|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
ULAN BATOR, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Former Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar was re-elected chairman of Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) on Saturday.
It is Enkhbayar's second term as the MPRP chairman after he received full support from the party's 1,044 members who attended the two-day party congress on Friday and Saturday.
The MPRP, founded in 2010 by Enkhbayar, is the third-largest political party in Mongolia.
Enkhbayar served as prime minister of Mongolia from 2000 to 2004, as speaker of the parliament from 2004 to 2005, and as president of Mongolia from 2005 to 2009.
Mongolian milk and dairy product producers organized the Forum on Dairy Sectoral Reform and Sustainable Provision on Wednesday.
The forum, initiated by the Mongolian Dairy Farmers’ Association, attracted more than 200 people who debated the current situation in the dairy industry, identified challenges, and exchanged their opinions on possible solutions and improvements.
There are around 2,000 farmers raising 43,000 animals for milk production, according to attendees of the forum. Producers stressed the lack of intensified farming is the main reason they are unable to fully meet domestic milk and dairy needs. Reportedly, 66 million livestock in Mongolia produce merely 20 percent of the milk demand in Mongolia and the rest of the demand is supplied through imports.
One of the challenges faced by local producers is that they can milk animals only during warm seasons. As a counterplan, producers proposed developing intensive agriculture, paying more attention to production of milk and dairy products, and requesting government support.
“We have no other option but to develop intensive agriculture to meet local demand. The demand for milk and dairy products is especially high during cold seasons but we’re unable to supply it locally. Intensive agriculture in Mongolia has become outdated because we didn’t have a general policy for it. We can completely meet domestic demand if we start a decisive movement and policy,” stated Head of the Mongolian Dairy Farmers’ Association O.Amartsengel.
The government is especially motivated to improve intensive agriculture in non-farming regions and launched a few projects aimed to develop intensive agriculture for meat and milk production, says O.Amartsengel. However, dairy producers complained that centralizing intensive agriculture in one particular region is not the best decision as it will limit the number of consumers and its reach. Instead, they advised developing intensive farming based in a large city or settlement to resolve transportation related issues.
“Government support for the development of farms has been decreasing in recent years. In particular, it’s hard for farms with around 20 milk cows to get government support. It’s possible to give incentives for every liter of milk supplied through intensive agriculture,” noted Labor Hero and milkmaid S.Khandsuren, who has been engaged in the production of milk for 50 years.
Another problem faced by dairy farmers is animal feed. Farmers can produce high-quality milk by feeding nutritious feed to cows and other animals. Yet, farmers have to frugally use feed because of the high taxes imposed on this type of product.
President of Vitafit Group LLC S.Bolorsaikhan reported, “All Mongolian companies engaged in dairy production use dry milk because milk needs aren’t met domestically 100 percent. The main reason the dairy industry is slumping and all local milk and dairy products aren’t supplied locally is because milk production stops in the winter. Although large milk producers seek opportunities to acquire milk from remote settlements during the winter, it is impossible. Dairy producers have advanced technologies with high capacity but there is a shortage of milk and the volume of imported milk is decreasing every year. Therefore, a state policy is essential for the development of intensive farming.”
“Mongolia’s milk preparation is unable to keep up with the demand. The type of milk and dairy products has increased over the past years,” said Executive Director of APU Dairy LLC G.Enkhbileg. “We must pay special attention to boosting farmers’ productivity and capacity to produce milk. Intensive farming is a solution for the seasonally-dependent liquid milk production.”
At the end of the meeting, Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold declared to support and cooperate with dairy producers in the future.
“I believe there’s an undeniable requirement to support dairy production. Both action plans of the government and the Mongolian People’s Party reflect a support for the development of dairy and meat production, and intensive agriculture, as well as the launch of a campaign in this direction. We must fulfill these targets. The public shouldn’t face hypocalcemia (a low blood level of calcium) and the majority of children suffer from tooth cavity when we’re one of the countries with the highest population of livestock and acquire a massive amount of milk directly from milk animals,” he said.
