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PERSON OF THE YEAR

29th of 11, 2012
The Mongolian Mining Journal will honour a Person of the Year at this year’s Awards ceremony. The choice will be from among those who have made valuable contributions to the mining sector’s development in any of several ways -- improvingits regulating laws,stabilizing the investment environment, contributing to theoretical research or field practices, installing better management practices, or ensuring responsible mining operations.   

We give below our list of 22 choices and a brief account of their efforts to raise standards in the Mongolian mining industry to global levels.  The final choice of The Person of the Year will be made by popular voting. Both individuals and professional organisations can vote, between November 1and December 1, on any of the three following websites:www.news.mn, www.gogo.mn, andwww.mongolianminingjournal.com.

1. Company representatives

1. B.BATMUNKH, Executive director, Sharing Gol JSC

The U.S. Investment fund Firebird bought the State-owned Sharyn Gol in 2003 and changed its management team, appointing B.Batmunkh Executive Director and putting him at the head of the board. He has played an important role in improving the company’s management since then and is held responsible for several achievements.

The company sells coal in the domestic market and also exports semi-coked coal. Last year, Sharyn Gol raised MNT17.7 billion by issuing fresh shares on the Mongolian Stock Exchange. New exploration raised the mine’s reserve resource amount 4 times. The potential JORC-estimate resource is now placed at 374 million tons, of which 337.6 million tons is in layers above 300 metres which makes open pit mining possible.

2. G.BATTSENGEL, Executive director, Energy Resources LLC

Under the leadership of G.Battsengel the Ukhaa Khudag mine has notched up several achievements. Even with minerals prices falling, it has not interrupted its construction programme. The last module of its coal processing plant was completed and the plant now runs to full capacity.  

The mine’s safety record is higher thanin some of the safest mines in the world.Energy Resources and Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi have jointly implemented a project to increase the capacity at Gashuun Sukhait port to 25-30 million tons.

This year, Energy Resources will export over 8 million tons of coal and will contribute to the State budget at least as much asit did last year. A green park has been built, new apartment buildings constructed and elementary schools and kindergartens opened at Ukhaa Khudag. Increasing job opportunities in Tsogttsetsii soum are creating more income for people.

3. Ts.GARAMJAV, General Director, Monpolymet Group

When the Democratic Party withdrew from the Coalition Government, Ts.Garamjav was appointed Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy. In her six months at the job until the Parliamentary election, she worked very hard, and can take much of the credit for the way the 90th anniversary of the mining sector was celebrated. She worked closely with experts, researchers and scholars, attending workshops and conferences. Mongolians knew her well as a corporate bigwig but her accomplishments in politics brightened her international profile.

Monpolymet Group is one of the best companies in Mongolia and its effective rehabilitation programme has attracted the attention of the world, too.

4. JAMES PASSIN, Founder, Firebird Management Fund

This U.S investment fund has been operating in Mongolia since 2006, investing in companies registered in the Mongolian Stock Exchange and changing their management systems to make them internationally competitive. Among these are Sharyn Gol JSC,Undur Tolgoi Minerals Co.,and Berkh Uul Co. Additional exploration at Sharyn Gol has increased its JORC-compliant resources to 374 million tons, while Berkh Uul now estimates its JORC-compliant resources in theDelgerkhaan spar mine at 2.3 million tons.

James Passin manages the fund he founded and is on the board of the companies mentioned above. He is seen as a man making tremendous contribution to bringing Mongolian companies to an international level by improving their management practices.

5. CAMERON McRAE, President and Chief Executive Officer, Oyu Tolgoi LLC

Cameron McRae has held both positions since December, 2010, and his leadership style has marked Rio Tinto’s taking charge of Oyu Tolgoi’s management. He has opened up the project to the Mongolian public and every time there has been a demand for changes in the investment agreement, Cameron McRae has saved the day for the project by honourably providing accurate and balanced information to both decision makers and the public.  

