Pages

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Canrim Resources July 2014 Monthly Letter

August 5 --

To the Shareholders of Canrim Resources Pte Ltd.,

The month of July was another period of continued progress and forward momentum in Mongolia. July began with much needed, and expected, positive news from the Government of Mongolia stating amendments to the Minerals Law, lifting the four-year moratorium on the issuance of new licenses and extending the life of exploration licenses from nine to twelve years.

Internally, Glenn Griesbach, VP of Resource Development and our team in Mongolia continued their detailed due diligence on potential licenses for acquisition, predominately in copper/gold and other base metal resources. With renewed interest in the secondary license market, Canrim has also identified value in several projects currently under review. Preferring to be scrupulous with assets the Company acquires, we are moving cautiously in order to mitigate a rise in capital expenditures as there is little competition at present. We believe our prudence will keep Canrim in an attractive position.

From July 10 Mongolia was largely consumed by the Naadam festivities, an annual celebration of Mongolian sports which takes place in each Aimag (Province). This led most individuals in Ulaanbaatar to leave the city for the countryside in order to spend time with family. Having recently returned, we anticipate August to be a more productive month for Mongolia.

VP of Corporate Development Celebrating Naadam in Countryside

Mongolian Economic Update:

1.    July 7: Viking Mines: Third MOU Signed for BerkhUul Coal Project in Mongolia

2.    July 7: Guildford Seeks to Raise A$10 Million via Entitlement Offer, Underwriting Agreement

3.    July 14: Mongolia extends its CNY10 billion currency swap facility with China for another three years

4.    July 22: Mongolia and Japan formalize a Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

5.    July 30: Central Bank of Mongolia increases interest rate by 1.5% to 12% to mitigate inflation

We look forward to updating you again on our progress and developments in Mongolia. If you would like to learn more about Canrim Resources, I encourage you to contact us directly at Canrimresources@gmail.com. Our team will be delighted to speak with you.

Sincerely Yours,

Ranjeet Sundher,

Director and CEO

Canrim Resources Pte Ltd.

Monday, August 4, 2014

[BREAKING: FX reserves fall 17.9% in June to US$1.3B from May, down 57.6% from June 2013]

Please click Display Images or Download Pictures to properly view this newswire

- BREAKING NEWS -

Monday, August 4, 2014

Follow the news on Facebook, Twitter and view archive here

 

Mogi: ok, BoM is out with FX numbers 1 day late, NSO is still yet to announce Q2 GDP numbers, originally scheduled for August 1

BoM: FX Reserves in June Fall 17.9% MoM to US$1.32 Billion, -57.6% YoY

August 4 (Bank of Mongolia) The Bank of Mongolia has changed its’ policy regarding official foreign exchange reserves reporting. The statistics will be published with an one-month lag /previously published with three-months lag/ on the first business day of the following month. Policy is in effect since July, 2014. (Mogi: well, it didn’t come out on the first business day, but the 2nd, but that’s better than a 3 month delay)

Date

Gross Reserves

Monthly, %

YTD, %

YOY, %

2014.6

1317.5

-17.9

-41.4

-57.6

2014.5

1604.5

-11.9

-28.6

-52.6

2014.4

1821.7

-6.2

-18.9

-48.1

2014.3

1943.3

-11.5

-13.5

-48.8

2014.2

2195.3

-10.2

-2.3

-45.3

2014.1

2446.3

8.8

8.8

-40.1

2013.12

2248

-2.7

-45.5

-45.5

2013.11

2309.6

-3.3

-44

-13.7

2013.10

2389.2

-10.8

-42.1

-10.7

2013.9

2679.6

-1.7

-35.1

-7.7

2013.8

2725.5

-9.5

-33.9

-0.9

2013.7

3012.7

-3

-27

7.6

2013.6

3107.5

-8.3

-24.7

6.9

Link to FX reserves page

 

---


Room #5, Coffice Hub, 5th Floor, Time Center
21 Baga Toiruu Street, Sukhbaatar District 8
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 15160
Email: info@covermongolia.com
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Friday, August 1, 2014

[FDI goes negative, MSE to trade GoM notes, TDB raises from Korea, and PM's advisor arrested]

Please click Display Images or Download Pictures to properly view this newswire

Friday, August 1, 2014

Follow the news on Facebook, Twitter and view archive here

Jump to: Overseas Market - Local MarketEconomyPoliticsBusinessUlaanbaatarDiplomacy - Social, Environmental and Other

Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

254 fell 14.7% since the announcement yesterday to close -7.9% Thursday to HK$0.29 with HK$819.7m market cap (around US$105m)

NUR Holdings has no current intention of adding on 29.95% stake in SouthGobi

[ET Net News Agency, 30 July 2014] National United Resources Holdings (00254) said it agreed to acquire 29.95% of the issued and outstanding shares of SouthGobi Resources (01878) at CAD25.53 million from Turquoise Hill Resources.

Upon completion, NUR Holdings and Turquoise Hill Resources will own about 29.95% and 26% stake in SouthGobi. NUR Holdings has no current intention to further increase its interest in SouthGobi

SouthGobi is focused on the exploration and development of its metallurgical and thermal coal deposits in Mongolia's South Gobi Province. SouthGobi holds a 100% equity interest in SouthGobi Sands LLC, a Mongolian registered company that holds mining and exploration licences in Mongolia and operates the flagship Ovoot Tolgoi coal mine which produces and sells coal to customers in the People's Republic of China.

Turquoise Hill Resources is an international mining company focused on copper-gold and coal mines in Mongolia. Turquoise Hill Resource's main focus is the operation and development of the Oyu Tolgoi mine. 

Trading in shares of NUR Holdings will be resumed this afternoon. 

Link to article

 

Mogi: missed this one

NUR Holdings buys Mongolia coal trading business for HK$290m

[ET Net News Agency, 16 June 2014] National United Resources Holdings (00254) said it agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of Able Nice International Limited at HK$290 million. 

Able Nice group is principally engaged in international trading, logistic and storage management of coal in Mongolia. It is licensed to operate international logistic business between the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine in the South Gobi Province in Mongolia and the port of Gan Qi Mao Du for years, with self-owned trucks and garages. It has also established a 12.5 hectares customs surveillance zone in Tsagaan Had of the South Gobi Province and a 3 hectares service zone next to the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, with comprehensive infrastructure setups, for supporting the expanding coal trading, transportation and storage volumes.

Link to article

 

Guildford Coal Agrees to Sell All Australian Coal Assets to SGX-Listed Sino Construction

August 1 -- Following the announcement on 17 July 2014, the Board of Guildford Coal Limited (ASX:GUF) (Guildford) advises that they have reached agreement with Sino Construction Limited (Sino, SGX:F3V), a Singaporean company listed on the Main Board of the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (SGX), to enter into a term sheet, to acquire all of Guildford's Australian coal assets. The key terms of the offer are as follows:

1.    Coal assets

Sino will acquire all of Guildford's Australian coal assets, being the Clyde Park Project, Pentland Project, Springsure Project, Hughenden Project (Galilee/Eromanga Basins), Sunrise Project (Surat/Bowen Basin), Monto Project (Nagoorin Graben and Mulgildie Basin), Sierra Project (Bowen Basin) and Kolan Project (Maryborough Basin).

2.    Purchase price

The purchase price will consist of:

·         US$25,000,000, payable by way of a noninterest bearing convertible promissory note which matures six months after issue. The promissory note is payable in cash or, if the 30 day VWAP for Sino's share as quoted on the SGX is at least SG$0.24 on the date two business days prior to maturity, Sino may convert, at its option, the promissory note into ordinary shares in Sino to be issued to Guildford at an issue price of SG$0.20 (assuming an exchange rate of USD1:SGD1.26); and

·         a royalty paid to Guildford which is equal to US$0.35 per tonne of coal sold from all of Guildford's Australian coal assets. The royalty will be payable for 5 years from the date the first Australian coal asset commences commercial production.

3.    Management agreement

Guildford will be appointed as sole and exclusive manager of the Australian coal assets and will have a first and last right to be appointed as the contract miner for each asset that moves into commercial production. A management fee payable to Guildford for providing these management services will be agreed with Sino.

Completion of the sale of Guildford's Australian coal assets to Sino would be subject to, among other things, confirmatory due diligence, obtaining necessary shareholder, regulatory and third party approvals, negotiation of binding documentation, entry into the management agreement and other customary conditions.  

The Board will provide further updates to shareholders in due course.  