Speaker M.Enkhbold named meat, milk and flour as the most strategically important products. He said that Parliament called on the public to support and promote local production of milk and dairy products after evaluating that the state’s attention to this industry is lower than attention to the meat and flour industries....
The construction of an oil refinery at Altan Shiree soum of Dornogovi Province is set to commence in April of 2018, financed with a one billion USD loan from India. The progress of the project has been encouraging for many who are hopeful that the refinery will offset a certain amount Mongolia’s fuel dependence on Russia.
Despite the optimism, there has been a lot of skepticism, rightfully so. An oil refinery has been an elusive objective for Mongolia for decades. Since the transition into a democracy in 1990, Mongolia has for the most part, been able to maintain the integrity of its political security, dictating its own foreign policy.
What Mongolia has not been able to do is fully ensure its economic and energy security. China is Mongolia’s biggest trading partner and largest buyer of its exports. Previously, the predecessor of the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union filled that role for Mongolia. In the 1990s, due to Russia being caught up in its own internal issues, it saw a significantly reduced role in Mongolia’s economy. Where Moscow has been able to make up for that loss is in the fuel sector.
Mongolia is essentially 100 percent dependent on Russia for fuel. Russia, in particular the state-owned Rosneft, is the largest exporter of fuel to Mongolia, accounting for 94 percent of fuel imports in 2016. In 2017, Russia accounted for up to 98 percent fuel imports to Mongolia. The almost absolute dependency of Mongolia on Russia and the fact that the Mongolian government considers fuel a strategic commodity helps maintain some influence of Russia on Mongolia’s economy.
The oil refinery financed by India is part of Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh’s Cabinet’s efforts to ensure that Mongolia produces food, energy, and fuel internally. The sentiment to alleviate Mongolia’s dependence on its two neighbors is not new and the construction of an oil refinery has been discussed for two decades.
The first real discussion regarding construction of an oil refinery began under the first President of Mongolia P.Ochirbat. In 1997, the president marked his white deel with the “black gold” discovered at Tamsag in Dornod Province.
Since then, many administrations have approved several different projects to build an oil refinery, none of which has been successful.
In the absence of an oil refinery, the Mongolian government subsidizes the price of fuel, maintaining prices almost 30 percent lower than the global market prices. This was mainly done through the excise tax on fuel, with the government modifying the tax where needed to manipulate prices.
Just in the last decade, five different oil refinery projects were approved by four different administrations. The most recent one outside of the proposed oil refinery in Dornogovi Province was the one planned to be built in Khentii Province in 2016 by the Ch.Saikhanbileg Cabinet.
On February 3, 2016, former Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg and then Ministry of Industry D.Erdenebat announced the decision to build an oil refinery at Bor-Undur soum of Khentii Province.
In 2011 and 2013, a proposed oil refinery in Darkhan City, Darkhan-Uul Province was approved by two different Prime Ministers, Su.Batbold and N.Altankhuyag. In addition to the refinery in Darkhan, Su.Batbold approved the project for another refinery in Dornod Province in 2011.
All five oil refinery projects approved by different administrations were set to begin construction in spring but never reached that stage. In 2013, former Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag approved a refinery with the capacity to produce two million tons of petroleum. According to the plan, the refinery was supposed to become operational by 2015, but just like all the others, it failed.
The consecutive failures of different oil refineries have caused some to be suspicious of Russian obstruction in its interest to maintain a fuel monopoly in Mongolia. Seeing as Rosneft maintains dominance on the Mongolian market, it would be naive to think that the state-owned Rosneft, as an extension the Russian government, would not try to preserve its monopoly.
While it is hard to imagine that Russia would not be heavily involved in Mongolia’s fuel sector, it is more plausible that funding, specifically the lack thereof, instead of Russian obstruction was the main culprit in halting the aforementioned oil refinery projects.
