1 VOLKSWAGEN TO SPEND $50 BILLION ON ELECTRIC CAR 'OFFENSIVE' WWW.CNN.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      2 HABITABILITY OF MONGOLIA UNDER THREAT FROM CLIMATE CHANGE WWW.ADELAIDENOW.COM.AU PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      3 THE SURPRISE FUEL FLOWS SPARKED BY A RAGING U.S.-CHINA TRADE WAR WWW.BLOOMBERG.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      4 MONGOLIA’S COAL EXPORTS IN FIRST 10 MONTHS UP 10PC WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      5 ABOUT 100 THOUSAND PASSENGERS PASSED THROUGH MONGOLIA-XINJIANG BORDER WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      6 CHINA'S ‘ONE BELT, ONE ROAD’ GLOBAL INVESTMENT PLAN MAPPED OUT WWW.RT.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      7 ASIA SUMMIT ENDS IN HISTORIC FAILURE WWW.CNN.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      8 INAUGURATION OF SHERAB KYETSEL LING INSTITUTE WWW.DALAILAMA.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      9 US-MONGOLIA 'THIRD NEIGHBOR TRADE ACT' ON THE WAY WWW.THEDIPLOMAT.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      10 CHINA'S FIGHT AGAINST SMOG MAKES PALLADIUM 2018'S BEST METAL WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      БНХАУ-ЫН ОЛОН УЛСЫН ИМПОРТЫН ҮЗЭСГЭЛЭН БНХАУ-ОХУ-ЫН БИЗНЕСИЙН ХАРИЛЦААГ ӨРГӨЖҮҮЛЛЭЭ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     АМЧАМ МОНГОЛ 2018 ОНЫ ЖИЛИЙН ТАЙЛАНГИЙН ХУРЛАА АМЖИЛТТАЙ ЗОХИОН БАЙГУУЛЛАА WWW.IKON.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     ЗЭСИЙН ЗАХ ЗЭЭЛД ЦОЙЛУУЛАХ ХАРМАГТАЙ WWW.DNN.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     ГАШУУНСУХАЙТ АВТО ЗАМ ХХК: БЯМБА ГАРАГТ ГАШУУНСУХАЙТ-ГАНЦМОД БООМТООР НҮҮРС ТЭЭВРИЙН 99 АВТОМАШИН НЭВТЭРСЭН WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     НЭГ АЖИЛТАНД НОГДОХ ДНБ III УЛИРЛЫН БАЙДЛААР 3.7 САЯ ТӨГРӨГ БОЛЖ ӨСЖЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     ХЯТАДЫН ХЯЗГААРЛАЛТ $300-450 САЯЫГ ГАЦААНА WWW.ZGM.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     АЗЕРБАЙЖАН УЛС МАНАЙД ДАРС НИЙЛҮҮЛЭХЭЭР БОЛЛОО WWW.UNUUDUR.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     ШУУДАН, ХАРИЛЦАА ХОЛБООНЫ САЛБАРЫН ОРЛОГО ОНЫ ЭХНИЙ 9 САРД 21.4 ХУВИАР ӨСӨВ WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     БНСУ-ЫН АЖ АХУЙН НЭГЖҮҮДИЙН АУТСОРСИНГ ЗАХИАЛГЫГ ГҮЙЦЭТГЭХ ЗАЛУУЧУУДЫГ СОНГОН, ШАЛГАРУУЛНА WWW.UNUUDUR.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     НҮҮРСНИЙ ЭКСПОРТ 10 ХУВИАР ӨСӨЖ, 31.3 САЯ ТОНН БОЛОВ WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17    

Events

Name organizer Where
Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018" Frontier Securities Tokyo Japan
"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London

NEWS

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Russia & China cooking up joint projects worth more than $100bn www.rt.com

Russian and Chinese businesses have agreed to develop trade and economic cooperation as well as increased mutual investments at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
According to a statement from the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the sides are considering 73 investment projects cumulatively worth more than $100 billion.

The group overseeing the potential billions in investment is the Russian-Chinese Business Advisory Committee, which includes more than 150 representatives from “leading Russian and Chinese companies.”

RDIF said that seven projects worth a total of $4.6 billion have already been implemented as a result of work of the China-Russia group.

