1. Skip to Menu
  2. Skip to Content
  3. Skip to Footer>

Parliament Passes Law on Mining Windfall Tax

PDF Print E-mail

Saturday, 13 May 2006 18:52 Last Updated on Sunday, 28 May 2006 10:36

Mongolia Web News, Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia's State Great Khural (Parliament) has passed a controversial law on windfall profitts this Friday. The law would enable to government to take up to 70% percent of profits on mineral resources like gold and copper, if these raw materials would rise above a certain price level.
It is likely that this law was inspired by recent popular protests on the influence of foreign mining companies like Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN)(NYSE: IVN)(NASDAQ: IVN) and the possible drain of mineral resources from Mongolia, without much benefit for the country itself. However the new law could have alarming consequences for the development of the mining sector. If the prospects on profit for large cooperations are weakened by this law, it might mean less interest and a possible withdrawal of large reliable investors from the sector, and leave if it up for grabs for smaller, less reliable parties.
It seemed the government was very eager to give a signal to the people, indicating that Mongolia is not willing to give up its national resources to foreign investors. The new law was rushed through parliament within a week, with support of both the MPRP and the Democratic Party. But just the sheer haste and apparent lack of in-depth research on this crucial topic, leaves a question of whether this is indeed a step in the right direction.

>>Write your Comment

Comments (31)Add Comment
those who forget history
reply written by Guest, July 14, 2006
let us go back to the late 70's and michael manley was extorting alcoa to triple the dollar amt per ton of bauxite.alcoa responded that the price was set to cover costs and returns to investors-they did not beleive and the mines were closed and what the true value to the country was lost was friday paychecks.businesses that those checks would build up the communities without government direction but rather with economic direction of the markets that those communities desire.if the mongolian government wants a return from the company demand education degree program for employees and there families in the field that they serve or aspire to serve the company.this is truly a win win as the company gets a better employee and the employee increases his marketability for the future when the gold is depleted in the mine it will be replemished by the mind.
reply written by Guest, June 29, 2006
In business, everybody expects the risk and the gain. I believe, both Ivanhoe mines and the Mongolian Government should benefit or loss from the price change of gold and copper. If in the beginning, Mongolian government asked that Ivanhoe shall pay windfall tax, they wouldn't have agreed. So, now is the good moment for this kind of law.

I believe, Mongolians have good enough expierence of the Mining industry and the Foreign investors, Russians, who'd gotten the best out of the biggest gold and copper mine called "Erdenet" ,before 1990's. Mongolians shouldn't be taken advantage of by the foreign investors. In midst, wouldn't scare foreigners too much.
Right Decision
reply written by Guest, June 13, 2006
To Aldarin,
You said that the companies in Mongolia run business in the way it is run in rich countries, you're wrong. The USA and other industrial countries do not have resources as we do. I am 0 sure that if they had natural resources and people from other countries came to exploit the resources they, the Americans would have more stricter laws than we have now. They are taking advantage of less developed countries by demanding via International organisations such as World Bank [ which are actually their organisations] to provide more favourable environment for foreign investors not taking care of poor people of less developed countries.
reply written by Guest, June 12, 2006
Minerals will be there for other to explore if investors leave. But if a mining concession is givien wrongly then the country and its people will regret for their whole life and more; it will be ruined by constant squabling between political groups accusing one another for sell out. Open your eye and see around the world what other people do. Asian is not that bad in this mining business as they want you to believe. There are Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Malaysian company operate all over the world. So you don't have to listen to one source. Go to Africa and see who are most active there now. Keep them in competition, it is healthy. You have the responsibility to take care of your country's wealth for future generation.
Common sense
reply written by Guest, May 31, 2006
The comments are seems to be mostly from foreigners who directly or indirectly involved in mining businesses in Mongolia and I beleive that they are right to be pissed off.
This new law shows shortsightedness of parliament of which is dominated by majority "commies" and followed by inept "democrats".
Fundamentally it is wrong. Although there are popular misconceptions of mining, particularly foreigners involved, the government should have been strong in it's support of mining industry. Not only the law kills foreign miner but also local miners as well.
Basically it managed to kill mining industry. Period.
There is also guy seems to study in US with scholarship. Who is paying his tuition fees? The western system. Since he is biting the hand that feed him he should be kicked out.
Last, although, I am not foreigner we Mongolians should be more strong in principle. If we made a mistake, it's though. Too late. Move on.
Once you promise, it should be kept.
Miners already starting to lay off worke
reply written by Guest, May 30, 2006

