Khan's white knight launches formal offer, ARMZ backs off

By: Liezel Hill
TORONTO ( - China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has launched its offer to buy TSX-listed uranium junior Khan Resources, the Canadian firm announced on Friday.

CNNC is offering C$0,96 a share for Khan, which has recommended that shareholders accept the offer.

Khan's flagship asset is a stake in the Dornod uranium project, in Mongolia.

The company has been defending itself against a hostile takeover bid by Russia's Atomredmetzoloto, but the Russian company announced on Friday it would allow its C$0,65 a share offer to expire on March 1.

ARMZ said the decision not to increase or extend its offer was a response to uncertainty over licensing and ownership of the Dornod uranium property.

A working group established by the Security and Foreign Policy Standing Committee of the Mongolian Parliament said this week that a number of uranium licenses in Dornod province, including licenses pertaining for the Dornod property, should be invalidated based on infringements of Mongolian law.

"In light of the announcement by the working group of the Mongolian Parliament, ARMZ has determined that continuing our offer at the current time is not prudent," director-general Vadim Zhivov said in a statement.

CNNC's offer for Khan requires approval by at least two-thirds of Khan's shareholders.

Shares in Khan fell 13,6% on Friday, to C$0,89 apiece by 14:33 in Toronto.

U.S.-Mongolia Annual Bilateral Consultations

Washington, DC

February 26, 2010


The United States and Mongolia held Annual Bilateral Consultations on February 26, 2010 in the State Department’s George C. Marshall conference facility. The ABC, which rotates annually between the two capitals, covers the broad range of activity between the two nations. Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt M. Campbell and Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs State Secretary D. Tsogtbaatar chaired the two delegations at the 2010 ABC.

Topics of discussions included:
United States and Mongolian views on regional and global relations;
Expanding senior level exchanges in 2010;
Continuing defense and security cooperation between the armed forces of the United States and Mongolia;
Status of the ongoing humanitarian and livestock crisis caused by extreme winter conditions in Mongolia;
Improving economic relationships between the United States and Mongolia, through channels such as the Transparency Agreement, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and Open Skies - civil aviation agreement;
United States and Mongolian involvement in climate change issues; and
Continued cooperation in development, health, and cultural exchange.

Source: US State Department (

Mongolian historic photos around 1900s

Manlai Baatar Damdinsuren with two of his adjutants. Damdinsuren was Mongolian patriot and nationalist who took part in revival of Mongolian statehood after fall of Ching dynasty in 1911. He was one of commanders who liberated Khovd, capital of western Mongolia from Chinese troops and fought against Chinese in Inner Mongolia.Later, when Mongolian independence was abolished by Chinese warlord Xu Shuzeng in 1919, he was arrested by Chinese and tortured to death in jail. They say, he died standing.

Today, he is remembered as one of great Mongolian nationalist heroes who fought and died for Mongolia.

First car in Mongolia circa 1890-1900

Noble Mongolian woman circa 1900


Togtokh Taij, Inner Mongolia and Mongolian independence fighter in 1911.


Dondogdulam, last Queen-Mother of Mongolia and queen of 8th Bogd Khaan-last theocratical ruler of Mongolia, before the People's Revolution in 1921


A Mongolian noble lord with his queen


Sukhbaatar Damdin, Mongolian nationalist leader who led the People's Revolution of 1921 posed for a photo with his wife Yanjmaa. He contacted Red Army of Soviet Russia seeking military help to fight against White Guard Russians and Chinese warlords who occupied Mongolia. Under brilliant military command of Sukhbaatar, Mongolian Nationalists chased away foreign troops from Mongolia.Today, Sukhbaatar is remembered as one of greatest Mongolian patriots and nationalist leader who made Mongolia independent after 200 year of Ching rule.


Mongolian traitor noble lords who betrayed Mongolian independence in 1919 posing with Chinese warlord Xu Shuzeng , after they signed document abolishing independence of Mongolia.


Mongolian man


Uzemchin Tribal women


Mongolian women


Dondogdulam, last queen-mother of Mongolia posing with adopted daughter. She was queen of 8th Bogd Khaan, last theocratic ruler of Mongolia before the People's Revolution of 1921


Noble lords of Western Mongolia in 1911.


From left:Dilav Khutugt, Buddhist saint born in current day Zavkhan aimag along with another Buddhist saint Jalkhanz Khutugt who served as a Prime Minister of People's Government after 1921.

Noble Mongolian women around circa 1900

Mongolian noble lords with Russian officials around 1911


Women of Uzemchin Tribe


Buriat Mongolian shaman circa 1900

Manlai Baatar Damdinsuren, Mongolian patriot and nationalist military commander in 1911. Damdinsuren helped liberate Khovd, capital of Western Mongolia from chinese troops of Ching Dynasty and fought in Inner Mongolia against Chinese troops. When Chinese warlords occupied Mongolia in 1919 and abolished Mongolian independence, he was arrested and tortured to death. They say, he died standing.

Costume decorations in the back of a Inner Mongolian wrestler


Sumo’s Asashoryu Holds Wall St. Meeting, Chunichi Sports Says

By Adam Le

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Asashoryu, a sumo grand champion in Japan, visited New York’s Wall Street for business meetings three weeks after his retirement from the sport, Chunichi Sports newspaper reported.

The 29-year-old Mongolian visited the New York Stock Exchange on Feb. 22 dressed in a dark business suit and was in the city “for business talks,” according to the report. New York was his third destination in the U.S. after Los Angeles and Hawaii.

Relatives of Asashoryu are developing business ventures in Mongolia, focusing on investment banking, according to Chunichi Sports, a newspaper based in Nagoya, central Japan.

Asashoryu, whose real name is Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj, made his debut in 1999 and became the third foreigner to attain Yokuzuna status, sumo’s highest rank. He retired from sumo earlier this month after allegations he assaulted a man outside a Tokyo night club in January.

The Chunichi Sports report didn’t include any comments from Asashoryu or identify the companies he visited.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Le in Osaka at

Source:Bloomberg newswire service

Matthew Davis Talks About Mongolia and His Book When Things Get Dark

By Aimee Levitt
In the summer of 2000 Matthew Davis, a recent graduate of the University of Missouri, moved to Tsetserleg, a small town in the Mongolian countryside, to begin a two-year hitch in the Peace Corps. Now, nearly ten years later, he's written a book about his experiences there, When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter's Tale, that he'll be reading from tonight at Left Bank Books in the Central West End.

His arrival in Mongolia was near-accidental. "I was on the phone with the Peace Corps recruiter," he recalls, "and he told me I had two choices, Mongolia or Romania. I had no idea about either place. How could I choose? So I just blurted out 'Mongolia.' He said, 'Good choice.' I think he had done his service in Nepal."

Among the things that Davis learned in Tsetserleg: How to chop wood. That the Wall Street Journal makes better kindling than the New York Times. That Mongolian women are more sexually free than one would expect (which led to some awkward questions about his sleeping arrangements). That airag, the national drink made from fermented mare's milk, causes certain, shall we say, intestinal difficulties.

But Davis' time in Mongolia also coincided with an interesting period in the country's history. The rural herding culture was slowly disappearing as more people moved from small towns like Tsetserleg to the capitol, Ulaanbaatar, known simply as The City. From there, many left Mongolia altogether.

"My friends from there, who were in their early to mid-twenties when I lived there have all left the country," Davis explains. "They've gone to Europe, the U.S., Japan." In some ways, When Things Get Dark is a chronicle of a vanished way of life.

What remains a constant in Mongolia, however, is the undercurrent of violence, exacerbated by the long winters, the large quantities of vodka required to get through those long winters and increasing political turmoil.

"Mongolia was held up by the U.S. as a model of the transition from communism to democracy," Davis says. "There were successes. But in the elections of 2007, five people were killed because of protests."

Tsetserleg was relatively peaceful when Davis lived there. But the long winter and the drinking culture took its toll on him, too, culminating in a drunken fight with a carload of Mongolians that landed him in the hospital with two bruised kidneys.
Davis remained in Mongolia for a third year after his Peace Corps service in order to travel through the country. Back in the U.S., he got an MFA in nonfiction writing at the University of Iowa, where, after a few false starts, most of the book got written. He intersperses his own story with travel essays about significant places in Mongolian history and culture, like the birthplace of Chinggis Khan and the monastery where the first Dalai Lama was appointed.