“While strong economic growth in both countries will certainly produce many domestic opportunities for profitable investments, we believe particularly promising transactions will be found in bilateral deals that capitalize on the Russia-China relationship,” the CEO of RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev, said.

The Russia-China Investment Fund (RCIF), China Investment Corporation, and Tus-Holdings (one of China’s leading innovation companies) also announced on Tuesday the launch of the Russia-China Venture Fund (RCVF).

The RCIF was established in 2012 by China’s state-owned China Investment Corporation and RDIF to focus on projects that foster economic cooperation between Moscow and Beijing.

“The fund has already studied more than 100 potential projects, of which it is currently considering five in detail – in such areas as new materials, information protection technologies, virtual reality, the development of new generation industrial equipment, innovative oilfield services,” said RDIF, adding that the fund plans to announce the first deal by the end of the year. The sides are also considering setting up a Sino-Russian tech innovation park with more than $100 million in investment.

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Mongolian President expected to visit Iran www.news.mn

Mongolian President Kh.Battulga is expected to visit Tehran later this year to attend the Asia Cooperation Dialogue Forum. The event will provide a good ground for the expansion of bilateral trade between Iran and Mongolia said, Mojtaba Khosrotaj, Head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO).

The issue was discussed during the visit of Mongolia’s Deputy Foreign Minister B. Battsetseg to Tehran on 4-7 September. She held talks with Iranian officials, including Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and discussed expanding bilateral ties between Iran and Mongolia in various fields.

The Iranian side said logistics and transportation were two main factors hindering expansion of trade relations between the two countries, stressing the need for finding ways to boost trade transactions. Mr Javad Zarif also stressed that visa waiver, reducing customs duties and establishing banking relations would act as incentives for Iranian businesses to have a more active presence in Mongolia’s market.

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Visually impaired people plea for employment opportunity www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ World Blind Union-Asia Pacific Mid-Term Regional General Assembly kicked off on September 10 in Ulaanbaatar city. The General Assembly gathered more than 100 guests from 18 countries of Asia Pacific region and over 80 Mongolian representatives.

Participants of the assembly are discussing issues, including how Mongolia pays attention on its peoples with disabilities, what are the special services dedicated to the blind people and their pressing issues as well as introduction of good experiences of other countries into the life of visually impaired people of Mongolia.

Minister of Labor and Social Welfare S.Chinzorig said that the Ministry is working for grant welfare allowance which corresponds with living standard by a way of amending the Law on Social Welfare. Moreover, conditions will be provided to involve visually impaired people in loans and assistance granted by SME Development Fund and Employment Promotion Fund. In particular, certain amount of the loans being issued from the funds will be allocated for programs on supporting employment of visually impaired people. However, loan process of the funds is commonly run through the Internet, which makes visually impaired people impossible to participate in the tender. Considering the problem, the Ministry is working to create conditions for these people."

There are about 16 thousand visually impaired people in Mongolia, of whom just 4.6 percent are employed. On this matter, President of the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind D.Gerel said, "Some 320 people studied at vocational training center for the blind, of whom some 70 percent are working as massage therapists. Most of the visually impaired people work in the factory of the blind and as massage therapists." "Two completely blind people were involved in the computer training at the vocational training center. Now, they are successfully working at Call Center of the Social Insurance Department, providing citizens with information and advice," she added.

During the assembly, a handicraft exhibition of the visually impaired people was displayed alongside the presentation of technologies that simplify manual handling.

The general assembly will conclude tomorrow, September 12.

B.Batchimeg

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IFC Helps Mongolia Government Facilitate Trade by Enhancing Risk Management of Border Agencies www.webwire.com

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the General Agency for Specialized Inspection, and the Customs General Administration of Mongolia, hosted an international conference in Ulaanbaatar today (Sep 11). The aim is to help Mongolia develop more efficient border inspection practices.

This will, subsequently, accelerate collaboration of border agencies to implement the country’s commitments under the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement reducing cost for trade — especially for emerging agriproducts exports.

At the conference — ‘Trade Facilitation: Roles of Customs and Inspection Agencies’ — Mongolian and international experts shared their learning and experience with regards to implementation of the WTO TFA in countries such as Mongolia, China, the Philippines, Korea, and the United Kingdom. More than 180 officials from the central and border units of GASI and Customs discussed how agencies could enhance practices to help Mongolia become more competitive in trade.