Despite some setbacks,experimental ore mining in Oyu Tolgoi began in the summer of 2012. Now the historic moment of commissioning the first stage of the processing plant is at hand. At every stage, McRae has sought, and got, understanding from all sides.

6. RANDOLPH KOPPA, President, Trade and Development Bank

As one of the biggest three commercial banks in Mongolia, Trade and Development Bank has been a major source of funds for Mongolian mining companies.  It set up an Investment Banking Agency and then, in 2010, came up with TDB Capital LLC to provide comprehensive investment services. TDB Capital has worked as financial consultant for several national mining companies including Altain Khuder.

TDB was the first bank to issue bonds in the international market and the third issue this year raised $300 million. TDB has been making valuable contributions to attracting foreign investmentin the Mongolian mining sector by sponsoring mining investors’ conferences both in Mongolia and overseas. Koppa has been behind all these TDB moves and has thus contributed to the development of the Mongolian mining sector.

7. B.NYAMTAISHIR, President, Mongolyn Alt (MAK) Group

Mongolyn Alt Group, popularly known as MAK, is one of the few national mining companies that are run with international professionalism. Every one of its achievements is traced to Nyamtaishir, Group president since its foundation 20 years ago. MAK has always tried to show by example how Mongolians can benefit by adopting western advanced technology and has helped them master these technologies. Entities in the group now employ over 1,300 young Mongolians. 
An FGX-12 dry processing coal plant and a semi-coking fuel plant are successfully in operation and work on the Narynsukhait coal processing plant is on track. A cement plant and the Tsagaan Suvarga copper-molybdenum open pit-processing complex are ready to start off. Nyamtaishir has made MAK has become the most multifaceted mining operator in the nation.

8. J.ODJARGAL, Director of Board, Mongolian Mining Corporation & President, MCS Group

Some achievement or the other is credited to J.Odjargal every year and this year it was the turn of the Mongolian Mining Corporation’s raising $600 million through sale of bonds, topping the $580 million earned by the Mongolian Development Bank bonds.MMC will to use the funds to construct the Ukhaa Khudag – Gashuun Sukhait railway and other projects following a concession agreement it has signed with the Mongolian Government.

Odjargal’s leadership has added several feathers to the cap of his companies, in manufacturing or infrastructure or mining. The most recent is the high-voltage power line from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad that MCS International is constructing. He has also initiated a wide-ranging study on the feasibility of building a petro-chemical plant to make Mongolian coal more energy-efficient. If successful, it might well free Mongolia from its import-dependency in fuel.


9. B.ENEBISH, Former Executive Director, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi Ltd

B.Enebish was appointed to the position when the company was established at the end of 2010 to put Tavan Tolgoi mine into economic circulation. Since Zuun Tsankhi coalfield was opened last year, 1 million tons of coal have been extracted and 4 million tons are planned to be exported this year. Earlier this year Baruun Tsankhi mine was opened without waiting for a decision by Parliament and Government, and the U.S Company, Peabody Energy,has been invited to act as contract miner. That way Tavan Tolgoi will be in full operation when an IPO is held next year, helping increase the company’s worth.

All decisions on Baruun Tsankhi were taken by the governing board of the company, at that time headed by Enebish. His leadership resulted in these bold steps taken in the interests of the company, without waiting indefinitely for the Government to choose a partner in Baruun Tsankhi.

2. Academics, scientists, and representatives of professional organisations

1. D.ACHIT-ERDENE, President, Mongolia International Capital Corporation (MICC)

D.Achit-Erdene is an investment manager focused on raising funds in the domestic and international equity markets for Mongolian mining companies. This year, his company was a consultant in debt financing for Altan Rio Mongolia Co.’s IPO raising$1 million, Kara Minerals Ltd.’s IPO raising $1.2 million and Mon Laa Co.’s raising $6 million. He has worked as a financial consultant for IPOs and stock financing for mining companies such as Altan Rio Mongolia, Mongolian Mining Corporation, Hunnu Coal, Erdenes Resources Development and AIDD.