Now that India has essentially guaranteed financing, the biggest obstacle in building an oil refinery has been addressed. In addition, the prime minister has said that a joint task force from the General Intelligence Agency, Independent Authority Against Corruption, and the General Police Department will ensure full implementation of the project step by step.
Once operational, the refinery in Dornogovi will have a processing capacity of 1.5 million metric tons of oil per year and will annually produce 560,000 tons of gasoline and 670,000 tons of diesel fuel, as well as 107,000 tons of liquefied gas.The refinery could boost Mongolia’s gross domestic product by 10 percent, officials have said.
Engineers India Limited has developed the detailed project report of the refinery while Mongolian Oil Refinery will work as the focal agency of the project. The contractor of the project has not been selected yet, but it is expected to be an Indian company. Mongolian Ambassador to India G.Gabold has said that the government will discuss announcing a tender in both India and Mongolia with the Export-Import Bank of India.
With backing and funding from a regional and increasingly global superpower, India, Mongolia is on pace to finally capture that elusive goal of fuel independence....
Joining the chorus of regulators calling for a crackdown on cryptocurrencies, the French and German finance ministers said digital tokens “could pose substantial risks for investors” and potentially long-term financial stability.
In a letter to fellow G20 finance ministers – signed by French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire and his interim German counterpart Peter Altmaier, along with the heads of the two countries’ central banks – they said that cryptocurrencies currently have “limited” implications for global financial stability.
“Given the fast increase in the capitalization of tokens and the emergence of new financial instruments” based on them, “these developments should be closely monitored,” the ministers said.
Cryptocurrencies “are currently largely mislabeled as ‘currencies’ in the media and on the internet,” they said, adding that a “lack of clarity” about the nature of tokens “can only fuel speculation.”
They also called for greater protections for retail investors speculating in crypto, saying “the buildup of individual exposures to such volatile tokens could have damaging consequences for misinformed investors who do not understand the risks they are exposing themselves to.”
This week, warnings have been voiced by regulators and watchdogs from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the European Central Bank (ECB), and Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.
ECB board member Yves Mersch said on Thursday that “cryptocurrencies” are “not money, nor will they be for the foreseeable future.”
Bitcoin is “a combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster,” Agustin Carstens, the head of the BIS, said.
He called on central banks to clamp down on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to stop them “piggybacking” on mainstream institutions and becoming a “threat to financial stability.”
Bitcoin better than gold & will be worth $340,000 - cryptocurrency billionaire Winklevoss www.rt.com
Bitcoin has the potential to grow up to 40 times its current value, according to cryptocurrency billionaire Cameron Winklevoss, who described the leading digital currency as “better than gold”.
"Taking bitcoin in isolation… we believe bitcoin disrupts gold. We think it's a better gold, if you look at the properties of money. And what makes gold gold? Scarcity. Bitcoin is actually fixed in supply so it's better than scarce… it's more portable, its fungible, it's more durable. It sort of equals a better gold across the board," Winklevoss told CNBC.
"So, if you look at a $100 billion market cap today, now last week it might have been more like 200, so it's actually a buying opportunity, we think that there's a potential appreciation of 30 to 40 times, because you look at the gold market today, it's a $7-trillion market. And so a lot of people are starting to see that, they recognize the store of value properties. So, we think regardless of the price moves in the last few weeks, it's still a very under-appreciated asset," he said.
As of Thursday, bitcoin’s market capitalization was almost $150 billion. So, according to Cameron Winklevoss's forecast, bitcoin’s price could someday grow from its current $8,500 to as much as $340,000 with a market cap of $6 trillion.
Cameron Winklevoss is one of the Winkelvoss twins, who are famous for their settlement with Mark Zuckerberg, who they accused of stealing their idea for Facebook. It has been reported that the twins were the world’s first bitcoin billionaires.
"You know the criticisms are just a failure of the imagination," Tyler Winklevoss told the media. "Cryptocurrencies aren't really important for human-to-human transactions... but when machines-to-machines trade economic value, they are going to plug into protocols like bitcoin and ethereum. They are not going to open bank accounts at JPMorgan... those were invented by bankers before the internet existed. Trying to use them as payments or money on the internet is a square peg in a round hole at best."
