Mining projects in Mongolia ‘kicking off’

Mongolia’s mining industry is taking off as projects involving state-owned enterprises and corporate investments fuel market activity, according to Hogan Lovells head of infrastructure and project finance Asia, James Harris.
The firm has received a steady stream of work from traditional E&R-rich jurisdictions such as Indonesia, Vietnam, China and India but more recently from Mongolia, Harris told ALB.
“We’ve been doing stuff with three types of clients: private-sector developers, investors, buyers or sellers; lenders to these people; governments or governments assisted by a multilateral such as the World Bank, IFC or the Asian Development Bank (ADB),” he said. “The strongest countries would be – working from south to north – Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, China, Mongolia, and India to the east.”
Mongolian firm GTS Advocates has seen a similar increase in corporate and commercial transactions involving the mining community in the last 10-12 months. “Certainly we noticed the dramatic increase in investment in the mining sector in Mongolia. Most of these projects involve funding of operations from private companies,” GTS Advocates partner Batbayar Byambaa said.

Byambaa attributes the upswing in mining transactions to two factors: the increase in global metal prices; and the inking of a number of mega deals last year by the Mongolian government.“Last year the government signed an investment deal with Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe – that was the starting the point of the flood of investment into the mining sector in Mongolia,” Byambaa said.
On 15 September 2010, Hogan Lovells also announced its appointment as legal adviser to state-owned mining company Erdenes MGL – the sole owner of the mining operations for the Tavan Tolgoi project in Mongolia.
Often called the world’s biggest untapped coking coal deposit, Tavan Tolgoi holds a coal reserve of 6.5bn tonnes. The successful implementation of the Tavan Tolgoi project will be pivotal to a number of other projects in Mongolia, particularly in the rail and power sectors, and the proposed development of a major industrial park.
As part of the appointment, Hogan Lovells will help Erdenes establish draft mining agreements which can be used for the development of the Tavan Talgoi coal deposit area and other future coal mine developments in Mongolia.
It is expected that Hogan Lovells will also assist in the negotiation and finalisation of the mining agreements between Erdenes and the international private-sector participants in the project.
The Hogan Lovells team will be led by Ulaanbaatar-based Michael Aldrich and comprise of John Copper in London, Joseph Bell in Washington DC, James Harris in Singapore and Jamie Barr in Hong Kong.ALB


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