Nomads no more

A steppe-land struggles with new riches

MONGOLIANS were until recently wont to describe themselves as “beggars sitting on a huge pile of gold”. The country has vast but largely untapped mineral deposits.
Until recently wages were low and jobs scarce. Shoppers in Ulan Bator, the capital, were not spoilt for choice—unless they were in the market for dried meat, vegetables or furry hats. But with the recent launch of several big mining projects, a transformation looms. It will present the government with a different set of problems: how to manage a promised economic boom without devastating the environment or destabilising
either the economy or the nation’s fledgling democracy.
Few doubt that the boom is coming. The IMF foresees a doubledigit annual-growth rate for years to come; and a quadrupling of GDP per head—currently a measly $2,000—by 2018. Two mines in Mongolia’s southern Gobi region are expected to provide much of the new wealth.
One, called Oyu Tolgoi, which was given the green light last year, will tap an estimated 40m tonnes of copper and also gold. The other is an existing coal mine, Tavan Tolgoi, to which new capacity has been added, including road and rail links to its main customer, China (surprise, surprise) The government will be a big
beneficiary of the boom: it owns a third of Oyu Tolgoi (a Canadian firm, Ivanhoe, owns the rest). Yet the country’s president, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, considers it potentially dangerous. “If we get much more income and much more profit in a bad system with bad governance, I think Mongolia is in trouble,” he says. Mongolian politics is already based on patronage, with politicians invariably offering cash and other goodies for votes. Swollen government coffers could exaggerate these bad habits. Corruption could also thrive—as it did in the 1990s, on the back of a hasty privatisation of state-owned businesses soon after the country emerged from the Soviet Union’s shadow and introduced democracy. Indeed, the involvement of many senior officials in mining  makes this likely. And even virtuous public spending may push up inflation. An economy hooked on a handful of commodities is also vulnerable to price shocks. A new fiscal stability law has been adopted, setting indices for commodity prices for budgeting purposes. When prices go above the index, excess revenue will be stored in a “stability fund”. If prices fall, the  government can tap the fund to cover its costs.
Other precautions are being taken. New anti-corruption legislation has been passed. And Mr Elbegdorj vows to help boost investments in nonmining sectors, including tourism, finance and outsourcing. He says that mining’s contribution to output should shrink from 70%, its current level, to around 20% within two decades.
That sounds unlikely. Yet there is hope that Mongolia’s current leaders, who are better educated than their predecessors, do at least understand the dilemmas involved in managing the coming riches and the rising expectations they will bring. “It’s a question of whether we become Nigeria or Chile,” says a senior government adviser, in a country accelerating away from its sleepy nomadic past
Source: The Economist Oct 21st 2010

The highest building in Mongolia- Blue Sky Tower

The year 2010 will mark the launching of the highest building in Mongolia. Currently the tallest building in Mongolia, Blue Sky Tower stands at a height of 105 meters and is located at the heart of Ulaanbaatar, facing the Sukhbaatar square. Last month, Blue Sky Tower was featured in the list of tallest buildings in the world recorded by The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), based in USA. The structure commands such magnificence and modern elegance that it provokes a sense of pride in anyone who takes a glance at it.
The development was inspired by the growth and prosperity of Mongolia and its developer, “Chono Corporation”, commenced the construction in July 2006 with a vision to create the capital city’s flagship property. The architectural renderings were designed by “A Group”, a leading architecture, planning and construction engineering company from South Korea. The building’s design is distinctly reminiscent of a sailing ship and the glass exterior represents the color of the clear blue sky of Mongolia. Its unique design combined with the state-of-the-art construction technology notes the beginning of a new age in construction, engineering and operation of tall buildings in the country.
Blue Sky Tower consists of 25 stories and features an international five-star hotel, grade-A commercial office space and penthouse residences in addition to such amenities as meeting and convention facilities, a fitness center with a 20-meter long swimming pool, luxury retail boutique shops as well as various  fine dining restaurants.
Currently, the construction work is nearly complete and all mechanical and engineering fit-outs are finished. By the end of this year, Blue Sky Tower will be ready to receive its first clients as the offices and residences will be launched along with Blue Sky Lounge at the very top.
Upon full opening, Blue Sky Tower will create over 400 new jobs. Moreover, at the onset of the tremendous development of Mongolia’s mining sector, Blue Sky Tower is fully geared to provide foreign investors and their associates with a full range of world-class services.
source: Mongol Messenger newspaper

Policy Rate to remain unchanged

At its meeting on October 21, the Mongol Bank’s Board of Directors reached a decision not to change the Policy Rate. According to the National Statistical Committee, inflation had stood at 10.6 percent throughout the nation and at 10.9 percent in Ulaanbaatar by September. After showing faster growth during the first half of this year, inflation has declined from the 3rd quarter. The Bill on the 2011 State Budget is under the discussion at Parliament. 

Mongol Bank’s Monetary Policy 
At the press conference held on October 22, D. Boldbaatar, Director of the Mongol Bank’s Monetary Policy Department, D. Ganbat, Director of the Supervision Department and G. Delgermaa, Director of the Foreign Currency and Economic Department, responded reporters’ questions.
-When the Togrog rate has appreciated, imports will increase while exports will decrease. What measures are planned to avoid the Togrog rate’s appreciation?
-If the Togrog rate appreciates much without integrity according to basic economic indicators or due to the effects of unproductive currency inflows it will have the consequences of: weakening competitiveness for various sectors except for mining; negatively affect Mongolia’s sustainable economic growth; lose foreign trade balance sustainability; and encourage ineffective imports. Expectation and appreciation of currency rate must accord with basic macro-economic conditions and the Mongol Bank believes it is unnecessary to apply regulations in case the rate remains stable. However, if there is pressure for the Togrog rate to appreciate due
to the abovementioned reasons, the Central Bank will regulate by its rates policy. Not only the Central Bank’s, but also the Government’s policy and guidelines on managing mining income at foreign market levels so as to ensure budgetary discipline, are important to correctly regulate unproductive or huge mining income.
-This year, gold sold to the Central Bank did not reach 2 tonne. What policy will be applied to fix this?
-As at the first 9 months, the Central Bank had bought 1.7 tonne of gold from gold extraction companies and individuals, a decrease of 2.3 tonne or 57 percent against the previous year. Other companies, except for gold exporter Boroo Gold Company, had extracted 2 tonne of gold during the first 9 months of 2010, a decrease of 54 percent against the previous year. This decrease in gold extraction had influenced the volume of gold sold to the Central Bank.
-How will the world market gold price-up affect Mongolia?
-As at October 20, the per-ounce price of monetized gold had reached USD1340.5 on the world market and is expected to have a positive effect, increasing Mongolia’s gold exports and reducing losses in foreign trade and operational balances.
-How many tonnes of gold does Mongolia sell annually on the world market?
-During 2008-2010, Mongolia on average sold 7 tonnes of monetized gold annually on the world market. In its Annual Report, the Central Bank will release official information as to what tonnage of monetized gold was sold on the world market this year.
-It is said that some countries are buying gold as protection against crises. Is this the best protection?
-It is true that some countries are raising the percentage of gold in foreign currency reserves at their central banks. This aims to maintain the value and protect the reserve from rate fluctuation risks. It is noted that gold
prices rise when unstable conditions existed in the global financial market.
Central Bank to encourage sustainable economic growth next year 
The Mongol Bank plans to ensure macro-economic and financial stability for next year and to stimulate sustainable mid- and long-term economic growth.
Within its Monetary Policy, the Mongol Bank will adhere to a policy of ensuring sustainable economic growth in the mid-term and to avoid exceeding a single-digit inflation rate. Moreover, it intends to collaborate with the Government and Financial Regulatory Committee so as to: scrutinize and create long-term resources in the financial market; expand the capital market; and use the Banking Sector’s accumulated money efficiently for economic development.
The Central Bank will also introduce a savings insurance system to ensure Financial Sector stability; improve the convertibility of mortgaged property; create a legal environment to manage development and investment banking activities; and stimulate capital market development.
Payment cards with a unified network 
On October 18, the Golomt, Xac, Capitron and State Banks joined the Inter-bank Payment Card’s Unified Network.
As the ‘One Card-Unified Network’ service comes into effect, this is expected to: reduce cashrelated risks; make banking and financial services easier, faster and more confidential; increase the use of non-cash payments; and raise public confidence in banks. The Central Bank is giving attention to the reliable
and unremitting operations provide by the unified network and plans to issue national-brand payment cards.
source: 'mongol messenger'newspaper