Mongolia is back on the mining map as some standout discoveries, higher commodity prices
and a host of mainly positive political developments have brought the Asian nation to the fore.
Copper and gold are the two commodities gaining interest this time around for a country that
has the biggest consumer of both metals on its doorstep.
Politics is usually the first port of call for any investor looking to Mongolia and the country has
had its fair share of comings and goings in the past few years.
First up, it has a new president.
Khaltmaa Battulga, a former judo champion, has not made a huge impact since coming into
office in July, but his entrepreneur origins have given investors comfort he will be in the probusiness
The country, just before Battulga arrived, agreed a US$5.5 billion lifeline from the
International Monetary Fund. This not only helped it escape a sovereign debt default, but
restored confidence in the economy.
The budget deficit has subsequently been cut, bond payments have been rolled over, the
national currency has started to appreciate and the IMF has billed strong GDP growth for the
country over the next two years.
Commodity price rises have had a positive impact on the latter.
Copper is now above the magic US$3 per pound (US$6,615 per tonne), gold has recently
made moves to US$1,350 per ounce and coking coal, which Mongolia is a key supplier of to
China, is changing hands for more than US$200/t.
Mineral exports are important to the Mongolian economy, accounting for more than 30% of its
And, the biggest project in the mining industry at the moment, the US$5.3 billion Oyu Tolgoi
(OT) underground expansion, is moving forward to first production in 2020.
An impasse between the government and Rio Tinto was eventually ended in 2016, with an
agreement struck to expand the copper-gold behemoth's life and production.
Coming out of the bear market
There are a few companies that hung in during the gloom in Mongolia and are now set to
profit from an improved environment.
Erdene Resource Development, Kincora Copper and Xanadu Mines could be considered the
poster boys for the mining sector, with Rio Tinto being the country sponsor.
The three all offer something different but, as with the country's flagship mine, scale is the big
Erdene, a TSX-listed company, made a discovery on the Altan Nar epithermal poly-metallic
project in late 2011, but the reveal of an intersection of 55m at 1.02g/t Au and 12g/t Ag from
just 20m depth came at the wrong time in the cycle.
Investors let the discovery go by without a passing mention as the stock, like all exploration
stocks at the time, went on a downward run.
Bayan Khundii, discovered in 2015, is now the flagship.
Situated in the same south-western part of the country, it is a 1.7km-long gold system hosted
within a zone of intensely silicified and sericitised devonian volcanic units overlain in part by
younger cretaceous and quaternary units.
Bayan Khundii is on the same Tian Shan Belt that has yielded the prolific Kumtor gold mine in
Kyrgyzstan, the 13 million ounce Kyzyl project being advanced by Polymetal in Kazakhstan
and, of course, the huge OT copper-gold porphyry.
The Tian Shan Belt has yielded some very large deposit
It is on its way to a maiden resource after capturing investor attention with shallow drill hits
such as 116m grading 2g/t Au, 131.5m averaging 3.86g/t and 108m at 2.8g/t.
These intervals show continuous mineralisation suitable for bulk mining, but CEO Peter
Ackerley is keen to emphasis the high-grade potential that could provide a high-margin kicker
at the front end of its mine life.
Back in October, he said about 20% of the holes have had hits higher than an ounce (28g/t),
with a target in excess of 500,000oz of 4g/t material already sitting at surface.
The exciting thing about Bayan Khundii - and many of the projects getting airtime in Mongolia
- is the fact it is a brand new discovery that is still growing.
The maiden resource, at last check in October, was set to come out around 1.4-1.5 million
ounces at a grade cutoff of 0.3g/t, according to Paradigm Capital analyst Don MacLean.
Yet, recent geological mapping and drilling has shown up several interesting prospects close
to the four main zones that could come into the fold after the resource debut.
