Mongolia to Start Uranium Exploration by 2012

Mr Batbold Sukhbaatar PM of Mongolia has announced plans to initiate national uranium exploration by the year of 2012, part of an ambitious series of projects in Mongolia along with the Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi developments. Extraction of uranium is projected to start from 2013 or 2014.

The announcement stated that 107 prospecting licenses were issued to seventeen businesses that will perform prospecting works according to the Mongolian Nuclear Energy Law and under strict supervision of the Government. Feasibility studies have been proposed for the Mardai deposit in the Dornod province and the Kharaat deposit in the Central Gobi province.

Mongolia, like Kazakhstan, joined the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1993 having met the safeguard standards according to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. In 2000, a law banning nuclear weapons was passed, and in May 2003, a reinforcing Additional Protocol in line with IAEA standards was added to its safeguard procedures.

Mr Noah Glassco Move One’s Country Manager for Mongolia said that “With our strong logistical bases in the heart of Europe, our dedicated staff on the ground in Mongolia and our extensive experience handling and transporting sensitive and high value material across the Eurasian continent we are uniquely positioned to assist the development of the Mongolian uranium industry.”

(Sourced from


Mongolian spy chief appeals British extradition ruling

LONDON — A top Mongolian security official has lodged an appeal against a ruling by a British judge last week that he can be extradited to Germany on an arrest warrant for kidnapping, his lawyer said Friday.

Bat Khurts, a key figure in Mongolia's National Security Council, was detained as he flew into London's Heathrow airport on September 17, for allegedly abducting a Mongolian murder suspect in 2003.

The 41-year-old claimed he was lured to Britain so he could be detained on the European arrest warrant. He has been in custody in a London prison since his arrest.

The case has threatened to derail diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries as Khurts claimed he was invited to London by the Foreign Office to hold anti-terror talks with British authorities.

Judge Quentin Purdy, sitting at City of Westminster Magistrates Court, last Friday dismissed arguments from Khurts' lawyers at earlier hearings that he had immunity either as a member of a special mission or as a high official.

He said Mongolian officials and the British ambassador in Ulan Bator at first both genuinely wanted Khurts to attend the talks in London, but the position changed once British judicial officials became aware of the warrant.

Khurts' legal team said immediately after the ruling they planned to appeal, and lawyer Duncan MacDonald confirmed Friday the appeal had been lodged.

"We can confirm that we lodged an appeal on behalf of Mr Khurts this week," MacDonald said.

The European arrest warrant issued by Germany alleges Khurts was a member of a team that kidnapped and drugged Mongolian refugee Damiran Enkhbat, wanted for the assassination of a Mongolian minister, in France in May 2003.

It claims that Khurts drove a car carrying Enkhbat to the Mongolian consulate in Brussels and then to Germany, where he was put on a flight to Ulan Bator.

Source:AFP, Agence France Presse, French news wire services


Spy chief loses extradition appeal

A Mongolian spy chief has lodged an appeal after a judge ruled he could be sent to Germany to face charges of kidnap and false imprisonment.

Bat Khurts, 41, is alleged to have been involved in the abduction of Mongolian national Enkhbat Damiran, who was wanted in connection with the murder of a government official.

Last week, District Judge Quentin Purdy, sitting at London's City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, said Khurts should be sent to Germany on a European arrest warrant.

But Khurts, who claims he was lured to the UK so he could be apprehended and jailed, has now lodged an appeal against the decision.

His legal team argue that, as head of the executive office of Mongolia's National Security Council, their client should have been covered by diplomatic immunity and should not have been detained when he arrived in Britain.

His solicitor, Duncan MacDonald, of JD Spicer & Co, said: "We can confirm that we lodged an appeal on behalf of Mr Khurts this week."

Full papers are expected to be submitted to the High Court next week.

Mr Damiran was taken from France to Berlin, drugged and then flown to Mongolia.

He was wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of Mongolian Infrastructure Minister Zorig Sanjasuuren.


Mongolia: the next EM superstar?

Forget China. The fastest growing country over the next 20 years will be its diminutive central Asian neighbour Mongolia, according to a report released by Citigroup this week.

The report, written by economists Willem Buiter and Ebrahim Bahbari, predicts that the Mongolian economy will expand 8.7 per cent annually (in purchasing power parity terms) between now and 2030. A low base, favourable demographics and a high savings and investment rate are expected to be the biggest contributors to its explosive growth.

The country’s growth potential has already been recognised by some investors: strong demand for Mongolian equities made them the best performing in the world in 2010.

The report calculates countries’ growth potential using a novel “Global Growth Generators” (3G) index. This is a weighted average of six growth drivers selected by Citigroup: domestic savings/investment, demographics, health, institutions and policy, and trade openness.

The 3G index yields some surprising results. Among the highest ranked countries are Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

None of these countries, however, is expected to grow as fast as Mongolia over the next 20 years. The next fastest, India, is predicted to expand 7.7 per cent annually – a full percentage point lower than Mongolia.

What explains Mongolia’s world-beating growth prospects? Three factors are especially important. The first is a low base. Mongolia’s 2010 level of real per capita income (in PPP terms) is $3,674, putting it in 51st place globally, below countries such as the Republic of Congo, Fiji and Honduras.

Favourable demographics will also give it a boost. Mongolia’s population is “small, young and growing” in Citigroup’s words, and expected to increase from 2.7m in 2010 to 3.5m over the next 40 years. Its working age population will grow by 18.7 per cent over the same period.

Finally, the Mongolian economy will benefit from a domestic investment boom. From 2006 to 2009, its investment rate was 38.5 per cent and its saving rate 39.1 per cent – among the highest in the world. As long as these rates stay relatively stable, Mongolia’s labour productivity should increase rapidly – just like that of its frugal neighbour China over the past 30 years.

While Mongolia performs weakly on the policy and institutions component of the 3G index, it has so far succeeded in avoiding the “natural resource curse” that has blighted so many low-income commodity exporters. Copper, coal, tin, tungsten and gold account for a large proportion of the Mongolia’s industrial production.

As Citigroup says:

Mongolia’s economy is overwhelmingly based on resource extraction. It is therefore a prime candidate for the natural resource curse. Unlike most of the other central Asian countries, however, Mongolia has thus far avoided the lure of personalised autocracy or strong-man rule, and the bureaucracy, although weak, is some distance from the klepocratic end of the ‘kleptocratic-technocratic’ continuum.

Investors can be reasonably confident, then, that their money is safe in Mongolia. And if strong growth translates into higher investment returns – as it did last year – Mongolia may be about to become a lot more popular.

Source:Financial Times

Mongolia Picks Four Banks for Coal IPO


HONG KONG—Mongolia has chosen four banks to manage the multibillion-dollar initial public offering of the world's largest coking coal deposit, people familiar with the matter said.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, BNP Paribas SA and Macquarie Group Ltd. won the battle among bankers to handle the IPO of state-owned Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi Co. which controls the coal deposit in the South Gobi desert near China's northern border, the people said.

The government plans to sell up to a 30% stake in Erdenes-TT, as it is known, to international investors and an additional 10% to local companies, as well as give away 10% to Mongolian citizens. It would continue to hold about 50%. The shares are likely to be dual-listed on the Mongolian Stock Exchange and an overseas market, possibly Hong Kong or London.

The bankers could rake in substantial fees from managing the sale, which could value the company at US$10 billion to US$12 billion. However, it isn't yet clear which of Erdenes-TT assets will be included, who will mine the deposit and how much in royalties the operator pay, making estimates on the size of the deal little more than educated guesses for now.

The banks competed aggressively to manage the deal, in part because it is Mongolia's biggest share sale to date and partly because it could lead to more mandates as Mongolia's fledgling democratic government privatizes more mining assets to enrich its 2.9 million citizens, many of whom live in poverty.

Bankers noted the line-up could still change ahead of the IPO, with firms such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. lobbying hard for inclusion based on their experience handling Mongolian mining IPOs.

Consultancy McKinsey & Co. has been advising the government on its privatization plans, people familiar with the matter said.

The government has set a deadline for completing the listing before year's end—a target some bankers call too aggressive given the amount of work that still needs to be done. Still, appointing the banks could make it more likely that the government hits its target, which is ahead of elections due next year. Decisions are likely to be taken swiftly on the logistics of the share sale and on which assets to include.

The project on the ground will remain a huge undertaking that may take years to complete and will involve building mining infrastructure, as well as massive road and railway networks to transport the coal. Only after an operator is selected can there be any estimates of when the first coal could come out of the ground.

The Tavan Tolgoi deposit has about six billion tons of coal reserves, according to both the government and mining data firm Raw Materials Group. At least a quarter of the supply is coking coal, which is used in making steel.

The government is due to award a contract license for the eastern half of Tavan Tolgoi shortly. The state is also soliciting offers to develop the western part of the deposit. Erdenes-TT is likely to receive royalties from the concession operator, although how much is still unknown. China's Shenhua Group and Peabody Energy Corp. of the U.S. are among the leading contenders, said another person familiar with the matter.
—Prudence Ho contributed to this article.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


GTSO Pursues Rare Earth Transport Agreement with Russian Railways

Green Technology Solutions, Inc. (OTCBB: GTSO) announced today that the company has approached freight services provider Russian Railways regarding the transport of rare earth ore from Mongolia to the international seaport of Vladivostok, Russia.

