|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
Over 1200 North Koreans were granted permits to work in Mongolia in 2017, the government’s mission to the UN reported in a sanctions implementation report made public this week. The report, dated 26 December, comes in response to the passage of UNSC Resolution 2375, unanimously adopted on 11 September last year.
The resolution dictates that Member States are prohibited from granting work permits to North Korean nationals, but this provision does not apply to such authorisations for which written contracts were finalised prior to 11 September.
“Mongolia has been in strict compliance with paragraph 17 of resolution 2375 (2017), regarding work authorisations for DPRK nationals,” the report reads.
It goes on to identify the quotas of North Korean work authorisations allowed to be issued in Mongolia over the past two years, which stood at 3858 in 2015, 2483 in 2016 and a total of 2338 in 2017.
“Although the total number of work authorisations for DPRK workers, set by the relevant Government resolution, stands at 2,338 for 2017, as at 1 November 2017 the relevant authorities had granted work permits to 1,221 DPRK nationals only,” the report said, adding that no new authorisations will be added.
The data issued by the government confirms earlier reports regarding the number of DPRK workers authorized to work in the country last year. The implementation report also said that the government of Mongolia had expelled 200 North Korean workers in 2016.
While Resolution 2375 imposed restrictions on work authorizations, Resolution 2397, adopted on 22 December, 2017, decided that Member States must repatriate all DPRK nationals earning income in their jurisdiction no later than 24 months from the date of adoption.
The resolution argues that “the revenue generated from DPRK workers overseas, among others, contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.”
Member States must also provide a mid-term report after 15 months listing all North Korean nationals that were repatriated in the first year from the adoption date. This includes, if applicable, “an explanation of why less than half of such DPRK nationals were repatriated by the end of that 12 month period”.
Despite these provisions that may allow for work authorisations to continue until 2019, Mongolia also indicated in its implementation report that all such work agreements will expire much sooner.
“The work authorisations for which written contracts had been finalized prior to the adoption of resolution 2375 (2017) will continue until 1 June 2018,” it reads.
“On 3 June 2018, the agreement on the exchange of labour between the Government of Mongolia and the Government of DPRK will expire.” The Government, it says, is also working with the North Korean embassy in Ulaanbaatar to “organise the orderly withdrawal of the DPRK workers”.
Aside from adhering to sanctions on DPRK labor overseas, Mongolia also revealed that it has identified 20 joint ventures with North Korea. Resolution 2375 prohibits the operation of all joint ventures with DPRK entities or individuals.
“The relevant authorities were instructed to close all joint ventures and cooperative entities operating in Mongolia by 8 February 2018 in accordance with paragraph 18 of resolution 2375 (2017),” the report says. Despite noting its sanctions compliance, Mongolia does not appear to be distancing itself from its historically good relations with the DPRK.
Last week saw the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs Damdin Tsogtbaatar wrap up a three-day visit to North Korea. According to DPRK state media, Tsogtbaatar agreed to maintain ongoing diplomatic relations with North Korea.
“At the talks, both sides exchanged views on the issue of continuing to develop the long-standing friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries in several fields,” a Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report said of Tsogtbaatar’s meeting with DPRK foreign minister Ri Yong Ho on 6 February....
Israeli police say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be charged over alleged bribery cases.
A police statement said there was enough evidence to indict Mr Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.
Speaking on Israeli television, Mr Netanyahu said the allegations were baseless and that he would continue as prime minister.
The allegations, he said, "will end with nothing".
What are the allegations?
One case centres on an allegation that Mr Netanyahu asked the publisher of an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, for positive coverage in exchange for help in reining in a rival publication.
Police said the editor of Yediot Aharonot, Arnon Mozes, should also face charges.
The Jerusalem Post says the gifts included champagne and cigars, and were given in exchange for help getting Mr Milchan a US visa.
Mr Milchan, the producer of films including Fight Club, Gone Girl and The Revenant, should face bribery charges, police said.
The police statement said that Mr Netanyahu, after receiving gifts, pushed for the Milchan Law, which would have ensured that Israelis who return to live in Israel from abroad were exempt from paying taxes for 10 years.
The proposal was eventually blocked by the finance ministry.
Police say Mr Netanyahu is also suspected of fraud and breach of trust in a case involving Australian billionaire James Packer.
Israel's Channel 10 reported in December that Mr Packer told investigators he gave the prime minister and his wife Sara gifts.
