2009 Highlights, Coping with Winter Weather, & Money to Citizens

By , 13 January, 2010, 4 Comments

Mongolia Business Podcast Summary: Mongolia’s 2009 business news highlights; Coping with winter weather in Mongolia; Parliament approves 324 billion tugrugs in handouts to citizens

Mongolian Ice Game "Musun Shagai"

Mongolians playing a traditional Mongolian ice game called "musun shagai", which literrally means "ice ankle bone".

Mongolia Business Podcast Highlights: Parliament recently approved to allocate 324 billion tugrugs, roughly 220 million USD, which essentially gives money away to Mongolian citizens.  Human Development Fund distribute 120,000 tugrugs for each citizen, 70,000 before Tsagaan Sar, or Mongolian New Year, and 50,000 tugrugs after the Tsagaan Sar…

SouthGobi Energy Resources may spend up to $800 million USD to improve operations and better supply customers in China…

Some big events in 2009 were headed by the signing of Oyu Tolgoi (OT) agreement on October 6, 2009, a very good auspicious day.  There was a collapse of two major banks and a merger of two other banks.  In March 2009, Mongolian tugrug fluctuated from 1100 tugrugs to up to 1700 tugrugs before heading back down to 1500 tugrugs.  Prime Minister Bayar resigned…

Weather in Mongolia is currently -30 to -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Celsius is -40 degrees Fahrenheit).

How do we cope with it?

  1. Stay inside.
  2. Dress with too many layers or wear fur
  3. Eat Mongolian diet

Why Mongolians crank up the heat to about 25 degrees (85 Fahrenheit) inside?  It’s freezing outside, but people are wearing shorts inside…. Black stuff on roads is the ice.  Another tip to stay warm?  Turn into a ninja.  Only show your eyes and cover everything, wear layers of clothing, eat mutton, and don’t go out too much…

Click here to listen to entire podcast episode: Mongolia Business podcast by Mongolia Business Blog (MBB)

“Mongolian Law and Legal Environment” with James Liotta of Lehman Lee & Xu

By , 21 December, 2009, 3 Comments

James Liotta Lehman Lee XuOverview: Mongolia has a developing judicial system, sometimes even described as “rotten to the core”.  People need to do due diligence before coming to Mongolia to do business.  Following the law to your best ability from the beginning will help prevent issues later.

For business news, the state budget containing 76 Billion tugrugs or 1 billion tugrug per each MP, has been passed, even after a veto by the President of Mongolia.  Millennium Challenge Account is investing more than hundred million USD for clean air and road infrastructure projects.  Boroo Gold mining company has agreed to donate 1 million USD for new national park being developed in Ulaanbaatar.

For “Mongolia Business” podcast update, we received some recommendations from one of our listeners.  We also received a five star review on iTunes.

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Democracy, Railroad, & Jim Dwyer of Business Council of Mongolia

By , 12 December, 2009, 5 Comments


20th anniversary of Mongolian democracy, railroad, & BCM Executive Director Jim Dwyer

December 11, 2009: December 10th is a very important day in Mongolian history.  On this date, Mongolians gathered at the square and peacefully protested for democracy of Mongolia. It was one of the most peaceful yet successful demonstrations in history…  (Download the podcast here: Mongolia Business podcast)

There is a dispute over the railroad between the private sector and Mr. Battulga, the Minister of Road and Transportation.  Additionally, there is a need for a railroad in South Gobi.  Current transportation methods do not meet the needs to transport the mining resources.  Leighton LLC has just been contracted to build the railroad, separately from the mining contract…

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Nuclear Energy and Uranium in Mongolia

By , 11 December, 2009, 2 Comments

Mr. Eric de SEZE, General Director & CEO of Areva Mongolia, “Nuclear Energy and Uranium” “PART TWO of BCM Meeting Highlights”

On Monday, December 7, 2009, Business Council of Mongolia (BCM) held its last meeting of the year.  Guest speakers Mr. B. Enhuyag, First Deputy Governor of Bank of Mongolia and Mr. Eric de SEZE, General Director & CEO of Areva Mongolia discussed “Views on Current Macro-Economics and Mongolia’s Banking Sector” and “Nuclear Energy and Uranium”, respectively.

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Current Macro-Economics and Mongolia’s Banking Sector

By , 11 December, 2009, 1 Comment

Mr. B. Enhhuyag, First Deputy Governor of Bank of Mongolia, “Views on Current Macro-Economics and Mongolia’s Banking Sector” “PART ONE of BCM Meeting Highlights”

On Monday, December 7, 2009, Business Council of Mongolia (BCM) held its last meeting of the year.  Guest speakers Mr. B. Enhhuyag, First Deputy Governor of Bank of Mongolia and Mr. Eric De SEZE, General Director & CEO of Areva Mongolia discussed “Views on Current Macro-Economics and Mongolia’s Banking Sector” and “Nuclear Energy and Uranium”, respectively.