Mining Companies in Mongolia Halt Work, Plan To Lay off Employees
by Luke, posted on Tuesday, May 30th, 2006 at 9:11 pm

With the passing of the windfall tax, the Mongolian National Mining Association stated that many companies would not be able to afford the tax. Since last Friday, this statement has already begun to ring true. While the Mining Association is planning protests against the law and hoping that Parliament will amend it in a favorable manner, some companies simply cannot afford it, laying off employees and suspending work on their projects.

“We are beginning to lay off workers and are postponing exploration activities,” said Tserendavaa, general director of Jump, a Mongolian gold mining company…

Elsewhere in Mongolia however, East Asia Minerals has suspended exploration activities at Maanit and Shine Ulaan Uul, two recently acquired gold-copper exploration projects.

“We have for some time, been pursuing opportunities in other countries to reduce the sovereign risk for our investors,” stated Mr. Lyndon Bradish, East Asia Mineral’s President.

While the tax has potential to bring more money into the Mongolian budget, it cannot be collected if there is no production. Also, some companies are already finding ways to get around the law if, as MPs have stated, that tax will only apply to copper concentrate and gold, and does not pertain to cathode copper.

Khok Adar project is amenable to low cost solvent extraction-electro-winning (SXEW) technology. This process produces a cathode copper metal as opposed to a copper concentrate. Therefore, Khok Adar copper is apparently exempt from the new tax and exploration will continue as planned.

It seems as if the tax law is already having a negative effect and supporters of the bill have been silent against these new developments.
Windfall Tax
reply written by Guest, May 25, 2006
I have spent many months boiling and freezing in the southern Gobi desert. I am a geologist from Canada. I love the Gobi but more importantly I have the privelage of calling many Mongolians "friend".

I understand the mining industry. I understand the investment world. I understand that the Mongolian people want thier piece of the pie. I understand that Mongolians are poor relative to westerners.

The mining industry is a very high risk industry we spend billions of dollars each year hoping to find a huge deposit. The reason our investors risk billions of dollars is that once in a long while we find a big rich deposit (like OT) then we make a lot of money. If we and our investors don't make a lot of money once in a while nobody would invest in mining companies.

Mining companies have no problem with paying taxes and providing jobs and educating the people in the countries we work. This is where Mongolia has the opportunity to advance itself. Getting as many of the high tech, high skill, high paying jobs as they can.

I have been to OT, and I noticed that nearly all the geologists were Mongolians, nearly all the computer people were Mongolian, the support staff, the welders, the electricians, the drillers, the cooks, the drivers were all Mongolians. In the camps that I worked 80-90% of the staff were Mongolians.

Understand that if the Windfall tax is passed, all of these jobs will be gone. Mining companies will not work in a counrty that has 68% tax. Mongolia will get 68% of the pie, but the pie will be the size of a crumb.

If this windfall tax is passed no foreign mining company will come to Mongolia for years, even after the tax is withdrawn. The only exception is the Chinese. I have been to China and have seen mining practices there. TRUST ME, they have no problem with poisoning the waters in thier own country why would they have a problem poisoning yours?

To those who think that Mongolia can develop a mine the size and scope of OT... with all due respect, you can not.

It is too big, it would cost billions of dollars. The risk is too high. Even at this stage there are 100 things that can go wrong. Even after you spend a billion dollars and start mining, there are 10 things that can go wrong and you will never pour a single bar of gold. What if the price of copper drops in half?