This offer does not currently have any impact on the timetable for the nonrenounceable entitlement offer announced on 10 July 2014.  

Link to release

Link to Sino release

 

Guildford Coal: Quarterly Activities Report

HIGHLIGHTS

·         Haulage Permit issued 2 July 2014

·         Revised JORC12 tonnages with higher levels of geological confidence

·         Stockpiles of coal ready for transport are in place

·         Rights issue announced

·         Offer to buy Australian assets announced

July 31, Guildford Coal Ltd. (ASX:GUF) --

MONGOLIA

During the quarter, significant work was undertaken on meeting the stringent requirements of the Mongolia Government's Ministry of Roads and Transport including formal inspections and working committee briefings, thus allowing the approval of the haulage permit on 2 July 2014. This important milestone removed the final hurdle in allowing our coal to be exported to China, the largest coal market in the world.

The BNU North Pit Operations commenced the Quarter in a "reduced operations" phase whereby only limited development work was undertaken whilst waiting for the approval of the Haul Road to the Shivee Khuren border crossing into China.

Due to the delays in the approval process, operations were further scaled back to a "care and maintenance" basis in early May 2014. This step was considered necessary as the operation has sufficient coal on stockpiles and exposed within the mining operations to commence trial shipments at short notice.

This being the case, the preservation of cash became the primary focus. However key personnel and equipment remain available to allow the operation to quickly recommence to full production.

Now that the Haulage permit is in place, work now focusses on preparing for the export of a trial shipment to the Shivee Khuren / Ceke border port for processing and sale. This pivotal event, "first coal on road", is xpected to take place in mid August. Great interest in BNU coal has been generated by sampling conducted for customers throughout this year. Unfortunately the linear nature of the approvals first, then logistics preparation, followed by the mine cycle third, has prevented any sizeable coal tonnage being allowed to the customer to date, so the trial shipments are being organized post-haste. In mid August, coal is expected at the border in commercial quantities for batch trial testing, including function through a Coal Handling and Preparation Plant.

At the conclusion of these trial batches, completed ramp up plans for production will commence.

CORPORATE

Cash & Investments

As at 30 June 2014, Guildford Coal had cash of $9.1m (March 2013: $18.0m). The principal movements in cash and investments for the quarter were attributable to:

Link to report

Link to cashflow report

 

Cash at end of quarter A$906K

Haranga Resources Quarterly Activities Report

July 31 -- Haranga Resources Limited (the Company, ASX:HAR) is pleased to report on its activities for the June 2014 Quarter.

HIGHLIGHTS

·         The recent amendments to the Minerals Law in Mongolia have greatly improved the country's mining industry environment. This has resulted in the potential extension of exploration rights by a further three years up until 2017.

·         Metallurgical test work is currently underway at the ALS Technical Centre in Wangara, Western Australia. The Company expects the results of the first phase test work by the end of August 2014.

·         Exploration programme focused on identifying high grade zones has been successfully approved by the Mineral Resources Authority (MRAM) and the General Agency for Specialized Inspection (GASI) of Mongolia.

Link to full report

Link to cashflow report

 

Xanadu Mines Quarterly Activities Report

July 31, Xanadu Mines Ltd. (ASX:XAM) --

HIGHLIGHTS

-       Initial drilling at Kharmagtai discovers extensions to high-grade porphyry mineralisation.

-       KHDDH343 extends mineralised envelope 100m to the east of Altan Tolgoi:

o    550m @ 0.39% Cu & 0.39g/t Au (0.64% CuEq) from 58m; including

o    242.70m @ 0.55% Cu & 0.75g/t Au (1.02% CuEq) from 358.30m; including

o    132m @ 0.65% Cu & 0.89g/t Au (1.21% CuEq) from 468m.

-       KHDDH338 at the western end of Altan Tolgoi intersects:

o    160m @ 0.47% Cu & 0.85 g/t Au (1.00% CuEq) from 110m.

-       KHDDH340 intersects higher grade mineralisation at Tsagaan Sudal including:

o    42m @ 0.56% Cu & 0.72g/t Au (1.01% CuEq) from 202m.

-       These results significantly extend and confirm the continuity of shallow high-grade porphyry copper-gold mineralisation at Kharmagtai.

-       Tourmaline breccia hosted mineralisation in KHDDH343 and KHDDH344 remains open at depth and along strike indicating potential bulk-tonnage copper-gold mineralisation at economic grades.

-       $4.429 million of cash on hand at 30 June following successful fund raising.

Link to full report & cashflow report

 

Cash at end of quarter A$3.5 million

Aspire Mining Quarterly Activities Report

July 31, Aspire Mining Ltd. (ASX:AKM) --

·         Acquired 50% Interest in Mongolian Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture ("ECJV") with Noble Group

o    ECJV holds 60% interest in Nuurstei Coal Project, with the ability to increase this to 90%;

o    Exploration strategy agreed for Nuurstei Project with 2014 drilling program to commence in September Quarter;

o    Nuurstei Project holds the potential for initial coking coal production base once road access to Erdenet is completed in 2015.

·         Mongolian Government Lifts Moratorium on Exploration Licences as part of the adoption of amendments to the Minerals Policy, effective 1 July 2014

o    Increased new land area from 8% to 20% available for exploration;

o    Exploration licence tenure extended to 12 years from 9 years, and allows an option to extend for a further 3 years;

o    Aspire will apply for new exploration licences once process is finalised.

·         Scoping Study commenced with Tak-Raf to assess feasibility of a 10mtpa coal blending operation at the planned Sainshand Industrial Park

·         Non-binding MOU signed for cooperation with Zavkhan Power Plant to supply oxidised coal and build transmission infrastructure connecting to the Ovoot Project

·         An additional non-binding MOU signed for coking coal offtake bringing total non-binding MOU interest up to 7.4mtpa, or 148% of initial production plan

·         SMEC International commissioned to prepare updated rail operating cost model

·         Corporate Social Investment

o    Aspire is a founding sponsor to support WA Police Commissioner's Bright Blue Charity Ride in northern Mongolia raising funds for Mongolian children's charities;

o    2014 Scholarship Programme commenced for Mongolian local students.

Link to full report

Link to cashflow report

 

Newera Resources: Fully Underwritten Non-Renounceable Entitlements Issue to Raise A$1.05 Million

July 31 -- Newera Resources Limited (ASX:NRU) is pleased to announce it has resolved to make a fully underwritten, non-renounceable entitlements issue (Offer) to shareholders to raise approx. A$1,048,259 before costs.

The Offer will be an offer of new fully paid ordinary shares (New Shares) on the basis of four (4) New Shares for every five (5) shares held by eligible shareholders on the Record Date (Existing Shares), at an offer price of A$0.002 per New Share.

Subscribers to the Offer will also receive one (1) free attaching listed option for every two (2) New Shares issued with an exercise price of A$0.005 and an expiry of 31 July 2016 (New Options).

Based on the current shares on issue, the Offer will result in the issue of approximately 524,129,346 New Shares and 262,064,673 New Listed Options. The New Shares will rank equally with Existing Shares.

The Offer will be fully underwritten by DJ Carmichael Pty Limited (DJC) subject to standard terms and conditions and the execution of an Underwriting Agreement. In consideration for underwriting the Offer, the Company has agreed to pay to DJC a sum equal to 6% of the total amount underwritten. The Company has also agreed to issue 40 million listed options to DJC as part of their underwriting agreement which will be issued on successful completion of the Offer. The options will have an exercise price of A$0.005 and an expiry of 31 July 2016.

The Offer will be open to all holders of ordinary shares in the Company with a registered address in Australia or New Zealand.

Funds raised from the Offer will be applied to continued work on the Company's existing projects and working capital.

Link to release

 

Cash at end of quarter at A$116K

Newera Resources Quarterly Activities Report

July 31 -- Newera Resources Limited (ASX:NRU) is pleased to provide the following report on its activities for the June quarter 2014:

Ulaan Tolgoi Project - Mongolia

·         During the course of a drilling program in the southern sector of the Ulaan Tolgoi licence within the March quarter, Newera's consultant field geologist became aware of third party exploration activity within the exploration licence immediately north of, and abutting the northern boundary of the Ulaan Tolgoi licence.

·         A number of field inspections determined that the third party had identified several outcrops of black Permian coal and were tracing the extent of the occurrence through the use of trenching, a ground magnetic survey and a limited drilling program which intersected Permian coal seams.

