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NAMBC forms "Committee of 100" to promote FTA;
Ambassador Joe Lake accepts co-chairmanship

To educate government decision-makers about the benefits of a US-Mongolia FTA, the NAMBC is in the process of forming a "Committee of 100 for Mongolia." Former Ambassador Joe Lake, the first resident American ambassador in Ulaanbaatar, has agreed to serve as co-chairman. Ambassador Lake is now a consultant based in Texas and Washington, DC. The Government of Mongolia formally asked the US Government for an FTA in early September 2003. American Ambassador Pam Slutz subsequently told the NAMBC at our Investors' Conference in Ulaanbaatar on September 22 that substantial expression of American corporate, institutional and NGO support for an FTA is absolutely essential to move this project forward. The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), which is in charge of negotiating all FTAs and the US Congress, which must approve all FTAs, need to hear from friends of Mongolia.

The NAMBC is seeking volunteers for the "Committee of 100 for Mongolia" now being formed to coordinate educational activities. The Council is proudly bi-national and acknowledges equal duty to Canada and the US but this project will needs be focused on mobilizing American support.

We need more volunteers -- and volunteers do NOT have to be members of the NAMBC. If you are willing to serve, please let us know.

 

 Ambassador John Dinger salutes merger of NAMBC and AMBG:
           "NGOs must be big to influence government policy"

The merger of the North America-Mongolia Business Council (NAMBC) and the American Mongolian Business Group of Ulaanbaatar, the two principal foreign business advocacy groups in Mongolia, was formally announced and celebrated on June 26, 2003, at a US Embassy reception hosted by Ambassador John Dinger, who played a key role in brokering the merger agreement. Diplomatic sources said this event was the largest reception held at the embassy during the Ambassador's tenure.The combined organization will be continue to be known as the NAMBC, will maintain its permanent headquarters in the Washington, D.C. area and expects to open an Ulaanbaatar office within a few months. Members of the AMBG will be represented on the NAMBC Board of Directors, which recently elected Agricultural Bank CEO J. Peter Morrow, chairman of the former AMBG, as Council Vice Chairman. Morrow will head the NAMBC Ulaanbaatar coordinating committee, now being organized.

Under new membership categories, for the first time Mongolian companies, in addition to Canadian and American companies, may join as Voting Members.

New NAMBC Vice Chairman Pete Morrow (right) presents original Mongolian paintings to Ambassador John Dinger (center) and AMBG Founding Chairman Maury Lynch at June 26 Embassy reception in appreciation of their important contributions to advancing foreign investment and to the NAMBC-AMBG merger.
Annual dues for non-voting members of any nationality will be reduced by more than 50% effective in the 2004 dues year.
At his remarks at the reception, Ambassador Dinger first noted that "there is nothing more important to Mongolia's success than encouraging private foreign - and private Mongolian -- investment." He said foreign direct investment can contribute ten times as much money to Mongolia than donor assistance, emphasizing that "private sector investment puts real wealth, real jobs, and real economic growth into Mongolia."

Second, Dinger declared that "NGO's must be big in order to have the power to influence government policies." He urged other Mongolian NGOs to follow the example of the two American business groups and merge in order to magnify their influence.Finally, the Ambassador called on Mongolian and foreign businesses "to vigorously and continuously advocate policies to the government" that will make it easier for them to do business in Mongolia. "They need to do that," he said, "so that they can make money."The Ambassador urged Mongolian government officials to listen to what businesses have to say. "They need to do that," he said, "so Mongolia can become a prosperous nation where everyone willing to work hard can succeed."NAMBC Chairman Jalsa Urubshurow, one of the original founders of the Council 12 years ago and the first Mongolian-American to head it, called the agreement "a milestone in maturity for the Mongolian foreign investor community" and expressed "the Council's gratitude for the long months of hard work that produced the merger by Ambassador Dinger, Maury Lynch, Pete Morrow, Doug McGay, Jim Wagenlander and Ed Story." New Vice Chairman J. Peter Morrow said, “This agreement reflects the need to better focus the foreign business community on increasing foreign trade and investment in Mongolia,” said Morrow. “It also captures the synergy of combining the two organizations."NAMBC President Steve Saunders agreed: “This merger means new strengths and opportunities for the members of both organizations, now united into one. The NAMBC will now have a more effective and broader-based presence in Mongolia, Canada and the US. We look forward to expanding the Council dialogue with the Mongolian government and the vibrant Mongolian private sector on ways to improve the business climate and accelerate economic development."Saunders also praised the contributions of the three NAMBC resident Vice Presidents in Ulaanbaatar, who are retiring following the merger: "Bob Vachon of SOCO, Ronnie Lamb of Amicale and Badral Yondon of Nomadic Expeditions and their companies' staff were tireless volunteers who effectively represented North America and we are in their debt."The NAMBC, a non-profit American NGO incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1990, is the oldest and largest foreign business association linking Mongolia and the West. The NAMBC is a business policy advocate and key information source for Mongolian and North American government officials. It holds two major events a year, one in Mongolia and one in North America, with seminars, speakers and roundtables focused on Mongolian trade and investment. The next is the NAMBC Investors conference and Prime Minister's Roundtable, September 21-23 in Ulaanbaatar.