GTSO and Rare Earth Exporters of Mongolia announced the formation of a joint venture earlier this month to procure rare-earth mining claims and operations in Mongolia. The joint venture plans to convey Mongolian mining products overland to railway for transport to Vladivostok in order to avoid shipping through China. Destination ports for these mining products are set to include the U.S., Japan and South Korea.

Russian Railways is a major freight provider on the Eurasian continent, offering international freight services for ore and many other types of commodities. The company provides rail service traversing Mongolia from south to north, including passage through the nation's capital, Ulan Bator, where the joint venture's new transport office is located.

?Russian Railways is the ideal company to help us transport rare earths from mines in Mongolia to port in Russia,? said GTSO President and CEO John Shearer. ?They have the necessary expertise and infrastructure to transport 20 tons of ore per day by rail, which is our goal. We hope to reach an agreement with them soon.?

China's stranglehold over global production of rare earth has spurred supply concerns in the U.S., Japan and South Korea. Having established a near-monopoly over rare-earth production worldwide over the past 20 years, China is drastically reducing its exports in an attempt to force foreign technology firms to move their manufacturing to China. As a result, the U.S. and its allies are totally reliant on the communist nation for the production of their most powerful weapons and technology.

China does not hold all of the world's rare earth deposits, however. The vast majority of China's rare earths are mined in the country's Inner Mongolia region, which lies along the southern border of the nation of Mongolia. Many experts believe that Mongolia, a former Soviet state, contains rare earth deposits that rival those of China. By developing a new source of rare earths outside of China, GTSO aims to counter the rising security threat posed by China's iron grip on materials critical to the U.S.'s energy and defense industries.

GTSO commercializes clean and renewable mining technology and products in a sector that affects Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE: MCP), General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), Rare Element Resources Ltd. (AMEX: REE) and General Electric (NYSE:GE).

About Green Technology Solutions, Inc.

Green Technology Solutions, Inc. (GTSO) is an OTCQB publicly traded company. OTCQB is the middle tier of the OTC market. OTCQB companies report to the SEC or a U.S. banking regulator, making it easy for investors to identify companies that are current in their reporting obligations. GTSO acquires, develops and implements the newest clean mining technology to enable our partner clients to expand operations throughout the world. Environmental restrictions represent the largest restriction to mining industry growth and operations. GTSO focuses on overcoming these environmental restrictions with brilliant cutting-edge clean mining technology.

For more information, please visit

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This news release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including statements that include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipate" or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the company to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In addition, description of anyone's past success, either financial or strategic, is no guarantee of future success. This news release speaks as of the date first set forth above and the company assumes no responsibility to update the information included herein for events occurring after the date hereof.

Green Technology Solutions, Inc.
John Shearer, 408-432-7285
President and CEO



Mongolian PM moves to reassure investors

Mongolia's Prime Minister has moved to reassure investors that his government is committed to a stable and predictable investment environment.

Prime Minister Sukhbaataryn Batbold is visiting Australia, courting business and official know-how to develop the country's vast mineral wealth.

Mongolia's recent cancellation of some gold licences and a stoush with Canada over a uranium development that's going to international arbitration have fuelled concern about the investment environment.

On a four-day official visit to Australia, the Prime Minister has secured a new Australian trade office in Ulan Bator and new student scholarships to Australia.

It's part of Mongolia's so-called "third neighour" strategy to build a cordon of democratic friends to balance the Russian and Chinese giants on the doorstep.

Presenter: Linda Mottram
Speakers: Sukhbaataryn Batbold, Mongolia's Prime Minister; Julian Dierkes, the Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research, University of British Columbia, who also writes on Mongolia.

Source:Radio Australia


Mongolia shortlists 4 banks for massive coal IPO

* Four banks shortlisted for Tavan Tolgoi IPO

By David Stanway

ULAN BATOR, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Mongolia has shortlisted BNP Paribas , Deutsche Bank , Goldman Sachs and Macquarie Group to manage the initial public offering (IPO) of Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi, the world's largest untapped coking coal deposit.

The IPO, which will be Mongolia's biggest, is planned for first half of 2012, Mining Minister Dashdorj Zorigt told reporters on Thursday.

The size of the IPO is still unclear with bankers estimating the offer to be in the range of $1.5-$5 billion. It has attracted huge interest from global banks to win the coveted mandate, with some 150 bankers converging on the frozen capital of Ulan Bator earlier this week to pitch for the deal.

The Mongolian government plans to distribute shares in the company free to all citizens and another chunk to Mongolian corporations, according to officials, bankers and analysts working on the transaction.

Mongolia plans to keep 51 percent of state-owned holding company Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi, which controls the deposit, located in the South Gobi desert near China's northern border.

The resource rich country, which lingered in isolation for 70 years as a Soviet satellite state, serving as a sleepy buffer zone between its giant neighbours, Russia and China.

Now the democratic government, in power since the early 1990s, is trying to pull its 3 million citizens out of poverty by exploiting its largely untapped mineral wealth.

Mongolia exported 16.6 million tonnes of coal to China in 2010, up nearly three-fold from the preceding year and just 2.5 million tonnes in 2005.

The country, expected by some analysts to be one of the fastest growing economies of the next decade, is poised to overtake Australia to become China's largest coking coal supplier this year. (Writing Denny Thomas; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Source:Reuters news wire


Mongolian civic groups demand immediate release of official detained in UK

Mongolian civic groups held protest demonstration outside British Embassy in Ulanbator yesterday afternoon, demanding immediate release of Khurts Bat, Mongolian official detained in UK since September 2010. Bat-Yalalt, head of “Fair Court of Citizens” a civic group handed the demand to British embassy . Bat-Yalalt said “ we demand that Britain stop looking down on Mongolia and immediate release of Khurts.”

Protestors held posters which “ No to London Stock Exchange” , “Rio Tinto get out of Mongolia” and shouted “release Khurts, Mongolian citizen”.

Mongolian staff of the British embassy came out and received the demand. The protestors demanded official answer from the embassy by next week. About 250 protestors took part in the demonstration.

Khurts Bat, secretary of Mongolian National Security Council is detained in UK since September, 2010. He was arrested by British police on European Arrest Warrant issued by German authorities. Khurts, former counterintelligence officer of Mongolian Central Intelligence Agency and secretary of Mongolian National Security Council, top state organ, is wanted for the kidnap and false imprisonment of a Mongolian national suspected of murdering a government official. Khurts was allegedly involved in the 2003 kidnap of Enkhbat Damiran, who was taken from France to Berlin, drugged and flown to the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator in 2004.

London Stock Exchange signed contract with Mongolian Government on management and upgrading of Mongolian stock exchange in Jan, 2011. Rio Tinto is largest UK investor in Mongolia and owns large copper and gold deposit in South Gobi region of Mongolia.

By Staff reporter of


Bankers pitch for Mongolian dollar bond

A debut Mongolian sovereign bond is back on the agenda as the country looks to raise funds for capital investment projects.

By Denise Wee

Senior bank officials have been feverishly pitching for Mongolia's inaugural dollar bond issue in recent weeks. As bankers have visited Ulan Bator, the capital city of Mongolia, to pitch for the IPO of state-owned coal mining company Erdenez Tavan Tolgoi, they have also been working to bring a bond deal back to the table.

A sovereign bond out of Mongolia has long been rumoured, but the country has not been successful in bringing it to market. Part of the reason for that, say analysts, is that there is simply no urgency to raise funds.

"A Mongolian sovereign bond has been on the agenda for several years. But it hasn't come to market because there has been no urgency. Mongolia doesn't really need commercial external borrowings. It still has [access to] sufficient multi-lateral and bilateral concessionary lending at low rates and with long maturities. Another reason why it has not come to market is changes in government, which tends to delay an initiative like this, when there are no compelling economic reasons," said Agost Benard, a Singapore-based credit analyst at Standard & Poor's covering Mongolia.

"The main reason why they want to tap the market now is to raise funds for capital investment projects for which concessional funding is not available, as well as to establish a benchmark to [help] Mongolian companies access the capital markets. The bond proceeds may potentially be used for the construction of downstream processing facilities for minerals. This is part of the vision to add value to the basic mineral commodity before exporting it," he added.

Mongolia is rated BB- by Standard & Poor's. It is rated Ba3 by Moody's and B by Fitch.

In June last year, Batbayar Balgan, the director general at the Financial & Economic Policy Department in Mongolia’s finance ministry, told participants at a FinanceAsia conference that discussions were underway to issue its maiden dollar bond. The size talked about at that time was up to $1.2 billion, but since then the expectations have been for a less ambitious deal size.

Bankers are not expecting a debut bond from Mongolia to launch until late this year. If it materialises, it would offer investors a chance to diversify their Asian sovereign bond portfolio and it would be expected to attract interest from US investors.

“A bond from Mongolia will be driven by US emerging market funds. It could fly as investors want to diversify their holdings, but it really depends on the rate and sentiment at that time,” said one Hong Kong-based investor.

A successful deal would offer a reference point for Mongolian companies planning to issue dollar bonds. So far, the only dollar bonds out of Mongolia are from the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia, which has tapped the dollar market three times.

Of late, Mongolia has stepped up its efforts to raise its profile internationally. The Mongolian prime minister, Sukhbaatar Batbold, was in Singapore late last week to drum up support for foreign direct investment in Mongolia and to foster political ties.

Source:Haymarket Media Limited


Khan Resources Says Govt. Of Mongolia Appoints Arbitrator For Intl. Arbitration

(RTTNews) - Khan Resources Inc. (KRI.TO: News ) said that the Government of Mongolia appointed its arbitrator for the international arbitration proceeding commenced in January, 2011. The two appointed arbitrators would now select a third arbitrator to preside over the arbitration tribunal. The procedure is expected to take upwards of 30 to 45 days.

