved roads and 745 m bridges will be constructed with money from the state budget, the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM), the city's budget, auto-road fund and concessions.

In addition, 61.3 km paved roads and 84 km bridges will be broadened.

In 2012-2015, 83.63 km paved roads were constructed and 175.77 km roads were expanded in Ulaanbaatar city with capitals from the state and city budgets, the "New great construction" programme, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), foreign loans and assistance and concessions. Some 722 km bridges were newly built, 478.36 km bridges were repaired as well.

In the last four years, 41.43 km paved roads were constructed and 70.64 km roads were expanded, which means that the length of the new roads increased 43%, and the time of construction of roads maximized 2.5 times against 2012.

In the period, underground passages were built in four places, and footbridges--in four places. Drainage pipes were constructed as well.

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Inspired by Zaya - Ts.Bayarbat, General Manager, Crown Worldwide Group

March 29 ( "Future of Mongolia is not just mining. Instead I believe our future is dependent on educated, intelligent and multifaceted youth". I want to proudly introduce those talented and educated young professionals to others.

Editor E.Ariunzaya

We are delivering the next episode of the Inspired by Zaya talk show hosted entirely in English language, encouraging and inspiring the future of Mongolia to commit to learning English language and enhance possibilities in life. I meet and interview with many nice people.

This episode features educated and handsome Ts.Bayarbat, the general manager of Crown Worldwide Group. He has very high sense of humor. Ts.Bayarbat is definitely one of the young representatives Mongolia should be proud of. He advices youths that never stop learning. It was really encouraging for me to talk with such a handsome guy. 

For the full episode please click here.

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Taiwanese cooperation: sea buckthorn plant investment

March 28 ( A Taiwanese business group has been working in Uvs Province. On 25th March, they had a meeting with the Governor to discuss two cooperation issues. The first involves water purification. The Taiwanese team has tested the water several times; the findings indicate that purification is necessary. Therefore, there was discussion as to the best solutions to this problem. The second issue, which is being discussed with Taiwan is a sea buckthorn processing plant. Under this project the Mongolian partner will invest 20%-40% and will be responsible for domestic markets.

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Erdenet thermal power plant expansion to finish within a year

March 28 ( In scope of energy sector's development works, Erdenet thermal power plant is receiving 50 MW turbogenerator expansion and the foundation ceremony was held last Friday, March 25. 

In 1983, Mongolia - Soviet governments agreed to build Erdenet thermal power plant. After long construction process, the first furnance and turbines were operational in 1987.

Government of the Czech republic decided to fund the expansion feasibility studies and it was developed and handed over by Czech company Grandera.

This expansion project will cost 53 million US dollars which will be composed from Chinese government soft loan, Development Bank of Mongolia financing and Chinggis equity/bond. Successful completion of the expansion project will meet the rising power demand not just Erdenet city but it's adjacent areas and improve the power systems in central regions, Altai-Uliastai, Bayankhongor, Ovorkhangai, and will enable to sustainable development.

Chinese company 'Hunan Industrial Equipment Installation' LLC is selected to build the expansion construction. The company had previous experience of commissioning 'Thermal Power Plant-3' 50 MW expansion project on time in 2014. And this time they are planning to finish the project within 1 year.

In additional note, for 30 years Erdenet thermal power plant contributed to the socio-economic development of Mongolia and was selected as the top entities for 11 times.

Link to article


"Darkhan International Development Forum" starts

March 28 ( Today, "Darkhan Development-2016", an international economic forum to attract international investment started. The forum is being held under the following three headers: "The state of Darkhan development", "Industrial development of Darkhan" and "Investment possibilities in Darkhan".

Darkhan City Governor A.Enkhbold made a speech entitled the "Future of Darkhan City development". This was followed by Mr P.Tsagaan, Head of the Presidential Administration who spoke on the "Investment climate and improving possibilities for investment". Mr Ya.Sharkhuu, who is an 'Honored Builder of Mongolia' spoke on the "General plan to develop Darkhan as a model city". The Director of the Darkhan Manufacturing Technology Park, Ts.Davaanyam, spoke on the "Future development of manufacturing technology" and the Deputy Director of the "Darkhan Steel Complex", Mr K.Enkhchuluun, spoke on the "Mining and ferrous metallurgy complex". The "Darkhan Development" Forum will last for two days.

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How different is the 1st Annual BCM Summit from other conferences?

March 28 ( BCM proudly announces the 1st Annual Business Council of Mongolia Summit on 21 April, 2016 at Blue Sky Hotel and Tower.