The AMBG is a Mongolian NGO founded three years ago that conducts regular monthly policy meetings with the US Ambassador and Canadian Honorary Consul, which will continue under NAMBC auspices after the merger. The AMBG has successfully improved the Mongolian trade and investment climate through its tax roundtable, minerals law conference and other events.

US State Department's Director of Mongolia Affairs plus

CEOs of Khan Bank & Mongolian Health Sciences University 

are among speakers at 14th Annual General Meeting of NAMBC

Vancouver, BC, Canada, April 28-29, 2004

Register for AGM NOW- Click HERE for registration form



The 75 foot yacht "Magic Moment"


Vancouver skyline -Canada's gateway to the Pacific


Among the speakers at our 14th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Vancouver, BC, during April 28-29, will be Amanda Morrow Jensen, who directs US-Mongolia relations at the US State Department, Khan Bank CEO Pete Morrow, who heads up NAMBC policy and legislative advocacy operations in Ulaanbaatar as Council Vice Chairman and Dr. Ts. Lkhagvasuren, the distinguished President of the Health Sciences University of Mongolia.

Other speakers will include experts on mining and new business opportunities, on the new US "Millennium Challenge Account" Program and NGO activities in Mongolia of interest to Canadian and American investors and officials of the Mongolian Government. This will be our second AGM in Canada; the first was in Toronto in 2002.

One of the highlights of the AGM will be the concluding dinner on the evening of April 29 aboard the 86-foot luxury yacht M.V. Magic Moment for a sunset cruise. The yacht was designed and built in 1996 to the highest ABS and CSI standards of safety.

Non-members are welcome to attend our AGM. One California investor who joined the NAMBC after attending the last AGM as a non-member wrote us, "Your meeting was the best introduction to doing business in Mongolia we could have hoped for."

We are grateful to the corporate sponsors of our 14th AGM which  include to date  the Boeing Company, Brant Enterprises, Cameco Gold, Caterpillar, Ivanhoe Mines, McMillan Binch Law Firm, Nomadic Expeditions, and Wagner Asia. Also, we are indebted to NAMBC Board of Directors Members Robert Friedland of Ivan hoe Mines and Ken de Graaf of Brant Enterprises for inviting us to Vancouver.

Additional program details will be posted presently and also sent to registered delegates. Please carefully note the upcoming deadlines and instructions for hotel reservations listed below. Please make your hotel reservations and
registration submissions ASAP; space is limited.

Here's the updated preliminary schedule for your planning purposes:

Wednesday, April 28

5:30 PM to 7:30 PM-- Opening Evening Cocktail Reception at Terminal City Club, 837 West Hastings Street, Vancouver,                                BC (Tel: 604-681-4121)  Website:  http://www.tctowerhotel.com

7:45 PM --  Meeting of NAMBC Board of Directors (Board members only)

Thursday, April 29

9:00 AM to 4:45 PM -- Full-day NAMBC Conference including lunch at Pan Pacific Hotel, 999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC  (Tel:  604-662-8111), Website: http://www.meeting.Vancouver.panpacific.com

7:00 PM to 10:00 PM -- Concluding Dinner aboard the 86-foot yacht M.V.Magic Moment; departing promptly at 7:00 from the dock behind the Westin Bayshore Hotel, a 20 minute stroll along the seawall from the Pan Pacific Hotel
Friday, April 30 -- No NAMBC program; departure of delegates

MAKE YOUR HOTEL RESERVATIONS ASAP  -- April 5 is the deadline for hotel reservations but there may still be a few rooms left. All hotels below are within easy walking distance of the primary meeting
venues.

TERMINAL CITY CLUB -- To reserve at this stylish private club, NAMBC attendees must contact Janice Chang at
Terminal City Club directly via at Telephone (604) 681-4121; FAX (604) 681-9634; EMAIL   [email protected] . Be sure to mention the NAMBC meeting in order to get the special rates. Room rates are: Cdn$145 plus tax
for deluxe room; Cdn$185 plus tax for a suite.