I strongly urge the President to veto this law. I see mining as one of the very few ways Mongolia can make it's way out of poverty in a relatively short time frame.

Yes, I have something to lose from this bill but nothing compared to what Mongolia has to lose by it passing.


Boom Or Bust?
reply written by Guest, May 24, 2006
Financial investment analysis is never done at 25 year high metal prices, and at 10 year average prices, you would have a hard time supporting copper prices over $1.20 per pound.

At 10 year low copper prices, you need a cash cost of $0.65 to ensure survivability in lean times, and even a 100% tax on zero profit is still zero.

Then we get to country risk as defined by spread above LIBOR for project financing. It looks like this would be now about a 12% spread in Mongolia, making financing almost impossible.

In plain English, the Mongolians look like they are now achieving their nationalistic dream to be 100% owners of the dirt that they stand on in perpetual poverty.

As for record high copper prices, they could easily decline by 50% in an hour of trading in New York or London, making talk of windfall profits of academic interest only.

Mining is a highly conservative long term investment, and people that invest hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign countries do not do so in unstable countries with unreliable populist governments, as the Mongolians are about to find out.
I am a Mongolian
reply written by Guest, May 19, 2006
I understand that all those people who left comments are somehow related to Mongolian mining sector, have special reason to protest this law.
But please do take into account the main reason for Mongolians to pass this law:
We, Mongolians, live in an extreme poverty. More that half of our population do not earn more than a dollar a day. For example: my mother and father are both professors in the biggest mongolian university, they both earn only 100$ per month, each of them. I myself study in the USA, but without the scholarship I receive, I couldn't be able to pay even my application fee into college.
What you, foreign rich people can never understand is that when people are hungry, they are angry. I know it by my own experience. Many many days and nights I lived without food in my childhood. You can't even imagine this, that is why you wouldn't understand Mongolian people.
In fact, Ivanhoe Mines has a very bad reputation in Mongolia, as it has been posted on the internet that this company is the reason of many pollutions, accidents and even killings in Burma, which is the same poor country, as Mongolia.

Mongolian people want to have their share in the pie! You must understand and respect this lawful wish of poor people. Can you take a piece of bread form the hands of a hungry child, when you are not so hungry?
Our Mongolian people want to benefit from their own natural resources, remember: their own resources! It's on their land of ancestors!!!
Price of natural resources will not greatly decrease in the next 30 years or so, so I am sure if some companies, for example IVN doesn't want to explore our wealth, then some other companies, maybe Korean or Japanese, even Russians will come instead.
Besides, do you really think that Fridland first discovered the Ouy Tolgoi copper resource? Nope!!!
Because the name Ouy Tolgoi itself means Mountain with Ouy, and Ouy means in Mongolian the green stone, the copper substance. In 1970's our Mongolian geologists first opened that place, but Fridland jut bribed our government members.
Think about the poor children of Mongolia!
State of Mine
reply written by Guest, May 18, 2006
If the bill passes Mongoila puts its economy at risk. The "foreigners" provide training skills to the Mongolians as well as employ them. State of Mine
Time and Time again
reply written by Guest, May 18, 2006
Time and time again, it has been demonstrated that the best way to develop an industry (if you don't have the experience and / or the financial resources yourself), is to bring in help, learn from them, and MUCH later on do the job yourself. This is a no - brainer, proven approach that has served hundreds of countries around the world well, with only a few (well publicized) exceptions. Don't try to reinvent the wheel - it will be a bottomless money pit, and result in the likes of what we see with coal, in the Gobi. Assuming that foreign corporations are only going to screw you and that you can efficiently on your own accomplish something as complex as finding and developing a mineral resource without plenty of experience, is pure foolishness, and you deserve whatever you get. Good luck to all those fools that feel it can be done, and don't be surprised 30 years from now that your peoples and your country REMAIN in poverty. I say LET the Mongolians discourage the big miners, and find out for themselves what lays ahead. At least we have found out in advance what their attitude really is, before (like Venezuela) we invest $Billions, only to get screwed.
Stupid, unfaithful decision
reply written by Guest, May 17, 2006
why can't they take this stupid decision before companies invest millions and millions of dollars in their country for their people's wealth, iam sure if this law is not vetoed, the country will go unknown and their mineral wealth will be unexplored for another 1000years....
US and Canadian Goverments impose 60% ta
reply written by Guest, May 17, 2006
Perhaps that's what should be the response to this Mongolia outrage!
reply written by Guest, May 15, 2006
It is the common experience of most business people that "you get what you pay for." If large mining companies are discouraged from investing in Mongolian exploration and mining as a result of this legislation, the void will be filled, but it will be filled by small fly-by-night outfits without the know-how or means to get the job done in a clean, economical, and efficient manner. The government and as a result, the Mongolian people, will suffer the consequences in terms of much smaller tax revenue, more frequent mine accidents, disastrous environmental pollution, corporate and government scandals-- the list goes on. This is what happens when you try to get by "on the cheap." Just look at the disastrous consequences of the Chinese coal mines just south of your border. Over 5000 small coal miners were finally shut down by the Chinese government after years of their futile, uneconomical, accident-prone attempts to mine the South Gobi.

