1 VALE EVACUATES 200 PEOPLE FROM TOWN NEAR ITS MAR AZUL MINE WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2019/02/17      2 TOOTH PLAQUE SHOWS DRINKING MILK GOES BACK 3,000 YEARS IN MONGOLIA WWW.SCIENCENEWS.ORG  PUBLISHED:2019/02/17      3 INCREASING NUMBER OF CHINA-EUROPE FREIGHT TRAINS SUPPORTS MONGOLIA'S ECONOMY: OFFICIAL WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2019/02/17      4 TAX REVENUE INCREASES BY 33.7 PERCENT WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/17      5 COPPER MINER'S $10B BET COMES TO LIFE IN PANAMA JUNGLE WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2019/02/15      6 TRADE UNIONS REQUEST PM TO FOCUS ON INTEREST RATE CUT WWW.ZGM.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/15      7 MONGOLIA’S HOURLY WAGE TO REACH USD 1 WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/15      8 US NARCOTICS BY POST TO MONGOLIA! THREE ARRESTED WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/15      9 WRITER D.URIANKHAI NOMINATED FOR THE NOBEL PRIZE WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/15      10 MONGOLIA-CHINA-RUSSIA ECONOMIC CORRIDOR BENEFITS ALL SIDES: OFFICIAL WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2019/02/15      “ОЮУ ТОЛГОЙ” КОМПАНИ 570 ТОННЫ ДААЦТАЙ CAT БРЭНДИЙН ГИДРАВЛИК ЭСКВАТОРООР ХҮЧЭЭ СЭЛБЭЛЭЭ WWW.GOGO.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/15     ӨРХИЙН САРЫН ДУНДАЖ ОРЛОГО 78,000 ТӨГРӨГӨӨР ӨССӨН Ч ЗАРЛАГА ДАВСАН ХЭВЭЭР БАЙНА WWW.IKON.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/15     АВСТРАЛИЙН ЭЛЧИН САЙД ДЭВИД МЭТЬЮ ВОСЭН ИТГЭМЖЛЭХ ЖУУХ БИЧГЭЭ ӨРГӨН БАРИВ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/15     2018 ОНД МОНГОЛ УЛСЫН ЭДИЙН ЗАСАГ 6.9 ХУВИАР ӨСЛӨӨ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/15     МХБ: II/15-НЫ БАЙДЛААР 8 КОМПАНИ ХЭХ-ЫН ТОВОО ГАРГААД БАЙНА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/15     2017 ОНД 1.9 ТЭРБУМ ТӨГРӨГИЙН АЛДАГДАЛТАЙ АЖИЛЛАСАН “УЛААНБААТАР БҮК” 2018 ОНД 566 САЯ ТӨГРӨГИЙН АШИГТАЙ АЖИЛЛАВ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/15     ОРХОН ТҮҮХИЙ НҮҮРСНЭЭС ТАТГАЛЗСАН АНХНЫ АЙМАГ БОЛНО WWW.UNUUDUR.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/15     АТГ-ААС НЭР БҮХИЙ 6 ШҮҮГЧИЙГ ШАЛГАЖ ЭХЭЛЖЭЭ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/15     МОНГОЛ УЛС ДЭЛХИЙН 77 ОРОНД БАРАА ЭКСПОРТОЛСНООС ХЯТАДАД 93%-ИЙГ НЬ НИЙЛҮҮЛЖЭЭ WWW.IKON.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/14     АВТО МАШИНЫ ИМПОРТ 2018 ОНД 30% ӨСӨЖ, 86,296-Д ХҮРЧЭЭ WWW.IKON.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/14    

Events

Name organizer Where
“Doing business with Mongolia”, “UK Investors show” бизнес хөтөлбөр March 27-April 02. 2019 ЛОНДОН ХОТ, ИХ БРИТАНИ Mongolian Business Database London UK
SYMPOSIUM ON GLOBAL MARKETS Nationalism and Protectionism: The United States in the International Arena June 17-18, 2019 The Center for American and International Law Plano, Texas, USA The Center for American and International Law (CAILAW) Plano Texas June 17-18 2019
"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London

NEWS

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Petro Matad drills into Mongolia - last frontier for onshore oil www.uk.reuters.com

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - Petro Matad plans to drill four wells this year in Mongolia, which it said is one of the last onshore frontiers for oil exploration and is seeking to curb dependency on Russian imports of refined products.