Civil registration campaign ends

The revised civil registration that started on July 5, 2010 has covered 76.9 percent or 1.5 million out of the total population as at October 20, with some 74.7 percent of Ulaanbaatar’s population and 78.5 percent of the country’s rural population participating Although this registration campaign is scheduled to end on October 30, civil registration will continue as usual. Mongolia’s civil registration was undertaken on an information-based format. PM S. Batbold confirmed that identifying citizens by finger-printing meets with modern international trends and opens a new civil registration era for Mongolia.
At Parliament’s plenary meeting on October 21, the Prime Minister made a statement in regard to the revised civil registration process and further action to be taken in the future, mentioning that one advantage gained from this recent registration is that it had created the opportunity to set up a database for digital photographs by photographing individual’s as part of the registration process. Therefore, according to the Human Development Fund Law, those citizens who registered during the revised civil registration have obtained the full right to receive shares from the country’s natural wealth.
With its Resolution in 2009, Parliament instructed Government to take action to integrate the revised civil registration, including the allotment of shares in the Human Development Fund to every citizen, in addition to setting up a unified data-base for infrastructure and physical data which are to form the basis on which to issue citizens’ smart IDs.
In his statement, the Prime Minister claimed that the normal shortcomings relevant to civil documentation had been noted during the registration process, such as lost birth certificates, differences in surnames and given names, the valid term expiry on individuals’ ID documents, as well as other issues. Registration processes in aimags had differed; for instance, covering more than 80 percent of those living in the Dundgobi, Omnogobi, Bayankhongor, Dornogobi, Arkhangai aimags, and in Ulaanbaatar’s Baganuur, Bagakhangai and Chingeltei Districts. This currently covers 62.5 percent in Bayan-Olgii Aimag and 66.6 percent in Khovd Aimag.
Social Welfare and Labor Minister T. Gandi said that people who have not participated in the registration are mainly herders who had been engaged in stock movement to alternative pastures, Mongolians living abroad, people with wealthgenerating livelihoods, people with civil document related problems, and people who are homeless or have no permanent address. Registering by finger-print has also ensured that there has been no duplication of information, also revealing that some people had obtained certificates under two different surnames and given names and were thus receiving duplicate welfare allowances. In addition, the process had exposed over 200 attempts to be registered for a second time in the fundamental data of the revised civil registration. As many people are applying at local State registration units and at the State Registration Department to have documentation problems eliminated, these organizations are currently experiencing an increased workload. Within the last 3 months, 97,918 citizens had applied to the State Registration Department to obtain birth certificate references; a 3-fold increase compared to the same period in the previous year. For this reason, the Civil Documents’ Central Archives Department is to begin serving the public throughout the day at 14 windows, starting from September 22 in order to more quickly eliminate documentation problems and issue birth certificate references for people born since 1951. Also for the purpose of intensifying the revised civil registration process, Khoroo Administrations in Ulaanbaatar are to lengthen their daily working hours and start working on Saturdays. 468 primary registration units have been equipped with materials and items, such as notebooks, photographic cameras, finger-print scanners, printers and bar code readers, as well as 16 other modern software items. The civil registration has mobilized 524 registration staff members and 502 contract workers. Parliament has endorsed expending Tgs6.8 billion, under refundable conditions, in regard
The State Registration Department experiences an increased workload

to the revised civil registration.
The Prime Minister said that this registration’s main significance is to create the conditions required to deliver civil services to citizens and organizations more efficiently, faster, factually, equally and justly, to improve operational consistency and cooperation between the various organizations involved, protect citizens’ rights, and to satisfy national security.
He added that it was planned to implement all measures required to involve every citizen in this registration in future. For instance, the plan is to register students who come from rural areas to study at universities and colleges in the capital city, in addition to soldiers and prisoners.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Social Welfare and Labor Ministry and the State Registration Department all plan to co-organize activities from 2011 in order to include Mongolians living abroad in the revised civil registration.
The Prime Minister emphasized that Government’s next significant step is to create the basic structure for issuing digital IDs by bringing the revised civil registration and unified database into use
source; Mongol Messenger newspaper

Blood donor HIV case recorded

According to official information, 83 HIV cases have been recorded in Mongolia. Last week, information was blasted by the press that blood from a donor with HIV had been used in transfusions to 14 patients, shocking the public. The Health Ministry and relevant health organizations declared this information to be baseless and incorrect. During a press conference, N. Khurelbaatar, State Secretary at the Health Ministry, S. Togsdelger, head of the Regulatory Department for Social Health Policy Implementation (RDSHPI), and Kh.Surenkhand, Deputy Director at the National Communicable Disease Studies Center (NCDSC) said, “When a donor come to give blood, our health organizations could reveal HIV infection early and closed the possibility of using such blood for transfusions. The infected donor’s blood has not been used and such incorrect information has the result of decreasing the number of donors.”
However, when journalists asked about the reasons for hiding this information from the public despite a donor revealing HIV infection and whether blood taken earlier from such a donor was really healthy and reliable, S. Togsdelger from the RDSHPI responded, “We promptly report all new HIV cases. However, we must not give detailed information as this affects national security, legislation and human rights. It is not obligatory to report when a blood donor has been found HIV positive.”
In his interview by the Ardyn Erkh Daily, P. Ulaankhuu, chief at the National Hematology Center, said “It is true that a blood donor had been found to have become HIV infected. When his blood was tested in August he was found to be HIV positive. This donor had previously given blood more than 10 times.
However the disease has not been transmitted to others through blood from the HIV-infected donor. Every time a donor gives blood, they are tested. HIV had not been found from blood given earlier by this donor. In addition a blood sample routinely stored for a year had been re-tested without any HIV symptoms found. Furthermore, patients who had received transfusions of this healthy after  donor’s blood had been confirmed undergoing blood tests. All equipment being used in Mongolia is internationally accepted and confidential. We revealed the donor’s HIV status, but did not use his infected blood for transfusions to other people.”
In response to the question of hiding the information from the public, Mr. Ulaankhuu explained, “The donor diagnosed at our Center on August 25. It took a few days to check whether or not his blood was  HIV-infected. Blood previously donated by this person was also re-tested, after which patients who had received transfusions of this donor’s blood were tested. It was confirmed that these people had not been infected with HIV. All the test results had been submitted to the Health Ministry and were reported to the National Security Council. This took two months. There is nothing to hide. A person was found to have become HIV-infected and there is no obligation to inform the public, but they were informed that the 80th HIV case had been recorded. If HIV had been transmitted, I would not be sitting here and even Government would have been dismissed.”
In regard to information that a blood donor had been found HIV positive, the number of donors have decreased considerably, resulting in a lack of blood reserves. As at October 19, the the National Hematology Center had a 3-day reserve. P.Ulaankhuu said the Center has 890 units of blood in reserve; but should have more than 1,500 units. The Health Ministry has issued an appeal for blood donors, the Ministry’s State Secretary N. Khurelbaatar saying, “The Center is almost out of blood and blood products and emergency medical care operations are failing. Therefore, the appeal is being made urging donors to help prevent health
deterioration. This deed is not dangerous for people giving blood. It is kindness and generosity to others.
There is also no need for patients’ fear because blood from HIVinfected donors is not being used in transfusions to anyone else  
source: 'mongol messenger' newspaper

Penalties remain unchanged for people of sensation

In regard to Appeal Court trials held on October 21 at the Capital’s Court, the press has published extensively about two attentiongrabbing cases in which penalties
have remained unchanged. On that day, trials took place on the cases of Ts. Jargalsaikhan, former advisor at Parliament’s Foreign Relations and Cooperation Department, who has been accused of transferring State-secret documents to a
foreign intelligence organization thus betraying his country, and D. Surenkhor, former State Secretary at the Industry and Trade Ministry, who has been accused of misappropriating State funds.
In August, 2010, at a Primary Court hearing in the Chingeltei District, Ts. Jargalsaikhan, charged in a criminal case on the grounds of disloyalty to his home country by passing State-secret documents to a foreign intelligence organization, had been given a 17-year jail sentence.
The Uls Toiriin Toim Newspaper wrote, “A 17-year jail sentence was imposed on Ts. Jargalsaikhan. D. Tsakhilgaan, a diplomat and Jargalsaikhan’s father, has frequently
asserted since August that his son had not exposed State secrets but had just
become a political victim. A Letter of Appeal has been lodged by the accused’s attorney in protest against the Primary Court’s decision. At the closed trial on October 21, those present included: State Prosecutor Yo. Sagsai, honored lawyer S.
Jantsan, attorneys B. Batsukh and G. Oyuntsetseg. However, D. Tsakhilgaan, father of the accused, and family members were absent. There were also no representatives from the Parliamentary Office. The court trial continued for over 4 hours before a break was taken, during which, a stressed attorney Jantsan speculated to press representatives that his advocacy might be unsuccessful After almost a half-hour discussion by the Judges, a Court decision was announced. Both the attorney and prosecutor who had heard the Court decision left without responding to reporters’ questions.” About the case in which Ts. Jargalsaikhan has been accused, the newspaper wrote, “Last June, Ts. Jargalsaikhan received a document containing confidential State information from two Foreign Affairs Ministry specialists. He is said to have passed this to a Russian official but, since his action involves sensitive State information, the legal authority has not to-date provided further details. The case regarding Ts. Jargalsaikhan and the two Foreign Affairs Ministry officials has been investigated by the General Intelligence Agency and transferred to the Prosecutor’s Office. The case initiated against the two officials has been dismissed, whilst Ts. Jargalsaikhan has been convicted of divulging State secrets under Criminal Code Provision 87. Yo.Sagsai, the supervising Prosecutor, after changing the Provision, however, passed sentence under Criminal Code Provision 79.1. This latter Provision reads, “A Mongolian citizen shall be imprisoned for 16-25 years if she or he has joined a foreign intelligence service with the purpose of causing a loss of national independence, security and/or defense capacity, as well as transferred state secrets to a foreign country and/or its intelligence service, collaborated with a foreign organization that conducts activities against Mongolia and defected to the enemy’s side in case of a warfare situation.“ Based on this Provision, both the Primary and Appeal Courts sentenced Ts. Jargalsaikhan to 17 years in prison.”

