Time to generate optimism
29th of 8, 2018
A German journalist, Dr Dirk Asendorpf, once wrote that the interest of international media in Mongolian mining rose and fell according to the state of the relations between Oyu Tolgoi and the Mongolian government. That way, the interest should be quite high now as the company plans to take the government to the International Court of Arbitration.
That is not the only legal problem for Mongolia at the moment. A superior court in the United Kingdom has ordered Erdenet Mining to pay $98 million to ICBC Standard Bank and has also ruled that the assets of the mine should be frozen as security for the payment. A court in Ulaanbaatar, which postponed hearing a case related the Gatsuurt project on 36 occasions, has finally ordered the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia to cancel four licences allocated to Centerra Gold. The Canadian company has indicated that it would take the case to arbitration if the court order is followed.
Against these negative vibes for investors in mining comes the decision to accelerate the pace in putting the Tavan Tolgoi deposit into economic circulation by selling 30% shares of Erdenes Tavan tolgoi (ETT) – the state company which owns and currently operates the mine -- in domestic and international stock markets. The money thus raised would be used to build infrastructure without delay. The priorities are railroads, roads and a power plant, and a proposal to offer 49% of the Tavantolgoi-Gashuunsukhait railway to foreign investors is under active consideration. Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry D.Sumiyabazar is in a hurry to get the IPO done and is expected to soon announce his choice of the stock market. Right now, there are plans to hold a road show at selected financial centres to drum up interest in the IPO.
Two major conferences – the 8th Coal Mongolia and the 16th Discovery Mongolia -- to be held almost simultaneously in Ulaanbaatar, will give foreign investors a first-hand idea of the present state of the Mongolian mining sector. Government representatives, specifically those from mining and infrastructure ministries and agencies, are expected to present a picture of optimism to the large number of attending investors so that they feel enthusiastic about choosing Mongolia for business. Both conferences are events where traditionally new thinking has been unveiled and investors’ doubts resolved.
To mark the two conferences, our present issue focuses on the Mongolian coal sector and on how international trends affect it. In an interview, A.Belinkin talks about the time decades ago when he prepared a feasibility study for the Tavan Tolgoi mine, and we also give new information about the ETT IPO, the Tavantolgoi-Gashuunsukhait railway, changes in the coking coal market, and the latest figures of extraction and export by Mongolian coal companies. Please enjoy reading all this and more in the following pages.