Landlocked Mongolia, sandwiched between Russia and China, is mostly known in the natural resources sector for the huge Oyu Tolgoi copper prospect, operated by Rio Tinto .

The country is challenging because of its extreme weather and a legal system and young democracy that have caused problems for international investors, including tax wrangles and contractual disputes.

Petro Matad’s CEO Mike Buck said in an interview Mongolia was offering favourable terms for oil exploration and had untapped potential because, during the era of Soviet control over Mongolia, Russia had plenty of oil of its own, while China explored its reserves just over the border.

“There is no difference between the geology (compared with neighbouring prolific oil basins in China), but the exploration history is different,” Buck said. “Everybody knows the geology is the same, but no-one has been able to prove it by producing at a commercial rate.”

Although oil demand growth is expected to slow as the world shifts towards electric transport, Buck said Mongolia would need crude for a refinery it plans to build, with help from India.

A senior official from Engineers India Ltd, the state-owned Indian company providing consultancy, said a draft feasibility study is ready, but declined to give further details.

The refinery is expected to have a capacity of 30,000 barrels per day, while Mongolia’s oil output is around 21,000 bpd and declining, Buck said, citing official Mongolian figures.

Petro Matad has three exploration blocks totalling 60,000 square kilometres - one in the east, near Mongolia’s producing fields and two in central western Mongolia.

The drilling of four wells over the three blocks will begin by the end of the second quarter and be completed before the drilling season ends in November.

The block in the east could come onstream within 18 months of any discovery because it is near existing facilities operated by Petrochina, Buck said.

By the end of this year, Petro Matad’s exploration spending will have totalled $100 million since it began operating in Mongolia in 2006, including cash spent on seismic surveys and previous drilling. It has been raised through its stock market listing and $16 million late last year came from British-based institutional investors and U.S. funding.

Mongolia depends on Russia for almost all its oil products, which account for nearly a fifth of its import bill, central bank statistics show. (Additional reporting by Terrence Edwards and Munkhchimeg Davaasharav in Ulaanbaatar and Promit Mukherjee in Mumbai, editing by David Evans)

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Ulaanbaatar prepares for giant civil engineering project www.news.mn

The centre of the Mongolian capital is plagued by traffic problems, resulting in congestion across the city. To ease this, a huge civil engineering project involving the construction of the largest flyover in Ulaanbaatar will begin on 1 April to the south of Sukhbaatar Square. According to a study, 16-30 thousand vehicles travel daily across this busy section of the Mongolian capital. The total cost of the project will be nearly USD 30 million; this is to be funded using a soft loan from the People’s Republic of China. The flyover is expected to open in 2019.

The project has 6 component parts. The main flyover between Olympics Street and Ikh Mongol Uls Street, passing over Narnii zam (Sun road) and the 406th railway crossing will be 470-meter long, 16.5-meter wide and will have 4 lanes.

The road on the east side of the National Amusement Park will be closed for a year-and-a-half due to construction work.

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Mongolia imports 93.9 tonnes of coffee www.news.mn

In 2016, Mongolia Marketing Consulting LLC conducted a nationwide survey to determine how many people drink coffee. According to the survey, 53 percent of Mongolians aged between 15 and 60 drink coffee daily.

A total of 73 percent of Mongolians drink instant coffee, 20 percent medium coffee and the remainder Americano, the national survey said. Mongolians spend about MNT three billion on coffee in a year.

Coffee consumption is clearly rising: Mongolia imported 93.9 tonnes of coffee worth USD 803 thousand in 2017.

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Former Minister S.Bayartsogt loses DP membership www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Democratic Party (DP) has expelled former Minister of Finance S.Bayartsogt in the wake of corruption allegations against him.

