Mongolia: Open for business

| September 27, 2015 | 0 Comments
The Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine holds one of the world’s largest undeveloped high-grade copper deposits. (Photo: Brücke-Osteuropa)

The Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine holds one of the world’s largest undeveloped high-grade copper deposits. (Photo: Brücke-Osteuropa)

Mongolians are peace-loving, open-minded people, residing on a vast land of 1.5 million square kilometres. For centuries, since the establishment of the Great Mongol Empire by Genghis Khan, Mongols have maintained rule of law and open foreign policies.
The Mongolian economy has expanded rapidly since the 1990s, achieving a peak of 17.4 percent growth in 2011. Mongolia continues to take bold actions to expand the economy by establishing a favourable investment climate and opening up prominent megaprojects to foreign investors. It constantly seeks to become a world-class destination for investment and business.
Mongolia and Canada have engaged in different levels of economic and political co-operation for more than four decades. With greater than $490 million in direct investments, Canada is one of the largest foreign investors in Mongolia. Mongolia’s primary exports to Canada are mining products, such as gold, and textiles — mainly cashmere. Mongolia imports mining and agricultural equipment and machinery from Canada.
My country is rich in mineral resources, possessing more than 6,000 deposits of roughly 80 different types of minerals. It is the world’s 10th-largest reservoir of gold, copper and coal, with an estimated value of US$1.3 trillion. Yet, much of the territory has not yet been explored and therefore, the mining industry’s full potential has not been unleashed. Moreover, with its population a little more than three million, Mongolia has 1.2 million workers, young and educated, and the number of workers entering the labour market is expected to increase in coming years. These make Mongolia a splendid investment destination for Canadians interested in natural and human resources.
Mongolia is working closely with its two immediate neighbours — Russia and China — to promote trade and investment, as well as its “third” neighbours, such as Canada. Mongolia and Canada have already put in place an agreement on trade and commerce and a convention on avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital. Moreover, last year, Mongolia and Canada issued a joint statement expressing their commitment to enhancing their bilateral relationship, bringing it from an expanded partnership to a comprehensive one. It is timely to highlight that the Foreign Investment Protection Agreement between Mongolia and Canada will be concluded soon.
Mongolia has shown its ability to work with international partners by signing an agreement with Turquoise Hill Resources and Rio Tinto to develop the underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi, the largest mining project in Mongolia, where Export Development Canada is one of the largest investors.
Opportunities in Mongolia are not only limited to the mining sector. In 2014, our inbound investment has shifted considerably to non-mining industries such as agri-business, renewable energy, tourism and construction of roads and buildings. Mongolia welcomes the transfer of advanced technology and know-how in almost all sectors. With 51 million head of livestock — sheep, goat, cattle, horse and camel — Mongolia is the second largest supplier of raw cashmere in the world and has more opportunities in meat processing and dairy products. These can be seen as an opportunity for Canadian investors to enter two of the world’s largest markets — Russia and China. And, as Mongolia and Canada share similar weather — hot summers and cold winters — Mongolia is interested in promoting investment in and importation of advanced technology and expertise in road-building and the construction sector, including housing projects. Mongolia has immense potential for renewable energy — wind, solar, hydro, geo-thermal and biomass. And given the country’s geographic location, between two of the world’s largest markets in central Asia, it is a prominent investment destination.
The government of Mongolia is inviting investors to participate in the country’s megaprojects such as construction of Power Plant V (capacity 450 MWh, required investment $1.2 billion), Tavan Tolgoi Power Plant (450 MWh, $1 billion) and Tavantolgoi Power Plant (700 MWh, $900 million) and other projects, such as a copper-concentrate processing plant, a coke-chemical plant and an oil and coal-chemical plant.
Mongolia considers Canada its most important strategic partner and is seeking to further strengthen economic and investment co-operation.

Radnaabazar Altangerel is the ambassador of Mongolia. Reach him at ottawa@mfa.gov.mn or at (613) 569-3830.

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Radnaabazar Altangerel is the ambassador of Mongolia. Reach him at ottawa@mfa.gov.mn or at (613) 569-3830.

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