“Mongolian Customs, a member of the World Customs Organization, has set objectives to secure international trade, improve trader compliance, and to facilitate legitimate trade in its near-term strategy,” said Bat-Erdene Yo, Deputy Director General of the Customs General Administration of Mongolia. “We are implementing customs control risk management by collaborating with customs stakeholders as well as international partners. The Authorized Economic Operator program, too, has been introduced. The international conference was timely and enhanced the knowledge and experience of our customs officials.”

“GASI’s collaboration with international partners such as IFC has resulted in notable achievements to reduce trade barriers and ensure trade security in recent years. These include reducing the number of days required for import and export certificate issuance by three to five days, using inspection check lists at border crossing points, and slashing inspection by 26 per cent,” said D. Enkhsaikhan, Deputy Chairman of GASI. “Going forward, GASI aims to play a significant role in the trade facilitation agenda by enhancing infrastructure of border posts, quarantine facilities, warehouses, and IT systems.”

The World Bank Group is taking a holistic approach to support Mongolia’s export diversification. The World Bank is assisting exporters by providing export insurance and capacity-building grants through its Export Development Program. In March, IFC launched the Mongolia Trade Facilitation and Agricultural Exports Competitiveness Project to help streamline trade and customs regulations, simplify border inspection practices, and enhance private sector capacity to meet export requirements in the next five years. The conference marks an important milestone of the project.

“Developing countries — especially those that are landlocked — face considerable challenges when it comes to tackling trade facilitation issues. Recognizing this, the World Bank Group invests heavily in trade facilitation programs,” said Dahlia Khalifa, Senior Manager, WBG Investment Climate Advisory Services. “We are committed to promoting Mongolia’s trade and exports by providing hands-on advice and technical assistance in areas of risk management, Authorized Operators scheme, access to information, and capacity building.”

This project is co-funded by the Trade Facilitation Support Program, a multidonor program hosted by the WBG that helps developing countries align border processes and procedures with the WTO TFA.

About IFC 
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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Representation of Mongolia will open in Primorye www.eastrussia.ru

The Government of Mongolia intends to open a trade mission in Primorsky Krai. This was announced during the meeting of the head of the region Andrei Tarasenko with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Damdin Tsogtbaatar on the margins of the fourth Eastern Economic Forum.

According to the press service of the Governor of Primorye, Mongolia expects to cooperate with the Far East in the field of trade and investment. During the recent visit of the Vice-Premier of the Government - Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of Russia in the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev to Mongolia, the parties agreed to increase the trade turnover between the territories almost in 10 times. Today there is already an agreement between the leaders of the two countries, Vladimir Putin and Haltmagiin Battulga, about work in this direction.

The foreign partner stressed that Mongolia is interested in supplying its products to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region through South-Eastern ports - South Korea and Japan. Andrei Tarasenko noted that the region is ready to interact with Mongolia not only in the delivery of goods, but also to cooperate in the creation of various productions. For example, learn from the Mongols skin treatment.

Following the meeting, the parties agreed to continue work on developing a strategic partnership.

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Japan, Mongolia agree to cooperate on N. Korean abduction issue www.mainichi.jp

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga agreed Tuesday to closely cooperate in settling the issue of North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals, with Ulan Bator maintaining diplomatic ties with Pyongyang.

"We would like to realize peace and stability in the region by responding to various challenges, including the North Korea issue, hand in hand (with Mongolia)," Abe said at the outset of their meeting on the sidelines of a regional economic forum in Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

Tokyo expects Ulan Bator to play a role as a mediator in resolving the abductions by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.

In June, shortly after a historic U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore, Japanese and North Korean officials made informal contact at a security forum in Ulan Bator.

Abe and Battulga confirmed the significance of implementing U.N. Security Council resolutions to press North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami told reporters.

The two leaders also agreed on the need to provide support for nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea, Nogami added.

Battulga explained recent relations between Mongolia and North Korea to Abe, according to Nogami, who declined to elaborate.

Abe also said Japan will continue its economic assistance to Mongolia, including support for infrastructure development, the spokesman said. Mongolia will soon open a new airport in Ulan Bator, which was built with Japanese official development assistance.