The Ardyn Erkh Newspaper noted that, during the court break, in response to reporters’ questions, attorney Jantsan said, “Of course if the Primary Court’s decision remains unchanged, an appeal will be submitted to the Supreme Court. As this case relates to State secrets, it must forever therefore be kept confidential.
Furthermore, attorneys are legally responsible to maintain their accused clients’ confidentiality. Where this responsibility is disregarded, legal action will be taken, such as removing attorneys’ rights to undertake legal representation. For this reason, I will not answer questions regarding Ts. Jargalsaikhan.” The newspapter also mentioned that Ts.Jargalsaikhan had been under investigation by the General Intelligence Agency since June 15, 2010 and was suspected and accused of passing, to a Russian official by Internet, information relating to the Mongolian Parliamentary Speaker’s visit to Russia.
About the D. Surenkhor case, last August the Sukhbaatar District Court had imposed a 7-year prison sentence after convicting him of misusing his official position and causing losses worth Tgs91.3 million but agreed to allow a 3-year reduction of this in terms of the Amnesty Law. Whilst in his post as State Secretary at the Industry and Trade Ministry during 2003-2006, D. Surenkhor had misappropriated Ministry funds amounting to Tgs73 million in cash and had put a Land Cruiser -105 automobile rented by himself up as collateral for a Tgs8 million loan, allowing those involved to understand that he owned the car. He had also not returned the cell-phone, notebook and uniform he had used in his official capacity, as well as using Tgs5 million from the ‘Wholesale Project’ funding for himself. He was convicted on all these counts. In its October 22 issue, the ‘Undesnii Shuudan’ Daily published “Although D. Surenkhor confessed to taking the Tgs73 million in cash from the Ministry, he did not admit the other counts, neither did his attorneys accept the accusations and lodged a complaint with the City Court. Press representatives were allowed to attend the court hearing for the appeal and, in his appeal letter, D. Surenkhor admitted misappropriating Tgs73 million and expressed his regret but, in regard to the other counts claimed to have no concerns at all, saying that after he had gone abroad, some people had slandered him without any evidence when the Audit Office had conducted an inspection. During the trial at the Appeal Court, Mr. Surenkhor’s attorneys G. Oyuntsetseg and B. Khishigbaatar said, “We reject the Primary Court decision. All the Trade and Industry Ministry’s money problems must not be blamed on him. Some of the counts raised against our client have not been proven by evidence, but were based just on statements from witnesses. In addition, our client has fully repaid Tgs91.3 million loss to the State.” They requested a change to the Criminal Code Provision used for sentencing in consideration of various conditions, including his state of health, the recovery of the State’s loss, and that this is a firsttime conviction. After an hour’s trial the Court took a recess, after which the panel upheld the Primary Court’s decision.”
The Ardyn Erkh Daily confirmed that Mr. Surenkhor’s health is not good, and he is currently under medical treatment at the Gants Khudag detention centre’s Hospital. His attorney reiterated that his client’s kidney and digestive system had degenerated during his detention at Gants Khudag and his health condition is not normal. His attorney submitted a request at the Primary Court trial, that Surenkhor be released on bail. This was, however refused
source: 'Mongol messenger' newspaper

KESI, Mongolia boost ties [GUEST REPORT]

Korea Elevator Safety Institute President Kim Nam-deuk (right) and Ya. Sodbaatar, director of the State Specialized Inspection Agency of Mongolia, pose for a picture after the meeting
Korea Elevator Safety Institute President Kim Nam-deuk held a second meeting with Ya. Sodbaatar, director of the State Specialized Inspection Agency of Mongolia, on Oct. 26 in Seoul to further bolster collaboration between the two countries in the realm of elevator technology.

During the meeting - which was part of the Korea-Mongolia Elevator Safety Technology Exchange pact the two countries signed previously - delegates from Mongolia proposed the idea of having Korea provide technology education and support in the realm of elevator safety.

Kim replied that his organization will assist the country by sending a team of experts to Mongolia to help the country develop advanced elevator safety inspection technology and an overall standard.

The Korea Elevator Safety Institute signed an agreement with the State Specialized Inspection Agency of Mongolia in February 2009 to support the country’s efforts to develop modern elevators and to participate in technology exchange. Since then, the organization has sent over experts to help amend existing regulations and provide continuous support.

Mongolia’s government is now in the process of modifying elevator safety laws and regulations based on the model in Korea.

Meanwhile, the institute has been supporting the Korean government’s efforts to expand exchange and support in the elevator technology arena across Asia, along with other countries including China and Vietnam.

Khan wins another favorable ruling in Mongolia, shrs up

By Ashutosh Joshi
BANGALORE (REUTERS)-Canada's Khan Resources Inc , which is caught in a legal tangle with Mongolian authorities over its uranium mining licenses in the country, received another court ruling in its favor, sending its shares up 23 percent.

The 7-month long dispute is over Khan's license to explore uranium at Dornod -- Mongolia's biggest uranium deposit.

"We think we qualify in every respect of the Mongolian nuclear energy law. We have complied with all Mongolian laws. So there is no valid reason as to why they cannot reissue the license," Chief Executive Grant Edey told Reuters.

Khan, through its units, owns the licenses to explore uranium at Dornod.

In April, the company challenged -- through two different cases -- a decision by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), the country's regulator, to invalidate the licenses.

Khan has already received a favorable verdict in one of the cases.

On Wednesday, the junior miner said the Mongolian appellate court upheld a decision, given in July, by the Capital City Administrative Court in the second case.

Mongolia has drawn attention from global investors after the deal between Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto to develop Oyu Tolgoi mine, one of the world's biggest untapped copper and gold deposits.

Mongolia's domestic companies are seeking foreign capital to help them expand, and the government is trying to connect local companies and its stock market with the rest of Asia.

However, doing business in mineral-rich Mongolia is often a tightrope walk as geopolitics hangs heavy over business in a nation caught between China and Russia.

The NEA can appeal the latest appellate court ruling within 30 days, Khan said in a statement.

"They may continue this appeal process and ... I think they can appeal at least two, may be three more times," CEO Edey said.

The company had submitted applications for re-registration of the mining and exploration licenses in November 2009, after Mongolia changed rules relating to ownership of such assets.

Shares of Toronto, Ontario-based Khan were up 6 Canadian cents at 44.5 Canadian cents Wednesday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They have lost 38 percent of their value year to date.

(Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)

SouthGobi Resources to Construct a Paved Highway in Southern Mongolia to Accelerate Delivery of Coal From Ovoot Tolgoi Coal Mine to Chinese Buyers

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 25, 2010) - Alexander Molyneux, President and CEO of SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(SEHK:1878), announced today that the company has awarded a US$48 million contract to build a paved highway dedicated to the delivery of export shipments from SouthGobi's Ovoot Tolgoi coal mine to the Mongolia-China border crossing at Shivee Khuren-Ceke.

The contract was awarded to Leighton Asia, a division of Australia-based contracting giant Leighton Group, in a joint venture with Monnis International, a leading Mongolian resource, construction and transportation conglomerate.

Work will include the design and construction of the 45-kilometre highway linking the Ovoot Tolgoi coal mine with Ceke, a major coal terminal on the China side of the border with rail connections to key coal markets in China.

The new coal-hauling highway will be 17 metres wide and will consist of four fully-paved lanes, with a one-metre central median in order to provide capacity well in excess of 20 million tonnes of coal per year. It will be constructed with a concession granted by the Mongolian Government as per the country's recently passed Concession Law. Upon completion, the road will accommodate heavy axle loads of fully loaded coal trucks and set new standards for haul road infrastructure in Mongolia.

"We are very pleased to work with Leighton Asia and Monnis International on this significant infrastructure project in southern Mongolia," said Mr. Molyneux. "The new coal highway will improve safety for coal transporters, will greatly reduce the environmental impacts of the unpaved road – and will facilitate further aggressive growth of our mining business."

The new highway is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012.

About Leighton Asia

Leighton Asia is part of the Leighton Group, Australia's largest project development and contracting group with annual revenues exceeding US$16.5 billion.

About Monnis International

Monnis International is a Mongolian company established in 1998 with interests in the fields of geology, mining, energy, construction, international freight forwarding, foreign trade, automotive service, communication, banking and air industry, with over 700 employees and eight subsidiaries.