The Party representatives led by Secretary-General Ts.Tuvaan held a press conference today at the party's headquarters, holding an ordinance dated March 20 and signed by Party Chairman S.Erdene, which effectively excludes the former Minister from the party membership.

According to the Secretary-General, the party’s corresponding bodies have taken urgent measures after media reports surfaced regarding DP member S.Bayartsogt’s alleged link to corruption, thus resulting in expulsion.

Following its meeting today, the DP Political Council issued a statement saying, “The party believes that an individual must be held responsible before the law despite of his rank and power if he is found guilty by the court for establishing disadvantageous agreement on behalf of Mongolia or accepting bribe. We demand immediate and resolute actions to settle the recent corruption allegations against the members of former Prime Minister S.Bayar’s Cabinet and other Mongolian politicians.”

The statement also cites the possibility of reconsidering the 2009 Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement if S.Bayartsogt is convicted.

The Independent Authority Against Corruption of Mongolia (IAAC) also reported today that it is cooperating with the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland on the investigation of a criminal case on former Minister S.Bayartsogt. The press release also confirmed the seizure of a certain of amount of money in a Swiss bank account. 
Kh.Aminaa

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China's trade with Russia will soon reach $100 billion www.rt.com

The volume of trade between Russia and China increased by more than 20 percent last year and is still growing, according to Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
“We believe that Sino-Russian cooperation in the business sector has huge untapped potential. Trade turnover between our two big economies is currently about $80 billion,” said the head of the government during a press conference in Beijing. He expressed confidence that the trade volume could grow to $100 billion soon.

The prime minister explained that the current situation on the global raw materials market and with world trade as a whole had a negative effect on the two countries’ trade cooperation. Despite that, trade volume between Russia and China has increased by 20.8 percent year-on-year, reaching $84.07 billion in 2017.

“…We must understand that our countries are the largest neighboring states. I am confident that the stable development of relations… and cooperation with Russia is beneficial for both sides and the whole world,” he said.

In 2017, Chinese exports to Russia grew by 14.8 percent, to $42.88 billion; according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs. Chinese imports of Russian goods increased by almost 28 percent, to more than $40 billion. In December alone, trade turnover between the two nations stood at $8.13 billion.

The sides have been steadily expanding economic cooperation and will make additional efforts to increase trade to $200 billion in the coming years, said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He added that preferential trade rules between the countries are being considered, which would increase the use of the ruble and yuan in settlements.

The two nations have established a Russian-Chinese investment fund worth 68 billion yuan (over $10 billion) to develop trade, economic investment, and scientific cooperation.

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Mongolian c.bank rejects interest rate cap as austerity bites www.reuters.com

ULAANBAATAR, March 20 (Reuters) - Mongolia’s central bank has rejected lawmakers’ proposals to cap or cut interest rates, currently among the world’s highest, as rifts deepen over an economic rescue package agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year.

As parliament discusses a bill to prevent interest rates on commercial bank loans from exceeding 18 percent, Bank of Mongolia president Bayartsaikhan Nadmid proposed an alternative strategy during a forum on Tuesday.

“The central bank supports the strategy to decrease interest rates by enabling a macroeconomic environment for it, not by force or control,” he said.

Mongolia secured a $5.5 billion bailout with the IMF last May after an economic crisis left the landlocked Asian nation struggling to pay off its debts and sent its currency, the tugrik, into a tailspin.

The terms of the deal forced the government to raise taxes and cut spending, and also urged Mongolia to strengthen the independence of its banking system and make it less vulnerable to political interference.

Most of the austerity measures have been enacted by the ruling Mongolian People’s Party, but opposition politicians have expressed concern about the economic impact of high interest rates and are seeking powers to force banks to make cuts.

Mongolia has some of the world’s highest interest rates, averaging 19.4 percent in January, according to the central bank. The high rates have reduced economic activity and discouraged small businesses, analysts say.

Inflation currently stands at 6.9 percent, according to the Bank of Mongolia, below an 8 percent target.