Abe and Battulga, who assumed office in July last year, also met in Vladivostok last year.

Dolgorsurengiin Dagvadorj, a Mongolian former sumo grand champion known as Asashoryu, was also present at the meeting in the Russian port city. He has been appointed by the president as a special envoy to promote cooperative ties with Japan.

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Trash to Treasure: A Mongolian Man Turns a Landfill Into a Children’s Park www.thediplomat.com

ULAANBAATAR — When Sodnomsengee Ulziitogtork, 42, returned home to Mongolia after spending several years working as a construction laborer in South Korea, the first thing that caught his attention was the lack of parks and public spaces in his home country.

“In Korea, there are many parks and children play in safe, clean, beautiful areas,” Ulziitogtork, who is locally known by the nickname “Ulzii,” said. “I came back to Ulaanbaatar and saw that children didn’t have parks. Instead, they were playing around rubbish. It broke my heart.”

Ulziitogtork is compassionately considered an eccentric in his community — a man of big and bold ideas that some might find unconceivable. He resides in the northern outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, surrounded by the informal yurt dwellings known as gers. The Mongolian capital’s ger districts are often homes to some of the most impoverished communities in the city, if not the country.

Sodnomsengee Ulziitogtork, 42, spent several years working as a construction laborer in South Korea,. When he returned to Mongolia, he noted the lack of parks for children. Photo by Didem Tali.

Climate change in Mongolia has manifested as harsher winters, causing a natural disaster known as dzud, in which a large number of animals starve or freeze to death. In 2018 alone, dzud killed 700,000 livestock animals, making it impossible for thousands of traditional nomadic families to survive in the countryside.

Due to dzuds, a rising number of formerly nomadic families have moved to the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar to live in gers, as they cannot afford modern apartments. There are currently over 800,000 people living in the ger districts in Ulaanbaatar, a city of 1.3 million, which is also the world’s coldest capital. Temperatures can drop to as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius in winter. These urban poor communities often lack access to many basic services and breathe some of the world’s most polluted air as they burn cheap coal to deal with the harsh winter conditions.

According to Enkhnasan Nasan-Ulzii, chief of social policy at UNICEF Mongolia, infrastructural challenges and pollution in ger districts cast a dark shadow over the childhood experience for the urban poor families in Ulaanbaatar.

“Child poverty is significantly overrepresented in ger communities,” Nasan-Ulzii said, explaining that by UNICEF’s estimates approximately 140,000 children live in poverty. “Ger districts aren’t great places to be a child and they are disconnected from the central systems. There are no facilities or infrastructure for a healthy childhood.”

Rachel Machefsky, an early childhood development specialist at Bernard Van Leer Foundation, says pollution is a “silent killer” for children. The physical trauma of exposure to pollution can severely hinder their development and brain health.

“Children are much more vulnerable to all types of pollution,” she said. “Playing in polluted places can expose children to potentially lethal bacteria and illnesses.”

“They also breathe faster and have smaller, shorter bodies, which means they take in much more of the polluted air than adults,” Machefsky added. She said that lack of clean and safe play areas during childhood can continue to follow children for decades in the form of poorer economic prospects due to missed school days and developmental delays, chronic diseases, and even lower IQs.

Living among thousands of poor children, one day in 2011, as Ulziitogtork was walking in his neighborhood, he came across a particularly upsetting sight.

There was a former granite mine in his neighborhood, which according to Ulziitogtork the Mongolian government used to build modern Ulaanbaatar in the 1940s, exploiting the labor of Japanese war prisoners.

The Mongolian capital acquired formidable granite squares, statues, and buildings thanks to the stones extracted from mines in northern Ulaanbaatar. After a peace agreement between countries, Japanese war prisoners who survived the difficult conditions in Mongolia were sent back home in the late 1940s. With time, mining activity gradually stopped and all that was left of a mine that helped to build modern Ulaanbaatar was an empty ditch.

However, as the ger district became more crowded with people migrating to the city’s outskirts from the countryside every year, many households didn’t have access to waste management networks. The ditch gradually filled with rubbish.

“It wasn’t an officially designated landfill,” Ulziitogtork said. “But people didn’t have anywhere else to dispose their waste. So [the former granite mine] was full of rubbish and children were playing there.”