PAN PACIFIC HOTEL --Only three rooms still available on a first-come, first served basis at Vancouver's premier hotel under Ivanhoe Mines' special corporate rate. Room rates are: Cdn$149 for city-view rooms; Cdn$170 for harbor-view rooms. All bookings must be made through Ms. Clara Ng at Ivanhoe, Direct Telephone: 604-331-9823; EMAIL [email protected]

DAYS INN --  Only  a few rooms still available during April 28-30 at this reasonably priced hotel within easy walking distance of the Terminal City Club and Pan Pacific Hotel. Non-smoking rooms are available with Queen/King or two double-beds; smoking rooms have Queen/ or two double-beds. The special rate is Cdn$79 per night plus tax versus Cdn$99 rack rate plus
tax. All bookings must be made through Ms. Clara Ng at Ivanhoe, Direct Telephone: 604-331-9823; EMAIL [email protected]


REGISTER NOW TO AVOID LATE FEE -- Following is the schedule of registration fees -- in US Dollars -- for the 14th AGM. Deadline for receipt of registration forms and fees has been moved to Monday, April 12, at the direction of Council Chairman Jalsa Urubshurow because of the Easter and Passover holidays; registrations received thereafter may incur a USD$50 late fee.

Thanks to generous corporate sponsorship and logistical support in Vancouver by Ivanhoe, particularly Ms.Clara Ng Executive Assistant to Peter Meredith, CFO of Ivanhoe Capital Corporation, our fees this year are lower than last year.
Please fax or email to us the registration form ASAP; NAMBC FAX (703) 549-6526.

Non-Member/Individual -- USD$585
Voting Member of NAMBC, Mongolia Society or Canada-China Business Council (CCBC) -- USD$485
Mongolian Companies/Individuals-- USD$385
Non-Profit/Government/International Organizations -- USD$355
University students enrolled full-time -- USD$125

Registration fees may be remitted via checks drawn on a US bank in US dollars to NAMBC, 1015 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-3551 USA or, from outside the US, via bank wire transfer. For wire transfer instructions, contact Ray Lepore, NAMBC's Director of Operations, at [email protected]   Mongolia-based registrants may wire or deposit registration fees to the NAMBC account at the Khan Bank in Ulaanbaatar; for instructions, contact [email protected]


 

 


 

The Chairman and the Board of Directors of the NAMBC cordially invite you to participate in our 6th Annual Investors Conference and Prime Minister's Roundtable in Ulaanbaatar at the Chinngis Khan Hotel, September 21-22-23, 2003. A 5% discount is available to early registrants (see below).

The program includes a reception at the US Embassy, a keynote address by US Ambassador Pam Slutz (invited) and the highly popular annual private Roundtable discussion with Prime Minister N. Enkhbayar at his official residence, Ikh Tenger, together with selected Cabinet Ministers invited by the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister N. Enkhbayar (right) receives NAMBC presentation from Vice Chairman Ed Story at Ikh Tenger following June 2002 Roundtable as Chairman Jalsa Urubshurow (second from left) and President Steve Saunders look on.  
In addition to other presentations by leaders of Parliament and ministers, delegates will take a field trip to sites of major existing and future foreign investment in the Ulaanbaatar area (including free gifts and discount factory shopping) and enjoy a special evening of dining and entertainment at one of Ulaanbaatar's most beautiful buildings. This annual conference grew out of an informal annual meeting with Mongolian government leaders and the NAMBC Board of Directors, which the Board later decided to open to the full membership. Space is limited. [click here for further details and registration form]

 

New owner is fast-growing travel-based conglomerate headed by leading Japanese entrepreneur


The Management Team; PeterMorrow-front, right hand side

The Agricultural Bank, Mongolia's third-largest, has been sold to HS Securities Company of Japan for US $6.85 million, marking Mongolia's second-largest privatization of state-owned property. HS Securities (HSS) is part of a rapidly growing travel-based conglomerate headed by one of Japan's most innovative "New Entrepreneurs," Hideo Sawada, CEO of HIS Company.The State Property Committee finalized the sale of the government's 100% equity interest in the Ag Bank on January 24, 2003, following an open and competitive bidding process managed by the Barents Group, a USAID contractor. HS Securities also committed to make additional investments of US $13 million over the next two to three years, during which time there would be no changes in the bank's name or management team. Further details are available at www.agbank.mn and www.spc.mn

The Ag Bank -- with 354 branches and 1500 employees -- was transformed from a near-bankrupt state enterprise to one of Asia's most spectacular banking success stories under the leadership of CEO Pete Morrow, an experienced American banker who took over management of the Ag Bank as part of a banking reform program developed and funded by USAID. Ag Bank is a member of the NAMBC; Peter Morrow was a featured speaker at the 12th Annual General Meeting of the NAMBC in Toronto last fall.

HIS, the Japanese parent company of HSS, started out as a discount travel agency and now owns both Skymark Airlines and HS Securities. HSS executives say they are considering opening branches of the Ag Bank in China but their ultimate goal, according to The Japan Digest, is to open branches in Japan, possibly as early as 2005. Because of the heavy involvement of HIS in the travel business, this sale could also benefit Mongolia through increased Japanese tourism.