It seems particularily hypocritical for Mongolian protesters to single out Ivanhoe Mines for being somehow at fault in their business venture. Ivanhoe has been nothing if not an ideal international business partner of the Mongolian people since entering Mongolia in the late 1990's. They have kept their word and gone "the extra mile" to make their relationship with Mongolia a good one.

Greedy, dishonest, unreliable, two-faced, shifty: I ask you, who do these words more accurately describe in the current dispute over a change in mining laws-- Ivanhoe Mines or the Mongolian 'protesters' and government officials?
reply written by Guest, May 15, 2006
Congrats Mongolia!
What\'s the rush?
reply written by Guest, May 15, 2006
I think many of the comments here illustrate why maybe it is good for Mongolia to make a stand. Most of the comments here are from foreigners - either with a financial interest in Mining or not - that seem to exactly know how Mongolia should go forward, while they mayb have never been here, and not fully understand the situation here. As a foreigner myself, I would like to say that maybe foreigners should step back a bit and give Mongolia some space to figure things out.

The government of Mongolia made a statement with this law, that gives the mining industry something to chew on. Let's see what comes out of it.
Mongolia sits on bonanza
reply written by Guest, May 15, 2006
reply written by Guest, May 15, 2006
Mongolian's can restrict mining operations until they do it by them selves. I think that is better solution.
reply written by Guest, May 15, 2006
The shear stupidity of this law (if it is not vetoed), is that it has been introduced before a solid mining infrastructure has been established. Boroo appears to be the only foreign run gold mine in production, while the rest are purely development stage (including OT) save for a new Chinese-run zinc mine. Evo Morales nationalization of the gas sector involved the take over of existing (PRODUCING) gas infrastructure, the Mongolian government has shot itself in the foot by dangerously toying with a law that is detriment to this infrastructure ever been established. In addition, passing these extremely poorly planned laws in such haste is one way to guarantee low investor confidence and an all out withdrawal of foreign investment, except that is from China, the key market for most of the world production of iron, copper etc. Key point that many opinions revolve around is the China factor and how Mongolia will face economic and social annexation to their southern neighbors (who many Mongolians hold in contempt). This is a historic and dangerous time for Mongolians to be toying with western development. They appear to be implying that western miners are not worthy – if that’s the case, OK Mongolia – deal with China, an oppressive country run by categorically insensitive and greed-driven thugs with an appalling human rights record and then beg for western development to return – probably too late then.
No foreign owners
reply written by Guest, May 15, 2006
Mongolia should allow no foreigners to own Mongolia's natural resources.

