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Mongolia imported 19,000 tons of gasoline and 81,000 tons of diesel fuel in January www.akipress.com
AKIPRESS.COM - Mongolia imported 19,000 tons of gasoline in January 2018, according to the Statistics Division of the Mongolian Customs General Administration.
Imports of gasoline decreased by 10,000 tons compared to the same period of previous year.
An average import price per 1 ton of gasoline rose by 14%, reaching $668 in January 2018.
In January 2018, import of diesel fuel reached 81,000 tons, with an increase of 17,000 compared to the same period of previous year.
An average import price per 1 ton of diesel fuel reached $628, with an increase of 19%.
ULAN BATOR, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- A visa-free travel agreement between Mongolia and Argentina came into force on February 19, the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.
The two governments signed the document on August 31, 2017 in Busan, the Republic of Korea, in a bid to enhance bilateral relations.
Under the agreement, Mongolian citizens will be allowed to stay up to 90 days in Argentina without a visa.
Tourism has the potential to become the main driver of the economy, and Mongolians should pay more attention to developing the industry instead of digging up resources underground to sell it to China and elsewhere.
In recent years, mining has been playing in a critical role in the national economy of Mongolia.
More than 80 percent of Mongolia’s exports were mineral products last year. This proportion is expected to rise in a few years’ time to 95 percent. Mongolia attracts mining geologists and investors due to its known riches and unexplored potential — for copper, coal, gold, silver, uranium, molybdenum. Some 3,476 mining licenses were issued by 2017, according to the statistics.
The Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine is the biggest foreign-invested project in Mongolia with its initial and second phase investment amounting to well above 10 billion USD. The mine is expected to become the world’s third-largest copper operation at peak production in 2025, with an output of over 550,000 tons per year. It is also expected to comprise a large portion of the country’s economy, well over a quarter.
Although the income from mining is increasing with the underground phase of the Oyu Tolgoi project’s in progress, the developments and riches coming into the nation has not reached the large majority of the population, only going to those in the mining sector and industries that complement it.
The International Monetary Fund data shows that the economy only grew one percent in 2016, a sharp drop since the 17.5 percent growth in 2011. This was mainly caused by vulnerability to external factors such as global commodity prices. To prevent future volatility, the country needs good policies and laws that bring long-term profit and business opportunity, not one-time cash handouts and short-term welfare. For instance, after pledges made during the 2008 elections, every Mongolian, rich and poor, received 21,000 MNT in cash handouts for many months, which left the country hungry for more while inflation rates soared giving additional burden to the most vulnerable groups in the country.
Mongolians shouldn’t forget that every economic sector has been receiving foreign loans to some degree and foreign debt has reached as much as 26.2 billion USD as of the third quarter of 2017, according to Mongol Bank.
So far, the public is critical of the benefits mining has brought the nation, becoming increasingly frustrated by the lackluster reach of the country’s development. Herders who rely on the land are increasingly growing hostile to mining development in their area as it drains local water reserves and leaves the environment degraded. Umnugovi is a prime example of this issue, where the major mining developments such as Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi are located. The few water reserves available in the area have become depleted and pollution caused by mass transport of mineral goods have severely degraded the grazing land.
Due to these issues related to mining, Mongolians are becoming disenchanted with the prospects offered by the extractive industry and are increasing looking to other industries to drive the economy.
Many are pointing to tourism as Mongolia’s salvation towards diversifying away from mining. Today, tourism is a major source of income for many countries.
In 2017, a total 542,989 foreign visitors came to Mongolia, with 471,239 coming for tourism purposes. The number of foreign visitors in Mongolia had increased by 71,750 (13.21 percent) in 2017 compared to 2016, and the number of tourists increased by 66,938 (14.21 percent). Currently, the Mongolian tourism is said to be worth at least 400 million USD.
The number of tourists has been fluctuating in recent years, but incremental improvements have been observed. This sluggish growth is nothing compared to the vast potential offered by Mongolia’s abundant natural attractions.
There are many beautiful sceneries and historic landmarks in every province, but tourists have been visiting only a few provinces – mainly Tuv, Uvurkhangai, Arkhangai, Umnugovi and Khuvsgul provinces. It is also important to note that tourists only head to Mongolia during summer, which means tourism companies struggle to sustain operations during colder months. According to latest data, there are around 200 tourism companies actively operating out of 713 registered entities. Over 50,000 people are said to work in the tourism industry of Mongolia.
When discussing the development of tourism, the service industry is of vital importance. Services of taxi companies, hotels, malls, roads, sanitary requirements, safety, and the management of wastes all around the country need to be improved and made friendly to foreign visitors in order to attract and convince them to come back.
Furthermore, winter tourism might be a key economic factor for boosting tourism in general throughout the year as Mongolia’s four seasons offer the potential for drastic growth in outdoor winter sports.
“If we want to try sustainable tourism, we need to have income coming in during all four seasons,” said, the former head of the Department of Tourism Policy Implementation and Coordination at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Tourism.
In an attempt to increase tourists coming into the country during winter, Mongolia has been boosting efforts to develop winter attractions in recent years....