The Ag Bank acquisition is part of Hideo Sawada's long-term expansion strategy for HIS, which consists of 50 companies with 3600 employees, including Skymark and HSS. Sawada was featured in a 1999 cover story of BUSINESSWEEK INTERNATIONAL under the title, "Hideo Sawada likes to break down market barriers."
Unsuccessful bidders included Alfa Bann Holdings of Russia and a consortium led by Golomt Bank, Mongolia's most successful privately-own financial institution, which included Mongolia's Altan Taria Company and the Itochu Corporation of Japan. The HSS bid of $6.85 million exceeded Alfa Bank's offer of $6.2 million and the Golomt Consortium's bid of $5.27 million.

[Posted February 11, 2003]

 


Mongolia’s newest Honorary Consulate in North America was opened on December 4, 2002, in the heart of downtown Toronto by His Excellency Dr. Galsan Batsukh, Mongolia's Ambassador to Canada. NAMBC Board Member William Stearns (“Steve”) Vaughan, a partner at the McMillan Binch LLP law firm, was sworn in as Honorary Consul by the Ambassador. Vaughan played a key role in establishing not only the new office but also Mongolia's earlier Consulate General in Toronto which antedated the opening of the Mongolian Embassy in Ottawa. The opening attracted significant news coverage on cable and broadcast TV and in Canadian print media.

Toronto is Mongolia's sixth Honorary Consulate in North America, joining others previously established in Montreal, Vancouver, Houston, Denver and San Francisco. Half of Mongolia's Honorary Consuls in Canada and the US are members of the NAMBC Board of Directors. NAMBC Chairman Jalsa Urubshurow warmly welcomed the renewed Mongolian diplomatic presence in Ontario: "Toronto is the financial capital of Canada and headquarters for many of the Canadian corporations that are becoming aware of the profitable investment opportunities available in Mongolia. Steve Vaughan's appointment as Honorary Consul is a great way to start celebrating the 30th anniversary of Canada-Mongolia diplomatic relations later this year."

In addition to Ambassador Batsukh and Steve Vaughan, other speakers at the opening ceremonies included Mr. Michael Hitch, Executive Vice President of NAMBC Member Company Ivanhoe Mines, Mr. Graham W.S. Scott, QC, Managing Partner of McMillan Binch. NAMBC Board Member Ken de Graaf of Vancouver (Croesus Mining) represented the Council at the event. Guests included Ontario-based diplomats from 10 different countries.The new Honorary Consulate is located at McMillan Binch LLP, Suite 3500, South Tower, Royal Bank Plaza, in downtown Toronto, Telephone: (416) 865-7000.

Strategically located between Russia and China, Mongolia is proving to be a promising investment destination for Canadian businesses. Besides having a highly skilled and educated workforce and advanced telecommunication networks, Mongolia is attracting increased interest among Canada’s mining industry because of rich deposits of 80 different minerals, including gold, coal, copper, uranium, iron, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc and crude oil. Reflecting the rapid growth in Canadian FDI in Mongolia, the two nations signed a tax convention in May 2002 to avoid double taxation and mutually protect against tax evasion.

Chair of the McMillan Binch's Natural Resources Group, Steve Vaughan is one of Canada's leading mineral resources attorneys and has participated in natural resource transactions in more than 45 countries over the past five years. He holds two advanced degrees in geology and has worked in all aspects of mineral exploration, finance and securities since 1955. Vaughan is also a director of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, a former director of the Toronto Branch of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, and was a member of the joint Toronto Stock Exchange/Ontario Securities Commission Task Force on Mining Standards.

 
 

Jim Wagenlander (left) is Honorary Consul for Mongolia in Colorado and Vice Chairman of the NAMBC

To encourage Mongolian businesses to increase trade with the US, the NAMBC is co-sponsoring a series of three one-day nuts-and-bolts seminars on "How to Establish an Office and Business in the United States." Other sponsors are the Wagenlander & Heisterkamp law firm, headed by NAMBC Vice Chairman Jim Wagenlander, the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) and the Ulaanbaatar-Denver Sister City Committee.

NAMBC Chairman Jalsa Urubshurow described these training sessions as "part of the Business Council's continuing commitment to increase two-way export-import trade between the US and Mongolia" which he says is a"win-win proposition for both sides." Chairman Urubshurow said the Business Council also welcomes Mongolian investment in the US as a future by-product of increased trade volume.