"I feel that in the U.S. we have a rich history, but we're not reminded of it all the time," Davis says. "In Mongolia I became attuned to how the past has a huge effect on how people live their lives. It's striking. There were so many moments where I'd be standing somewhere and be blown away by the immensity of history.

"Mongolia is so underrepresented," he continues. "Most people think of horses and nomads and exotic festivals. And that's all Mongolia, too, but it's also people living their lives."

Source:River Front Times newspaper of St.Luis (

World Bank approves Livestock Insurance Project to help Mongolian herders

WASHINGTON, Feb 23, 2010 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The World Bank Tuesday approved a 10 million U.S. dollars scale up of the highly innovative Index Based Livestock Insurance Project (IBLIP) to help Mongolian herders.

IBLIP, which was first introduced in 2006, provides herders with insurance through partnering with local private insurance companies. Insurance protects herders from climate related losses to their livestock.

Managing risk in the livestock sector requires a combination of risk mitigation and financial approaches. Pastoral risk mitigation, including winter shelters, fodder crop storage and improved management of winter pastures, can help herders better prepare for moderate weather events.

This additional funding was approved following the success of the pilot project which is currently being implemented in four provinces in Mongolia.

With the new funding, IBLIP will now be expanded to additional areas, with the potential to reach all 21 provinces by 2012, according to the World Bank.

"Since IBLIP began, the technical viability of the insurance has been sufficiently demonstrated for a gradual scale up to be appropriate. The number of herders purchasing insurance has increased every year and local insurance firms remain committed to selling the product," said Andrew Goodland, Senior Agriculture Economist, Task Team Leader.

The insurance program is a combination of self-insurance, market based insurance and a social safety net. Herders bear the cost of small losses that do not affect the viability of their business, larger losses are transferred to the private insurance industry. Only the final layer of catastrophic losses is borne by the government. "World Bank support for IBLIP should help place this project on a sustainable path for the future, and serve both government and herders in providing a valuable tool to manage climatic risks," said Arshad Sayed, Country Manager in the World Bank.

Source:World Bank

Energy Resources Mulls London IPO, Shareholder Says

By John Duce and Bei Hu

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Energy Resources LLC, a closely held coking coal producer in Mongolia, is considering an initial public offering in Hong Kong or London, the majority shareholder said.

“It’s just an idea at the moment, but we are looking to raise funds and an overseas listing is a good way to raise the profile of the company,” Gankhuyag Adilbish, managing director of MCS Holding LLC, said in a phone interview. No bankers have been hired yet, Adilbish said.

Energy Resources may more than double coking coal production this year as global demand for the steelmaking ingredient increases with the economic recovery. SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd., which mines coal in Mongolia, raised $394 million in Hong Kong last month in a secondary listing.

Energy Resources “knows the ability to raise money domestically is limited so it needs to look abroad to raise funds,” said Masa Igata, chief executive officer of Frontier Securities which advises investors on Mongolia. “After SouthGobi’s listing in Hong Kong, it should be easier for Mongolian companies to list overseas as their profile has been raised.”

Energy Resources may need “at least several hundred million dollars” as part of a plan to raise annual production to 10 million metric tons in a few years, Igata said. Adilbish declined to comment on how much the company is seeking to raise in the possible share sale.

Expansion Plan

The Mongolian company operates one pit at Ukhaa Khudag in the south of the country, which produced about 1.8 million tons of coking coal last year, Financial Director Baterdene Gansukh said in an interview. Output may rise to as much as 4 million tons this year, he said.

Macquarie Bank Ltd. raised its global estimate for 2010 coking coal demand to 244 million tons from 225 million tons in November. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, is probably asking Japanese steelmakers to pay $240 a ton for coking coal, UBS AG said Feb. 18. Annual contract prices were set at about $129 a ton for the year ending March 31.

MCS, described as a Mongolian private consulting company on Energy Resources Web site, owns more than half of the miner, Gansukh said, without giving specific details. Other shareholders include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development which invested up to $30 million last year.

Mongolian Resources

Mongolia is seeking $25 billion in overseas investments over five years to develop its metal and coal resources.

The government is considering creating national companies for each commodity such as copper and gold that would then sell shares to global investors, Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold said in an interview this month.

Mongolia is also seeking to develop the $2 billion Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit. Among the companies which have expressed an interest in developing Tavan Tolgoi are Peabody Energy Corp. and China Shenhua Energy Co. the nation’s biggest coal company, Batbold said.

--Editors: Tan Hwee Ann, Indranil Ghosh.

To contact the reporters on this story: John Duce in Hong Kong at +852-2977-2237 or; Bei Hu in Hong Kong at +852-2977-6633 or

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at +65-6212-1167 or; Andrew Hobbs in Sydney at +61-2-9777-8642 or

Source:Bloomberg news wire services

EBRD loan to Leighton to help promote contract mining for Mongolia

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is making a $35 million loan available to the Mongolian arm of Australian Contractor, Leighton, to help finance the company's ability to offer contract mining services there.

Author: John Chadwick
Posted: Monday , 22 Feb 2010


A loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will help to introduce high quality services to the Mongolian mining sector. The EBRD says it "is providing financing of up to $35 million to Leighton Mongolia to finance the company's ability to offer contract mining services to the sponsors of at least two Mongolian projects. Leighton Mongolia is the wholly-owned subsidiary of Leighton Holdings of Australia, one of the world's largest contract mining companies, with a track record of applying high environmental, health and safety management.

"Through the proposed financing, the Bank will support Leighton Mongolia's ability to provide contract mining services to Mongolian and international mining operators including the ability to procure state of the art mining equipment needed for efficient mining operations in Mongolia. The facility also further strengthens the establishment of Leighton in Mongolia as the first international mining contractor in Mongolia which has a long experience in contract mining and applies the highest environmental, health and safety standards."

Kevin Bortz, EBRD Director for Natural Resources said: "The Bank's project will contribute to support for the sustainable long term development of the mining sector in Mongolia. We are pleased to work with Leighton as this is an important credit facility that supports greater competition and increased quality of services in the critical Mongolian mining sector," said Philip ter Woort, Country Head for EBRD Mongolia.

Hamish Tyrwhitt, Leighton Asia's Managing Director said: "This is another important step towards sustainable large scale mining within Mongolia. This will give Leighton the ability to further increase its already large equipment fleet to support the ramp up of mining."

The EBRD started investing in Mongolia in 2006 and has since provided financing totalling EUR131.7 million across a broad spectrum of sectors including financial institution, food producing and mining. This is the EBRD's fifth investment in the natural resource sector of Mongolia, which has included debt and equity investments in coal mines, oil exploration as well as mining services.

Underground contractor Redpath from Canada is already well established in the country undertaking work for Rio Tinto/Ivanhoe Mines at Oyu Tolgoi.

John Chadwick is editor/proprietor of International Mining magazine -

Mongolia’s Future Wealth Tied to Mining, Budget Reform

Feb. 21 – Mongolia, a country landlocked between the giants of China and Russia, is seeing its fortunes change as a burgeoning mining sector is putting the country in the driver’s seat of its own development.

Realizing this opportunity, the government of Mongolia, in partnership with the private sector, recently held its first large economic discussion, a gathering that focused on addressing the nation’s problems and proposing solutions to them.

The Mongolia Economic Forum, held in the capital of Ulaanbaatar from February 8-9, was a chance for the country to “discuss and define what the goals are and how to achieve,” said Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold.

The primary objective of the forum was to build consensus around defining sustainable economic developmental polices and addressing pressing challenged faced by the country. To this end, one of the main areas the forum focused on was the country’s mining sector, and how, with the coming influx of mining revenue, would the state budget need to be reformed to provide stability and growth.

Mongolia sits on millions of dollars of copper, gold, uranium and coal reserves, a revenue generator that promises to completely change the economics of the country. But this promise of prosperity does not come without its problems or issues. There is concern among many in Mongolia that sudden prosperity may not significantly improve living standards – Nigeria and Venezuela have not seen their respective gross national products grow despite the presence of large oil exports.