When Ulziitogtork saw children in the mine-turned-landfill, he had an epiphany: During his years as a construction laborer in South Korea, he had saved some money and acquired exactly the right skills to help his community. After he came back home, he built an apartment building, which gave him some rental income. This meant that Ulziitogtork wasn’t in a bad place financially for a ger district-dweller and he realized he could help his neighborhood’s children.

He decided to clean the unofficial landfill, and then turn it into a beautiful park — like the ones he had seen in South Korea. He would use his own savings to do this and consider it a gift to the children of his community.

Feeling energized by this plan, Ulziitogtork immediately got to work. He first cleared out 300 bags of trash, each of which, he estimates, weighed around 60 to 70 kilograms (132 to 154 pounds). Once all the rubbish was cleared out, he found a nice surprise from nature: Rainwater had collected in the bottom of the ditch that was dug by the miners. This meant there was a small artificial lake which had remained hidden for decades under the rubbish.

It took Ulziitogtork two years to clear the landfill and construct a children’s park surrounding the small lake. Nowadays, the small lake that he discovered harbors small boats in summers and functions as an ice skating rink in winters. It’s still a work-in-progress: He keeps tweaking the park with new ideas and plans.

The park also acts as a community and learning center for children. There, they can participate in ice skating activities, watch open-air cinema over the small lake in summers, and learn about Mongolian culture.

After Ulziitogtork’s efforts, the local government not only gifted him the permanent rights to use the former granite mine, but they also honored him with an award for his services to the community.

Ulziitogtork has had a lifelong passion for cinema, arts, and culture, despite no formal training and having been a blue collar worker most of his life. He also dabbles in filmmaking and hopes to screen more films and host filmmaking workshops in the future. The park currently serves 6,000 children in the area. The children keep coming back for various activities, as Ulziitogtork keeps working on transforming his park into a better community and cultural center every year.

Nasan-Ulzii of UNICEF says community centers for children are key elements in ger districts to improve children’s lives and healths. However, she warns that exposure to air pollution in the winter can still have devastating health consequences for young children.

“There is no escape from pollution and bad infrastructure for children,” she adds. Unless the government finds a holistic solution to fight these issues in a long-term and sustainable way, Nasan-Ulzii fears that pollution will continue to devastate the lives of thousands of poor children in the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar.

Nevertheless, Ulziitogtork is determined to keep improving his park and he finds fulfillment in putting a smile on 6,000 faces every year. Even though he is also worried about the pollution, he keeps an optimistic attitude for change. The joyful squeals of children that he hears in a former landfill that used to exploit war prisoners is proof of change and a testament to the future’s possibilities.

Didem Tali is a multimedia journalist covering global economy, gender, environment and displacement issues from around the world.

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Russia-China to invest in hi-tech development www.asia.nikkei.com

VLADIVOSTOK (Reuters) -- The Russia-China Investment Fund (RCIF) and China's Tus-Holdings on Tuesday announced joint investment plans focusing on developing technology, which would see $1.28 bln invested in the Russian Tushino Project Technology Park.

RCIF said in a statement that the two groups were considering building a Sino-Russian high-tech innovation park with more than $100 mln investment and had launched a Russia-China venture fund with capital of $100 mln.

"Together with partners from China, we will be able to achieve breakthroughs in the area of advanced technologies and facilitate their early implementation," said Kirill Dmitriev, Co-CEO of RCIF.

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RJP-Power vacuum: Rio Tinto scours for electricity to run giant Mongolia copper mine www.reuters.com

LONDON/ULAANBAATAR, Sept x (Reuters) - Mining giant Rio Tinto is racing against time to find the electricity needed to run its giant copper-gold mine in Mongolia, as wrangles with the government threaten a further setback for the flagship project.

Oyu Tolgoi, located in the South Gobi region near landlocked Mongolia’s southern border with China, is scheduled to complete a $5.3 billion underground expansion by 2022, creating one of the world’s biggest copper suppliers.

The project is set to transform Mongolia’s tiny economy and is key for Rio as the sole potential growth area for its copper business, but it has been beset by squabbles over cost overruns, claims of unpaid taxes and corruption allegations.

