Jan. 12 – Air pollution kills about 1,600 people in Ulaanbaatar every year, and is the cause of an additional 8,500 hospital admissions for lung and heart diseases, according to a joint study undertaken by the World Bank and the Mongolian Ministry of Nature.
According to the study, the concentration of dust particles in the air is 35 times the standard recommended by the World Health Organization (WTO). According to the new report released by the WTO in September 2011, Ulaanbaatar is the second most polluted city in the world and it is also the world’s coldest capital city. Continue reading
Jan. 11 – The landlocked Mongolia – mostly known for being rich in coal and copper and for the mining industry driving national growth – will set its very first wind farm this year.
Mongolia has the potential to generate 2.6 million megawatts of wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower according to jointly collected data from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Mongolian National Renewable Energy Center.
The landlocked country with its high and wide windswept plains has a great resource in wind power, but is not using it. On average, wind blows at least 25 feet a second in the Gobi Desert, which also ranks third globally in terms of solar generation potential. The Gobi Desert is a vast region of sand and desert steppe covering almost 30 percent of the Mongolian territory. Continue reading
Nov. 17 – Mongolia is to launch one of the world’s biggest ice-making experiments later this month in an attempt to combat the adverse affects of global warming and the urban heat island effect. The geo-engineering trial, that is being funded by the Ulaanbaatar city government, aims to “store” freezing winter temperatures in a giant block of ice that will help to cool and water the city as it slowly melts during the summer.
The scientists behind the 1 billion tugrik (US$700,000) project hope the process will reduce energy demand from air conditioners and regulate drinking water and irrigation supplies. If successful, the model could be applied to other cities in the far north. The project aims to artificially create “naleds” – ultra-thick slabs of ice that occur naturally in far northern climates when rivers or springs push through cracks in the surface to seep outwards during the day and then add an extra layer of ice during the night. Unlike regular ice formation on lakes – which only gets to a meter in thickness before it insulates the water below – naleds continue expanding for as long as there is enough water pressure to penetrate the surface. Many are more than seven meters thick, which means they melt much later than regular ice. Continue reading
Aug. 10 – Mongolia-focused oil explorer Petro Matad has said it has found hydrocarbons at one of its wells in Eastern Mongolia, almost a year after it discovered oil at the first well it drilled in the region. The explorer said initial analysis at its Davsan-Tolgoi-4 (DT-4) well pointed to an oil interval containing a minimum of six meters of net pay — the zone of a reservoir that contains economically producible oil.
Petro Matad said the deeper regions of the reservoir also exhibited the presence of hydrocarbons and further analysis was being carried out at the site. Continue reading
Jun. 3 – Every Mongolian has just been given shares in the Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi IPO, as was suggested would happen by us earlier in the year. The offering, in a coal mining operation commonly referred to as “TT” (for Tavan Tolgoi), is designed to ensure every Mongolian national shares in the new wealth being created through the development of the country’s mining sector.
Income from the global mining sector is pouring into Mongolia, lifting the current rate of GDP growth to 12 percent this year with predictions of it rising to 30 percent by 2015. Mongolia’s stock exchange, which has recently entered into a partnership with the London Stock Exchange, is soaring to previously unheard of highs, while the Mongolian national currency, the togrog, is the world’s fastest appreciating currency unit. That is giving rise to concerns about inflation and fears that traditional industries such as agriculture and cashmere could face problems as costs rise in a competitive market. Continue reading
Jun. 1 – In yet another sign of the increasing value and strength of Mongolian companies, Mongolian Mining Corp (MMC) has agreed to pay US$464 million for a coking project owned by Hong Kong’s Kerry Group. MMC, which is Mongolia’s biggest coking coal exporter, signed the deal on Tuesday to buy QGX Coal from Kerry Mining and could end up paying as much as US$950 million if the mine hits certain targets. The deal is the biggest acquisition by a Mongolian mining company to date.
QGX Coal owns the Baruun Naran project within the Tavan Tolgoi coal fields in the South Gobi Desert. The mine contains 185 million tons of confirmed reserves and 282 million tons of additional resources, adding to MMC’s existing 286 million tons of reserves and 500 million tons of resources. MMC will make an upfront cash payment of US$100 million and has raised US$85 million through a convertible loan with an 18-month maturity, 20 percent premium and a 2 percent coupon. Kerry is providing a vendor loan of US$279 million that is due to be settled with a few months of the closing. Continue reading
Apr. 6 – The Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and the Mongolian Government recently released the 10th annual list of the top 100 businesses in Mongolia. Like in previous years, this year’s list is dominated by private enterprises.
During 2010, workers for private enterprises accounted for 88 percent of all those currently employed. Private businesses also contribute to around 80 percent of Mongolia’s GDP. Moreover, 2010 saw the first IPO by a Mongolian company. Continue reading
Mar. 9 – Seven bidders, including Arcelor Mittal, Vale, Xstrata, Peabody, Shenhua and Mitsui, plus a Japanese, Korean and Russian consortium have been shortlisted to develop Mongolia’s massive Tavan Tolgoi reserves.
The site, owned by Mongolia’s state-owned Erdenes, has 6 billion tons of coal reserves and is capable of producing 15 million tons annually for over 30 years. The site is expected to require an initial US$7.3 billion investment to get it ready for development. A separate IPO is also being planned for the mine, with estimates this could raise at least US$15 billion. Continue reading