Recent news

  • Erdenes Mongol is officially en route to becoming a wealth fund, as the Government seeks to get the Parliament to approve its draft Law on the National Wealth Fund. While the full draft law has not yet been made public, the main issues that it covers were presented. In the past, there have been questions around how Erdenes Mongol could be transformed into a wealth fund and whether this would increase the financial burden in the mining sector. It has become clear from the statement of O.Batnairamdal, Deputy Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry,  that the creation of this new wealth fund will not put additional financial burdens on the mining sector. Under the draft law, Erdenes Mongol will also undergo a structural change.
  • For a landlocked country, railways are a most important strategic infrastructure to export minerals. At the Cabinet meeting on 17 November 2021, the point of intersection of Gashuunsukhait-Gantsmod railway was determined. MMJ spoke to N. Udaanjargal, CEO of Tavan Tolgoi Railway LLC on the long-awaited agreement and the construction of the railway.
  • The negotiations are, indeed, slow going over more than ten months, but the scope and content of the project are big. Thus, this could take anywhere between 1-2 years. From my perspective, the negotiations are running relatively effectively since the parties have exchanged proposals several times during this period.
  • Metadata are data about data. However, if you challenge the conventional explanation of metadata, it is probably more like a room key. If this piece of metal is lying on the street, there is a good chance it will end up in the garbage or in the sewer system. However, if someone happens to pick it up and has a clue about where the key is from and who owns it, it can be more easily located. Most modern digital cameras export a fairly large amount of metadata such as manufacturer and model, exposure and resolution, date and time, and GPS, as soon as you click the shutter button. These types of metadata hardly cause any harm or benefit when floating in the background.
  • Energy sector has been experiencing years of hardship. Of course, Covid-19 has affected the energy sector. It has been a while since the government decided to zero out electricity and heating tariffs in order to boost the economy. This decision had an impact on energy sector load. How is the energy load now?  Mongolian energy consumption grows at about 4-6 percent per annum. In 2020, total electricity and energy consumption was 8,850.50 million kW/h.  Domestic production from power plants, renewable sources and diesel power plant accounted for 80.7 percent and the remaining 19.3 was imported.
  • Alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy crisis has begun to affect the world. By October, gas prices in Europe had increased fivefold due to supply shortages. Oil supply shortages have also followed. The current instability of world’s economies is largely due to the pandemic, but there are many other contributory factors. At the heart of the crisis lies the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring a reliable supply of energy. Countries have imposed several short and long quarantines over the past two years to prevent infection spread.  A consequence has been disruption of business relations between countries and reductions in production which, in turn reduced energy consumption.
  • Why is amending the Investment Law being discussed in an ambiguous and secretive manner?    It should, instead, be thoroughly prepared by the working group of the relevant ministry, and the public consulted. This is clearly required by the Law on Development Policy and Planning, and the Law on Legislation   Article 8.1.5 of the latter indicates that “draft legislation shall be discussed and collect feedback from citizens, representatives of legal entities and public whose legal interests are affected”.  One of the bills that came as a sudden “surprise” without public discussion was the Investment Law. The general concept and content of the draft law have been introduced by relevant officials, but its detailed articles and provisions have not been clarified.     
  • MMJ spoke with the economist N.Enkhbayar about opportunities to expand Mongolia’s economy, global technology trends, and the implementation of major projects as well as the potential to attract foreign direct investment.  How do you see the current state of the Mongolian economy and foreign investment? In 2010 Mongolia’s economy “rocketed”. At that time, foreign investment exceeded GDP by almost 110 percent. Currently, the foreign investment stands at $2.7 billion, that does not reach even 20 percent of the GDP. Our politicians consider the 5 to 6 percent annual economic growth reported by statistical indicators as good. For us researchers, this is a small number and is considered insignificant for a small economy to grow at this rate for 30 years.
  • During the last year, Mongolia’s external debt has increased by over $1 billion. Specifically, the first quarter government debt was 15.7 percent higher than during the same period last year. There is an expectation that the country’s external debt will continue to grow till the end of this year, but it would “easily fit” within the 70 percent limit set by law. The Ministry of Finance even presented an estimate indicating that this year’s total will be lower than the previous year compared to the GDP. According to the previous Fiscal Stability Law, the balance of government debt should have been kept at 60 percent of GDP this year. The implementation of this requirement has been delayed to 2024 under a budget amendment and is a result of the pandemic impacting the government’s goal. It is not a secret that the country
  • Mongolians have recently been made aware that fuel is one of the products whose supply directly impacts their economy. As fuel prices increase, so does the cost of goods and services, highlighting the importance of maintaining a consistent and steady supply. Since Mongolia currently does not have oil refining capacity, it is 100 percent dependent on foreign imports for this economically vital resource. During the socialist era, oil was exported to Russia for processing, now it goes to China. For years, critics have been highlighting that dependence on foreign oil products undermines Mongolia’s economic security and that it has not seen the benefits “of the oil that covered the hem of P, Orchirbat’s deel” (first president of Mongolia in 1990s). 