Mongolia began subsidising mortgages in 2013 allowing homes to be bought at a rate of 8 percent. According to the Mongolian Mortgage Corporation, which manages the portfolio, total outstanding mortgages as of December 2016 stood at around 4 trillion tugrik ($1.67 billion).

However, the IMF has discouraged the central bank from participating in programmes it describes as “quasi-fiscal activity”.

Demberel Sambuu, a former legislator and head of an economic think tank, said demand for lower interest rates has been on the rise in recent years, but forcing banks to comply was not the solution.

“Fixing the maximum rates on loan interest would be an inefficient way,” he said.

$1 = 2,398 tugrik Reporting by Munkhchimeg Davaasharav and Terrence Edwards Editing by David Stanway and Sam Holmes

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Tree rings tell tale of drought in Mongolia over the last 2,000 years www.sciencenews.org

A new analysis is shedding light on drought in Mongolia, both past and future.

By studying the rings of semifossilized trees, researchers constructed a climate history for the semiarid Asian nation spanning the last 2,060 years — going 1,000 years further back than previous studies.

It was suspected that a harsh drought from about 2000 to 2010 that killed tens of thousands of livestock was unprecedented in the region’s history and primarily the result of human-caused climate change. But the tree ring data show that the dry spell, while rare in its severity, was not outside the realm of natural climate variability, researchers report online March 14 in Science Advances.

“This is a part of the world where we don’t know about the past climate,” says Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., who was not involved with the study. “Having this record is a great resource for trying to understand past droughts in the region.”

In recent years, many studies have sought to unsnarl the role of anthropogenic climate change from natural variability on extreme weather events (SN: 1/20/18, p. 6). Such work is necessary for more accurately predicting future climate trends and helping governments prepare for the most severe scenarios, says study coauthor Amy Hessl, a physical geographer at West Virginia University in Morgantown. This is especially true in countries like Mongolia that lack certain infrastructure, such as enough water reservoirs, to ease the impact of events like prolonged drought.

Hessl and her colleagues studied tree rings in hundreds of samples of Siberian pines, well-preserved by Mongolia’s naturally dry climate. A ring’s width indicates how much the tree grew in a year. In wet years, the rings are wider; in dry years, skinnier.

The recent dry spell was the severest in recorded history. But the rings showed that an even more severe drought took place around the year 800, long before anthropogenic climate change began.

Still, computer simulations suggest that about a third of the recent drought’s severity could have been caused by elevated temperatures linked to climate change, the researchers found. The finding is consistent with studies on how climate change has affected other recent droughts in South Africa and California.

Using computer simulations, Hessl and her colleagues conclude that droughts in coming decades may not be any worse than those seen in Mongolia’s past. The team predicts that as global temperatures rise over the next century, Mongolia will first become drier, then wetter. Increased heat initially will dry out the plains. But at a certain point, hot air holds more moisture, leading to increased precipitation.

Those climate patterns will likely guide how Mongolia develops, Hessl says, because they have in the past. In 2014, she and colleagues published a paper detailing how a 15-year period of unprecedented temperate and rainy conditions in 13th century Mongolia may have led to the rise of Genghis Khan

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Oyu Tolgoi sets operational records in 2017 www.ubinfo.mn

According to its 2017 financial results and operational review, Oyu Tolgoi JSC set operational records for its total material mined and concentrator throughput during 2017. Oyu Tolgoi's copper production totalled 157,400 tonnes and gold production - 114000 ounces in 2017, meeting the company’s guidance. It was highlighted that Oyu Tolgoi achieved an All Injury Frequency Rate of 0.27 per 200 thousand hours worked for the whole year. The company's revenue resulted USD 939.8 million in 2017, reflecting lower sales volumes partially offset by higher copper prices compared with USD 1,203.3 million in 2016. For 2017, the company recorded income of USD 110.9 million and net income attributable to owners of Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) of USD 181.2 million or USD 0.09 per share. TRQ generated cash flow from operating activities before interest and tax of USD 325.8 million in 2017, with net cash generated from operating activities of USD 118.0 million. Oyu Tolgoi’s cost of sales was USD 2.32 per pound of copper sold, cash cost per unit of extracting and processing the metal products were USD 1.92 per pound of copper produced and all-in sustaining costs were USD 2.39 per pound of copper produced. Operating cash costs of USD 711.6 million in 2017 beat the Company’s guidance.