·         Following a lack of success in the greenfields reconnaissance drilling conducted in the March quarter, the next step for Newera was to consider a change of focus to the northern sector where c. 2km north of the Ulaan Tolgoi licence boundary, black coal had been discovered outcropping on the edges of erosion gullies within an elongate sub-basin which appear to intersect the northern boundary of the Ulaan Tolgoi tenement.

·

Link to full report

Link to cashflow report

Related:

Resignation of Mr. Winton Willesee as Director – Newera Resources, July 31 (Final Director's Interest Notice)

 

Cash at end of quarter A$1.4 million

Eumeralla Resources Quarterly Activities Report

HIGHLIGHTS

·         Delegations and presentations made to Kayah State Government Minister of Mines and Minister for Security

·         Myanmar government supportive of foreign investment into largely untapped Mining industry

·         Identified and held discussions with contractors to undertake rock chip and soil sampling of Mongolian tenements

July 31, Eumeralla Resources Ltd. (ASX:EUM) -- The company feels confident that the process towards obtaining an Exploration permit in Myanmar is drawing towards a conclusion.

Myanmar

MONGOLIA

The Company held preliminary discussions with a number of contractors in Mongolia to engage a qualified contractor to undertake rock chip and soil sampling to confirm the cause of the chargeability anomalies and style of mineralization, and concurrently collect stream silt samples from drainages to rapidly screen other parts of the licence for base and precious metals. The objective of the soil geochemical survey is to prioritise surface geochemical anomalies for additional dipole-dipole IP surveys. Subsequent o 30 June 2014, on 26 July 14 the Company engaged Lunda LLC to perform an IP/Res Gradient Survey. The directors do not expect his contract o have a material effect on the price or value of the Company's securities.

TENEMENT INFORMATION

As per Listing Rule 5.3.3, Mining exploration entities are required to provide the following information in relation to the tenements held.

Mining Tenements held as at 30 June 2014.

Project

Tenement

Country

Status

Ovoot Project

XV-01591

Mongolia

Granted

Link to full report

Link to cashflow report

 

GMM: QUARTERLY ACTIVITIES REPORT, JUNE 2014

July 31, General Mining Corp. Ltd. (ASX:GMM) --

Mongolia - Uvs Basin Projects (Coal, potash & lithium - GMM 100%)

During the quarter the Company continued with the shutdown of the Mongolian operations.

The last remaining licence expired in June.

Link to report

Link to cashflow report

Back to top

Local Market

Mogi: someone please save from Montsame

MSE News for July 31: Top 20 -0.63% to 15,871.73, Turnover 2.5 Million

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ At the Stock Exchange trades held Thursday, a total of 645 shares of nine JSCs were traded costing MNT two million 519 thousand and 161.00.

"Kherlen khivs" /214 units/, "E-trans logistics" /95 units/, "Makh impex" /90 units/, "Tavantolgoi" /87 units/ and "Sharyn gol" /80 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"UB-BUK" (MNT 920 thousand), "Sharyn gol" (MNT 584 thousand), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT 428 thousand and 305), "Makh impex" (MNT 270 thousand) and "Mongol keramik" (MNT 176 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 602 billion 377 million 921 thousand and 649. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,871.73, decreasing by MNT 100.88 or 0.63% against the previous day.

Link to article

 

MINISTRY OF FINANCE INSTRUCTS MSE TO FACILITATE TRADE OF GOVERNMENT SECURITIES

July 31 (MSE) Starting from 2012, the Government bond trading transferred from MSE to Mongol Bank. However, the Ministry of Finance gave a working task to the MSE on 30 July 2014, in order to implement resolution No.41, 2013, of Mongolian Parliament. The working task was assigned to Angar.D, acting CEO of MSE, to make research on implementation possibility for IT system, listing, clearing and settlement services according to relevant rules and regulations in order to trade Government bond through MSE and notify back to the Ministry of Finance shortly.

Link to release                                                                                                                    

 

MSE TO CONDUCT CUSTODIAN & SECURITIES SEVICES MASTERCLASS WITH LSE

July 31 (MSE) In scope of introducing custodian service to Mongolian capital market, MSE offers Custody & Securities Services Masterclass, which will be conducted at MSE on 6th and 7th of August 2014. 

This training is dedicated for market participants who planning to be involved in this business. 

The Masterclass will be presented by Bruce Lawrence, Senior Post Trade Advisor of London Stock Exchange group, who has over 30 years of experience in this business. The objectives of the Masterclass are to acquaint the proposed organizations with the intricacies of the Custody and Security industry and at the same time assist them in their on-going development as a Mongolian sub-custodian. This Masterclass will address the important principles of the business and the produces and services required by the international investor community.

Link to release

Back to top

Economy

BoM MNT Rates: Thursday, July 31 Close

 

7/31

7/30

7/29

7/28

7/25

USD

1,870.92

1,870.00

1,867.19

1,860.88

1,856.92

EUR

2,506.28

2,505.52

2,508.10

2,499.44

2,500.62

CNY

303.14

302.78

302.13

300.73

299.84

GBP

3,161.48

3,166.75

3,170.77

3,159.31

3,152.21

RUB

52.70

52.45

52.46

52.60

52.94

July MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:

 

Link to rates

 

BoM FX auction: US$7.5m sold at 1,872, CNY87.5m at 302.1, accepts swap $0.8m bid, $70m ask offers

July 31 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on July 31st, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer of USD and CNY from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 7.5 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1872.00 and 87.5 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 302.10.

On July 31st, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 0.8 million USD and USD Swap agreement ask offer of 70.0 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.

See also:

·         FX Auction Statistics

Link to release

 

FDI -70% to $873.2 million, Current Account Deficit -62% to $603 million - Preliminary BoP, First 6 Months of 2014

July 31 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Main indicators:

Current account deficit stands at US$ 603.6 million which is decrease of 62 percent or US$ 1,004.3 million from the previous year. This includes (i) 113 percent decrease of international trade in goods' deficit, thus showed surplus of US$ 86.0 million; (ii) international trade in services' deficit decreased by 11 percent to US$ 649.8 million; (iii) deficit on income account dropped by 51 percent to US$ 143.4 million; and (iv) surplus on current transfer increased by 81 percent to US$ 103.5 million.

Capital and financial accounts showed surplus of US$ 2.6 million which is decrease of 97 percent or US$ 884.9 million from 2013. This is due to 70 percent decline of foreign direct investment to Mongolia which equals to US$ 873.2 million and increase in other investment deficit by US$ 465.5 million.

Such increase in other investment were caused by following factors (i) US$ 209.5 million increase of trade credit receivables, (ii) US$ 187.3 million decline on disbursement of loans.

Balance of Payment for the First 6 Months of 2014

External sector statistics

Link to release

 

Mongolia Raises Rates Amid Debt Pressure

By TOM WRIGHT

July 31 (WSJ Blog) Mongolia's central bank raised interest rates this week by 1.5 percentage points to 12% to help stabilize an economy that's been buffeted by high inflation and falling foreign investment in its mining sector.

Foreign investment in Mongolia's mines has fallen rapidly, in part due to frequent changes in local regulations governing the sector. To compensate, the government has pushed expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, funded by a rise in external debt to more than 150% of gross domestic product.

Exports, especially of coal, have slowed as China's economic growth has moderated. But demand for imported consumer goods has remained strong because of the government's stimulus policies and pushed inflation into double digits.

Moody's Investors Service last month warned the situation was untenable and downgraded Mongolia's foreign currency government bond rating to B2 from B1.

The agency warned that foreign exchange reserves have fallen to $1.6 billion in May from $2.2 billion at the start of the year. Mongolia's current-account deficit and its rising external debt burden have become harder to finance as foreign investment has fallen. Instead, the government has run down foreign exchange reserves, Moody's said.

The nation's currency, the tugrik, has fallen over 10% against the U.S. dollar this year.

Mongolia now needs to boost foreign investment, reduce government spending and rein in still-high credit growth, Moody's said.

The rate hike – which comes after a series of cuts last year – is a step in this direction. Mongolia's parliament earlier this month also revoked a suspension on granting new mineral exploration licenses, according to media reports

Disputes with foreign investors have been a drag on the economy but there are signs these disputes could be abating. Australia's Rio Tinto was locked in a battle with the government over costs and financing at its Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine in Mongolia. But the mine started production a year ago.

According to the Asia Development Bank, the mine will help drive the nation's economic growth to 9.5% this year, lower than double-digit rates of growth in the past three years.

