“We Will Develop Tavan Tolgoi on Our Own Resources”: D.Bat-Erdene

One of important events happened in the country’s mining industry over the past half year became the establishment of “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd, the first-ever attempt by national firms to develop domestic mineral deposit with own resources.

Daily News newspaper has interviewed D.Bat-Erdene, chairman of the Governing Board of “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd.
How many companies did merge to “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd so far?
In less than ten days, 1,550 national companies have registered. There are 5,000 national companies running active businesses in Mongolia. “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd is open for all of them to register and become a shareholder.

What your National Consortium can benefit to Mongolian people?
There is a wrong trend newly emerged in Mongolia that people work for a political party that won elections, that is more powerful and wealthy and that can promise more in terms of income and personal career of that person. If such system remains regulating all social and economic life of the country, the future of our children cannot be so bright. In order to address this problem, we, the owners of some national companies, have decided to set up a consortium of national taxpaying companies, as we already know what does the responsibility and accountability mean. First, we thought of uniting 999 national firms for our consortium. But we have found out that our project was a long-lasting demand by the people. Numerous national companies have supported and united themselves to the consortium. This is the first and significant step showing that Mongolian businessmen can come together to start a community-beneficial activity using own resources. There is no economic generation in Mongolia because few big companies are linked with politicians and the two shares same interest and pocket. We have a realistic opportunity and possibility to establish a big national company of which every citizen is shareholder and provide the country without external credits and assistances.

Do you think it is possible that not only companies but also individuals can be a part of this?
We held the first meeting of founders and shareholders on May 5. The meeting held in a very organized and fruitful way. There is an understanding that only public organizations and political parties can hold meetings. Our meeting showed that the most organized and responsible people are our company owners. In total 1550, national companies registered as founders. More and more companies are waiting to register to “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd as shareholder. At the founders’ meeting, we considered a version to issue shares with a cheap nominal price with the purpose of making every citizen of Mongolia a shareholder. At the present, one company holds shares of MNT1 million. It is possible that registered capital of the national consortium amounts MNT5 billion if 5,000 national companies register to Mongol-999.

Then isn’t it not open for individuals?
It is right but for today. In the future, systematic actions will be taken to make each citizen of Mongolia shareholders. We want to show national solidarity based on a thing that Mongolians are capable of. That is exactly the Tavan Tolgoi. There is no need of foreign specialists and foreign credits to develop this mine. We have already lost the Oyu Tolgoi to foreigners. We cannot give the Tavan Tolgoi to foreigners. The Cabinet and the Parliament financed by Mongolian taxpayers is going to make the tender bid for Tavan Tolgoi Mine without announcing it to Mongolian people and businessmen, only giving invitation to some eleven foreign companies. It is strange that they don’t want national companies in this tender bid. It is possible that Mongolian citizen look wealthy like Arabians. It is not acceptable that officials illegally become rich by taking shares from foreigners. Let us share the profit from our own natural resources equally and live wealthy.

Is it possible that few big companies like Ajnai company that you own, will have more priority in the “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd and serve for interest of few companies?
It is not possible. Ajnai Company has only one million tugrug shares like other member companies do. 1,550 companies have equal rights and none of them has a priority. As a person who leads the management of the company operating near the Tavan Tolgoi Mine, I know better than others that we, Mongolians, are capable of doing the coal exploration on our own among other mineral explorations. Today “Tavan Tolgoi” Ltd, whose 51 percent is owned by local administration, distributes dividend of MNT55,000 per share. In recent years it distributed about MNT10,000 per share. It is the dividend that never been in Mongolia before. There is no foreign investment and foreign specialists. Thus, why the politicians want foreign companies take the Tavan Tolgoi, when we, Mongolians, have managed to achieve such results without the help of foreigners.

The community has different understanding about those elected in the Governing Board. Following this, people are afraid that the good initiative may go wrong way and that it might become a play by a group of people? What would you say about that?
I felt so much confidence when 1550 companies came together on May 5. I felt that we are doing right thing for the future of our children’s. Our Mongolian scholars and experts have proven that how much we can benefit from the Tavan Tolgoi mine if we can properly use the Tavan Tolgoi resource with own resources. The investment by some 2000 national companies can easily collect many billion dollars, which is believed affordable only from foreign resources. We must take this opportunity. Do we really need the country that relies on government allowances and pensions, that shares income with foreigners and that is full of agents of mineral licenses. Indeed this is the reflection of foreigners’ policy attempting to dampen the future of Mongolia and make us a weak nation. Why we should share our profit with foreigners, we are fully capable of uniting our money and resources and doing work on our own and making profit for ourselves only. Instead, we must share it with our future generation. If we won’t do that now, Mongolia will no longer exist.
There are different people among our shareholders. The society can make anyone black or white. We cannot move forward and there can be no talk about national unity if we sort out each other into bad or good. We decided that there is no censure or criterion for Governing Board members.

Do you think you can find a common language with authorities?
The government that works for its country and people must understand any goodwill initiative intended for the sake of Mongolian people. It is true that every new thing is always difficult. We do know and must work being aware of that we would face many counter activities against our initiative both from externally and internally.

Is there any guarantee that none of you will fall under the influence of a political pressure?
There can be no interest of any political party or force. Otherwise, our efforts will crumble. Truly speaking, foreigners’ policy towards Mongolia looks like willing to help Mongolia develop its country. Indeed they are trying to disturb our unity against our independence. Only few people in power, who take shares for granting our resources to foreigners and become wealthy, cheat the people by distributing cash allowance once in a four year, leading to national poverty. That is how our future is seen. Falling under the influence of a political party or force under such circumstance would be a suicide.

Can the unification of national companies raise the money sufficient to develop the Tavan Tolgoi Mine to 100 percent?
Totally possible. We don’t want foreign money when we have own mineral resource. As for foreign companies, money is the right to buy this resource only. It will make MNT300 billion if we sell 6.4 billion tons of Tavan Tolgoi coal at the price of US$50 per ton. But our politicians are just talking about taking 100 million dollar from abroad. We cannot beg foreigners and machinate in order to get small piece of a big cake, when we have wealthy resources. We must stop conspiracy and make it open. Land resource is the one that is no recoverable. In this regard, we must exploit our big deposits to highest economic profits. To ensure this, the play must be open. All businesses of our national consortium, including Governing Board meetings, investments, finances and others, will be open and transparent. I feel that our spirit for the country will be fundament for our national unity.

“Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd is an ordinary business entity. How open is the ownership of Tavan Tolgoi Mine to such business entity?
I hope all issues will be settled since it is for the interest of Mongolia. We are working with national mining experts. With respect to money rising, we intend to cooperate with a team from the University of Finance and Economics.
source :The UB Post
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