|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
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.
FEBRUARY 8, 2018 —In Mongolia, there is excitement about young opera singers. In 2017, Mongolian baritone Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar won the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. Two years earlier, Mongolian baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat was a finalist in the same competition, while Mongolian tenor Batjargal Bayarsaikhan won the Grand Prix at the K. Bazarsadaev Fifth International Vocalist Contest in 2015.
What lies behind the country’s prowess in opera? Guardian reporter Kate Molleson traveled to Mongolia to find out. Her conclusion: The Soviets brought it with them when Mongolia became the first satellite state of the Soviet Union in 1921.
But Mongolians had something to contribute, notes Ms. Molleson. Mongolians have a centuries-old tradition of throat singing, a challenging form of overtone singing that requires great vocal stamina and – perhaps – has inspired young opera singers.
These beekeepers carve beehives out of wood, smoke them over beeswax and moss for two days to make them appealing to bees, and then place them high in tree canopies where the bees can live safely, away from creatures that might disturb them.
Harvesting the honey at such great heights is dangerous, but most of the families have been doing it for generations, reports the BBC.
The price of copper regained its footing and iron ore prices continued the climb on Thursday after customs data showed imports of raw materials by China stayed robust in January after a strong 2017.
In brisk trading New York Comex copper for delivery in March were flat compared to Wednesday settlement price trading at $3.0855 a pound ($6,802 per tonne). Copper is still down sharply for the week after suffering its worst trading session of the year yesterday.
While down slightly from December (traditionally a high-import month when Chinese traders try to meet annual volume targets), January customs data from China showed import volumes of unwrought copper rose 16% compared to last year totalling 450,000 tonnes during the month. 2017's annual total came in at 4.7m tonnes, down 5.7% from the year before.
The January jump in copper concentrate cargoes were even more impressive, increasing 25% from the same month last year to total 1.6m tonnes in January. China's copper concentrate imports reached a record high in November of 1.78m and for the year reached a new record of 17.3m tonnes.
The increased volumes over 2017 are indicative of Beijing's clampdown on copper scrap imports as part of the country's crackdown on pollution and consolidation of heavy industries. A recent report by BMO Capital Markets forecasts that China's scrap imports could halve in 2018 boosting concentrate cargoes to another all-time high this year.
China's iron ore imports rose in January even as steel mills are idled as part of a government drive against pollution and stockpiles at ports reached new peaks above 150m tonnes.
China consumes more than two-thirds of the seaborne iron ore market and produces as much steel as the rest of the world combined.
Beijing's winter war on smog has concentrated on the country's steelmaking hubs near the capital where mandated cuts came into effect in October. Chinese steelmakers are increasingly seeking out high-quality imports over domestic ore in anticipation of restart of production in mid-March.
Imports of high-quality iron ore fines and lump ore from Australia, Brazil and South Africa jumped 19% from December to just above 100m tonnes last month. Cargoes reached a record high of 102.8m in September last year.
Total shipments for 2017 topped record imports in 2016 of just over 1 billion tonnes.
The Steel Index benchmark price for Northern China 62% Fe ore climbed for the fifth straight session on Friday to trade at $77.85 a tonne, up 7% since the beginning of the month as it continues to rally from lows in the $50s struck in June last year.
Later on Wednesday, Rio Tinto will release 2017 profit numbers that will fully underscore its emergence from a relatively penurious decade triggered by ill-starred ambition in aluminium and a concert of global financial crisis and a long post-resources boom bust.
According to Bloomberg, the balance sheet is buoyant and getting stronger courtesy of recovered pricing in bulk commodities markets and a strategy that sees Rio Tinto shrinking itself to further greatness through shareholder-enriching sales of unwanted legacy assets. But the road to recovery at Rio has, over recent times, been potholed by a succession of shocks, the best known of which is the self-reported governance issue in Guinea that cost two senior executives their jobs and has inspired formal investigation by a triptych of securities market regulators. Most recently there has been a succession of challenges on the Mongolian fringes of the Rio empire.
Twice in less than a year, problems on the Chinese border have stopped shipments from the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine and on January 16, the Mongolian government (itself a shareholder in the mine) presented the project operator with a USD 155 million tax re-assessment for the years 2013 to 2015. It has been reported since in London that a major Rio shareholder has complained to UK authorities over failures to effectively disclose Oyu Tolgoi's heavy risk profile and just last week a Dutch anti-multinational lobby published a report into the relationship between the miner and Mongolia that alleged tax minimisation and evasion and described Rio's relationship with its sovereign host as abusive.