He thanked the Wagenlander law firm for presenting the seminars at an affordable registration fee far below actual cost. Urubshurow says the NAMBC is exploring the possibility of offering similar training on how to set up a business in Canada for Mongolian business executives

These seminars are exclusively for existing and new Mongolian businesses that are adequately financed and serious about establishing a company or office in the US for trade and investment. Presentations will be made in both English and Mongolian and a written Manual in Mongolian will be provided to each seminar participant, either at or after the seminar. Registration fees for the one-day seminars in Denver on Saturday, January 18, and in Washington, DC, on Saturday, March 1, are US$75 per person. For the seminar in Ulaanbaatar on Thursday, January 23, registration fees are US$50 for Mongolians who are members of MNCCI OR who are members of the NAMBC; the fee for Non-Members is US$60. In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolian registrants have the option of "Premium Registration" at US$425 which includes, in addition to the seminar, a separate private executive briefing and a dinner program, both of which offer "Premium Registrants" opportunities for individual advice and counseling on business problems.

If interested, you should register immediately at Wagenlander & Heisterkamp, Mile High Center, Suite 1202, Denver, CO USA 80290, TELEPHONE (303) 832-6511, FAX (303) 830-2246; EMAIL: [email protected] In UB, you may register at Hotel Voyager, Suite 503, TELEPHONE 315-361. Do NOT register directly with the NAMBC office.

The seminars are organized and presented by Wagenlander & Heisterkamp, a 26-year-old American law firm headquartered in Denver, CO, and Mr. D. Jargalsaikhan, the former chairman of the Foreign Investment and Foreign Trade Agency of Mongolia (FIFTA) who recently received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver. Jim Wagenlander is also Honorary Consul of Mongolia for Colorado. For more than 12 years, the Wagenlander law firm has represented many Mongolian companies in both Mongolia and in the US. Speakers at the Denver and Washington seminars will include NAMBC President Steve Saunders in addition to Wagenlander and Jargalsaikhan.

The seminars will cover a wide range of practical advice and not be limited to legal issues. In addition to explaining how to establish, register and incorporate a company in the US, the presenters will introduce accounting, tax, banking and insurance issues that need to be understood by Mongolian investors and also cover staffing issues involving immigration processes, identification cards/driving licenses, auto insurance, apartment leasing, school for children and higher education for staff, language training, buying a home, and US employment laws.

Posted January 13, 2003

 

The NAMBC has submitted to Prime Minister Nambaryn Enkhbayar seven pages of detailed comments on proposed amendments to the Minerals Law now pending before the State Great Hural. Raising cautions about the risks of tinkering with a statute regarded as one of the best laws ever enacted in Mongolia, the NAMBC urged that the draft amendments be carefully reconsidered. The Council applauds the Government of Mongolia and the Prime Minister for their continuing efforts to broaden participation in the law-making process through means such as the Prime Minister's "Open-Government" website.

Two versions of the draft amendments had been posted for comment on the Prime Minister's website -- www.open-government.mn -- but by December 23, both drafts had been removed from the site. The first version had been posted in July; the second version, which embodied the Cabinet's submission of the amendments to parliament, had been posted in September. The original text of the Minerals Law, as it now stands, is available at http://www.mram.mn/M_Legis.htm.
The comments submitted by the Council in behalf of our Canadian and American members emphasized the following points:

(1) Stability of the legal environment is absolutely essential for long-term capital-intensive investments like mining. In terms of attracting and reassuring foreign investors, Mongolia’s existing Minerals Law is one of the best laws passed by the State Great Hural in the last 10 years. Foreign investors at both the Government’s Investment Forum in Ulaanbaatar in September 2002 and the 12th AGM of the NAMBC in Toronto in October 2002 reiterated and underscored the imperative need for stability.

(2) Once the State Great Hural takes up these proposed amendments, there are absolutely no controls on other changes to the Minerals Law that the Hural may make at its sole discretion. There is no guarantee that the Hural would not go far beyond the Cabinet’s proposals. This process of further amendments inside the Hural would be virtually non-transparent and largely immune from prior review or intervention by either the government or the public.

(3) There needs to be a clear, official and public explanation of both the need for these amendments and the urgency of passing them now. It is difficult to determine from the published English version of the Cabinet’s draft amendments exactly what specific impact the amendments would have.

(4) Various explanations of the purposes of the amendments, made informally by Mongolian officials, appear to indicate that the goals are to (a) deal with exploration/mining in environmentally sensitive areas or specially protected areas; (b) to accelerate development of lands held under non-performing licenses/leases that antedate the existing Minerals Law, that are not subject to the regime of annual payments under the existing law which effectively acts as an incentive to license/lease holders to move expeditiously on exploration and development, and to discourage such holders of “grandfathered” licenses/leases from merely holding the properties as a speculative investment without cost and without developing the properties; and (c) to recapture for the state the costs of geological research previously financed by the Government of Mongolia or by various Russian enterprises during the Socialist Period. Although it may be a good idea to find a way to encourage development of non-performing licenses, it is important to make sure that the vague wording of these amendments does not further undermine the “sanctity of contract” in Mongolia by permitting the government ex post facto to nullify or modify the terms of a license, which is a form of contract, .