It was highlighted that underground lateral development made good progress during 2017, completing 6.1 equivalent kilometres for the year which was in-line with the 2016 Technical Report expectations of the company. During 2017, total underground expansion spending totalled USD 835.7 million, meeting guidance and resulting in total underground project spending since January 1, 2016 of approximately USD 1.1 billion. In the document of financial results, it was noted that Oyu Tolgoi expects to produce 125,000 to 155,000 tonnes of copper and 240,000 to 280,000 ounces of gold in concentrates in 2018. On March 15, 2018, Oyu Tolgoi filed a notice of dispute with the Government of Mongolia for the January 2018 tax assessment.

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Mongolia to recover dinosaur fossils from South Korea, France www.xinhuanet.com

ULAN BATOR, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia is working to recover dinosaur fossils which were illegally trafficked into South Korea and France, the Department for Economic Crime of the Mongolian General Police Department said Monday.

The competent authorities concerned found out that the dinosaur fossils were smuggled from Mongolia into South Korea and France, the department said in a statement.

A South Korean court has officially ordered returning of the dinosaur fossils, and the French side said the fossils will be returned to its native Mongolia if the country submits a petition for the recovering of the fossils.

The fossils originated from Mongolia's southern Umnugobi Province, which is known for its large numbers of dinosaur findings, according to the Mongolian Paleontological Institute.

Under Mongolian law, significant fossil discoveries cannot be permanently exported or sold to non-Mongolians, even if privately owned.

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Electric vehicles, higher prices to boost global copper output — report www.mining.com

Global copper production will spike over the next decade as rising prices and increasing demand from the electric vehicles sector encourage project development, a new reports shows.

According to analysts at BMI Research, output for the red metal worldwide will grow an average annual rate of 3.6% over 2018 – 2027 thanks to a number of major projects come online, particularly in Peru and Australia.

As a result, the experts anticipate global copper output to climb from 20.4 million tonnes this year to 28 million tonnes by 2027.

Global copper output is expected to climb from 20.4 million tonnes this year to 28 million tonnes by 2027.
Production in Chile, the world’s top miner of the industrial metal, will return to growth in 2018, following a 4% contraction in 2017 due to strikes and operational disruptions, BMI expects.

The consultancy forecast Chile’s output will increase from 5.4 million tonnes in 2018 to 6.6 million tonnes by 2027, averaging 2.3% annual growth as state-owned miner Codelco moves forward with key developments.

In January, the firm was granted environmental approval for the expansion project at El Teniente, which contributes the most copper to Codelco's production profile. The miner also submitted an environmental impact assessment for a $250 million- expansion at its Andina division.

In addition, mining giant BHP has begun working on a $2.5 billion expansion at its Spence mine, which extend the lifespan of the operation and increase production capacity.

Peru’s copper sector growth will be supported by a strong project pipeline and competitive operating costs, BMI says.

The analysts expect the country's copper output to increase from 2.5 Mt in 2018 to 3.7 Mt by 2027, averaging 4.4% annual growth.

In 2017, MMG Ltd's Las Bambas mine produced 454 kt of copper in its first full year of production, however the firm expects production in 2018 to be between 410 – 430 kt due to lower ore grades as the mine is developed.

The report also highlights projects to come into production in China, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the US, all of which will add to global annual copper production numbers.

BMI’s predictions are supported by a series of other recent studies that highlight the needs of the booming electric vehicles (EVs) sector.

An EV needs about four times more copper than a traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle, and as much as five times if the charging infrastructure is included.

Following those reports, just by shifting 10m unit sales per year of traditional cars into EVs by 2030 would create an additional copper demand of 100,000 tonnes per year. A more aggressive scenario of 25m EV sales per year sees that figure jump to over 300,000 tonnes.

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