About SouthGobi Resources

SouthGobi 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, scheduled completion of coal road, the ability of the coal road to handle in excess of 20 million tonnes per year, 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, 2009, and quarter ended June 30, 2010 which are available at

For more information, please contact
SouthGobi Resources Limited (Hong Kong)
Layton Croft
Vice President External Affairs and Corporate Citizenship
+852 2156 7023
SouthGobi Resources Limited (Vancouver)
Steven Feldman
Investor Relations Manager
+1 604 331 9813


About court case on environmental damages caused by Puraam and Centerra Gold-mining companies:

On October 21, Mongolian citizens Ts.Munkhbayar, G.Bayaraa, D.Tumurbaatar and O.Sambuu-Yondon filed law-suit against Puraam and Centerra Gold-mining companies for environmental damages and violating Mongolian environmental protection regulations in the State Investigation Office.

E.Gantulga, director and other relevant officials of Puraam and John Kazakov, director and other relevant officials of Centerra Gold-Mongolia have committed crimes specified in Articles 202, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 214 of the Mongolian Criminal law. Actions of both companies are illegal as they are operating in prohibited areas by Mongolian law on prohibition mining operations at headwaters of rivers, protected zones of water reservoirs and forest areas. Because of these mining companies, local citizens, herders and livestock animals experienced environmental damages including skin irritation and formation of lumps; eye disease and intoxication of internal organs of humans as well livestock animals in Mandal soum, Tunkhel area of Selenge province. These companies are operating in the headwaters of Gachuurt and Budanch Rivers and reduced flows of these rivers. Local people and livestock animals have no access to the drinking water sources.

The scientists of the Advanced Study Institute assessed the environmental damages caused by Puraam and Centerra Gold. Environmental damage caused by both companies exceeds 9 billion tugrik (approximately $ 7 million US).
About suing Mongolian Government in court:
On October 22, United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes sued Government of Mongolia in the court of Sukhbaatar district of Ulaanbaatar city in order to get compensation of environmental damages in basins of Onggi, Zavkhan, Tuul, Khangiltsag, Khuder, Ulz, Yeroo and Gachuurt rivers in compliance with article 19.1 of the Mongolian Constitution, and Article 7.7.2, 11.1.6 of the Mongolian law on Government.
The Government of Mongolia is not implementing the above laws, so ecological imbalance has been observed throughout the country. We consider that Government of Mongolia is responsible for natural-ecological disaster facing Mongolia. Therefore, we are suing the Government of Mongolia according to article 32.1.1 of Mongolian law on Environmental Protection. In Article 16.1.2 of the law on the Constitution of Mongolia, which calls for “the right to a healthy and safe environment, and to be protected against environmental pollution and ecological imbalance”. Unfortunately, the right is violated seriously. According to Mongolian Constitution, the Government of Mongolia is responsible to protect this right for Mongolian citizens. However, the Government is not implementing the laws and therefore, much ecological damage has already occurred.
source: United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes

SMG to set up tertiary hospital in Mongolia

SINGAPORE - SINGAPORE Medical Group (SMG) has announced its intention to establish a joint venture for a multi-disciplinary tertiary hospital in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia with Chono Corporation.

The SGX-listed healthcare services company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chono Corporation yesterday. Chono is a private investment holding company incorporated in Mongolia which manages portfolios in several areas, including international trade, hospitality services, investment banking and fund management. Under the MoU, SMG will hold a 75 per cent stake in the joint venture, while Chono will hold the remaining 25 per cent stake. Three of the five directors on the Board of Directors of the joint venture company will be from SMG, while the remaining two directors will be from Chono.

The MoU aims to establish a flagship multi-disciplinary tertiary hospital in Ulaanbaatar. About 15 satellite family medicine clinics and mini-hospitals will be set up around the city and country after the flagship hospital is established.

SMG currently has 18 operating subsidiaries and partners in Singapore and overseas.

Dr Jadamba Tsolmon, Mongolian Vice-Minister of Health said, "Mongolia is in need of a good tertiary hospital and Singapore medicine is highly regarded internationally. Each year, Mongolians spend a lot of money seeking medical treatments overseas. Singapore Medical Group's interest in Mongolia is in line with the Mongolian Government's plan for the development of the healthcare sector. Teaming up with Singapore Medical Group will help elevate the standard and profile of Mongolian healthcare."

Mr Enkhboldsodon Tumurkhuyag, President of Chono added, "It is our opinion that Singapore Medical Group is a fundamentally sound healthcare provider and is a well-run healthcare group in Singapore... Mongolia is fast changing and as you know with change brings much opportunity and also an ever increasing demand for better healthcare."

Mr Felix Huang, Executive Chairman of SMG said, "We are extremely excited to work with Chono Corporation to establish a world-class tertiary multi-disciplinary facility in Ulaanbaatar, and we aim to offer the best standards of quality healthcare services to Mongolians.

"A Pan-Asian presence will open up a large potential market as Asians increase their awareness of the pivotal importance of good preventive and curative healthcare. We believe that this strategy will be instrumental to making our international footprint in Pan-Asia, which is the next phase of growth for the Group. Our entry into Mongolia is testament to the robust pace with which we aim to expand within the Pan-Asian region," added Mr Huang.

Era Models Agency Booms in International Market

The fashion industry is a product of modern age, it is applied art dedicated to clothing and lifestyle accessories created with the culture and social influences of a specific time. In Mongolia the industry has started its in early 90’s.

One of the first Mongolian agency “Era” started in 1991, by D.Erdene-Tuya.”Era” has the leading and most comprehensive database of models throughout the country. Today agency has more than 50 child-models, aged 5 to 12; 50 adult model, male and female, 15 to 25 years old; 12 professional photographers, 4 instructors who help new models to get knowledge necessary to start working.

Since that, Mongolian Models have experienced working in Germany, Korea, Japan, China, Belgium, France, and Italy.

A Models agency’s number one purpose is to find models capable to stand-up on Runway at Fashion show, and those who may become new cover or brand face. Beside these models are frequently employed in business. Such a case can be TV. In 2001, “Era” model agency started its cooperation with SBN-TV broadcasting and lanced new TV show ”New Faces”. The program is dedicated to models, fashion look, Mongolian brands. For young models the show may became career-starting point.

Goyol Naadam fashion week, Torgo Traditional show, Urlakh Erdem are just few examples of events where “Era’s” models are employed. Brand new cars presentation cannot happen without pretty looking young ladies. Naran Trade has become one of the constant partners of “Era”, as it always chooses models for such a presentation.

World’s famous brand such as Samsonite, Delsey, Swarovski, Tissot, Swatch, Adidas, CK invite models for their special events.

Also they were hired for Mongolian Expo in Japan in 2005. In 2008 were employed at Milan winter fashion week.

This year, July 9th, Fashion TV’s owner Michal Adams came to Mongolia to introduce new product-vodka called “F”. Such a honorable guest attended “Altai cashmere” fashion show, where five “Era’s” model where among the chosen for the show.

Next year “Era” celebrates 10-year anniversary and plans to conduct list of dedicated events
source: Ub Post

Working for a Mongolian company

Written by G.Chingis

Recently, many foreign executives and professionals have joined Mongolian companies and state organizations. Of course, for them this article might not be so interesting. Nevertheless, if this trend continues, many new foreigners will soon join Mongolian organizations and companies.

You and the boss
Most Mongolians bosses will prefer to give you a lot of freedom in your daily routine. The biggest reason for this is the lack of a clear job description. There are certain reasons for this. First, he/she probably does not know exactly what you should do. But, this could be a great chance for you to take some initiative on your part. Also, your boss might simply want to see how you will deal with that uncertainty.
In the case of a foreigner being a CEO, you will have owners/founders, and members of the Board of Directors to deal with. The Board of Directors is a new feature in Mongolian business life. Therefore, you should expect to see the same situations that would arise in a western company. Basically, there are two types of Board of Directors. One is the nominal, where you will have the real owners and/or their relatives. In this case, you will not have so many interactions with them. Meetings will be quite short and quite rare.

The other type is the semi-western type. You will have some kind of independent Board members, of whom; some don’t actually work for your company. This is still different than in western companies and you probably won’t get much input from them. They are usually happy to be on the Board, but they will be little interested to be actively involved. Very often, the CEO will be more powerful than the Board of Directors; in this case you might be more powerful than your Board of Directors.
In terms of minor Mongolian nuances to working here, Mongolian bosses usually do not bring their spouses to company gatherings and this would be the same for the rest of your Mongolian counterparts. If you work for a Mongolian boss who likes horses or owns horses, you have to go to see them at least once a year for Naadam. Many Mongolian bosses also like to go to casinos. Therefore, you might need to join them on a trip to Seoul or Macao. A recent case of 14 million USD, which was misused by a senior accountant from the Savings Bank is just once example of how many politicians and business people like to waste money in casinos.

