From Mongolian Press: Traditional Mongolian family disintegrating says researcher

Namjil, researcher of family studies said traditional Mongolian family structure is disintegrating. He has been studying traditional Mongolian family since 1995 and teaches at “Ulaanbaatar University”a south Korean invested private university in Ulaanbaatar.Current situation of Mongolia and global trend is directly affecting Mongolian families according to the researcher.
Divorce is on the rise among middle aged and phenomenon of “mistresses and partners”have emerged.During last few decades, women have became dominant players in social and economic life of Mongolia. Young people want to be independent. All this causes disintegration of the traditional Mongolian familial structure concludes the researcher.
The changing socio-economic condition of Mongolian families require complex solution and development of advanced legal acts and laws. Current trend encourages individualism and thus family relationship may grow cold and isolated. Traditional Mongolian families are based on closeness of family members and sharing of common values and this is directly in contrast with modern life, said the researcher.

Written by B.Enkhjargal

From Newspaper “Niislel Times” (Capital Times),issue dated Aug 31, 2009


This year 430 students will study abroad under government scholarship

According to Mongolian government's agreements with other countries, 430 Mongolian students will study abroad this year with government scholarship. The students will be selected from state accredited universities. The selected students will be required to come back to Mongolia upon graduation.


True shamans or charlatans?

Lately, Shamanism, original spiritual practice of Mongolia is reviving. Majority of Mongolian tribes during Chinggis Khaan’s time were following shamanism. However, Khubilai khaan, founder of Yuan Dynasty were inclined towards Tibetan Buddhism. It was spread only among ruling elite Mongolians as nihilism and pacifism of Tibetan Buddhism was too difficult for war-like Mongolian tribes to understand and practice.

By 17 century, Tibetan Buddhism or Lamaism penetrated deep in Mongolia as some Mongolian tribal leaders attempted to unify various Mongolian tribes and clans under Lamaist banner. Shamanistic practices like animal and human sacrifices were banned and many shamans were forced to convert or be killed. Later, Mongolia fell under Manchu rule and rulers of Manchu state of Ching Dynasty actively supported spread of Lamaism throughout Mongolia as it justified political goal of Manchus to turn Mongolians into docile and pacific people. Only few shamanistic spots were left untouched in northern Mongolian taiga and deep forests and high mountains. During its spread, Lamaism absorbed elements of Shamanistic practices and nature worship.

When Mongolia opened up in 1990, previously forbidden religious practices started to revive as democratic Mongolian state guaranteed religious freedom. Not only Lamaism but Shamanism started to revive. Many incarnate lamas and shamans appeared. All have grand titles and overly ambitious missions.

In Shamanism, there is no centralized organization to supervise and oversee appearances of various shamans.In another word, there is no shamanistic accreditation service. Therefore, it is hard to differentiate between true and false shamans.

A certain woman who has chronic disease and could not get treatment from hospitals turned to a shamaness named Norjmaa in Chingeltei district of Ulaanbaatar for help.The shamaness told her “unless you offer certain amount of money for shamanistic performances-you will die”. After one month of the shamanistic performance, the woman still felt sick.This time the shamaness told her “ it was revealed to me that you are destined to become a shamaness. You are getting sick because you escaping from your destiny. Now you have to accept your destiny.” The woman decided to accept her destiny as revealed by the shamaness and offered another millions of Tugrig for shamaness outfit and accessories. Shamanistic initiation performance for the woman were done in remote place and the woman accepted her “ shamaness spirit”.

However, even after that, the woman still continued to be sick.This whole affair continued over a year. Then. her relatives found out that the shamaness which charged the family millions of Tugrig had a criminal record and in the past served time in jail for cheating. In total, the woman’s family offered 22 million Tugrig to the shamaness-former con woman. The case is now being investigated by police department of Chingeltei district.

By Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo news service


Opinion:The Swedish Model and Mongolia

Following is article by Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa (Jargal)
Economist, President. Mongolians for Fair Taxes, Wise Spending, a non-profit, non-partisan org.

Sweden is an exemplary model of social and economic development. Within a hundred years since 1868, when Londoners collected money for its starving children, Sweden surpassed the wealthiest country, USA, becoming a dreamland for many. The country, where one out of ten citizens is an immigrant, has a population four times larger than Mongolia’s and a land four times smaller.
A few days ago, three hundred participants from thirty three countries gathered in Stockholm for the annual meeting of Mont Pelerin Society, World’s Libertarian Economists’ Organization. At the conference themed “The Market Economy in the Welfare State,” scientists and economists held interesting discussions about the host country’s economic model. Among the participants were Nobel Prize economist Jim Buchanan, Yale University professor Richard Epstein, well known for his unique position on market and taxes; authors Mark Skousen and David Boaz, well known to Mongolian readers for their “Making of Modern Economics” and “Libertarianism: a Primer,” respectively. The mayor of Stockholm, Sten Nordin, hosted a gala dinner for the delegates in the “Golden Room” of the City Hall, where the Nobel banquet takes place on December 10 every year.
“We Swedes have three different development models,” said the famous economist Assar Lindbeck. Those are the leap in development period from 1870-1970, the period of slow growth from 1970-1990 and the reformation period from 1990 on. The first part founded Sweden’s basis for economic wonder and luxurious living standard. The middle is an unsuccessful attempt of socialism. The last phase is correcting the mistakes of the middle part.
During the first fast growing hundred years, the economy was not centralized and the government was small. It implemented a policy to create the rules of the game required for capitalist market and to keep those rules stable and transparent. The government played its “classical” role by creating public goods and services, building up functional reliable infrastructure, and supporting investment in human resources by introducing compulsory primary school system and by establishing engineering schools at all levels of education around the country.
They passed laws to support private entrepreneurship, liberalized the foreign trade and lowered the level of income and profit taxes. Soon with the increase of productivity, Sweden became the fastest, intensively developed economy of the world. As a result of the open policy, every Swede spoke fluent German by the end of century, and fluent English by the middle of the 20th century.
While almost a quarter of the population has migrated to the USA, a fifth of them came back to Sweden and started his/her own private business based on acquired knowledge and skills and started to produce goods and services for the international market.
Education and knowledge of foreign languages combined with their natural hard working culture has made Swedes contribute to humankind many well known brands and famous innovations: Alfred Nobel’s invention of dynamite, an easier and safer material to handle than gun powder, VOLVO cars and trucks, SAAB cars and planes, Eriksson mobile phones, IKEA furniture, H&M retail chain, ABBA pop group, to name only a few. Another distinct feature relevant to mention is their creation of a strong army of relatively well paid, competent, almost incorruptible and reputable public officers.
Since the late 60’s, the socialists with their promises of a paradise have increased taxes and have attempted to create a land of welfare nation with tax payers money (the second model). Slowly the country kept losing its competitiveness while the economy came to stagnation. After the 90s, the country has been trying to correct these policies by reforming the ill public sector (the third model).
Mongolian current economic and social situation closely resembles Sweden of the last century’s early period. One would assume that we better pursue the open economic policy consistently and encourage every business to orient for the global market. One would further assume that it is better to encourage investment in development of human resources capacity and make particular sectors competitive in the North-East Asian region. In short, the most relevant model for Mongolia seems to be the first one that boosted Sweden’s economic growth.
Instead, our government is following the second model which served almost as an obstacle in the prosperity of Sweden. One would once more assume, that if a country like Sweden could not create a “welfare nation” on a solid basis of the hundred year old economy, Mongolia would definitely not be able to do it, with the lack of a functional infrastructure and without a single of our companies having entered into the world market with original products and services other than mineral commodities. We cannot become a “dreamland,” even if we sold all our abundant minerals, when we have a wrong model of development.
However, there are a number of smart initiatives taking place in Sweden such as the creation of private pension funds; school voucher systems where the education of a child from a low income family at a private school is paid from public fund; connection of university labs with private companies and industries; and very well functioning internship programs that increase productivity and equality. These are only few ideas to consider and adapt to Mongolia’s development.


Peabody Energy Aligns Global Coal Sales and Trading Groups as Part of Expanded Access to High-Growth Asian Markets

Peabody Energy, one of large private coal companies in the world and active in Mongolia released following press release about its corporate re-shuffling.