As announced on January 10, 2011, Khan formally commenced an international arbitration action against the Government of Mongolia for its expropriatory and unlawful treatment of Khan in relation to the Dornod uranium deposit located in northeastern Mongolia. The claim seeks over $200 million in compensation for losses and damages.



Gemcom Announces Office Opening in Mongolia to Support Industry Expansion in Mining and Exploration

New Ulaanbaatar Office Brings Expanded Availability of Industry-Leading Software, Global Industry Experience to Support Growing Market
PERTH, AUSTRALIA and ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA--(Marketwire - 02/21/11) - Gemcom Software International Inc., the largest global supplier of mining software solutions, today announced that it will open an office in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on February 23, 2011. Gemcom's software, including Surpac, GEMS, Minex, Whittle, InSite and MineSched, are already widely used by exploration and mining operations throughout the country.

"Gemcom's software has been playing a key role in the Mongolian mining industry since 1995 when Minex was purchased by Baganuur Joint Stock Company," said Andrew Pyne, senior vice president, Gemcom AustralAsia. "Since then, we have established long-standing professional relationships with the Mongolian Government and many key mining entities such as Erdenes MGL and Centerra's Boroo Gold mine. The office gives us the opportunity to work even closer with our clients to help explore the full commercial potential of their operations."

"We are very satisfied with Gemcom's products and services, and have no doubt that our use of Surpac, Minex, and Whittle has played a critical role in the success of our operations," said Naranbaatar Lundeg, managing director, Glogex LLC. "With the opening of their Ulaanbaatar office, we look forward to working even more closely with Gemcom's software experts and mining professionals and the global industry experience the company brings to the local level."

Mongolia has seen a significant boost in mining investments due to the increase in commodity prices and the Mongolian Government's commitment to develop the country's mining industry. As of November 2010, mining had already fuelled over 60% of foreign direct investment for Mongolia - a country rich in copper, gold, coal, molybdenum, fluorspar, uranium, tin, and tungsten deposits.

"Mongolia is recognised as one of the world's strongest emerging economies today, and Gemcom is committed to contributing to its continued growth and success through an enhanced local presence," comments Simon Waghorn, executive director, Gemcom Mongolia. "Our Mongolian team of mining professionals has been recruited to support the local industry to help clients drive additional value from their businesses by giving them the tools and capabilities needed to improve site productivity and profits."

To further support the growth of Mongolia's mining industry, Gemcom has launched a Student Sponsorship Program to help develop the region's future mining professionals. The first-ever Gemcom sponsorship program recipient will be announced at the office opening and will receive a cash bursary towards their continuing education, and will have a paid summer internship at the Gemcom Ulaanbaatar office to gain valuable industry experience.

About Gemcom

When mining companies seek to increase mine productivity, they turn to Gemcom for technology and services. The Company is home to world-renowned mining solutions like GEMS, Surpac, Minex, Whittle and InSite, and to industry thought leaders who are pushing the boundaries of what's possible in mining. Established in 1985, Gemcom has a global reach delivering comprehensive solutions in all major mining centres in more than 130 countries. Every major mining company, including BHP Billiton, Codelco, De Beers, Newmont and Vale is a Gemcom client. Through a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions, the Company has become the largest global supplier of mining software solutions. For more information, visit

Gemcom, the Gemcom logo and combinations thereof, are trademarks of Gemcom Software International Inc. GEMS, Surpac, Minex, Whittle, and InSite are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Gemcom Software International Inc.

Source:Marketwire news service

Fists fly in fight to mine Mongolia

By Leo Lewis

MONGOLIA is poised to name the banks that will underwrite the flotation of the world's largest untapped seam of coking coal - and the proposed listing has launched rival financiers on a sub-zero, testosterone-charged scramble for the wealth of Ulan Bator.

The process has included an ego-fuelled brawl in an Irish-themed bar in, of all places, the Mongolian capital as bankers punctuated their pitch documents with their fists.

Some of those involved have described the process as "one of the most aggressive, ill-tempered competitions in recent memory". The initial public offering, billed as "transformational" for the three million citizens of Mongolia, comes as natural disasters in Australia and relentless Chinese demand have triggered a sharp rise in global coal prices.

The listing of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi on either or both the Hong Kong and London exchanges may raise as much as $US5 billion and could value the company at more than $US15bn.
Propelling the furious contest is the promise of a slice of the action inMongolia, the resources-heavy country whose proximity to China could make it the fastest-growing Asian economy of the next decade.

The Mongolian authorities are expected to announce their decision within the next few days, possibly offering roles to as many as four banks. Analysts say that the success of the listing implies a potentially huge flow of other business for bankers as Mongolia attracts investment and develops infrastructure to support its mineral ambitions.

One of the weaknesses of the Tavan Tolgoi deposit is that it lies about 400km from the nearest railway line, an isolation that can be addressed only by raising capital.

Benchmark prices for coking coal used in steel blast furnaces are 50 per cent higher than they were a year ago and have given Chinese coal producers a spectacular run of profitability. Even if prices stabilise, Mongolia believes that the six billion tonnes of coal beneath Tavan Tolgoi could double GDP by 2015.

Over the past fortnight, teams from more than 20 global investment banks, including JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, have descended on Mongolia's frozen capital to make their pitch.

Private Mongolian companies have listed shares in Hong Kong, but Tavan Tolgoi is a government sale and is invested with huge political significance.

While the government will retain a 51 per cent stake in the holding company, and 30 per cent will be offered to global investors, the plan is to distribute 10 per cent of the shares to every Mongolian and the remainder to local companies. If the logistics of that distribution are managed well, the deal could mark a turning point in dragging the country from poverty, analysts say.

The deal is substantial by any standard, but the real prize lies in the kudos of receiving the official nod, which could lead to mandates for other deals in the private and public sectors.


Mongolia gears up for mining bonanza

By John Garnaut

The potential is huge, writes John Garnaut in Tavan Tolgoi.

Days after the Rio Tinto executive, Stern Hu, was arrested in Shanghai, the company's chief executive, Tom Albanese, was driven in a small convoy of LandCruisers through drizzling rain to the heart of Mongolia's annual Naadam festival.

Hundreds of seven- and eight year-old boys were racing horses over distances of up to 30 kilometres, while spectators lined up on one side of the finish line and horse owners mingled in their yurts on the other. Albanese was late, so there were no seats in the stand, and he found himself as guest of honour in somebody's yurt.

There are conflicting accounts about who was proposing the toasts and why Albanese stayed in Mongolia as long as he did - opting to return to London via Seoul rather than Beijing - but nobody disputes that he became thoroughly acquainted with Mongolia's famous vodka and its notorious fermented horse milk, aryag. Those festivities lasted for two full days.

''This is my first opportunity to relax and my cell phone doesn't work out here,'' Albanese told his host and friend of 30 years, Edward Rochette, who married into one of Mongolia's premier horse breeding families. ''Let's just say he had an opportunity to enjoy himself and let his hair down,'' says Rochette.

When Albanese stopped for his drink at Ulan Bator, in July 2009, the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project was still an idea stuck in the Mongolian bureaucracy and Mongolia's main share index was trapped beneath 5000.

But months later the Mongolian government inked the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement. And last year the agreement officially commenced, construction began, international money began pouring in and Mongolia's sharemarket index more than doubled to become the best performer in the world.

In the first six weeks of this year the index has doubled again - hitting 29,550 on Friday - and the International Monetary Fund predicts the Mongolian economy will this year grow faster than China's. Indeed, it would be hard not to grow at double digits given that construction of Oyu Tolgoi is already generating about one-third of the country's GDP, and the mine's exports will contribute a similar proportion when they come on stream from late next year.

''We're spending about $7 million a day, which is kind of awesome,'' says Andrew Harding, who heads Rio Tinto's copper division and oversees the Oyu Tolgoi project.

Oyu Tolgoi may be set to become one of the world's top three copper mines in one of the world's smallest economies and located just across the border from the world's biggest copper consumer.

But the story has already been relegated to the bottom of the nation's business pages. That's because its Gobi Desert neighbour, Tavan Tolgoi - a coal project - is getting off the ground. It is the world's second largest coal deposit, after China's Shengli.

The government has been weighing its options on how to develop and structure the mine and investment bankers have been swarming through Ulan Bator hoping for a piece of the deal. ''We had the top 55 international banking institutions here two weeks ago,'' says the Mongolian Prime Minister, Sukhbaataryn Batbold, in an interview at his Ulan Bator residence on the eve of this week's visit to Australia. ''Now it's time to raise the sophistication of the institutions of democracy and civil society and basic economic institutions including the stock exchange.''

Batbold, Mongolia's richest man, is one of several young and capable Mongolian leaders who do not need reminding that the world is littered with energy-rich dictatorships and failing democracies.

''Many investment banks believe the economy will double every three years,'' says Gankhuyag Chuluun, 36, the vice minister for finance, who is advising Batbold on structuring the Tavan Tolgoi deal. ''We need to shovel coal across the border and turn Mongolia's 2.7 million people into dollar millionaires.

''If we really want double digit growth from this year then we need to continue educating people and policy makers about the dangers of resource dependency,'' he says.

And to use the resources, he says, the country first needs to unlock its infrastructure bottlenecks.

