Anaesthetists used to be considered non-essential in Mongolia’s health care system, but a collaboration with Australian specialists is reducing surgical mortality rates
For decades, anaesthesia training in Mongolia has been neglected. As recently as the 1980s there was limited formal academic training for anaesthetists, with the country’s few specialists passing on their imperfect knowledge ‘on the job’.
For surgery patients, this meant more risks and, in some rural hospitals, enduring a procedure without any anaesthetic.

For more, please go 

Steppe Gold Ltd: Company Update

TSX Symbol: STGO
Total Basic Shares O/S (M): 42.9
Chairman, President and CEO 
Director and Vice President Mongolia 
Director and Executive Vice President 
TORONTO, May 30, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Steppe Gold Limited (TSX:STGO) (the “Company or Steppe Gold”) is very pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Lewis Marks to the Company’s Board as a Director.
Mr. Marks has lived and worked in Asia for 37 years with a residence and business operations in Mongolia for most of the last 18 years. Mr. Marks currently serves as a Director of CWT Mongolia, importing diesel into Mongolia from Russia; is a shareholder of Bayandari LLC, a Mongolian agriculture company focused on wheat production from approximately 24,000 hectares outside of Ulaanbaatar; and is a Director of Tsast Impex LLC, the second largest construction company in Mongolia.
Mr. Marks also serves as Member of the Board of Directors of the LIM Japan Fund, a role he’s had since 2002.
From 1980 to 1993 he was with Marc Rich & Co. AG (purchased by Glencore International AG in 1993) and remained with Glencore International AG from 1993 to 2000, where part of his responsibilities included selling Mongolian copper into China. Prior to that, from 1997 until 1980, he practiced law at Yanagida & Nomura in Tokyo, Japan (formerly Yanagida & Sakuragi).
Mr. Marks earned his Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and his Juris Doctor from the School of Law, State University of New York at Buffalo.
The Company is fortunate to be able to add someone of Mr. Marks' experience and expertise and it is expected that Mr. Marks will be of great assistance in the successful development of the Company’s ATO project.
On behalf of the Board
Matthew Wood
Chairman, President and CEO
Steppe Gold Limited
Steppe Gold is a precious metals exploration and development company with an aggressive growth strategy to build Steppe into the premier precious metals company in Mongolia. The Company owns the advanced staged Altan Tsaagan Ovoo (ATO) gold project, where first gold production is targeted for late 2018, and the exciting Uudam Khundii (UK) gold exploration project. Mongolia is open for business, pro mining development and one of the last great frontiers where giant mineral deposits can be found and developed.
Shangri-La office, Suite 1201,
Olympic street 19A, Sukhbaatar
District 1,
Ulaanbaatar 14241, Mongolia
Tel: +976 7732 1914
90 Adelaide Street. W, Suite 400
Toronto, ON
M5H 3V9,
Tel: +1 647 697 0577
Lori Winchester
Senior Relationship Manager, Client Management
Phone: +1 416 607-7898
Cell: +1 416 671-4558

Southern Mongolia: Teachers Protest to Denounce Local School Closures

On 28 May 2018, Southern Mongolian teachers convened a peaceful protest in front of a governmental office to denounce the ongoing closures of Mongolian schools, leaving the teachers jobless. This results from the development of a community-based private education system supported by the Chinese government, as well as by Beijing’s plan to develop urban areas and uphold ecological migration policies. Such policies raise the issue of forced assimilation, as some of the closing schools have been merged with Chinese ones.
The article below was published by Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center.

More than 2,000 teachers from all parts of Southern (Inner) Mongolia — including leagues and municipalities of Hulun-boir, Hingaan, Tongliao (former Jirim), Ulaanhad (former Zuun-ud), Shiliin-gol, Ulaanchav, Hohhot, Bogot, Bayannuur, Ordos and Alshaa — took to the streets of the regional capital Hohhot last Monday [28 May 2018]. Gathering in front of the Bureau of Letters and Visits of the Autonomous Region People’s Government, these unemployed kindergarten, elementary, and middle school teachers protested the Chinese government’s policy of eliminating Mongolian schools and laying off Mongolian teachers and demanded an immediate redress for their grievances.
Holding a long banner reading “strongly urge the government to resolve the long neglected problems of minban and daike teachers,” the protesters, many of whom wore traditional Mongolian clothes, demanded reemployment, compensation, and a pension plan for unemployed teachers.
The so-called “minban” (meaning “people-managed”) and “daike” (meaning “substitute teachers”) are a Chinese style of community-based private education systems run by non-governmental sectors in an effort to offload the government’s financial burden. According to a research study entitled “Minban Education in China: Background and Current Situation,“ published by the Graduate School of Education at Peking University, the total number of students enrolled under this form of private educational system in Southern Mongolia was 165,000 in 2002.
As the Chinese Government started to adopt the policies of ecological migration, livestock grazing ban, and rapid urbanization in 2000, Mongolian schools in rural pastoralist communities were either eliminated or merged with Chinese schools, forcing thousands of minban and daike teachers into unemployment without adequate compensation.
“The elimination of minban schools was achieved easily through closing and merging schools. However, the minban-teacher elimination policies, including differentiating minban teachers' payroll, admitting a very small proportion of them into the public teacher force and dismissing the majority, have created a variety of problems in rural basic education expansion,” according to “Minban Education: The Planned Elimination of the ‘People-Managed’ Teachers in Reforming China” by Chengzhi Wang, published in the International Journal of Educational Development in 2002.
In an open letter to the Autonomous Region Government, the protesters stated that “all level of governments failed to implement relevant laws and regulations to address minban and daike teachers’ requests,” and “local governments shirked the responsibility for years.”
“We are helpless. We are in despair. We are confused. We are pained, and we are outraged,” the letter said.

Photo courtesy of SMHRIC.