MonInfo, News and Information service

ST. LOUIS, Aug 24, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Peabody Energy today announced that it has realigned its COALSALES and COALTRADE businesses as part of the company's focus on expanded access to the high-growth Asia-Pacific markets.
President of COALSALES Bryan A. Galli and President of COALTRADE International Paul T. Demzik have assumed additional responsibilities. Both continue to report to Peabody Energy President and Chief Commercial Officer Richard A. Navarre.

Galli will be responsible for sale of the company's industry-leading global coal production including U.S. and Australian metallurgical, thermal and industrial products. He also continues oversight of the company's market analytics and contract administration functions. Australian coal sales will now report to Galli, having previously reported to Demzik.

Demzik will be responsible for Peabody's global trading and marketing activities on five continents, which include offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Australia and Venezuela. U.S. trading and brokerage activities will now report to Demzik, having previously reported to Galli.

"Bryan and Paul will continue to expand our global sales and trading activities to serve traditional markets as well as high-growth emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific region," said Peabody Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory H. Boyce. "Both are talented leaders who have delivered record sales and trading results as we've transformed our platform to serve global markets."

Peabody has an expanding platform of Australian coal products from metallurgical and thermal coal mines in Queensland and New South Wales. The company is rapidly increasing its trading activities in the Asia-Pacific region, including developing a new Southeast Asia coal trading, brokerage and sourcing hub, planned for either Hong Kong or Singapore, to augment offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Newcastle, Beijing, London, Venezuela and the United States. The company also has joint venture and business development activities under way in China, Mongolia, Australia and other countries.

Galli has served as President of COALSALES since 2006 and has held a series of senior positions, which include serving as Group Executive for Midwest Operations and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for COALSALES in the Midwest. He has more than 25 years of industry experience and a Bachelor of Science degree in mining engineering from the University of Missouri - Rolla School of Mines. He also serves as a board member for the university.

Demzik joined Peabody in 2005 as President of COALTRADE International and led Peabody's dramatic global expansion of coal trading activities. Prior to joining Peabody, Demzik was head of coal trading for EDF Trading Limited in London. He has more than 25 years of experience in trading and a Bachelor of Science degree in mining engineering from the University of Missouri - Rolla School of Mines.

Peabody achieved record coal sales of 256 million tons and $6.6 billion in revenues in 2008, serving nearly 330 customers in 21 nations on six continents. Last year, Peabody nearly doubled its EBITDA contributions from global trading and brokerage activities.

Peabody Energy (NYE: BTU) is the world's largest private-sector coal company. Its coal products fuel 10 percent of all U.S. electricity generation and 2 percent of worldwide electricity.

Beth Sutton
(928) 522-7008

SOURCE Peabody Energy


Article by EurasiaNet on Medvedev visit in Mongolia


Joshua Kucera 8/27/09
Mongolia and Russia inked several agreements during a pomp-filled official visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Ulaanbaatar. But the bevy of signings does not mean that Mongolia is about to reenter Russia’s sphere of influence, Mongolian analysts say.

During Medvedev’s August 25-26 visit, Russia and Mongolia agreed to start a joint venture to mine the rich uranium deposit in Dornod, in northeastern Mongolia near the Russian border. The two countries also discussed the possibility of a natural gas pipeline from Russia to Mongolia, and carried out a military exercise.

Medvedev’s visit was also loaded with symbolism, as it included a commemoration of the 1939 battle at Khalkhin Gol, when a joint Soviet-Mongolian force defeated Japanese troops, decisively ending Japan’s ambitions against the Soviets in World War II. At the end of his visit, Medvedev and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj laid wreaths at a World War II monument in Ulaanbaatar. Medvedev and Elbegdorj both invoked history in describing their current ties. "History is such a stubborn thing that can be neither forgotten nor changed," Medvedev said. Meanwhile, Elbegdorj commented that Russian-Mongolian ties had been "sealed by the blood and sweat of our peoples."

But the closeness of Russian-Mongolian ties should not be overstated, said Col. Galsanjamts, a foreign policy expert at Ulaanbaatar’s Institute for Strategic Studies. He was quick to point out that Mongolia and Japan signed an agreement on nuclear energy in May, and that Ulaanbaatar also cooperates in the uranium sphere with France, Canada and China. "We are not going to sell all our uranium to Russia," Galsanjamts said.

The military exercise, Darkhan-2, is also less significant than it might otherwise seem. Much of it is based on repairing Mongolian equipment. Although the two countries billed it as a "peacekeeping exercise," similar to another just concluded by the U.S. Marines and Mongolia, that only means that the units whose equipment is being repaired are peacekeeping units, said Jargalsaihan Mendee, another analyst and a former Mongolian defense attaché in Washington. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. About 90 percent of the equipment of the Mongolian armed forces is of Soviet origin, and the spare parts are available only in Russia, said Mendee.

Nevertheless, Russia plays an important role in Mongolia’s foreign policy, mainly in providing a counterbalance to China. "Chinese leaders believe that Mongolian territory is part of China and Mongolians are a national minority of China, and that they lost Mongolian territory because of Russia. The Chinese still have this in their mind, and this is what they teach their children. They don’t say this officially but it’s in their mind, probably forever," said Galsanjamts.

"Russia doesn’t do this sort of thing," Galsanjamts continued. "There is always a question of how Mongolia can keep its independence between two giants, and the solution is keeping a balance between Russia and China."

Galsanjamts noted that in 1919, when Russia was in chaos, China took advantage of the situation to occupy Mongolia. Later on, however, a Stalin-led Soviet Union reasserted itself in Mongolia, pushing the Chinese out. "We had Russia’s interest and so we weren’t occupied by China. And because of China’s interests, we didn’t become the Mongolian Soviet Socialist Republic."

So Mongolians welcome Russia’s increased interest in Mongolia, he said. Russia has increased the number of Mongolian officers it trains in Russian military academies, and has increased the amount of military aid it provides Ulaanbaatar, about $60 million over the last two years for equipment, including armored personnel carriers, tanks and helicopters.

And because of the importance of maintaining good relations with Russia, ties with the United States -- especially military ties -- will necessarily be limited, Galsanjamts said. For example the exercises carried out between the United States and Mongolia will only be peacekeeping, not combat exercises, to avoid offending Russia, he said. Russian officials have told Mongolian leaders to "reconsider" deepening military ties with the Washington, he added.

Editor's Note: Joshua Kucera is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C.

Published on on Aug 27,2009


National Geographic TV's Wild Chronicles Program in Mongolia

In September 2008, National Geographic TV shot its Wild Chronicles program featuring a group of American and Mongolian environmentalists travelling together to see extent of gold mining in Mongolia. Very well shot TV story highlighting environmental damage caused by unregulated gold mining. After opening up in early 90s, Mongolia had unregulated gold rush. By 2005, gold mining industry started to be regulated under pressure from environmentalists like Munkhbayar Tsetsgee whose interview can be seen from the piece.


Al Jazeera English in Mongolia:Part 2

Al Jazeera English Broadcaster based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was in Mongolia early June this year doing some good TV stories on Mongolia. Here is part 2 of Mongolia story run on 101 East of AJE. Here AJE presenter Fauziah Ibrahim is interviewing President Elbegdorj Tsakhia right after his election victory in May, 2009.


Al Jazeera English Broadcaster in Mongolia:Part 1

Al Jazeera English Broadcaster based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia done quiet good TV stories on Mongolia. Here is part 1 of TV story by 101 East of AJE.

Hope you enjoy.