The Council suggests the government might explore alternative ways of achieving the same result regarding non-performing licenses, such as using tax incentives and disincentives to compel holders of this type of “grandfathered” non-performing licenses to either sell or develop those leases.

(5) The amendments appear to multiply the number of discretionary approvals and increase the number of officials with discretionary control over the process, which is not consistent with the stated goals of the Government of Mongolia. The draft amendments make a vague reference to a new role for the Environment Ministry in issuing special rules for exploration and mining within environmentally sensitive or specially protected lands. The reference to “approve jointly” could in fact give the Environment Ministry an effective veto over specific projects, again potentially an extension of discretionary bureaucratic control. In a related issue, some foreign mining investors already report experiencing difficulties because the new Law on Permits appears to give governors of aimags (provinces) the right to approve or disapprove a mining license within his aimag's borders; we do not believe the Government of Mongolia intended to share minerals regulatory authority with the aimag governors.

(6) The draft amendments seem to open the door to massive and unpredictable overhaul of rules and regulations adopted under the Minerals Law. Such ambiguity could further destabilize the investment climate in mining. Potential investors might wait until the entire process of regulation changes is completed before making investment or development decisions, a process that could go on for year.

                                                                                                                                          Posted December 30, 2002

 

Michael J. Layne arrived at the US Embassy in August 2002 as the new Economic Officer, replacing Counselor Laura Byergo, after a year studying Mongolian language and culture at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in Washington, DC. A native of Bozeman, Montana, Mike previously served a two-year tour of duty in Singapore. Prior to joining the US Foreign Service, he worked at the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the US Treasury Department. He holds a Master's degree in International Economic Policy from The American University. Mike is married and has two young children.

Laura Byergo is currently at FSI studying Bahasa Indonesia in preparation for her next posting to Jakarta. Her husband, Mark Willis, former DCM at the US Embassy in UB, has retired from the Foreign Service and is now pursuing a variety of opportunities in consulting and lecturing.
 

                                                                                             Posted December 09, 2002

 


One well hits highest quality oil-bearing reservoir yet discovered as
SOCO plans additional Mongolian exploration for 2003


NAMBC Member SOCO has announced "encouraging results" from its significantly expanded drilling program during calendar year 2002 in Contract Area 19 in the Tamtsag Basin. This year, SOCO drilled two exploration wells located 20 and 25 kilometers, respectively, outside of the pilot production area that had previously been its target.

Not only did both wells encounter hydrocarbons but one of them appears to have intersected the highest quality oil bearing reservoir yet encountered in Mongolia. The appraisal well, drilled across a fault line from one of the structures drilled last year, confirmed the upgrade of estimated reserves associated with last year’s drilling program. Only one of these two exploration wells was production tested prior to suspension of drilling operations with the onset of the harsh Mongolian winter.

SOCO is an international oil and gas exploration and production company, headquartered in London. The Company has interests in Vietnam, Mongolia, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, and Thailand with production operations in Yemen, Tunisia and Mongolia. SOCO's CEO, Ed Story, is Vice Chairman of the NAMBC and Honorary Consul of Mongolia for Texas.

Story commented, "The presence of oil in these large structures adds further support to the ultimate exploration potential of the Tamtsag Basin. A concerted seismic and mapping effort will take place over the winter to further define new exploration opportunities leading into next year’s drilling program." Story said SOCO plans to acquire approximately 1,500 kilometers of 2D seismic data during the winter season to identify the location of exploratory tests to be drilled during 2003.

SOCO's pilot production test of its existing Contract Area 19 oil wells will continue through this winter, selling approximately 550 barrels of crude oil per day at world prices to the China National United Oil Corporation. The crude is trucked to a pipeline terminal in Aershan Oilfield in China for further transportation to a refining center. Production rates are currently restricted due to equipment limitations.

SOCO Tamtsag Mongolia, the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, currently holds about an 85% working interest in production sharing contracts (PSC) over Contract Areas 19, 21 and 22 in the Tamtsag Basin in Mongolia. The Chinese company providing the drilling services has earned the right to take a 10% working interest and a 5% interest is being carried through the exploration phase for Petrovietnam, the Vietnamese national oil company.

For further information, go to http://www.socointernational.co.uk or contact Roger Cagle, Chief Financial Officer, in London at TELEPHONE-020 7 399 3300 .

      
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Posted November 15, 2002

 

Ivanhoe Mines erects huge ger in Gobi for Board of
Directors Meeting


Robert Friedland, the larger-than-life CEO of Ivanhoe Mines, always does things in a big way. Last month, NAMBC Member Ivanhoe held a meeting of its corporate Board of Directors near the company's gold and copper mining site in the south Gobi. For that purpose, Friedland directed Doug McGay, Ivanhoe's popular Government & Community Affairs Manager resident in Ulaanbaatar, not only to build the largest traditional ger in the country but also to organize a spectacular program to showcase Mongolian culture and performing arts. McGay recruited 20 nationally-famous performers – throat singers, horse-head violin players, dancers, and contortionists -- and transported them by air to the ger site.