Mongolia bans civil servants from using social network sites at work

ULAN BATOR, May 30 (Xinhua) -- A Mongolian ban targeting civil servants on the use of social network sites including Facebook, Twitter and Youtube while at work has come into force, according to the government on Wednesday.
The government decision was made on May 23 and took effect Tuesday. It is intended to prevent cyber attacks and to ensure the safety of government information networks, according to a statement released by the Communications and Information Technology Authority.
Mongolia's General Intelligence Agency will help monitor the ban's implementation.

Source:Xinhua news agency

Japan's Sharp to build Mongolia's second solar power plant

ULAN BATOR, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Japan's electronics giant Sharp Corp. will build Mongolia's second megawatt-level solar power plant in the country's northern province of Darkhan-Uul, local authorities said Friday.
According to the provincial governor's office, a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the solar power plant with a total capacity of 20 megawatts was held on Thursday in the province.
"The construction of the solar power plant will begin in the second half of this year. The project will be completed by the third quarter of 2019," it said in a statement.
Sharp will build the plant together with local Mongolian partner Darkhan-Selenge Electric Distribution Network LLC.
B. Batjargal, chief engineer of the Mongolian electric power company, said that the project will reduce carbon emissions by around 25,000 tons and save up to 355 million liters of water annually.
The landlocked Asian country with a population of just over three million enjoys more than 250 days of sunshine a year. Meanwhile, the country's renewable capacity nearly doubled last year, reaching 155 MW, the Ministry of Energy said.
The Japanese electronics producer installed Mongolia's first large solar power plant, with a capacity of 10 MW, in the province in January 2017. The country's second wind farm, the 50 MW Tsetsii Wind Farm, also opened in October of that year.
Mongolia seeks to provide sufficient heat and electricity for its population, especially in rural areas, and renewable energy projects are seen as a possible solution.

Mongolia's debt-to-GDP ratio forecast at 55.3% in 2019

Mongolia’s parliament approved the state budget for 2019 and forecast for 2020-2021.
According to the guideline of social and economic development in 2019, a total of 123 policy actions with 20 objectives will be implemented.
Some MNT 8.78 trillion will be spent on implementation of action plan reflected in the guideline.
MNT 5.17 trillion will be financed through the public and private partnership and investment.
In 2019, the public debt is forecast to grow by 10% reaching 55% to the GDP.
The budget deficit is forecast to decrease by MNT 314 billion and no new bonds will be issued to recover the budget deficit.

Rosneft signs deals on energy supplies with Ghana, Mongolia

ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft said on Friday it had signed deals on energy supplies with Ghana and Mongolia.

It said it had signed long-term contracts worth $2.1 billion to supply gasoline and diesel fuel to the largest Mongolian importers of oil products.
It also said it had signed a package of documents to deliver liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the port of Tema in Ghana. Under the terms of the 12-year deal, it will supply 1.7 million tonnes of LNG per year.

Source:Reuters news agency

Fighting pride – Mongolia in the Olympics

Chris Kempson puts into perspective Mongolia’s achievements in international boxing