2,000-year-old skeleton found in Mongolia

By Korea Herald Newspaper dated Aug 27, 2009

The National Museum of Korea said yesterday it has unearthed a 2,000-year-old skeleton of a Mongolian nomad at the Xiongnu Tombs of Duurlignars, about 500 kilometers northeast of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.
The skeleton of a man was identified as mortal remains of the Xiongnu, a confederation of nomadic tribes in Central Asia, a finding that archeologists and historians could use to advance the studies about the ancient tribe. The Xiongnu tribe is often linked with the Huns, a tribe which is better known in Europe, but identification of the two tribes has yet to be confirmed.
"The latest excavation project has produced a number of artifacts that might reveal more details about the Xiongnu, and additional evaluation will help us better understand the Xiongnu and their culture," said Song Eui-jeong, chief of archeology at the national museum.
During the excavation project at the Xiongnu Tombs of Duurlignars, the museum has worked jointly with its Mongolian counterparts, including the Mongolian Science Academy Archeology Center and the Mongolia National Museum.
The site has a cluster of 198 ancient tombs that belong to the Xiongnu period, according to the preliminary survey conducted in 2002 by a joint team of researchers from Korea and Mongolia.
This year, the archeologists discovered a number of artifacts such as bowls and a mirror at four different tombs at the excavation site. The skeleton, whose structure remains largely intact, was found in one of the tombs.
The National Museum of Korea had previously conducted a similar excavation at the site between 2006 and 2007 in partnership with the Mongolian partners. Some of the artifacts the museum discovered were on display at a special exhibition in Seoul last month.
The Xiongnu Tombs of Duurlignars is widely regarded as one of the three key sites that might help unlock the mystery about the ancient tribe. The other two sites are Noyon-Uul in northern Mongolia and Gol-Mod in the central region of the country.
The Xiongnu tribe defeated and displaced the then-dominant Yuezhi and secured control on the steppes north of China around 2nd century B.C. Their influence reached southern Siberia, western Manchuria and the modern Chinese provinces of Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Xinjiang. Since the tribe was considered hostile and aggressive, the Qin Dynasty built the Great Wall to protect itself from Xiongnu attacks.
By Yang Sung-jin

Mongolian Judoka has won gold medal at World Championship

Mongolian Judoka Tsagaanbaatar Khashbaatar won gold medal in half-lightweight (66 kg) division in World Judo Championship held in the Ahoy indoor sporting arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands on 26 to 30 Aug, 2009.
He won the bout with Sugoi Uriarte of Spain. Previously, he won bronze medal in 2004 Summer Olympics and gold medal from New York Open in 2007.
Congratulations to Tsagaanbaatar and Mongolian team from MonInfo news service.
Hurray Mongolia!

Mongolian Judoka Tsagaanbaatar

Tsagaanbaatar after the victory

Mongolian Judo team


Wife of former Sumo wrestler Kyokushuzan Batbayar gave birth to a son

Wife of Kyokushuzan Batbayar, former professional sumo wrestler and current politician and lawmaker of Mongolian Parliament gave birth in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Bayasgalan, wife of the former wrestler gave birth to a son weighing 3.6 kg in first maternity ward of Ulaanbaatar on Aug 25, 2009. It is second marriage for 36 year old lawmaker as he was married in 2000 to a woman named Buyanbileg and had a son and a daughter. Subsequently in 2008, they were divorced.
By Ganbat, MonInfo News and Information service

Photos of Russian President Medvedev's visit in Mongolia

Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation visited Mongolia on Aug 25 and 26, 2009. Following are pictures of the Russian President's visit in Mongolia. The photos are courtesy of, one of top news sites in Mongolia.

Moninfo, news service

Opinion: Aftermath of the Russian President's visit in Mongolia

During recent visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Mongolia, President Elbegdorj Tsakhia mentioned about huge trade gap between Russia and Mongolia. In 2008 alone, Mongolia bought $ 1.2 billion worth goods and products from Russia and in return Russia bought only $ 86 million worth goods and products from Mongolia.

Mongolia gets 98 percent of its petroleum needs from Russia and therefore, most of the import were petroleum products.Russia, traditional market for Mongolian meat and animal skin and hides and leather products during the Soviet era, set strict veterinary and customs tax barrier for Mongolian meat and animal products and made it practically impossible for Mongolian businesses to export Mongolian goods to Russian market.President Elbegdorj highlighted this huge trade gap during the visit of Russian head of state and said this should be resolved. Russia, a country not member of WTO have high customs and import taxes. In the past, Russian state have used Mongolian oil dependence from Russia as a political tool and leverage to keep its influence in Mongolia.

It is even difficult for ordinary Mongolians to get visa to go to Russia. Russian visas are to be obtained from middlemen with connection to Russian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar. Russian racism and xenophobia makes it one of least visited countries by Mongolians. Compared to Russia, China is the very business-friendly and welcoming country for Mongolia. Chinese attitude is like " come, come and buy from us." Mongolians can travel to China without visa for 30 days. Just get in train heading to China and that is it. Very easy compared to Russia.Despite deep cultural links between Mongolia and Russia dating to Soviet era, common understanding and people's diplomacy between Russians and Mongolians are minimum.

It takes common people to develop and strengthen friendship and mutual understanding between countries. Unless, Russia change its attitude towards Mongolia and consider it as equal partner, no real progress can be made despite signing "strategic partnership" documents by leaders of two countries. Russia needs to take concrete steps towards improving relationship between the two countries.

By Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo, news service

Zorigt Dashdorj, Minerals Minister: now details of the agreement will be worked out

Zorigt Dashdorj, the Minerals minister spoke about Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement on national "Mongol" TV this evening. Details of the investment agreement will be worked out now within two-weeks, he said. Also proposals and suggestions of the lawmakers during the parliamentary hearings will be included in the final agreement, according to the minister.

Once the agreement is initialized, first batch of advance payment $ 250 million US will be transferred to Mongolian side.

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo, news service


Gloomy situation of the Mongolian construction industry

Mongolian construction industry is hard hit by the economic crisis facing the country. Commercial banks stopped giving loans to construction companies in fear of bad loan. Dozens of half-completed buildings can be seen today in Ulaanbaatar. Construction cranes sitting idle and thousands of construction workers joined ranks of unemployed. Thousands of people who paid downpayments for apartment buildings are still waiting for companies to finish the buildings. Chinese building contractors in Ulaanbaatar complaining about delayed payment and wages and packing up and heading home.

About 30 thousand housing units with cost of 800 billion Tugrig are yet to be completed due to lack of financing.

Representatives of the construction industry met with President Elbegdorj last week and asked for government assistance. After the meeting, government officials and the industry started negotiation on government aid for the industry. According to some sources, Government pledged to buy 4000 housing units for government employees through loan term loan package. According to tentative deals reached between the government and the industry, price of 4000 housing units are reduced by 10-40% and costs minimum 700 thousand Tugrig or $ 483 US and maximum 1,166.000 Tugrig or $ 805 US per square meter.

President Elbegdorj advised the industry representatives to reduce current price of housing units to a level which ordinary residents can afford to buy.Unless either massive cash injection in the industry or price reduction of the half-finished housing units, no long term solution for the Mongolian construction industry is seen.
Report by Ganbat, Reporter of MonInfo, News Service

Sharavdorj, head of the Mongolian Parliamentary office is on a working visit in Poland

Mongolian delegation headed by Sharavdorj, General Secretary of the Parliamentary office is visiting Poland at the invitation of Wanda Fidelus-Ninkevich, head of the Chancellory of Sejm-Polish Parliament.
Mongolian delegation met with the head of Chancellory of the Polish Parliament on Aug 24, 2009 in Warsaw, Poland. Sides exchanged opinions on inter parliamentary working relationships and signed working documents on mutual cooperation.

Mongolian delegation is to stay in Poland until Aug 28 and study best practices of the Polish Parliament and its chancelory office.


Ivanhoe Mines Welcomes Votes in Mongolia's Parliament as Key Step Toward Finalization of Oyu Tolgoi Agreement

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA --(Marketwire - Aug. 25, 2009) - Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN)(NYSE:IVN)(NASDAQ:IVN) President John Macken said today that the company welcomes the Mongolian Parliament's approval of amendments to four laws, including the insertion of a sunset provision to cancel the three-year-old, 68% windfall profits tax on copper and gold effective January 1, 2011."The votes today by overwhelming majorities of the Members present for the special session of the State Great Khural represent a significant step in Mongolia's commitment to attract foreign investment in the development of the country's mineral resources," Mr. Macken said."This expression of confidence in Mongolia's future clears the way for finalization of an agreement with the Government for the construction and operation of Ivanhoe's Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold complex in the South Gobi Region. Now we are in a position to make arrangements with the Government to sign the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement in the near future."The Mongolian Parliament voted on July 16 to authorize the Government to conclude a long-term, definitive Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement with Ivanhoe Mines and its strategic partner, Rio Tinto. Earlier this month, negotiators for the companies and the government settled on terms of a revised agreement that was endorsed by the Cabinet and the National Security Council. The Government then requested a special session of Parliament to consider changes proposed by the Government to four laws to support and facilitate the finalization of the draft Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement. Cabinet members have said that the broadly based legislative amendments are intended to benefit the entire mining industry in Mongolia.Ivanhoe Mines shares are listed on the Toronto, New York and NASDAQ stock exchanges under the symbol IVN.