Now, given a succession of Mongolian calamities that stretches from the material to the spurious, it is remarkable to us that Rio could find itself accused of refusing to talk to the other really big investor in the Canadian- listed entity that owns Oyu Tolgoi, a project that will have soaked up USD 12 billion of development capital by the time it hits peak output sometime after 2025. Rio's place in Oyu Tolgoi is owned through Turquoise Hill. The Canadian listing owns 66 percent of the project and it, in turn, is 50.8 percent owned by Rio Tinto.
That leaves Rio with a 33.5 percent economic ownership of the mine. The arrangements also leave Rio Tinto as the operator of the mine and the management fees generated by that are shared equally by Rio and Turquoise Hill. The balance of Turquoise Hill is owned by long and short investors and the biggest of those minority shareholders is a San Francisco-based investment fund called SailingStone Capital Partners. It owns 12.16 percent of Turquoise Hill, a position that is presently worth USD 716 million. On Thursday last week, SailingStone went public with simmering frustration over the way Rio expresses control over Turquoise Hill and its mine.
For all that it is openly content with the progress at Oyu Tolgoi, Sailing- Stone is concerned that the management teams of the Canadian company and its mine are universally "bound to Rio Tinto". In a letter to the board of Turquoise Hill, SailingStone complained that management has "no job security, no ability to hire and, based on their tenure at Rio, has likely far more leverage to Rio Tinto's stock price than Turquoise Hill's". SailingStone noted that, until recently, long-term executive and management compensation was paid in Rio Tinto paper rather than that of the Canadian listing. That changed last year as a result of previous
SailingStone lobbying. SailingStone, which is, as we noted, content with outcomes at Oyu Tolgoi but not so much with the way they are being achieved. "We are pleased with the progress that has been made over the last few years in terms of the restart of underground development work, the execution of the project finance facility and the remarkable free cash flow stream generated by the open pit operations through the recent downturn in commodity prices," SailingStone said in opening its correspondence, "It's clear that all stakeholders, including the government and citizens of Mongolia, are benefiting from the activity and investments being made at site. However, we remain concerned about corporate governance, given the potential for conflicts of interest which exist between Rio Tinto, your majority shareholder and the operator of Oyu Tolgoi, and the minority shareholders of Turquoise Hill.
Specifically, we believe that basic corporate governance standards require an independent and informed management team and board of directors. These requirements are particularly acute given the unique relationship between TRQ and Rio, and yet today neither of these conditions is being met." It is worth noting here that the Turquoise Hill board already boasts a majority of independents, that decisions are taken on a majority basis and that all matters involving Rio are dealt with by the independents alone.
SailingStone's concern is that the direct relationship between Rio and Oyu Tolgoi makes it very difficult for the Turquoise Hill board to be fully informed of project progress and options. It is even more concerned that project management owes affiliation to Rio over Turqouise Hill's board. Now, these are patently very complex issues and the commitment by the board of Turquoise Hill to engage with SailingStone is necessary and sensible. The SailingStone letter complained that Rio had refused any and all invitation to discuss concerns over the nature of the global miner's relationship with Turquoise Hill and the risk that its approach oppresses minority owners.
SailingStone singled out Rio's recent decision to open its own office in Mongolia as "explicit acknowledgement of Rio's attitude towards minority shareholders". "They simply don't exist," SailingStone complained. With that, the other largest investor in Turquoise Hill complained that Rio had rejected "numerous requests for meetings, including offering to fly to their London headquarters at Rio's convenience". The fact that Rio is about to launch brand advertising across three of its most important constituencies (Australia, Canada and Mongolia) stands testimony to its acute appreciation of the importance of reputation to its social licence.
Matthew Stevens, Tugsbilig.B...
Daimler has issued a second emphatic apology to China after its subsidiary, Mercedes Benz, quoted the Dalai Lama in an Instagram post on Monday.
It initially apologised on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, on Tuesday over the post.
China sees the Tibetan spiritual leader of the autonomous region as a separatist threat.
The advert showed a car with the words: "Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open."
Instagram is blocked in China, but the post was reposted by Chinese internet users, causing a commotion.
The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, said the German carmaker had written to China's ambassador to Germany expressing a sincere apology.
According to Xinhua, the letter said Daimler had no intention of questioning Beijing's sovereignty over Tibet and would offer "no support, assistance, aid or help to anyone who intentionally subverts or attempts to subvert China's sovereignty and territorial integrity".
"Daimler deeply regrets the hurt and grief that its negligent and insensitive mistake has caused to the Chinese people. Daimler fully and unreservedly recognises the seriousness of the situation, which the company has caused and sincerely apologises for," the letter apparently read.