The Business Council of Mongolia (BCM), established in 2007 and currently operating with around 240 local and international member organizations, is organizing the 1st Annual BCM Summit on 21 April 2016 at Blue Sky Hotel and Tower. The summit is organized as part of BCM mission to make constructive contributions to enhancing the business environment in Mongolia, promoting increased trade and investment in the country and meeting the critical needs of its members. Objective of the 1st Annual BCM Summit is to:

-Provide a wide spectrum of informative, meaningful and innovative topics to assist professionals and businesses in Mongolia develop and grow in the coming years.

-Identify and raise common issues faced by the business community and BCM members that need to be addressed by the next government.

-Distribute the Summit Proceedings widely to members, political parties and public including summary of discussed issues and recommendations for further action and consideration.

How different is this Summit from other conferences?

Diversity: it provides a wide spectrum of informative, meaningful and innovative topics to assist professionals and business stakeholders in Mongolia develop and grow in the coming years;

Advocacy: your voices and issues facing your business and sector will be heard by the political parties before election for further action and consideration through the Summit Proceedings. To achieve this, BCM will collect your issues and recommendations before the Summit, compile them with discussions to be raised by the speakers during the Summit and distribute the final Post-Summit Proceedings widely to public and political parties before upcoming election. 

Follow-up: BCM will follow-up on Summit Proceedings as to how political parties reflect the issues and recommendations from the business community in their election campaign and to what extent it has been addressed. 

Publicity: Results of the Summit Proceedings will be publicized in media including TV, government and daily newspaper, journals, websites, social media and online forums. 

Focus: Agenda consists of a panel on international finance and 5 sessions on mining & industrial supply; business strategies in an economic downturn; capital markets; innovative business trends; UB city projects, the elections and a macroview of the Government since 2012. In conclusion a summary of Summit proceedings including, most importantly, a wrap-up of issues and recommendations from the business community targeted to political parties.  Click here to see the latest agenda. 


200 people representing various business sectors
25 high-level business leaders and decision-makers as featured speakers and panelists

How to voice your opinion and issue?

Please respond to the following two questions and submit by email to Bayarmaa, Vice Director at or click here to post your response in an online forum on BCM website:

1.    What are the top issues and challenges of your business and sector in relation to the regulatory environment that needs to be addressed by the political parties for the next government period? (please list maximum 3 top issues)

2.    What are your recommendations on those issues? Please submit your response by 11 April 2016. Guideline on how to use BCM Forum and other interactive features of BCM website can be found here

Registration fee

BCM members' special rate: 100,000MNT
Regular fee: 120,000MNT 

How to register?

By e-mail: 
1st Annual BCM Summit registration form is available here.

Interested to sponsor?

BCM invites companies and other entities to sponsor this special event. Please follow the link for sponsorship packages here. Contact Saruul

Want to exhibit?

Book a booth and build your own stand designated to suit your brand image. Booth price is USD500. Please click here to see the booth guidelines. Contact Otgoo via  

Need more information?

For any other information related with the 1st Annual BCM Summit, please contact BCM Project

Manager Saruul via:

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Action plan approved for UB development general plan

Ulaanbaatar, March 29 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Monday endorsed an action plan for implementing an alteration of the general plan of developing Ulaanbaatar until 2020 and a developmental tendency document until 2030.

Obligations were given to B.Bolor, the Minister of Finance; Z.Bayanselenge, the Minister of Construction and Urban Development; and E.Bat-Uul, the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, to reflect projects and measures of the action plan in the general guidelines on social-economic development, state and local annual budgets, to involve them in foreign loans and assistance, to attract domestic and foreign investors to the realization, and to implement them through concessions and other sources.

The action plan will allow to realize the general developmental plan of the UB city in several phases. It also has goals to boost multi-center city in order to ease a centralization of city administration, trade and services, banking and financial services, to equally and adequately allocate investments to all sectors, and to make the capital city healthier, safer and more comfortable.

Link to article


New UB airport highway construction to start April

March 28 ( The coordinator of the Khushig Khundii- New Airport project N.Enkhbat has informed that: "The construction work is 76% completed". He did not conceal the fact that during the course of the project, they have experienced various problems; for example: three buildings being built by Mongolian companies had to be postponed, because of legal proceedings. There have also been some problems connected with the airport highway, the fuel depot, hangers and service buildings and also the satellite town. Mr Enkhbat said that the project team has requested that the Ministry solves the matter of the losses incurred by the overdue energy payments immediately.

The construction works of the highway in new airport will commence on 15th April. In addition, the project team has agreed to have a meeting with the Minister of Building and Urban Construction to discuss the satellite town.

Link to article


National amusement park is open

March 28 ( Starting Saturday March 26, the National amusement park opened it's doors to public. At the moment 7 games are operating. As opening, 'Summer Time' shop is giving out balloons to all the kids who come to play.

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China, Mongolia vow to enhance party-to-party exchanges

BEIJING, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official Liu Yunshan vowed on Tuesday to beef up party-to-party exchanges with Mongolia.

Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the pledge during his meeting with a Mongolian delegation led by Chairman of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) Miyegombo Enkhbold, also vice chairman of the State Great Hural, Mongolia's parliament.

Liu briefed Enkhbold with the outcome of the annual sessions of China's top legislature and national advisory body, known as the "Two Sessions", as well as China's 13th Five-Year Plan.

He said China always stands for open, cooperative and win-win development, which will bring opportunities for the world.

The CPC is willing to work with the MPP to strengthen high-level exchanges, promote pragmatic cooperation and push forward the development of China-Mongolia ties, said Liu.

Enkhbold applauded the sound relations between the two parties, saying China's 13th Five-Year Plan will provide new opportunities for bilateral cooperation.

He hoped that the two parties will beef up exchanges and deepen cooperation between the two countries.

Link to article


Transportation Minister signs a cooperation agreement with South Korea

March 28 (UB Post) Minister for Roads and Transportation M.Zorigt conducted a working visit to the Republic of Korea on March 24 and 25, where he chaired the second intergovernmental meeting attended by representatives of Mongolia and South Korea, and signed a cooperation memorandum on transportation with South Korean authorities.

During the meeting, the sides reviewed current bilateral collaboration in the economic, road transportation, energy, and mining sectors among others. The parties  exchanged views on attracting South Korean investment in large construction projects in Mongolia, introducing advanced technology from South Korea to Mongolia, as well as how to develop practical economic cooperation.

During his visit, Minister R.Zorigt met South Korean Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Kang Ho-in and Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Kim Yong-suk to sign a  cooperation memorandum on the transportation sector.

The second meeting of the South Korea-Mongolia joint committee brought together officials from numerous government departments, including the two countries' foreign affairs, transportation, and finance ministries. The committee was first formed in Ulaanbaatar, in March 2015, on the 25th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the Republic of Korea.

Minister M.Zorigt also held bilateral talks with Second Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul and exchanged views on the two countries' economic cooperation across the energy, transportation, and natural resources sectors.

Second Vice Minister Cho asked for Mongolia's assistance in resolving various issues faced by South Korean firms involved in the construction of a thermal power plant and other projects in the country. M.Zorigt said he would work for a solution. Minister M.Zorigt asked for South Korea's participation in the development of projects to replace buses and improve heating systems in Mongolia. Cho proposed that the two countries sign an agreement to promote development cooperation under South Korea's official development assistance program.

Link to article


India, Mongolia to focus on nuclear and multilateral issues in April

March 30 (The Hindu) The nuclear face-off with North Korea is a major concern for Mongolia, and high on the agenda for discussions between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Mongolian counterpart Enkhtuvshin Tsagaandari during the latter's April 5-9 trip to India, a senior diplomat told The Hindu.

Apart from the nuclear threat, both sides are expected to discuss training of military forces for global conflict hotspots and more efficient border policing, in what is seen as a reachout by India to countries of the region after Mr. Modi's visit there last year.

"The confrontation between North Korea and the Western powers has created regional turbulence in Mongolia's neighbourhood and building an international consensus on this issue is in the interest of all Asian countries," the diplomat told The Hindu on Wednesday, adding that there is a need to reduce tensions in the Korean peninsula.

The NSA-level talks are meant to begin almost a month-long diplomatic activities between India and Mongolia and will culminate in the India visit of the Foreign Minister of Mongolia on April 25. Mongolia is keen to utilise the diplomatic engagements of April for building strategic dialogue as well for begin the process of implementation of the Line of Credit of $1 billion that India pledged last year.

The diplomat noted that during the exchanges in April, both sides are expected to craft a strategy for multilateral forums like ASEM which will hold its 11th summit in Mongolia on July 15-16. In addition, India had supplied the Bhabhatron, a radiation therapy device for cancer patients following the civil nuclear agreement which was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2015 visit to Mongolia. The Bhabhatron has been installed in the National Oncology Institute of Mongolia and will be inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker

Sumitra Mahajan when she visits the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar to participate in the Asia Europe Parliamentarians Meeting for ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) on April 16.

Link to article


L.Purevsuren FM meets his counterpart in Abu Dhabi

Ulaanbaatar, March 30 (MONTSAME) Dr Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, has met with L.Purevsuren, the Foreign Minister of Mongolia, in his office at the ministry, reported Emirates News Agency March 29.

The two sides reviewed relations between the UAE and Mongolia and ways of enhancing them in various fields. They also discussed the latest regional and international developments and other issues of common interest.

Dr. Anwar Gargash expressed the UAE's interest in developing its relations with Mongolia, praising the co-operation between the two countries in international forums.

The Mongolian Minister highlighted investment prospects in his country and thanked the UAE for opening an Embassy in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, which, he said, contributes to the strengthening of bilateral relations.