Down at Tavan Tolgoi, where temperatures sometimes dip as low as minus 50 degrees, miners are just beginning to scratch the surface of 6.5 billion tonnes of high-grade coal - equivalent to 2400 tonnes for every Mongolian. A small pocket of the vast reserve has been set aside for the Mongolian Mining Corporation and its subsidiary, Energy Resources.

The mining contract has been given to the Australian company Leightons and the site looks like any world-class operation. The pit is two kilometres long and 50 metres deep and may one day extend as far as 10 kilometres and 350 metres underground. They are currently shovelling the ''No. 3'' seam of high grade coking coal, which is between 9 and 12 metres thick and begins just 10 metres beneath the surface.

International shortages are once again beginning to bite, with each new tyre on the 240-tonne Caterpillar tip truck costing upwards of $30,000. But the biggest shortages are for labour.

MMC has been exempted from a law that bans female truck drivers - a throwback to when only the strongest drivers could handle Mongolia's Russian-made trucks. ''Women are better drivers because they have respect for what they are doing, whereas men just go flat out,'' says the Australian training director, as he demonstrates a driving simulator which is programmed to replicate the mine and simulate snow, ice and emergency conditions. ''And we need any operator we can get.''

MMC is spending whatever it needs to overcome acute labour and equipment shortages, as it ramps up production to 7 million tonnes this year. But the picture of world class efficiency ends at the mine gate.

The dirt road to China is so dangerous it takes each of 400 trucks a full day to complete the 200 kilometres to the Chinese border. Many have landed on their sides when the road freezes over and drivers lose control. When the trucks get to the border they dump their loads at the edge of a showcase city of skyscrapers and formidable Chinese infrastructure.

MMC has urgent plans to pave the road to China but a series of political hurdles stand in the way of a railway line. The Mongolian Parliament has legislated that the government first has to connect Tavan Tolgoi with a Russian gauge line to the Russian rail network, which would entail a journey of nearly 7000 kilometres to the Pacific port of Vladivostok.

''We are landlocked, we would like to see we have options in both direction through Russia and through China,'' says Batbold, explaining a desire for market leverage.

While Mongolia is suffering from labour and equipment shortages and acute infrastructure bottlenecks, and the parliament is once again debating whether to renegotiate the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement and hasn't agreed on how to develop Tavan Tolgoi, the question has shifted from whether Mongolia will become the world's new mining frontier to how it will handle the boom.

''I'd like to focus here on how the people of Mongolia get the benefits of the project as soon as possible,'' says Batbold. The country has come a long way since the prime minister was merely a businessman, albeit the one who personally acquired the Tavan Tolgoi tenement after it was returned to the government by BHP Billiton. ''This was up to BHP, it was a completely free commercial decision,'' says Batbold, who was later required to hand it back to the government. ''Everybody thinks it was like this 15 years ago but it was very different at the time.''

Edward Rochette, who hosted Tom Albanese during the Naadam festivities and was the Mongolia representative for Robert Friedland's Ivanhoe Mining, won't hazard a guess as to the current value of those Tavan Tolgoi mining rights. But he notes that the 4.5 per cent owned by MMC is currently valued at $4 billion on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

It reminds Rochette of an earlier episode, when he had personally negotiated for BHP Billiton to sell its rights in Oyu Tolgoi to Robert Friedland's Ivanhoe Mining.

''Friedland sent me down to Melbourne to negotiate with BHP,'' says Rochette. ''The purchase price was $US5 million … and it's now projected to be the third largest copper mine in the world.''

Since then, Mongolia has defied the odds to stand on its feet, Ivanhoe's Robert Friedland has become a multibillionaire and Rio's Tom Albanese has negotiated his way into the driver's seat at Oyu Tolgoi. With copper prices up more than 50 per cent in six months and hovering around $US10,000 a tonne, and the value of Oyu Tolgoi's gold production alone covering the mine's operating costs at current prices, the Gobi Desert seems awash with profit.

''This decade is going to be a great decade, great demand and [with] supply struggling to keep up,'' says Harding, the copper chief at Rio Tinto. ''And from everything I see, the following decade is going to be much the same. It will take much more than another Oyu Tolgoi coming on to satisfy that demand.'' (The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper)


TNK-BP and the Mongolian Oil Agency sign Memorandum of Understanding

The FINANCIAL -- TNK-BP and the Mongolian Government Oil Agency have on February 18 signed a memorandum of understanding concerning the delivery of Russian oil products to Mongolia.

The Document was signed by Jonathan Kollek, the TNK-BP Vice-President for sales, trading and logistics, and by Amraa Tsengemaa, deputy director of the Mongolian Oil agency.

In accordance with the memorandum, TNK-BP will consider the possibility of concluding mutually beneficial agreements with Mongolian companies on the delivery of oil products. The mix of products, delivery methods, technical characteristics, prices and terms of payment will be agreed between TNK-BP and the Mongolian participants, as determined by the Mongolian Oil Agency.

In the case of such agreements being concluded, TNK-BP will then explore the opportunity of delivering oil to Mongolian Refineries, as soon as their respective operations start.

“TNK-BP’s emergence into the dynamic and developing Mongolian market will help to promote a competitive environment and to satisfy the growing demand for quality oil products. One of TNK-BP’s priorities is to diversify our sales markets, and the development of the Mongolian economy is opening up promising prospects for the expansion of our business in the country,” said Jonathan Kollek, TNK-BP Vice-President for sales, trading and logistics.


Mongolian spy chief can be extradited to Germany

A Mongolian spy chief who claimed he was tricked into coming to the UK so he could be arrested can be extradited, a court has ruled.

District Judge Quentin Purdy, at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, ruled Bat Khurts should be sent to Germany on a European arrest warrant.

Mr Khurts, 41, is wanted for the kidnap and false imprisonment of a Mongolian national suspected of murdering a government official.

His lawyer said he intended to appeal.

Mr Khurts was allegedly involved in the 2003 kidnap of Enkhbat Damiran, who was taken from France to Berlin, drugged and flown to the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator.

Mr Damiran was wanted in connection with the murder of Mongolia's Infrastructure Minister Zorig Sanjasuuren in 1998.
'Full immunity'

Mr Khurts was remanded in custody and will be extradited within 17 days, unless his appeal is successful.

His lawyer, Alun Jones QC, claimed Mr Khurts, head of the executive office of Mongolia's National Security Council, should not have been detained at Heathrow Airport in September because he was covered by diplomatic immunity.

Mr Jones said Mr Khurts was lured to the UK by the Foreign Office, on the pretence of attending high-level government talks on intelligence co-operation, so he could be arrested and extradited to Germany.

Mr Jones said Mr Khurts had been granted a business visa for a visit during which he was supposed to meet Britain's National Security Adviser, Sir Peter Ricketts, and strategy and counter-terrorism director, William Nye.

Judge Purdy said he believed Mr Khurts was invited for genuine security talks but the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) had heard about it and were aware of the outstanding warrant from Germany.

The judge said: "To my mind it is clear the Mongolian authorities thought Bat Khurts was travelling with full immunity... equally clearly, the UK authorities, once aware of the European Arrest Warrant, most certainly did not regard the trip as attracting any immunity from arrest."

Source:BBC News


Mongolian spy chief loses British extradition case

By Danny Kemp (AFP) –

LONDON — A British judge approved on Friday the extradition of a top Mongolian security official who claimed he was lured to Britain so he could be detained on a German arrest warrant for kidnapping.

Bat Khurts, 41, a key figure in Mongolia's National Security Council, was detained as he flew into London's Heathrow airport on September 17, for allegedly abducting a Mongolian murder suspect in 2003.

The case has threatened to derail diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries as Khurts claimed he was invited to London by the Foreign Office to hold anti-terror talks with British authorities.

Lawyers for Khurts immediately said he would appeal against Friday's ruling. He has been in custody in a London prison since his arrest.

Judge Quentin Purdy, sitting at City of Westminster Magistrates Court, dismissed arguments given by Khurts' lawyers at earlier hearings that he had immunity either as a member of a special mission or as a high official.

He said Mongolian officials and the British ambassador in Ulan Bator at first both genuinely wanted Khurts to attend the talks in London, but the position changed once British judicial officials became aware of the warrant.

While there was no basis for finding any improper conduct by British officials, Purdy said he had "no doubt" that they had issued Khurts with a business visa to avoid or deny any claim of diplomatic immunity.

"Similarly I have no doubt the 'persistent' calls from the British embassy over Bat Khurts' travel itinerary was to ensure SOCA (Serious and Organised Crime Agency) would be free to ensure an arrest in the UK with minimum fuss."

The European arrest warrant issued by Germany alleges Khurts was a member of a snatch squad which kidnapped and drugged Mongolian refugee Damiran Enkhbat, wanted for the assassination of a Mongolian minister, in France in May 2003.

It claims that Khurts drove a car carrying Enkhbat to the Mongolian consulate in Brussels and then to Germany, where he was put on a flight to Ulan Bator.

Khurts' wife has begged the British government to free her husband, saying that the pain of their separation was harmful for the couple's new baby.

Khurts' lawyer Alun Jones argued that Khurts should have benefited from immunity because he was travelling on official business on a diplomatic passport and because of a United Nations convention on "special missions".

Jones added that the case served as a warning to foreign countries to be careful before sending their officials to Britain and alleged that British government and judicial officials worked to "entrap" Kurts.

The Foreign Office has denied any formal meetings were arranged for his seven-day trip.

There was no immediate response from Mongolian authorities.