Corporate tax law amendment approved by the Parliament

Earlier this afternoon, the Parliament also approved the corporate tax amendment thus allowing businesses to carry losses for 8 years instead of 2. MonInfo reporter was not at the parliament during the voting and therefore was not aware of this and did not report it. Later,we learned about the approval from other reporters.

MonInfo News Service


Breaking news:legal amendments on water law is approved

Mongolian Parliament just passed legal revision on law of water by vote of 50/5. Total of 55 lawmakers were during the discussion.

Reported by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo News Service

Breaking news: the windfall tax is annuled

State Great Khural or Mongolian Parliament just annuled the windfall profits tax by 42/8 vote. Total of 50 lawmakers were present during the final hearing of the draft law.

Reported by Ganbat, Reporter of MonInfo News Services


Mongolia still owes Soviet-era debt to Russia

Visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev confirmed that Mongolia still owes remaining debt of Soviet times to Russia. During joint press conference of the Mongolian and Russian Presidents held in Mongolian Government house, he said " there are remaining debt. We want to solve this problem within the framework of developing strategic partnership between the two countries."
In December, 2003, Mongolia settled 98 percent of the "Big debt" of 11.2 billion convertible rouble to Soviet Union through payment of $ 250 US million. Former President Enkhbayar Nambar and his associates were instrumental in this debt settlement. Mongolian public opinion was that all debts dating Soviet era was cleared by Russian government after this settlement.

However, Dorligjav, head of the Presidential office who visited to Moscow for preparation of the Russian President's visit to Mongolia made surprise announcement about "remaining debt" after coming back. Mongolia still owes $ 150-160 million US to Russia due to the Mongolian-Russian joint mining company "Mongol RosTsvetmet", according to Dorligjav. However, some of the politicians and lawmakers from MPRP still insisted that all this talk about remaining debt is spread by Dorligjav and his camp for political reason.

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo, news service

Russian President is in town

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has landed in Mongolia at noon. He was received in central square of Ulaanbaatar by President Elbegdorj Tsakhia and Mongolian government officials with honor guards.
Then later, Russian and Mongolian Presidents met in the Government house for official meeting.
The leaders are expected to have joint press conference in government house at 2:50 pm.
To regulate traffic flow and ease off traffic jam in congested streets of Ulaanbaatar during the visit, central "Narantuul" market has been shut down for 2 days. This has upset some of the market vendors.

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo News Service


Looking for Democratic Harbingers

(August 20) – Citizens of Afghanistan and the global community have held their collective breaths over the safety and outcome of this week’s elections in Afghanistan. Enthusiasm at the polls provides a wonderful reminder of the power of the vote, with the BBC broadcasting many excited voices. The mobilization of Afghans in the electoral process flies in the face of recent challenges to democracy elsewhere, to include the Burmese military regime’s accelerated marginalization of Aung San Suu Kyi and Kyrgyzstan’s rigged elections – spared much condemnation given the value its base in the war against terrorism.This week saw the passing of former South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, a lion of new Asian democracies. Though the proliferation of tributes has focused on his leadership in moving South Korea from an authoritarian past and his peace efforts with North Korea—for which he received the Nobel Prize—it is important to remember his debate in Foreign Affairs in 1990 with Singapore strongman Lee Kwan Yu. Kim essentially argued that economic modernization and democratic progress could not be isolated from one another, that they were two faces of a coin, two wheels of a cart. Kim’s passing followed that of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, who led the wildly successful People Power movement of the 1980s, which sent the corrupt Marcos regime into exile.With progress at the Afghan ballot box, rollback in Burma and Kyrgyzstan, and passing of two of Asian democracy’s greats, it is important to look for new successes as a confirmation of the value of the participatory process and as tribute to the likes of Aung San Suu Kyi, Kim Dae Jung, and Cory Aquino.The secret success of the summer of 2009 lays far to the North, in a small nation with a vast expanse, Mongolia. May elections saw the staggering voter turnout that has marked each of Mongolia’s elections since its transition to democracy almost two decades ago. In mid-June, newly elected President Ts. Elbegdorj was sworn into office, the first President to hail from the band of activists that led Mongolia’s bloodless transition to democracy. In taking the reins from a president associated with the Mongolia People’s Revolutionary Party, which had controlled all but four years of the two decade transition period, Elbegdorj boldly promised to stamp out corruption in his inaugural address. He promised a more participatory society marked by openness and equal access. And he promised stronger contributions to regional and global peace and security.Mongolia’s Elbegdorj arrives in New York for late September’s UN opening and leaders’ summit on climate change. It is important for his international partners to welcome him as the latest of Asia’s new democracy leaders and to applaud Mongolia for its stand as a harbinger for democracy in the region. Despite challenges of consolidation, Mongolia’s institutions are developing, and Mongolia stands on firm ground relative to the autocratic Stans to its west, North Korea to its east, China to its south and Russia to its north. President Elbegdorj’s words about the importance of transparency and good governance need to be amplified regionally and globally. And his thoughts about climate change and sustainable resource development need be weighed, especially given Mongolia’s rich resource base, its lifeblood of eco-tourism, and the very evident scarring wrought by climate change and with challenges and opportunities associated with mining interests there. Finally, his commitment to regional peace building, by his offer to host dialogue on North Korea, is significant and a tribute to his democratic forebear Kim Dae Jung. Mongolia is able to provide a fitting venue given its good relations with both North Korea and South Korea and given its example as a nuclear weapons free-zone. North Korea sent a high level delegation to Ulaanbaatar in the wake of the new President’s inauguration to discuss cooperation.In a world wrought by non-proliferation concerns and feeling its way out of a global economic meltdown, it is sometimes important to remember the small victories. To the North, in distant Mongolia, stands a new democratic leader.

Author of this article is Dr. Stephen Noerper and he is one of the United States’ premier Asia analysts and a dynamic leader in the corporate and educational sectors. He provides advice and support in enhancing international standing, has taught and published widely, and was awarded the Mongolian State Friendship Medal in 2007. Contact


MongolBank Governor calls major shareholders of Anod bank cheaters who have lost moral right to work in banking sector again

During parliamentary hearing on fiscal and banking policy of Government of Mongolia, Purevdorj, governor of the central bank (mongolbank) called major shareholders of Anod, a commercial bank which was seized by state regulators in December, 2008 cheaters who have no moral right to work in the banking sector again. He accused them for attempting to transfer $ 50 million US illegally out of the country and cheating central bank authorities with falsified financial reports. He ruled out any possibility of re-emergence of the bank with its former major shareholders. The major shareholders of Anod bank are Davaa, leader of the "Civic Coalition" party and Gur-Aranz, Enktur. They were detained by police since Dec, 2008 until July 2009.
According to the governor, Mongolbank is studying several offers from overseas to buy out the bank including one from a Malaysian bank.

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo, News Service


IFC Launches Project to Promote Good Corporate Governance, Trade Finance in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, August 24, 2009-IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mongolian parliament for a training program to help private companies improve economic performance through increased transparency and accountability.
( - Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, August 24, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mongolian parliament for a training program to help private companies improve economic performance through increased transparency and accountability. IFC also signed an agreement with Khan Bank under IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program to provide a facility of $2 million. Supporting trade finance is an IFC strategic initiative in Mongolia at a time when the financial crisis has reduced the availability of trade funding worldwide. Under the Mongolia Corporate Governance project entered into with the Standing Committee on Economics of Mongolia’s parliament, IFC agreed to train the Mongolian private sector in best business practices. The project is funded through the Netherlands-IFC Partnership Program. IFC’s project team will work closely with the government to improve existing regulations, and partner with local training and educational institutions to develop the necessary skills to enhance corporate governance. The trainings will include working with educational institutions to develop a curriculum that provides future business leaders and others with best practice knowledge and skills. IFC also will work directly with companies to implement good governance standards and assist banks in assessing their clients’ corporate governance practices to reduce exposure to corporate loan defaults. “Improving corporate governance in Mongolia will help us attract investment and make our economy more competitive,” said Tsevelmaa Bayarsaikhan, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Economics. “This project is particularly important given the impact of the global economic crisis.” “Good corporate governance provides a foundation for strong commercial performance,” said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, at the signing. “This program is part of IFC’s effort to stimulate private enterprise development and increase capital inflows. It complements IFC’s new project to reform business inspections in Mongolia.” Commenting on the trade agreement, Thunell said, “The trade finance program is particularly suitable for Mongolian banks as we expect more trade activity in the country with the rapid development of the private sector. Khan Bank is a valued client, and we are pleased to expand our relationship with them.” Thunell is spending four days in Mongolia, meeting with government and central bank officials and private sector clients. “Supporting the private sector in Mongolia is a priority for IFC. We value our Mongolian banking clients in particular because they serve more than 400,000 families,” he said. “We are currently evaluating a number of investments in other sectors and our Advisory Services program is expanding as well.” About IFC IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $15 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit


News update:Parliament discussion on legal amendments necessary for OT investment Agreement

State Great Khural or Mongolian Parliament decided to send the draft laws on annulling windfall tax and amendments of corporate tax law and water law to respective standing committees for final wording of the drafts after incorporating proposals made by the lawmakers during the full session. Now Purevdorj, Governor of Mongolbank (central bank) is making presentation on monetary policy of central bank and current fiscal situation facing the country....