Aware of past failures by other countries suddenly confronted by a largess of wealth, the Mongolian government has proposed a law that would save surplus mining revenues when prices are high to stabilize the budget when prices fall. However, a lack of consistency and stability in the application of taxes in the sector has undermined the efforts of the government to effectively develop Mongolia’s mineral resources. At the forum, several NGOs including the World Bank called on the Mongolian government to stabilize the tax regime and enforce environmental laws, saying the country’s polices were “not consistent with international practices.”

Calling the forum a place “to discuss very important issues,” Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj provided impetus to the discussions by inviting the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto to deliver a keynote address on the second day of the conference. In the speech, de Soto laid out what he described as five necessities to achieve economic success: rule of law, trust, respect for nature and man and the rule of law, value is not only related to labor but also documentation, and political will.

That political will can be seen in the stance of the prime minister, who called for the country to retain full ownership of the huge coking-coal deposit, Tavan Tolgoi. During the forum, Mr. Batbold told reporters that he favors keeping Tavan Tolgoi under full government control and that ownership of key deposits other than Tavan Tolgoi would be decided on a “case-by-case basis.”

“Contracting mining is widely used in the U.S. and Australia, so this should be useful to Mongolia,” he said.

The prime minister indicated that his recommendation was still under discussion and that a task force would study the proposal before making a recommendation to the Mongolian parliament.

Under a contract mining arrangement, the government would bear the cost of developing Tavan Tolgoi and an outside company would do the extraction work. This approach however would put a lot of strain on the government as the high costs involved could be a challenge for Mongolia’s cash-strapped ministries.

The Mongolian government has targeted US$10 billion to US$15 billion in new mining investment over the next five years, with a priority on building infrastructure, which is seen as a key to stimulating the sector.


Long forgotten religious war between Mongolians in 17th century

I assumed many people knew about history of Tsogt Taiji, Mongolian noble lord who fought with Guush Khan Turbaikh of Khoshuud Mongol tribe in 17th century. Renowned Mongolian historian and novelist Rinchin Byambaa Yonshoobuu wrote novel “Tsogt Taij” and in 1944 a movie was produced based on the novel.

Until recently, I did not know that Tibetan, pro-Gelug or Lamaist religious sources such as “Annals of Khokhuur” by a Tibetan Lama Sum-pa Khanpo and “Rosary of White Lotuses” by Darmatala portrayed Togt Taij as mercenary hired by a Tibetan king to fight against Lamaist religion in Tibet. These sources refer to Tsogt Taij as “Dark Lord”.

I will try to present historical facts about Tsogt Taij based on available information.

Ligden Khaan, last direct descendant of Chinggis Khaan and Khaan of Tsakhar Mongolian tribe attempted to unite eastern Mongols in the face of growing Manchu threat in 1630s. Ligden wanted to unite Mongolian tribes using Red sect of Tibetan Buddhism (Sakhya tradition), which was favored by Khubilai Khan in Yuan dynasty.

Gelug or Yellow hat religion, newly emerged branch of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Zonkhov, Tibetan religious reformer was widespread among ruling Mongolian nobles and tribal chiefs in east and west of Mongolia. At the time, leaders of the Yellow Hat religion was increasingly clashing with old religious orders in Tibet for power and authority and courting with Manchus which founded Ching Dynasty in China after conquering it.

Heavy handed approach by Ligden Khaan to unite the Mongolian tribes alienated many Mongolian tribes which sought protection of the Manchus. Many Mongolian tribes were tired of internecine war. From Mongolian nobles, only Tsogt Taij of Khalkh Mongolia supported Ligden Khaan.

In 1630, Tsogt Taiji moved to Khokh Nuur (Currently named Chinhai Lake by Chinese) Lake with his tribe of about 10 thousand people. Some Mongolian historians explain this move as result of persecution of other Mongolian nobles, followers of Yellow Religion.Tsogt reached Khokh Nuur and united with local Mongolians and waited for Ligden Khaan to arrive. However, Ligden Khaan never met with Tsogt Taij in Khokh Nuur as he died of small-pox in Shar Tal region in present day Gansu province in 1634. Khaan’s family was captured by Mongolians loyal to Manchus ending the last ditch attempt to stop expansion of Yellow Religion in Mongolia and revive Sakhya or Red Hat religious tradition in Mongolia.

The Yellow Hats asked for help from Guush Khaan Turbaikh of the Khoshuud tribe of the Oirad tribal confederation against Tsogt’s forces which were approaching Lhasa.

In 1637, Khalkh Mongolian and Oirad Mongolian joint forces under command of Guush Khaan of Khoshud Mongol tribe crushed Tsogt Taij’s forces in northern bank of Khokh Nuur in a place called Ulaan Khoshuu (Red Cape). Tsogt Taij, Mongolian patriot and poet fell in bloody battle. Many of his tribesmen remained in Khokh Nuur area and formed part of local Mongolians called “ Upper Mongols”.

Tibet did not have much to offer to Mongolia except religion. Therefore, there can not be a question of Tibetans hiring Mongolians. Tibetans were never a match for Mongolian military might and skill.Tibetan religious schools were skillful in using internal conflict of Mongolian tribes and used them as shields. Later on, Ching Dynasty of Manchus encouraged spread of Lamaism in Mongolia in order to pacify Mongolians.The historic battle marked start of domination of Lamaism in Mongolia and shedding of Mongolian blood for a religion of Tibet.

By research unit of MonInfo News Service


Mongolian Asylum seeker's plea rejected by US


ERIC H. HOLDER, Jr., Attorney General, Respondent.

No. 05-75127.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted February 11, 2010[ 1 ] San Francisco, California.

Filed February 16, 2010.

Before: THOMPSON and McKEOWN, Circuit Judges, and ZILLY,[ 2 ] Senior District Judge.

Bayasgalan Dserenochir,[ 4 ] a citizen of Mongolia, petitions for review of the order by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his appeal of an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The IJ denied relief on adverse credibility grounds, and the BIA affirmed. We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252.

Credibility findings are reviewed under a substantial evidence standard and will be upheld unless the evidence compels a contrary result. He v. Ashcroft, 328 F.3d 593, 595 (9th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). "To reverse the BIA finding we must find that the evidence not only supports that conclusion but compels it." I.N.S. v. Elias-Zacarias, 502 U.S. 478, 481 n.1 (1992). The BIA held that the IJ's adverse credibility determination was supported by 1) numerous inconsistencies; 2) Dserenochir's vague and non-responsive testimony; and 3) a lack of corroborating evidence. Because the BIA's order was supported by substantial evidence and the evidence does not compel a contrary result, we deny the petition for review. See He, 328 F.3d at 595.

Dserenochir asserted past persecution and a fear of future persecution by the Mongolian Communist Party because of his former support of democratic leaders, his unwillingness to support Communist leaders, and his unwillingness to provide "false evidences" against his friends in the opposition. However, Dserenochir testified inconsistently with respect to his declaration and between direct examination and cross-examination in recounting a number of key details of the central event in his alleged persecution, when Communist officials in the government came to his house and subsequently detained him and beat him for his support of democratic leaders. Dserenochir also testified vaguely and nonresponsively with respect to one of the other main grounds for his asylum claim: that the Communist Party was asking him to fabricate cases against democratic leaders. These inconsistencies and Dserenochir's vague and non-responsive testimony are specific, cogent reasons that goes to the heart of his claim, and thus, there is substantial evidence to support the adverse credibility finding.[ 5 ] Shire v. Ashcroft, 388 F.3d 1288, 1295, 1298 (9th Cir. 2004).

Finally, although a petitioner for asylum may rely on testimony alone to establish the requisite fear of persecution, Molina-Estrada v. I.N.S., 293 F.3d 1089, 1094 (9th Cir. 2002), where that testimony lacks credibility and there is an absence of other supporting evidence, the testimony alone is insufficient to form the basis of an asylum or withholding of removal claim. Dserenochir has advanced no documentation or additional evidence to support his claims of his past persecution, political activity, or medical treatment for his kidney problems or ongoing depression allegedly due to his torture and persecution. He similarly provided no documentation to support his characterization of a campaign of persecution by the Communist Party in Mongolia of democratic supporters that would create a reasonable fear of persecution by individuals such as himself. Accordingly, we are not presented with a situation where "the evidence presented was so compelling that no reasonable factfinder could find that the petitioner was not credible." Id. at 1295.

