NAMBC meets with President Elbegdorj to urge swift action on Oyu Tolgoi;
New President foresees “timely” action on pending mining issues;
US Senate passes Mongolia resolution on day of Elbegdorj inauguration

On July 8, an NAMBC delegation headed by NAMBC President Steve Saunders met with President Ts. Elbegdorj at Government House in Ulaanbaatar to urge swift action on the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) investment agreement and other related matters so that the “Mongolian people could begin to reap the huge economic benefits of accelerated natural resource development.” President Elbegdorj replied that he expected the Oyu Tolgoi agreement to be approved in a “timely” manner. Oyu Tolgoi is the copper-gold  mine project in the south Gobi being developed by Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto, potentially the largest copper mine in the world. 

In behalf of the Canadian and US business communities, Saunders also congratulated the new president on his inauguration on June18. President Elbegdorj praised the NAMBC for “making a considerable contribution to boosting co-operation between Mongolia and North America , including in mineral resources and mining spheres.”   

In a front-page interview with the daily newspaper ONOODOR published on Monday, July 6, Saunders said “ Mongolia is losing at least US$2 million per day in lost growth in Gross National Product for every day of delay in approving the investment agreement for Oyu Tolgoi.” He noted that the Mongolian parliament, government and the OT developers were united in their desire to have an agreement that “benefits all the people of Mongolia .” Saunders said that parliament had been thorough and painstaking in reviewing and studying all the issues involved in OT for the past five years. “Parliament has faithfully fulfilled its duty to the people as a democratic institution in a democratic country.”

 However, he said, “there is a wise Mongolian proverb: measure seven times, cut once.” He concluded, “Parliament and the government have measured at least seven times; now it is time to cut a deal.” Saunders also lauded the government and cabinet of Prime Minister Sanjaa Bayar for “steady, balanced and strong leadership” on OT issues. 

The governments of Canada and the US sent official delegations to attend the June 18 swearing-in of Ts. Elbegdorj as Mongolia ’s fourth President. On the same day in Washington, DC, the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution (Senate Resolution 192) honoring Mongolia's democracy and free market economy and re-affirming strong ties between the US and Mongolia. See below for link to the full text of the resolution.

The Canadian delegation was headed by Senator Anita Raynell Andreychuk of Saskatchewan, who has served in the Senate for 16 years, and included Canadian Ambassador Anna Biolik. Senator Andreychuk is the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights.

 The American delegation was headed by US Ambassador Mark Minton and included the Honorable Stanley Roth, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific during the Clinton Administration and currently Vice President for Asia of the Boeing Company. Mr. Roth previously served as Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.

Mongolian voters elected two-time former Prime Minister Ts. Elbegdorj, 46, as Mongolia 's fourth President on May 24, giving him a narrow victory over incumbent President N. Enkhbayar with just over 51% of the vote.


President Elbegdorj (right) met with NAMBC President Steve Saunders in UB on July 8 to discuss mining issues.


President Elbegdorj
President Ts. Elbegdorj (left) receives the seals of office from retiring President N. Enkhbayar at ceremony in the parliament chamber on June 18

NAMBC Chairman Ed Story congratulates President Elbegdorj on his inauguration

Click here for full text of US Senate Resolution on Mongolia