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo News Service


State Great Khural passes legal amendment on law of motor road

Today, full parliament session started at 10 am and continuing.The hearings on legal revisions needed for conclusion of the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement are being held in tense atmosphere. Opinions of the lawmakers are varied on the legal revisions. However, Khural passed the legal amendment on law on roads by vote of 53/7. This amendment allows private investors to build highways and motor-roads for their use. By law, highway and motorways are built and owned by Mongolian state only. The international miners (Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines) pledged to build international standard highways in Oyu Tolgoi area to move and transport machinery and equipments.
Multi-billion dollar Oyu Tolgoi also known as Turquioise Hill Project is getting a step closer for launch.
Now Parliament is discussing legal amendment on law on Water. Sixty lawmakers out of seventy-four lawmakers are present in the hearings.

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo news service


Parliamentary committees made headway in Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement

Parliamentary budgetary committee discussed the the annulment of the windfall profits tax law this afternoon. Batbayar Nyamjav and Enkhbold Zandaakhuu, lawmakers of the Democratic Party proposed to raise the threshold of price of copper to be taxed from $ 2600 to $ 4400 per ton and reduce the 68 percent tax to 34 percent instead of complete annulment. However, majority of the 15 lawmakers particpated in the discussion voted against these proposals. Bayartsogt Sangajav, the Finance Minister said " current version of the investment agreement is the optimum version of the various draft agreements held since 2007. Project life of the Oyu Tolgoi is 70 years minimum. Mongolia's stake will increase to 50 percent after 30 years and the investors recoup the initial investment."
MPRP lawmaker Saikhansambuu inquired if there is any possibility to reduce the 30 year initial term of the investment agreement down to 15 years. The finance Minister promptly replied " it is not possible as the current minerals law stipulates 30 year investment agreement period for any large mining projects".
Committee on environment voted to send the draft law to amend current law on Water for approval of the full parliament session. Tomorrow full parliament session is expected to discuss the legal revisions necessary for conclusion of the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement.

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo News and Information Services

Bayartsogt Sangajav, the Finance Minister to the lawmakers of the Khural: there are things that can not be measured by money and profit terms

Today during the parliamentary hearing, the Finance Minister was under intense pressure from the lawmakers which questioned why Government proposed to annul the tax which generated nearly 1 trillion Tugrig for government coffer. Much of the revenue was spent on social wellfare programs for poor as cash handouts.One third of it was spent for infrasructure development and another one third was used as government guarantee for bank deposits.
Bayartsogt said " there are things that can not be measured by money only. These are our national security, foreign policy and independence. Mongolia have been pursuing active third neighbor policy since early 90s. We have to make a political decision on Oyu Tolgoi. We have to welcome mining companies from our third neighor countries. Same economic stimulus software is used by us and as well the group from the miners on determining economic feasibility study of the mine."
Some of the lawmakers suggested to substitute the windfall profits tax with another tax or increase royalty tax.

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo, news and information services


Parliamentary hearing on annulling the windfall profits tax to continue next week

Today was first day of full parliament-Khural's hearing on annulment of Windfall Profits tax and amendment of Corporate tax laws needed for conclusion of the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement. Government of Mongolia proposed four draft laws needed for conclusion of the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement with Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc, a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines Ltd and Rio Tinto Group. The miners wanted to circumvent the windfall profits tax which imposes 68 percent tax on profits from sale of mineral concentrates when the price of copper concentrate reaches $ 2,600 a ton or when gold reaches $ 850 an ounce. This windfall profits tax is major barrier for conclusion of the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement between Mongolian Government and the international miners.

As result of 3 week re-negotiation authorized by the Parliament since July 23, 2009, the miners agreed to pay all taxes of Mongolia including the windfall profits tax provided that Mongolia annulled the windfall tax effective Jan 1, 2011. It means the miners will avoid paying the controversial tax.Lawmaker Batbayar Nyamjav (Democratic Party) initiator of the windfall profits tax law said " intention of the tax was to reduce export of raw materials and create condition for building copper smelter in Mongolia. Mongolia before and still is a country that exports only raw materials and commodity. We have turned into a raw materials supplier for our two neighbors.A country which never adds value to its raw materials and commodities, can not develop. Therefore, I can not agree with annulment of this tax." Batbayar was only lawmaker which voted nay to the draft law on annulment of the tax during the parliamentary minority group meeting.
Lawmaker Byambatsogt Sandag (MPRP) was critical of the miners over intention of their letter to the Mongolian lawmakers.He said " I would like to ask foreign investors to respect and uphold Mongolian laws and statehood. When Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto sent letter saying " Mongolia is at a crossroad", they acted as if they are pressuring Mongolian lawmakers. This cast much doubt about the miners. I tell them, "follow Mongolian laws when you are in Mongolia". Before white people landed in America, Mongolia was an empire. No one can tell us what to do and determine our way for us."
Some lawmakers were suspicious at the working group of Government of Mongolia which done the re-negotiation with the miners. Bayartsogt Sangajav, the Finance Minister who headed the working group stated " I'm announcing that we did not receive a single cent from China or Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines as bribe or anything like that."
According to the Parliament procedure, voting on whether to discuss the windfall profits tax took place in end of the hearing and decided to transfer the draft law to the Parliamentary standing committee on budget by vote of 54-10. Total of 64 lawmakers were present during the voting. At the same time, Mongolian civic groups held a conference and appealed to "patriotic lawmakers" not to give in to demands of the international miners. Next week, the hearing on the legal revisions is scheduled to continue.

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo, news and information services in Mongolia


Announcement by Mongolianviews team

Dear Readers of Mongolianviews,

We welcome any stories and articles by our readers. Please feel free to drop us a line if you have any stories and ideas to share with us. Also, if you have any job, vacancy ads or invitations for bidding, we can post it in our site. Within 1 month after launching the Mongolianviews.blogspot, our site has received about 2000 unique hits. Thank you for your visiting our site and we will strive to serve you efficiently and in timely manner in reporting on what is happening in Mongolia in cooperation with MonInfo, Mongolian news and information services company.

Mongolianviews.blogspot team


Tender and bid announcements in Mongolia: Millenium Challenge Account Mongolia announcement

Invitation for proposals consultancy services for special HASHAA plot survey
Submitted by admin on Mon, 08/10/2009 - 14:20
RFP Ref: CA/MCA-M/MCC/M&E/CS/45/2009

1. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (“MCC”) and the Government of Mongolia (the “Government”) have entered into a Millennium Challenge Compact for Millennium Challenge Account assistance (the “Compact”) to help facilitate poverty reduction through economic growth in Mongolia. The Government, acting through Millennium Challenge Account Mongolia (“MCA Entity”), intends to apply a portion of the MCC Funding to eligible payments under a contract for which the Request for Proposals (RFP) is issued. Contract payments are made from the United States Government directly, or through the MCA Entity independent Fiscal Agent. Any payments made under the proposed contract will be subject, in all respects, to the terms and conditions of the Compact and related documents, including restrictions on the use of MCC funding and conditions to the disbursements of MCC funding. No party other than the Government and the MCA Entity shall derive any rights from the Compact or have any claim to the proceeds of MCC Funding.

