What do you say about the civil movements' demand for dissolution of Parliament and resignation of the Government?
These days, people are more interested in money. That's how I see the protest. Our protest of 1990 was different. People had other goals then. I am not blaming those who are protesting. Who can criticize them when they call for development of Mongolia? The Government and Parliament have a duty to do this. But every time we do something we are called names such as "76 stupid people" or the "76 corrupt people". Why must they make the Mongolian polity look bad? Who needs this? You can change the 76 present MPs and bring in a new group of 76. They will be again blamed for everything after three months. What does this ultimately achieve? I am a Mongolian citizen, proud and happy to be living in Mongolia with my children. Why should I not be interested in national development?
Whose hand do you see behind the criticism? N.Enkhbayar's? M.Enkhsaikhan's?
To tell you the truth, M.Enkhsaikhan is behind all this. Why is he complaining? He was the party leader, PM and vice PM. Why didn't he do the things he is talking about now then? N.Enkhbayar and M.Enkhsaikhan are the masterminds. It is possible for people to differ. But the differences between a few people are now destroying the country. It is wrong. Whose money are they using? I don't support this.
The protest march of civil movements on Monday concluded with its leaders, L.Tsog, G.Uyanga, D.Battsogt, B.Lhagvajav and L.Ninj, going to Government House to submit their charter of demands to the Parliament Speaker. However, D.Demberel refused to receive it in person and the Secretary of the Parliament Office, S.Magnaisuren, came to collect it. The protesters would not submit it to him, though, and finally the head of Parliament Office, Ts.Sharavdorj, received it.
The protesters demand a response within 72 hours from 2.10 pm yesterday, when the charter was delivered. They sought and received permission from the Mayor to put up gers in Sukhbaatar Square until the response is received. Some 400 people are taking part in the sit-in, including representatives from six districts of UB and 21 provinces.
More than 3,000 teachers of kindergartens, secondary schools and universities demonstrated yesterday atSukhbaatar Square, demanding a doubling of their salary. If Parliament does not accede to the demand by April 9, the teachers announced they would go on strike.
The protesting teachers raised slogans like “Reduce Taxes”, “Recognize the worth of teachers”, “Officials who are getting rich on budget money should be ashamed of themselves” and “Raise the salary!”
The Mongolian Labor Union has found that 70 percent of families depend on salaries or pension. The average household income is MNT363,594, while the average expenses are MNT367,466. Workers in the education sector say they meet the deficit by borrowing money. Heating and electricity costs have risen and prices are constantly rising. The Government’s decision to reduce its expenditure per student will mean MNT 1 billion less in the salary fund in Ulaanbaatar alone. School closures because of infectious diseases have also left teachers partly paid.
Sh.Enkhtuya, teacher of School No.15 of Khan-Uul province, said her family of four live on MNT60,000 a month as the rest of her income goes to bank loan repayment. She has worked for 16 months for the state and is paid MNT260,000, plus 10 percent incentive for leading a class. Even though the basic salary was raised by 20 percent in 2008, other additional payments were stopped. The State no longer pays for health insurance.
Executive Director of Oyutolgoi LLC Keith Marshall has signed an agreement with the Government and UB Mayor G.Munkhbayar to increase jobs. The company will hire 3,000 people from the six districts in Ulaanbaatar and spend MNT 12 billion each year on salaries and other expenses. Individual salaries will depend on the job description. The capital city has about 120,000 unemployed people, of whom 7,000 are registered at the employment exchange.
Even after the Government's validation of the Oyutolgoi contract yesterday there are still a few question marks on whether work on it will be allowed to begin on April 6. MPs Z.Enkhbold, D.Gankhuyag, B.Bat-Erdene, Ts.Davaasuren, Z.Altai, N.Batbayar, G.Bayarsaikhan, E.Munkh-Ochir, D.Odkhuu, Sh.Saikhansambuu and D.Enkhbat are still opposed to it strictly. The Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Policy set up a working group to study the initial objections of the Professional Mineral Council to the feasibility study, and the investors' reply to these.
A planned joint meeting of the Standing Committees on Legislation, on the Economy, and on Security and Foreign Policy to discuss the report of the working group could not be held as only MP E.Munkh-Ochir was present from the group. The working group also cannot proceed with its work as it has not received a Mongolian translation of the reply from Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc.
Well now, this is a sort of farewell. Not a permanent parting but long absence at least. An au revoir more than an adieu but a valediction all the same. This morning there were 13 days, several hours, a few minutes and couple of seconds until my boots kiss the Mongolia Steppe and most of my connections with the outside world, for brief periods of time will fall mute. I will walk and give it more than I have ever given any mission in my life, until the end of June.