The ADB noted the government will need to implement tighter economic policies to reduce pressure on the balance of payments. Moody's noted the country will need to improve the investment environment in order to boost export earnings and pare its foreign debt exposure.

"The investment regime remains unpredictable," it said.

Link to article

 

Mongolia's Foreign Trade Review, June 2014

July 31 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Total trade turnover: $5,117.8 millions

As of Jun 2014 the total cumulative trade turnover increased by 0.5% (USD 23.4 millions) from that of the previous year and reached USD 5,117.8 millions. The increase in the trade turnover was due to the increase in exports by USD 457.1 millions.

The structure of the trade flows with the neighboring trade partners is as following: (i) trade with PRC: 61% or USD 3,114.3 millions and (ii) trade with Russia: 15% or USD 785.1 millions. The trade volume between Mongolia and China increased by 22.1% and the trade volume between Mongolia and Russia increased by 4.6%.

Table 1. The foreign trade performance /million USD/

Trade balance: -$156.1 million

As of Jun 2014, the cumulative trade balance decreased by 85.1% (USD 890.9 millions) from that of the previous year and reached USD –156.1 millions. During the reporting period the total exports increased by 22.6% from that of the previous year, imports de-creased by 14.1% from that of the previous year, thus the trade balance improved by USD 890.9 millions.

The value of the three-month moving average of the difference of annual growth rates of exports and imports has been decreasing recent years (Picture 1 shows that the annual growth rates of ex-ports and imports have been declining since October 2011). But since the beginning of 2014, it has been increasing.

Picture 1. The growth rate of exports and imports /3 month moving average/

Trade balance of paid trade flows: -$11.4 million  

The state of the trade balance of paid trade flows is one of the main variables that determines the pressure on the domestic foreign exchange market.

As of Jun 2014, the trade balance of paid trade flows reached USD –11.4 millions. During the reporting period, paid imports decreased by 13.9%, and paid exports increased by 20.0% that of previous year.

Picture 2. The trade paid in hard currency

Terms of trade: 1.809 (test estimation)

As of Jun 2014, terms of trade index (2012 base year) increased by 30.7% from that of the previous year and reached 1.809.

This increase in the terms of trade is mainly attributed to the in-crease in export prices of copper and decrease in import prices of durable consumer goods, fuels, machinery and equipment.

Picture 3. Changes in terms of trade /3 month moving average/

EXPORT

Composition: 86% + 14%

The share of mineral exports in total exports was 86% of the total export and decreased by 0.7 points from that of the previous year.

Coal, copper concentrate, iron ore and concentrate and crude oil have a weight of nearly 79% of total export and 92% of mining export.

In addition, these 4 products' share in the mining exports in-creased by 6.4 points from that of the previous year, share in the total exports increased by 5.0 points.

Table 2. The performance of export of goods (million USD)

Growth: +22.6%

Mongolian export increased by 22.6% from that of the previous year, which was mainly affected by 18.8% increase in mineral exports. Exports of copper concentrate and crude oil increased by 144% and 58%, respectively, which accounted for 32% in growth of mining export. On the other hand, coking coal, iron ore and zinc ore export decreased by nearly 17%, 41%, 36% respectively, which accounted for 15% decrease in the growth of mining export.

Picture 4. Coal export, market price (USD)

Changes

As of Jun 2014, Mongolian export increased by 550.2 million USD from that of the previous year. It is affected by the increase of export commodities' quantities (USD 550.2 millions) and decrease in export commodities' prices (USD 93.1 millions) .

Because of the increase in crude oil and copper concentrate quan-tities, mining export increased by 530 millions USD. On the other hand, because of decrease in prices of coal and iron ore and de-crease in quantities of iron ore, zinc ore, and non-monetary gold mining export declined by 448 million USD.

For cashmere, cashmere products and other exports, prices and quantities both increased, which resulted in increase of 43 and 33 million USD respectively.

Table 3. Changes in export goods (million USD)

World market prices for primary commodities

As of Jun 30 2014, gold price reached 1,327.3 USD, increased by 7.5% from that of the previous year and increased by 6.2% from that of the last month.

As of Jun 30 2014, copper and iron ore prices reached 7,041.0 and 93.8 USD, increased by 6.2%, 2.2% from that of the previous month respectively. Copper price increased by 7.5%, iron ore price decreased by 19.5% from that of the previous year respectively.

Picture 5. Market price of gold, zinc, copper

IMPORT

Composition: 26% + 41% + 20%

As of Jun 2014, 26% of total imports were consumer goods, 41% were capital goods and 20% were fuels.

Share of consumer goods in total imports increased by 3% from that of the previous year and share of the capital goods decreased by 3% from that of the previous year . And the share of fuels stood at the same level.

Table 4. The performance of import goods (million USD)

Growth: -14.1%

Mongolian imports decreased by 14.1% from that of the previous year. Main contributors of this decrease were capital goods de-crease, which equal to 12% of the total decrease, and oil import which equal to 4% of the total decrease.

Capital goods and fuels imports decreased by 26% (384 millions USD) and 17% (112 millions USD) respectively. Thus total import decreased from that of the previous year.

Picture 6. Breakdown of import /3 month moving average/

Breakdown

Consumer goods import decreased by 3% (23 millions USD) from that of the previous year. Main contributors of this decrease were durables goods, in particular decrease in passenger car imports.

Capital goods import decreased by 26% (384 millions USD) which was mainly contributed by 41% decrease in machinery, equipment and supplies (428 million USD). On the other hand, import of construction materials increased by 18% (55 million USD).

Intermediate goods and industrial materials import increased by 32% (76 millions USD). The main contribution was 136% in-crease in electricity (46 millions USD).

Fuels import decreased by 17% (112 millions USD). The oil price on the border decreased from beginning of 2012 to august 2012. Since then, the oil price increased slightly, but from October 2012 it is decreasing slowly. (Figure 8).

Picture 7. Import of consumer goods /3 month moving average/

Picture 8. Import of oil products, average border price

Import of the consumer goods

The growth of consumer goods import, which calculated by 3 month moving average method, is constantly declining. / Figure 7/.

Even though the import growth of non-durable consumer goods was relatively stable, that of durable consumer goods was declin-ing by the bigger phase.

Link to report

Back to top

Politics

Mogi: not arrested, but detained, as he hasn't been officially charged yet. Detain first, investigate later, force confession. How it rolls here in Mongolia. He's the then Minister of Environment that signed off on the OTIA back in 2009. Looks like forces are well in motion to poke at Altankhuyag administration.

Prime Minister's advisor arrested on embezzlement charges

August 1 (UB Post) Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) officials arrested the Prime Minister's advisor, L.Gansukh, in Tuv Province on Tuesday, on suspicion of embezzling 3.6 billion MNT from a local project budget.

"He worked in charge of the government's 'Coal' program to supply reasonably priced coal to citizens last year, and the Mongolian National Audit Office's preliminary study found that he might have embezzled a total of 3.6 billion MNT from the program's budget," explained Chief of the Investigation Department of IAAC E.Amarbat.

He was arrested along with three other suspects and is currently being questioned at a detention facility in the province.

In relation to the case, Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag issued an official statement defending the program's officials.

"The 'Coal' program benefitted thousands of residents in ger areas with lower than average income. A ton of coal is now available at 80,000 MNT, which used to cost 200,000 MNT, thanks to this program, which was managed by E.Amarbat," the Prime Minister said.

"I will strictly fight against these illegal efforts to defame the government's projects and prevent the continuation of the 'Coal' program, which resulted in the arrest and detention of people who worked hard in order to bring cheaper coal to the public."

Link to article

 

Mongolian PM's senior advisor arrested by anti-corruption agency

July 31 (Xinhua) A senior advisor to the Mongolian prime minister and three other officials were arrested on Wednesday night by the country's anti-corruption agency, Mongolian media reported Thursday.

According to the report, Gansukh Luumed, the former minister of natural environment and tourism and senior advisor of Prime Minster Norov Altankhuyag, was arrested for embezzlement by the Independent Agency Against Corruption.

The prime minister criticized the arrest as "sabotage of government actions."

Gansukh is coordinator of the government's subsidy program "Coal," which enables residents of slum areas in Ulaanbaatar to purchase coal at a much lower price in winter.

"I will fight strongly with this kind of intentional actions that violates law and breaching rights of innocent people," Altankhuyag said in a statement issued Thursday.