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December 2009: Cultural Events of the Month

By , 8 December, 2009, 3 Comments

A friend of mine emailed me this.  The source was “The Arts Council of Mongolia“.



Modern Art Gallery

Dec 4 – Dec 30

The Modern Art Gallery of Mongolia is hosting its annual ‘Best Artworks of the Year’ competitive exhibition from December 4 until December 30. There are 120 artworks in the exhibition, and they will be judged over two weeks. A select few will then be brought into the gallery’s collection at the conclusion of the exhibition.

For more information please call 327177 or 331687


(Tel: 323954, 99283116, 88083116)
Web address: www.mon-ensemble.mn

  • 14-15th 7 PM   ‘Mongolian Melody’ performance


(Tel: 321444, 328833, 323954)

Please call for a detailed schedule


(Tel: 70118012)

Please call for a detailed schedule

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Traffic Stop Line, IT Industry, & Mongolian hackers

By , 5 December, 2009, 1 Comment


December 4, 2009: This week, we discuss traffic laws, Mongolian IT industry, and Mongolian hacker vs. a peeping Mongol.  (Download the podcast here: Mongolia Business podcast)

Mongolians and ex-pats alike may have noticed that cars are no longer stopping on pedestrian crossings.  There is a reason for that.  For the past two weeks, any automobile that stopped past the traffic stop line for cars, was fined 5,000 or 10,000 tugrugs (3-8 dollars).  This is 3-8 percent of minimum wage.  There is also an upcoming jaywalknig law with fines as much as 20,000 to 30,000 tugrugs…

Bayarsaikhan started Singleton LLC three years ago.  After some employee and startup challenges, the web development is starting to pick up steam.  In March, the company launched BizNetwork.mn, the Mongolian version of LinkedIn.  It is now already a top 20 website and by far the best website in its category.

We also discuss a very interesting story from this summer where a Mongolian “white hat” hacker exposed the people behind an oft-despised underground website.  The ensuing happenings engulfed all of Mongolian young office workers as the two parties duked it out…

  • Podcasters: Bobby Barnes, Mergen Chuluun, & Lhagva Erdene.
  • Guest Speakers: Bayarsaikhan of Singleton LLC and Tamir of Mongolian Software Industry Association.

Thank you for listening.  Please give us feedback on how we can improve our podcast.  Please let us know if you would like us to cover any specific topics.  You can reach as on Twitter.com/MongoliaBiz and at MongoliaBusinessBlog (at) gmail (dot) com.

James Passin Bullish on Mongolian Stock Market

By , 26 November, 2009, 2 Comments

Today, while going through some articles on Mongolia, I ran across an article that happened to cover the Mongolian stock market by a stock market guru named James Passin.  It was a lucky find as the article mostly talked about Berrylium.  Anyway, please read on.

As you will find, James is very bullish on the local Mongolian stock market.


Mongolian Stock Market Overview

TER: Any other regional international plays that you can discuss with us?

JP: Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (NYSE:IVN, TSX:IVN) , the Canadian exploration company, finally executed an agreement with the Mongolian government with respect to the development of Oyu Tolgoi, the world’s largest undeveloped copper mine. This is a massive mine that will generate $5 billion of revenue per year for over 50 years. While this is a positive development of Ivanhoe, a stock that we’ve been trading from the long side all year, it will be much bigger story for the Mongolian stock market.

Mongolia GDP is only about $5 billion, so Oyu Tolgoi, or OT as the mine is called, will transform the prospects for employment and per capita GDP growth. A great wall of domestic liquidity will support the local stock market, creating a new bull market which will last for decades. The local stock market currently has depressed valuation and almost zero liquidity. Mongolia has structural similarities to other emerging markets that started out with very low market capitalizations, such Vietnam or the smaller Gulf states. There are 24 mineral projects that have been deemed strategic by the Mongolian government and that represent potential sources of commodity exports. The Ivanhoe deal marks the beginning of the Mongolian mining boom and I think the most leveraged long-term way to play this mining boom is through the local stock market.

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H1N1 Causing Food Price Inflation – Mongolians Are Not Happy

By , 17 November, 2009, 6 Comments


Seabuckthorn prices have increased by 1500-2500 tugrugs per kilo in Mongoolia

Due to the outbreak of H1N1, there is increased demand for food products that enhance body’s immune system and help fight against the flu.  As a result, pricing for garlic, sea-buckthorn, “aarts”, and horse meat have seen inflationary pricing over the last few weeks.  News coverage has been high as locals have been quite upset and have demanded price controls.

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Ivanhoe Mines Financial Results and Review of Operations (Third Quarter of 2009)

By , 15 November, 2009, 2 Comments
On November 13, 2009, the following article was released on CNN Money.   It contains highlights from Ivanhoe Mines’ financial tesults and review of operations.  The full PDF can be downloaded from the Ivanhoe Mines website.


Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (TSX: IVN)(NYSE: IVN)(NASDAQ: IVN) today announced its results for the quarter ended September 30, 2009. All figures are in US dollars, unless otherwise stated.