The meeting was attended by Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Director of the Department of East Asia and Pacific at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Link to article


French Ambassador visits Erdenet

March 28 ( On 21st-22nd March, the Ambassador of France to Mongolia, H.E. Elizabeth Barsak, made an official visit to the Orkhon Province. The French team also included the head of the economics bureau at the France Embassy, Pierre Farrino and Ms. Barsak's assistant J.Nasanjargal. The Ambassador had a meeting with the Governor of the Orkhon Province S.Dangaasuren and other officials. Top on the agenda was discussion of the project for extending the purification system in Erdenet city, which will be constructed using preferential loans from France.

Ambassador Barsak and Governor Dangaasuren also agreed to study possible cooperation in the agricultural sector; in particular, the breeding of beef cattle.

Link to article


Non-resident Mongolian Ambassador to Malaysia presents credentials

Ulaanbaatar, March 30 (MONTSAME) The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Malaysia T.Togsbilguun has presented his diplomatic credentials to His Majesty Almu'tasirmu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Bidlishah, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong XIV of Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur. 

Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported about it on Tuesday. At the meeting after the presentation, Mr Togsbilguun conveyed to His Majesty greetings of the Mongolian President and promised to focus on intensifying of the Mongolia-Malaysia relations and cooperation.

In response, His Majesty thanked the Mongolian President for the greetings and wished the President all the best. He affirmed an aspiration of Malaysia to boost the bilateral ties accorded with interests of peoples of the two countries.

Link to article


UNMISS: "More returned home thanks to Mongolian peacekeepers"

Ulaanbaatar, March 30 (MONTSAME) Number of refugees returning to their homeland has increased since the Mongolian peacekeepers started working here, says Simon Chuol, a deputy mayor of Leer county of South Sudan, on the peacekeeping operations by UNMISS.

The military personnel of a motorized infantry bataleon commanded by Colonel B.Baatar, on an UNMISS peacekeeping mission, has been organizing community bonding events aside from their duties. On March 24 and 25, military personnel led by the deputy commander and Lieutenant Colonel J.Monkhbayar organized cultural events in Leer, Adok and Tonyor settlements.

The audience watched introduction to Mongolia, brass band performance, military parade, martial arts performance and the Mongolian national wrestling. Some 100 people received medical exanimations and care.

"Just two of three months earlier, most people in these areas carried arms, which are now possessed only by militants. The improved restfulness is all thanks to the peacekeepers. Our local citizens are truly grateful for their deeds", said Brigade-General Gabriel Mavich, a regional commander in Adok.

Link to article


Mongolian students in Hungary promotes their country

March 29 ( Mongolian students studying in Hungary organized "We love Mongolia" event with the aim to promote their country on Mar 26th. 

The event was showed Mongolian culture, food, traditional costumes, song, folk dance, horse fiddle music and calligraphy. More than 100 visitors from both foreign and domestic have gathered at the one-day event. 

Moreover artist Dashmyagmar exhibited his paintings at the event. 

Organizers of the event noted that Western people think that Mongolians still live in ger and herd the cattles. Therefore students studying in abroad should correct this misunderstanding. We displayed the histories that we passed and the current situation of Mongolia through the painting exhibition.

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Health, Education

National Medical University Lays Ground for Hospital

Ulaanbaatar, March 30 (MONTSAME) A hospital, dedicated to studies and practice of students of the National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS), will also render specialized medical services to people of the city's Bayanzurkh district.

The Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg said it Wednesday during a foundation stone laying ceremony of the hospital. This hospital will be erected with a non-refundable aid of 140 billion Togrog from the government of Japan, he noted and thanked the Japanese side--the government, Ambassador to Mongolia Takenori Shimizu, and authorities of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for collaborating in preparing medical experts of Mongolia.

The government of Mongolia will plan and implement works such as supplying medical equipment to the NUMS, training and re-training medical experts, "in this I would like to see an active work of the university's scholars and professors," he said. 

The hospital, projected to open in 2018, "will immensely contribute to improving professional skills of doctors and experts, which means that people will receive proper medical assistance and services," he added.

Link to article


Ministry of Health to collaborate with Nagoya University

Ulaanbaatar, March 29 (MONTSAME) A cooperation memorandum was established between Mongolia's Ministry of Health and Sport and Japan's Nagoya University.

By the memorandum, the Mongolian medical experts and doctors will study in this university for degrees.

The Nagoya University has been giving big support to the preparation of state servants in our health sphere, for example, 16 Mongolians have been involved in the "Young leader" scholarship since 2003, now they are working at the Ministry of Health and Sport and other state bodies on high positions.

Link to article


Mongolian student commits suicide at Tibetan camp

March 27 (The Hindu) A Mongolian student hung himself inside the toilet of a hostel at the Tibetan Camp II in Mundagod town of Uttara Kannada district on Thursday night.