"Arresting people who were responsible for coordinating and implementing (the) 'coal' program, which benefitted thousands of low- and middle-income households, is sabotage of government actions," he said.

Altankhuyag added that the Mongolian government will continue to undertake actions that benefit the public. 

Link to article

 

MPP Faction Head Meets Ambassador of China

Ulaanbaatar, July 31 (MONTSAME) Chairman of the Mongolian People's Party's (MPP) faction at parliament and leader of the Mongolia-China Business Consul S.Byambatsogt received Thursday Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to Mongolia.

The parties considered the business ties in conjunction with expected this August visit of the PRC President to Mongolia. "This visit is to be important, it will significantly contribute to the commercial and economic relations, as business circles say, also our faction is paying attention to making it more fruitful and beneficial in decisions," he said.

It is expected that Mongolia and China will sign some 30 documents during the visit of China's President, more than a half of these documents cover commercial and economic matters.

The Mongolia-China Business Council comprises all businessmen who trade with China.

Present at the meeting were Enkhtuvshin, a deputy chair of the Mongolia-China Business Council and deputy director of the MSC Group; and Ch.Amarbaatar, a director of the "Bars" Group.

Link to article

 

Regular cabinet meeting to place in Bulgan aimag Friday

July 31 (news.mn) A regular cabinet meeting of the Government was scheduled in Khuvsgul aimag on July 28th but it took place in Ulaanbaatar city.

The Government resolved to hold the next scheduled meeting on August 1 in Khutag-Undur sum in Bulgan aimag.

The Government declined to comment on the issue.  But a source said that Governor`s Office in Bulgan held a meeting on the issue.

Link to article

 

Amy Wilson-Chapman: Journalists Don't Owe the Government or Companies Anything

July 31 (Mongolian Economy) Amy Wilson Chapman worked as a journalist in Canada and Australia for six years, with 2.5 years working as a business reporter in the booming mining city of Perth, Western Australia, before coming to the Press Institute of Mongolia in August last year. She graduated from Murdoch University, in Western Australia, with Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies and Mass Communication in 2004. As the business editor for the only Sunday newspaper, and the daily online news website, she was responsible for reporting on everything from big miners, such as Rio Tinto, to small businesses and retail businesses. Today she held training on "Adding Value to Business Stories" at the Press Institute for journalists 

Q: Why did you decide to do a workshop with Mongolian journalists? What is your impression?

A: The less attractive, but honest answer is that USAID-Mongolia-Business Plus Initiative BPI approached me to do this workshop because they know I have experience doing business journalism. I really love being a business journalist and I went from being a news reporter to doing economic reporting and it's really different. There were some tools and tips that I learned from the beginning of my business journalism career that were very useful to me and I felt that I thought I could pass along those to journalist in Mongolia. For any journalist anywhere, the information we discuss today are helpful tools that can help them in any field. I think that economic journalists have a pretty tough time in Mongolia because the economy is such a huge topic in Mongolia. I'm here on a volunteer program to improve the quantity and quality of environment reporting. 

Q: What's your opinion about Mongolian journalists?

A: I think Mongolia journalists are genuinely quite inspiring.  During the last 11 months, I've held so many training workshops. Some, I've had nobody come to and some have been really successful like today when you get 20-something people. On the days when no one turns up, sometimes you wonder, but I also understand that being a journalist is a really hard role and they have so many pressures. I think wanting to be a journalist is really admirable. I think that, from my limited knowledge, the understanding of the importance of media in a democratic society is a role that journalists have. As a journalist, I feel honored to be a part of that political process and informing citizens. It's a really important role to have and with that needs to come respect for your audience so you need to make sure that you're always accountable and you're always true. It's important to report what happened, the good, bad, or the ugly in the most accurate way you can. That can be really hard for a lot of reasons in Mongolia, but it's important that every day journalists get up and that's what they strive for. 

Q: What kind of skills is required for Mongolian journalists to learn?

A: I think that for any journalist, it's critical thinking. Because I don't know Mongolian, I can't read wide spread media. I'm limited to what I know, but critical thinking and the ability to question people in power is important. Just because someone may seem more powerful than you, older than you, or know more than you, doesn't mean they do. 

Q: When we come to business journalism – or paid journalism – what do you mean by business stories in your country? 

A: If a story or news article goes on TV and it's paid for by an organization in Australia, then by law it must be called an infomercial. That is the one difference I would stress between news and paid entertainment or paid information. Journalists shouldn't be getting paid for stories. They don't need to pay for individual stories. Articles should be completely objective and free from all of that, but that's in a perfect world. 

Q: What did you notice from the activity of your workshop?

A: The one thing that really strikes me is that in Australia we would have very short, snappy introductory paragraphs and that's really how you grasp your readers. That's what really says that this is what the story is about and this is why you should read it. The ones I saw today were quite long and lengthy. We would have rules in the workrooms that I've worked in that would say 50 words. Obviously, it will be different in different countries, but it's important to have that punchy line to grab the reader's attention. There were a few mistakes in terms of accuracy when we were talking about monthly concentrate. Accuracy is paramount when it comes to good journalism and without being accurate you're not going to have your readers trust you and if your readers don't trust you, you don't have anything. I would say that I am really impressed by the amount of background information that people have, but obviously we were talking about OT which is a huge subject for business journalists. The fact that they could pull all of this background information is really promising. It's really good to see that they know their subjects so that when they get a press release, they can quickly meet their deadlines, turn it around and grab the attention of their readers all in one. 

Q: What do you think journalists should learn?

A: The democratic principles of journalism need to be taught to anyone who wants to work in media. You need to understand the power that you have by being in media, the importance of your role and how you don't owe the government anything. You don't owe the companies anything, but by being a journalist, your audience is expecting you to be true and honest and accurate because they are relying on you for information. In 2014, information is all over the internet, newspapers, magazines, Twitter, etc. Making sure that journalism students know that is critical. They need to sit down and discuss a code of ethics. 

Q: Do you think we have a good chance to make some improvements within the Media Law?

A: Last time I understood it was that it was going through parliament and they were trying to make some changes to it. I think that the media organizations involved need to stand their ground and say that this is what we need. We need freedom of speech. We need freedom of expression. Information needs not to be criminalized. That needs to be across the board. It's important that people keep supporting that. There are laws in Mongolia that contradict each other. If you want press you need to give the media that power and trust in them.

Link to interview

Back to top

Business

Mogi: getting creative and creative

TDB Raises ₩10 Billion Worth USD in Depository Receipts with KDB as Custodian

August 1 (Cover Mongolia) A Mongolian language only statement on Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia's (TDB) website dated July 29 reveals that the bank has successfully raised ₩10 billion worth of USD in depositary receipts, arranged by KDB Daewoo Securities with KDB acting as custodian.

Link to TDBM release

 

EBRD HELPS BUILD TOP-CLASS CEMENT PLANT IN MONGOLIA

EBRD supports mother and daughter firm, Senj Sant

July 31 (EBRD) With EBRD help, Mongolia's Senj Sant is in the midst of constructing a technologically advanced and environmentally friendly dry process cement plant – the first of its kind so far in Mongolia - to meet rising demand generated by a rapidly growing economy.

A deal to lend Senj Sant US$ 65 million, following an earlier US$ 20 million equity investment for a stake in Senj Sant agreed in May 2013, was signed at a ceremony at HQ recently by First Vice President Phil Bennett.

"This project represents yet another step towards the diversification of Mongolia's economy," Mr Bennett said at the ceremony.

The company, which is owned by Mongolia's Monpolymet Group, is using EBRD finance to continue funding the construction, commissioning and operation of the plant, which is expected to have a total capacity of about 3000 tonnes of cement a day with the start of production planned in 2015.

The new Senj Sant plant is strategically located in southern Mongolia about 450 km from the capital Ulaanbaatar. Its product will be of higher quality than the currently available imported Chinese cement. The plant's important diversification effect will stem from its targeting an industry which is relatively underdeveloped locally.

"The EBRD's long term finance, including equity, is not only helping us build the first greenfield cement plant in Mongolia using environmentally friendly dry process, but also supporting the company in raising business standards to international levels," the CEO of Monpolymet Group, Ms Munkhnasan Narmandakh, told guests at the signing.

Underscoring the deal's importance for Mongolia, others present included the country's deputy ministers for economic development and mining, and its London ambassador.

Monpolymet Group today is one of Mongolia's leading mining operations with around 700 employees and a strong reputation built on environmental rehabilitation, sustainable development and socially responsible operations.

