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Mine

  • How Oyu Tolgoi LLC decides to source the electricity to meet the needs of its mine will also decide the fate of the Tavan Tolgoi power plant, a proposed mega project that would meet the power needs of both industrial and domestic users across a large swathe of the country. As the Mongolian Government and Oyu Tolgoi seek to reach an agreement on the matter, the two partners in the company charged with taking the Tavan Tolgoi power plant (TTPP) project forward – Japan’s Marubeni (66%) and MCS Energy (34%) -- must be wondering what would be left for them to do. 
  • Not many were convinced that the brief, and somewhat sudden, visit to Mongolia by Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques was solely or really to inaugurate on 22 January the company’s new office in Mongolia, separate from Oyu Tolgoi LLC. Such events do not usually warrant the presence of the chief executive of a global giant.
  • Mongolians are happy to endlessly talk about their successes, and to rest on them. Thus it is no surprise that they are still full of how good 2017 was for the mining industry and exports revenue. No one seems to notice that almost no progress was made last year on any of the promised and promising mega projects, and no new major investment is in the pipeline. With no elections due, no change in government likely, and no pressure of debt repayment, will 2018 see an expression of the political will to take these projects forward?
  • Looking back at 2017 as a whole, one sees it as a year of both positives and negatives for the country’s development, and also as a period when the mining sector was kept busy throughout. The export market for all the main minerals was up, and the sector continued to be the main driver of economic growth. It was not smooth sailing all the time, though, with problems and disputes cropping up ever so often, as this overall survey will show.
  • Last June, Russia celebrated the 125th anniversary of the longest rail line in the world. It was indeed an event to celebrate, as 70 per cent of the country’s rail freight is carried along these tracks through the Siberian landscape, an area with a huge amount of natural resources.
  • Since boom-bust-boom cycles are normal in commodity markets, it is essential for resource-rich countries to manage their underground wealth prudently, through good times and bad. Some countries have done this more successfully than others, and Norway is taken to be among the best of them, while Mongolia realises it has not been particularly successful in fulfilling its potential.
  • Coal export is to reach 19.5 million tons in 2016, significantly more than in 2015, according to annual plans submitted by 47 coal mines to the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia.
  • One of Mongolia’s biggest coking coal miner Energy Resources re-commenced its extraction in Ukhaa Khudag mine in early December. The company had halted its extraction and coal processing, and announced layoffs with 60 percent of full salaries paid in last July. In September, the company stopped its coal exports and announced layoffs covering approximately 1700 staff with no salary.
  • Mining sector people are watching with concern how exploration licences issued by the MRAM are being rejected by the local communities which, by law, have the final say. Until some time ago, about 70 per cent of such allocated licences have failed to get the nod from local communities.
  • The ancient Mongols have a reputation for having been fierce warriors. A new study out of the University of Pittsburgh shows them to have been unmatched polluters.
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