THE sovereign state of Mongolia, historically Outer Mongolia, is bordered by the might of both China and Russia but surprisingly, it is holding its own in the Olympic and World championship boxing rings – especially for a country of a little over 3 million people. In fact it is the most sparsely populated sovereign state in the world; its peoples’ largely of nomadic origin. The country’s old Communist party ruled for many years, but in the early 1990s the democratisation movement came to the fore and remains the major political force in the country today. Mongolians are tough, resilient and very proud people and their disciplined and varied life-style have helped them succeed, mainly in recent times on the international amateur boxing stage. More of this however a little later on.
Amateur boxing emerged there in 1948 and in 1960 the Mongolian Olympic boxing team was formed. Mongolia first entered the summer Olympics in 1964 and has been an ever present since, apart from 1984, when it joined the old Soviet led boycott of the Games. Their first foray into the Olympic ring came in 1972 in Munich.
Seven Olympic boxing medals have been acquired – one gold, two silver and four bronze; while ten medals have been bagged at the AIBA Men’s World championships – one gold, four silver and five bronze. Quite an impressive haul for a very small country (population wise, and one which is spread over a huge land mass).
Turning first to the Olympics, their initial two entrants in 1972 didn’t last long. Light-flyweight, Vandui Batbayar lost in his opening bout; while light-middleweight, Namlhal Tsendaiush had first a bye then lost in his first actual bout. Results took some time to improve, but they eventually did just that.
Their initial medal came in the Olympic boxing ring in 1988, although they had first entered the summer Games at large in 1964, when the then Soviet style Communist type of regime prevailed in Mongolia. However, a medal in the men’s World championships had come six years earlier in 1982 and we will return to that in due course.
In 1988 a bronze went to lightweight Nerguin Enkhbat and four years later in 1992 another bronze was won by the fists of another lightweight Namjilyn Bayarsaikhan. Some fallow years then followed until 2008 when Mongolia’s initial (and so far only) gold medal was secured by bantamweight, Enkhbatyn Badar-Uugan who outpointed Cuba’s Yankiel Leon in the final. On his way to gold, the Mongolian had also outscored Ireland’s John Joe Nevin. The Mongolian also added the coveted Val Barker trophy to his gold medal triumph. Also at these Games, a silver went to light-flyweight Purevdorjiin Serdamba who sustained an early shoulder injury in his final against China’s outstanding Zou Shiming who thus secured a technical victory.
In London in 2012 another silver went to flyweight Nyambayaryn  Togstogt who lost out on points to the Cuban Robeisy Ramirez in a close and tough final, while light-welterweight Uranchimegin Monkh-Erdene weighed in with a bronze having narrowly eclipsed on points Team GB’s Thomas Stalker along the way.
In Rio in 2016, lightweight, Dorjnyambuugiin Otgondalaai [pictured] picked up a bronze losing out to eventual French silver medallist, Sofian Oumiha.
So Mongolia have been building up a useful Olympic medal pedigree of late, especially with a very small population on the global stage, and they aim to continue this trend in Tokyo in 2020.
Turning out attention now to the AIBA World amateur championships, Mongolia has a good story to tell here as well as we shall see:
1982 saw featherweight, Rawsalyn Otgonbayar claim a silver medal losing in the final to the legendary Cuban maestro, Adolfo Horta. Fast forward to 1993 when light-flyweight Erdenetsogtyn Tsogtjargal won a bronze medal, while four years later in 1997, silver was struck once more when lightweight, Tumentsetseg Uitumen lost on points to the Russian gold medallist, Alexander Maletin.
2007 saw another silver medal go to Mongolia, this time bantamweight, Enkhbatyn Badar-Ugan lost a narrow points decision in the final against Russia’s Sergey Vodopyanov. The Mongolian having beaten England’s Joe Murray in their semi-final bout.
But two years later in 2009, Mongolia received a full set of medals from these championships. Gold went to light-flyweight Purevdorj Serdamba who bested Russian David Aayrapetyan in their final encounter. Silver was won by flyweight Tugstsogt Nyambayar who lost in his final to the classy Puerto Rican McWilliams Arroyo. Bronze was captured by Uranchimegin Monkh-Erdene who lost to the eventual gold medallist from Cuba Roniel Iglesias.
In 2011 light-flyweight, Purevdorjiin Serdamba  failed to retain his world crown, but he did win bronze medal losing to the eventual silver medallist from South Korea, Shin Jong–Hun. In 2013, Uranchimegin Monkh- Erdene gained another bronze medal losing to the eventual silver medallist from Cuba, Yasniel Toledo
Last year in 2017, saw a clash of old Olympic lightweight foes: Frenchman, Sofian Oumiha and Mongolia’s Dornyambuugiin Otgondalai with the Frenchman eventually taking gold, having defeated his Mongolian counterpart in their semi-final clash.
Mongolian men have also boxed with distinction in the Asian Confederation Championships  and World Military Games, AIBA World Junior and  Youth Championships as well as at regular international tournaments at home and abroad. Their women have had success in the past at Asian Confederation Championships, especially in the women’s case in 2012, when their first two gold medals were clinched. Success has also been chalked up at AIBA Women’s World Junior and Youth World Championships. Mongolian women boxers did not feature in the London and Rio Olympic Games; but have been entered in the AIBA World Women’s Championships , without medal success so far. All in all, a fine catalogue of continuing success for such a distant nation and one it can be immensely proud of.
So this is the Mongolian medal story in the Olympics and the Worlds and also at home and abroad too, very commendable indeed so far and with every indication that there is much more to come from this remote land of fighting me and women.
Please do spare a thought for this writer with advance apologies if necessary in the light of such intriguing Mongolian names, hope I have not done too much of a disservice to their splendid fighting contestants.


Mongolia sees big increase in imports of heavy trucks in first 4 months

ULAN BATOR, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia imported 5,582 heavy trucks in the first four months of this year, 2.2 times higher than that in the same period of 2017, according to data released Friday by the National Statistical Office.
Importing these trucks cost Mongolia 84.4 million U.S. dollars, 2.8 times higher than that in the same period in the previous year, attributing the robust growth mainly to mining activities and economic expansion.
About 63 percent of the trucks were imported from China, 10.7 percent from Japan, and 7 percent from South Korea.
The mining industry accounts for about a quarter of Mongolia's gross domestic product and more than 90 percent of its exports. 

Source:Xinhua news agency

Second U.S.-Mongolia Economic Policy Dialogue

Washington, DC - Today, senior U.S. and Mongolian representatives reaffirmed their commitment to deepening the economic relationship between the United States and Mongolia by holding the second U.S.-Mongolia Economic Policy Dialogue.
His Excellency Mr. Tsogtbaatar Damdin, Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs, led the Mongolian delegation, which included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, Department of the Americas and the Middle East, Department of International Law and Treaty, and the Embassy in Washington, DC. U.S. State Department Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Brian McFeeters of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs led the meeting for the United States with the participation of other representatives from the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
The dialogue allowed both sides to exchange views on a range of critical economic issues impacting both countries. The U.S. and Mongolian delegations noted the substantial discussions regarding the economic aspects of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy, Mongolian macroeconomic reforms and investment climate, trade promotion and commercial advocacy, export diversification of Mongolian goods and services, promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises development, investment in the private sector, and issues pertaining to innovation, health, social security benefits, renewable energy and the environment. Both sides discussed plans to develop a roadmap for expanded economic cooperation.
The leaders welcomed the conclusion of formal negotiations between Mongolia and MCC on a second compact, and the leaders look forward to upcoming bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement discussions.

Source:US State department

Russia to provide military-technical assistance for Mongolia

Press release

Russian military delegation led by V.N.Drojjov, deputy director of  Federal service for military –technical cooperation of Russian Federation who is on working visit in Mongolia was received by Kh.Batbileg, colonel and state secretary of Ministry of Defense. 

During the visit, Mongolian and Russian officials signed intergovernmental protocol (memorandum of Understanding) on military technical assistance for Mongolia.

At the start of the meeting, colonel Kh.Batbileg said “ Welcome to our country. We are happy that Russian Federation assisted upgrading of arms and equipments of our armed forces.  On behalf of Ministry of Defense of Mongolia, we thank the Federal Service and its management for playing important role in signing first assistance agreement and its extension and supply of arms and equipment. 

He continued “ This time, our military is happy that validity of intergovernmental agreement of two countries on providing military-technical assistance have been restored and created legal environment to continue assistance”.

He noted that arms and equipments delivered by Russia have been fully used by Mongolian armed forces.
Batbileg expressed that in the future, Mongolian side is interested in cooperation about improvement of Air defense weapons and equipments.