2. The assignment of this RFP focuses specifically on the consultancy services to design and implement a survey (the Special Hashaa Plot survey) over residents of hashaa plots. The goal of the survey is to evaluate the impact of the program to assist Mongolians in registering their hashaa properties. The Special Hashaa Plot survey will collect data on an estimated 3000 to 8000 households across several hundred kheseg areas in Ulan Bator and the aimag centers of Erdenet, Darkhan and Tuv. Thus, the Contractor will bid on the base work of 3000 households as well as up to five additional option periods for surveying 1000 additional households each.

The firm will be responsible for the development and testing of the questionnaire, translation of questionnaire into Mongolian and back-translation into English, interviewer training, data collection, documentation of the data set, data entry, data cleaning, and delivery of a cleaned data set. The exact date of survey commencement depends on the timing for inputs from project activities but is expected to begin in the Winter of 2010.

Further details are in the TOR of the RFP. Interested consultants are encouraged to visit MCA Entity’s website and review the Compact (under icon Governing Documents) and the other pertinent information.

3. This Invitation for Proposals follows the General Procurement Notice on UNDB online ( on 22 June 2009 and dgMarket ( on 18 June 2009 and in local newspaper “Udriin Sonin” on 19 June 2009.

4. The MCA Entity now invites proposals to provide the consultant services referenced above (“Proposals”). More details on these consultant services are provided in the TOR.

5. The RFP is open to all eligible entities or persons (“Consultants”) who wish to respond. Consultants may only associate with each other in the form of a joint venture or in a sub-consultancy agreement to complement their respective areas of expertise to enhance their capacity to successfully carry out the assignment and so long as any association is otherwise formed in accordance with the terms of the RFP.

6. A Consultant will be selected under the Quality and Cost-Based Selection (QCBS) procurement protocol, the evaluation procedure for which is described in sections of the RFP in accordance with “MCC Program Procurement Guidelines” which are provided on the MCC website

7. The RFP Document includes the following Sections:
Section 1 Instructions to Consultants
Section 2 Proposal Data Sheet
Section 3 Qualification and Evaluation Criteria
Section 4A Technical Proposal Forms
Section 4B Financial Proposal Forms
Section 5 Contract Forms
Section 6 Terms of Reference

8. The consultant services, and the contract expected to be awarded, are divided into the following Phases:

This invitation seeks technical and financial proposals for one (1) base period fixed-price contract and five (5) fixed-price option period. The base period will be for the first twenty-three (23) week period; 5 option periods will cover Week 19 – Week 44 after the commencement of the Services under the contract. The base period and the option will be fully evaluated.

9. Consultants interested in obtaining the full RFP and in submitting a Proposal should register their interest by sending an e-mail, giving full contact details of the Consultant, to

Crown Agents Inc
Procurement Agent for
Millennium Challenge Account-Mongolia
Academy of Management Building- III, 3rd floor, Room 307
Orgil Complex, Chinggis Ave, Khoroo 11, Khan-Uul District.
Ulaanbaatar 210136, Mongolia

For attn: Satoshi Matoba, Procurement Agent Specialist
Tel: +976 11 70120032; Fax: +976 11 70120031.

with CC to:, B.Gerelbat, Procurement Officer, MCA-Mongolia

10. A Pre-Proposal meeting will be held at the address shown in the preceding clause on 31 August 2009 at 10:30 hours (Ulaanbaatar time). Attendance is strongly advised for all prospective Consultants or their representatives but is not mandatory.

11. The closing time for receipt of Proposals is 17 September 2009 at 15:00 hours (Ulaanbaatar time) in Mongolia. Proposals received after this time and date shall not be considered and will be returned unopened. Consultants should be aware that distance and customs formalities may require longer than expected delivery time.

Chief Executive Officer
Millennium Challenge Account - Mongolia


Mongolian Ninja mining photos:part two


Ninja mining in Uyanga soum of Uvurhangai aimag of Mongolia

Following photos are courtesy of MonInfo, Mongolian News and Information Services Company in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photos are shot in Uyanga soum of Uvurhangai aimag where large number of ninja or artesanal miners work in group panning and digging for gold. Most of the recovered gold heads to China and South Korea via smugglers.


Job ads in Mongolia:Office Assistant for WCS NGO

Wildlife Conservation Society, an American Conservation NGO, has a vacancy for the following position:
Office Assistant.
Applicants who posses the following skills and qualifications are encouraged to apply:
1. Good command of English
2. Clerical work experience
3. Good computer skills, including spreadsheets and database management
4. Logistical coordination experience
5. Experience in office administration work
6. Good organizational skills and ability to multi-task
Qualified candidates are invited to submit following documents:
1. Resume
2. Cover Letter
3. Copy of Diplomas and Certificates
Deadline for submission of materials: September 4, 2009
Per email to the following address:
Note: Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.


Further parliamentary discussions on Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement

Tomorrow, Parliamentary standing committees on Budget, Environment and Food and Agriculture and Economic issues are expected hold separate hearings on the legal revisions needed for conclusion of Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement. Full parliament session is scheduled on Friday and the voting will take place. Depending on the voting result, further development of Oyu Tolgoi deposit will be directed.
Prime Minister Bayar Sanjaa, chairman of the MPRP and President Elbegdorj Tsakhia from the Democratic Party and Speaker Demberel Damdin from MPRP is backing the legal revisions.

"MonInfo", Mongolian News and Information services will report on further developments on Oyu Tolgoi mine project. Stay tuned....


Mongolian Civic groups calling for resignation of the Government it considered failed during Oyu Tolgoi negotiation

While, bipartisan lawmakers were discussing legal amendments needed to move forward the giant Oyu Tolgoi mine project, civic group activists got busy-outside the Parliament house. About dozen supporters and members of "Radical Reform", "My Mongolian land" civic groups staged protest outside the parliament holding banners with pictures of Premier Bayar and Saikhanbileg, parliament democratic party group leader and other lawmakers and calling them national traitors.
Enkhbat, general coordinator of the "Radical Reform" group said "we can not agree with these legal revisions that is not upholding our national interests and serves only for benefit of the Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto."
Some of the mongolian civic groups are opposing the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement for a long time. Civic activists consider that Mongolia should own minimum 50% of the deposit from the start of the project.
Enkhbat of the group added " if parliament passes these legal amendments, we will call for dismissal of the Government led by Prime Minister Bayar.This Government is not thinking for the benefit of Mongolian people."

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo, news and information services in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


Irregular session of the Khural started; parliamentary minority group endorsed legal amendments necessary for Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement

Irregular session of the State Great Khural started today with Speaker Demberel Damdin's speech. Speaker highlighted significance of exploitation of Oyu Tolgoi mineral deposit and said " full exploitation of the Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper deposit can boost our economy tremendously.
We understand very well that passing Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement means speedy development of Mongolia and saving time and create conditions for development of other large mineral deposits".
Fifty-six legislators were present during the opening of the session. In the afternoon, in separate meeting, Democratic Party group supported the legal amendments necessary for Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement. Saikhanbileg Chimed, head of the Parliamentary minority leader (Democratic party) said " our party group has made a political decision to endorse the needed legal revisions and decided to hear the revisions during full parliament session. Mongolia to gain two billion US$ more from Oyu Tolgoi mine as result of the re-negotiation.It is time to move this project now." Total of twenty-four members participated in the parliamentary minority group meeting and voted 23-1 for the legal endorsement.
Ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party's parliamentary group meeting started late and as of now it is continuing.

Reporting by Ganbat, reporter of Moninfo, news and information services



Ulaanbaatar,/MONTSAME/ The State Great Khural has approved the agreement of "Stability loan" of USD 25 million to be granted from the government of the Republic of India to the government of Mongolia.
Mongolia will take out the loan in frames of the program of stabilizing the budget and policy measure for financing the deficit, with the key aim to overcome the global financial crisis and its difficulties. Recently, a working group of the Mongolian side has worked in India in order to make negotiations with the India's side on general credit terms. In accordance with the general credit terms, the loan will be granted to the Mongolian government with credit period of 30 years. Furthermore, Mongolia will be freed from the payment of both basic loan and interest for 10 years. The interest on the loan is one per cent per year.
In comparison to other loan and credit, the "Stability loan" does not have political, social and military purposes and conditions, and aims to reduce the budgetary deficit of Mongolia. It has more preferential terms than other loan programs of international organizations and donor countries.
The negotiations were made between the sides by D.Battor, State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance of Mongolia; and Kumar Sanjei Krishna, Secretary of the India's Ministry of Finance in charge of Economic Cooperation.