Because Dserenochir failed to satisfy his burden of establishing eligibility for asylum relief through credible evidence, he also cannot meet the higher withholding of removal standard. Pedro-Mateo v. INS, 224 F.3d 1147, 1150 (9th Cir. 2000). Finally, because Dserenochir's CAT claim is predicated on the same statements that doom his other claims, we must similarly affirm the rejection of this claim. Farah v. Ashcroft, 348 F.3d 1153, 1157 (9th Cir. 2003).


** The panel unanimously concludes this case is suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2).
*** The Honorable Thomas S. Zilly, Senior United States District Judge for the Western District of Washington, sitting by designation.
* This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by 9th Cir. R. 36-3.
1. Dserenochir's wife and two minor children, all also citizens of Mongolia, also petition for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the CAT derivatively. Because Dserenochir's testimony forms the only evidence in support of their applications, their applications are tied to the outcome of Dserenochir's application.
2. Because Dserenochir's asylum application was filed prior to May 11, 2005, the REAL ID Act, which did away with the "heart of the claim" rule, see 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(iii), does not apply. See Kaur v. Gonzales, 418 F.3d 1061, 1064 n.1 (9th Cir. 2005).

This copy provided by Leagle, Inc.

SouthGobi Energy Resources Named "Local Job Creator of the Year" by Mongolia's National Chamber of Commerce and Industry

HONG KONG, CHINA, Feb 17, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd. /quotes/comstock/11t!sgq (CA:SGQ 17.20, -0.10, -0.58%) (SEHK: 1878) is pleased to announce that on February 10, 2010 the Mongolian National Chamber Of Commerce and Industry selected Southgobi sands LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SouthGobi Energy Resources, as the "Local Job Creator of the Year" for 2009. The purpose of this commemorative prize is to encourage and support the hiring of local residents in remote areas of Mongolia.

"We are very proud to have received this distinguished award, which recognizes our commitment to transforming natural resources into jobs, prosperity and sustainable development," said Dave Bartel, Executive Director and Vice-President of Southgobi sands LLC.

SouthGobi currently employs 337 people in Mongolia with over 97% being Mongolian nationals. In addition, 105 employees are from the Gurvantes soum (town) near the company's flagship coal mine, Ovoot Tolgoi - double the number of local employees from last year and represents 31% of total employees. Added Mr. Bartel, "We not only hire local citizens but we also provide professional and special training and opportunities to advance professional skills."

In addition to providing employment to local citizens, Southgobi sands also sponsors scholarships for local citizens to attend University in mining-related fields of study. Upon graduation, students are offered a one-year internship with the company.

About SouthGobi Energy Resources

SouthGobi Energy Resources is focused on exploration and development of its Permian-age metallurgical and thermal coal deposits in Mongolia's South Gobi Region. The Company's flagship coal mine, Ovoot Tolgoi, is producing and selling coal to customers in China. The Company plans to supply a wide range of coal products to markets in Asia.

Forward-Looking Statements: This document includes forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, Plans to supply a wide range of coal products to markets in Asia; and other statements that are not historical facts. When used in this document, the words such as "plan", "estimate", "expect", "intend", "may", and similar expressions are forward-looking statements. Although SouthGobi believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties and no assurance can be given that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements are disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" in SouthGobi's Management Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, and for nine months ended September 30, 2009, all of which are available at

SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd.
Steven Feldman
+1 604 681-6799

SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd.
Bob Williamson
+1 604 681-6799

SOURCE: SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd.


Entree Gold Ready to Explore Shivee West

VANCOUVER, February 17, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Entree Gold Inc. (TSX:ETG; NYSE AMEX:EGI; Frankfurt:EKA - "Entree" or the "Company") announces 2010 exploration budgets for initial work programs in Mongolia, the USA and Canada totaling approximately US$7 million. The Company treasury currently stands at over US$38 million.

Entree also reached a number of corporate milestones in 2009, including:

- conversion of key concessions at Lookout Hill, Mongolia into long
term mining licences as part of the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement;
- acquisition and consolidation of strategic exploration properties in
the Yerington copper camp in Nevada, USA;
- signing of a definitive agreement with PacMag Metals Limited (ASX:PMH
- "PacMag") to implement Australian Schemes of Arrangement to acquire
all if its outstanding shares and options
- continued exploration and testing of porphyry copper targets in New
Mexico and Arizona, USA.

2010 exploration budgets have been approved for the following exploration

- Drill testing for deep porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum targets on
Entree's 100% owned portion of the Shivee Tolgoi mining licence
("Shivee West"), Mongolia
- Drill testing of geological and geochemical copper-molybdenum targets
on the Blackjack property, Nevada; optioned from HoneyBadger
Exploration Inc. (TSX.V:TUF - "HoneyBadger")
- Drill testing of geophysical and geological targets on the Roulette
property, Nevada; optioned from Bronco Creek Exploration Inc. (a
wholly owned subsidiary of Eurasian Minerals, TSX.V:EMX -"Bronco
- Drill testing of porphyry copper targets on an area of interest near
Bisbee, Arizona under agreement with Empirical Discovery LLC
- Further surface exploration of copper-molybdenum geochemical targets
on the Crystal project, central BC; under agreement with Taiga
Consultants Ltd.

In addition, the most recent drilling program at the Huaixi project China has been completed and results are being evaluated.


Entree has budgeted approximately US$4.0 million for first phase 2010 exploration on Shivee West. The program includes detailed geophysics and approximately 5,000 metres of drilling to test deep geophysical targets and copper, molybdenum, gold soil geochemical targets within a belt of prospective Devonian rocks identified in earlier programs. Areas of Shivee West are geologically similar to the Devonian-aged setting of the Entree-Ivanhoe Mines joint venture deposits, Hugo North Extension and Heruga, and Ivanhoe Mines' nearby Oyu Tolgoi deposits.

On the Company's 100% owned Togoot exploration licence, Entree is working with a Mongolian consulting team to prepare a resource estimate for the Nomkhon Bohr coal deposit. This resource estimate will be used in support of a mining licence application prior to exploration licence expiry at the end of March 2010.

The Manlai exploration licence, located approximately 120 km north of Oyu Tolgoi, has been surrendered.


Yerington Projects

In 2009, Entree optioned the Blackjack and Roulette properties from HoneyBadger and Bronco Creek respectively, two large contiguous properties, adjacent to PacMag's Ann Mason property, in the historic Yerington porphyry copper district of western Nevada. Entree's strategy is to acquire a core ground position in this under-explored region, known to host sizeable copper, molybdenum and gold resources, as exemplified not only at the historic Yerington mine and the Ann Mason deposit but at Nevada Copper's Pumpkin Hollow deposit.

A US$1.1 million geophysics (Induced Polarization - "IP") and drilling program has been approved for the Blackjack property. The planned drilling consists of 7 holes totalling approximately 2,800 m that will mainly test soil geochemical and IP targets extending west from PacMag's Blue Hills target area onto the Blackjack property. The Blue Hills copper oxide prospect straddles the PacMag and HoneyBadger property boundary immediately to the northwest of Ann Mason. PacMag has returned drill intercepts of 73.2 metres at 0.57% copper equivalent and 100.6 metres at 0.41% copper equivalent from this area. Exploration is expected to commence in the second quarter 2010.

On the Roulette property, a US$0.61 million budget has been approved for drill testing of geological, soil geochemical and geophysical (magnetic) anomalies. Up to four drill holes totalling approximately 2,700 m are proposed.

Entree announced on November 29, 2009 that it had signed a definitive agreement with PacMag to implement Australian Schemes of Arrangement to acquire all of its issued shares and options. PacMag's project portfolio includes the Ann Mason copper-molybdenum deposit in Nevada along with several other properties in the USA and Australia which are host to copper, gold, molybdenum, uranium and/or iron resources and showings. On January 21, 2010, Entree released the first National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource estimate prepared for the Ann Mason deposit. Ann Mason is estimated to contain an inferred resource of 810.4 million metric tonnes grading 0.40% copper, using a 0.30% copper cut-off. Accompanying molybdenum is estimated at 165.9 million metric tonnes at a grade of 0.01% molybdenum. Based on these figures, the Ann Mason deposit contains over 7.1 billion pounds of copper.