After the meeting, both sides signed intergovernmental protocol on restoration of validity of Mongolian and Russian government agreement on delivery of military-technical assistance for Mongolia.

Russian side is to supply T-90a tank Btr-80 armored carrier, Bmp-2 infantry fighting vehicle, S-300 favorite Missile system, SU-27  fighter aircraft 12 units and transportation and fighter helicopter, radar locator system  for Mongolia. 

In addition, Russia is to train personnel to operate these military equipments in Russian military academies.

Source: Mongolian Ministry of Defense


Speech of President Battulga at opening of Mongolia Economic Forum

President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga addressed the General Session of Mongolia Economic Forum on Day 2. The President said:
“Good day to the distinguished guests and participants of the Forum!
Mongolia Economic Forum is continuing on its second day.
There are many things we need to dedicate serious considerations to. However difficult it is to listen and admit to, it is the high time we confronted the unpleasant truth.
Regardless of Mongolians’ imagination of and pedantry and debate over the growth of Mongolia and initiation of countless ornamented projects, geopolitics of great powers, their geo-economic tendency, power distribution and gravitations are the factors which bring actual effect to the Mongolian economy through forcing their interests on, halting and forwarding our projects.
Researcher Lucy Hornby wrote in the Financial Times, one of the leading finance and business newspapers, that Mongolian laws on mining and investment can be deemed the most liberal in the world. Aside from concluding that Mongolian mining and investment regimen as the most liberal on the globe, she added that Mongolian cabinets are keen to modify the mineral laws in favor of investors in order for major agreements to be secured.
Nevertheless, the amount of investment is not rising. Researchers strongly advise to seek the reasons from the instability of governance and geopolitical tendencies of the great powers of the world.
Boasting so-called most favorable legal grounds for investment, yet, Mongolia could not make the Top 80 countries that are “hospitable” to foreign investment, while our neighbor in the south was ranked at the 50th place and the Northern neighbor, at the 60th. Even Vietnam, which can be said to have started from the same start-line as Mongolia, was ranked at the 59th and Kazakhstan, at the 64th. This points to the fact that no matter how soft the conditions our laws offer to the investors, it means that major investments would still run away from us unless we make policies that keep up with the geopolitical interests of the great powers. As a comparison, it’s worth mentioning that China made direct investment of USD 42.8 billion and loaned USD 50 billion to Kazakhstan last year.