Company celebrations
Usually, there are several holidays when you will have huge company parties. The big ones are New Years, International Women’s Day, on the 8th of March. This is also a public holiday. Sometimes, this will be combined with the celebration of Men’s day on the 18th of March but this is not a public holiday. This is essentially Mongolian Army Day. This is a leftover from our Russian/Soviet influence which is celebrated even now. In a company, the male/female ratio varies. Usually, there are more female employees than male employees. For the Lunar New Year, usually there is a kind of breakfast celebration after the holiday on the first day back to work. Mongolians typically wear their national costumes, especially women. They will exchange snuff bottles and they will eat meat and dairy products, also they might drink vodka or airag. Usually, this is a short event lasting one or two hours, or even less.
Of course, as a foreigner you might refuse to go, especially if you are not a drinker. But Mongolians will be happy to see you. In the end, it is a good cross-cultural experience. Usually, these parties will continue in some fashion for the rest of that day. Your counterparts might go to a bar, to a night club, or a karaoke club. Sometimes, they might go to someone’s house or apartment. Very often, Mongolian employees will try to beat their bosses or they might even fight each other. It is possible to say that this is also a part of Mongolian customs.
All of the above mentioned celebrations are actually winter celebrations. In the summer, there is only Naadam which is on the 11th of July. There typically is no official company party for this.

You and Your counterparts
Usually, you will have more female counterparts than male ones. All of them might ask you for English lessons. Female counterparts will like to tell horror stories about their miserable life with Mongolian husbands. Everybody will like to borrow money from you. It might be any amount from 1 thousand togrogs or more, or it might be something really big. This is a common cultural thing among Mongolians. There is a lot of cash in Mongolia which circulates in the informal economy. This is very often illegal money from or for corruption purposes; or it might be cash from overseas. One high level politician is said to have bought a 1 million USD house with money from his sister, but his sister is working as a dish washer in Germany. Anyway, the taxation framework and liberal anti-corruption system supports the circulation of huge amounts of cash in Mongolia. Anyway, it is better not to lend money. It will be difficult to collect after.

Cross-cultural female/male relationships
As mentioned before, there will be more female counterparts than male. Therefore, you will hear a lot about drunk and hostile husbands. Usually, it is typical to tell foreign counterparts such stuff. Also, it is a Mongolian tradition not to say good stuff about your spouse. You will not see any code about female/male relationship in the work place. The Concept of sexual harassment is just now coming under public scrutiny in the media. This is still a new concept here. But we should consider that Mongolia is a country with a nomadic livestock economy. For 70 years we had a socialist economy with several factories, where most workers were young people. The Communist Party (Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party) was very strict in terms of adultery, which was severely punished. One future Mongolian Prime Minister was once punished for divorcing his wife, and was sent to exile from Ulaanbaatar. Now thanks to democracy and a free flow of information, there is a more tolerant approach towards male/female relationships in the work place.
We now live in a global economy. Most customs, which we call Mongolian, are quite similar to those of other cultures. But in a small nation such as Mongolia, people like to see that foreigners accept our rules of engagement. Foreigners, who accept that, are typically very successful in Mongolia.
Nevertheless, Mongolians men do not like to see foreigners marrying Mongolian women. However, it is a different story if a Mongolian guy will marry a foreign woman. Since socialist times, there were many marriages of Mongolian women with Eastern European men. Therefore, marriages with Caucasians are more or less acceptable. Mongolians do not like to see marriages between Chinese and Koreans. If you open any Mongolian newspaper at any given time, there is usually at least one negative article about Koreans who are buying and/or mistreating Mongolian women
source: UB Post

Moody's Assigns Ratings to Tdb's Mtn Programme Notes

(Source: Info-Prod Research (Middle East))trackingMoody's Investors Service has assigned a Ba3 rating to senior unsecured notes drawn under the USD300 million foreign currency Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) programme of the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia LLC (TDB). The outlook is negative. "The rating and outlook on the senior unsecured notes are the same as the EMTN program's and the bank's current foreign currency issuer ratings. The negative outlook was placed in September, 2009," says Yvonne Zhang, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Analyst. The senior notes represent direct, unconditional, unsecured, and unsubordinated obligations of TDB; and will help diversify the bank's funding sources and support future loan growth. TDB's long-term foreign and local currency debt and issuer ratings are Ba3; its long-term local currency deposit ratings, Ba3; its long-term foreign currency deposit ratings, B2; its short-term ratings, NP; and its bank financial strength rating, D-. The outlook for these ratings is negative, except for the foreign currency deposits rating, which has a stable outlook. Moody's last rating action on TDB was taken on November 12, 2009, when the outlook on its B2 long-term foreign currency deposits rating was changed to stable from negative. TDB is headquartered in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

It reported total assets of MNT806 billion (approximately USD558 million) as of December 2009.

Originally published by Info-Prod Strategic Business Information.

(c) 2010 Info-Prod Research (Middle East). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

Turkey, Mongolia sign memorandum of understanding

Turkey and Mongolia signed a memorandum of understanding during the sixth term joint economic committee meeting in Ulan Bator on Tuesday

Turkey and Mongolia signed a memorandum of understanding during the sixth term joint economic committee meeting in Ulan Bator on Tuesday.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by Turkish State Minister & Deputy Premier Bulent Arinc and Mongolia's Environment & Tourism Minister Luimed Gansukh.

The two ministers said that the strong historical ties between Turkey and Mongolia would also help develop the economic and commercial relations.

Also two other protocols were signed on share of experience between KOSGEB (Small & Medium Enterprises Development Organization of Turkey) and its Mongolian equivalent as well as cooperation on development plan of Turkish State Planning Organization and Mongolia's planning unit.

After signing the protocols, Arinc departed from Mongolia.

Arinc had arrived in that country on October 23.


Ivanhoe unit takes stake in Aspire Mining

shares in Aspire Mining Ltd rose after an Ivanhoe Group company took a substantial stake in the junior coal explorer.

Aspire shares were up 2.5 cents, or 13.16 per cent, at 21.5 cents at 1346 AEDT.

Aspire, a Perth-based company, on Monday said the Ivanhoe-controlled SouthGobi Resources had taken a 19.9 per cent interest in Aspire via a placement of 105.7 million shares at a price of 19 cents per share, raising $20.1 million.
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Aspire also said the companies, which were focused on Mongolia, had formed a strategic partnership to fast-track development of Aspire's wholly-owned Ovoot coking coal project in the country's north.

Aspire chairman David McSweeney said the deal with SouthGobi Resources would speed up the company's transformation from a coal explorer to a coal mine developer.

SouthGobi president and chief executive Alexander Molyneux said Aspire was an exciting strategic partner, given its large volume of potentially high-quality coking coal in Mongolia.

Mr Molyneux said SouthGobi Resources would provide Aspire with in-country expertise.

SouthGobi Resources, which is 57 per cent held by Canada's Ivanhoe Mines Ltd, produces coal at its Ovoot Tolgoi mine in Mongolia's south.

Aspire is yet to secure offtake partners for the Ovoot project and says only 10 per cent of the area has been explored.


World Bank says Mongolia’s recovery impressive and broad-based

The World Bank’s Quarterly Economic Update says Mongolia has staged an impressive recovery from the steep recession of late 2008 and early 2009. Moreover, the economic recovery is becoming broad-based. Strong demand for copper and coal from China are fuelling the recovery, and are also helping to substantially improve the external balance. And imports are up by 55 percent in August on a year-on-year basis. The exception is the agriculture sector, due to the devastating impact of the dzud during the winter months, which wiped out substantial numbers of livestock.

Consumer prices show a rise in the headline inflation to 11.1 percent in August, following a dip to 8.8 percent the previous month. Rising core prices (which exclude volatile food and energy prices) contributed to half the increase in the headline number, with the remainder accounted for mainly by rising food prices. Price pressures are unlikely to abate in the coming months. First, the recent export ban in Russia and weather disasters elsewhere have led to a resurgence in the international prices of grains, which are mostly imported by Mongolia. These rose by 7.6 percent on the month in August. Second, the 30 percent wage and pension increase for public sector employees planned for October and the cash transfers currently taking place will help to keep demand side inflation pressures strong.

Fiscal balances have improved strongly in step with mineral-related revenues. Mongolia’s public finances are improving: on a 12 month rolling basis, the fiscal deficit fell to just 0.4 percent of GDP, down from 10.6 percent in August last year. Excluding net lending, the budget balance swung into a small surplus of 0.8 percent of GDP, its first since October 2008. In large part this recovery reflects the support to government revenues from buoyant commodity prices. The bulk of the increase in revenues was accounted for by the Windfall Profits Tax and domestic corporate and indirect tax revenues, reflecting the underlying improvement in the economy and the recovery in commodity prices.

However, as fiscal balances improved, pressures to increase spending also mounted. One round of cash transfers to redistribute the mining wealth has already taken place: MNT 70,000 per person in February. This is being followed by another round of MNT 10,000 per person per month beginning in August and lasting until December. Meanwhile, in July, parliament had approved government proposed amendments to the original 2010 budget which envisaged a substantial increase in government expenditures.

As the elections of 2012 draw closer, spending pressures will amplify even further. Fortunately, Parliament recently passed a Fiscal Stability Law, which forces 2011 revenues to be based on a long-term copper and coal price trend, and starts setting the resulting savings aside in a stabilization fund. The law targets a structural budget deficit (along the lines of Chile’s structural balance rule) of 4 percent of GDP in 2011, falling to 2 percent by 2013. It also puts a ceiling to debt (at no more than 40 percent of GDP) and restrains expenditure growth to not more than the rate at which the economy is growing.

