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Opinion

  • In his speech at Coal Mongolia 2018, Yang Xianfeng, Director General of the Economic Operations Department of the China National Coal Association, asserted that the Blue Sky programme in China is opening up vast opportunities for Mongolia’s coal exporters and hoped they would make full use of these. 
  • 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.
  • The spring session of Parliament ended on a high note of hope, as on the closing day it approved the resolution to begin work on putting Tavan Tolgoi (TT) into economic circulation, thus giving the Government the formal green signal to realise a long-cherished dream.
  • Khuvsgul is now officially a non-mining aimag, following a decision taken by the 7th Citizens’ Representative Khural (CRK) on April 20 to bring the area south of the 50th latitude under special local protection. Earlier, in 2009 the Khural had kept apart the area north of that latitude for the aimag’s special needs for a period of 5 years, a period that was extended by 25 years in 2014.
  • As we near the halfway mark of the year, the commodity market continues to be good, bringing hope that the country’s economy will soon be restored to health. As things look brighter, old projects are brought out of storage, and their likely implementation discussed. Some changes to the State policy on railway are almost certain to be made, and there is talk of building some railways exclusively for minerals export. We have chosen railway as the focus of this issue and give you extensive and comprehensive information on these.
  • Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh, who is to pay an official visit to China on 10-13 April, will be followed there by President Kh.Battulga in June, the dates yet to be decided. There is no official word on the subjects to be discussed by them and the agreements to be signed, but the general expectation is that these will focus on collaboration in Mongolian mega projects so that economic growth is accelerated.
  • Some long-awaited amendments to the Mineral Law on 24 January, 2014 finally brought cheer to the gold sector. Royalty rates were reduced to 2.5 percent, the system of progressive royalties was withdrawn, and Mongolbank was made responsible for refining and exporting all gold mined in Mongolia. These amendments are to be in force until January next year, and it is now a good time to assess how beneficial they have been for the sector. On that evaluation will depend whether the amended regulations and practices should continue.
  • For Mongolia, 2017 ended as the year of Mr Coal. Economic growth surpassed expectations   mainly because coal exports earned revenue beyond projection, despite an unanticipated slowdown in the second half of the year. Given the total reliance of our economy on the mining sector, we need a positive minerals market to come out of the economic crisis fast. We were lucky in 2017, but what lies in store for us in the year that has begun?
  • The Mongolian extractive sector, in its modern avatar, completed 95 years in 2017. Archaeological relics indicate that Mongolians practised mining 5000 years ago, but scientific mining began in 1922, with the post-People’s Revolution government deciding to commence coal extraction work at Nalaikh. The date of that decision is celebrated annually as “miners’ holiday”.
  • Some basic features of the system of issuing mining licences, in force for the past 20 years, have now been changed. Allocation after application is out, replaced by a selection process. This is a major policy change, and was hurriedly included among amendments to the Minerals Law that were quickly discussed and passed when the State budget 2018 was approved.
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