Empirical Projects

At Bisbee, Arizona, approximately US$0.61 million has been approved for detailed geophysics and drill testing of buried porphyry copper targets. The area of interest covers over 10,800 acres (4,370 hectares) located to the northeast of the Bisbee copper district that was mined by Phelps Dodge (now Freeport McMoRan) and produced over 8 billion pounds of copper and 3 million ounces of gold in the last century. Entree's targets lie along prominent northeast-trending structures extending from the historic Bisbee mine. Exploration is expected to commence in the first quarter 2010.

No work is currently planned at Lordsburg or at Oak Grove for the first half of 2010. Entree has applied for additional drill permits at Lordsburg which could allow for a drill program later in 2010. During the 2008 and 2009 field seasons, Entree personnel were successful in discovering a new copper gold porphyry system near Lordsburg. This area was previously known only for vein-style gold-silver-copper mineralization. Additional drilling would be directed towards expanding the existing drill defined copper and gold porphyry zone.


In late 2008 and early 2009, Entree completed a property-wide stream sediment survey and grid-controlled soil geochemical and IP surveys over selected areas of the Huaixi property. The surveys highlighted a 7 km long, northwest-trending structural corridor with a strong, multi-element geochemical porphyry and chargeability signatures. A 2,700 m drill program commenced in late 2009 and was completed in January 2010.

Six drill holes were completed and base metal mineralization was intersected in two of the six holes. These two holes (HX-09-003 and HX-09-005) were drilled in opposite directions from the same collar location at the "Pyrite Mine" area. The holes define a broad 200 m wide, probable northwest-trending zone, with variable Cu-Pb-Zn+/-Ag+/-Au mineralization within altered felsic volcanic rocks. Best results in HX-09-005 include: 7 m averaging 0.15% Cu and 5.6 g/t Ag including 1 m of 0.12 % Cu, 33.9 g/t Ag and 0.42 g/t Au and best results in HX-09-003 include: 1 m of 0.40 % Cu, 19 g/t Ag and 0.05 g/t Au, and 2.9 m of 0.01% Cu, 3.5 g/t Ag, 0.01 g/t Au and 0.21% Pb+Zn. Other drill holes intersected scattered porphyry-style copper mineralization with weak values.

A decision on further exploration is pending, while data are compiled and results evaluated.


A US$0.39 million geophysical, geochemical and drilling program has been approved for the Crystal copper-molybdenum project in central British Columbia. The Crystal Property is an early stage molybdenum-copper property that covers a strong copper-molybdenum lake sediment geochemical anomaly. The anomaly lies in a region of known molybdenum deposits, including Thompson Creek's Endako Mine. A short prospecting and sampling program was completed in October 2009. Planned follow-up work was restricted due to the onset of winter.


Robert Cann, P.Geo., Entree's Vice-President, Exploration and James R. Foster, P.Geo., Entree's Exploration Manager - Lookout Hill, qualified persons as defined by NI 43-101, supervised the preparation of the technical information in this news release.


Core samples from the Huaixi drill program were assayed at ALS Chemex facilities in Guangzhou, China and North Vancouver, Canada. Copper-gold reference standards, sample blanks and duplicates were inserted in the sample stream at the project site to monitor the quality control of the assay data.


Entree Gold Inc. is a Canadian mineral exploration company focused on the worldwide exploration and development of gold and copper prospects. Entree's expertise is in exploring for deep and/or concealed ore deposits and with a treasury currently in excess of C$40 million, is well funded for future activities. Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto are major shareholders of Entree, holding approximately 14% and 15% of issued and outstanding shares respectively.

Entree's flagship property is in Mongolia, where it holds two mining licences and one exploration licence comprising the 179,590 hectare Lookout Hill property that completely surrounds the 8,500-hectare Oyu Tolgoi project of Ivanhoe Mines, and hosts the Hugo North Extension of the Hugo Dummett copper-gold deposit and the Heruga copper-gold-molybdenum deposit.

Part of the Lookout Hill property which includes the eastern portion of the Shivee Tolgoi licence and all of the Javhlant licence is subject to a joint venture with Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc. (now renamed Oyu Tolgoi LLC). The joint venture was formed following expenditure of US$35 million by Oyu Tolgoi LLC, and Entree now retains a 20% or 30% carried interest through to production, with Entree's share of development costs to be repaid from future production cash flow. Entree retains 100% ownership of the western portion of the Shivee Tolgoi licence, known as Shivee West and all of the Togoot exploration licence.

The Hugo North Extension deposit hosts a 43-101 compliant Indicated Resource of 117 million tonnes grading 1.8% copper and 0.61 g/t gold, estimated to contain 4.6 billion pounds of copper and 2.3 million ounces of gold and an Inferred Resource of 95.5 million tonnes grading 1.15% copper and 0.31 g/t gold, estimated to contain 2.4 billion pounds copper and 950,000 ounces of gold. Entree retains a 20% carried interest in these resources.

The Heruga deposit contains an Inferred Resource of 760 million tonnes grading 0.48% copper, 0.55 g/t gold and 142 ppm molybdenum, estimated to contain 8 billion pounds of copper and 13.4 million ounces of gold. Entree also retains a 20% carried interest in this resource.

Both resources were calculated using a 0.6 % copper equivalent cut-off. The copper equivalent grades were estimated using metal prices of US$1.35 per pound copper, US$650 per ounce gold and US$10 per pound molybdenum. All resources at Hugo North Extension and Heruga were calculated using a 0.6% copper-equivalent cut-off.

Entree continues to explore its large landholdings in Mongolia, including the coal discovery Nomkhon Bohr, and is also evaluating the Huaixi copper project in Zhejiang Province in China.

In North America, Entree is exploring for porphyry-related copper systems in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and British Columbia. Entree's Nevada property is contiguous with the western boundary of PacMag's Ann Mason copper project and increases substantially the area of prospective tenure within that district.

This News Release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements which relate to future events. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as "may", "should", "expects", "plans", "anticipates", "believes", "estimates", "predicts", "potential" or "continue" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. Such statements include those relating to the successful completion of the transaction and implementation of the Schemes of Arrangement. These statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our or our industry's actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

While these forward-looking statements, and any assumptions upon which they are based, are made in good faith and reflect our current judgment regarding the direction of our business, actual results will almost always vary, sometimes materially, from any estimates, predictions, projections, assumptions or other future performance suggested herein. Except as required by applicable law, including the securities laws of the United States, the Company does not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements to conform these statements to actual results. Readers are referred to the sections entitled "Risk Factors" in the Company's periodic filings with the British Columbia Securities Commission, which can be viewed at, and with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, which can be viewed at

For further information: Monica Hamm, Manager, Investor Relations, Entree Gold Inc., Tel: +1-604-687-4777, Toll Free: +1-866-368-7330, E-mail:

SOURCE: Entree Gold Inc.


Mongolian Harvard Elites Aim for Wealth Without ‘Dutch Disease’

By Michael Forsythe

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia’s billions of dollars worth of copper, gold, uranium and coal reserves promise the greatest influx of wealth for the country since Genghis Khan conquered much of the known world in the 13th century.

They also may spawn a crisis. Sudden prosperity can overwhelm an economy, exposing it to commodity-price swings. Mongolia’s leaders, some educated at Harvard and Cambridge, say they are determined to avoid this syndrome, known as “Dutch Disease” -- a sudden surge in wealth that ultimately hampers expansion.

Working with the Washington-based World Bank, they are dispatching officials to nations such as Chile, which successfully harnessed its copper resources to help drive growth. They are also leveraging their democratic system to build support for policies including greater investment in transportation and a new budget law aimed at curbing the impact of volatile metals prices.

“If you go to most developing countries, they’ll tell you, ‘We’re saved; we’ve found uranium,’” said Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian free-market economist. Mongolia has “a president who says, ‘We are in grave danger because we have discovered we have a lot of natural resources.’” The fact that “they are forewarned gives you hope.”

De Soto was interviewed in Ulan Bator, the capital, where he met last week with President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold. Elbegdorj graduated from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and helped translate de Soto’s 2000 book, “The Mystery of Capital,” into Mongolian.

Income Surge

“Dutch Disease” was first applied to a surge in income from new natural-gas fields in the Netherlands during the 1960s, which caused the currency to appreciate, making exports less competitive and reducing manufacturing companies’ profitability.