Israeli media say Mr Netanyahu has been questioned by investigators at least seven times.
What happens now?
A final decision on whether Mr Netanyahu should face charges will come down to the attorney general's office. A decision could take months to reach.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said any prime minister who has been charged should not be obliged to resign.
Speaking on Israeli television, Mr Netanyahu said he would continue in his role.
The next legislative elections are scheduled for November 2019. Mr Netanyahu heads a fragile coalition, but on television, he appeared confident the allegations would not spur new elections.
How has Mr Netanyahu responded?
"Over the years, I have been the subject of at least 15 enquiries and investigations," he said in his TV address.
"Some have ended with thunderous police recommendations like those of tonight. All of those attempts resulted in nothing, and this time again they will come to nothing."
The 68-year-old is in his second stint as prime minister, and has served in the role for a total of 12 years.
He has faced a number of allegations in his time in office.
After his first term as prime minister two decades ago, police recommended that he and Sara face criminal charges for keeping official gifts that should have been handed over to the state. The charges were later dropped.
In July 2015, the couple were accused of charging the government for the services of a contractor who did private work for them. The charges were later dropped....
The oil cartel and key ally Russia have spent more than a year trying to drain the world of excess supply. But the International Energy Agency warned Tuesday that a "colossal" oil boom in the United States could ruin their efforts.
The Paris-based agency said that a massive increase in output means the U.S. will soon be producing more oil than Saudi Arabia. It could soon challenge Russia for the global crown.
"U.S. producers are enjoying a second wave of growth so extraordinary that in 2018 their increase in liquids production could equal global demand growth," the IEA said in its latest monthly report. "This is a sobering thought for other producers."
The IEA said the surge, which is powered by shale, is "reminiscent" of 2014, when booming production in the U.S. prompted OPEC to flood the global market with oil in an attempt to protect its market share.
The strategy led to a price collapse that sent crude to a low of $27 per barrel in 2016 from well over $100.
Plunging prices forced some higher-cost U.S. producers to close up shop. But many emerged leaner and stronger than before.
OPEC and other major producers including Russia agreed to slash their output in late 2016 in order to reduce the glut and help boost prices. The agreement has been extended until the end of 2018.
But there are signs that the strategy may be losing its effectiveness.
Crude prices dropped 10% last week, falling below $60 a barrel for the first time this year. U.S. oil futures dropped 1.2% to trade at $58.62 on Tuesday.
The IEA did note two wild cards: The political crisis in Venezuela and a strengthening global economy, both of which could change market dynamics.
"Prices could be maintained at recent levels even as U.S. production rises," the agency said. "If so, most producers will be happy, but if not, history might be repeating itself."
The Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry (MMHI) held a Transparent Mining press conference on February 12.
Mining Minister D. Sumiyabazar, Deputy Chairman of the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority (MRPA) L. Radnaasuren, and Chairman of Policy Coordination at the MRPA Ch. Chuluunbat were the main speakers, and talked to journalists about the industry’s 2017 report.
In 2017, the nation produced
47.1 million tons of coal,
1,317,000 tons of copper concentrate,
19.8 tons of gold,
5,600 tons of molybdenum concentrate,
7.7 million tons of iron ore,
3.7 million tons of iron ore concentrate,
108,900 tons of fluoride,
55,200 tons of fluoride concentrate,
82,700 tons of zinc concentrate, and
14,600 tons of copper cathode.
Industry sales tripled last year, reaching 15.2 trillion MNT.
As of February 5, the nation had a 38-day petroleum reserve. Minister D. Sumiyazbazar noted that a working group is currently drafting a package of amendments to the Law on Mining, and will submit them for review during the spring plenary session of Parliament.
The Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM) reports that it has financed over 1,600 projects through commercial banks with one trillion MNT for the past six years.
Fifty energy projects have received 700 billion MNT from the DBM. Officials say that by financing the projects through domestic commercial banks, a system has been developed to sustain risks and increase domestic benefits.
According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, demand for construction workers is expected to increase in 2018. In an estimate, approximately 25 percent of new jobs will be in the construction sector, followed by retail stores and processing factors. Ministry of Labour and Social Protection reports that around 76.4 thousand new workplaces, which is 5.5 percent higher than the previous year, will be created this year.
Approximately 76.4 percent of the workplaces is expected to be created in the first half of the year, while the remaining 23.6 percent is expected in the second half. Furthermore, a majority of the 20 highest demanded jobs consisted of no diploma.