Britain was the first Western country to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia in 1963 and their bilateral relationship has "always been close", according to the website of the British embassy in Ulan Bator.

The British embassy supports programmes in Mongolia in areas including governance, economic reform and human rights, it said.

Source:AFP, French News Service


Goatskin greets Gucci in a modernising Mongolia

John Garnaut, Ulan Bato

WEATHERED old folk in goatskin gowns and young couples wearing designer sunglasses are squeezing into Gandan monastery in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, to lay money at the feet of a small and ornate statue of Buddha.

The room has the same yak butter smell as monasteries in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, but the scene is otherwise more natural, lively and shambolic.

As monks count bundles of money, child trainees stifle yawns. They have been chanting all day and into the night for most of the two-week celebration of the lunar new year.
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I ask my friend what they are chanting about. ''I don't really know,'' he says. ''Actually, nobody does. It's all in Tibetan - we just have to trust them.''

Ninety-eight per cent of the country's 2.7 million people count themselves as Tibetan Buddhists, thanks to ties that go back centuries, but only a few hundred trained monks can read the scriptures of their faith.

My friend, a Mongolian neighbour from Beijing, has brought me here to pray for good health and fortune in between his meetings about national politics and personal uranium exploration.

Tibetan Buddhism is not the only foreign idea that Mongolia has absorbed and adapted in its own idiosyncratic way. Only two decades ago the country flicked a switch from being a dour Marxist-Leninist satellite of the Soviet Union into a boisterously democratic market economy.

''We have 17 free-to-air TV stations and 16 cable channels,'' says market researcher Andreu Enkhtuvshin.

As night falls, down at the main square the ice skating rink fills with young people spinning to Guns 'n' Roses and Mongolian hip-hop, wishing each other ''happy Valentine's Day''.

The stately little building on the east side of Sukhbaatar Square used to be the old Soviet cinema. It has been revamped as the Mongolian Stock Exchange. While it doesn't rank among the world's best, like most things in Mongolia it seems to be heading in the right direction.

''Our 344 listed companies have a market capitalisation of about $2 billion and daily trading volumes of about $200,000,'' says Altai Khangai, the exchange's chief executive. ''It's not the biggest in the world, but it has become critical for us to build capacity.''

On the square's southern edge is an impressive high-rise in the shape of a sail. I was told it was bought by former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra while he spent a month at the Genghis Khan Hotel. I was also told it was owned by a former Mongolian PM, and the South Koreans, and that they were fronting for the Japanese yakuza, and that it would have to be torn down because it was crooked. The real and surreal seem happily interchangeable.

On the west side of the square is the city's tallest building, at 17 floors. The first two floors are occupied by the likes of Ermenegildo Zegna, Montblanc and Louis Vuitton.

''If you want to really see leapfrog development, you'll notice we don't have McDonald's or Starbucks but we do have very good French, Japanese and Korean restaurants with international chefs,'' says the Vice-Minister of Finance, Ganhuyag Chuluun, one of the country's rising stars. ''Mongolians didn't really shop around for Levi's - we went straight from riding horses to Louis Vuitton.''

Source:Reuters news service


IMF warns Mongolia about high inflation rate

Mongolia— Preliminary Conclusions of the 2011 Article IV Mission

February 17, 2011

The 2011 Article IV consultation discussions took place against the backdrop of a strong economic recovery in Mongolia and signs that the economy is overheating. Inflation is already too high and the large increase in fiscal spending underway will make matters worse. Discussions focused on the policies for managing the current business cycle and for ensuring Mongolia’s vast mineral deposits lead to lasting prosperity.

1. Recent developments. Growth rebounded strongly last year to 6.1 percent. This recovery is all the more impressive in light of the severe winter that led to a sharp contraction in agriculture, especially animal husbandry. The shock to food supply, however, helped drive inflation into the double digits for much of the year, led by rising meat prices. Higher copper prices and a rapid increase in coal production are fueling strong export growth that has helped boost international reserves to an all-time high.

2. Outlook. Growth this year is projected to remain strong and is set to accelerate to around 10 percent. The large increase in fiscal spending underway, however, is creating excess demand that will result in higher inflation and surging imports. Inflation could reach some 20 percent by year-end. Over the medium-term growth will be driven by an increase in mining output, with an especially large boost around 2013 when production from Oyu Tolgoi starts.

3. 2011 Budget. With around one-third of Mongolians living below the poverty line and the effects of the economic crisis and last year’s severe winter still lingering, the government’s desire to provide immediate support to the population is understandable. However, the large increase in spending this year will actually do more economic harm than good. Any immediate benefits will be dissipated through higher inflation, crowding out of private sector activity, and faster real exchange rate appreciation. So, in the end, real household purchasing power could actually go down, imports will surge as they become cheaper relative to domestically produced goods, and local business will become less competitive with knock-on effects for investment and employment. International experience also shows that such high inflation—particularly given its concentration in staple food items—will have an especially hard impact on the poor whose consumption basket contains a high share of such foods and who have little means to shield themselves from the impact inflation has in eroding their real incomes. Therefore, the 2011 budget should be amended to reduce spending substantially.

4. Medium-term fiscal framework. A sound fiscal policy is necessary for ensuring that Mongolia’s mineral wealth leads to lasting prosperity for all Mongolians. In practical terms, this means managing public spending growth in a way that (i) helps smooth economic growth (through a counter-cyclical fiscal policy); (ii) leaves room for the private sector to thrive; and (iii) provides buffers to insulate the budget—and the economy—against a downturn in global commodity prices. The adoption of the fiscal stability law last year was a landmark achievement in this regard. However, the 2011 budget is a big step backwards. The fiscal stability law will succeed only if it is strictly adhered to in letter and spirit; failure to do so will undermine its credibility and impact on preventing a recurrence of the policy driven, boom-bust cycles that Mongolia has experienced in the past. This will entail expenditure restraint in the coming years, for example by keeping spending frozen in real terms, to bring the fiscal position in compliance with the numerical rules that start in 2013. Moreover, it is equally important not to circumvent the law by using off-budget vehicles or government guarantees that would, in effect, undo the economic benefits of adhering to the law and come with the additional costs of an increase in fiscal risks and a loss of transparency. The Development Bank, public-private partnerships, and public guarantees are sources of such quasi-fiscal risk and, if such operations are to proceed, need to be managed prudently and in line with international good practices.

5. Structural fiscal reforms. The efforts underway to advance structural fiscal reforms are welcome and should proceed. A top priority is the introduction of a targeted poverty benefit, as part of social transfer reform, that would help Mongolia’s most vulnerable citizens and increase fiscal flexibility. The adoption of an integrated budget law, in line with the government’s plans, would help modernize the framework for intergovernmental fiscal relations, strengthen budget execution, and improve the planning process for public investment and medium-term fiscal policy. Efforts to strengthen the large taxpayer office should continue and will yield dividends in terms of providing better taxpayer services and larger and more efficient revenue collection. In contrast, increasing exemptions or otherwise using the VAT to target preferred sectors would prove to be highly inefficient—as well as ineffective—yet come with the costs of substantially complicating tax administration and risking revenue leakage.

6. Monetary policy. Inflation is already too high, and the substantial increase in fiscal spending underway will push it up further. There are limits to what monetary policy can achieve if budget spending this year is not scaled back. Nonetheless, the central bank should be more proactive in fighting inflation and promptly initiate a tightening cycle, starting with an up-front hike in interest rates. The central bank policy rate is already very negative in real terms and will become even more so as inflation rises. Higher interest rates will be essential in tempering the rise in inflation. Inevitably, such a tighter monetary policy stance will lessen the availability of credit to the private sector and slow private activity. This crowding out of the private sector, while undesirable, is better than the alternative of allowing inflation pressures to build-up further. However, responsibility for such crowding out lies firmly in the decision to put in place a very loose fiscal policy that the monetary authorities now need to offset with the tools at their disposal. This ongoing fight against inflation would be greatly helped by giving the central bank a more explicit mandate to make inflation the primary objective of monetary policy.

7. Macroeconomic policy mix. The expansionary fiscal policy and concomitant need for a tighter monetary policy is an inefficient policy mix. It results in macroeconomic volatility and higher inflation. The higher inflation also carries large social costs and it takes an especially hard toll on those already living in poverty, as the spike in prices reduces their purchasing power significantly. It also erodes the real value of savings and hurts those on a fixed income, such as retirees. A better macroeconomic mix would significantly scale back the increase in government spending this year and thereby reduce the amount of monetary tightening needed. This mix would result in lower inflation this year and next, a smoother growth path, lower interest rates, and less real exchange rate appreciation. Outcomes that would help improve the competitiveness of the local economy and create a better environment for the private sector.

8. Exchange rate policy. The flexible exchange rate regime has been working well over the past 1½ years. International reserves are at an all time high, and the nominal exchange rate has evolved in line with market conditions. The central bank has succeeded in dampening excess volatility in the exchange rate stemming from large and lumpy foreign exchange flows, and this intervention strategy remains fully appropriate for the period ahead. Moreover, the nominal appreciation that took place last year helped to tighten monetary conditions and reduced the increase in inflation. Looking forward, the flexible exchange rate regime will continue to be well suited for the Mongolian economy. Specifically, it will help control inflation, provide a shock absorber against external shocks, and facilitate the real exchange rate adjustment that is likely to take place over the medium-term with the rapid growth in the mineral sector.

