Archive for October, 2009

The Ins & Outs of to Visas to Mongolia

Visas are the bane of travelers everywhere, except possibly diplomats, especially if you are a business traveler. W hen you are traveling you may spend as much time queuing for a visa as actually enjoying your trip.  Visas to visit, live, or work in Mongolia are somewhat readily available but advanced planning is definitely necessary.

The visa and immigration system of Mongolia is covered by the Law of Mongolia on the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens. This law covers everything from diplomatic immunity to the deportation of foreign citizens and everything in between. The English language translation of the law is a short 9 ½ pages, so needless to say the Mongolian Immigration system is quite basic at the moment, which is actually nice in many ways.

When applying for a visa to Mongolia the simplicity of the system will keep you from going crazy trying to figure out the Immigration Office’s rules and regulations. On the other hand when a situation arises that is outside of the scope of the Immigration Law, things get a little bit stickier, although the simplicity does make my job of dispensing visa advice that much easier.

Most visitors will really only have the need for four visa types – a J (tourist), B (business), HG (work) or T (Investor’s) visa.  In the following, text, we will cover these visas as well as some common Mongolian visa issues. Read the rest of this entry »

Things in Mongolia to Avoid Like the Plague

Well, the Actual Plague, For One

As the title implies, you will probably want to actually avoid the plague in Mongolia. While Mongolia has definitely not reached this level…

…the fact of the matter is that the plague is present in the country.  Read the rest of this entry »

Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement Signing Cermony

The Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement was officially signed on the auspicious day of October 6, 2009.  The ceremony was broadcast live throughout Mongolia on Mongolian television and can be seen here:

The stars finally aligned on October 6, 2009 as senior members of the Mongolian Government hosted senior officials from Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc and Rio Tinto International Holdings. October 6 was chosen as the signing day because according to Buddhist lams it is an auspicious day on the Buddhist calendar.

The Oyu Tolgoi site (Turquoise Hill in English) is predicted to be one of the largest reserves of gold and copper in the world, with an estimated mine life of 40 years.  It is also the largest development project and foreign investment in the history of the country.

On a related note, it has been reported that one of the signers of the investment agreement, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister D. Zorigt, yesterday won the by-election for the Parliament seat left vacated by the current Mongolian President Ts. Elbegdorj, who was elected in June of this year.

Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement Finally Signed

After continued negotiations for the better part of the decade the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement has finally been signed by the Government of Mongolia, Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia.

There have been numerous false starts to finalizing the OT agreement this summer. It was rumored that it would be signed before the Naadam national holiday held each summer on July 11-13. An Extraordinary Session of Parliament was held in late August which modified or repealed several laws that paved the way for the signing of the Agreement followed by report that it would be signed by the end of September. Well, September came and went with no movement.

The stars finally aligned, literally and figuratively, yesterday, October 6, 2009 as senior members of the Mongolian Government hosted senior officials from Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc and Rio Tinto International Holdings. October 6 was chosen as the signing day because according to Buddhist lams it is an auspicious day on the Buddhist calendar.

One can only guess what conditions would currently be in Mongolia if the agreement had been signed five years ago and Mongolia had been able to take advantage of the commodity boom.  Hopefully the long wait will be worth it with great changes to both the country and the people of Mongolia hopefully being realized.

I am personally very excited to see what this means for Mongolia’s business community.  With an estimated $30 billion to be generated in tax revenues over 50 years Mongolia is in an enviable position to be financially able to drastically improve the lives of the Mongolian people.  To that effect, Mongolia is setting up a sovereign wealth fund that will be run by professional managers, according to Bloomberg.  The aim of the fund is to disburse a part of the profits from mine sites to everyone in Mongolia, either through cash or non-cash means.