Mundagod Police Inspector S. C. Patil said the deceased was Byambatsogt (19), son of Uranchimeg, a resident of Mongolia. He was staying at Mundagod Tibetal camp for the last four years to study Buddhism. In his suicide note addressed to his parents, Byambatsogt said that he was depressed as he could not concentrate on his studies. A case was registered on Friday. The Mongolian embassy had been informed about the incident and the body was handed over to the Tibetan camp authorities, Mr. Patil said.

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Culture, Society

Lotus Children's Center's Didi: "I think Mongolian children are open hearted and not so angry"

March 28 ( "Didi is my mother" says girl S. She first came in Lotus children centre when she was only one month old. She grew up here since then. There are more than ten children, came in Lotus since they were babies, like her.  

Girl S studies at one of private high schools in UB. "Our centre supports us when we have chance of getting into universities. I am interested in studying abroad. No children have gone to abroad to study before" she said. 

Her dream is to become a psychologist. Because she thinks that psychologist helps people with special needs like her and encourages them to go forward. 

"Our teachers are really kind. If we face problem, they listen us and we do face-to-face conversation. Also I have never getting bullied at school" she said.

Lotus children centre located in Gachuurt village, 20 km away from UB city. It has built four houses, one boiler house, small playground, one basketball court and garages at their land. Also they planted more than 500 trees to make the centre more attractive while they plant flowers during summer. In 2015, a large 12 wall carved ceremonial ger was built, initially to host the Lotus' 20thanniversary celebrations, but with the long term view of hosting various events such as yoga retreats, Tsagaan Sar and Naadam celebrations, and possibly special events like weddings. 

They have running water and toilet rooms inside the houses due to they have boiler house. However the teachers always pray every night in winter for not to damage the boiler. Because they told that plumbing materials are quite expensive and it is difficult to repair.

Children spend their free times by riding horses. A kind Mongolian family currently living overseas donated three horses with its riding equipment. 

Everything at the centre is collected by the donations of kind and generous individuals, entities and international organizations. 

Didi Ananda Kalika founded the centre and has been running for over 20 years. Most children in the centre have came at their very early age and loved her as their mother. Either Didi cares and loves them as her child. 

Starting from a single apartment Lotus has grown to house, feed, care for and educate 80 children.

Introduce yourself, please? 

I grew up in Australia. I graduated from high school, but I did not go to university. I decided and I wanted to work more with people rather than continue my education at that stage. So I started to work as a youth worker, which is similar to a social worker, as a trainee at an organisation called YWCA.

After that I worked in a psychiatric hospital and I worked there for some time. I became interested in meditation yoga so I went to India and I decided to train in that. Then with a yoga organisation I volunteered to Tokyo. There was a small preschool there for young children who could not fit in normal schools. Then I also started teaching yoga meditation there.

Why did you decide to open the Lotus Children's Centre?

It was in 1995, that time in Mongolia was quite difficult.  When I first came here Mongolia was in a difficult situation. Too many kids were living in the street. There was one orphanage run by the Government where children could go if both their parents had died. But not many kids on the street were actually orphaned, rather the family had just broken down or was in a bad situation.

It was not my plan to open a children's centre, I actually came here to teach yoga meditation. I was mostly doing that. But when I was staying in a kindergarten I saw that many other kids were playing in the playgrounds in the daytime but in the night they did not go home and they were just sleeping there. I realized that it is not a good life for the children. First they used to just come around to my house. I gave them some food and medicine for their infectious. After I started to realize that living in the street, especially for girls, is very dangerous.

How many children were there at first?

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Mongolians in Czech hold sports event in Prague

Ulaanbaatar, March 29 (MONTSAME) The 20th annual "Spring celebration" sports event for Mongolian nationals in the Czech Republic completed this March 25-27 in Prague. 

"MGL" team from Litomerice has won the challenge Cup, having beaten all 54 men and women's teams from Czech, Austria and Slovakia.

The teams were challenged in basketball, volleyball, football and table tennis. The certificates named after the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and the Cup were given at the dinner party.

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Bodhisattva statue project symbolizes Mongolia's Buddhist heritage

March 29 (Lion's Roar) A 177-foot-tall statue of the standing Maitreya Bodhisattva will be built in Mongolia under the spiritual direction of the Dalai Lama. The project is set to be completed by 2018 and the builders, the Grand Maitreya Project, are currently holding a funding campaign to help finish its construction.

The project aims to rebuild Mongolia's ancient culture and history of Tibetan Buddhism, starting with the statue of the bodhisattva of lovingkindness, according to the project's website. The statue is meant to act as a beacon of peace, following Mongolia's complicated history of communist occupation and anti-Buddhist campaigns.