Unusually, it is a mother-and-daughter business.

CEO Munkhnasan's mother, Ms Garamjav Tseden, now group president, is a qualified geological engineer who established Monpolymet in 1992 with a primary focus on gold mining. Today the company has expanded into four sister companies in construction, mineral exploration, and rehabilitation and construction material production sectors.

Ms Garamjav has been working for the mining industry for 29 years, has implemented numerous profitable projects, values her company's success in winning the "Best Rehabilitating Entity" award seven times in a row from the Mongolian government, and continues to look for ways to improve the overall business standards and sustainable development in the mining sector.

In 2012, she won an EBRD Women in Business award for outstanding achievement in industry.

A few years ago, she spotted a new gap in the market and decided to use her existing business as collateral to invest in a large greenfield cement plant.

Mongolia's high levels of mining and infrastructure investment make investment in cement capacity key for future development. The fact that these two entrepreneurs were prepared to risk a large part of their personal wealth on such an investment is a mark of their strong commitment to their national future.

The EBRD has supported this investment both through the 2013 equity deal and the $65 million loan to the project company. The Bank's backing has been crucial to arriving at a bankable and technically robust structure for the project.

Link to release

 

Mongolia Switching to Digital Broadcasting from August 1

Ulaanbaatar, July 31 (MONTSAME) Mongolia will transmit to the digital system from August 1 of 2014 onwards.

A ceremony to launch this action took place Thursday on the Chingis Khaan square in the UB city with some organizations and enterprises displaying their products and services of progressive technologies. Out of four types of digital systems Mongolia has chosen the DVB-T2, or the European technology. Highly developed countries such as Japan and South Korea spent five years to transmit to the digital system, but Mongolia is considered able to do it within 1.6 years, meaning that it would fully transmit to the digital system by January 1 of 2016 turning off the present analogue system.

At the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) made a decision to transmit all TV and radio channels across the world to the digital system. Pursuing this decision, our government of Mongolia approved a national programme on this transmission. For the time being, there are ten transmission stations in the capital city and 244 stations in localities. All these stations will be turned on, so TV and radio audience can receive the digital system-based programs. 

Link to article

 

D.Galsandorj: Before talking exporting steel, we must supply our own demands first

August 1 (UB Post) The following is an interview with the President of the Mongolian Exporters' Association, state consultant mining engineer and professor D.Galsandorj about the recently released customs report.

The customs report for the first half of 2014 was released. Did export revenue increase or decrease?

Compared to last year, export revenue for the first half of 2014 increased by 450 million USD, specifically by 22 percent. Some 83 percent of total export revenue consists of mining products. Exportation for mineral products, cashmere and woolen products also increased. Foreign trade had a deficit of 157 million USD. Experts are saying that the deficit, which was measured in billions of USD in previous years, has decreased. This is connected to the decrease in importation. Equipment, material and fuel imports dropped due to the closing down of many factories, especially in the mining sector. Some have even started operating with smaller work capacity.

Overall, Mongolian mining industries are trying to operate without terminating completely. Fluorite, coal and iron mining operations are shrinking down. Even Energy Resource LLC isn't doing exploration and instead, selling coal from their warehouse. MAK company is exporting small amounts of coal. On the other hand, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi state-owned company is operating well.

You just mentioned that export revenue increased by 22 percent. Reports showed that export goods and raw material volume doubled. Is this true?

Both copper exportation volume and price doubled. People must have understood this as export revenue doubling. Total export revenue became 2.4 billion USD and the volume increased by 25 percent. In terms of volumes, compared to 2013, copper concentrate exports increased by 300 thousand tons, coal exports by 1.8 million tons, and oil exports by 1.1 million barrels. As for revenue, copper concentrate export revenue increased by 500 million USD and oil export by 117 million USD. Although coal exportation volume increased, the revenue dropped due to price decrease. The average price of a ton of coal exports in the first half of 2013 was 72 USD. The average price of a ton of coal exports of 2014 decreased by 30 percent and became 47 USD, meaning that coal revenue decreased by 97 million USD compared to the first half of 2013.

In general, how are Mongolia's mineral product prices?

Apart from coal price decrease, iron export prices decreased by some 20 percent. Copper and zinc prices are rising in international markets. Compared to 2013, copper concentrate price increase by some 18 percent and zinc prices by 10 percent. Industries that use these minerals should be supported. The price of a ton of copper was set at 6,800 USD in the 2014 state budget. At the moment, the price has reached approximately 7,100 USD. Budget revenue will increase accordingly.

Can it be concluded that copper concentrate exports of Oyu Tolgoi led to this take-off?

Yes. Within the first six months of 2014, Mongolia exported 580 thousand tons of copper concentrate, specifically Erdenet Mining Corporation exported 260 thousand tons of copper concentrate and Oyu Tolgoi exported 320 thousand tons. Some 660 million USD came from copper concentrate exports of Oyu Tolgoi. Mongolia gets 100 percent of Erdenet Mining Corporation's currency income. Unfortunately, only 20 to 30 percent of Oyu Tolgoi goes to Mongolia. In Oyu Tolgoi's investment agreement, it was agreed that currency income would be transferred directly to the parent company so it doesn't come into Mongolia. This is a major mistake in the agreement. At least 34 percent of its share revenue should go through Mongolian commercial banks. Australia and Chile requires revenues of foreign investors to be circulated through the nation's commercial banks.

In addition, 5.4 tons of gold was exported from Oyu Tolgoi mine in the first half of 2014. Customs officers are including this revenue into the copper concentrate export revenue. They need to improve customs statistics by specifically reporting on how much USD revenue they got from gold and how much from copper concentrate.

Many are saying that mines are ceasing operations. Yet, why are mineral and raw material exportation amounts of Mongolia increasing? For example, coal export volume increased.

Until April, coal taxes were imposed in relations to a reference price, but now, we started imposing them on prices dictated by the contract. It's beneficial for coal mines when taxes are paid from contracted prices. This is why mines exported large amounts of coals for some time and increased exportation. However, mines started closing up their work since June and some even stopped operations.

In terms of revenue, copper makes up 40 percent of total export, coal makes up 18 percent, and oil makes up 13 percent. Furthermore, iron ore makes up eight percent and zinc makes up two percent of total export revenue. For exports, copper and oil is covering revenues for products with reduced prices and offset overall export value.

It seems that Mongolia will get majority of its revenue from copper concentrate exports in the future. What do you think awaits the coal industry in the future?

It's certain that copper concentrate will continue to be the leading export product of Mongolia for the next four to five years. If Tsagaan Suvarga copper mine is commissioned in 2016, copper export amounts will increase considerably. The time when coal made up 40 percent of export revenue has passed. I think it's unnecessary to transport coal with trucks in an environment that's initiating responsible mining and protection of the environment. Mongolia doesn't have management for establishing coal export agreement. Therefore, it's selling coal at low prices. One-ton of refined coal of Energy Resource Company is sold at an average price of 37 USD. The amount of valuable refined coal should be increased. Energy Resource Company is only utilizing 30 percent of its concentrator's capacity. The concentrator can process up to 15 million tons of coal. Other companies can use the remaining capacity to process coal.

There are talks that Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi Company is negotiating to process coal at Energy Resource's plant. Can you comment on this?

It's correct. Our association sees that it's required for the three corporations operating at Tavan Tolgoi mine to partner in coal production, transportation and logistics, and work with integrated policy and export agreement.

Is there hope for reviving coal and iron prices?

Iron prices may revive. Bargilt iron ore deposit of Mongolrostsvetmet Company is selling iron concentrate for 70 USD per ton. Bayangol mine is selling for around 50 USD and AltainKhuder Company for 40 USD. Since iron demands in the Chinese market are increasing, it's likely for iron prices to increase. Coal prices dropped and made situations difficult because Mongolia didn't have an integrated policy. We need price regulations. The Ministry of Mining is actively working to establish a Mineral Exchange. This work should be hastened. If an exchange is established, Mongolia will be able to sell coal at standard integrated price and quality. Mongolia gets price cuts because we're unable to negotiate with big Chinese corporations. We only negotiate with smaller corporations.

If raw materials are processed, they can be sold for higher prices. What are your thoughts on this?