On top of that, the discovery it made at Altan Nar over six years ago is still in the portfolio with
249,000 ounces of gold equivalent at an average grade of 2.1-2.5g/t. This is also growing
C$14 million (US$11 million)-capitalised Kincora Copper is the earliest stage of all three
Mongolian poster boys, but CEO Sam Spring would argue his firm has the most potential
Having stuck it out during the bear market, Kincora now has over 1,500sq.km of land in the
South Gobi covering both carboniferous finger-type porphyries and some devonian targets
already drawing analogues with OT.
The company's Bronze Fox asset is the most advanced in the portfolio and is in the
Kincora was recently handed an exploration target by consultancy Mining Associates of 416-
428 million tonnes grading 0.26-0.3% Cu for up to 2.4 billion pounds of copper and 840,000oz
of gold at Bronze Fox. This was compiled from 76 holes, or 24,139m, of drilling.
This exceeded Spring and Kincora's expectations, ranking as one of the largest potential insitu
copper-gold systems in Mongolia.
As the company turns this exploration target into a 43-101 resource, it will inevitably go back
to the West Kasulu prospect, which, before a licensing issue blocked access to it back in late
2013, had seen a drill hit of 37m at 1.11% copper equivalent from 573m. This was part of a
bigger plus-800m interval grading more than 0.40% CuEq.
However, the bulk of the C$5.92 million raised at the back end of last was slated to go
towards the company's earlier-stage opportunities.
Kincora, through an all-share deal with IBEX sealed in 2016, gained access to several targets
just down the road from OT and the under-construction Tsagaan Suvarga (TS) copper mine.
The age of these rocks has Spring and the company thinking they could have tier-one
Kincora is gradually working up the targets on its plus-1,500sq.km of land in the Gobi
"The geological theory goes: if you're going to find tier-one assets it is most likely to be in
those devonian rocks that host the two existing large-scale economic projects in the belt,"
Spring told Mining Journal.
That would be OT and TS.
While OT's 550,000t per annum peak copper production is well-known, TS' construction has
gone under the radar.
The $1.1 billion development, being carried out by a local company, is slated to produce
316,000tpa of copper concentrate and 4,000tpa of molybdenum concentrate at full capacity. It
has resources of 256Mt at 0.55% Cu and 0.02% Mo.
These are two pretty good analogues for a junior explorer to draw on.
Kincora's first two "tier one" targets - Bayan Tal and East Tsagaan Suvarga - are coming
Quote: “The geological theory goes: if you're going to find tier-one assets it is most
likely to be in those devonian rocks that host the two existing large-scale economic
projects in the belt”
First phase drilling has started at Bayan Tal, one of its "Oyu Tolgoi style" targets, for some
2,850m across six holes. Past intercepts include 18m grading 0.66% CuEq and 18m at 0.75%
It has also carried out some 3,145m of drilling over 13 holes at East Tsagaan Suvarga, which
it refers to as its "brownfield TS style target". Six of these 13 holes intersected the interpreted
devonian quartz monzodiorite of the regionally-important Tsagaan Suvarga Intrusive
All of this bodes well for the company increasing its modest market capitalisation.
"If we can get Bronze Fox into that more advanced drilling peer group - and try to support our
valuation on that - and then you have the rest of the district that has the best chance of a tierone
asset that sits in the portfolio as well, then that is hopefully an attractive scenario for
investors," Spring said.
Australia-listed Xanadu Mines shows up in the Kincora corporate presentation several times
and for good reason.
Its flagship Kharmagtai copper-gold project in the South Gobi is what the Toronto-listed firm
hopes its Bronze Fox asset could one day turn into.
Xanadu, taking its lead from Ivanhoe Mines' 2001-2006 work on the asset, has generated a
1.53 billion pound copper and 2.18Moz gold resource grading 0.55% CuEq from three
deposits at Kharmagtai. Mineralisation starts from just below surface and has been shown to
go down beyond 1,000m vertical depth.