Some people can work with ease in whatever environment they find themselves. In an office, on a bus, in their home, a steamy-windowed café or on a tropical beach. Some don't mind noise, distraction or a broken up day. I, unhappily, am not made of this material. I need peace, absolute peace, an empty landscape and zero comforts. I enter a kind of walking arena, an eremitical seclusion in which there is just me, my trailer named Molly Brown, and robust boots, which I hope were made for walking, all in a country so vast you could fit one third Europe within its borders and still have room for a table and four chairs. I would have added whisky as a constant and necessary companion, but that's not going to help my walking direction. Wandering around like a hairy faced and rather smelly lunatic in the middle of the Steppe, Gobi or Altai - (if I made it that far on 40% proof) - while hauling 250kg of supplies and 3 pairs of thin and cheap looking skiddies may raise a few red flags.
I have a single appointment and that's to complete this walk and every obstacle and challenge that presents itself in to my daily routine over the coming hours, days and weeks. I would like to say that I shall be as wiped from the map of human existence but my SPOT Satellite Messenger will see to is that my location is marked. This is how it must be.
All this is a way of saying; of course, that my twitter, facebook and LinkedIn stream will be bulging with rich blogs, brief sentences, thoughts and images from my walk. I am not so sunk in false modesty as to be unaware that there are loyal followers who will emit long, loud wails of "Yaaaaaaaah!" and who will feel elated and overwhelmed. They will understand that this is a) imperative and b) temporary. I shall return.
And what of this expedition? Six years ago I thought of picking up my old adventurous spirit and walking across some dusty plain wearing a tagelmust. It's been a while since I last left the comforts of home to immerse myself in a number of mental and physical hardships. It is all essentially a memoir of childhood and. The Mongolia 2010 Expedition book I have begun to write will follow on from this. Whether it will be chronological or thematic, first person or third I have no idea. That is the adventure, if I can call it such, that lies before me. The loneliness of a solo expedition, or of my kind of walking at least, is absolute. Whether my reclusive isolation will be painful or glorious remains to be seen.
I look forward to the day when I will be able to be back amongst you all and share my epic story in words and pictures and film. The next blog will be from Mongolia. A land with a rich culture, deep history and diverse environment that will feel my footsteps and Molly's tire's sink her tread in to her surface for some time.
Finance Minister S.Bayartsogt has said that on March 25 the Professional Mineral Council added a further 5.7 million tons to the initial 25.3 million tons of copper reserve at Oyu Tolgoi that was registered on July 1, 2009. This takes the total reserve in the deposit to 31.3 million tons. The Council has now asked OyuTolgoi LC to make a fresh economic feasibility study of extracting 14 million tons of copper, identified as profitably extractable only under certain conditions, when global copper price rises and/or the company’s operational expenses decrease. This means the company will have to constantly revise the feasibility study.
The feasibility study approved by the Mineral Council after receiving clarification from the investors will be discussed by the Government. If everything is settled in time and implementation of the agreement begins on April 6, another USD50 million advance tax payment will be due within six months.
The government of Mongolia approved on March 31st, the feasibility study presented by Ivanhoe Mines and its strategic shareholder, Rio Tinto. The feasibility study was the last of the ten conditions Ivanhoe had to meet, paving the way to start developing the Oyu Tolgoi copper gold mine.
The Mongolian Government announced yesterday at a press conference, that it confirmed that the procedural and administrative conditions contained in the Investment Agreement had been satisfied within the allocated six-month period that has followed the agreements official signing on October 6, 2009
"There are going to be a lot of challenges, a lot of risks, we will not be able to manage the risks and
seize the opportunities unless we do it in partnership with qualified experts."
Says Layton Croft executive VP for corporate affairs and social responsibility for Oyu Tolgoi (OT) LLC. These were the greeting words at the open information session for the tender bidders for the consultancy for the design of a long-term Cultural Heritage Program.
OT is drawing both local and global attention of experts in many fields. Scholars and businesses are eager to take part in the development and expansion of the mining industry in Mongolia.
Today, February 26, 2010 proposals for two challenging tenders were submitted. The two are the Cultural Heritage Program and the Health Safety and Security Program. More than thirty groups, Mongolian and foreign, from nine countries intended to submit proposals for these tenders. Some of the teams are comprised of well-known and experienced experts, while others are comprised of new groups specifically created for the purpose of submitting proposals.
OT is the largest as-yet undeveloped copper-gold ore mine in the world. It is located near Khanbogd village in South Gobi province of southern Mongolia. Due to its scale and the nature of OT's operations, the project will have a variety of direct and indirect socio-economic and cultural impacts on communities and stakeholders, including both positive and negative impacts.
The design phase OT offers in it's tenders, is a unique opportunity for foreign experts together with Mongolian scholars to join in, and share the wealth the Mongolian land has to offer. The scope of research, analysis, survey, design and planning initiatives is vast.