– On October 6, Ivanhoe Mines and its strategic partner, Rio Tinto, joined with the Government of Mongolia in a state ceremony for the signing of an Investment Agreement for the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project. The Investment Agreement establishes a stable legal, fiscal and regulatory environment for the construction and operation of the Oyu Tolgoi mining complex.

– On October 27, Ivanhoe received $388 million from Rio Tinto, increasing Rio Tinto’s equity ownership in Ivanhoe Mines to 19.7%. The additional funds will be used to help build and commission the open-pit mine and to advance development of the underground block-cave mine at Ivanhoe’s Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia.

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Should You Be Wearing a Mask?

By , 10 November, 2009, 6 Comments

N95-RespiratorThere are quite a bit of confusion over this matter.  With all the H1N1, or the swine flu, all around, shouldn’t we all be wearing masks?  There is definitely some “swine panic” in Mongolia as prices of garlic, horse meat, “aarts”, and seabuckthorne juices have skyrocketed in response to the H1N1 flu.  Many people are wearing masks in Mongolia.  Some organizations are even going as far as requiring people to wear masks.  As a result, I set out to do a brief research into the matter: do I or you really need to be wearing masks?  Should you?

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H1 or Swine Flu Case in Mongolia

By , 10 November, 2009, 7 Comments

November 9, 2009

Mongolian Ministry of Health logo

Mongolian Ministry of Health logo

According to Ministry of Health and as of 10am on Monday morning November 9, 2009, there are 929 laboratory-tested cases of H1N1 virus infections in Mongolia.  Of that 722 are in Ulaanbaatar city and 207 in rest of the country.

In total, there are 17 “aimags”, or provinces, that are registered as having H1N1 cases.  Bayan-Ulgii, Dund-Gobi, Gobi-Altai, and Sukhbaatar aimgags do not have any registered cases yet.

Here is the breakdown of the H1N1 cases by aimags: Arkhangai 8, Bayankhongor 3, Bulgan 7, Gobi-Sumber 16, Darkhan-Uul 23, Dorno-Gobi 24, Dornod 13, Zavkhan 3, Orkhon 15, Uvur-Khangai 26, Umnu-Gobi 2, Selenge 20, Tuv 10, Uvs 6, Hovd 19, Huvsgul 1, Hentii 11

In total, 29.8 percent, or 1166, out of the 3910 people who were serviced by ambulance were diagnosed with flu or flu-like disease.

Source: Ministry of Health (www.moh.mn)

Winter Smog Has Come Back in UB

By , 26 October, 2009, 2 Comments
Smoggy Days of Winter Has Arrived in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Mongolians have a word for winter in UB: “ugaar”.  The word is made of two words “utaa” meaning smog and “agaar” meaning air.  This pretty much sums up the winter feelings of many in UB: smoggy air.
This is now my third winter in Mongolia since I came back to my home country “to gain International experience” (we’ll cover that another time). In any case, each fall and at the onset of each winter the issue of smog in Ulaanbaatar comes to the forefront of citizens, media, and politicians alike.  It’s not a pretty sight.  With 100,000 families living in “gers” (traditional Mongolian yurts) all around UB to the East, North, and West and burning coal and whatever they can find to stay warm, the air is filled with these toxic fumes and the air becomes smoggy.
Here are some photos from January 2008, but believe me things are still the same here… even after “all the hard work and effort” by the politicians and everyone else involved.
[insert photo 1]
[insert photo 2]
I will add that Ulaanbaatar is not very humid and has slight breeze, so very often these smog are cleared, especially during the day.  And, without folks in “gers” smoking everyone else in the city and without some of the automobiles with horrible smog, Ulaanbaatar would be one of the cities with the cleanest air in the world.
Without any sarcasm, if everyone who are involved and who are not currently involved with this issue takes a stronger stance in helping the city as a whole have a better air, we can ALL have a city with awesome air.  All of our children, friends, family, and guests can live and breathe without putting up with this smog.
A special thanks to everyone who really are trying to make a difference in this area.

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA – Mongolians have a word for winter in UB: “ugaar”.  The word is made of two words “utaa” meaning smog and “agaar” meaning air.  This pretty much sums up the winter feelings of many in UB: smoggy air.

Winter smog in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

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Nuclear Energy Law Quietly Passed

By , 22 October, 2009, 1 Comment

After 18 months of negotiations and wrangling over a nuclear energy law, the Mongolia State Ikh Khural (Parliament) quietly passed the Nuclear Energy Law (NEL) in July of this year.  During a recent public forum on the NEL sponsored by the Mongolian National Mining Association several members of Parliament admitted the law had been proposed and passed in less than two weeks during July.  This, of course, begs the question of why a law that regulates such an important and potentially dangerous sector was passed so quickly and presumably without much input from other stakeholders in the nuclear sector in Mongolia.

Why a law that regulates such an important and potentially dangerous sector was passed so quickly…

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