Kharmagtai accounts for the majority of Xanadu's circa-A$150 million (US$118 million)
market capitalisation, but it also has the Oyut Ulaan project, 260km east of Kharmagtai, to its
name. This has some interesting porphyry and epithermal gold targets highlighted by
intersections such as 184m grading 1.06% CuEq from surface and 3m at 13.28g/t Au.
Xanadu has been working on expanding its 2015 resource at Kharmagtai
The majority of focus in 2018 will be on Kharmagtai.
The company has uncovered significant mineralisation during stepout and depth drilling since
the maiden resource was published in 2015 and is continuing to up the ante through the
addition of a fourth drill rig.
Part of the company's success can be put down to its use of advanced geochemistry and
geophysics. This has helped identify targets under cover in the South Gobi.
It has ended up giving Xanadu many potential targets to work on, but this year it will continue
to maintain its dual drill strategy of expanding known mineralisation through exploration of
tourmaline breccia-hosted mineralisation below and along strike from the current resource
base and test all shallow high-priority porphyry copper-gold and gold targets under cover.
The discovery of a new blind porhryry would have the "greatest impact on the project
economics", according to managing direct Andrew Stewart.
Smelling the sentiment
The South Gobi offers the geological bounty and geographical location to make these
Investors are slowly realising this, with Erdene, Kincora and Xanadu raising equity close to
US$29 million in equity, combined, for exploration last year.
Those not clued into the country still struggle to get their heads around a developing nation
quick to intent on profiting from its nascent industry but, as has often been the case,
sentiment is still summed up by Rio Tinto's actions.
On that note, the most recent indications have been positive.
Despite its well-publicised Mongolia tax squabbles, it has recently set up shop in Ulaanbaatar.
Its office is unlikely to used as just a handy stopover for its executive team on their way
through Asia, with Rio saying it will act as a working exploration hub.
Such an investment, along with the $5.3 billion being spent underground at OT, requires
confidence in the country's ability to put in place a workable long-term investment framework.
If that wasn't enough, Codelco has reportedly made plans to invest in Mongolia after
exhausting options in Chile and realising there are few jurisdictions, globally, offering the
same rich copper mineralisation.
It may have taken its decision after analysing Rio's in-country exploration work.
Just last year, Rio's Turquoise Hill subsidiary started drilling a licence outside of OT, near to
Kincora's Red Well licence. It also has plans to drill other targets this year.
Spring said: "When you've got the largest expansion project already in the industry that has
100-year mine life (Oyu Tolgoi openpit and underground), what are you looking for at
grassroots exploration that could move the needle?"
"Perhaps there is at least another Oyu Tolgoi out there - the distribution of orebodies in more
established porphyry districts would suggest so."
Canadian billionaire Robert Friedland, founder and executive chairman of Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN), has joined the debate over the Democratic Republic of Congo’s imminent hike to mining taxes by saying his company would pay higher royalties and taxes, but only if that money benefits locals.
The Vancouver-based company, which is developing the Kamoa-Kakula copper deposit in the Central African nation in partnership with China's Zijin Mining, told investors attending a mining conference in Cape Town that he was not opposed to updating the country’s 16-year-old mining code.
However, he said the mining industry needed stability, transparency and prove the new taxes collected by Congo goes to “develop, help and empower local people.”
“I’m not concerned about the level of taxation, that’s not the fundamental issue,” he said according to FT.com. “The issue is the mining industry needs stability and we absolutely need transparency.”
Ivanhoe is also building a new operation at Kipushi, a past producing zinc-copper mine in partnership with Congo's state-owned Gécamines. The company's most advanced project, however, is Platreef platinum, located in South Africa.
The revised mining code, approved by the country’s parliament last week, would increase copper royalties from 2% to 3.5%, creating also a 50% "super-profits" tax if commodity prices rise much faster than expected.
But what really has miners up in arms against the new rules is a move to eliminate a clause that would have protected resources companies present in the country from tax increases for 10 years.
While the legislation has yet to be signed into law by President Joseph Kabila, some such as Congo’s state-owned miner, Gécamines, are already seeking to take advantage of the new rules.