Actually, the government is talking about increasing the quantity of value added export products. Although they said that they'll give funds from government bonds to iron concentrator plants, they still haven't given them. They were supposed to give funds to major projects of Erdenet, Tsagaan Suvarga, and Bor-Undur concentrator plants. They're wasting time. They even said that they'll build a plant to produce final products at Sainshand city in Dornogobi Province. However, there's no finalized technical and economic feasibility study or investment. It's a good dream. They talk so well on television. Even if Mongolia produces final products, will China purchase? Chinese exportation tax increases as products are refined. Many things need to be considered. It's enough to utilize our capacity and sell 15 million tons of refined coal a year. Yet, people are talking nonsense by saying that they'll export 31 to 50 million tons. It's useless to build a railway if we can't supply competitive products consistent with Chinese standards. I'm not sure if Mongolia can benefit from constructing a railway with a huge amount of money. If Mongolian coal isn't going to be sold, what's the point of constructing a railway?

Do you think that it's better to establish at least a steel mill?

Mongolia will probably export iron from 2015 to 2030. MPs are saying that two to three plants will be built in the next two years, and then, steel will be exported. This is a lie. Before talking about exporting, Mongolia needs to be able to domestically produce 600 thousand tons of steel bars that it imports from foreign countries. Mongolians love to talk about exportation when they aren't even able to supply their own domestic demands. There are people who even talk about increasing oil exports when the country isn't producing a drop of petroleum fuel. People also mentioned exportation of energy. But Mongolia is buying energy from Russia and China. Instead, they should be talking about supplying Mongolia with domestic energy.

Source: Unuudur news http://mongolnews.mn/w/53624

Link to interview

 

Mongolia: Turning wind into profit

July 31 (UB Post) Mongolia is "a renewable energy paradise," according to asia.nikkei.com. In fact, Mongolia has winds capable of producing 946 terawatts of energy per hour (one terawatt equals 10 trillion watts). However, 95 percent of all energy in Mongolia comes from coal.

"By 2025, it is necessary to produce a minimum of 1,545 megawatts of energy to meet domestic demand," said Chief of the Regulatory Authority for Policy Implementation of the Ministry of Energy Ts.Bayarbaatar. If the government actualizes policy projects in the energy sector, by 2030, renewable energy will conquer 30 percent of all energy production in Mongolia.

Experts say Mongolia is perfect for producing renewable energy, and can take advantage of its resources to become an exporter. The 50 mw capacity Salkhit wind farm, the country's first big source of renewable energy, was launched last year by Clean Energy LLC.

Umnugovi wind farm now in the works

CleanTech is leading the construction of a 250 mw wind farm in Khanbogd soum of Umnugovi Province, 37 kilometers from Gashuunsukhait port. The construction of a wind power plant will start next spring. This project will be developed in two stages. The first stage, building a 102 mw power source, will be launched in six months.

CleanTech is developing an investment contract with HappyWind Holding (Sweden) and General Electric (USA), said an expert from the company. The power plant's estimated cost will be 170 million USD.

Sinohydro, a leading construction company from China, is working on the construction of another wind farm in Khanbogd soum.

Big banks interested in investing

A 52 mw wind power plant will be built 15 kilometers from Sainshand in Dornogovi Province. "Since an investment contract with Ferrostaal of Germany was signed in February 2014, much work has been done. Domestic companies are working on landscape research. Construction of a wind power plant will start in spring next year, and will take 18 months," said Director of Sainshand Wind Park R.Davaanyam. He added that they have announced a tender for power plant construction and wind turbine importing. Through August 8, they will receive the documents of tender bidders, and the results will be presented by August 25. General Electric, Siemens, Danish and Chinese companies have expressed interest in importing turbines. Several international banks and financial organizations have accepted credit requests, including European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, KfW Development Bank of Germany, and ten other financial organizations from the USA, the Netherlands and Belgium. To actualize this project, Mongolia needs 120 million USD.

Thanks to Sainshand Wind Park, every year, 100,000 families will receive energy. This is the fourth largest power producer in Mongolia, following Power Plant no.4, Power Plant no.3 and Darkhan Power Plant.

Mongolia can fetch nine billion USD

The main principles of the Asian Supergrid project "Gobitech" are to build big wind farms in the Mongolian Gobi and export energy to China, Japan and South Korea. Mongolia and Russia can export their produced energy to these three countries using transmission lines.

Last month, the Ministry of Energy organized a forum on "Renewable Energy in East Asia: Gobitech and the Super Network of Asian Power ," which the Mongolian President attended.

"Mongolia has a certain initiative, which is called 'Gobitech,' to become an active user of the renewable energy of the Gobi,"said President Ts.Elbegdorj.

Within the "Gobitech" project, there is the possibility of constructing solar and wind power plants with a capacity of 50 gigawatts each. Project experts report that Mongolia will benefit most from the projects. Over a span of 16 years, Mongolia could earn nine billion USD, create 880,000 jobs, and build better roads by engaging in this project. There is a 100 percent chance of actualizing this project here report experts. The total cost of the project would be 237 billion USD, but the Gobi has resources capable of producing 2,600 terawatts of solar and wind energy per hour.

Turkish company Aydiner Global plans to spend 94 million USD to build a wind farm next year near Choir soum of Govisumber Province. Additionally, Clean Energy Asia is conducting research on building 50 and 100 megawatt wind farms in Umnugovi Province.

Source: Unuudur

Link to article

Back to top

Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar's only rollercoaster operates with faulty brakes finds inspectors

August 1 (UB Post) The Ulaanbaatar City Specialized Inspection Agency inspected the maintenance of the rollercoaster at the National Amusement Park early this week and detected several safety issues.

The rollercoaster was installed at the park last year and was tested and approved by the State Special Commission on April 16, 2014.

However, the on-site inspection revealed that the front spring of the train's brake which prevents rollback on tracks was missing, while its rear spring was broken, which is a clear sign of poor daily maintenance and check-up.

The rollercoaster operators were trained and documented, although they didn't have professional licenses.

In addition, the inspection found that the rollercoaster staff and operators violated occupational safety and internal regulations by not showing up to work.

Link to article

Back to top

Diplomacy

Mongolia and China to finalize mid-term trade and economic development plan during Xi visit

August 1 (UB Post) Deputy Director of the Asia Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and head of task group of the Chinese-Mongolian intergovernmental commission, Sung Yaomin, arrived in Ulaanbaatar to discuss the development of the mid-term economic partnership plan for Mongolia and China.

Deputy Minister of Mongolia D.Terbishdagva welcomed Sung and the Chinese representatives accompanying him. The Deputy Minister expressed gratitude for the active role the Deputy Director played in the development of the partnership plan, and pledged to finalize it during the official visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Deputy Prime Minister noted that this document will help expand the economic partnership between the two countries.

Also co-chair of the Mongolia-China intergovernmental commission, Deputy Minister D.Terbishdagva expressed his thanks for the many years of contributions to developing bilateral trade between the two countries and for Sung's broadscale knowledge of Mongolia.

Sung Yaomin expressed China's interest in cooperating in Mongolia`s mining and infrastructure sectors by providing access to reputable Chinese companies, and pledged support and cooperation in projects of strategic interest, including the Tavan Tolgoi and Oyu Tolgoi projects.

Trade volume between Mongolia and China reached 5.96 billion USD last year.

Link to article

 

Preparation for Putin's September Visit Discussed with Russian Ambassador

Ulaanbaatar, July 31 (MONTSAME) The Deputy Premier D.Terbishdagva Wednesday met Mr I.K.Azizov, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Mongolia.

The two focused on the forthcoming visit of the Russian President V.Putin to Mongolia and on a preparation for it. As expected, Mr Putin will pay the visit this September.

Link to article

Back to top

Social, Environmental and Other

Mongolia's medical community open to providing care for transgender individuals

By Margaux Maxwell and Mathilde Michaud

August 1 (UB Post) Mongolian transgender individuals say they are afraid to call on local health care providers for the medical procedures vital to their mental and physical health.

Despite popular perception, the majority of the Mongolian medical community says they are willing to administer transition-related care. Many private hospitals possess the facilities to live up to their claim, but training and education are still needed before transgender individuals undergoing female-to-male (FTM) or male-to-female (MTF) transitions can get the help they may seek. Ingrained fear stemming from a history of social persecution and a general sense of distrust in the underdeveloped Mongolian healthcare system is provoking this abstention.

The discussion surrounding transgender issues is young in Mongolia, even among the LGBT community. Transgender individuals have a fear of exposing themselves in a society where their reality does not yet seem to be understood.

"In today's everyday life, I cannot dress as a woman and board a bus," said Sarnai, a transgender woman who no longer wears clothing she feels expresses her gender after facing social pressures.
The psychological distress that accompanies social stigma can also lead to mental health issues for transgender individuals.