Most of the previous agreements have been passed by corrupt politicians and should be terminated.
reply written by Guest, May 14, 2006
More discussion of IVN shareholders
reply written by admin, May 14, 2006
Aggressive or not
reply written by Guest, May 14, 2006
Whether or not a company, or Ivanhoe for that matter, is aggresive, depends of course totally on the perspective. Maybe in the international mining world their behaviour is common practise, but of course you have to take in account that the sheer size of Ivanhoe's operation can be percieved as intimidating in Mongolia. Ironically, it might be the fact that Ivanhoe choose not to fly under the radar - as most companies do, has exposed them in such a way that they recieve all the blame. All the projects and efforts of creating a good name and trying to give something back to the community have made them known by the public and maybe indirectly contributed to the current sentiments.
Popular Pressure
reply written by Guest, May 14, 2006
We should not forget to take into account the circumstances how the government came to this law. It was certainly effected by all the protests that have been going on in the last period. The gov maybe wants to give a signal to the people they take their protests seriously, whether this is the good or the bad way is another question.
In this respect I would find it highly unlikely the president can veto for this. Maybe he would prefer to do so, as he is genrally in support of foreign investment, but with the current explosive public opinion on this he might only create a counter effect.

who knows
reply written by Guest, May 14, 2006
Who knows if it is good decision or bad. I think time will show. Foreign investors should respect the country and their decisions. What I see is that both sides want to get best out of the deal which is good. Especially, Ivanhoe which has bad reputation that people says. It is not people's faulse, you can't do anything about it. Also I have fear too. Who knows.
reply written by Guest, May 14, 2006
What are the stipulations of this new legislation? e.g. Does it effect all current mining operations or only potential future ones.
Bad Law
reply written by Guest, May 14, 2006
This is an example of a bad law - and a boneheaded move by the government. This is a great way to drive western investors from your country. Keep this up and you'll be left with the Great Dragon swallowing your resources - and will they care about the standards western investors use?

Tom Terry
reply written by Guest, May 14, 2006
PS How has Ivanhoe Mines been "aggerssive" (referring to the first comment.) It would seem they have been very patient (spending millions of dollars over many years based on the word and law in Mongolia) and the only aggression I see are social benefits and hiring of Mongolians in the Ivanhoe Mines...those are of benefit to Mongolians, not harmful. I wish the Mongolians had facts, and did not make opinions based on false information. Too bad, very sad if this goes forward...and then people will realize only when it is too late.
reply written by Guest, May 14, 2006
This could be the most harmful action the Mongolian government could choose to take. This is a hasty decision; which I hope the Mongolian President has the vision to veto. This bill could do irreparable harm to the country's prospects. ANY mining company is taking on huge risk by spending millions of dollars on the CHANCE of finding minerals and without knowing the future price of such minerals. The Parliament has passed an unfair law; they have not been honest, nor fair - what if the minerals found are inadequate? Will they give a "Windfall refund" of taxes? No, we don't see that; it would seem to show greed and unfairness. What if future minerals prices are low? The mining companies are risking their monies on such chances, and the Mongolian bill should the President not veto it, is taking away any upside, there will simply be no motive or incentive for ANY mining company to spend their resources in Mongolia - especially should Mongolian's not be people of their word and reneg. They should consult economic advisors who will tell them, this is NOT the way to encourage economic development in their country. Is not Mongolia a democracy in every sense of the word?
Re: win or lose
reply written by Guest, May 14, 2006
What "aggressive behavior" by foreigners are you talking about? Are you referring to their actual work of exploring, prospecting, adding their effort, time and money to development of mines in the "host country"?

Also, what socio-cultural aspects are you referring to? The fact that Mongolia was essentially a Soviet satellite state with a Communist/Socialist government for the past fifty years that may have inculcated socialist and anti-capitalist norms in the populace?

This called hypocrisy. If you want your "socio-cultural" socialist values to be respected, then don't encourage foreign companies to invest their time and money in your country. But too late, the "host country" already did. It would be nice if hospitality toward their guests were one of the socio-cultural aspects as well, particularly when the guests have potentially provided the means for the Mongolian people to become wealthy.