Last week, the miner said it would revise all contracts with its international partners, claiming the old rules meant those firms benefitted more from the country’s riches than Gécamines itself.
Revisions should to start in the second quarter and be completed by the end of this year or beginning of 2019, it said.
Other international mining companies operating in Congo include Glencore, Randgold Resources, China Molybdenum, Eurasian Resources Group, and MMG. All of them have already seen their shares dive in the last week and said they will challenge the new law through international arbitration while they lobby Kabila not to sign it.
The nation is world’s main supplier of cobalt, a key component in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars and mobile phones, and Africa’s largest copper producer.
Doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong, a California biotech billionaire and a minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, struck a big deal on Wednesday to buy Los Angeles Times from Chicago-based Tronc Inc.
Soon-Shiong, a 65-year-old doctor turned entrepreneur who was born in South Africa to Chinese parents, is the founder and CEO of NantHealth, based in Culver City, California.
He is a major shareholder of the Times' former parent company, Tronc, which also owns the Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Baltimore Sun and the New York Daily News.
As part of the $500 million deal, Soon-Shiong also will get The Times' sister newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and will assume $90 million in pension liabilities. The sale is expected to close in April.
The sale of the Times came after the newspaper has gone through three editors in six months, its publisher placed on unpaid leave during a sexual harassment investigation and an overwhelming vote by staff members to unionize the newsroom.
A former surgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles, Soon-Shiong has been described by Forbes as "America's richest doctor", and one who has said his goal is to cure cancer in his lifetime. Forbes estimates his wealth at $7.8 billion.
He was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to Chinese immigrant parents who fled during the Japanese occupation during World War II. His parents were originally from Guangdong province.
Soon-Shiong received his medical degree from the University of Witwatersrand, where, in the late 1970s, he treated South Africans who had been injured during the Soweto riots.
He joined UCLA Medical School in 1983 as an assistant professor in the gastrointestinal surgery division. He later became director of UCLA's pancreas transplant program.
After developing a method for treating diabetes by transplanting insulin-producing cells into a patient's pancreas, Soon-Shiong left UCLA and founded his own medical research firm in 1991.
His wealth came from companies he founded to make blockbuster treatments for breast cancer and diabetes. He sold two of his biotech companies for nearly $9.1 billion.
One drug that his companies developed is Abraxane, which became the foundation of his fortune. It is a redesigned version of a top-selling cancer drug called Taxol.
A story posted on the Times' website on Wednesday about the new owner of the newspaper read: "Who is Patrick Soon-Shiong? An LA billionaire with big ideas - and mixed achievements". And the article said "his work has not been without controversy".
It noted that when Abraxane was approved in 2005, a group of top oncologists questioned whether the expensive drug was "just old wine in a new bottle".
Soon-Shiong now controls a network of health-company startups called Nantworks as he continues his search for a cancer cure.
Soon-Shiong has been described as a basketball fanatic who shoots hoops on a hardwood court inside his multimillion-dollar mansion in Los Angeles. He bought his minority interest in the National Basketball Association Lakers from former NBA star Magic Johnson, the team's president of basketball operations.
His involvement with Tronc started in May 2016 when he bought $70.5 million in stock, which made him the company's second-largest shareholder, and he was named vice-chairman.
He joins other billionaires who have become US newspaper owners. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013. That same year, Red Sox owner John Henry acquired The Boston Globe and, in 2014, Minnesota billionaire and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor bought the Minneapolis Star-Tribune....
Alongside its fast growing economy, Mongolian national brands are seeking access to bigger markets. For a country that is heavily dependent on mining, economic diversification has been the main area of focus.
Particularly, the agriculture is considered the second biggest industry in Mongolia following its massive mining resources. Several companies have successfully penetrated international markets utilizing its substantial renewable natural resources. Mongolian Customs General Administration has reported that the food products export doubled last year. Phytogenic products export grew by over USD 12 million, reaching USD 67.4 million, while wooden products export rose by around 50 percent, to USD 633 million.