Reported by B.Khuder


Irregular session of the Khural is on Aug 19, 2009

It has been announced today that irregular session of the State Great Khural will be held on Aug 19, 2009. This session is called in order to debate four laws related to conclusion of the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement with the Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto. These draft laws are: windfall profits tax law, motor road law, water law and corporate tax law.


Khan Quest Military exercise to be held in August

Since 2001, Mongolian Military of Defense has been organizing “Khan Quest” international peacekeeping exercises in partnership with U.S. Pacific Command.
This year's exercise will take place from Aug. 15 to 25 at “Tavan Tolgoi” training camp, about 40 miles west of the capital Ulaan Baatar.
About 450 troops from some 20 nations, including US, Germany, India, Bangladesh and Cambodia, are to take part in this year's exercise.
During Khan Quest, instructors, who have experience in peacekeeping operations overseas, lead practical lessons in realistic conditions such as rioting and street demonstrations and camp guarding etc. Troops also introduce their weapons and military vehicles to each other.
U.S Military physicians are expected to provide free medical care to local Mongolians during the exercise.


What happened seventy years ago in Khalkin Gol?

This year is 70th anniversary of Victory over Japanese invaders in Khalkhin Gol. In 1939, joint Mongolian-Soviet military repulsed Japanese military force supported by Inner Mongolian cavalry which attempted to occupy the Khalkin Gol area in Eastern Mongolia.
Khalkhin Gol is a river in eastern aimag of Dornod that borders with China. In 1939, Inner Mongolian cavalry troops loyal to Japanese started to cross the Mongolian border in Khalkhin Gol and frequent skirmishes occurred between them and Mongolian border guards. Inner Mongolian cavalry consisted of Barga Mongolians and were armed by Japanese. Japanese military promised to Inner Mongolians that they will liberate Mongolia from Soviets and Communists and help unite Inner Mongolia with greater Mongolia. Light border skirmishes between Mongolians from Mongolian People’s Republic and Inner Mongolia set the start of far greater conflict between Japanese military and Soviets. Anticipating military clash, Soviets brought large military force under the command of then young but brilliant commander Zhukov who eventually became Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army during World War Two.
Joint Mongolian and Soviet forces encircled the Japanese troops that invaded the area. After fierce fighting, the Japanese surrendered. Japanese and Inner Mongolian casualties numbered 45000 and Soviet and Mongolian loss were 17000 men. In Mongolia this war is termed as “Undeclared War” as Japan or Manchuko, Japanese puppet state which the Inner Mongolia belonged never officially declared war on Mongolian People’s Republic.
After testing Soviet military might in Khalkin Gol with much human loss , Japanese military never again attacked Mongolia or Siberian region of the Soviet Union.


Government working group on Oyu Tolgoi submitted draft laws to the Parliament; Speaker Demberel is happy with the results of the OT negotiation

Bayartsogt Sangajav, the Finance Minister and Gansukh Luumed, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Zorigt Dashdorj, the Minerals Minister visited Khural Speaker Demberel this afternoon and submitted the draft laws (water law, motor road law, draft law to annul the WPT and Corporate tax law) in relation to the conclusion of the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement. The ministers also requested the Speaker to call for irregular session of the State Great Khural. Speaker Demberel congratulated the Ministers for successful negotiation on strategically important mineral deposit within short period of time and said "there is strong probability that by mid of next week irregular session of the Parliament will be held".


Editorial of the Mongolianviews: Will Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto really pay 68% windfall profits tax?

According to the Minister of Finance Bayartsogt Sangajav, the miners agreed to pay all taxation of Mongolia including the controversial windfall profits tax. The minister added that the windfall profits tax law fulfilled its role and now it is time to move on and abolish the tax.
How many taxes are there in Mongolia?
There are Corporate tax, Customs duty (tax percent will depend on type of import), value added tax (ten percent), Excise tax, Mineral Royalty (five percent) and Mining license fee, Real Estate Tax, Water Tax, Land Use fee.Highest tax is Corporate tax which is twenty five percent.
According to Mongolian Corporate tax law passed in 2006, "taxable income of 0-3.0 billion Tugrigs is taxed at the rate of ten percent and any income exceeding 3 billion Tugrigs, it it 300 million Tugrigs plus twenty five percent tax.
Production of the Oyu Tolgoi mine will not start at least five or six years until mining infrastructure building is completed. That will be over Jan 1, 2011 when the Windfall Profits tax law is expected to be abolished.
It is very likely that the miners will not pay the windfal tax as production of the Oyu Tolgoi mine might begin by 2015. It is also questionable if the Khural will agree with this scenario and abolish the tax until the tax is substituted with other taxes or increased Royalty tax rate.
We will wait and see when the Khural starts by next week?


Breakthroughs on Oyu Tolgoi copper deposit Investment agreement:no tax breaks for Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines

Tomorrow PM Bayar is going to request the Speaker to call for irregular session of the parliament next week. Bayartsogt Sangajav, the Finance Minister said "Government is proposing to amend four laws in relation to the OT agreement. These are Windfall Profits tax law, Corporate tax law to allow tax loss carried for eight years, Water law and Law on Motor road to allow the miners to build road." The Khural may reject or pass these amendments. If rejects, it will delay conclusion of the OT agreement.
According to the minister, the miners will not enjoy any tax breaks or incentives and taxation will not be stabilized. Both sides agreed that initial investment amount for the giant copper and gold deposit will be four billion $US. Previously, miners were saying it will require five billion $US for development of the deposit.
The Rio Tinto and IVN representatives met with an official of the State Great Khural and explained that the letter sent previously by the miners meant to explain about technicalities of the OT IA to the lawmakers and not meant to pressure them. This was very face-saving act by the miners which quickly realized that the letter backfired.
The investment agreement will not go through legislature as government is fully authorized to conclude it within existing legal framework.

Reporting by MonInfo News and Information service.


Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto agreed to pay windfall profits tax.....

Mongolian Government ministers told to reporters today Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines agreed to pay all relevant taxes of Mongolia including 68% Windfall Profits tax. Earlier, the miners refused to pay the tax citing future operational loss. Finance Minister Bayartsogt Sangajav said " Government is planning to submit a draft law on abolishing the windfall tax from 2011 to state Great Khural when it convenes."
The windfall profits tax law which is enacted in May, 2005 was major stumbling block that delayed the conclusion of the agreement.
Zorigt Dashdorj, the Minerals minister was also present at the press conference held in Government house.


Prime Minister Bayar's casual remarks on the Miners and the Khural letters

Today, Prime Minister made a very casual remark about the letters of the Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines and the Khural today. He said " well, it is not proper to interfere between two persons who sent each other letters. Cultured people will understand each other eventually."
National Security Council comprised of Prime Minister and Speaker, President will meet and discuss about Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement tomorrow. President Elbegdorj expressed earlier he favours production sharing principle rather than equity ownership. That is directly in conflict with the resolution of the Khural which stipulated that Mongolia own minimum 34% stake and eventually increase it to 50%.


Mongolian Parliament responded to the letter of the Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto companies and now asks the companies to apologize

The letter sent by the international miners to Mongolian Parliament or State Great Khural backfired and now the companies are asked to apologize.On July 27, the international miners Rio Tinto and Invanhoe Mines sent letter to the members of the Mongolian parliament-State Great Khural.The letter emphasized importance of passing the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement and its economic benefit for Mongolia and requested meeting with the legislators for clarification of the draft investment agreement. The letter said " Mongolia is at a crossroad today. One way is to attract foreign investment and develop world class mining sector and strengthen Mongolia's independence and economy and other way is to restrict Mongolia's economy and investors and donors leave Mongolia and increase Mongolia's dependence from its neighbors (China and Russia).