Mental health

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), transgender individuals are more susceptible to developing mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, and are more likely to experience difficulties in relationships with peers and family members. However, it should be noted that these symptoms are socially induced and are not intrinsic to transgender identity.

Anaraa Nyamdorj, executive director of Mongolia's LGBT Centre, commented on the matter, "There are many more cases of mental health issues, such as alcoholism and depression, all these things appear to be quite acute for LGBT people, starting from adolescence."

The National Center of Mental Health in Mongolia (NCMH) has provided mental health services to LGBT individuals in the past, where LGBT patients can be treated for depression by the facility's sexologist.
However, the low staff to patient ratio makes treatment difficult. For example, at the time of publishing this article, the NCMH sexologist was on a leave of several months, meaning that transgender people were left without access to mental health care.

Additionally, patients at NCMH are evaluated according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10), where "transsexualism" and "dual-role transvestism" are listed under "gender identity disorders," implying that these states of being are diseases.

This is not a uniquely Mongolian problem, as the IDC-10 is published by the United Nations World Health Organization and used internationally.

"We are not trying to correct LGBT people in any way, we are merely trying to treat them for depression and anxiety that come from what they experience. To us, they are just people like anyone else who need help," said MD S.Munkhtuya , addictologist and specialist at the National Center of Mental Health, illustrating that judgment is not the issue but lies in a flawed international medical diagnostics code.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Although some facilities such as the Mongolian Menopause and Andropause Society and Songdo Hospital possess the equipment to provide HRT services in Mongolia, none currently offer treatment for transgender individuals.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is central to the transition process, as sex hormones regulate the development of sex characteristics. It is often the only medical procedure undergone by a transsexual individual. Changing fat distribution, muscle mass, and hair growth can be part of this process.

Entering an HRT program can involve many risks, such as heart disease and breast cancer. Therefore, close medical monitoring is suggested by specialized institutions.

"As long as you are taking hormones (possibly for the rest of your life), you need to have regular physical exams and lab tests to monitor your overall health. The first year after starting hormones, the prescribing doctor/nurse will want to see you at least every three to four months; after that, you will have appointments at least every six months," explains the Canadian Center for Addiction and Mental Health's Hormone: a guide for MTFs.

"Personally, I sought help from a hormone doctor. And the doctor was not welcoming, he/she even advised me to become a man again!" exclaimed Mugi, a transgender woman living in Mongolia.
The LGBT Centre in Mongolia has created a program dedicated to trans issues to help them live a healthy life, mentally and socially. The centre gathers information from health professional groups such as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), allowing those pursuing HRT without the support of a doctor monitoring their hormonal levels to know approximately what their status should be in regards to their transition stage. But not everybody reacts the same way to hormones, as the dosage and type of hormones used should be determined by the levels of hormones already present in one's body, impossible to regulate unless a patient seeks counsel from an endocrinologist.

The Mongolian transgender community encounters another obstacle in its attempt to access HRTs: high prices. Mugi explains that hormone products are extremely expensive and few in the community are wealthy enough to access them.

"We seek financial help but nobody except our family and friends will help us," she says.
Although the law on civil registration provides opportunities for transgender individuals undergoing HRT to change their gender marker on official documents, the law does not mention access to HRT within the health care system. Mongolian transgender individuals are forced to buy hormones themselves, making it more difficult to control the variability of the type of hormones they use, another factor endangering their health.

Sex reassignment surgeries (SRS)

Mongolian doctors are far from reaching the international standard for training and education on transgender health care, as illustrated when many did not know the definition of "transgender" when asked by the UB Post.

Many health care centers, such as SongDo Hospital and Achtan Elite Hospital, told the UB Post that they have the facilities to provide medical assistance to transgender individuals, but merely have not been approached.

"Although we have never been approached, we would be happy to help any member of the community who comes to us," said Sarangerel Luvsanvandan, the director of SOS Medica Mongolia Ulaanbataar International Clinic.

Even though the clinic can not perform any of the transition surgeries themselves, their first choice of referral would be Bumrungrad Clinic in Bangkok, where many transgender individuals go for sex reassignment surgery and hormone replacement therapy.

The clinics refer their trauma and emergency patients to hospitals in Mongolia such as the National Trauma & Orthopaedic Research Center of Mongolia, but told the UB Post that they would not recommend a Mongolian facility for transition-relation surgeries.

The Mongolian transgender community does not seem ready to trust its healthcare system, a feeling seemingly shared by the general public.

A Mongolian citizen, Bold, expressed his fear, "I would not get surgery in Mongolia, I do not trust the system for many reasons. For one, doctors drink vodka before performing surgery because it is seen as a brave act," a claim for which we have not been able to find official confirmation.

"Misdiagnosis happens frequently, Mongolians feel that they should get checked multiple times from many different doctors. For example, a doctor will tell you that you have cancer when in fact you do not," Bold added.

Transition related-surgeries vary from uterus removal to genital reconstruction. Most of them are pretty invasive surgeries with high risks of complication and postoperative bleeding, necessitating close monitoring and highly trained staff. Furthermore, they require a large array of specialists often collaborating on a single procedure. These surgeries can help transgender individuals feel more at ease in the presence of sex partners or in venues such as physicians' offices, swimming pools, or health clubs. In some settings, it might even reduce risk of harm in the event of arrest or search by police or other authorities. Thus, they represent a really important step both in closely matching gender identity and ensuring their personal safety.

The first Mongolian LGBT Dialogue took the issue up in March 2014, where questions about the day-to-day health challenges of transgender individuals were discussed with Mongolia's state and LGBT representatives.

Link to article

 

Mongol Rally 2014 is the tenth and final for Mongolia

Mongolia to welcome the Mongol Rally for the tenth and final year

August 1 (UB Post) Around 500 adventurists in 300 "unusual for travelling" cars gathered at Hyde Park in London, for the launch of the 2014 Mongol Rally and set off to Mongolia on Saturday, July 20. They are due to arrive in Ulaanbaatar on August 31, after crossing 17,000 kilometers of challenging terrain in some 20 different countries along the way.

The Adventurists, founded by Tom Morgan, organizes the Mongol Rally. The first rally was completed in 2004 with four teams. The rally is famous worldwide, as there is nothing like it in the world of rally courses. Organizers say the core point of it is adventure and the challenge drivers face along the way, rather than who gets to the finish line first.

This year, no rally cars will stay behind in Ulaanbaatar. They will either be shipped back to their countries of origin or rally drivers will travel home with their cars, unlike previous years.

Though the rally increases the flow of travelers to Mongolia and contributes to the state budget, some local residents are critical about the fact that rally cars, which have been massively degraded on the way, stay in Mongolia for charity.

For the past nine years, Adventures for Development Mongolia (AFDM) NGO was the Mongolian organizer and was responsible for receiving and selling the rally cars and using the profit for charitable donations, according to AFDM representative G.Baigal.

She also highlighted that all the Mongol Rally cars which were left in Mongolia passed AFDM's requirements for vehicle standards (rally cars must not be older than ten years), unlike the public's misunderstanding that the cars are practically scrap metal, staying only to pollute Ulaanbaatar.

This year, news that none of the 300 cars faced vehicle-age restrictions spread in the media, which upset the public. Shataraa, an AFDM representative, spoke with us about plans for 2014.

We heard the rally cars didn't have to pass any requirements on years of usage this year. Why is that?

None of the rally cars will stay in Ulaanbaatar this year and that is why we haven't set age restrictions on them. Shipping issues are currently being processed.

The rally cars used to stay in Ulaanbaatar every year. Why is this year being organized differently?

Mongol Rally will not be held here starting next year. The organizers couldn't deliver accurate information about the rally to the public, so people seem to have negative ideas about it. The media spreads false information about the rally, saying we are willingly bringing scrap metal to the city. Because of this, The Adventurists are not pleased. So this is the last year to welcome the rally cars.

How much profit did Mongol Rally bring to Mongolia in total for the past nine years?

Each rally car paid special customs tax, and regular customs tax together with VAT. Mongol Rally brought almost two billion MNT to the state budget in total. Plus, a total of 4,000 tourists have travelled to Mongolia and spent about six billion MNT here.

Link to article

Back to top

---


Room #5, Coffice Hub, 5th Floor, Time Center
21 Baga Toiruu Street, Sukhbaatar District 8
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 15160
Email: info@covermongolia.com
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.