He has served on committees to recommend proposals for improving laws and regulations for the mining sector and the investment market to attract foreign investment. He is also the author of several studies on the actual financial condition of Mongolian companies and the coal market that provide useful insights to the public.

2. D.BAT-ERDENE, President, Mongolian Industrial Geologists’ Association

D.Bat-Erdene is one of the top scientists in the geological and mining sector. In his 30 years of professional life,he has prepared detailed studies of several deposits of gold, copper, fluoride, uranium, coal and other minerals and metals, drawn 1:50000 scale maps, written over 10 reports and submitted over 8 mineral deposits to the State Reserve Committee. He has explored 3 gold, 2 metal, 1 uranium and 3 coal deposits and has led 4 coal exploration projects in the last five years. His reports and feasibility studies on these have been approved by the Minerals Council.   

He is actively involved in suggesting ways to improve the laws and regulations in the mineral sector and is a member of the working group on amending and updating the Minerals Law appointed by the President. He was one of the guiding spirits behind the Mongolia Minerals Explorations Roundup conference held successfully in 2012.

3. D.DAMBA, President, Mongolian National Mining Association

D.Damba heads one of the principal organisations outside government devoted to the development of the Mongolian mining sector. Earlier, during the difficult years of Mongolia’s transition into the market economy, he was instrumental in putting major strategic deposits into economic circulation.

MNMA speaks for the private sector in demanding friendlier mining laws and regulations and supports a tax environment supportive of it, and D.Damba has taken several significant steps to protect and further the common interests of those in the sector by reforming its own ways and to strengthen individual associations.

He has campaigned relentlessly for a revised Minerals Law and has been vocal in demanding amendments to rules on fees for the use of mineral resources and in supporting standardised export prices and in urging consensus in the positions of the sector’s experts.

4. S.DAVAANYAM, Head of Labor Safety and Environment Department, Erdenet Factory & Professor, Mining Exploration and Processing Faculty of Technical University

Every human life is precious and this awareness is of vital importance in mining. When an operation system to ensure the maximum labour safety devised by S.Davaanyam was introduced at ErdenetFactory, it soon came to be applauded by both workers in the mines and residents of Erdenet city. Their use is now widespread among in Mongolian mines, saving countless lives in a danger-laden profession. Apart from this signal contribution, Professor Davaanyam has for years trained future personnel for the mining sector. He is a co-founder of the Erdenet Technological School in memory of Sh.Otgonbileg, and now teaches at the school preparing national processing engineers.

5. N.DORJDARI, Manager & Researcher, Open Society Forum

In his “researcher” persona, N.Dorjdari is the “author” of the entire corpus of valuable studies issued by the Open Society Forum that contain legitimate criticism of accepted opinions. That is why his views count when important projects are evaluated. N.Dorjdari came to the limelight with his thoroughly researched analysis of the Oyu Tolgoi project agreement before it was signed, and now the people wait to hear his take on matters related to mining, the economy and the budget. He is an active member of Mining Watch and strongly supports wider public control of mining operations. 


6. L.DUGERJAV, Ph.D,Professor, Mongolian University of Science and Technology, and President, Mongolia’s Antarctica Research Association

The Antarctica is now widely seen as the last source of minerals in the world. No wonder, nations are making serious studies to claim their share of the treasure trove still under ice.  Mongolia was among the first 40 nations to do research on and in Antarctica. The research team, led by Dr. L.Dugerjav, worked there from the end of 2011until February 2012. The result of this is that Mongolia is now ready to join the Antarctica Convention. It has also prepared a detailed geological map to choose where it will build an Antarctica Research Base in the future.