Last friday (Aug 7), office of the State Great Khural responded the miners. The response letter was broadcast and aired on National TV and other Mongolian media.
The Khural regretted that some points of the letter casts doubts about credibility of the miners. The response said" we see this as an external attempt to direct Mongolian development and independence of Mongolia. This demonstrates that your companies lack political and business culture when you shamelessly attempt to pressure members of the State Great Khural". Not only the Khural, but some civic groups are critical of the letter sent by the miners as well. However, Khural said the miners now have opportunity to exchange opinions on Oyu Tolgoi with Government of Mongolia as it is authorized by the Khural to conclude agreement. Khural letter also reminded the miners that Mongolia has chosen democracy and free market economy about twenty years ago and recognized by world community as democracy in response to " Mongolia at a crossroad today"rhetoric of the miners letter.The letter continues " we want to remind you that Mongolia does not need a company to determine its development and Mongolian people and Mongolian state have a right to determine our fate without external attempts and instructions.We don't believe this letter that attempts to pressure Mongolian state as official position of top management of Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines companies." The Khural considers the companies ought to apologize for "making such rude attempt from the members of the Khural."


Cabinet meeting on Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement was held behind closed doors on Friday

Special cabinet meeting on Oyu Tolgoi was started at 2 pm on Friday and continued until 6:45 pm. The meeting was held behind closed doors and therefore, no official statements and information on outcome of the meeting were provided to the media.However, after the meeting Zorigt Dashdorj, Minerals minister gave following information to the waiting media.

-today, we, the working group negotiating with the miners have updated the cabinet on status of the negotiation. After that,we were given directives and instruction from the cabinet. Negotiation is still continuing and by next week, we will have more information to share with you all. Mongolian negotiation team comprised of Bayartsogt Sangajav, the finance minister and Gansukh Luumed, minister of environment and headed by Zorigt Dashdorj, the minerals minister. There is no question weather we will conclude investment agreement with the miners. We are working to conclude agreement with Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto companies.


Pictures from Mongolian Rock Festival-Playtime 2009

Pictures of Mongolian rock musical festival "Playtime 2009" held on Aug 1, 2, 09 in Gachuurt area of Ulaanbaatar. Gachuurt is about 30 km east of Ulaanbaatar.
Hundreds of die-hard rock fans gathered at the site for 2 days. The photos are courtesy of Batgerel, photographer of Mongolian news site


Mongolia's version of Woodstock-Playtime 2009

Mongolian rock music fans just had "Mongolian version of Woodstock rock festival"-Playtime 2009 in Gachuurt area outside of Ulaanbaatar on Aug 1, 2 of 2009.
About dozen Mongolian rock bands and Russian rock band" Storm" participated in the festival.

Participants of the festival came with their tents and camped outside during the festival. Some stayed in nearby "Mongolia Palace" hotel.
Security guards detained and removed drunk youths from the site. Police arrested two youths from Darkhan city which attempted to sell " weeds" put in two matchboxes.


U.S Representatives to visit Mongolia between Aug 9-10

U.S.Representatives led by John Boehner (R-OH-8), House Republican Leader are to visit Mongolia between Aug 9-10, 2009.

The U.S House delegation includes: Congressmen Dan Boren (D-OK-2), David Camp (R-Mi-4), Tom Lathem (R-IA-4), Greg Walden (R-Or-2) . They are expected to meet with President Elbegdorj Tsakhia and Prime Minister Bayar Sanjaa and legislators of Mongolia-American parliamentary group.

Earthquake hit Zavkhan aimag in western Mongolia

Thursday evening between 12:20-12:26 am in Bayantes soum of Zavkhan aimag, earthquake with magnitude of 5.3 point of Richter scale occurred. No damages were caused. Epicenter of the earthquake was 125 km in north-east of Bayantes soum center.


Cabinet meeting on Oyu Tolgoi is scheduled tomorrow

Tomorrow, cabinet meeting of the Government of Mongolia is scheduled at 10 am to discuss the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement. This extraordinary cabinet session will decide whether to sign investment agreement with Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc. Before parliamentary recess, State Great Khural authorized the Government of Mongolia to conclude investment agreement with the international miners,however, Government is unable to reach an agreement.

Government of Mongolia is to conclude the agreement within existing taxation framework including windfall profits tax law. The miners (Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto) wants to circumvent the Windfall Profits tax law and the Khural earlier decided not to give any tax incentives to the miners.

Prime Minister Bayar Sanjaa requested the Speaker Demberel to call for extraordinary session of the Parliament to discuss the legal issues that are blocking the Oyu Tolgoi Agreement. However, majority of the legislators are in countryside and the speaker have not yet decided to call for the session.


Mongolian Civic Groups are critical of Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto

Tsog, Executive Director of Democratic Constitutional legislators Association, a civic group and former Minister of Justice and Home Affairs and Bayarkhuu, board member of "Radical Reform" a civic group criticized Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc and Rio Tinto for sending letter to members of the State Great Khural. On July 27, 2009, the companies sent letter to all 74 members of the legislative body of Mongolia requesting meeting if legislators are not clear about investment agreement of Oyu Tolgoi.

The civic activists consider this as direct interference on Mongolian internal affair and putting pressure on the legislators to pass the investment agreement to fit the investors' interest.
Bayarkhuu: The foreign investors sent the letter while the legislators were on recess. To request a meeting while the Khural is on recess and meeting with each of the legislators individually is clear violation of Mongolian independence. Mongolia is an independent country that decides its fate on its own without interference from others.
Tsog: there is probability that Ivanhoe and Rio Tinto may bribe the legislators and thus pass the investment agreement. We, civic groups are not working to transfer the Oyu Tolgoi to chinese companies. We just want that Ivanhoe and Rio agree to Mongolia's terms. They are using China as monster to scare Mongolia. They are saying to the legislators that "we are the best choice you can make. Deal with us and accept our terms".


Russian Medvedev and a Thai Princess to visit Mongolia in late Aug

Dmitry Medvedev, Russian President is expected to visit Mongolia in late Aug, 2009.

The visit is scheduled to be organized within 70th anniversary of victory over Japanese invaders by Soviet-Mongolian joint forces in Khalkin-Gol battle in 1939. Also, one of Thai Royal Princesses is expected to visit Mongolia in August, 2009.


Mongolia's religious tolerance still continues today

Chinggis Khan, founder of Mongolian statehood was tolerant of all religions. Mongolians coming from nomadic tradition, where practicality and adaptability was valued more than religious rigidness and fanaticism, have no difficulty accepting all major religions of the world. Baptists, Mormon, Catholic, Bahai, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hare Krishnas, Unification Church (Moonies), Raelism, New Age offshoots as Ananda Marga, Art of Living of Sri Sri and Brahma Kumaris, Sant-Math and Shri Chinmoy all have following in Mongolia ranging from thousands to hundreds of members.

Mongolia’s communist regime lasted from 1924 to 1991 delivered deadly blow to Lamaism, Tibetan version of the Buddhism, which was dominant in Mongolia. Many monasteries were closed and a tradition of every mongolian families to turn one of their children to a Lama halted.With openness and democracy after 90s, various missionaries flocked to Mongolia to fill the spiritual vacuum of Mongolians. At the same time, Lamaism and Shamanism is experiencing Revival and rejuvenation. Shamanism, indigenous religion of Mongolia has no central authority and mainly spread in north western part of Mongolia. Lamaism engrained in Mongolian customs and traditions seen many of its monasteries and temples built and number of Lamaist Buddhist clergy increased by thousands.
Traditionally, all scriptures and chanting of the Lamaism are in Tibetan language. Since many Buddhist believers does not know Tibetan, general public have not a comprehensive understanding about various scriptures and chants. In attempt to bring message of the religion closer to public, some of entry level scriptures have been translated into Mongolian. One or two of the Lamaist monasteries started to conduct their services in Mongolian.
Mongolian traditional acceptance of various religion and new ideas makes it one of safest countries for religious missionaries to work. Ethnic Kazakhs that live in most western tip of the country are Sunni Muslims. Recently, Muslim missionaries from Turkey and Kuwait started appearing in the area and several mosques have been built.
Raelian movement reported majority of the members of its Mongolia chapter are women and girls. This is not surprising given gender ratio in Mongolia. Traditional attitude of Mongolians towards religions were practicality and its appliance in Mongolian way of life.
By Mongolian constitution, religion and state are separate and no discrimination is to be used against all religions. However, the Constitution stipulates state shall respect Lamaist Buddhism, traditional religion of Mongolia.
Still now, religious tolerance of ancient Mongolian Empire continues.


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