During 2008 OT together with the government of the Umnugovi Aimag (province), assisted by Responsible Mining NGO, conducted a base line study covering Umnogovi Aimag. The study was conducted by consulting over 40 regional and national level stakeholders. In 2009 OT narrowed the geographic scope, to the OT direct impact soum - Khnbogd, and to the indirect impact soums Manalai, Bayan-Ovoo, and Dalanzadgad. A Socio Economic Impact Assessment (SIA) report was published following the survey.
These two reports have become the guidelines for the next five years and the stepping stone for further design projects analyzing risks and planning risk management. A number of ongoing and future design projects have been initiated.
This year OT is collaboration with the School of Economic Studies at the National University of Mongolia, with technical advice from Rio Tinto Economics Department in London. The team is preparing the "Macro Economic Assessment". This is part of what Rio Tinto names the "Multi Year Community Plan". The "Macro Economic Assessment" will analyze the impact of OT on the economy on the local, regional and national levels. This report will be made public and become an essential tool for economic planning in Mongolia.
Mining entails complex environmental challenges. The initial work regarding environmental issues will be the "Environmental Information Disclosure". Long term design of monitoring and preventive programs will follow.
OT's Procurement and Commercial departments are engaged in long term local business and economic development initiatives. The aim of these programs is to promote local entrepreneurship, and sustainable economic growth that is not dependent solely on mining companies.
It is a well known problem of mining towns worldwide. When the mining is terminated, the towns that were economically dependent on employment at the mines, begin to deteriorate and eventually collapse economically. In Mongolia it might be called the "curse of Mardai". Mardai in eastern Mongolia was a secret town designed and built entirely for Russian employees at the uranium mine in Mardai. It was one of the most beautiful towns in eastern Asia, complete with theaters, cafes, fashionable shops, large public gardens, a good education system, and an excellent health clinic. All the facilities and services were designed and created for the mining town. When the Soviet Union collapsed and ceased to import uranium from Mardai, the city collapsed within a few months. The remains of the city can be seen today, and still reveal the lost beauty of the town.
The OT investment agreement states the need for infrastructure planning and management. OT together with government agencies is engaged in long term infrastructure planning development and management on both a national and regional level. The team is focused on urban planning , infrastructure planning, public services, public service delivery issues, and influx management.
OT is aiming to design and implement a Community Health, Safety & Security Program in an effort to insure to the greatest extent possible, the health, safety, and security of those affected by the OT operations. Work on this issue will begin within the next few months.
OT project is seeking to understand and preserve the cultural heritage of those in the region. Work on this program will commence in May 2010.
I participated in preparing a proposal along with the TMGL team for the Cultural Heritage Program tender. My overall experience with OT related to this tender was a pleasant one.
OT is aware that there are excellent Mongolian scholars, but also aware that many have little experience in preparing proposals for tenders.
The terms of reference were clear and straightforward. Those with no previous background in proposal writing were given a fair chance. OT in collaboration with Open Society NGO and others, conducted a free of charge and very helpful workshop on how to write proposals.
OT launched an active discussion forum on the Internet, where bidders had the opportunity to ask questions and collaborate with each other. The official question and answer session held at Chinggis Khaan Hotel, was videotaped and available on the web for those who could not participate. (The photos are snapshots from the videotaped Q&A session).
The proposal evaluation committee includes a mixture of several stakeholders, including members from the Umnugovi Aimag. OT published the list of questions the evaluators will have to answer, the proportional weight of each aspect in the proposal, and the evaluation process itself. OT is interested in quality. Therefore the weight of the proposed cost is only twenty percent; forty percent is allotted for quality of proposed method, and forty percent for the quality of the team.
Social Relations Department
Rio Tinto which is the third largest mining company in the world became a strategic partner of Ivanhoe in 2006 after buying 20% of Ivanhoe shares. Rio Tinto has over 150 years of experience in mining, in 30 countries. In recent years Rio Tinto has put a lot of emphasis on social relations and social planning. OT has adopted the high standards of social relations and planning set by Rio Tinto.
Leading the initiative is Mr. Layton Croft, OT's VP for corporate affairs and social responsibility. Layton has many years of experience in Mongolia since becoming a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia several years ago.
Ms. Sugar and Ms. Tserennadmid are senior managers at the OT Social Relations and Sustainable Development (SRCD) department They are managing all the social and cultural impact consultancies. Ms Morgan Keay will assist as a consultant to SRCD. Morgan is the co-founder of the ITGEL foundation committed to protecting Mongolia's cultural and environmental legacy.
