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Reporter’s diary

  • As the Oyu Tolgoi mine gets ready to begin production next year, heralding a new era in the Mongolian economy -- especially in mining and export -- debates over the OT investment agreement are getting fiercer, with the spotlight turned on those who worked on it.
  • Finally there is news from BaruunTsankhi, the biggest coalfield region in the vast TavanTolgoi deposit. A decision is yet to be taken on the choice of strategic investors to operate BaruunTsankhi, though on this depends outside perception of Mongolia’s stance on foreign investment. 
  • President Ts. Elbergdorj’s speech at the recent Economic Forum was marked by his concern that iron ore was being transported to China day and night. It would indeed be sad if we run out of the reserves when we finally set up the capacity to process iron ore. One is reminded of the Mongolian saying, “Putting on the coat after the rain is gone”. 
  • By G.Iderkhangai

    The hard work of the young people at Ukhaa Khudag, the first coal handling and preparation plant in Mongolia, matched the intensity of the Gobi heat. This is what immediately struck the group of journalists and lecturers of Mongolian University of Science and Technology who had been taken by Energy Resource LLC to their Ukhaa Khudag deposit to see the how the plant worked. One day is not enough to understand what it took the company two years to set up but we came back with a fair idea of the importance and significance of the plant in Mongolia’s, and the company’s, future. The Ukhaa Khudag deposit has 435 million tons of coal and can be mined for at least 25 years. Energy Resource produced 3.9 million tons of coal last year, and this year’s target is 7 million tons, of which 4 million tons will be exported via the present plant.   
  • G.Iderkhangai visits the Museum of Geology and Mineral Resources and marvels at the variety of Mongolia’s subterranean wealth.

    Seeing is believing, they say, and it is certainly better than listening a thousand times. The truth of this was very forcefully brought to me on a recent visit to the Museum of Geology and Mineral Resources at the Library of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology. We were fortunate to have Professor J. Lhamsuren as our guide. He heads the museum, the only one of its kind in the country, and has spent half a lifetime making it into the wonder that it is, earning in the process the reputation of being an encyclopedia of minerals and precious rocks.  
  • G. Iderkhangai sees the future coming up in Tsogttsetsii soum of  Umnogobi province.

    While we waited for the plane to take us to the Gobi on this assignment, my companion cameraman told me I should have worn more warm clothes. I wondered if we would find everything under snow and if a sand storm would make things worse. As we took off, there was an announcement that the temperature at destination would be -2 C, and further reassurance came when I looked out and saw the naked yellow steppe below, all snow melted away. I also heard someone saying it had snowed in Tsogttsetsii for a few days, but it took just one day of the proper spring weather to melt it all away.  
  • Visitors to the Mine Tech 2011 exhibition earlier this month could see that there was handful of Mongolian manufacturers among the exhibitors. Almost all the suppliers and providers of mining machinery and equipment showing their range of products to the Mongolian mining fraternity were foreign, though many were represented by their local distributors.
  • O. Khostsetseg accompanied Ts. Elbegdorj on a visit to the mining areas of the Gobi and saw how he was moved by herders’ grievances. It is now for both mining and Government officials to ensure his promises to the local people are kept.

    Suddenly as President Ts. Elbegdorj looked out, to the distant horizon, he seemed lost in his thoughts for a while. Until then, he had been asking the MPs with him and the senior company executives some hard, even fierce questions, but now he looked mellowed. I could only guess that the softening came because the wide steppe of the Gobi and the Mount Khan Javkhlant had whispered something to him. Nature does deliversilent messages to a sympathetic human heart. The ancient Mount Khan Javkhlant might have whispered some little word of great value… the locals do believe that the blue sky stretched above the Gobi desert brings wisdom and comfort to visitors.

  • Khaliun Bayar reviews the Mongolian Day at the Asia Mining Congress in Singapore in April.

          With global demand for commodities rising rapidly, particularly in China, Mongolia’s several  world class deposits have been much in the news. The Mongolian Day at the Asia Mining Congress in Singapore in April was meant to showcase Mongolia as a great place to invest in, and speakers stressed its strategic location, the Government’s efforts to attract foreign investment, and the measures being taken to provide a safe business environment.  
  • When I was a child the Shiveekhuren and Gashuunsukait ports used to be open for 20 days in every quarter, and my parents, who went to work there, would bring for us all sorts of nice things when they came home for the break. I remember how we used to look forward to their return after the brief absence, not just because of what they brought in exchange for wool and cashmere but also because of the stories they told of the place, giving us an inkling of a kind of  life unknown to us. I begged them to take me along when they would go again but my mother was firm that it was too ugly a place for a child.

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