9. Banking system. A healthy banking system is important for promoting the development of the private sector. This includes ensuring that entrepreneurs, farmers, and businesses all have access to credit on reasonable terms while safeguarding depositors’ money through effective supervision and regulation. The recent progress, therefore, in strengthening the framework for banking supervision is welcome. Now, it is critical to strictly enforce existing regulations and replace supervisory forbearance with resolute action against any banks that are not in compliance. At the same time, implementation of the Empowering the Banking Sector and Capital Support Program would offer a transparent and fair means of providing temporary financial support to any bank that needs time to come into full compliance. Prompt passage of this legislation should be a top priority. In addition, all existing and future costs of bank restructuring should be promptly covered by the budget and not borne by the central bank.

10. Medium-term outlook. The Mongolian economy has a bright economic future, as development of the mineral sector will lead to a substantial growth and an opportunity to spread prosperity to all Mongolian citizens. Such prosperity, however, is not guaranteed. Many countries have experienced the “resource curse” which underscores that the risk of failure is real, and Mongolia’s recent crisis illustrates that the cost of failure is high. Success will require disciplined macroeconomic policies, including (i) containing fiscal spending pressures and strictly adhering to the fiscal stability law; (ii) gearing monetary policy toward containing inflation, including by timely adjusting interest rates in line with the evolving price pressures; (iii) maintaining a flexible exchange rate regime; and (iv) safeguarding the banking system through prudential regulation and supervision. Pursuing such a combination of policies would leave Mongolia well poised to ensure that its mineral wealth translates into strong, sustained, and equitable growth.

* * *

The mission would like to express its sincere appreciation to the Mongolian authorities for their gracious hospitality and for the frank and candid nature of our discussions.

Source:IMF (International Monetary Fund)


Fortescue puts Mongolian coal on the menu

Fortescue Metals Group has expressed interest in acquiring the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit in Mongolia, but insists it remains focused on iron ore.

Executive director Russell Scrimshaw says the miner is ‘‘very focused’’ on expanding its iron ore operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, but will also consider coal mining in Mongolia.

He said Fortescue had submitted a capability statement and expression of interest for the Tavan Tolgoi asset.
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‘‘In Mongolia, we responded to an expression of interest, so we’re one of a large number of people, and we’ll just see what happens with that one,’’ Mr Scrimshaw told a media teleconference today.

‘‘It’s reflective of the fact that our customers ask us first of all ‘how much iron ore can I have? Please, I want some more’, but also ‘what other things can you provide to me?’.

‘‘So we will always look at good opportunities if they are there and, of course, if we choose to pursue them, we’ll let the market know.’’

Tavan Tolgoi is reportedly the world’s largest untapped coking coal deposit and bidding to acquire it is fierce.

Reports claim steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal and the world’s largest iron ore miner, Brazil’s Vale, are among 15 bidders vying for the project.

It was revealed in August last year that Fortescue was considering branching into coal when the miner advertised in an Aspermont publication for a specialist coal geologist to assess opportunities offered to Fortescue.

Mr Scrimshaw said Mongolia was becoming a top mining region.

‘‘Mongolia is a rapidly growing resources opportunity, as are many other parts of the world. So, may I add, is the Pilbara.‘‘That’s our principal organisation focus in the months and years ahead.

‘‘The Pilbara has proven to be a wonderful home for us and we will continue to grow that opportunity.

‘‘Being a big and successful company that we now are, we regularly see opportunities presented to us all over the world.’’



Mongolia hopes to launch space satellite by 2015

Mongolia hopes to launch space satellite by 2015, reported Mongolian media today. According to the report, Japanese space exploration team visited Mongolia and organized 2-day workshop at Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Representatives of Mongolian government ministries and agencies such as Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, Information and Telecommunications technology and Postal agency, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industries and Ministry of Minerals, Ministry of Road, Construction, Urban Planning and Ministry of Tourism and Natural Environment and National Center of Remote Sensing took part in the workshop.
Japanese team consisted of representatives from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Mitsubishi, Toshiba, NiK, Hitachi, “JSAT” and Sumitomi corporations and Japanese Aerospace Exploration agency, Remote sensing technological Center, Japanese Institute for Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer and Japanese Society of Aerospace manufacturers

Amgalanbat, official of Mongolian Information and Telecommunications technology and Postal agency said “ Mongolian Government considers launching Mongolian satellite into space as important project that can contribute significantly to economic development of country. Today’s workshop on Japanese aerospace technology with public and private sector participation is aimed at exchange of opinion and learning from Japanese experience on using space technology, communication and remote sensing in all sectors of economy. Currently, Mongolia is conducting comprehensive study on possibility of launching communications satellite and need of remote sensing in Mongolia. We are hoping to launch national satellite by 2015”.
Mongolia now uses “Ipstar-5” broadband satellite for delivery of TV and radio programs in rural area and “Intelsat” satellite for telecommunications and mobile phone services and receives digital data on weather and natural disaster from low-earth orbit satellites.

By Batjargal, reporter of


Mongolia may pick banks for big coal IPO by next week: sources

By Denny Thomas and Terril Yue Jones


(Reuters) - Mongolia is expected to appoint banks by next week to manage an IPO worth up to $5 billion for the world's largest untapped coking coal deposit, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

More than 150 bankers from a dozen Wall Street, European and Asia-Pacific investment banks made pitches to the Mongolian government over the past few days to win the coveted underwriting mandate for the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine.

"It was bloody cold," said one banker who attended, citing temperatures of minus 25 degrees Celsius. "Ten or 12 government officials were there. They listened and asked good questions, which isn't always what you get with a government pitch."

Investment bankers who took part in the pitching process said the size of the offering could range from $1.5 billion to $5 billion, depending on timing. They declined to be named because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Mongolia sits on vast quantities of untapped mineral wealth. Analysts say it could be one of the fastest growing economies of the next decade, as well as a key investment target for global mining giants. Mining has accounted for over 60 percent of total foreign direct investment received so far.

Hard coking coal is in great demand in neighboring China, the world's biggest steel producer, which needs coke to fuel blast furnaces. Other big Asian buyers are Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Bankers completed their pitches in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator on Tuesday and while a decision is expected by next week, sources said the timing could change. Listings on both the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges were being discussed, they added.

Banks who flew representatives in included Morgan Stanley (MS.N), Macquarie Group Ltd (MQG.AX), Citigroup Inc (C.N), JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.VX) and UBS AG (UBS.N), the sources said. The banks declined to comment.

The IPO coincides with a battle between resource-hungry Asian governments and global steelmakers to develop the mine, which has estimated reserves of 6.0-6.5 billion tonnes.

Landlocked Mongolia lingered in isolation for 70 years as a Soviet satellite state, serving as a sleepy buffer zone between its giant neighbors, Russia and China.

Now the democratic government, in power since the early 1990s, is trying to pull its 3 million citizens out of poverty by exploiting its untapped mineral wealth.


The Mongolian government plans to distribute shares in the company free to all citizens and another chunk to Mongolian corporations, according to officials, bankers and analysts working on the transaction.

"Ten percent of the shares will be given to every citizen of Mongolia," Algar Namgar, executive director of the Mongolian National Mining Association, told Reuters. "And 10 percent of the shares will be traded to every Mongolian enterprise."

About 30 percent of the asset is being sold to global investors through the IPO, sources say.
Mongolia plans to keep 51 percent of state-owned holding company Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi, which controls the deposit, located in the South Gobi desert near China's northern border.


At up to $5 billion, the deal is not only fairly big in terms of fees, but also has a lot of prestige riding on it. It would be the largest such offering to come from a hot frontier market where similar deals are expected to follow.

Tavan Tolgoi is located 400 km (250 miles) from the nearest railway line and lacks infrastructure and power, which has held up development and allowed only very limited production.

The vast majority of imported coking coal in China, Japan and Korea comes by ship from Australia, but Mongolian imports will reduce freight costs.

Global coal prices have shot up in recent months due to disruptions in several coal-producing countries, including Australia, Indonesia, and South Africa, while demand in Asia, particularly China and India, continues to grow.

In recent months, prices have galloped as massive floods in Australia slashed supplies. The price of Australian thermal coal, a benchmark for Asia, has risen 34 percent from a year ago to around $127 a tonne while spot prices for coking coal used by steelmakers have shot up more than 50 percent from a year ago to hover around $370 a tonne.

Stories of bankers fighting in an Irish bar in Ulan Bator made the rounds in Hong Kong in the days prior to the formal pitching sessions.

Another hot topic amongst bankers involved concerned Morgan Stanley analyst Battushig Batbold, son of Mongolia's prime minister. Batbold is a metals and mining analyst for Morgan Stanley in London, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Rival bankers have said the analyst, believed to be in his 20s, is involved in the IPO pitch, although local media said Battushig was not attending. Morgan Stanley declined to comment. (Additional reporting by Rebekah Kebede in Perth and Fayen Wong in Shanghai; Editing by Chris Lewis, Muralikumar Anantharaman and Dean Yates)

Source:Reuters News Service


India hopes to set up steel plant in Mongolia

NEW DELHI: Aiming to spread its wings beyond the country's border, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) will set up a three mtpa plant in Mongolia with around Rs 15,000 crore investment, provided that Asian nation ensures linkages to raw materials to feed the proposed facility.

"Talks are on in this regard. If the Mongolian government provides us raw material linkages and land, we will put up a three million tonnes per annum (mtpa) plant in that country to cater to the need of the land," SAIL Chairman C S Verma told PTI today.

Verma said Mongolia, bordered by Russia in the north and China in the south, east and west, has enough coking coal and iron ore deposits to fuel the proposed steel plant for which around Rs 15,000 crore investment would be required.