Last year Mongolia reached an agreement with Vancouver- based Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and London’s Rio Tinto Group to develop the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine, which the government estimates will produce $30 billion in revenue. The government is talking to companies including St. Louis-based Peabody Energy Corp. about mining the $2 billion Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit, among 15 strategic mineral deposits it seeks to develop.

Batbold told reporters Feb. 9 the new wealth will cause gross domestic product to rise “several fold in a fairly quick period of time.” GDP was $5.3 billion in 2008, the World Bank estimated.

Sudden Prosperity

Sudden prosperity may not improve living standards. Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil exporter, has seen almost no growth in real GDP per capita in three decades. Venezuela, South America’s biggest oil exporter, had a higher GDP per person in 1977 than in 2008, according to the World Bank.

To beat the resource curse, Mongolia’s government has proposed a law based on a Chilean measure that will save surplus revenue from mineral royalties when prices are high to stabilize the budget when they fall. In 2009, it set up a Human Development Fund modeled on an Alaskan program that distributes some royalties to citizens.

The country is overhauling its social-welfare system to target aid only to the poor. It also plans to improve roads and railroads, creating access to new mines and helping herders bring cattle and sheep to market.

Mongolia is the world’s least densely populated country, with 2.6 million people spread across an area the size of western Europe, two-fifths in rural areas on windswept steppes. Twenty-two percent lived on $1.25 a day or less in 2005, and 29 percent were undernourished, according to the latest United Nations data.

Freely Criticize

Mongolia’s leaders say democracy will help smooth the adjustment to new wealth. Sandwiched between China and Russia, which have dominated the country in the past, Mongolians freely criticize their government, as evidenced at a Feb. 8-9 Mongolian Economic Forum. Activists, journalists and parliamentarians complained officials aren’t doing enough to alleviate poverty and unemployment.

“We are trying to build a bridge and a mechanism between the government and public and private sector so that we hear each other,” Batbold said in a Feb. 8 interview in Ulan Bator. One initiative is a push to make mining contracts available on the government’s Web site to help spur public debate, he said.

If he and other leaders don’t keep their promises on openness and transparency, “that will be a big problem” and “they may lose” the next parliamentary election in 2012, said Dambadarjaa Jargalsaikhan, an economist who helped organize the forum and founder of the advocacy group Mongolians for Fair Taxes, Wise Spending.

Income Gaps

Mongolia’s income gaps are visible in Ulan Bator, where a statue of Genghis Khan looks south from the steps of parliament at newly opened Louis Vuitton and Ermenegildo Zegna stores. Meanwhile, the most severe winter in three decades is killing livestock in western Mongolia, where the UN says people may face starvation.

Sanjaasuren Oyun, a 12-year parliamentary veteran with a doctorate in earth sciences from Cambridge University in the U.K., said she is pushing the government to avoid politically popular cash dividends for citizens and focus on infrastructure improvements and job growth.

“Because poverty and unemployment are still the most pressing issues in this country, it is easy to win the vote by promising cash,” Oyun said in an interview. “But members of both parties in parliament are saying that in the future, these promises should not be made.”

--Editors: Melinda Grenier, Bill Austin

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bill Austin at +813-3201-8952 or

Source:Bloomberg News Service


From Chinggis Khan to Prayer Wheels, Mongolians Reclaim What’s Theirs

By Daisy Sindelar

TSONJIN BOLDOG, Mongolia -- There are ordinary equestrian statues. And then there's Chinggis Khan, the monument so tall that visitors need to ride an elevator and climb several flights of stairs just to reach his waistline.

Located on a windswept plateau an hour's drive from the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator, the massive stainless-steel monument reaches 50 meters high, including its 10-meter base. That's more than twice the size of the world's next-tallest equestrian statue. But as many Mongolians would argue, Chinggis Khan -- or Genghis Khan, as he's better known in the West -- was more than twice the warrior and twice the statesman of anyone else in history.
Standing on a narrow observation platform atop the head of the great khan's horse, a young tour guide dressed in traditional nomadic wear extols the virtues of the 13th-century ruler. A clutch of Japanese tourists gaze happily up at the stern but sparkling visage of the khan. A German visitor treats himself to a surreptitious shot of vodka. And a group of Mongolian men gaze contemplatively out over the steppes where Chinggis Khan is said to have found the golden whip that aided him in conquering half of what was then the known world.

The massive statue is at the center of a $4 million complex that includes gift shops and restaurants and will eventually grow to include a resort comprising 200 gers, the mobile felt tents that have been home to Chinggis Khan and generations of nomads since.
The complex is part of Mongolia's efforts to reclaim its national heritage after years of Soviet subjugation. In the 20 years since the fall of Mongolia's Moscow-controlled communist regime, the country has seen a rich resurrection of its native traditions and heroes. First and foremost, this means Chinggis Khan, whose conquests eventually built the world's single largest contiguous empire and brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, trade, and freedom of religion.

They also permanently altered the world's genetic makeup. The reach of the Mongol Empire grew so wide that scientists estimate that Chinggis Khan can count at least 32 million people among his current descendants. Meaning that many countries and cultures -- from China to Central Asia to Russia and beyond -- also claim the great khan as their own. That's not a problem, says archaeologist Khugulbuu Lkhagvasuren, as long as Mongolians themselves are free to celebrate the legacy of a native son they see as a "living god."

A New Image

"We should believe in him and love him," says Lkhagvasuren, the founder and director of Chinggis Khan University, a bustling Ulan Bator institution launched in 1999. "I don't care about other countries trying to claim that Chinggis Khan is theirs. All I care about is how much we love the name, and how much we love him."

Lkhagvasuren's university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in archaeology, tourism, and of course, the study of Chinggis Khan. Portraits of dozens of khans line the walls of school, along with maps of the Mongol Empire, which at its height stretched from the Sea of Japan to the Danube River.

Lkhagvasuren says the aim of his university is to burnish the legacy of Mongolia's greatest leader and correct misperceptions of the khan -- propagated by the Soviets and many historians in the West -- as a poorly educated, bloodthirsty warrior.
"The communists repressed our belief in him," he says.
But Mongolian attempts to return nuance and honor to Chinggis Khan's heretofore fearsome reputation have gained traction in recent years, thanks in large part to studies like "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" by U.S. anthropology professor Jack Weatherford, who worked with Lkhagvasuren while researching his book.

Among other achievements, Weatherford credits Chinggis Khan and his descendants with creating the first postal system, eliminating torture and feudal systems, and supporting crossculture intellectual interactions that brought everything from gunpowder to paper money to the wider world. In a word, he and Lkhagvasuren argue, Chinggis Khan was the world's first global citizen.

Elsewhere in Ulan Bator, evidence of Mongolia's Chinggis Khan devotion can be decidedly more pedestrian. The khan's likeness can be found everywhere from decorative carpets to myriad brands of vodka, and on all but the smallest of the denominations of the local currency, the tugrik. (The smaller banknotes, all worth seven U.S. cents or less, feature military leader Damdin Sukhbaatar, the "Mongolian Lenin" who spurred the country's 1921 communist revolution.)

Khan-mania has become so commercial that one lawmaker famously worried there was nothing to prevent an overeager entrepreneur from producing Genghis Khan toilet paper if he so chose. (Mongolian marketers appear to have exercised restraint in this particular regard -- for now.) The issue sparks a flash of anger in Lkhagvasuren, who says, "I don't want to see his name on some alcohol or cigarette boxes. We should believe in Chinggis Khan even more than Americans believe in their constitution."

Cultural Revolution

Mongolia’s resurrection of its native culture isn’t limited to Chinggis Khan. Theaters proudly offer nightly programs of folk dancing, contortionists, mask dancing, throat singing, and a wide range of music featuring native instruments like the wistful-sounding morin khuur, or horse-head fiddle, with strings made from hairs plucked from the tails of stallions and mares.

In other areas, Mongols have shown a bit of the old khan spirit by invading another culture and conquering it. Nowhere is this more true than with sumo wrestling. Japan’s national sport, practiced for 1,500 years, was closed to foreigners until the 1960s. Now, Mongolians make up 11 of the world’s 42 top-ranked sumo wrestlers – including Asashoryu, last autumn’s Grand Sumo champion and the first Mongolian to reach the sport’s highest rank.
Fans attribute the success of Asashoryu and others to their early training in Mongolian-style wrestling, which they say requires greater agility. Others are more blunt. One Ulan Bator sumo fan says simply, “Ours are less fat, more muscle.”

