Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mongolia Brief April 1, 2014 Part III



Ulaanbaatar to reveal names of blacklisted companies
April 1 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar City Mayor E.Bat-Uul has recently assigned his deputy in charge of social development to make a public list of the blacklisted companies in Mongolia.

The names of all executor companies that haven’t fulfilled their contract obligations to complete construction projects will be announced to the public, as part of the Mayor’s “Improving Investment Projects Monitoring” ordinance.
Members of the State Special Commission who approved the sub-standard construction projects for operation will also have their names publicly revealed and will be held accountable through the project.
The State Specialized Inspection Agency, Auto Road Authority and Agency for General Planning are currently collecting information on blacklisted companies and commission officials.
The lists will be complete by April 15 and will be discussed at the Ulaanbaatar City Council meeting for public announcement approval.


Mongolia Mining 2014 launches this month

April 1 (UB Post) The 4th edition of Mongolia Mining 2014 International Mining and Oil/Gas Exhibition will be held for three days from April 10 to 12. In addition to the traditional mining industry, this year’s expo adds the oil industry to its profile.
This year’s expo will be larger than all previous editions. To accommodate the large number of high profile exhibitors, organizers decided to move the venue of Mongolia Mining from Misheel Expo Center to the much larger Buyant-Ukhaa Sports Palace, which offers convenient parking and large grounds.
Mongolia Mining 2014 is organized by Minex Co., Ltd, in cooperation with Expo Mongolia Co., Ltd and International Expo Bureau of Mongolia. The Ministry of Mining of Mongolia, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mineral Authority of Mongolia, and the Oil Authority and Nuclear Energy Agency supports Mongolia Mining as the most important technological event in the country.


Honorary Consulate of Mongolia opens in Albania

April 1 (UB Post) In the framework of the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Albania, the opening ceremony of the Mongolian honorary consul was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Tirana on March 27. J.Jargalsaikhan, honorary consul of Mongolia to Albania and head of the Culture and Art Development Foundation of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism organized the event.
Tumen Ekh, a Mongolian national song and dance ensemble, performed morin khuur, contortion and biyelgee (Mongolian folk dance) for guests, and introducing throat singing (khuumii) to Albania with the Mongolian song “Snowy Flower”. Fifty prints by E.Khartsaga, photographer for Unuudur Newspaper, capturing Mongolian landscapes, culture, art, sport, society and its mining industry, were also on exhibition for the event.
Albanian Parliament Speaker Ilir Meta; the Albanian Minister of Integration, Minister of Education, and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; parliament members; over 100 delegates representing Mongolian art, culture and business; Mongolian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs D.Gankhuyag; N.Naranbat; director of a European and Middle East organization, Sh. Odonbaatar; the Ambassador of Italy to Albania; B.Chela, honorary consul of Mongolia to the Republic of Albania; and J. Jargalsaikhan, honorary consul of Mongolia to the Republic of Albania participated in the event.
In 1949, Mongolia established diplomatic relations with Albania. Since Yu.Tsedenbal’s visit to Albania in 1957, this is the first time that Mongolia has visited Albania with such a broad range of delegates.
Albania is located in south-eastern Europe. It borders with Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. It has a territory of 28,748 square kilometers and a population of three million. Albania became an independent country in 1912, and after World War II, Albania became a socialist republic until 1991. Albania is working to improve its energy and transportation infrastructure, and attract foreign investment. It is also considered to hold middle economic status due to its well-developed industry and agriculture.


S.Ganbaatar: There can’t be a righteous society if a group of people own and plunder public wealth

