Strong interest in Mongolia at PDAC; investors liked Mining Minister’s candid responses; OT LLC success is now at the center of Mongolia’s unique selling proposition NAMBC Newsletter
Attendance at the March 5 Mongolia@PDAC investors forum during the annual convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada in Toronto was the highest of any prior Mongolia event at PDAC. “When Mining Minister Ts. Dashdorj spoke,” noted NAMBC Chairman Frank Herbert, “it was standing-room only.” Advance registration – 300 -- for the event was more than double the highest previous level. The success, stability and smooth expansion of Oyu Tolgoi LLC was front and center in Mongolia’s unique selling proposition by both government and private sector speakers, which included Dr. Galsan Batsukh, Chairman of OT LLC, who was Mongolia’s first resident ambassador to Canada, as well as the CEOs of other established foreign miners in Mongolia who have been able to attract significant new capital investment as investors warm again to Mongolia’s prospects, including presentations by Steppe Gold, Aspire, Xanadu and Erdene Resource Development (ERD).
At and on the fringes of the PDAC meeting, Minister Dashdorj and other government officials emphasized that:
--Mongolia has no plans to change the size of its stake in the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine and no intention of changing the terms of its relationship with OT;
--Mongolia intends to double the amount of land available for exploration and hopes to build a copper smelting plant; and that the Mineral Resource and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia (MRPAM) will improve the transparency and methodology of bidding for new exploration licenses, in response to wide-spread complaints from both domestic and international investors about the deficiencies of the previous computerized system;
--the government is seriously examining issues involved in the discounted royalty for gold sold to the central bank, which expires on January 1, 2019 and which has been a major incentive to gold mining investment; and that the government was in serious discussions with Centerra on moving forward with the Gatsuurt gold mine, which is the only major new mining project that is even close to shovel-ready;
-- the government will take a fresh look at resolving problems with the vast number of mining licenses abruptly suspended because of overly-broad definitions of environmental considerations in the so-called “Long Name Law;”
-- the government’s plan for amending the mining law would not affect the basic structure of existing law on royalties and other basics but was rather intended to codify technical and regulatory requirements (such as on reclamation and restoration) that were missing or unclear in prior versions of the law;
--the government continues to study options for the Tavan Tolgoi LLC coal mine with interested investors and relevant government ministers with no fixed timetable for a final agreement.
From Toronto, Minister Dashdorj went on to Ottawa for the seventh Canada-0Mongolia Roundtable Meeting on Intergovernmental Cooperation on March 9 in Ottawa. The amicable meeting was co-chaired by Dashdorj and the Assistant Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, Mr. Donald Bobiash; Mongolian Ambassador to Canada R. Altangerel and Canadian Ambassador to Mongolia Ed Jager also participated. Concurring that both nations highly valued Canada’s status as a “Third Neighbor,” both sides agreed to activate collaboration in mining, agriculture, infrastructure and environment, noting that the FIPA investment promotion agreement would help boost two-way trade and investment. The two sides agreed to improve efficiency and broaden the scope of development cooperation; six projects are currently underway in mining, agriculture, public and other sectors.