7. J.ZOLJARGAL, Director of Technology and Research Centre, Mongolyn Alt Corporation

It has become of vital importance for Mongolia to develop means to chemically process its abundant coal into other forms of fuel. Theoretical research has given way to practical projects. J.Zoljargal is the man behind such projects at Mongolyn Alt Company. His focus is on extracting liquid fuel and coke from coal. His studies have led him to conclude that it makes more sense to combine the two different processes of extracting coke and liquid fuel from coal into one. Success in producing methanol from coking emission could prove to be a significant find that, if and when successfully implemented, will significantly minimise our dependence on imported fuel.


8. T.NARAN, Executive Director, Mongol Coal Association

T.Naran has been active in ensuring clarity, stability, transparency, and fairness in the business environment of the coal sector to benefit both national and foreign investors as well as ordinary people. The Association provided many inputs to the 14- chapter project proposal called “State policy for coal sector development”.

He was also a principal player in preparing the master plan to develop the Mongolian coal sector until 2025. This plan, formulated jointly with the Fuel Policy Department at the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, isto be implemented by the Japanese Government’s aid organisation JICA. With the Association now an official member of the World Coal Association, T.Naran will now have opportunities to collaborate and exchange information with the world’s biggest industrial coal companiesand high profile experts.

3. Representatives of the State and the Government

1. M.ARIUNBAYAR, Deputy Director General, Mineral Resource Authority

This Implementing Agency of the Government courts controversies even as it carries the heaviest load in the mining sector.M.Ariunbayar, a geologist working as Head of its Geology and Mining Department, was appointed Temporary Director of the MRA when the then Director, D.Batkhuyag, resigned to contest the 2012 Parliament Election. M.Ariunbayar knows and understands the sector and is respected for his experienced and hard work. His brief period in office has witnessed sensational events such as the case of SouthGobi Resources and the passage of the Law on Foreign Investment. His colleagues admire M.Ariunbayar’s neutrality in every situation, and the way he puts professional ethics over politics. He is also credited with bringing order to the bureaucratic and complicated ways of work at the MRA where companies now find it markedly easier to have their reports approved.

2. B.BATKHUU, Director of Coordination of Policy Implementation at Ministry of Mining

During the period when B.Batkhuu headed the Mining and Heavy Industry Authority, much progress was made in issues of going beyond export of raw minerals, and setting up units for processing coal, copper, iron, tungsten and steel, and for producing end products. He was part of the working group on copper smelting plant construction and took part in negotiations with investors on concentration of copper and extraction of metal copper. He also helped draft a stability agreement with companies likely to invest in processing plants. He is considered to be a believer in State support for major projects of oil processing, coal gasification and copper smelting plants.


3. D.GANKHUYAG, Minister of Mining

When Mining was taken out of a larger Ministry and D.Gankhuyag was given charge of it, the move received as much accolade as criticism. The new Minister is known to have opposed the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement for the last four years, and investors are watching his every move cautiously.The coming days will show what kind of contribution he makes to mining sector development. 




4. P.OCHIRBAT, the first President of Mongolia

Trained as a mining engineer, P.Ochirbat became the first President of the nation.Several speeches he made in 2012 are noteworthy for the way he put in perspective the 90 years of history and the future of the Mongolian mining sector. His paper called The New Perspective of the Sustainable Development of the Mining Sector is now under study by experts. In it, he covers several important issues such as the development of a processing industry, the correct human resources policy in the mining sector, a changed approach to ecology and the future of Mongolia as an exporter of energy.

This year he has headed the research group on producing energy from oil shale.He is also currently Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Discover Mongolia Investors’ Forum, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.

5. TS.ELBEGDORJ, President of Mongolia

President Ts.Elbegdorj asked a team of experts to work on a revised Mineral Law, to guide the mining sector policy in Mongolia for the next 50 years. Proper guidelines of an international standard are essential to regulate a sector that is likely to boom in the next half century. Thus the President’s move is timely, necessary and welcome.

Earlier in April, 2010, the President had ordered a ban on fresh exploration licences and an overall and comprehensive review of all existing licences is under way. Fresh licences will be issued when the new law comes into force. The President deserves credit for bringing order to the mess surrounding the entire issue of licences.



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