What I mean to say by breaking down all of the above is that the future of major projects of Mongolia is uncertain until we unite our interests with those of the neighboring great powers by becoming integrated with the regional economic alliances. We will go further only when we deciphered the mystery of hyper-dependency of Mongolian economy on external factors and sluggishness when it comes to exploiting full internal resources for the last 28 years.
Around the close of last year, after the US President Donald Trump had announced his new foreign policy, his Security Advisor Herbert McMaster said “Geopolitics are back, and back with a vengeance…”. It seems to be coming true as the days go by.
Balance of power in the modern world offers both pleasant and unpleasant for Mongolian conditions. The only reason behind the impressive 5.1 percent increase of GDP recorded in 2017 was the favorable condition provided by the sanctions imposed on North Korean coal exports, which allowed Mongolian coal export to rise on the occasion. I would like to underline that there has been no contribution whatsoever to the growth from the Government or the miners.
In all periods of history, Mongolian economy has been affected by the external factors more intensively than the internal factors, and it is projected to remain the same in the future. Our naïve imagination which brought hope in free-market economy, “the invisible hand” and privatization for the upheaval of our economy has failed to deliver in the face of reality. The invisible hand is impalpable for ensuring national security, and yet, geopolitics still remain effective.
As the international arena reforms at an incredible pace, new alliances and divisions are likely to arise. The recent events, in which, the DPRK Leader Kim Jong Un suddenly warmed his connections with the US and South Korea, Chinese authorities met twice with the North Korean leader within just a couple of months, and the US announced its exit from the Iran Nuclear Deal, Russia strengthened partnership with Syria and Iran and Europe announced the end of dependency on the US and began negotiations with Russia on the northern pipelines, as well as the US compromised on the trade deal with China, is expected to bring inevitable and irreversible geopolitical changes, followed by geo-economic convictions.
When the US President Trump announced the “National Security Strategy”, he introduced a new terminology called “Indo-Pacific” region, which is also a new category. According to Washington’s claims, the Indo-Pacific occupies a vast space stretching from western coasts of India to the America’s west coast. The new categorization is an expression of opposition to China’s rise to power. The US is not making bones about its interest in balancing out China’s growth in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, and neutralizing Russia’s influence in the region. Meanwhile, China expresses its opposition to the US Policies through its Belt and Road Initiative, firm pursuit of globalization and close partnership with Europe and Russia.
The above-mentioned were not unpredictable at all, but the embodiment of assumptions, mainly issued by the WEF, about the eventual shift from mono-pillar to multi-pillar world order, stranglehold of globalization and inception of new alliances, contributed by the fall of western liberal democracy, shift of conflict of power to Eurasia and aspiration of the US to restore its scope of influence.
In such situation, discussions revolving around only Mongolian economic relations and policies can only be described as credulousness to be put softly. We can never ignore the fact that World Economic Forum, the specimen for today’s Forum in Mongolia, has been taking geopolitics and geoeconomics as its main agenda.
Economies of our two eternal neighbors are estimated to expend to a total worth of USD 30 trillion within the next three years, a study suggests. What will our involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative look like? 28 years of being thrown here and there by the current have brought us to a dead-end, in the absence of adequate policies that coordinate with the neighboring powers and harmonious actions with our “third neighbors” in order to balance influence.
It is not necessary to look for solutions from afar. Actualizing the National Security Concept approved by the Parliament in 2010 will open multiple opportunities.
National Security Concept states:  Good neighbor friendly relations and wide-ranging cooperation with the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) shall be developed. More specifically, national interests and the history of bilateral relationships shall be taken into account while regional peace and stability, as well as a general balance of relations with neighbors shall be sought. Pursuant to the “third neighbor” strategy, bilateral and multilateral cooperation with highly developed democracies in political, economic, cultural and humanitarian affairs shall be undertaken.
Pragmatizing these two will solve many issues.
Therefore, Mongolia must immediately enter into a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Customs Union, which includes five nations, namely, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Federation. With the agreement, I view that a trade opportunity with customs duty exemption will open with these five countries. Also, it is necessary to advance and activate cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) within this year.
Not only will this allow for a favorable environment in the relations with the eight members of the SCO, it will also help accomplish something we were unable to actualize for many years, which is to join regional networks. Needless to say the population and economic capability of the SCO member states.
Only when creating favorable environment for foreign trade with this pragmatic approach, will we be able to attract tangible investment into Mongolia. Investors may even be able to export to European Union, Eurasian Economic Union and the SCO member states under favorable conditions, as well as non-tariff trade to Japan.
I impart that it is the convenient time to invest in Mongolia’s processing industry. Furthermore, I must mention that the country is holding a policy to retract raw materials export. The investors must note that over 7.0 thousand products manufactured in Mongolia will enjoy exemption of tax and quantity limit of European Union by joining the Eurasian integration.
Although the Cabinet is taking an initiative to focus on domestic issues by reforming the tax system, they are not utilizing the opportunities at hand that could raise tax revenue. We also need to estimate other possibilities of elevating tax revenue.
Only 10 products account for 96 percent of Mongolia’s exports. We have conducted a research, confirming that only semi-processed products which include value-added tax could build up USD 30.0 billion economy and create savings enough to fund the next phase investment.
Implementation of the already approved trilateral infrastructure network and economic corridor initiatives will provide enough profit that could equal Oyu Tolgoi project. We are now ready to sign transit transport agreement with the Russian Federation. Only when we develop the transit that connects the PRC and the Russian Federation and extends towards Europe from Eurasia, we will be able to eradicate the economic downfall that follows commodity cycle. Mongolia is able to exploit our status as one of the 57 founders of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. We have no choice but to make Mongolia’s involvement active and clear in the land-based infrastructure development – Belt and Road initiative. Our geoeconomic opportunity lies here only.
If we manage to increase the revenue from Mongolia’s core sectors that fostered the country for centuries – agriculture and animal husbandry – in both environmentally-friendly and sustainable manners, we will create numerous workplaces and make substantial profit.
However, we lack political commitment and courage more than we lack necessary finance and capability. Looking back at South Korea amid the brinks of warfare and Singapore stranded at sea, they did not have wealth, chance or skills at the start of their road to become the Asia’s leading economy. It was their aspiration, sincerity and bravery that earned them today’s status.
A medieval thinker Niccolo Machiavelli described the three factors of a successful state as:
  • Virtu – the courage and determination of the leaders
  • Necessita – the willingness of leaders to implement what they consider necessary
  • Fortuna – luck.
I believe that Machiavelli meant a resolute and valiant politician capable of administering what they deem necessary will be lucky enough to lead the nation towards success. This is the only thing Mongolia and its economy are lacking. The ruling Cabinet has only a year and a half left until the end of its term. We have to think twice about whether we have the time to decide and establish.
Mongolia Economic Forum has been carried out for eight consecutive years. People has to stop gathering here just to quibble and pretend to be smarter than others. I hope that they discuss more about actual projects, pressing issues and find effective solutions.
I would like to point out once again that pragmatic economy, instead of theories and wise judgements, requires political courage, commitment and decisiveness. Today, pedantry has taken over Mongolia, while decisiveness became a rarity.
I hope the participants of the forum realize that their voters will not support or bear the current situation if we do not lower our head and take actions for our people from this point on.
Taking this opportunity, I wish success in the organization of the Economic Forum.
May the future be bright. May the Eternal Sky watch over us.”

Speech made by Arnaud Soirat, a top Rio Tinto official at Mongolian Economic Forum

Here is text of the speech made by Arnaud Soirat, Chief executive, Copper and Diamonds at Mongolia Economic Forum, Ulanbaatar on May 22, 2018.

Arnaud Soirat, président de Rio Tinto Alcan, Métal primaire

Partnering for success

Mongolia is at a pivotal moment in its history. 

Thank you for the kind introduction. It’s great to be here in Mongolia again. And it’s an honour to be at the Mongolia Economic Forum. 

Nearly 10 years ago Rio Tinto came to this country with such a rich history, and incredible prospects, and chose to put its faith into the magical hills of the South Gobi, the home of our Oyu Tolgoi mine. 

Over this time and on my many trips to this country, I have been impressed by what our Mongolian employees and team have built over a short period of time and today I wanted to share some ideas on how we can continue to work together to make Mongolia proud of its mining industry. 

I want to specifically thank and acknowledge our host today, as well as the President, Prime Minister, Ministers, and Members of Parliament. 

I lead Rio Tinto’s Copper & Diamonds product group. We have operations across the globe including a range of open pit and underground mines in USA, Chile, Indonesia and OT supplying important metals and minerals that make modern life work. Our talented work force uses industry-leading mining processes and technology to make our operations safer, low cost efficient. We also operate two leading diamonds mines in Australia and Canada. 

I note this conference is about all of us, the public sector, the private sector civil society, coming together to accelerate the development of Mongolia. 

This is very important, as the only real way, in my experience, to get sustainable economic and social development in a country is to form strong partnerships between government, business and society. 

I have had the privilege of spending 25 years in the metals and mining industry, living and working across five continents and I have seen first-hand how the mining industry can develop and transform a country’s economy over time – I can see that Mongolia is already well on its development path and this has only happened because some government and business leaders made some brave choices along the way. 