Prime Minister S.Batbold has advised Mongolian businesses to keep strict watch over the quality of their products if they wish to compete in the international market. In this context it is interesting to see how China and Japan are tackling their own unique quality crises. In China, officials are hunting for 170 tons of contaminated milk powder that is still on shelves more than a year after the melamine scandal was first exposed. And in Japan, discussions are focused on all that has gone wrong with its automotive industry after Toyota's recent recalls. But a closer look at the two scandals shows how far apart the countries are in their approach to quality—and how much China stands to learn from Japan.
China's quality challenge has at times been compared to Japan's efforts in the 1950s and 1960s to transcend a bad reputation for manufacturing low-quality goods. At that time Japan also suffered tragic industrial disasters, like the mercury poisoning in Minamata that left 1,000 people dead. But Japan's leading companies have since been able to establish strong reputations for quality. Although the automotive recalls currently underway are extensive, design errors and electronic malfunctions are in a different league from China's instances of willful product manipulation, especially when that manipulation has involved artful efforts at circumventing third-party controls.
In China, operators display an incredible willingness to place public safety at risk in exchange for only the smallest gains in profit. The dairy industry's 2008 scandal is instructive. The trouble started when dairy farmers began adulterating milk with water, prompting dairy companies to test protein levels. Milk suppliers next discovered they could trick laboratory equipment into believing protein concentrations were higher by adding a toxic, chemical compound —melamine. Over time, more of the chemical was added, along with more water, and no one knows how little real milk was in the final product by the time the scandal broke. We only know the end result: six babies died, 300,000 were sickened and over 50,000 were hospitalized, causing untold grief to Chinese families.
The melamine scandal is by far the most disturbing of all the quality crises China has faced in recent years. It was not just the amount of suffering endured, but the fact that the contamination was an open secret shared by possibly hundreds of individuals at dozens of companies. While some people involved in the 2008 scandal might have been able to claim that they did not know melamine could do so much harm, those caught using melamine more recently cannot possibly plead ignorance.
Making matters worse has been the government's wrongheaded response. Beijing reacted to this year's melamine scandal with a heavy-handed cover-up. Chinese journalists have been warned not to report details surrounding milk cases. Parents of children sickened by melamine-tainted products who have attempted to organize themselves to protest or seek compensation risk being sent to jail for "social disruption".
China's State-directed legal system has failed to provide justice to victims. The government meted out severe punishment to only a small number of perpetrators engaged in the distribution and production of poisoned milk—two were executed—and a far greater number were let off the hook. China's response to past scandals has been to protect industry with a government shield, so no one should be surprised when fraud recurs in such an environment.
The melamine case illustrates the dangers of Chinese manufacturers' pathological focus on short-term profitability. Accidents can happen in almost any production process, but melamine did not coincidentally make its way into milk. China's obsession with thrift is a virtue often carried to a fault. Police have noted that the current melamine scandal was made possible by the many tons of melamine that remained from the 2008 scandal. Some distributors chose to repackage the tainted powder and put it on store shelves. They could not stand the thought of throwing away so much milk powder, even if it was dangerously contaminated, and even if it meant running the risk of being punished for it.
Japan's reputation for high quality in recent decades owes much to W. Edwards Deming, the father of "total quality management". Were he around today, Deming would remind us that negative reinforcement mechanisms are no way to improve quality standards. Quality must be seen as something positive; it must be seen as something that drives long-term growth. It must be a goal shared by all stakeholders. As it stands today, a small number of unscrupulous actors in China threaten to ruin the export opportunity for many.
When he arrived in Japan in the 1950s, one of Deming's goals was to drive fear out of manufacturing processes. Workers ought to have an open line of communication with management. There must be an opportunity to report incidences and concerns from the factory floor. Partly thanks to the work of Deming, Japan is today an economy that places a high value on the pursuit of quality for its own sake, and that vision has helped Japan to become an innovator in a wide variety of manufacturing sectors.
In China, workers are too afraid to report even the most obvious production errors or the most egregious cases of unethical misconduct. In many factories, line operators are reluctant to report anything at all. Managers ignore issues that might cause embarrassment. Everyone involved is making a risk calculation, determining that staying silent reduces the likelihood of trouble, at least in the short run. Where workers ought to speak up, the inclination is to look the other way instead.
One of China's problems is that efforts to improve quality are focused on the finished product only. Every time a scandal erupts, the answer has been to test more of the finished product. This after-the-fact approach is no match for an emphasis on continual, systemic improvement. As Deming suggested, "We should work on our process, not the outcome of our processes." China should not take Japan's recent stumble as an opportunity to gloat. Japan's quality problems are unfortunate, but they are an aberration not representative of the manufacturing industry there. Now more than ever, China should be looking to its easterly neighbor as an example of how its own economy can adopt a philosophy of quality and product development that is the envy of the world.
Source: The Wall Street Journal Asia Highlighted in BCM Newswire Article 105