  • In March of this year Finance Minister B. Javkhlan indicated it was to early to say if the budget spending limit would be amended. The minister stated “Although citizens are demanding and amendment to the budget, it is not an issue I can resolve. To date, budget expenditures have not been interrupted and investments have not stopped.” But the pandemic continues to worsen the border points remain closed and the national economy remains at risk. The current macroeconomic forecast for 2021 has “turned” from the original created earlier this year. It is expected that the budget deficit will increase to 8.8% of GDP, past the Budget Law limit and will require a new amendment. Last year the finance minister predicted that 2021 would be the year where Mongolia returns to complying with fiscal limits. 
  • On July 10, 2021, the management and personnel of Erdenet Mining Corporation, a state-owned enterprise, received the honorary title of National Hero of Mongolia from U. Khurelsukh, the President. When the Head of the State started his first business trip to the local community from the Orkhon aimag, he handed over the award to the managers of the corporation. This is a matter of special honor. In the presidential decree, the past, the present and the future of the Erdenet Mining Corporation were described well in a few words: “Having recognized the support and endeavor of the Erdenet Mining Corporation, a construction development of the XX century, to and for Mongolia’s prosperity,
  • Mongolia’s largest coal producer, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, is on the fast track to expand its operations.  If current expansion plans become a reality, they expect to produce 47 million tons of coal annually with projected revenues 10 trillion MNT per year by 2025. This is to be achieved through investments in capital projects over the next five years, worth an estimated 10 trillion MNT.  By ramping up its operations, revenues would grow geometrically, increasing its dividend to investors and revenue to the government (currently 81.5% of the company is state owned and 18.5% by citizens and private investors).  These investments are to be funded from internal revenues, bond issuances and   debt.    By expanding their capacity, ETT aims to take advantage of new market conditions and increase their market share in China. 
  • In connection with the amendment to the Minerals Law, E. Odjargal talks to D. Erdenechimeg, Manager of the Governance Program, Open Society Forum, and a member of a sub-working group for the draft law, on regulations such as enforcement of Article 6.2 of the Constitution, licensing and local relations.  What is the status of the revision draft of the Minerals Law?  Last January, the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry (MMHI) established a working group to develop a draft law on bringing minerals laws into conformity with the Constitution. Two sub-working groups were established: one to provide policy guidelines for the team developing the revision draft of the Minerals Law, and the other to carry out a package of studies under the Law on Legislation. 
  • As of June, the pandemic has cost Mongolia over one billion USD in export revenues and caused a two year-delay to the country’s development. It is expected that in the next few months the pandemic will end, and things will begin returning to normal.  Last year our country was nearly infection free and symbol of successful management.  This year the infection numbers are surging dramatically despite having one of the world’s most successful mass vaccination campaigns.  This is in part due to a reduction in public compliance with preventative measures that were exacerbated by the Presidential election and the MPP’s 100th anniversary events. Not complying with the prevention protocols has quickly erased our prior success and the efficacy of the vaccination program.
  • The Mongolian government is once again looking into creating a national mineral exchange in the hope of stabilizing prices and attracting foreign investment.  it is believed that an exchange would stimulate producers to improve quality through standardization and testing, making Mongolian products more attractive to foreign buyers and expanding export potential.  MMHI, with the support of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice, aim to establish a state-owned Mineral Exchange to oversee the trade of mineral products from state-owned companies.   According to R. Ochbadrakh, Head of the working group and advisor to the MMHI Minister, state ownership is required to set realistic market prices, provide transparency, and ensure that prices for state-owned commodities match global market prices. As a result, trade growth and price stability would be a windfall for the government as the increased transparency would lead to more royalty payments and tax revenue.
  • Mongolia came one step closer to controlling the price of domestically extracted minerals when a  new report from the Mongolian Exporter’s Association on the establishment of a Mongolian Minerals Commodities Exchange was submitted to the government appointed working group.  Its recommendations are to be part of the new draft Minerals Law, and were submitted to the Ministry of Finance to be reviewed by government.  The proposed exchange aims to establish fair market prices for mining products, improve pricing transparency, bring Mongolian mineral prices in line with the global market, and set standards for the establishment of consistent royalties and taxes from mining proceeds.   The mineral exchange could bring much needed price stability to the Mongolian mining sector.