The company's first apology was welcomed by China's foreign ministry but dismissed by the People's Daily official newspaper, which said it "lacks sincerity and reflects the German carmaker's lack of understanding of Chinese culture and values".
It is not the first instance of frantic corporate backtracking after causing offence in one of the world's largest consumer markets.
Earlier this year, China shut down the Chinese websites of Marriott International for a week, after the firm listed Tibet and others as separate countries in a Chinese-language questionnaire to customers.
The problem was compounded when Twitter users noticed that the hotel chain's official Twitter account had "liked" a post by Friends of Tibet - a group that supports Tibetan independence.
Marriott went on to begin dismissal proceedings against the employee responsible.
China has for centuries claimed sovereignty over Tibet and sent in troops to enforce its rule in 1950. The Dalai Lama fled after a failed uprising in 1959 and is now in exile in India.
ULAN BATOR, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) sees Mongolia's economic outlook "positive" in 2018 and 2019 after its working group visited the Asian country to evaluate the economic bail-out program.
Mongolia's economic growth was higher than expected, said Geoff Gottlieb, who led an IMF team to Ulan Bator, the capital city of Mongolia from Jan. 24 to Feb. 6.
During the evaluation trip, Gottlieb and his team discussed, with the related authorities of Mongolia, the third review of the three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement approved on May 24, 2017, in an amount equivalent to about 434.3 million U.S dollars.
The arrangement is part of 5.5 billion dollars from donor countries, including Japan and South Korea, to support stabilizing the economy and lay the basis for sustainable, inclusive growth.
Mongolia has pledged to end expansionary monetary policies, enforce austerity measures, raise some taxes and reduce welfare spending.
"Mongolia's economy is recovering, reflecting strong international demand for commodities and improving confidence; key macro-economic quantitative targets, including the fiscal deficit and international reserves, have been achieved by large margins," Gottlieb said in a statement.
"However, there are several risks to economic growth. In particular, there is a tendency that external demand for raw materials might reduce and oil price increase," Gottlieb said.
The IMF team leader urged the Mongolian authorities to continue building buffers and implementing the structural reforms necessary for high and sustainable growth.
"Thanks to the IMF's program, many positive changes have been observed in the Mongolian economy," Mongolian Finance Minister Chimed Khurelbaatar said.
"Last year, our economic situation was difficult. Foreign exchange reserves accounted to 1 billion U.S. dollars. Early 2017, we paid 580 million U.S. dollars for bond repayment and we faced a lot of difficult situations," said Khurelbaatar.
"However, with implementing the IMF's program, the economy has recovered and even grown by 5 percent over the past period. Foreign currency reserves exceeded 3 billion U.S dollars, and we drew foreign direct investments of 1.1 million U.S dollars," said Khurelbaatar.
The minister also noted that Mongolia's budget revenues exceeded 600 billion MNT or tugrik (246.3 million dollars).
"In 2018 and 2019, a decision was made on increasing salaries in line with the inflation rate," he said.
The IMF has noted that its program helped resolve Mongolia's foreign debt issue in a positive way, and Mongolia's foreign currency reserves increased by 1.8 billion dollars.
In late November, Khurelbaatar said Mongolia's economic growth was expected at 1 percent in 2017 and 4.2 percent in 2018.
The IMF has predicted Mongolia's GDP growth at 5.0 percent in 2018 and 6.3 percent in 2019.
Uvs /MONTSAME/ Representatives of Tyva Republic, the Russian Federation headed by the First Vice-Chairman of the Tyva Government A.V.Brokert worked in Uvs province.
The delegates got acquainted with activities of ‘Uvs Food’ JSC and exchanged views on feasibility to sell seabuckthorn products on Russian market.
They also talked with authorities of the province about infrastructure work progress of Borshoo-Khandgait border checkpoint, construction of M-54 road in routes between Kyzyl-Chadan-Tyva and preparation of ‘Uvs Days’ event to be held in May in Kyzyl, Tvya. Within the framework of the event sports and cultural activities, joint forum to present tourism opportunities in Uvs province and ‘Made in Uvs’ exhibition will be organized.
Moreover, a joint meeting between businessmen of Uvs and Tyva was held discussing pressing issues to them and agreed to collaborate.
Representatives of Tyva Government and Chamber of Commerce and Industry participated in inauguration of ‘Lunar New Year-2018’ exhibition and agricultural companies and individuals from Tyva introduced their goods such as honey, cookies, meat and meat products and breakfast products at the exhibition.