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BCM Mongolia NewsWire Highlights: LOOKING TO FUTURE ON OT; GAMESMENSHIP ON TT; RAILWAY OWNERSHIP/LAY PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 January 2009
Business MongoliaNEWS HIGHLIGHTS:
Business:
“We have to look into the future,” says Minister about Oyu Tolgoi; BHP drops bid for Tavan Tolgoi; Companies play coy about interest in Tavan Tolgoi; Ownership of Oyu Tolgoi a gamble, says ex-President; Private company gets Russia’s share in Ulaanbaatar Railway; Polo Resources inks deal with Peabody Energy; State factories contribute MNT26 billion to budget revenue; Commercial sector grows fast; Small is beautiful in Mongolian business; Russia, Mongolia to collaborate closely on uranium; Deal gives Russia much-needed access to Mongolian uranium reserves; Khan Resources CEO to present report.
 
Economy:
UB Railway wants to lay off almost half its workers; China, Russia to help UB Railway move more freight; President Enkhbayar in Davos; Copper drops most in 7 weeks as stockpiles swell; Copper demands cool, prices in USD fall; Trade talks in Moscow; Russia wants to buy more meat from Mongolia; Capital flows to developing world at risk; Declining FDI will bleed national currencies: WB economist; Construction industry turnover falls 13.1%;  MP wants social insurance structure overhauled; Japanese money to help Mongolia buy oil; Money sought to let power stations stock more coal; Ulaanbaatar to hold conference on competition policy.
 
Politics:
Bayar welcomes move on railway; Aspiring MP jailed for fraud; Parliament to meet to discuss economy; Mongolian president to visit Indonesia in February; 1,800 ninjas chased away from mountainside; Survey finds 71,000 child laborers; Trains to two cities cancelled; Work on national park to begin in March; Top award for Mongolian coin.


RECAP OF BCM MONTHLY MEETING
The first monthly BCM meeting of members in the new year with 68 in attendance was held on January 26 under the new chairman, Mr. Laurenz Melchers. Mr. Melchers reported that all in Mongolia who supply any type of material or service to mining companies would be asked for information to be entered in a comprehensive BCM “suppliers’ database” that was planned to be prepared. Executive Director Jim Dwyer reported that 2009 BCM membership stood at 93 with only about 10 existing memberships not yet renewed. Since the last meeting, five new members have enrolled and were welcomed. They are Prime Insurance, Tuushin, Aatai Way, Mongolian Marketing and Consulting Group (MMCG), and Matrix SAL Group.
Mr. Barrie Evans, Managing Director of Churchill’s and Head of the newly formed BCM Food & Beverage Working Group, spoke on safety and security in the food industry, where standards are not maintained properly, even in advanced countries and despite the ever expanding use of scientific knowledge and technological skills. There is scope for more vigilance right from the primary producer to the final service provider.  
Mr. Jim Dwyer reported on the state of the project, jointly undertaken with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, to develop the interest of mining companies in two specific vocational training schools, in Nalaikh district and in Choir in Gobisumber province. The buildings for both schools should be ready soon, and members were asked to help in planning how they should work to train miners most effectively. 
Mr. Sh.Erdenebulgaan of the Technical Services Department of Ulaanbaatar Railway Company described the need to upgrade every facet of the railway’s working and the problems, apart from money, in doing this, given Mongolia’s terrain and climate. However, once everything is achieved, the route from Asia to Europe through Mongolia would be 700 km shorter than the present Trans-Siberian Railway. He also outlined how the Millennium Challenge Grant would be utilized. 
For a fuller account of the meeting, please visit BCM website, BCM News & Press.
 
“WE HAVE TO LOOK INTO THE FUTURE,” SAYS MINISTER ABOUT OYU TOLGOI
Minister for Mineral Resource and Energy D.Zorigt has said reaching an agreement with Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines will be “hard, but not impossible, as we are keen on it”. Admitting that “we can’t provide cash payment” for 34% ownership of the Oyu Tolgoi project, he said the Mongolian side had asked Rio Tinto for advance payment of taxes but the company was yet to agree. Expressing the hope that the negotiation will be concluded in the scheduled time frame, he said the Government would issue a statement by February 1 on the progress and status of the talks.
Asked about Mongolia’s advantages and disadvantages at a time when commodity prices keep slumping and things are not very good for the mining industry, the Minister said, “We are neighbor to one of the biggest economies in the world. Our deposit has good grade and size. There are some difficult issues, such as infrastructure. Also the world economy is going through a slowdown. But we have to look far into the future and make a deal not just for today.”
Source:  www.business-mongolia.com
 
COMPANIES PLAY COY ABOUT INTEREST IN TAVAN TOLGOI
Most of the companies said to be in the running for securing rights to the Tavan Tolgoi deposit are keeping people guessing about their true intentions. A spokeswoman at the Rio de Janeiro headquarters of Cia. Vale do Rio Doce has said the company doesn’t comment on market rumors. Peabody spokeswoman Beth Sutton said she couldn’t immediately comment.
Vale President Roger Agnelli last year said copper and coal were two of the most interesting growth areas for Vale. “Investment in the coal business is an important part of Vale’s growth strategy,” and the company “has coal projects in different stages of development in Australia, Mongolia and Mozambique,” Vale said in a December 23 statement.
Another company reported to be interested is China Shenhua. Its parent Shenhua Group Corp., the country’s biggest coal company, has started building a USD690 million cross-border railway to transport coal and copper from Mongolia, China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said in a January 20 statement on its Web site. China Shenhua will own a majority stake in the railway.
Source: Bloomberg.com
 
BAYAR WELCOMES MOVE ON RAILWAY
Prime Minister Sanjin Bayar has welcomed the plans for modernizing the Ulaanbaatar Railway Company which “must become part of an international transportation corridor from Asia to Europe”. Briefing media after a meeting in Irkutsk between Russian and Mongolian government delegations, Mr. Bayar said, “Mongolia affords a wealth of minerals that cannot reach the consumer. That is why the right approach would be to upgrade the existing railway network simultaneously with developing our mineral resources."
Expressing his “happiness with our new partner and with the good plans it proposes to fulfill our common dream of the future of the Ulaanbaatar Railway," he hoped that with the assistance of its new partner, the Russian Railways Company, which has the necessary resources, “Mongolia would get access to markets in the wider Asia-Pacific region and also in Europe.”
Source: Itar-Tass, Montsame
 
UB RAILWAY WANTS TO LAY OFF ALMOST HALF ITS WORKERS
The financially troubled Ulaanbaatar Railway Company, beset with falling passenger traffic and decreasing volume of freight, posted a loss of MNT28 billion last year. It is considering asking some 7,000 of its nearly 16,000 workers to go on unpaid leave for an unspecified period. The Minister of Transport has set up a working group to study the company’s finances over three days before a decision is taken.
Source:www.news.mn

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During the Stalinist purges of the 1930's almost every monastery in Mongolia was destroyed. In 1979 an atlas was published in Ulaanbaatar by Mr. Rinchen with an overview of more than 900 religious sites that used to exist in Mongolia. However a lot the information listed seems to be not accurate. A research has been initiated to get a better idea of all the buddhist buildings that once stood in Mongolia.