ULAANBAATAR, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Mongolia can build a power plant at its Tavan Tolgoi coal mine by 2021 to supply the Oyu Tolgoi copper project, energy officials said on Tuesday, as the government seeks to hold Rio Tinto to an agreement to use Mongolian power.
Tensions have mounted between the Mongolian government and its fellow shareholders in Oyu Tolgoi, where Rio Tinto is operating a huge underground extension.
Last week, Rio Tinto said it was working with its partners to find a solution after the government announced the cancellation of a contract, which Rio interpreted as meaning the Tavan Tolgoi power project was no longer viable.
Mongolia's Energy Minister Tserenpil Davaasuren said on Tuesday a cooperation agreement with a party called South Gobi Energy had been cancelled, but a plant at the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine was still in development.
Oyu Tolgoi had "the responsibility to choose total energy demand for Oyu Tolgoi from Mongolia within four years," he said.
D. Batbileg, director of the Tavantolgoi Power Plant Project, addressing the same news conference said construction work was "ready to begin".
Local media reported the government was seeking guarantees from Rio Tinto before going ahead.
Rio Tinto was not immediately available to comment. Its statement last week said it was working on all options, including the construction of a power plant at Oyu Tolgoi whose cost would be finalised between shareholders.
The mine is jointly owned by the government of Mongolia, with 34 percent, and Turquoise Hill Resources with 66 percent. Turquoise Hill is in turn 51 percent-owned by Rio Tinto.
Turquoise Hill also said it was evaluating its options.
"A final decision on the outcome, cost or financing of a permanent domestic power supply has not been concluded at this time," an emailed statement said.
Tensions over tax and benefits to the country held up an expansion project for underground mining to tap into most of the resource in 2013. Construction resumed after May 2015, when the parties signed a new agreement.
But the international partners are again at odds with the government following a claim from the Mongolian Tax Authority for an additional $155 million for the years 2013 through 2015.
Perth-based Aspire Mining is racing towards production in Mongolia with its Ovoot, coking coal project that is expected to churn out high value coal suitable for steel making.
Long-time followers of the company will recall that in 2011, Aspire was a sharemarket darling with a market cap of $600 million, based on the strength of its high-grade coking coal deposit in western Mongolia that lies within proximity of hundreds of Chinese steel making plants.
With a massive JORC resource of 255 million tonnes, Ovoot promised a bonanza for Aspire shareholders, however it would be necessary to first build a US$1.25 billion railway line to take the companys coal 550kms east to the railway hub of Erdenet.
Aspire formed its own infrastructure company, Northern Railway LLC, to build and operate the line and it is continuing to progress that project in partnership with a couple of heavyweight Chinese players.
In 2014 however, a strategy was devised to get into production quickly with the acquisition of the smaller but development-ready Nuurstei coking coal deposit to the east of Ovoot, with product to be trucked 430km to Erdenet and then south by rail to China or possibly north to Russia.
In June 2016, Aspires fortunes changed dramatically after China began closing steel mills to remove overcapacity in the market. Within six months, domestic coking coal prices had doubled, bringing them back within sight of 2011 prices.
Just as significantly, Chinas Communist Party Congress produced the One Belt One Road initiative along with the Governments of Mongolia and Russia which identified a northern rail corridor opportunity that would pass directly by Aspires Ovoot deposit.
In November 2017, Aspire moved to seize the day by raising $16.5 million in a six-for-five entitlement issue, fully underwritten by Patersons Securities. Directors also negotiated a reduction in debt owed to major shareholder Noble Group down to US$1.8 million, completing a transformation of the companys balance sheet.
The funds will be used to bring Nuurstei into production by mid-2019 and generate a cashflow lifeline to sustain the business while it kick-starts the main game of getting the Ovoot deposit to market via rail.
Chinas interest in developing a northern rail corridor through Mongolia to Europe has made it easy for Aspire to attract some very big partners.
In October 2017, Aspires 90%-owned subsidiary, Northern Railway, signed an MOU with Chinese state-owned infrastructure giant China Gezhouba Group to complete the second stage of a bankable feasibility study on the Ovoot to Erdenet railway.
Under the agreement, China Gezhouba Group had until 15 February 2018 to take up an option to purchase a 51% stake in Northern Railway, reducing Aspires stake to 34%.
In an update last week, Aspire reported it had extended the option exercise date to 15 May to allow China Gezhouba Group time to confirm future capacity guarantees for freight from Northern Railways along the Trans Mongolian Railway.
The update noted that the operator of the Trans Mongolian Railway had already confirmed Northern Railways was part of its 2030 development plan.
In other good news, China Gezhouba Group has confirmed the bankable feasibility study will be ready by the end of this month, at least a month earlier than the deadline.
It looks like there will be plenty of news flow from Aspire over the coming months as it seeks to implement a staged strategy that should culminate in a long-term coking coal project being built that is exquisitely wedged between energy hungry China and industrial Russia....
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ In the frame of the Mongolia Export Development Project, the World Bank has rendered financial support to over 20 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) worth USD 400 thousand.