The IMF Board concluded its final review of the Stand By Arrangement on September 9. The final review (a combined 5th and 6th) would have allowed the disbursement of US$46.4 million (two tranches). But the Mongolian authorities will not draw on the last two tranches, as the international reserves of the Central Bank are at an all time high, while the exchange rate has appreciated by 9 percent since the start of the year.

In the banking sector, NPLs and loans with principal in arrears as a share of total outstanding loans fell to 17% in August from a peak of 25% in Nov 2009. But current levels are still very high. The recent increase in inflation is rapidly bringing real interest rates down, and may lead to a return to negative real interest rates, particularly on deposits. Meanwhile, concentration of bank lending has increased with the 50 largest borrowers accounting for almost 30 percent of total loans (roughly MNT 863 billion).

In the fall session, Parliament is expected to debate and enact a number of important reform laws, continuing the post-crisis reform agenda. This includes a banking sector capacity strengthening and capital support program which contains, as a last resort tool, a stand-by bank recapitalization facility with proper covenants to protect the public funds. Parliament will also debate a social welfare reform law which would set the stage for the introduction of a targeted means-tested poverty benefit, replacing the formerly universal transfers. Passage of the law is also linked to the last tranches of the budget support operations of the ADB and Japan. Finally, Parliament is also expected to adopt a new Organic Budget Law which will lay out a new process of budget management, including improvements in public investment planning, and fiscal decentralization. For 2011 and 2012, in the run-up to elections, the challenge for Parliament will be to implement and adhere to the landmark laws it will have passed in the wake of the crisis, and to avoid the temptations of unsustainable increases in spending.

About 100 Mongolians spent USD7 million to buy MMC shares at Hong Kong IPO

After Energy Resources or Mongolian Mining Corporation (MMC) successfully traded its shares at an international stock exchange, questions have resurfaced if ordinary Mongolians can ever hold shares in companies that work here. D.Achit-Erdene, President of the Mongolian International Capital Corporation (MICC), answers our journalist’s questions on the issue.

What did Mongolians have to do to buy shares in the IPO?

They had to submit a copy of their passport and citizen ID card to MICC, along with details of their bid.

We initially wanted a minimum of USD10,000 to open an individual account but later reduced it to USD5,000. We help people to sell and buy not only at the Hong Kong Exchange but at other exchanges in the world also. The holder can monitor his account on the Internet and can also issue instructions online.

How much of the shares were bought by individuals and non-financial institutions?
An IPO at a large international exchange has to observe very detailed rules. For example, 90% of the shares MMC offered were reserved for large investors or funds, leaving only 10% for small investors. We were happy that 1% was kept for Mongolian citizens. We were surprised by the strength of the demand. The 1% meant USD7 million, which is quite a large figure, but we received enough orders to stop booking after two days. We then submitted fresh applications to the secondary market.

What is the difference between buying at the primary market and at the secondary market?
Prices are fixed at the primary market. This was HKD7.02 per share. This would change in the secondary marker according to demand. The demand continued to be so strong in Hong Kong that prices kept rising, and were 20% more after five days. At close of trading on October 19 the rate was HKD9.60. This fell to about HKD9 on October 20.

Anybody who wants to buy shares can do so through MICC?
Certainly. They can come in person to open an account or apply through website We trade in all shares at any exchange of the world. So many Mongolians were interested in the MMC IPO because they knew of the company and trusted its management, not because the shares were sold at Hong Kong.

Is there a limit on the number of shares one can buy?
Shares were sold in blocks of 500. Anybody opening an account with us with a minimum of USD5,000 could ask to buy not only MMC shares, but those of any other company listed at the exchange. These include Google and Citi Bank shares.

Are there other Mongolian companies considering an IPO at the international market?
Kharanga Iron LLC will have an IPO in Australia in December. Two other companies are also making preparations and we have placed advance booking. We also traded in Khunnu Coal stock when it had an IPO in Australia last February.
MMIC acts not only as a broker but also offers help in raising capital to companies active in Mongolia. We publish the MICC Mining Index. Our representatives meet with company officials and offer results of our studies.

Apart from MMIC, which other brokerage firms dealt with MMC shares?
We had been allotted special rights at the primary market but there was an Australian company and others in the secondary market.

Could organizations and companies buy shares?
Yes, they can, just like individuals, but there is more paper work involved.

How many Mongolian citizens bought MMC shares?
I cannot give you the exact number as such records were not kept. My rough guess would be about 100. We would of course like the number to be more.

What percentage of its shares did MMC sell at the IPO?
It sold 719 million of its 3.6 billion shares, which is about 20%. The prospectus document has all the details and can be seen at the website

Who are now the major shareholders in MMC? There is rumor the Chinese have bought most shares?
The Hong Kong Exchange is big but the London and New York exchanges are the centers for mining companies. Generally, shares at the HKE would be bought by American and England investment funds. The HKE is stronger in retail trade. This was seen at the MMC IPO too. I would guess 50% of the shares offered were cornered by West Europeans, while US and British investors specialized in mining were also active, because JP Morgan and Citi Bank managed the IPO


Letter From Mongolia

We had a great season with many big fish, including the monster in this photo which hit a sculpin pattern I tied with a chunk of rabbit fur the size of a ballpark frank. Lost the beast once after nearly a minute on the hook, under heavy pressure, and when the momentarily disheartened angler (Jim Hickey of Jackson, WY) cast again, it attacked like a crocodile, the water pushing up and over its head in a standing wave.

The conservation efforts of local residents, the World Wildlife Fund, the Tributary Fund ( and responsible outfitters seem to be paying off, with catch-and-release and single barbless hooks now mandated throughout the country. We also recaptured three tagged fish (notice the scrap of yellow below the dorsal), and now have clear evidence that they can grow two to three inches per year when nobody shoves a hand through their gill plates.
I even managed to catch a few myself this year. This one struck on perhaps my fifth or sixth cast of the season, after a long shuttle and just a few hours of sleep, while waiting for the plane to arrive with the clients. Another guide grabbed my camera, and managed to capture that instant when we first glimpsed the distance between head and tail. Even on what we consider a "smaller" fish, that measure absolutely redefines the proportions of trout fishing.

Peter Fong's stories and photographs have appeared in Fly Rod & Reel, Gray's Sporting Journal, the New York Times and many other publications. He works as a guide for Mongolia River Outfitters (

Mongolia to import B.C. lumber

Mongolian wood frame sector looks towards B.C.

The government of Mongolia plans to build 96 regional government centres from B.C. lumber and Canadian wood technology, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced recently.

"B.C.'s 'Wood First' approach to build more public buildings out of wood is gaining recognition around the world," Bell said. "The government of Mongolia has recognized that B.C. wood products and wood-frame construction are ideally suited to government and institutional buildings and for housing."

Over the past few years B.C. has helped Mongolia adopt its building code for wood- frame construction, train officials and inspectors, and set up a Mongolian wood-frame construction sector.

"Wood-frame construction is energy-efficient, climate-friendly, and well suited to our needs in Mongolia," Prime Minister Sükhbaataryn Batbold said. "With the support of British Columbia, our government has adopted Canada's wood-frame building code and will be using Canadian wood technology and wood products from British Columbia in new public buildings around Mongolia."

Bell and Batbold commented after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Mongolia and B.C., through which B.C. will provide technical expertise to assist in the design and supervision of the project. Under the MOU, Mongolia agrees to buy all structural lumber for the centres from B.C. suppliers.

Each centre will use more than 1,000 cubic metres of B.C. wood products and include a school and dormitory, health-care facility, government administration building, and recreation centre. This will equate to approximately 100,000 cubic metres of B.C. wood products over all 96 regional centres.

Asian nations collectively, including Mongolia, are the fastest-growing market for B.C. wood products. Sales to China were up 50 per cent in the first seven months of 2010, while in South Korea, exports were up 30 per cent for the same period of time. B.C. exports about 80 per cent of all lumber produced.

In addition to using wood in new public buildings, Mongolia has an acute need for new energy-efficient, modern housing for a huge part of its population. Industrial and mining development over the next decade is expected to fuel much of Mongolia's redevelopment.

Efforts will continue to position wood products from British Columbia to take advantage of these opportunities.

The MOU is being managed through Forestry Innovation Investment, the Province's marketing agency for forest products. It runs international marketing programs in collaboration with the forest sector and Natural Resources Canada.

SPECIAL REPORT-Mongolia's fabled mine stirs Asian frontier

The new gold rush to develop Mongolia's resources could make it the world's fastest-growing economy over the next five years, according to Renaissance Capital, which projected GDP will almost quadruple to $23 billion by 2013 from $6 billion today.

To profit from its untapped iron ore, coal, copper, uranium, silver, and gold deposits, the government needs to build a vast network of roads and railways to ship the minerals out of the country's vast interior. More than 10 "strategically important" deposits are in development including the Dornod uranium deposits, the Asgat silver deposit, and the massive Tavan Tolgoi coal site.