Since 2010, OT spent $7.5 billion in country on suppliers, salaries, taxes and royalties. 

Together with TT and Erdenet this is a vital contribution to the economy. So, to be clear, I think the opportunity for Mongolia is significant and I believe the country is at a pivotal, important moment. 

Mongolia now has the chance, together with partners, to really encourage faster growth, investment and development, if we work together. It is up to us to seize this moment and show visionary leadership.The kind of leadership that Mongolia has displayed over many centuries. 

Rio Tinto: pioneering progress with partners 

Let me start with a few quick words about Rio Tinto for those who are not familiar with us. 

Our purpose is to supply the essential materials that drive human progress – and we’ve been doing this for 145 years. We supply the metals and minerals used in everyday life from Tesla cars to your favourite mobile phone, Rio Tinto’s technology and know-how make it one of the most efficient miners worldwide. The business is also pioneering in its commitment to sustainability and responsible mineral development. 

Let me give you an example of this commitment in action. A week or so ago, Rio Tinto announced a new partnership with Alcoa, the government of Canada and Apple to invest in technology called inert anode which will help to create the world’s first carbon-free aluminium. 

This is a step-change for the industry, something metals companies have been chasing for decades. We are proud together with Alcoa to partner with our customer, Apple, and the Canadian & Quebec governments. Real leaders. It is an exciting time for the mining industry – particularly as we continue to transform to meet the Business to People, or “B2P” era. 

This means we must get much better at explaining what we do, how we do it and the contribution we make to society – this is as true here in Mongolia, as it is wherever we operate around the world. 

As you may know, we are a publicly traded company – on the New York, London and Sydney stock exchanges – and with this comes specific requirements and global standards that need to be met and maintained. 

We take this responsibility seriously and are guided by our 4Ps strategy: Performance, Portfolio, Partners and People. 

More specifically, last year we invigorated our company values Safety, Teamwork, Respect, Integrity and Excellence and conducted leadership workshops with all leaders in Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi to reinforce our commitment to doing the right thing. 

We are very committed to our efforts in transparency, safety and responsible mining. 

We are successfully transferring the best practices from our other business, particularly from Kennecott copper mine in US which has been operating over 115 years. 

In terms of state of the art operations, first and foremost for us is Oyu Tolgoi, our newest copper mine. It is one of the best performers in terms of safety across Rio Tinto’s global portfolio.

And we are also leading here in contract transparency with international bodies, such as the Extractives International Transparency Initiative, applauding our efforts to disclose our investment agreements publicly. 

In Rio Tinto’s global code of conduct, The Way We Work, we outline our approach and commitment to being a good corporate citizen. This is not just lip service we expect all of our employees around the world, to behave in accordance with our values wherever they are. We accept zero tolerance to breaches. 

So, for us the way we work is as important as what we do. We must form and grow long-term partnerships with governments, communities and civil society. As we are trying to do in Mongolia.

Oyu Tolgoi: one of the most exciting copper businesses in the world 

As I said a moment ago, we manage the Oyu Tolgoi, “OT” for short, operation in the South Gobi, on behalf of all shareholders – Turquoise Hill Resources, the Government of Mongolia and ourselves.

 We are proud to be associated with one of the most exciting copper and gold businesses in the world. A business that once fully operational, will provide high quality copper at a time the world needs it. 

Our strategic partnership with Mongolia was formalized in 2009 through the signing of the OT Investment Agreement. 

And it was reaffirmed in 2015 with the signing of the UDP. 

These agreements have allowed shareholders to invest heavily in Mongolia. The shareholders have invested more than US$7 billion in this country – and together with a consortium of 15 financial institutions a further US$5.5 billion could be committed. 

By the end of the underground development we could have invested US$12 billion. To put that into context, that’s more than Mongolia’s entire annual GDP. 

This investment is already having a huge impact across Mongolia: 

 OT is now one of Mongolia’s top corporate tax payers – paying approximately US$1.7 billion in the form of taxes and royalties, since 2010. 
 OT is the largest private sector employer in Mongolia – currently employing 14,000 people, 94 percent of whom are Mongolian. 75 per cent of whom are engineers, professionals and in leadership roles. 
 We committed about $1 billion investment in the country per year for underground development and more to come. We are pioneering a Made in Mongolia strategy – aiming to bring more value in the supply chain into Mongolia and Mongolian supplier community and bringing new technology and capacity to Mongolia. 

This impact may continue to expand if we work together to successfully deliver OT’s underground. It is critical that all project partners work towards this objective – as it is the only way shareholders will receive a return. 

Once underground mine starts producing, OT will be one of the world’s largest copper mines with a potential productive life lasting several generations. It represents many opportunities to bring sustainable development to Mongolia. 

In addition to our investment in OT we also opened an office in UB in January of this year. It houses our exploration team and the Mongolia Delivery Centre – about 80 data analysts and software engineers are providing reporting and analytic supports to our global operations. 

We will consider growing our business beyond OT and utilize the extraordinary talent here throughout our global businesses – this is truly a competitive advantage for Mongolia in attracting international investment and growing the country’s wealth. 

Mongolian copper will be the source of much of tomorrow’s innovation 

Let me zoom out for a moment – and share some thinking on the global commodities markets, specifically copper: 

The long term outlook for copper is positive. We anticipate further demand growth and a supply deficit that are combining to produce a positive pricing environment. 

The drivers on the demand side are new and exciting such as: large-scale infrastructure projects all over the world –plus new applications in renewable energy and the transition to electric vehicle transportation. 

All of these trends point to a positive picture for copper to 2020 and beyond. 

This bodes well for Oyu Tolgoi – which will supply copper for many of the world’s latest technologies. For example, OT will play a critical role in supplying materials for things like smart phones and electric vehicles. 