The occupation of the country began in the 1920s and was followed by a revolution from soviet communists. During this time, many Mongolian people became separated from their Buddhist heritage, and many of the country's ancient monasteries and Maitreya statues were destroyed. By 1939 only one monastery was left standing. Following a peaceful protest in 1990, occupying forces retreated and the country re-gained its spiritual freedom.

The Grand Maitreya Project itself is indicative of a cultural divide finally being bridged. A stupa will be connected to the statue, housing interior teaching and meditation levels, holy relics and other artifacts. The Dalai Lama has selected sacred relics of the Buddha from his personal collection to be enshrined inside the Maitreya statue.

Building large statues of the Maitreya is an ancient spiritual tradition once practiced by high Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhist lamas. It was believed that larger the statue, the more people would learn about its meaning and come in contact with Buddhism.

The statue's construction site is located in a place known as Heart Hill, just outside of Mongolia's capital city of Ulaanbaatar. The center will represent non-sectarian and international Buddhist communities. The project also hopes to offer free meditation training and educational services for people of all faiths and backgrounds.

"I am pleased and happy to know that the main part of the Grand Maitreya project will be dedicated for supporting education," His Holiness said.

Visit the project on to consider donating to the statue.

Link to article


Mongolia's steppes host camel derby and beauty parade

DALANZADGAD, MONGOLIA, March 29 (Reuters) Out in the Gobi Desert, the crowd, many in colorful Mongolian traditional dress, admire the shaggy-haired, cud-chewing camels as they plod by in a beauty parade.

Later, many of their owners mount their beasts to drive them on a dusty, chaotic 15-km (nine miles) race across the steppeland.

It's all part of Mongolia's Camel Festival - an event as central to traditional nomadic life as the bactrian camel itself, a wooly, two-humped beast that sports a flowing beard of hair.

Guinness World records classes the race, that is part of the two-day festival, as the largest camel race in the world, drawing 1,108 participants from across Mongolia to the site outside Dalanzadgad in Umnugovi province.

This year, the winning camel romped home in 35 minutes and 12 seconds on the wind-swept steppe, according to the records website.

The bactrian camel itself is a beast of burden that normally carries everything that is required for a Mongolian to be able to build and live in a traditional Mongolian tent. They cost about $750 per piece.

Known fairly or unfairly for their feisty temperament, some ploughed into the crowd of spectators, though no injuries were reported.

"Your camel has to be bad-tempered for riders to get a place here," one person joked to another.

Many families trekked for at least seven hours from the capital Ulan Bator to watch the competition. There are minimal conditions to enter: the camels must be pure breed Mongolian bactrian and at least four years old. Entry is free.  

Camel wool is vital for making clothes, blankets, jackets and socks, and also can be twined into rope. Camel meat, similar to goat, is eaten in steamed and fried dumplings.

(Reporting by Rentsendorj Bazarsukh and Terrence Edwards; Writing by Richard Balmforth)

Link to photo article         


Mongolian Eagle Hunters' Legacy Beautifully Documented by Photographer Sasha Leahovcenco

March 29 (Fstoppers) When a commercial photographer, Sasha Leahovcenco, decides to document the touching experience and life of people he has never met before, the result is quite astonishing. You would think pre-production played a huge part and that he had to have had exceptional gear, carried by a huge team, but the truth is far from that. The experience was the heart of this series, and the pictures show it well. Combining both journalistic and commercial genres with a very personal approach yields pictures we only wish we could see more often.

Leahovcenco friend, Cale Glendening, who is also a director and cinematographer, was in China for a project and wanted to travel to Mongolia. Before he left China, he asked Leahovcenco if he wanted to join him there. The rich culture, the breathtaking landscapes, and the quite interesting nomadic life that this western Asian country has to offer made the decision very easy. Only two weeks later, both friends met in Ölgii.

As you can guess reading this, not much planning went into the creation of this series. But planning is not everything. In fact, when the goal is to document a story, I would be tempted to say that planning should be the least of a photographer's worries.

The story these two creative minds went to Mongolia to capture is quite touching. While discussing with their local guide, the name "Konki" came out. Konki is a young eagle hunter. However, he hasn't been for very long. He is the descendant of a family of eagle hunters, but he was never interested in this practice. When his father passed away about two years ago, he decided to learn the ins and outs of this art to carry on the tradition. One of his cousins and some of his friends came together to give him a hand and teach him. Konki is now looking forward to seeing his son grow up and being able to pass on to him the legacy.

Documenting such a story means following the hunters in their daily journey. Leahovcenco had to deal with the cold weather, the steep mountains, and the language barrier (a local guide is always great in this case), as well as carrying the photography gear while following the Mongolian on their treks. The pictures were created on the go, using the beautiful scenery and lighting the daily locations had to offer.