Tavan Tolgoi, like Oyu Tolgoi, inspires awe among resources investors. It is a deposit of approximately 7.5 billion tonnes -- believed to be the world's largest untapped coking coal site. Most of its projected 50 million tonnes of production will go to China.

The trick is getting it there. To that end, Mongolia aims to build a massive industrial park in Sainshand, capital of Dornogovi Province, to help transport metals and coal to customers around the world. The facility will include copper smelting and coal processing plants, as well as railroads to and from the park.

Much like the debate around Oyu Tolgoi, controversy has dogged the government's infrastructure plans from the beginning. In April, Prime Minister Sukhbaatariin Batbold threw his support behind an east-west railway plan, connecting the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit to the eastern city of Choibalsan via Sainshand, at a cost of around $2 billion, according to one estimate.

Some experts say it would be far more sensible, and half the cost, to build the railway south towards China, which bought 70 percent of the country's exports last year.

"The biggest risk is government policy -- one of the examples is on infrastructure," said Masa Igata, founder and CEO of Mongolia-based Frontier Securities. "It makes economic sense to connect Tavan Tolgoi to China's border. However, parliament has decided to prioritise Tavan Tolgoi to Sainshand. By doing so, they sacrifice the economic benefit..."

Feeding into the debate is Mongolia's determination to shed its historical vulnerability as a landlocked country sandwiched between Russia and China. Mongolia needs both geopolitical giants as investors and customers, but wants to be beholden to neither, preferring to be "the mortar between two BRICs".

"Mongolia has been quite careful about its sovereignty -- we don't want to be too dependent on one country," Oyun Sanjaasuren, a lawmaker and former foreign affairs minister said at a conference in Ulan Bator in June. "Theoretically, we want to have a one-third, one-third, and one-third balance," Oyun added, referring to China, Russia and a third country such as Japan or the United States.


China's emergence as the region's dominant superpower has been accompanied by unpredictable swings in Mongolia's foreign investment policies.

The government originally planned to sell as much as 49 percent of the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit to a foreign bidder, and hired JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank to handle the sale. But in February, they canceled the auction in favour of 100 percent state ownership, with plans to sign a development contract without giving any equity away. Chinese coal giant Shenhua <1088.HK> was often named as a frontrunner in the hotly contested deal. Other bidders named in the original auction included India's Jindal, Vale, and U.S. coal miner Peabody .

The government's decision to cancel the Tavan Tolgoi equity stake sale to a foreign company frustrated dealmakers, but was seen by some analysts as an astute political calculation -- a move to avoid some of the popular anger that followed the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement.

"They'd given up too much in Oyu Tolgoi," Frontier's Igata said. "A few years ago, Mongolia was eager to be financed."

Corruption may also prove to be a long-term problem. Transparency International rated Mongolia 120th in its 2009 corruption perception index, a fall from 102nd in 2008.

Already whispers persist in Mongolia's business community that many more workers at Oyu Tolgoi are in fact more experienced Chinese miners, instead of Mongolian nationals as promised in the investment agreement. Ivanhoe, however, says it is adhering to an agreement that calls for 60 percent of the jobs to go to Mongolians during the mine's development phase. "As of 30 August, we have 4,200 people at site," Marshall, the Oyu Tolgoi CEO, told Reuters, adding that 2,536 on site were Mongolian.

Environmentalists are concerned that large-scale mining in southern Mongolia would increase desertification. "Both Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi will require huge amounts of water, and from the environmental impact assessment, and from their plans and their feasibility studies, we know they have not demonstrated availability of water for the life of this project," said Dugersuren Sukhgerel, executive director of an NGO called Oyu Tolgoi Watch. "Mongolia is experiencing higher degree of climate change -- over 70 percent of Mongolia's territory is suffering desertification. That is a big concern."

The discovery of a new vein at Oyu Tolgoi is bound to offer even more jobs and riches for Mongolia. Ivanhoe said on Sept. 28 the discovery, named the Heruga North deposit, contains an estimated 10.2 billion pounds of copper and 15 million ounces of gold. "It's possible that Heruga and Heruga North eventually could be developed together as one of the world's largest underground gold mines," Friedland said in a statement.

The government hopes to channel some of that wealth to its citizens by privatizing a moribund state-run stock exchange, a move that would finally plug the landlocked nation into the grid of global finance, and channel capital to Mongolian entrepreneurs. The London Stock Exchange is the front-runner to run the new exchange, "building it from scratch", Prime Minister Batbold told reporters at last month's U.N. General Assembly meeting.

Even as firms such as Mongolian Mining Corp prepare IPOs in more sophisticated markets such as Hong Kong this year, the government is making plans to take public a portion of Oyu Tolgoi mine. It's all part of Mongolia's plans to privatise assets -- it is committed to handing a tenth of all proceeds to its citizenry -- and to give Mongolians a way to cash in on the dream.

That could go some way toward soothing any leaden feelings over Ivanhoe's golden deal at Oyu Tolgoi.

HIV-infected blood was not used for transfusion

Officials from the Ministry of Health and related organizations have denied rumors that 14 patients received transfusion of blood from an HIV-infected donor. Among those who spoke to journalists were N.Khurelbaatar, State Secretary of the Ministry; S.Tugsdelger, Chief of the Social Health Policy Implementation Coordinating Board; S.Enkhbold, Chief of the Information Control Research and Estimation Board; Kh.Surenkhand, Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID); N.Gantumur, Chief of the HIV and AIDS Research and Observation Office at the NCID; and P.Ulaankhuu, Chief of the National Center for Blood Analysis.

They explained that tests had identified about two months ago that the blood had the virus and it was never used. Journalists wanted to know why the donor’s identity had not been revealed and why a donor’s health status is not checked before taking blood. S.Tugsdelger said such public identification of an HIV-infected individual is against national security, and also violated the law and human rights.

P.Ulaankhuu said Mongolia has 83 recorded cases of HIV infection and this particular donor is No. 80 and had tested positive in August. He has been donating blood for three years and on every of the previous occasions, the blood had been found safe. He assured media that equipment and practices relating to blood transfusion in Mongolia followed international standards.

Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia in Surrey

The Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia has visited Kingston to determine if his country should base its Olympic team in Surrey during the London 2012 Games.

The Mongolian delegation was a guest of Surrey County Council at County Hall on Wednesday morning before being taken on a tour of some of the county's sport facilities including Bisley, Surrey Sports Park and Guildford Spectrum.

The visit by Deputy Prime Minister Miyegombo Enkhbold and senior government and sport officials was also an opportunity to strengthen business and cultural ties with Mongolia following a previous visit to Surrey in February.

Denise Saliagopoulos, Surrey County Council's Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games, said: "We were delighted to welcome our friends from Mongolia.

"During these difficult economic times the county council must do its bit to help local businesses and London 2012 offers us a golden opportunity to do this.

"We've been nurturing relationships with foreign nations to encourage them to base their Olympic teams in Surrey during the Games.

"However, we want these relationships to have a lasting legacy long after the last medal has been won. The work the county council is doing now will enhance business links between Surrey companies and foreign firms in years to come. We also want to enhance cultural links, particularly among our schools, so our children can learn more about the world around them."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Population and Housing Census starts November 11

Census takers will knock on every apartment and every ger door in Mongolia from November 11-17
From November 11-17, the Population and Housing Census, conducting once each decade, under the recommendation of UN, will run throughout the nation.
Preliminary registration for the census runs until October 25 and covers artisanal miners, homeless, herders on transhumance, and foreigners who are staying in Mongolia longer than183 days. This registration helps to approximate how many people will be involved in the census and where they will be registered.
This census is to be organized for the first time within frames of independent law and a digital map will be used for the first time. There are plans to hire 29,189 people in total for the census commission. After conducting the census on November
11-17, a preliminary report of the census will be ready by February 20, 2011 and the final results will be issued by June 1, 2011. Also, a database will be formed in 2012-2013 by analyzing the census data. The Population and Housing Census is a comprehensive action to collect, process, analyze and synthesize demographic, social and economic information by involving all people living in Mongolian territory in the census, and to distribute the census report. By doing so, it will create basic statistical information required for studying changes, reasons and conditions formed in demography, economy and society in recent decade, planning for future demographic, economic and social development, drawing-up policy, programs, and conducting scientific works. The Population and Housing Census is significant to determine policies such as where new schools and hospitals need to be established

whether administration divisions should be altered, when Mongolia’s population will reach 3 million, what policies should be followed now for citizens who will retire in the future, how many people live in gher dwellings while how many people live in apartments as well as whether the population can be provided with a source of drinking water. Demographic and social indications in the census questionnaire comprises questions about family name, parents’ and own names, date of birth, sex, nationality, citizenship, educational achievement, literacy and religious belief. Questions of economic indication are to be about employment, occupation, direction of business activity, unemployment and its reasons, and cell phone and internet usage. Questions about housing include types of housing, ownership, number of rooms, total square area of apartments, as well as others. The census questionnaire also includes geographic location and migrationrelated questions about place of birth, place of permanent residence or temporarily residence at the time of the census, term of residence in that place, as well as others. Census starts through Internet During the period between October 10 and November 17, the census will count Mongolians staying abroad longer than 183 days through the Internet. Mongolians staying abroad need to visit the census website at and insert their surname and own name and their registration number in order to confirm being a citizen of Mongolia. Official sources say that counting Mongolians abroad via Internet or information given by their relatives living in Mongolia will be safe information. People can inform census workers about their relatives staying abroad as well. By doing so, doubled information about Mongolians abroad will be combined. Mongolia’s population increased by 3.7 times in the 20th century
When Mongolia conducted its first population census in 1918, it registered 547.6 thousand. According to the second census in 1935, it was found to have increased to 738.2 thousand. In 1944, Mongolia’s population reached 754.2 thousand. When an independent professional organization conducted a census in 1956, it counted 845.5 thousand. It reached 1885.0 thousand by 1979 and Mongolia’s first millionth citizen was born in 1962. The second millionth citizen was born in 1988. The population census that was carried out in 1989 under UN recommendations found that Mongolia’s population had increased to 2,044.0 thousand. The census in 2000 counted 2,373.5 thousand people.
source: Mongol Messenger newspaper