In the interest of dialogue, let me make the point of the view of the foreigners very clear for those viewing:

The foreign mining companies have come to Mongolia to do what they have done in other parts of the world, namely develop mines. They have nothing against the Mongolian people or government per se, and are willing to give the host country its due by paying taxes, adhering to environmental regulations and employing Mongolian people in their efforts.

At the same time, the foreign companies feel that if they purchase an exploration license from the host country government in good faith, if THEY discover good mining prospects that the host country was not aware of, if THEY spend their effort, time and money in finding out how much metal is in the ground, go through the trouble of getting the workers, equipment, mining shafts, buildings, and factories organized in order to retrieve the metal from the ground, that the mine is their property in the same way that a ger or a horse is the property of a Mongolian citizen.

Profits from the mine should then be taxed as profits from other property is taxed. If a Mongolian buys cows, and the cows produce milk, the Mongolian citizen should be able to sell the milk for whatever price he or she is able to get. If milk is in high demand, the government should not take the view that the citizen has made a "windfall" profit. Perhaps the citizen bought cows thinking that milk would be in high demand in the future. Should the citizen be penalized for his or her foresight? He got into the milk business because he thought it was a good business. IF HE OR SHE THOUGHT THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD CONSIDER HIS HIGH PROFITS A "WINDFALL", HE WOULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN INTO THE BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE, BECAUSE IT WAS THE EXPECTATION OF HIGH DEMAND FOR MILK THAT CAUSED HIM TO BUY THE COWS.

This, in a nut shell, is how the foreign companies view the sitation. This has nothing to do with being "aggressive". THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DEPRIVING THE MONGOLIAN PEOPLE OF THEIR RESOURCES. This is simply how the mining business operates. Companies invest in exploration and mining expecting that they will be rewarded when they sell the metal.

I am a shareholder of Ivanhoe Mines. I implore the Mongolian government and people not to penalize the foreign mining companies for having the foresight to explore in Mongolia. They did so partly knowing that China is next door and that China would have a need for metal commodities. It is the possibility of a high return that causes businesses to invest. The current high prices of Gold and Copper are not a "windfall" -- they DID NOT FALL OUT OF THE SKY. They were a known possibility and factor that was considered in the exploration. Robert Friedland invested in Oyu Tolgoi AFTER IT HAD BEEN REJECTED BY BHP BILLITON as a bad prospect. He would not have taken a chance on a property that had been rejected by the biggest mining company in the world unless there was a chance of a great reward. Therefore, OYU TOLGOI WOULD STILL NOT BE DISCOVERED IF THE INVESTOR DID NOT PURCHASE THE LICENSE FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF A HIGH REWARD BASED ON HIGH METAL DEMAND.

Well, I believe I have made my point. I know people will respond that Ivanhoe stands to make too much money, which will "rob" the Mongolian people. However, there is no intention rob, there is only intention to run a business in the way it is run in America, in Canada, and in Australia and many other places. If the Mongolian people take the position that they do not want business to run in the manner it does in America, Canada, etc., they should have told that to the foreign companies in the beginning.

If this new law remains standing, it is the Mongolian people who will have the real windfall through bad faith and hypocritical legislation, not the foreign companies.

with all due respect to both the foreign companies and the Mongolian people,

win or lose
reply written by Guest, May 13, 2006
it's admittable that mongolia had limited experience of working in mining, not to mention with foreigners. it should be to the best interests of both sides that the foreigners lilke ivanhoe mines make themselves understood and the mongolians do the same thing. hasty laws could save from danger only by luck. aggressive behavour of foeigners such us invanhoe mines and lack of working with complete socio-cultural aspects of the host country is hurting both sides. c'est vraiment dommage.

Write comment

  News - Mining
  1. Home
  2. Mining
  3. Parliament Passes Law on Mining Windfall Tax