"Mongolia is a growing economy and its current steel need is around 3 mtpa. So, when the proposed plant comes up, it will help the country to meet its entire requirement from domestic sources," he said.

The industry sector contributes more than one-fifth of the economy of Mongolia, the 19th largest country in the world.

The mining sector of the country is witnessing high growth with already a number of Chinese, Russian and Canadian firms operating in that space.

SAIL has already sent a delegation to Mongolia to assess the potential for the proposed plant and if everything falls in place, an agreement in this regard might be signed within the next six months.

"It might take two and a half years for the plant to go on steam after the signing of the formal agreement," Verma said.

Apart from Mongolia, SAIL is also in advanced stage of discussion with the Indonesian government to set up a similar facility.

However, that will also depend upon the ensured raw material linkages by the government of Indonesia.

The Maharatna company has already embarked a Rs 70,000 crore capacity expansion plan, including Rs 10,000 crore for mine development, to enhance capacity to 23.46 mtpa from 14.35 mtpa domestically now.

SAIL has plans to increase its steel making capacity further to 60 mtpa by 2020.


Mongolian PM to visit S'pore

SINGAPORE: The Prime Minister of Mongolia Sukhbaatar Batbold will make an official two-day visit to Singapore from Thursday, at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this is Mr Batbold's first visit to Singapore in his current capacity.

Besides bilateral meetings, Prime Minister Batbold will visit the Housing Development Board and the Singapore Exchange.

He will also officiate the opening ceremony of "Genghis Khan: The Exhibition" at the Marina Bay Sands ArtScience Museum as well as deliver a public lecture on Mongolia's economic outlook and the national development strategy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.


Giving Mongolians a linguistic stepping stone

by Jessica Dacey, swissinfo.chThe boxes are piled high inside Anita Fahrni’s garage in western Switzerland, a makeshift sorting centre for thousands of donated books heading to Mongolia.

Anita Fahrni travels to Mongolia once a year to interview candidates for her programme and catch up with old friends (swissinfo)
Fahrni has just a few days to comb through the masses of English and German school textbooks and novels before they go onto the 40-foot container she ships every year to the developing Asian nation.

The Swiss-American dual national has been collecting books from Switzerland for the past 12 years. Over 310,000 copies have since made their way into school and university libraries in the capital Ulan Bator and villages and towns across the country.

A former parliamentarian for canton Thurgau, Fahrni is a seasoned networker, sitting on boards and committees ranging from the Swiss National Council of Women to an international group protecting the rare Takhi horse that is native to Mongolia.

She gave up politics in 2007 to focus on her various Swiss-Mongolian projects. Now 68, she says she has to work “120 per cent” to get everything done.

As well as arranging for Swiss teachers to go to Mongolia to teach English and German – over 100 so far – and short internships for Mongolian teachers of English, she has started an exchange project that pays for Mongolian university students to spend a year in Switzerland honing their German.

Broadening horizons

Since its early beginnings in 2003, her Swiss Program for Language Instruction and Teacher Training has expanded to place nine Mongolians in schools and teacher training universities in the cantons of Zurich, St Gallen and Thurgau every year.

As it stands, only women are making the grade. Each recruiting time, Fahrni writes to the German departments at Mongolian universities and asks them to put forward their top two students for the programme. Few men study German and women are inevitably top of the class.

Fahrni's programme is open to all but usually only females have good enough grades to get accepted (swissinfo)
Fahrni interviews the candidates and finds the host families for the nine chosen students, who then spend a year in Switzerland. A private Swiss foundation that wishes to remain anonymous fronts the SFr120,000 that it costs to look after the students.

“It’s giving these young women a big boost. It’s expanding their horizons. It’s proven that this is a tremendous boost to them in their futures, not only in finishing their degree back in Mongolia but also in finding jobs after that,” she explains.
Starting small

It may be a small endeavour but Fahrni believes it will have long-term implications for the country.

“Cumulatively it is growing. It is small things with individuals here and there, however most of these individuals will become teachers. And I believe that the whole level of language instruction in Mongolia, which is very important, will be improved,” she says.

“Behind the whole thing is my feeling that education is the best kind of development aid. Offering people the opportunity to get a good education and to broaden their horizons.”

Some Mongolian teachers also come for short internships and can experience modern teaching methods and improve their own language and speaking skills, she enthuses.

“When they return to their own schools I believe they will raise the level of instruction in those schools.”

Cultural differences

For her efforts, the Democratic Women’s Union, a Mongolian political party association, has awarded her a peace medal, making her the fourth foreign person to receive it.

She has also been made an honorary professor at Otgontenger University in Ulan Bator, which houses 25,000 of the books sent from Switzerland.

Swiss also get something out of it, she adds.

“Swiss who go to teach in Mongolia come back with an entirely new attitude towards our luxuries. We live in excess. From the Mongolians, Swiss host families learn something about their country, they get to know another person on a personal level, and many travel to Mongolia.”

It’s not always easy being a host family though. It can involve learning the subtleties of Mongolian culture and customs, such as a common dislike of cats or how people show respect or thanks.

“I only learned during one of the orientations, that in Mongolia one doesn’t really say thank you. One shows it in some other way. Several of the host families had the feeling that these students weren’t grateful for all that we’ve done for them.”

While sometimes the chemistry doesn’t mix and students are moved on, many families go on to host again and again, and some even visit their former guests in Mongolia.

Fahrni believes hers is the only student exchange programme with Mongolia so far. While still a personal initiative, as it grows she hopes to bring more people on board to help coordinate the placements in the different cantons.

“I never expected it to grow this much. I think it’s done a little bit of good for the general relationship between Mongolia and Switzerland.”

Jessica Dacey,


Mongolia's ninja miners cash in on resources

By Kitty Hamilton

ZAAMAR, Tuesday 15 February 2011 (AFP) - In the dead of winter, Chuluuntsetseg sits by the banks of the Tuul river west of the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator, pouring boiling water over rock sediment in a green plastic tub.

As her colleagues watch, she excitedly pulls a shiny speck from the water. After an hour of hauling buckets of earth from man-made pits and painstakingly sifting their contents, the 49-year-old woman has literally struck gold.

"It's worth about 8,000 tugrik," or just $6.40, she says, as she flicks her find into a small pill container.

On average Chuluuntsetseg, who like many Mongolians uses only one name, and her friends find about $60 worth of gold a day -- not a bad take in one of Asia's poorest countries.

She is one of the country's tens of thousands of "ninja miners" -- so named because the green tubs strapped to their backs bring to mind the 1980s sewer-dwelling superhero Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The ninjas -- mainly unemployed youths or herders who lost their livelihoods due to extreme winters in recent years -- are operating all over the country, and causing problems for a government trying to manage its vast mineral riches.

Reports have put the total number of illegal miners at 100,000, but Patience Singo, a technical expert for a sustainable artisanal mining project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, says that figure is likely a conservative one.

"People are hungry, people need food. If there is not another option, they are going to get into artisanal mining," Singo told AFP. "This work supports about 300,000 people."

Illegal mining emerged as early as the 1990s in Mongolia, when the country shook off decades of communist rule and launched its shift towards a market economy -- a difficult process that has led to high unemployment.

"The government attitude has traditionally been one of ignorance. They thought it was a temporary phenomenon that would come to an end," Singo said.

Instead, the practise has blossomed, with entire towns like Zaamar -- about a five-hour drive west of the capital -- dependent on illegal mining.

A 2006 report by the International Labour Organisation on informal gold mining in Mongolia revealed that the industry was plagued by health and work safety problems, and had created a spike in illegal child labour.

But the country's enormous untapped deposits of copper, gold, uranium, silver and other minerals mean the ninjas are unlikely to hang up their green tubs any time soon.

Tomin-Erdene, 24, says he began his career sifting for gold in Zaamar when he was just 16 years old. Now, he is known in the town as "King Ninja" -- he claims that he has made more than $1,600 since he started.

In a country where more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank, that is a veritable fortune.

But it comes at a price.

"In the winter, people commonly use explosives in the pits. That's pretty dangerous," Tomin-Erdene told AFP.

Clashes with the police, who are trying to crack down on the industry, are another job hazard.

"Most days they come and try to take our generators or extort money from us. It can get pretty violent," he said.

While the government is keen to bring ninja miners to heel, some analysts say the authorities may have inadvertently contributed to the problem when it passed a law barring commercial miners from operating near waterways.

The legislation, passed in July 2009, prohibits mining in forested areas and river basins, in an effort to protect the environment in the landlocked, largely desert country. But those areas are now wide open for the ninjas.

Resources and energy minister Dashdorj Zorigt refused to comment on the law or the activity of illegal miners when contacted by AFP.

Tomin-Erdene said protecting the country's natural resources was not his primary concern.

"We're always on the run, it's dig and go, so what happens to the environment isn't our problem," he said.

Source:AFP, French Wire News service


S. Lodoisamba: Coal gas should be introduced to ger area as soon as possible

S. Lodoisamba, Advisor and Professor of the National University of Mongolia, was interviewed on ‘Smokeless stove’ Project and other solutions that can substantially influence on reducing air pollution.