Mongolia closer to anti land-mine Convention membership

Jordan’s Prince Mired Bin Raad
Jordan’s Royal Highness Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein of Jordan is encouraging Mongolia to accelerate its progress toward membership in the international treaty banning antipersonnel mines, and to destroy its existing inventory of these weapons.
As the Special Envoy on the Universalization of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, he promotes acceptance of the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, stockpiling Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines – the so-called “Ottawa Convention”. He served as President of the Eighth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention in November 2007. Since 2004, he has Chaired Jordan’s National Committee for De-mining and Rehabilitation. From 2000 he served as President of the Hashemite Commission for Disabled Soldiers and Vice President of the Higher Council for Persons with Disabilities. He has extensive military experience completing the Graduate Officers Course in Military Studies and Officer Training at the British Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1990, preceded by two years of military conscription to the Jordanian Armed Forces (1987 – 1989). He followed this with further service to the Jordanian Armed Forces as Special Forces Officer (1990-1991) and as a Military Intelligence Officer (1991- 1994). From 1995 to 1997 he served as Security and Intelligence Officer with Jordanian Security (1995–1997).
Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein meeting Prime Minister S.Batbold
Prince Mired holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and History and a Master of Arts in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Tufts University in the USA. He also holds a Masters of Philosophy Degree in Historical Studies from the University of Cambridge, England. Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein visited Ulaanbaatar from October 2 to 6 in his capacity as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention’s President’s Special Envoy on the Universalization of the Convention. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Embassy of Canada hosted the visit.
During his visit, his Highness met Prime Minister S. Batbold; Deputy Foreign Minister B. Bolor; Member of Parliament Z. Enkhbold; Chairperson of the Standing committee on Foreign Policy and Security, Major General Ts. Byambajav; Chief of General staff, D. Baatarjav and the President of the Mongolian Disabled Citizen’s Association and visited the military unit to see Mongolia’s stockpiles of anti-personnel mines.
On October 4, Deputy Foreign Minister B. Bolor met His Highness and told him Mongolia supports the Ottawa Convention’s goals and principles and expressed his hope that Mongolia could join the convention. He said that the Convention’s sympathetic goals and main principles meet Mongolia’s foreign policy ideology declared to ensure its national security with political and diplomatic means so the country supported the treaty. Mr Bolor also identified the problems faced by Mongolia in joining the Convention.
On October 5, Prime Minister S. Batbold met the Prince and stressed Mongolia reaffirmed its willingness to join the Ottawa Treaty during the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly during his official visit to Canada. He said, “Friendly bilateral cooperation between our countries has been developing successfully since 1981, when diplomatic ties were established.
Additionally, the two countries have been cooperating and supporting each within the frame of the UN and international organizations.” Mr Batbold thanked the Government of Jordan for supporting Mongolia by nominating it in the election of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 2010-2011.
Before his departure, the Prince was interviewed by The Mongol Messenger Editor -in-Chief, Borkhondoin Indra :
MM: This your first visit to Mongolia? What is the priority issue for you?
PM: Yes. It’s the first time .The reason that I have come to Mongolia is in regard to the Anti Personnel Mine Ban Convention, also called the Ottawa Convention. Three years ago I was president of the convention for one year.(it is rotating presidency). This year the President of the Convention, a Norwegian diplomat, Susan Eckey, asked me to be the special envoyambassador for the Convention to promote Universalization of the Convention and that’s why I‘m here in Mongolia. Mongolia has not yet been accepted to the Convention so my goal was to meet Mongolian officials to try to see if there was a possibility for Mongolia to accede to the Convention. I am very hopeful and we look forward to that day.
MM: What results you did you hope for from this visit?
PM: I think the meetings went very well. I was pleased to see that Mongolia’s commitment to accede to the Convention is real and I am hopeful that Mongolia will be able to join the Convention soon. Mongolia does not have land mine problem in the ground – it has a stockpile problem and will have to deal with it. For Mongolia, it’s a challenge that is much easier to address than in other land mine-affected countries.
MM: You say it’s easier to address compared to another countries–is this because we only have a stockpile problem?
PM: Easier, I mean compared with counties that have land mines underground because those countries have to take the mines out of the ground. It is much more difficult to de-mine large areas and very difficult, very costly. You need much more money, more expertise. To destroy a stockpile is easier, more simple – so a much simpler problem.
MM: What part does Mongolia play with Anti-Personnel mines and how can it contribute to their classification for national security?
PM: You know, this is common view now globally, internationally that land mines have no use and are not important any more. Long time ago, land mines had some value, some strategic value–they could be seen as important weapons–but not now–land mines no longer have the same importance.
Landmines are now insignificant in that any modern army that can very easily cross any mine field. There is no reason for land mines. They stay in the ground for many years after the conflict has finished and it is usually poor women, men, girls and boys who become victims of land mines. Who has to bear the responsibility? We are all responsible in that we can all play a role in ending this scourge.
MM: Where do we stand on having their locations excluded from State Secrets?
PM: The Mongolian government has been very transparent and very accommodating. Yesterday we went out to see big anti-personnel stockpile, we took photos, it was very transparent which is fantastic. I congratulate Mongolian military and government for being open, for transparency on this issue. It not a secret and not an effective weapon anyway.
MM: What do you hope to achieve from your visit?
PM: I think I already achieved a lot. We gained more information and engaged with the Mongolian Government. I was very happy to meet the Prime Minister, the Chief of Staff, Deputy Foreign Minister and Member of Parliament. I think my visit has been very successful. When I listened to them, I also conveyed my concerns and my views on this matter. I look forward very much to the day when Mongolia will accede to the Convention and I hope that will be soon.
MM: When the Ottawa Convention Treaty came into force, 156 counties joined. Will Mongolia be the 157th?
PM: If Mongolia accedes, it will be the 157th. We hope the US will also join in the near future. This will also fantastic, Mongolia and the US join at the same time.
MM: Our country, during international conferences and visits has confirmed its stance in joining the convention. How many steps will it take?
PM:As I understand it, the remaining questions concern the destruction of Mongolia’s existing stockpile of landmines. I know that this need not be complicated or expensive. If Mongolia requires financial or technical assistance, it has a right to request this in accordance with the terms of the Convention.
I hope that my visit has made it clear that if Mongolia is prepared to join the international community in eliminating anti-personnel mines, the international community stands ready to assist Mongolia in doing so. This leads us to the final step: the political decision to complete the accession process and formally agreeing to be bound by the Convention. To costs to Mongolia in taking this final step are negligible but the benefits that would flow would be great in terms of Mongolia taking centre stage in this important global issue. Landmines in our modern day and age have no use anymore and are not important weapons any more. Many countries are destroying stockpiles and clearing large areas that once were minefields. We want Mongolia to participate in the campaign against this terrible weapon.
MM: Which Asian counties joined to Ottawa convention? What is the situation at the Asian region?
PM: From the Asian region Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Japan have joined the Convention, but China, North Korea and South Korea, Burma and Singapore have not yet joined.
The last countries to join the Convention where Kuwait and Iraq and Palau–two years ago–these three countries joined together roughly at the same time. This was fantastic to see membership from two important countries like Kuwait and Iraq. I hope more countries join the convention because this adds strength and importance and sheds light on the Convention to continue working on this issue. We need donor countries, we need counties to stay engaged and focused, to continue to believe, and this one reason we need to work to Universalize the issue, it brings light to this issue.
We still have a long long way to go until we clear this big problem in countries like. Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, which still have huge problems. We need to continue to seek support and attention from the world community on this issue.
MM: As the Special Envoy which counties have you are visited?
PM: In the beginning of the year, I went to the US and held meetings in Washington DC about the same issue. I asked the US about their position and if it planned to join the Convention. This was my first visit in 2010. I also went to Laos, to Vientiane to discuss the issue and maybe will go later this year I will have one more trip and some next year as well.
MM: What do you think about Mongolia?
PM:You have a very beautiful country. I had a chance to go outside of UB twice. You have a fantastic big country with lots of resources. You should be very proud of you beautiful country.
source: Mongol Messenger newspaper

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