Now, Rio Tinto and the government are engaged in brinksmanship, not only about the location of the power plant required to run the mine, but also who should pay for it, risking further delays. (Can we explain the brinksmanship?, or else maybe drop it)

Oyu Tolgoi currently pays about $100 million a year to buy electricity from China for its open pit mine, but according to a landmark 2009 agreement, a domestic power source must be found for the project by 2022.

The Anglo-Australian miner has invited three state-owned Chinese contractors to submit bids to build a $1.5 billion power station, but has yet to make a final decision on a go-ahead or receive permits from the Mongolian government.

Even if Rio Tinto made a decision immediately, it would be virtually impossible to complete construction before 2023, said an industry source said on condition of anonymity.

HOW RELIABLE IS THIS SOURCE? CAN WE GET A QUOTE HERE OR GIVE MORE DETAILS?

PARTNERS AT ODDS
The complication for the power project is the Mongolian government’s desire to kickstart the nearby Tavan Tolgoi coking coal project, a massive resources that would xxxx xxxx, and which lies just xxxx km from Oyu Tolgoi.

Rio had originally planned to build its own power capacity, but it was encouraged by the government in 2014 to switch to a proposed plant at Tavan Tolgoi, where it would be an off-taker rather than investor.

Mongolia hoped Oyu Tolgoi’s involvement as a guaranteed customer would encourage investors to back the long-delayed coal mine, and this remains its preferred option, a government source familiar with the situation said.

However, in February this year, the government cancelled a 2014 agreement setting up a framework for co-operation on a shared power plant (why did they do this?)

Oyu Tolgoi, which pays about $100 million a year to buy electricity from China, is looking at options for a domestic power source, said Luke Colton, chief financial officer at Turquoise Hill Resources, the Rio-controlled unit that owns 66 percent of the project.

“An Oyu Tolgoi-based plant is currently the most feasible option that could deliver a domestic power source within the shortest timeframe,” said Colton, although he added that a Tavan Tolgoi plant remains an “important option”.

LOCAL POLITICS
Whatever Rio does, Mongolia is still determined to go ahead with the Tavan Tolgoi plant.

Otgochuluu Chuluuntseren, a former government official who also served as an Oyu Tolgoi board member, said it was the best option, although politics were getting in the way. (what does this mean? can we say briefly?)

“The main challenge remains the same: political instability and unpredictability,” he said.

Some government officials have expressed impatience about the delays, saying plant construction (at Oyu Tolgoi or Tavan Tolgoi?) could have started years ago.

“Oyu Tolgoi should stop playing with the Mongolian state!” Mongolia’s energy minister Davaasuren Tserenpil said on the ministry’s official Twitter account last month.

Mongolia’s cabinet will soon discuss how to deliver electricity to the scarcely-populated South Gobi. (how do we know this? Will this push the story forward?)

Rio, meanwhile, says its plan for a power plant at Oyu Tolgoi could add another $1.5 billion to the project’s total costs, far higher than originally envisaged back in xxxx. With the Mongolian government owning 34 percent of the project, it would also have to stump up $500 million.

Sun Jianli, spokesman with the Power Construction Corporation of China, one of the contractors, told Reuters the bid was “preliminary” and the project was still “very far away”. The others, China Machinery Engineering Corporation and Harbin Electric International , declined to comment.

If nothing his built on time Rio and Mongolia would face a decision on the domestic power requirement to keep Oyu Tolgoi running. Even if it continue dto take Chinese power, the bill would soar once underground operations get underway. (why? Source?) (Additional reporting by David Stanway in SHANGHAI and Melanie Burton in MELBOURNE Editing by XXXXX)

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Mongolia's foreign trade turnover up 23.6 pct so far this year www.xinhuanet.com

ULAN BATOR, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia's foreign trade turnover reached 8.47 billion U.S. dollars in the first eight months of 2018, up 23.6 percent year on year, customs data showed Monday.

Exports rose 13.9 percent year on year in the January-August period to 4.67 billion dollars, while imports grew 38.0 percent to 3.8 billion dollars, resulting in a trade surplus of 870 million dollars, according to the Mongolian Customs General Administration (MCGA).

The market value of 11 locally manufactured products has increased, contributing to the increase in revenue from exports, the data said.

In the first eight months, the landlocked Asian country has traded with a total of 150 countries. Among the 147 countries to which Mongolia exported its goods and services in the period, China was the recipient of over 85 percent of the total, the data showed.

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