The resurgence of Buddhism -- and, to a quieter degree, shamanism – has also typified Mongolia's post-Soviet transition. Tibetan Buddhism was adopted by the early descendants of Chinggis Khan and became widespread in Mongolia in the 16th century. But as Mongolia moved to accept communist rule in the early 20th century, the country’s elite, at the urging of Moscow, moved to eradicate the religion’s influence. Hundreds of Buddhist lamas were executed and hundreds of monasteries destroyed in the 1930s under Soviet rule. Now, restrictions on religion have been lifted, and Mongolians are returning to Buddhist traditions.

One of the few monasteries to be spared wholesale destruction was the Gandan Khiid monastery in Ulan Bator. Even there, however, Soviet troops dismantled a massive bronze statue of a bodhisattva, or Buddhist deity, and shipped the pieces to Moscow.

"It was built in 1911, and taken down in 1937," says one of the Gandan monks, a cherubic man dressed in mustard-yellow robes. "Some say that it disappeared and went to Russia, and some parts were brought back to rebuild it."

The monk, who asked that his name not be used, arrived at the Gandan monastery as an 11-year-old in 1989, one year before mass demonstrations forced the ouster of one-party, pro-Moscow rule in Mongolia. He remembers the early days as short on material comforts, but a rich opportunity for his country to return to its roots.

"Religion was huge in our country," before the communist era, he says. "In 1990, when the socialist era ended, I was happy at all the freedom I had."

Once Forbidden, Now Commonplace

The monastery's bodhisattva has since been restored, and hundreds of visitors regularly crowd inside the dusky monastery to gently spin the rows of copper prayer wheels or pay their respects before framed portraits of the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist teachers. Outside, newlyweds pose for photographs in their wedding finery before moving on to other city sites. Much of ordinary life in Mongolia circulates around auspicious days on Mongolia's Buddhist calendar, which can help determine when everything from horse-branding to haircuts are scheduled.
Last year, nearly 150 couples in Ulan Bator waited to wed until October 6, considered the most auspicious day of the year. (The Mongolian government also chose that day to finally sign a long-stalled $4-billion mining agreement, a deal many in the country hope will usher in a new period of karmic prosperity.) Observers say such gestures show the degree to which once-forbidden traditions have infused day-to-day life and become an important part of Mongolia's independent emergence.

Tumursukh Undarya, a political scientist based in Ulan Bator, says the restoration of Mongolian nationalism -- reflected in the resurrection of Buddhism and Chinggis Khan -- began in earnest 20 years ago, as the country's young dissidents, struggling against the Soviet system, "realized that it's not OK for us to be treated like this in our own country, that it's not OK to be controlled by Moscow."

"The repressions of the 1930s during the Stalinist regime basically decimated the independent intelligentsia, the intellectual class. Nationalism really became anti-imperialist, and the imperialists were the Soviets," she says.

Pausing, she cites a line scrolled by Mongolia's current president, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, during his days as a young pro-democracy activist: "Do not forget. If you forget, then you will disappear from the face of the Earth as Mongolians."

It's a sentiment that Chinggis Khan would endorse. "Every Mongol can conquer the world when he takes his whip in his hand," the legend of Tsonjin Boldog reads.

For modern-day Mongolians, perhaps, the equivalent of the golden whip is the opportunity to enjoy a fresh appreciation of the country’s native traditions and heroes.
By Daisy Sindelar for Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty (

20 Million Mongolian Cattle Could Be Dead by Spring Due to Dzud (UPDATED)

What's dzud you ask? Well, it's the Mongolian word for the sort of weather they are now experiencing. Roughly translated by Shambala Sun, it's an unusually dry summer where there isn't enough grass growth to allow herd animals to grow strong, followed by an unusually cold winter (we're talking -55°F at times) with higher than normal snow. It causes huge numbers of cattle to die and brings misery and hardship to the families who herd them.

Worst Winter in Three Decades
This is the worst winter Mongolia has experienced in 30 years. Some 2 million domestic animals have been killed so far. The last time dzud conditions set in, 10-12 million animals died--and by all accounts this time things are much worse. Hence, predictions have been made that up to half of Mongolia's 40 million cattle may die by the time more temperature conditions take hold, in May.

Here's how the UN has assessed the situation's severity:

Compared with the same period during the last dzud in 2000-2001, dzud 2010 is much more severe in terms of the impact of the disaster on people and livestock, which comprise the backbone of the rural economy. The country's snow coverage is 90%, ranging from 20 cm to 50 cm, reaching 120 cm in the most affected areas. More snow can be expected. Over 70% of the country's territory was affected by drought last summer of 2009, which affected preparation of winter hay. The stocks of hay in the state emergency reserves are inadequate.

Three Quarters of a Million Mongolians Are Herders
Shambala Sun describes the human suffering,

Scattered across a country as big as Western Europe, some 750,000 Mongolians' livelihoods derive almost entirely from herd animals. A devastating dzud plunges tens of thousands under subsistence level, themselves risking starvation and illness. As in the last dzud, many families will migrate as economic refugees to the already grossly overcrowded capital. With no skills to apply to survival in an urban environment, desperation drives people to barely exist by picking through trash, begging (including even the smallest children, some of whom live on the streets even in winter), and prostitution. This degrading situation is often made even worse by domestically produced vodka that's cheaper than milk.
With the recent events in Haiti still fresh in your mind, I understand that it may be difficult to mentally and emotionally embrace another natural disaster (albeit a slow-moving one) with such devastating consequences, but please consider the call from Shambala Sun and Elephant Journal and make a financial donation if you feel compelled.

Both are recommending donations be made to the Cambridge Mongolia Development Appeal (CAMDA), which has been working assisting Mongolian herders since the last dzud. Shambala Sun's Konchog Norbu says, "Funds received now will go directly to providing fodder to the most desperate herders' animals, fuel for their gers [the Mongolia word for yurt] so their families can survive until spring, and any other that is necessary. Left over resources will be used of CAMDA's longer-term pastoral Mongolia development projects."

You can learn more about the situation and make donations here.

UPDATE: Human Action Compounded Problem?
A commenter on the original Shambala Sun piece comments that money won't help because,

The current disaster in Mongolia is entirely man-made and is a result of the fact that herd numbers were allowed to grow totally out of control resutling in severe overgrazing leading to desertification leading to massive die offs during an entirely predictable drought (which come at least once every 7 to 10 years)...From the period 1921 to 1990, the number of livestock in Mongolia never exceed 23 million. In 2009 it was close to 50 million. Totally unsustainable. Worse was that due to the greed of government and the herders themselves, the number of goats (which are a major cause of desertification) rose about 400 to 500% higher than recommended levels for an ecological balance.

Which well may be the case, but the importance of redressing this long-term condition doesn't change the fact that people and animals are suffering now. Is it more compassionate to let them all die now, in one fell swoop, or to give aid now and bring balance back more gradually so that the next time a dzud sets in things might not be so bad?

Source:by Matthew McDermott, New York, NY for

UNICEF: Severe winter ‘dzud’ pushes most of Mongolia to disaster status

UNICEF intensifies efforts to reach children in the hardest hit rural areas

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA 12 February 2010 – In response to weeks of freezing temperatures and heavy snows have left more than half of Mongolia’s 21 provinces in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF has mobilized to help children and families, addressing their most urgent humanitarian concerns, including food, fuel for heating and cooking, blankets, and warm clothing.

The Government of Mongolia has declared disaster status in 12 provinces, with a further seven provinces predicted to move to disaster status shortly as temperatures continue to hover around -40 Celsius and further heavy snow is expected.

The children’s agency is working close collaboration with other UN agencies, including UNFPA, FAO and UNDP, with the Government of Mongolia and major NGOs, to gear up a significant humanitarian response and coordinated the response to the challenges of this unfolding emergency.

These winter conditions, known locally as a dzud, are likely to continue beyond April, and the severity of the coming months will determine the unfolding extent of the humanitarian and food security efforts needed.

While the people of Mongolia are used to cold winter conditions, it is the combination of a severe summer drought, where little fodder was generated, and severely cold temperatures that harden heavy snow which have crippled the rural population largely reliant on herding and agriculture.