In the photo above, the ger on the left is a standard 16 foot diameter ger; the ger to the right is the enormous one Ivanhoe constructed for the occasion. All local Mongol residents were invited by Ivanhoe to enjoy the various performances.Over 130 people attended, only 40 of whom were foreigners; the rest were Ivanhoe Mongolian staff plus Ivanhoe's neighbors in the Gobi. The ger was erected 12 kms away from Oyu Tolgoi in a picturesque part of the Gobi. Among the tasks completed by indefatigable Mongolian workers in preparation for the board of directors meeting, against unforgiving deadlines, was to build a fully functional, modern and comfortable two-seater toilet facility.
Since arriving in Mongolia, Ivanhoe in-country employment has grown from 12 to more than 400.

        
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                                                                                                                                                   posted Nov. 8, 2002  

Leading Canadian mineral resources attorney Steve Vaughan is elected to NAMBC Board of Directors

The NAMBC Board of Directors has elected Mr. W.S. (Steve) Vaughan as a director to fill an unexpired term. Steve Vaughan is a partner in the McMillan Binch law firm of Toronto and one of Canada's leading natural resource attorneys. He has been a member of the NAMBC for two years and played a key role in establishing the Mongolian Consulate-General in Toronto. His nomination was moved by Director Ken de Graaf (Croesus Mining), seconded by Director John Gruetzner (Intercedent) and was approved by the Board of Directors without dissent.

Steve is a partner of the McMillan Binch law firm in Toronto and the chair of its Natural Resources Group. McMillan Binch has a long history of involvement in the international natural resource and energy businesses, particularly in the mining, oil and gas, geothermal and nuclear industries. Steve has participated in natural resource transactions in more than 45 countries over the past five years.

He has a BSc and MSc degree in geology as well as a law degree and has worked in or been closely associated with all facets of the mineral exploration, mine finance and securities industries since 1955. He served as a director of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited from 1992 to 1998 and was chair of its Environmental Committee.

Steve is a director and chair of the Securities Committee of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, a former director of the Toronto Branch of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, and was a member of the joint Toronto Stock Exchange / Ontario Securities Commission Mining Standards Task Force. He has also served on various committees advising Canadian governments and the Ontario Securities Commission / Toronto Stock Exchange on issues such as mineral policy, mineral strategy, mining finance, mining taxation, seed capital, junior resource policies, over-the-counter trading and nuclear issues.

Steve appears in all editions of the Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, published by Lexpert and American Lawyer, as a leading lawyer in the area of mining law. He has also received a very high to preeminent rating signifying the highest level of legal ability as well as an extremely high adherence to the professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability and diligence by an authoritative legal directory as established by confidential opinions from members of the Canadian bar.

Ambassador John Dinger offers "Five Silver Bullets" to improve investor confidence

US Ambassador to Mongolia John Dinger has recommended to the Government of Mongolia (GoM) a series of five actions the GoM can take immediately "to send a clear, strong signal that it wants to meet foreign investors' concerns."

Ambassador Dinger described the following steps as "Five Silver Bullets":

First, require all Ministries and the Parliament to publish all draft legislation on the "Open Government" website -- www.open-government.mn -- at least 30 days before it is to be considered in Parliament.

Second, record and make publicly available all judicial decisions on tax cases.

Third, require that all due legal process be fully completed before taxpayer assets can be seized.

Fourth, require all inspectors to present a letter signed and numbered by their agency authorizing them to conduct an inspection.

Fifth, make all licenses and registrations valid for the longest reasonable time.

In offering these suggestions, Ambassador Dinger emphasized that that his top goal is to help Mongolia succeed. However, he cautioned that the GoM must move quickly to address complaints of current investors. The Ambassador noted that any new investors will, as a reasonable first step, talk to those already doing business in Mongolia. The Ambassador believes that it is essential newcomers hear that Mongolia is a good place to do business.


State Property Committee sells TDB to Swiss bank in major success for privatization program

On May 21, the Government of Mongolia agreed to sell the state-owned Trade & Development Bank (TDB), the country's largest and most profitable commercial bank used by many international organizations as well as foreign and Mongolian companies. The deadline for submission of bids had been postponed twice by the State Property Committee (SPC).

This is the first successful privatization of one of the Most-Valuable Companies (MVCs) owned by the government. NAMBC Chairman Jalsa Urubshurow said he welcomed the news as "breathing new life into Mongolia's privatization program and demonstrating growing international investor confidence in Mongolia."