In particular, the World Bank has approved to render financial support to six entities which sent export plan at their last meeting. The sides agreed to allocate the financial incentives for researches on marketing tourism, wool and cashmere products, Mongolian interlocking puzzles and souvenirs as well as for developing and testing new export products.
In accordance with the agreement established with the Mongolian Government, the World Bank will support Mongolian small and medium size firms (SMEs) in the non-mining sectors with the fund totaling USD 20 million. However, the funding will not be granted directly. The project will cover 50 per cent of the total expense of activities including strategic business plan, management reform, product quality examination, certification, product launching, and participation in export trade fairs and training.
The highest amount of assistance equals to USD 100 thousand. Moreover, there are seven requirements set to enterprises to benefit from the program, including export development plan.Therefore, free training is held on methods of developing the plan.
The price of coking coal in China's eastern regions was 244 USD per ton (for Australian coal) at the beginning of February.
The amount is an 8.2 percent increase compared to the past 90 days. The price in Shanxi Province, a key buyer of Erdenese Tavan Tolgoi JSC coal, was 221 USD per ton.
In Hebei Province, another large market for coking coal, the price was around 243 USD per ton. The price of concentrated coal from Energy Resources LLC was 130 USD per ton and Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC coal sold for 66 USD per ton as of January 31.
The price for Mongolian iron ore was 45 USD per ton, but Australian ore reached 74.5 USD per ton and Brazilian iron ore sold for 108 USD per ton.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a package of laws extending a capital amnesty until February 28, 2019. It allows Russians to voluntarily declare assets and accounts in banks.
A total amnesty for all funds returning to Russia follows an anti-offshore bill requiring individuals and businesses to report foreign profits. The bill was aimed at curbing the outflow of capital from Russia, which was estimated at over $2 trillion in recent years.
The bill was explained by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov as allowing people who have made any mistakes in their business activities to declare the property and become completely law-abiding citizens.
The laws were earlier adopted by both chambers of the Russian parliament.
It’s the second stage of the capital amnesty, which commenced in March 2017. In this case, special declarations can be submitted both by individuals who haven’t done that before, and those who participated in the first stage.
According to the documents, published on the official portal of legal information, all the guarantees for those who used the amnesty of capital in the first stage in 2015-2016 will be fully preserved.
Putin said earlier that the extension of capital amnesty, which is supported by international financial institutions, will add stability to the Russian business environment.
Voluntary declaration of assets and accounts in banks has started in Russia from June 1, 2015. Individuals had the right to submit to the tax authorities a special declaration with the information about the property, controlled foreign companies, accounts in banks located outside Russia. That could be done in exchange for exemption from tax, administrative and criminal liability for tax and customs duties payment evasion and failure to comply with laws on currency regulation and currency control. The amnesty covers all revenues, operations and transactions related to overseas assets and accounts.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ In trading of February 19, the Mongolian Stock Exchange sold 57,754 pieces of shares of 19 companies which are listed in the first, second and third categories.
Stock list of 9 companies has been raised. Specifically, stock price of 7 companies decreases while that of three companies was in stability. Out of them ‘Khuvsgul Khuns’ JSC HHS increased by 15 percent, ‘’Khunnu Management’ HBZ by 19.98 or showing the highest growth, whereas ‘ITools’ ITLS had 5.7 percent decline and ‘Hai Bi Oil’ HBO had 4.71 percent down.
The same day, TOP20 Index reached 21737.68 units, up by 0.44 percent while market value surpassed MNT 2.5 trillion.
Rio Tinto is considering options to develop domestic energy generation for the Oyu Tolgoi operation after the Government of Mongolia terminated the power sector cooperation agreement (PSCA) for the country’s southern region.
Under the PSCA signed in August 2014, Rio Tinto reached a framework for cooperation with the Government of Mongolia to deliver an energy plan for the South Gobi region.
According to an investment agreement reached by Oyu Tolgoi, the company agreed to set-up power supply within the country four years from the start of commercial production.
The termination of PSCA requires Oyu Tolgoi to meet the domestic power supply commitment within four years.
Originally, the government intended to develop a new independent power plant at the Tavan Tolgoi coalfields with Oyu Tolgoi as off-taker rather than the owner.
Among the multiple options being considered, Rio Tinto is exploring the possibility of the construction of an Oyu Tolgoi site-based power plant.
The company noted that it would meet all obligations agreed to under the investment agreement.
It is understood that the cost and means of financing the power supply solution will be finalised between shareholders.
Meanwhile, the company indicated that it would continue to review its capital expenditure forecasts for the project.
Rio Tinto has already set aside $250m a year to fund the development of a power station in the country in its 2019 and 2020 CAPEX forecasts.
Oyu Tolgoi is in the southern Gobi desert of Mongolia, 550km south of the capital, Ulaanbaatar.
The copper and gold mining project is jointly owned by the government of Mongolia and Turquoise Hill Resources, with 34% and 66% respectively.
Rio Tinto is a majority stakeholder in Turquoise Hill with a 51% interest.