Leahovcenco made the choice to keep his gear to a minimum. He brought with him only a Canon 5D Mark III, a 24-70 f/2.8L II, and an AlienBee B800 with a 35" octa. When traveling, carrying too much gear can create problems rather than solve existing ones. As they had to walk quite a bit every day, having a small kit was almost a requirement. Also, as Leahovcenco told me, when shooting, having too many lenses, light shapers, and other gadgets to chose from might make you overthink and overcomplicate things. Learning to do with what you have is paramount and helps you concentrate on your subjects rather than on futile details no one will ever really care about.

When I asked Leahovcenco if he wanted to share one more thing with our readers, his answer resonated with me. He couldn't quite put into words the feeling he had creating this series, but he told me that the best part of this whole project was the experience: sharing the life of these eagle hunters he had never met before, living like them, eating like them, experiencing what and how they live. This is what he thinks of when looking back on these images, and I believe that this is what we should think of as well.

Photography is an incredible art and means of communication. We get to meet people and share things with them that we probably wouldn't otherwise. It's a perfect excuse to live dreams that are close to impossible to realize. The gear, the pre-production, the post-production: all of those participate in creating more fancy images. However, the experience and relation with your subject are what give a soul and spirit to the pictures. The series Sasha Leahovcenco created and shared here with us is the proof of it.

Check out more of Leahovcenco's work on his website

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Nature, Environment

15 thousand hectares hit by wildfire

Ulaanbaatar, March 30 (MONTSAME) National Emergency Management Agency reported Wednesday that, in connection with the spring's dryness, forest and steppe fires occurrences are increasing.

Since the beginning of this year, seven forest fires have occurred crossing seven soums of four aimags. 

Preliminary results show that 1.5 hectares of forests and 15,350 hectares of steppe have been hit by wildfire. Two gers (national dwelling), an animal shelter and 40 livestock have been lost. 

More than seventy emergency officers, six fire trucks, 61 military personnel, eight trucks from border troops, and 197 local people have been fighting with the  fires.

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Medals brought home from Abilympics

March 29 ( Mongolia participated in the Abilympics France- World Skill Championship for the first time, on 25th-26thMarch. The 9th Abilympics are aimed at promoting talented people with disabilities and were held in the French city of Bordeaux. The Mongolian team participated in a total of eleven categories; as a result, they won three silver medals and special place prize.

Here are the details - the silver medal owners are: G.Shijir-Erdene in the category to "build a motorcycle", B.Bolormaa in the category of "recycling rubbish" and T.Munkhtuul in the "leather arts category". Ch.Tungalagtuya won a special place in the "creative painting category".

The Mongolian team arrived home this morning. The Minister of Labor G.Bayarsaikhan has invited the team to the Ministry to officially congratulate them.

Link to article


Judokas grab medals in Tbilisi Grand Prix

Ulaanbaatar, March 29 (MONTSAME) Judokas of the national team of Mongolia have won two silver and two bronze medals in Tbilisi Grand Prix tournament which ran last weekend in Georgia.

State Honored Sportsman and silver medalist of World Championship D.Amartuvshin claimed a silver medal in the men's -60kg contest, G.Odbayar IMS also grabbed a silver medal in the men's -73kg match.

State Honored Sportsman and 2014 World champion G.Boldbaatar has won a bronze medal in the men's -60kg division, while O.Uuganbaatar--the same medal in the men's -81kg weight category.

Among women judokas, Ts.Naranjargal (-70kg) took the 5th place, and A.Tsolmon (52kg)--the 7th. 

As the team results, the Dutch team topped the Grand Prix with three gold and two silver medals, followed by Georgia and Brazil.

Link to article


Former ONE Champion Jadambaa Receives Order of Merit

SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) – Arguably the biggest name in mixed martial arts (MMA) ever to come out of Mongolia, Narantungalag Jadambaa was recently honored by the Mongolian President with one of the highest awards in the country, the Order of Merit. 

The Order of Merit is presented personally by the President of Mongolia, and is awarded to outstanding individuals who have contributed greatly to Mongolia and its international reputation through personal achievements. 

It's no real surprise either, given that Jadambaa is the first Mongolian mixed martial artist to ever achieve international success in the sport. He began competing in MMA professionally in 2004, and has fought all around the world accumulating a respectable record of 10 wins and four losses. 

He is currently fighting in ONE Championship, Asia's largest promotion, where he captured the promotion's featherweight world title with a unanimous decision win over Japan's Koji Oishi to become Mongolia's first-ever MMA Champion. 

"The award represents a validation of all my efforts throughout the years," said Jadambaa. "The response from people I meet has been fantastic. I am overjoyed." 

He may have lost the title to current ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov in November 2015, but he left the cage with his head held high after a tremendous showing of heart and ability. 

He surived several near-submissions from Gafurov, constantly coming back with powerful strikes to prove he was still in the fight. However, he succumbed to a rear naked choke in the fourth round, passing out after choosing not to tap. 