-During the recent meeting with media, the Word Bank experts said that a technology of ‘Smokeless stove’ is the most cost-effective way that can be implemented within the shortest period to reduce air pollution?
-First of all, I would like to direct attention to that ‘smokeless fuel’ is a wrong concept itself. Whether it emits or not depends on how the fuel is burnt. Coal extracted from Nalaikh mine has excellent quality. Its sulphuric content and ash are low but higher calories. However, it emits much because of wrong use. If an improved and condensed fuel so called smokeless fuel is burnt in wrong way, it will emit too. Therefore, we are working to burn crude coal with no emission. There has been an established entire system in Ulaanbaatar that provides citizens with coal. There is no problem to distribute produced smokeless fuel. For crude coal, it is enough to have a stove that burns coal smoke free. Foreign organizations pay much attention on this issue and implement
projects and programs. I am briefly introducing some stoves produced through advanced technology.
Energy-efficient stove ‘Silver’ made in Turkey has a technology that coal is put under wood and paper. Smoke produced from burning coal is combusted in flames of upper parts. It is proven that the smoke is  reduced by over 90 percent as compared with Mongolia’s traditional stove. Stoves designed by GIZ engineers also have sufficient combustion and is potential to reduce smoke by nearly 90 percent. The stove is produced locally with technical assistance of GIZ and started being experimented in ger households. The customers are very satisfied with the GIZ stove. Also there is another stove that was improved from existing stove. The technique of lighting the fire of the existing stove was changed. It can be said that firewood is lit from the rare side of stove and smoke being produced is combusted in flames. As existing stoves do not have controls, it burns in the extent of coal inserted, heats chimneys to redness and loses heat completely. Improved ones do not burn like this; however it has not been introduced yet to gher residential area. Price offer for the improved stove is estimated to be more expensive by about Tgs10,000 than the regular ones. No matter what, it can reduce smoke by 80 percent. There are two more different stoves with clean combustion like this. Currently, we have not had any collaboration with Ulaanbaatar administration in introduction of ‘Smokeless Stove’ in ger residential area. New stoves have not been widely produced as well. We have just installed 30-60 stoves in households as a pilot test and will hear what suggestions citizens have.

-Can even condensed fuel be burnt in the improved stove?
-It needs to be tested. There has not been anyone who studied how much smoke it emits when condensed fuel is burnt in the existing stove. It can be used if it shows good result apparently. It makes much money useless due to lack of relevant studies and estimations. Government has not given any funding for studies in  this sphere. International organizations feel the reality and give us an opportunity to conduct experiment and research. Recently, Mongolia has had Stove Emissions and Efficiency Testing Laboratory, financed by the Asian Development Bank.

-What do you think about a coal gas? Will Ulaanbaatar city be freed from smoke if this technology is introduced into ger residential areas entirely?
-It needs to be introduced into ger residential areas as soon as possible. MCS Group plans to complete construction of its coal-to-gas plant by the end of this year. I am anxious about infrastructure to distribute coal gas. I cannot tell how it will be distributed to users. MCS Group might run estimations stemmed on reality in ger area. Coal gas is so vital for people. Actually, it is completely wrong to use raw coal. Lacking means to solve the problem, we are choosing the cheapest way to improve the stove technology. Coked or higher- calorie fuels are not suitable to regular stoves. They require cast-iron stoves. Some ger area households may use coal gas while others use improved stoves.

-You have studied air pollution for many years and have broad knowledge about it. Professional organizations announced that Ulaanbaatar is a capital with most polluted air in the world. Size of particulate matter is already beyond the standard. What would you like to say about the Air Monitoring and Health Impact Baseline, joint research with the World Bank?
-Particulate Matter (PM) is general term. PM below 2.5micrometers is considered respirable particles whilst PM between 2.5-10 micrometers is coarse. It includes pieces of some metals, smoke, pollens and organics except for dust, that all can be measured. Generally, particulates below PM10 are harmful to human health. On the other words, air quality is defined with particle size ranges in per cubic meter air. Larger particles above PM10 are generally filtered in the nose and throat and do not cause problems. But particulate matter smaller than about 10 micrometers referred to as PM10 can settle in the bronchi and lungs and cause health problems. PM10-2.5 is produced from industries and human activities and can penetrate deep in human respiratory tracts and cause human health seriously.
From now on, it is being researched how much Ulaanbaatar’s air has pollution of particulate matter. As a result of the research, PM’s size range in the center of Ulaanbaatar was detected to have 6 times higher than the standard. For ger area, it showed 7-14 times high. It is necessary to lower particulate matter by 95  percent at minimum so as to reach standard level of air quality. Air pollution in Ulaanbaatar increases by 10 percent annually since 2005. The increase is same as percentage of households migrating from rural areas to

-What measures need to be taken as a priority so as to combat dust? 
-Dust can be classified into two types; natural dust produced by soil degradation and wastes of coal and ashes on soil. Dust pollution is commonly coarse particles. 45 percent of coarse particles in central traffic roads are stemmed from earth and 34 percent from waste. Smoke pollution also can be classified into two types. It is commonly PM2.5. Firstly it is emissions from Thermo Power Station, thermo stoves and low pressure stoves. It covers central part of Ulaanbaatar (up to 35 percent) and ger area surrounding Zuun Ail (about 5 percent). Second type of smoke pollution is emissions from ger stoves. It covers 33 percent in the city center whilst it is 87 percent in ger area surrounding Zuun Ail. Dust generated from smoke and soil makes  up same percentage as PM10. Earth has no smell and does not lower clearness of air. Actually, people pay more attention on smoke because of having too much pollution; however people do not realize about earth and think that the air pollution is mostly stemmed from smoke. But both affect human health seriously. For about PM2.5 pollution, smoke makes up the most part of pollution, in particular over 90 percent in ger area surrounding Zuun Ail. Moreover, combating dust and soil erosion is so significant for human health. In my opinion, if we can design stove that can be lit with no distinction of fuels, it will be very effective. Also it needs to introduce a vehicle to sweep and suck dust of paved roads. Sweeping dust of  paved road every morning can lower dust. It needs to have taller curbs in all paved. Also dusts and small earths are carried by rain water to roads and powdered by tires of vehicles, producing PM10 and PM2.5; therefore it is necessary to protect roads from flow of rain water. Furthermore, waste management needs advancement and waste bins should be placed in ger residential areas. Monitoring, research, evaluation and reports should be conducted when these measures are carried out. To do it, an activity to determine a source of pollution and poisonous elements in the air by means of taking air samples needs to be a part of monitoring
network. By doing so, it will be possible to control what percentage of pollution from which sources is lowering.
source: The Mongol Messenger newspaper

Malaysian officials interviewed about Altantuya’s case

When Mongolian daily newspapers took interviews from some Malaysian officials who were attending the 19th annual meeting of Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum held in Ulaanbaatar, reporters asked what positions they have on Mongolian citizen Sh. Altantuya’s murder case.
On January 26, Odriin Sonin Daily published an interview with Mr. Abu Zahar Ujang, President of the Senate, Parliament of Malaysia. In the interview, he said he does not want to talk about the case. “The Malaysian Parliament considers that the case must be resolved in a transparent, just and legal manner. I do not want to talk about Sh. Altantuya’s case. 
I do not have any right to take part in any issue which is being investigated and resolved in according to the law. Everyone who commits crimes will be sentenced under the law.” To the question: It has been two years that ambassador of his country did not present a Letter of Credence and the Mongolian Honorary Consulate  was closed last June, does the case cause bilateral diplomatic relations between the two countries, and what does he think about it as President of the Senate?
He answered, “I can prove that there is not any matter in bilateral relations. Diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Malaysia are going normal.”
On January 26, Onoodor Daily published another interview with a Malaysian Lawyer and MP Yusmadi Yusoff. Mr. Yusmadi Yusoff said that Malaysians must beg apologies from the Mongolian people. He said, “I was not yet a Member of Parliament when the case occurred. At the political party level, we perceive this case as number one, a case which the government must give priority because it involves the name of a very high office, the Prime Minister.
This case is not completed and is still pending appeal in high court. I must say clearly that I did not say he is guilty yet. Because I believe in the rule of law, even my rule of law in Malaysia still can be a question. I believe it must be given the highest priority. It also involves the good name of our police department because the two were accused from the elite squad of the police. So, I believe whoever responsible must be brought to justice and must be given a serious punishment. When you say why there is no “Maaf (Sorry)”, I see not only we must say “Maaf”. For me we also have to take very serious responsibility because I know that Malaysia and Mongolia had no problem before that. So I believe we have to maintain that good relationship. We have to say “Maaf” to not only Mongolian people but to the whole world in order to clean the name of Malaysia and its people. It also must find the guilty people and punish them seriously. I will demand justice from the Malaysian government and court. Believe me. I will convey your messages to our Prime Minister. If I have a chance to meet with Mr. Shaariibuu, the father of Altantuya, I assure you I will say sorry to him and other families of Altantuya. I personally say “Sorry” to the Mongolian people from the bottom of my heart. And I hope justice will decide in favor of the family and whoever responsible will be punished.”
To the question: What would the reactions of Malaysian government be and law enforcement agencies if a Malaysian woman is killed like Altantuya in Mongolia? He answered, “I cannot speak on behalf of the Government of Malaysia because I am an opposition member. I am also a lawyer, a human rights lawyer. As a lawyer, and as far as I am concerned, the law is blind of race and the country of origin. For me, I want to quickly clear the name because I don’t want my country be named the country of people, what we say ‘very cruel’. That is my concern for my country.” In the end of interview, he was asked whether he is afraid that there might be some pressure from authorities after this interview when he comes back to his. He answeredthat may be, but I have nothing to be afraid of.
 source: 'The Mongol Messenger' newspaper

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