Archive for August, 2009

Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement

The basic framework for the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement is now much closer to being finalized after the Government of Mongolia agreed to pass amendments to four laws, including the repeal of the controversial Windfall Profits tax, the Corporate Income Tax Law, the Water Use Law and the Road Law.

Following is the transcript of the Power Point presentation that we have posted on SlideShare.  Please note, this is for informational purposes only and may not be the final version signed.

Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement presentation slideshow:

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Mongolia Inches Closer to Oyu Tolgoi Deal

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

According the today’s edition of The Mongol Messenger, an English-language newspaper in Mongolia, and several other sources amendments to four laws were approved yesterday by the Mongolian Ikh Khural, or Parliamnet, in a bid to increase the likelihood of the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement’s passing.  An extraordinary session of Parliament was convened last Wednesday, August 19, in order to discuss these possible changes to Mongolian law.

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Chinggis Khan, Mongolian Leader, Died Today in 1227

August 18, 2009

Chinggis Khan died this day in history, in the year 1227.   The cause of his death remains a mystery, with some claiming he succumbed to injuries sustained after falling from his horse due to fatigue and injury from battle, while others claim he was killed in battle by the Tanguts and still others say he was killed by a Tangut princess taken during a battle.  Chinggis’ place of burial remains a mystery as it is said anybody who crossed the path of the burial procession was killed.  It is alleged to be near his birthplace in Khentii Aimag, in the east of Mongolia.  His successor to lead the Mongolian empire was Ugudei. Read the rest of this entry »

Translation in Mongolia 101 – Mongolian Translation Challenges Addressed

August 14, 2009

When it comes to Mongolian translation, people typically have five main questions.

The  questions are: how do I find a reliable translator; how much should I pay; how do I know my translation is accurate; how can I get an official translation; and do I have to execute my business documents in Mongolian language?

Mongolian translation overview

Translation is much more of an art that an exact science.  Put ten translators in a room and each one will have a different take on how something should be worded.  All translations are definitely not created equal; they drastically differ in quality depending on the translator’s skills, experience and knowledge of the particular topic of translation.   What should you or your business be on the lookout for when looking for a translator?  Listed below are the top five things people typically want to know about Mongolian translation.

1.  How do I find a reliable Mongolian translator?

This is perhaps the biggest issue many people face when needing to have something translated, especially if it is an important document like a contract or agreement.  There is, unfortunately, no sure-fire way of knowing if a translator is going to suit your needs.  It takes time to find a good, reliable translator who you can count on to do a good job every time.  Word-of-mouth referrals and suggestions from others are obviously good start in finding a translator.  Once several prospective translators have been found it would be a wise to ask for a list of past clients and samples of translations.  It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a couple of translators translate the same document and compare the translations.  This is a search into which it is worth putting some time and effort.

Of course translators can be found through your favorite search engine, but for local Mongolian translators this probably will not lead to very many solid results.  Translation companies can also be found scattered throughout the city, with several located on Peace Avenue, near the State Department Store. Read the rest of this entry »

Light At the End of the Tunnel for Oyu Tolgoi?

August 13, 2009

There has been an update in the Mongolian media on the latest in the on-going saga that is the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement.

According to news outlets in Mongolia the Cabinet and National Security Council have approved the latest changes that have been forged during the last round of negotiations.  These include:

  • Project investment reduced to US4 billion from a previous US5 billion;
  • Mongolia’s investment for its 34% shares will be US816 million, half the amount of previous discussions;
  • There will be a prepayment loan to the Government of Mongolia in the amount of US250 million, with 5% annual interest rate, which is a lower interest rate than in previous negotiations; and
  • No exemption from Customs Tax or refund of VAT already paid by the companies. Read the rest of this entry »

Perseid Meteor Shower to Light Up East Asian Skies

August 12, 2009

The annual Perseid meteor shower will be at its peak tonight, during the wee hours of August 13.  According to the Sky and Telescope publication the showers will be at their peak at 1800 GMT (2 am Mongolian time), with dozens of meteors falling through the atmosphere.

The meteor shower is a result of the Earth making its annual passage through space debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle from our close encounter with it in 1992.  The most intense meteor showers occurred  during the early 1990s just after the passing of the comet, with hundreds of meteors  an hour visible.

The meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus.  As the debris rains down it looks as if it’s originating from the constellation.

Source:  World News Australia,

Mongolian Currency Law – Transactions MUST Be in Tugrugs

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA – New Mongolian currency law takes effect on August 9, 2009.  Starting on this date, all Mongolian businesses and agencies must do business in tugrugs (often referred as tugriks), the Mongolian official currency, and not in foreign denominated or foreign currency based rates.

The Government of Mongolia passed the law in July 2009 to better control the currency fluctuations as a response to the sudden devaluation of the tugrug in March 2009.  Mongolian government is taking the currency measures seriously and have passed severe penalties for the offense.  It is well advised for companies to follow the government’s new law.

Sudden Drop in Tugrug’s Exchange Rate

As the saying goes, any port in a storm will do. As the economic downturn seemed to hit its peak around at the end of 2008 and during the first few months of 2009 the Mongolian tugrug grew increasingly weak against foreign currency. While the exchange rate had been hovering around 1170 tugrugs to the US dollar for several years, it suddenly spiked to over 1700 tugrugs per dollar in March. As a result individuals and businesses began to conduct more and more business in US dollars, British pounds or other convertible currencies.

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Doing Business in Mongolia: What to Expect

August 4, 2009

Foreign Expectations of Doing Business

Often foreign businessmen come into Mongolia with the expectations that doing business in Mongolia is going to the similar to working in the US, Europe, or Australia, or at the very least like China or Russia.  While there are definitely similarities between Mongolia and the rest of the world, doing business here is usually very different from what many foreigners expect.

Companies often expect Mongolia to be similar to China or Russia because of the proximity to these countries.  There are definite similarities, especially bureaucratically, to the old Soviet system, and there are hints of Chinese business practices, in no small part due to the amount of Chinese investment in Mongolia.  Despite this, Mongolians maintain their own brand of doing business that is a blend of past influences mixed with future ambitions.

Many people lose sight of the fact that Mongolians have only really been doing business in a fully capitalist system for 20 years.  The West has been practicing capitalism for centuries, making it very easy for those of us who have grown up in capitalist societies to forget about the newcomers.  Capitalism is ingrained in most of us who grew up in the West and therefore we perhaps have fewer problems with capitalist business models than those who grew up in different systems.

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