Bidders for Gobi Cashmere last year eventually all withdrew. Most of them later stated that the minimum asking price of USD$18+ million was unrealistic. Next on the block is the the Agriculture Bank, which was taken from bankruptcy to profitability by new management funded by a USAID grant. Banca Commerciale Lugano of Switzerland and Gerald Metals, a major U.S.-based metals merchant, jointly purchased 76 percent of the stock of the TDB for USD$12.23 million. Banca Commerciale Lugano is a well- known Swiss bank with a successful track record in asset management and trade financing. Gerald Metals is a privately-held American dealer in international metals.

Banca Commerciale/Gerald Metals agreed to invest a further USD$28 million in the bank within 24 months. The buyers have partnered with ING Bank of The Netherlands to provide management services and to develop new TDB financial products, such as home mortgage loans, equipment leasing, online banking and distribution for ATM's.

For further details on TDB and future privatizations, click on the State Property Committee's website, http://www.spc.gov.mn 

Posted Nov 11, 2002

Register Now for the 12th Annual General Meeting of NAMBC
October 16-18, 2002, at King Edward Hotel, Toronto 

Speakers include US Ambassador John Dinger; David Kilgour, MP, Canada's Secretary of State for Asia Pacific; senior officials of USTR, OPIC; CEOs of successful investors in Mongolia, the Mongolian Prime Minister's Economic Policy Advisor; Chairman of the Mongolian Parliament's Standing Committee on Economic Policy; Chairman of the Mongolian Minerals Authority; and others

Non-Members warmly welcomed with the lowest registration fees in four years

Join us for the first-ever NAMBC annual general meeting held in Canada! The NAMBC's 12th AGM will be held October 16-18, 2002 at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto, Canada.

The venue for all events is the King Edward Hotel. The program begins with an opening reception on Wednesday evening, October 16, continues all day, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, including lunch on Thursday, October 17; and concludes on Friday, October 18, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM with a session on "Banking, Mining and Oil." An optional golf outing for registrants (separate fee) is available on the afternoon of October 18.

Members of the Canada-China Business Council, the American Mongolian Business Group of Ulaanbaatar and The Mongolia Society may register at the same rate as Members of the NAMBC.

This year's conference is designed to address issues and topics specifically requested by our Canadian and American members and friends. The schedule includes presentations by:

Ed Story, the legendary East Asia oilman, CEO of Texas-based SOCO Oil, listed on the London Stock Exchange and the largest single foreign investor in Mongolia with 1.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves in the Tamstag Basin;

The Honourable David Kilgour, MP, Canada's Secretary of State for Asia Pacific in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, a distinguished Member of the Canadian House of Commons who presided over the signing of bilateral taxation agreements earlier this year and has taken a strong interest in expanding Canada-Mongolia ties (tentatively confirmed);

US Ambassador to Mongolia John Dinger, an outspoken pro-business diplomat, experienced "Asia Hand" and former chief spokesman for the US State Department in Washington who has actively worked for two years with the Mongolian Government, USAID, international organizations, other donor nations and the North American business community to improve Mongolia's investment climate; Dinger is one of the youngest career ambassadors in the U.S. Foreign Service;

Mr. Scott Ki, Director of Mongolia, Taiwan and Hong Kong Affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in the Executive Office of the President of the United States, an experienced U.S. trade negotiator and a veteran of the tough bilateral negotiations with China on WTO accession and with other East Asian countries and economies;

Mr. Pete Morrow, CEO of the Mongolian Agricultural Bank; Morrow took over management of the then-failing Agricultural Bank with the warm cooperation of the Mongolian Government in a project funded by USAID, resulting in a swift return to profitability and growth in what the FAR EAST ECONOMIC REVIEW recently hailed as one of Asia's most impressive banking reform stories and a substantial achievement for USAID; Morrow made some gutsy counter-intuitive decisions now studied as a model for other Asian banking reforms

Mr. Ch. Khurelbaatar, the Australian-educated Chief Economic Policy Advisor to Mongolian Prime Minister N. Enkhbayar and Mongolian director of the World Bank Poverty Alleviation Program, a great friend of the NAMBC who has spoken at every NAMBC function since assuming his current post;

The Honorable Ts. Ochirhuu, the pro-reform Chairman of the Standing Economic Committee of the State Great Hural (Mongolia's unicameral parliament) and one of the senior leaders of the ruling Mongolian Peoples Revolutionary Party (MPRP);

Mr. D. Jargalsaikhan, long-time Chairman of the Minerals Authority of Mongolia and founder of the Mongolia Minerals Association; he was the only major agency head to be asked to remain at his post after the change of government in 2000.

Other speakers and panelists expected include a senior official of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC); the former Chairman of Mongolia's Foreign Investment and Foreign Trade Agency (FIFTA); and others.This year's conference is designed to address issues and topics specifically requested by our Canadian and American members and friends.
                                               [Click here-For Hotel and Registration Information]

Posted Oct, 25, 2002