In many ways, Mongolian copper will be the source of much of tomorrow’s innovation. 

What do investors look for? 

Finally, because we are here today to talk about how to accelerate the growth of Mongolia and enhance its ability to attract further investment, I will offer three observations on how I have seen other countries flourish and how Mongolia can also build on its work in these areas. 

Number One: provide certainty for investors and safeguard their investments 

Protecting agreements and honouring contracts is critical – particularly in mining where time horizons are long and upfront investment is massive. 

This is what the OT IA, UDP and other agreements represent – just like in other countries, such as Chile, that have had fiscal stability agreements which set tax and royalty rates for 30 years with no changes to attract investment after the move to democracy and privatization of its industry. 

At OT, we rely on the sanctity of the key investment agreements which serve as the foundation of the shareholders potential US$12 billion investment in Mongolia.

These agreements provide a foundation for the development of Oyu Tolgoi and ensure the Government of Mongolia receives more than 50 per cent of economic benefits over the life of the project.

 In a globally competitive environment for mineral investment, complex and very capital-intensive mining projects need to clearly set out from the beginning their investment terms, the efficiency of regulatory bodies responsible for licensing and permitting, and the stability of agreed investment terms. 

Simply put: no major investor can invest without such agreements in place. When agreements and contracts are honored – it gives international investors’ confidence the same will be done for them. 

Number Two: Rule of law and a strong regulatory framework is essential 

Fair and consistent application of the law requires working with partners and investors so they have confidence in the system. 

The aim should be to foster dispute resolution mechanisms and forums that yield fair and fact-based results. 

The most successful countries continue to promote their commitment to democracy and the strength of their institutions. 

Number Three: Promote the country’s value proposition abroad 

Oyu Tolgoi is already a world-class mining operation. For example, Mongolia has a highly talented and motivated workforce. 

Our 94 per cent Mongolian workforce has made OT one of the safest mines not only in Rio Tinto, but also in the world. Our team has also made OT one the world’s most innovative operations – especially when it comes to the environment. 

In Gobi region, water is truly precious resource, and Oyu Tolgoi leads the industry in water recycling at 85 per cent. We are particularly proud that the project uses previously unknown underground saline aquifer and we help the community to increase their water reserves and provision of new local town water supply is under way. 

While we are currently the largest international investor in Mongolia– we want many more here with us. 

A diversified economy can only be good for Mongolia and all investors. And this will only happen if OT is a success. 

A model for success: the power of mining for sustainable development 

As I mentioned earlier, I have worked for a quarter century in the mining industry and I want to quickly illustrate a real world example of successful resource development. 

Part of my job is to manage Rio Tinto’s interests in the copper mine joint venture, Escondida, in Chile – the largest copper operation in the world.

Chile is a relevant benchmark for Mongolia, in many respects. 

Fifty years ago, Chile, today’s largest copper producer, had a small population with a small and isolated economy. It has since been the fastest growing economy of Latin America. Back then, Chile’s mining sector was driven by one large copper company, Codelco. 

Codelco still owns and operates mines, but the country’s position as pre-eminent producer is largely due to important free market reforms and the rights that were afforded to private companies. 

In fact, copper has underpinned Chile’s economic growth mostly since private investment was unleashed in the 1980s. 

New companies flooded in, looking to tap into the country’s massive copper potential and exploration peaked in the mid-1990s. 

Copper production exploded making Chile one of the largest global copper producers and this remains the case today. Copper production has increased ten-fold since the 1990s. And yet, Chile’s most important economic story has been about diversification. Even with the massive growth, Chile’s copper dropped from 80 per cent to about 50 per cent of exports in the same period. 

Lessons point to an improvement in government capabilities and purposeful broad-based growth policies with sector specific targeting and state support. 

The same success can happen right here. 

Mongolia has all the ingredients to become a successful resource nation and to use her mineral revenue to fuel sustainable, long-term, diversified growth. 

But the three things I talked about are critical: a safe and secure climate for investment… adherence to the rule of law…and a clear signal to the world about the value of doing business here in Mongolia. 

Partnering for success 

The world is watching how Oyu Tolgoi develops. It is a test case for future investment in Mongolia which brings with it jobs, new business opportunities and community development. 

There is no doubt OT Underground is a complex and difficult project and it will require Rio Tinto’s balance sheet and technological competence to succeed. 

We are confident we can pull it off but we do need your trust, patience and support, please let us get on with the work of continuing to build a world class business. 

A business we can all be proud of, and generations of Mongolians can enjoy for decades to come. Mongolia has huge opportunity in front of it: an ability to leverage its great mineral resource for broad growth and prosperity. 

Rio Tinto is a long-term partner with Mongolia and we want to partner for progress and success. 

Success counts on expertise, consistency and revenue management. 

We will succeed together or fail together. Let’s join together to take Mongolia forward. 

Thank you.

Mining giant Rio Tinto urges Mongolia not to tamper with copper mine deal

ULAN BATOR, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto urged the Mongolian government not to tamper with the contract on the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in the Gobi desert if it wants to attract more foreign investors.
Speaking at the Mongolia Economic Forum held here Tuesday in Ulan Bator, Arnaud Soirat, the head of Rio's copper business, said Mongolia had all ingredients to become a "successful resource nation" but only if it honored agreements around issues such as tax and royalty payments.
"The world is watching how Oyu Tolgoi develops. Therefore, Mongolia has to demonstrate its stability to foreign investors to attract more investment. It is a test case for future investment in Mongolia which brings with it jobs, new business opportunities and community development," Soirat said.
"A strong partnership between the government and the private sector is important for sustainable economic and social development of the country. If we can work together, Mongolia will be able to attract more investment," he added.
Oyu Tolgoi is the largest public-private employer in Mongolia. Currently, the company employs 14,000 people, of which 94 percent are Mongolians.
Rio Tinto has invested more than 7.5 billion U.S. dollars in the country since 2010 and paid the Mongolian government some 1.5 billion dollars in taxes, royalties and other fees.
The company, the largest foreign investor of the resource-rich country, is now planning to spend a further 5.5 billion dollars on developing an underground mine.
However, the expansion has been delayed by political disputes and became the subject in a corruption investigation that has led to the arrest of two former prime ministers and an ex-finance minister who signed the 2009 investment deal.
Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, located in the South Gobi Desert of Mongolia, is expected to produce an average of 430,000 tons of copper and 425,000 ounces (about 12,050 kg) of gold annually for 20 years, and is estimated to generate up to a third of government revenue by 2019.
The Mongolian government has a 34 percent stake in Oyu Tolgoi while Rio Tinto-controlled Turquoise Hill Resources owns the remaining 66 percent.