So far, the dzud has killed more than two million livestock, devastated the livelihoods of families in the agriculture sector, which employs 35 – 40 per cent of the population, and isolated herders and villages from accessing food, fuel and medical care.

In the previous dzud of 2001, not considered as severe as the current one, Mongolia suffered a deepening of poverty and lowered GDP, raised chronic malnutrition levels, and watched a massive influx of the rural population to the peri-urban areas around the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.

The Government has appealed to the local and international community for urgent support to reach the herders with fodder, fuel, medicines, food and warm clothing.

UNICEF has already responded to a call for support from the Ministry of Education for urgent attention to failing heating systems and limited food supplies in 18 school dormitories where children are housed, facing difficulties to return to their families due to the dangerous travel conditions. A convoy to some of the villages in the worst affected areas will shortly deliver food, fuel, blankets, hygiene kits, and boots to vulnerable poor families.

“This is an unfolding emergency, said Rana Flowers, the UNICEF Representative in Mongolia. “Of most recent and most urgent concern is evidence that babies and young children are dying because they cannot access the medical treatment from trained personnel that they need.”

“The UN is acutely aware of the need to reach increasingly isolated populations with fuel and medicines, to get those in need out to trained medical care and to provide hygiene kits to stem the spread of disease, to ensure safe delivery and newborn care and to prevent the deepening of chronic malnutrition in this country.”

Information from the Ministry of Health received today confirms that 9 young children have died in recent days in one province alone. The figures from other provinces are not yet available.

“Vulnerability to disease is heightened for those children living in dormitories and in poor households in villages where the heating is not working, the fuel is insufficient and where food is in short supply. There are over 22,000 children in 265 dormitories in need of urgent assistance, but this number grows every few days as the severe conditions spread across the rest of the country widening the net cast by the disaster,” Flowers said.

As the severity of winter conditions spread across the country, as many as 492 additional dormitories will need assistance with more than 41,078 children in their care. Over the last few days, the Mongolian National Emergency Management agency (NEMA) has indicated that several villages are facing diminishing supplies of fuel for heating and cooking. In some cases, the villages only have enough fuel for three or four more days.

Even in non-emergency times, access to clean water and adequate sanitation are significant areas of concern for Mongolia. Once a thawing begins in the spring, the impact of dead animals and generally poor sanitation practices are predicted to result in a further spread of disease.

UNICEF says it faces a critical need for an additional USD 400,000 for medical supplies, equipment, micronutrients, and hygiene interventions as well as $322,000 to reach the growing number of affected communities with other life saving interventions.

As Mongolia moves into the spring, food security concerns will increase and the response will need to be well coordinated. In addition to the ongoing humanitarian efforts, child protection and psychosocial support will also be needed as families struggle with the overwhelming emotional and psychological impact of their losses and to handle difficult migration to burgeoning peri-urban areas where access to water and sanitation and basic social services will be severely limited.

For further information, please contact:
Bolor Purevdorj, Communication Specialist, ;
Tel + 976 11 312 183; / + 976 11 312 185 (UN Children's Fund)

Russia-Mongolia defence relations discussed in Moscow

Russian Minister of Defence Anatoly Serdyukov met Luvsanvandan Bold, Mongolian Defence Minister.

The sides discussed state and prospects of military and military-technical bilateral cooperation, security issues in Central Asia and Asia-Pacific region.

Defence ministers took a favourable view of Darkhan-2, Russo-Mongolian military exercise (August-September 2009). According to the Defence Minister of Russia, this trend should be consolidated through strengthening the quality and extent of interaction during joint exercises on various spheres using forces and means mix. As Anatoly Serdyukov underlined, principally it is referred to cooperation between the troops of the Siberian Military District and the armed forces of Mongolia, as well as joint anti-terrorism activity and interoperability during peacekeeping operations.

During the meeting Russian party confirmed readinesses to continue prepare personnel for the armed forces of Mongolia in the Russian Ministry of Defence military educational institutions. Today, more than 200 Mongolian soldiers receive training in Russia. In addition, in accordance with the Russo-Mongolian arrangements in the current training year Omsk Cadet Corps welcomed 20 citizens of minority age from Mongolia, with this end in view in Russia for the first time was formed the legal framework regulating the possibility of such training.

At the conclusion of the talks Chief the RF Armed Forces General Staff, Army General Nikolai Makarov had been awarded Mongolia's national award - the Order of the Polar Star.

Minister of Defence of Mongolia visit will continue till February 9. While in Moscow Mongolian guests are set to visit the Military University, as well as the Central Museum of Russian Armed Forces. (Ministry of Defence of Russian Federation

Leighton confident of winning big Mongolia contract

MELBOURNE, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Leighton Holdings Ltd (LEI.AX), the world's biggest contract miner, is confident it will eventually be chosen to develop the massive Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit in Mongolia, its chief executive said on Friday.
Mongolia recently scrapped plans to sell 49 percent of Tavan Tolgoi, snubbing bidders like miners BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) and Brazil's Vale (VALE5.SA) in order to keep the whole deposit for itself and develop it with a contract miner. [ID:nSGE61400Z] [ID:nTOE61708S]

The long delay on that decision followed twists and turns on a deal finally signed last year to develop the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold deposit.

Leighton Chief Executive Wal King said he did not expect any action on Tavan Tolgoi, billed as the world's largest untapped coking coal deposit, anytime soon and did not mind the delay as Leighton already had plenty of work in Mongolia.

"Only two things are known: there's a gigantic coal deposit and a gigantic market in China. And they've taken a decision for contract mine development," King told reporters.

He said it would take time for the government to work through all the decisions needed to go ahead with mining at Tavan Tolgoi.

"It'll probably suit us if it's a bit slower," he said.

Mongolia is a huge growth market for Leighton, which got its foot in the door with a A$480 million a year ($428 million) contract to develop the Ukhaa Khudag mine next to Tavan Tolgoi in southern Mongolia, which started producing last year.

It is slated to double annual production at Ukhaa Khudag to 5 million tonnes by end-2010 and build a railroad across the Gobi desert to transport the coal, now trucked to Chinese steel mills.

Leighton, controlled by German construction group Hochtief (HOTG.DE), is also in line to develop a coal mine in western Mongolia, expected to produce 3 million tonnes a year, King said.
"They expect in the next few months to announce that that mine will go ahead, and we will be the contractor," he said.

The big prize would be winning the Tavan Tolgoi contract.

The mine is estimated to hold 6.5 billion tonnes of high-quality coking coal, with potential annual production of 20-40 million tonnes. King said its size was "staggering".

"We're always confident," King said, when asked whether he expected Leighton to win the Tavan Tolgoi deal. (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Mark Bendeich) ($1=1.122 Australian Dollar)
Source:Reuters News Service

Mongolia coalfield still open to foreign investors

By Patti Waldmeir in Shanghai and William MacNamara in,London

Published: February 10 2010 02:00 | Last updated: February 10 2010 02:00

Foreign mining companies are likely to remain involved in developing Mongolia's huge Tavan Tolgoi coal project, in spite of government statements indicating that Ulan Bator would prefer to keep 100 per cent equity ownership.

A spokesman for Sükhbaataryn Batbold, Mongolian prime minister, denied yesterday that a plan to auction 49 per cent of Tavan Tolgoi to foreign investors had been called off. "Plans to privatise Tavan Tolgoi have not been cancelled," the spokesman said. "We will announce a tender and we will choose which investors are suitable for us. The time of the tender has not been decided yet."

But the prime minister had made clear on Monday that he preferred abandoning the auction. He said: "We have not ruled out foreign mining companies having a stake but our preferred option is complete state control."

The Tavan Tolgoi deposit, one of the world's largest unexploited reserves of coal, has estimated coking-coal reserves of 6.5bn tonnes. It has interested companies from BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, to India's Jindal; Brazil's Vale;Peabody of the US; and China's Shenhua. Mongolia also has further untapped reserves of coal, copper and other commodities.

The Mongolian parliament will debate the 49 per cent sale, and other forms of foreign participation, including using a foreign contractor to run the mine or a production-sharing deal with foreign miners. People close to the talks said Mongolia has neither the money nor management skills to develop the deposit on its own.

Keeping 100 per cent ownership would be a politically popular solution, said Dosbergen Musaev, an analyst at Eurasia Capital. "But the most important thing is the government needs money to invest." (Financial Times Ltd)

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