Jadambaa isn't one to rest on his laurels though. If anything, the award has served to drive him further in his quest to reclaim his title. He has been training hard since the loss, and is willing to face any challenger ONE Championship puts in front of him.

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Young Mongolian footballers training in London

March 28 ( In an article entitled – "From chopping wood in -25 degrees to playing in the shadow of the Wembley arch…", Jonny Singer, a journalist with the UK's "Daily Mail", has written extensively about the experiences of two young Mongolian footballers, currently training with Barnet Football Club's Youth Academy, namely 16 year-old G.Ganbayar of the Khoromkhon Club and 20 year-old S.Gal-Erdene who plays for the Erchim Club.

In recent years, Mongolia has been doing much to develop the abilities of its young players. Jonny Singer, notes, that so far Mongolia has not produced a world class professional – but, this is just a matter of time. Much of the article deals with the very different and difficult conditions young Mongolian footballers face compared to their UK peers.

Singer writes: 'These kids can become as good as anybody, really fast, if given the opportunity. And seeing Ganbaa do so well, it's a confirmation that we are doing the right things, we're not so far off.'

Ganbaa, who grew up an Arsenal fan from 4,000 miles away, knows his target – and it's a simple one: 'I've always thought I was going to become a professional, even when I was really young.

'The ultimate goal is to be part of a professional club, get a contract that would be huge. But for now, I've just got to keep trying.'

There are murmurs around the club that Ganbaa, who has made the bigger impression of the two boys, would be good enough to earn a contract next year. Certainly, in footballing terms, he would be worth one, even though logistically it may be a step too far for now. The talent is there."

The two boys are training at the Barnet Football Club's Youth Academy, which specializes on training future stars, under a deal negotiated with the Mongolian Football Administration. Barnet is a borough of West London; Wembley Stadium is located nearby.

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Art, Entertainment

Miss Buryatia wins Miss Mongolian Nations crown

March 30 (UB Post) The World Mongolians Global Association organized the Miss Mongolian Nations Beauty Pageant and announced the competition's winners on March 27 at The Corporate Hotel and Convention Center, crowning Miss Buryatia Miss Mongolian Nations.

Miss Buryatia, 23-year-old Aruna Bubeev, received the pageant crown and title, as well as a cash prize of 15,000 USD. She previously won the Dangina Geser 2010 and Beauty of Buryatia 2010 beauty pageants.

A total of 20 contestants from Mongolia, Buryatia, Tuva, Kalmykia, and Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region competed for the Miss Mongolian Nations title. Mongolia was represented by Yu.Baljidmaa, N.Anu, E.Baigali, G.Undarmaa, and G.Misheel.

Mongolian contestant Yu.Baljidmaa won second place in the Miss Mongolian Nations pageant. The Miss Photogenic title went to Almina Mangutova of Kalmykia, while Mungunkhuar of Inner Mongolia received the Miss Talent title. B.Misheel of Mongolia seized the Miss Model title and N.Anu, who represented Mongolia at Miss World 2015, won the Miss Bikini title.

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More than 10 countries' TV channels and Youtube ready to cover Face of Beauty Int'l 2016

Ulaanbaatar, March 30 (MONTSAME) Between September 23 and October 9, Mongolia is to host its first international beauty contest. Mongolia has been taking part since 2013 in the Face of Beauty International, which ranks at fifth by international rating. The organizers made announcement of their official accreditation for organizing the beauty contest at a press conference March 29.

President of the Face of Beauty International Mila Manuel, the founder of "Missosology" website Pawee Ventura and the project manager of the Face of Beauty International 2016 J.Ankhbayar attended the press conference.

Beauties from Denmark, Tonga, Argentina and Mexico have championed the previous contests. Mongolia had competed with New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan for the right to host the fifth contest.

It is expected that total of 60 beauties from every corner of the globe, with accompanying delegations of about 300 people will arrive. Television channels of more than ten countries and Youtube have notified that they will be airing the finals of the contest.

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Mongolian hairdresser becomes World champion

March 29 (MONTSAME) The 46th Hair World OMC World Cup tournament of hairdressers and beauticians took place March 27-29 in Goyang, South Korea.

The World Cup was attended by hairdressing and beauty masters from over 30 countries. Mongolia was represented at the tournament by a big composition of team. A hairdresser from "Vidal" saloon S.Monkhnasan won the Golden Cup, becoming the world champion, while director of the "Khos shagai" saloon N.Altanshagai took 4th place. A team of men's hairdressers won a bronze medal as well.

Mongolian hairdressers have been taking part in the Hair World OMC World Cup since 2006. In 2012, N.Altanshagai became an Asian champion, and a Mongolian team came in 10th place in the World championships that took place in 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany.

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