What if the Wolf Snarls?
Attending the Mongolian Economic Forum this year was not just a welcome occasional foray into an interesting, yet relatively small and obscure Asian country, it was an insight into two main issues. Firstly, for me, it provided a snapshot back in time of a country just emerging from years of depression – much as I found China in fact when I first began working in the country 25 years ago. But secondly, and more importantly, it provided the recognition that what is happening in Mongolia is going to change the way the world sources its most in-demand raw commodities.
Mongolia possesses the world’s largest copper reserves, the second-largest coal reserves, significant onshore oil and
gas fields, the world’s second-largest deposits of rare earths, massive gold and iron ore reserves, and many other hugely significant deposits of minerals ranging from uranium to tungsten and zinc. Put simply, Mongolia’s minerals will provide the world with supplies of many of its most valuable raw minerals for the rest of this century. That’s why the country is suddenly gaining attention, and that is why the Mongolia issue is important.
Opportunities, therefore, are huge for businesses in Mongolia, for mining companies and their supporting industries, as well as for those who will need to create a supply chain that gets both raw and processed products from some relatively inaccessible areas to the global markets. Yet the question always keeps cropping up – what about the risk? A whole host of risk assessment expertise was assembled at the forum, and I can relate their opinions in this article. Chaired by Dun & Bradstreet’s country manager, the session quoted Mongolia’s president: “Our country is in great danger. Precisely because we have a wealth of natural resources.
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