Trending jobs for higher education this year are expected to be accountant, construction and gas pipe engineers.
As for the skilled labour market, demand for plasterers, security officers, tailors, pharmacists, janitors, cooks, carpenters, electricians, telecommunication operators and drivers have been increased.
As for no diploma jobs, increased number of workplaces are expected to be created for construction assistants, production, farm and store assistants, janitors, washers and waiters.
16.7 percent of the high in demand workplaces will be for women and 50.8 percent will be for men, while 32.5 percent will be non-gender. The private sector alone is providing almost 90 percent of these workplaces.
Considering the supply and demand of jobs, the number is still low. Job demand in Mongolia has been fluctuating between 70-80 thousand in the last five years. However, the unemployment rate is forecasted to be increased in the next two years. According to an estimate, the unemployment, which is currently at 9.1 percent, is expected to hit 10.1 percent in 2018 and 2019. While the public is having trouble finding a job, the private entities are unable to recruit qualified staff. For instance, private entities faced a challenge of 10.9 thousand employee shortage last year.
The study shows that worker shortage is highest in retail trade, car maintenance services, processing plants, construction and real estate services, hotel, accommodation and public food sectors.
This means that the education institutions is not coordinating with the demand. For instance, students have been pursuing the mining sector in recent years. Back in 2012 and 2013 when the economic growth was high, mining workers were in high demand; however, the profession was not included on the top 20 list this year.
A total of 16.8 thousand workplaces will be created in the construction sector this year, while mining industry will create only 2 thousand works. But the number is expected to increase in 2019 and decline again between 2020 and 2030.
Shares in Seabridge Gold (TSX:SEA) (NYSE:SA) were soaring in pre-market trade in New York after the Canadian company bulked up again its already massive KSM gold-copper-silver project in northern British Columbia in both size and grade.
Before the opening, Seabridge stock was already exchanging hands at $10.40, up 4.8% on the New York Stock Exchange, after hiking its estimated inferred gold and copper resources at the Iron Cap deposit — one of four that make up the company's KSM project — by more than 300% each.
The success of the 2017 drill program at Iron Cap— one of four deposits that make up the company's KSM project — coupled with its proximity to proposed mine infrastructure, has Seabridge considering the potential of mining it sooner than planned.
Investors curbed their initial enthusiasm once markets opened, with the miner’s shares trading only slightly up in New York (+0.48% to $10.45) and Toronto (+0.38% to Cdn$13.19 ) at 9:45AM ET.
The updated resource assessment shows estimated inferred gold resources have increased 302% to 20 million ounces. Estimated inferred copper resources, in turn, have grown 379% to 8.6 billion pounds.
The independent mineral resource estimate for the Iron Cap deposit incorporates all previous drilling plus 10,383 meters of diamond core drilling completed in 11 holes drilled in 2017, the Toronto-based miner said.
The success of the 2017 drill program at Iron Cap, coupled with the deposit's proximity to proposed mine infrastructure, has Seabridge considering the potential of mining it sooner than anticipated, the company revealed
“All our objectives at Iron Cap were more than accomplished last year. A larger, richer Iron Cap deposit is expected to take a more prominent place in our mine planning, “ the company’s chairman and chief executive said in the statement.
“We believe Iron Cap has the potential to make a strong contribution to improving project economics thanks to its higher grade and its favourable capital and operating costs," Fronk noted.
Currently, KSM mine plan proposes developing Iron Cap after the Mitchell, Kerr and Sulphurets deposits.
Seabridge Gold holds a 100% interest in several North American gold resource projects. But the miner’s key assets are KSM property located near Stewart, B.C, as well as the Courageous Lake gold project — in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The company also owns Iskut, in B.C., which it obtained with the closing of the SnipGold Corp. acquisition, in June, 2016.
Petro Matad counting down to start of new exploration drill campaign in Mongolia www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk
Petro Matad is advancing towards “one of the highest impact drilling campaigns” by an independent explorer in Mongolia
oil and gas operations
Petro Matad Limited (LON:MATD) expects to kick off its new exploration drilling campaign in Mongolia during the second quarter following the receipt of drill permits.
A recent US$16.8mln equity funding is to pay for four new wells. The first, the Wild Horse exploration well, located in Block IV, is going to be drilled by a contracted Sinopec rig.
Wild Horse is targeting a 290mln barrel oil prospect. The well is expected to be drilled and log in 30-45 days, and it is expected to cost US$4mln.
