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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 An Extraordinary Session of Parliament was held in late August which modified or repealed several laws that paved the way for the signing of the Agreement followed by report that it would be signed by the end of September.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.

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