One of the high in demand agricultural businesses is, without a doubt, brewery. APU JSC’s Golden Gobi premium lager beer has succeeded in penetrating Japanese market, finding a place in the 7-Eleven, an international chain of convenience stores.
Named after the largest desert region in Mongolia and Asia, Golden Gobi beer is brewed strictly according to the German Beer Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot), and has started exporting to Japan since last year. Batsaikhan Purev, CEO of APU JSC’s parent company Shunkhlai LLC, previously said during an interview, “We are done competing with one another in the domestic market. It is time to compete in the world”. Fulfilling its objectives one after another, the company is now one step closer to its visionary goal to become Mongolia’s global brand ambassador.
Regardless of the economic downturn in the recent years, certain national producers successfully maintained their growth and improved their competitiveness in the global market. TESO Corporation, one of Mongolia’s major players, has started exporting their products to Kazakhstan and People’s Republic of China (PRC). The company increased its export goods and volume over the last year.
According to the company officials, TESO Corporation has started exporting Golden Milk, Zuv curd drink and Lapsha noodles, quadrupling its export revenue and became Mongolia’s biggest food exporter in 2017. Furthermore, the company has recently raised a total of USD 6.5 million from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development to increase competitiveness and manufacture of its innovative products.
Aside from food exports, Mongolia excels in cashmere industry. Holding 66 percent of domestic market share, Gobi Corporation opened a branch in Ereen city of PRC and Brussels of Belgium in 2017.
The company currently has three branches and 57 franchisee in 26 cities of 11 countries. As a result, the company’s revenue grew by MNT 9 billion in the first half of 2017. Furthermore, Erdenet Carpet LLC opened a store in Khukh Khot of PRC. With over 20 years of experience, the company opened branches in PRC, Germany, Russian Federation, Japan, the U.S. and France. According to an official of Erdenet Carpet, the company is planning to export their products to Switzerland....
The Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry Sumiyabazar Dolgorsuren has indicated that Mongolia has several undiscovered deposits of gold, copper, uranium, other rare earth elements, lithium, cobalt and graphite. Experts expect soar in demand for core components of modern technology, such as copper, uranium, lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and other rare earth elements, with growth in the development of renewable energy and production of cutting-edge technology and electric cars. Accordingly, the officials are planning to conduct mineral exploration on over 20 percent of the country, covering a total of 30 million hectares of lands.
Currently, a total of 57 million tons of copper reserves, 2,500 tons of gold, 37.2 billion tons of coal, 197 thousand tons of uranium reserves have been discovered around the country. These numbers are expected to grow in the future with the upcoming explorations. “Looking at the mineral resources, processing, supply, production and recycling as a whole, Mongolia has the potential to sustainably supply minerals to the global commodity market,” remarked the minister.
The Government is planning to build several preparation plants including an oil refinery, synthetic natural gas plant, metallurgical plant and copper smelter with an aim to develop transparency and responsibility in the mining and heavy industry, increase the country’s wealth fund and developing a balanced, multi-pillar economic structure.
These plants will apply modern and advanced technologies that are environmentally friendly and low emission. For example, in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, some companies are producing cathode copper from ore stockpile of the copper-molybdenum deposit that is not suitable for ore processing by applying advanced technology, known as “Solventextraction- electrolysis”. As demand for some minerals grow, prices increase and income rises there will be definite opportunities for the Government of Mongolia to develop and finance production that is directed towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is environmentally friendly.
So the officials are deeply aware of the fact that the future development of the country depends on the proper management of wealth accumulated during global boom periods. As a result, some ministers have been studying Norway and Kazakhstan, countries that have years of experience and expertise in wealth fund management, governance and transparency before they attend Economic Forum 2018 in Davos, Switzerland.
As of 2017, mining sector makes up 86 percent of Mongolia’s total exports, 71 percent of the total industrial output and almost 30 percent of total state budget revenues.