Source:Xinhua news agency

Rio Tinto warns Mongolia on tampering with rights to copper mine

By Neil Hume

Rio Tinto has warned Mongolia not to tamper with the contracts that underpin its investment in a giant copper mine in the Gobi desert if it wants to attract more foreign capital to the country.

Speaking at the Mongolia Economic Forum on Tuesday, Arnaud Soirat, the head of Rio’s copper business, said Mongolia had all ingredients to become a “successful resource nation” but only if it honoured agreements around issues such as tax and royalty payments. 

 “The world is watching how Oyu Tolgoi develops. It is a test case for future investment in Mongolia which brings with it jobs, new business opportunities and community development,” he told delegates, including government ministers. 

 A resource-rich nation of just 3.1m people, Mongolia desperately needs foreign direct investment. Last year, the country, which is sandwiched between China and Russia, turned to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout as bond payments loomed. 

 Rio is currently the largest foreign investor in Mongolia. It has ploughed more than $7bn into the first phase of the Oyu Tolgoi. It is planning to spend a further $5.5bn on developing an underground mine that will unlock the project’s full potential. 

 But these plans are under threat. Earlier this year, the cash strapped government hit Rio with a $155m tax bill, while members of parliament have set up a working group to review the agreements that underpin the development of the Oyu Tolgoi mine. 

 Analysts say much of the frustration with the contracts can be traced to the government’s decision to take a 34 per cent equity stake in Oyu Tolgoi. To finance its share of the mine’s development costs Ulan Bator has had to borrow money from a Rio subsidiary. Until that debt is paid off it cannot receive dividends. 

 “Protecting agreements and honouring contracts is critical – particularly in mining where time horizons are long and upfront investment is massive”, said Mr Soirat. “When agreements and contracts are honoured – it gives international investors’ confidence the same will be done for them.”

 Mr Soirat also touched on the tax row in his speech, saying that resource-rich countries like Mongolia should aim “to foster dispute resolution mechanisms and forums that yield fair and fact-based results.” 

 Rio has said it will take the tax dispute to international arbitration if it cannot reach agreement with the government. 

 “Mongolia has all the ingredients to become a successful resource nation and to use her mineral revenue to fuel sustainable, long-term, diversified growth,” said Mr Siorat. “But the three things I talked about are critical: a safe and secure climate for investment… adherence to the rule of law… and a clear signal to the world about the value of doing business here in Mongolia.”

Source:Financial Times


Mongolian queen of last Chinese emperor

China’s last emperor Puyi and empress Wan Rong, studying a photo album in Tientsin, 1925-1929. Courtesy of Palace Museum in Beijing.

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, shoes and indoor

Empress Wan Rong was royal Mongol princess from ruling Borjigon clan. Her sub-clan Daguur Mongol resides in Manchuria and her dad was influential official at the court of Daicing Gurun or Ching Dynasty. Her life was tragic..., to say the least.

Pan-Mongol Sentiments Re-Surfacing among Buryats

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 20 – It has long been an axiom of Eurasian analysis that pan-Mongolism emerges only when Russia and/or China are weak. That has certainly been true in the past, but with Mongolia now a much more independent country than ever before in modern times, it may be time to modify the assumptions underlying that approach.
            Three recent developments suggest that: First, Moscow has forced the liquidation of the office of the plenipotentiary representative of Buryatia in Ulan Bator, apparently fearful that it was promoting the restoration of closer ties between the two Mongol peoples than the Russian government is prepared to tolerate.

            Instead, it has concentrated any ties between the Buryat Republic within the Russian Federation and the Mongolian government through a single official in the Russian embassy in Ulan Bator, an individual who is known to be a vocal opponent of Buryat national causes (

            Second, despite this, Buryat officials and Buryats more generally are intensifying their contacts with their Mongol counterparts, seeking Moscow’s permission for expanded ties with Mongolia and urging the Buryat government to promote Mongol language classes in the republic’s schools (

            The latter if successful could lead to a rapprochement between the two Mongol languages, Khalka and Buryat, and thus help promote the view widely held by many Buryats to this day that they are part of a broader Mongol nation, something that already informs the statements of some Buryat activists (

            And third, the self-described Pan-Mongol Party in Emigration based in Baku is using the Internet to reach out to Buryats in particular. It has become more active following the decision of the Buryat Republic parliament to disband the republic’s supreme court in order to save money and increase efficiency (

            Arguing that this move is but the latest step in Moscow’s campaign to destroy Buryat statehood, the party calls on all Buryats “to struggle with all their forces until complete victory.”  Specifically, it declares that “we do not recognize the collaborationist powers in Buryatia as legitimate” and declares that Russian government is “an occupation administration.”

            “We appeal to the world community to recognize Buryatia as an occupied territory, we consider that the Buryat-Mongol ethnos is being subjected to political and cultural genocide,” and, it declares, “activists of the Buryat national-liberation movement in emigration are the only legal power on the territory of Buryatia.”

            The party makes clear its final goal: “Buryatia will be independent!”


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