Petro Matad chief executive Mike Buck described it as “a very exciting time” for the company as it advances towards “one of the highest impact drilling campaigns” by an independent explorer in Mongolia.
“We are now deep into the preparation phase to spud our first well at Wild Horse-1 in Q2 2018.
“We are pleased to see that rig availability for our planned drilling in Block XX looks good. I look forward to updating the market on our progress as our preparations for this highly active year continue".
After Wild Horse, the Sinopec rig will move on to drill the Falcon prospect, in Block V.
As preparations advance, meanwhile, Petro Matad is “making progress” in its efforts to secure a drill rig for two more planned wells which will be drilled in Block XX and are pencilled in for the second half of the year.
At the same time, the company continues to await processed data from recently acquired 2D and 3D seismic exploration. Petro Matad told investors that the data quality seen to date has been “very good” and the final products are anticipated before the end of this quarter.
ULAANBAATAR: Mongolia will not put a cap on immigration in 2018, authorities said on Tuesday, after lawmakers rejected new policy proposals that set to put tough restrictions on the numbers of foreign workers in the remote north Asian nation.
Some members of Mongolia's parliament sought to limit the number of new resident permits granted to foreign or stateless people to 100 per year in a bid to protect domestic jobs in the resource-rich country.
But the proposal has been rejected, and the existing system of quotas on specific business sectors will continue, an official with the immigration authority said.
"We don't have a national quota for 2018," the official said.
Last Friday, about 67 per cent of parliament voted against further discussions on capping the number of immigrants. The vote was one of last made before parliament adjourned for the Lunar New Year holiday.
The former Soviet satellite state, squeezed between Russia and China and rich in gold and copper, has sought to encourage free trade since its transition to democracy in 1990, but it has been careful to resist any influx in foreign labourers. Immigrants currently make up less than 0.4 per cent of the population.
Last year, Mongolia cut its foreign workforce in half, and sent home about 1,200 North Korean workers. The Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, run by mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, has also been under scrutiny for its use of Chinese labourers.
With just 3.1 million people in an area almost the size of Alaska, Mongolia is the world's least densely populated country.
Mongolia saw its economy rebound after a small crisis last year following the approval of a US$5.5 billion economic bailout from the International Monetary Fund and partners. The assistance has helped the country pay off its sovereign debt and stabilised the local currency, the tugrik.
The IMF last week said Mongolia was on course to receive another tranche of the bailout package after concluding in a regular fiscal assessment that the country had met key fiscal deficit targets while strong international commodity demand was aiding the country's recovery.
Mongolia's budget for 2018 is projected 4.2 trillion tugrik (US$1.75 billion) in GDP growth, with a budget surplus of 9.6 trillion tugrik, said the parliament’s chairman, Miyeegombyn Enkhbold, in his closing address last Friday.
(US$1 = 2,398 tugrik)
(Reporting by Terrence Edwards; Editing by Nick Macfie)
London Blockchain Startup FarmaTrust Partners With Mongolian Government to Stop Fake Medicine www.coinannouncer.com
London, 12 February 2018 — FarmaTrust, a UK blockchain startup and global tracking system has officially signed a partnership with the Mongolian government to pilot a one-year project aimed at preventing the creation and distribution of counterfeit medications. The project will include both governmental and non-governmental parties in Mongolia, including the Specialized Inspection Agency of Tuv Province of Mongolia and the Mongolian e-Government Center NGO.
The pilot project will kickoff in the Tuv Province, a province outside of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, and include cooperation from Korea, Ghana, and Mongolia. Immediate tasks include conducting feasibility reports and helping government monitoring and inspection of pharmacies, and pharmaceutical supply chains, including warehouses and retailers.
FarmaTrust CEO, Raja Sharif, explains, “This project is a great multinational collaboration to mix blockchain and other emerging technologies to secure and optimize the pharmaceutical supply chain. Mongolia is a great starting point. With a population of just 3 million, tracking and implementation can quickly scale on the national level. Mongolia is also important as a strategic middle point between Russia and China, two countries that have experienced large amounts of counterfeit medicine in the past.”
FarmaTrust is providing the knowledge and experience in blockchain supply chain tracking with the goal of creating an immutable ledger that can track and secure pharmaceutical supply chains using big data and artificial intelligence. FarmaTrust has received widespread support from major media and organizations interested in helping eliminate the counterfeit pharmaceutical industry that results in over 120,000 deaths per year.