  • Tugsbilegt spoke to Andre Xavier, Honorary Assistant Professor at the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering at the University of British Columbia, about a recent study titled “Assessment of the Social and Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Women Artisanal Miners in Zaamar Soum of Tuv Province in Mongolia”. What was the context of the project? There are over 40 million artisanal miners globally, and with most of them forming vulnerable communities, the World Bank has been working in this area for many decades.
  • On May 24, 2021, U.Khurelsukh (MPP), S. Erdene (DP) and D. Enkhbat (National Labour Party), candidates for the 8th Presidential Election of Mongolia, received their certification from the General Election Committee and officially started their election campaigns.  This election has several interesting features. First, according to the Election Law revised under the amended Constitution, the candidates will promote themselves to the public for only 14 days and stop the campaigning on the day prior to voting day (06.09). Never has such a short campaign taken place in Mongolia’s history. The previous shortest campaign, which was carried out within 15 days, took place in 1993. Of course, this period is too short for candidates who are not well-known and accepted in society, who have limited team support and financial resources. I think that it is clearly seen for whom the current Election Law is aimed at. 
  • When policy makers said turnover in the gold sector would be between $1 billion and $2 billion, some felt this was being wildly optimistic, but last year’s figures have proved them wrong, with the total value of the gold trade reaching almost $2 billion. The question now is: can this continue? That will depend very much on the success of geological studies in discovering gold deposits and registering fresh resources, as well as on grant of new exploration licences for such discoveries in future.  Informal estimates put our total gold reserves at 2,000 tonnes, of which 1,000 tonnes is mixed with the copper in Oyu Tolgoi. According to information provided by the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry (MMHI), about 90 percent of the reserves of 489.5 tonnes outside the Oyu Tolgoi deposit, are in hard rock deposits, with placer gold deposits accounting for the rest. Much of the gold in hard rock deposits is mixed with other minerals such as copper, lead or zinc. 
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LATEST

  • 2022-09-21
    In the summer days while the war between Russia and Ukraine continued and China and Taiwan were on the brink of an armed conflict, Mongolia’s neutral foreign policy caught the world’s attention.  During his short visit (5 July) to Mongolia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov concluded that “the positions of our two countries in the international sphere coincide.” UN Secretary-General Antуnio Guterres said: “I am happy to visit Mongolia, which is a symbol of peace at a time when peace and tranquility are becoming increasingly rare in the world. Mongolia’s declaration of a nuclear-weapon-free zone is a bold step.” His visit to our country and his speech (08-11 August) raised Mongolia’s image in the international arena.
  • 2022-09-09
    What is the current state of the small-scale mining industry? ASM regulation which was approved by the Government Resolution No. 151 in 2017, has been suspended by Government Resolution No. 355 in 2019. As a result of this later resolution, state agencies, local governments were not able to assess and allocate land for ASM, no new contracts were made with ASMrs. In fact, the resolution No 355 provided a direction not to support ASM and basically ASM activities were stopped for three years.
  • 2022-08-30
    The Salkhit Mine Closure Plan Pilot (the Project) jointly implemented by “Mongolia: Enhancing Resource Management through Institutional Transformation” (MERIT) project funded by the Government of Canada and Erdenes Silver Resources LLC emphasizes the importance of conducting closure planning from the early stages of mining operation. The key stakeholders meeting was organized to provide progress update on Stage 2 Salkhit Mine Closure Plan pilot project, the stakeholder engagement strategy, and the environmental field studies conducted at Salkhit mine site on 26 August 2022.
  • 2022-08-29
    Эрдэнэт ТӨҮГ, баяжуулах үйлдвэрийнхээ өөрөө нунтаглах хэсэгт жилд 6 сая тонн хүдэр боловсруулах хүчин чадалтай өргөтгөлийн 4-р шугамыг ашиглалтад хүлээн авчээ. Энэ сарын 26- нд уг өргөтгөлийн шугамыг хүлээн авах Улсын комисс Эрдэнэт үйлдвэрт ажилласан байна.
  • 2022-07-28
    G.Iderkhangai,  editor for The Mongolian Mining Journal, spoke with N.Tserenbat, CEO of Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi LLC. The members of the working group shared their views on many issues, and some progress is being made You were appointed by the Board of Directors of Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi LLC (1 October 2021) as the CEO of the company. In the subsequent eight months, shareholders have made a number of major decisions. As a result of the agreement reached between the government working group and the Temporary Committee on one side and the investors on the other side, the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine finally began production after 26 months. As the CEO of a state company that owns 34% of the Oyu Tolgoi project, how would you assess the work you have done in this short period?
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Do you agree with increasing state participation in the Draft New Mining Law?
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