April 1 (UB Post) The following is an interview with MP S.Ganbaatar about present issues.
-In connection to inflation, the government increased the minimum wage and pension by thirty percent. In reality, an addition of 20 thousand MNT is barely enough. As days pass by and the purchasing capacity of citizens degrades, is it alright for you to sit and claim that you’ve increased benefits?
-It’s a huge toll on citizens, especially for those who have small salaries, because the prices of products and goods increase from day to day. This is heavily affecting women and citizens receiving pensions. One section of the government shouldn’t handle this problem through public relations while another section complains. In order to resolve this, trilateral negotiations should be done soon.
In other words, the government sets prices, and representatives of business entities and normal citizens doing labor – who may face losses due to the increase in product prices – should discuss state agreements of the Trade Union Committee. While one group says the prices of goods hasn’t increased, another claims that their original salary of 300 thousand MNT has become 200 thousand MNT.
The state’s trilateral negotiations would examine this issue, and if necessary, harsh comments would be said and the issue discussed according to calculations and combined research. Unfortunately, this negotiation isn’t taking place. It’s important that a trilateral negotiation is organized urgently and publicly, in front of citizens. I used to do trilateral negotiations in my six years as the Head of the Mongolian Trade Union. This is a mechanism for the fair distribution of goods. In professional terms, it is a salary, pension, allowance and tax mechanism to righteously allot goods produced by society back to society.
-Does that mean current allotment principles aren’t righteous?
-Exactly. The price of goods has increased by 30 percent and the increases are going into the pockets of a handful of people. There’s an issue of increased rates not going to workers. Starting trilateral negotiation as soon as possible is the main solution for the present situation.
-The Mongolian Trade Union has repeatedly demanded trilateral negotiations. They still haven’t been organized. Is it because they are making plans poorly, or is the government approaching the matter irresponsibly?
-The Trade Union is setting requirements very well. The government must accept these requirements. Representatives of employing businessmen, the Trade Union and governors should gather together to discuss the exact percentage of increases in prices, how to include the private sector in salary issues, and hear the arguments of the minister in charge of minimum wage, pension and allowances for people associated with the government.
Now, we should approach the matter by reporting that they mustn’t use this opportunity to increase the prices of goods and products, or else their licenses will be confiscated. Businessmen are required to get license approval to do business. They aren’t people who take sides. By holding three-way discussions and signing agreements, laws are approved. The most important thing is to implement this law.
-Not holding negotiations is a violation of the law, right?
-In situations when the exchange rate of the MNT has fallen due to increases in price, urgently holding meetings and making decisions is stated in the law. If the law is violated, it’s required that those affected go on strikes and do demonstrations. This is included in the law. Therefore, all of these things should be done in the near future. It’s also my duty to report on these methods. In my case, instead of leading the Trade Union and setting requirements for the government, my work is to demand urgent operations for this mechanism.
-The government announced that they increased minimum wage and pensions in connection to inflation and will not increase them again. What do you think of this?
-If the state’s trilateral negotiations begin, it’s decided that calculations and research will be shown to give evidence and rationale for the reasons for the presently difficult situation. It doesn’t mean that salaries, pensions and allowances will increase whenever there’s a negotiation. The most important thing is to understand each other. Only markets running without any price management is the biggest problem. It’s stated in article 5.4 of the Constitutional Law that the government will manage the economy. Mongolia has an economy with government management. The fact that all of this isn’t being implemented means that the mechanisms of these negotiations aren’t functioning properly.
- What has to be resolved before the negotiations can be settled?
-The government needs to be intellectual. They can’t sit by and watch trade. The owners need to meet their social responsibilities. The government has losses. Instead of discussing losses, they need to analyze and evaluate them and operate mechanisms to come up with solutions that work. Without the operating mechanisms of trilateral negotiations and only disparaging others, they are becoming people unaware of values. All I can say is to begin trilateral negotiations urgently.
-You’re one of the people who protests for modification of the Oyu Tolgoi contract. You published a book that proposes things that need to be done for a country to be a country. In other words, you’ve found a new solution. What is that solution?
-First, Mongolians are on the verge of losing their independence. The present situation is as if Mongolia has already lost it. What this means is that the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and banks and funding organizations now make decisions for Mongolia in the name of counsel and showing support. In particular, decisions connected to mining resources are sometimes made by Mongolian ministers with the influence of foreign councils and advocacy organizations. This is dangerous.
Secondly, there must be national resource debate. Mongolian resources are becoming ownerless. The issues of why the nation’s people can’t profit from owning their national resources need to rise up.
Thirdly, Mongolia is a sacrificial lamb for the liberal political view that shows how wealthy countries can stop the economic growth of poor countries, named neo-liberalism and originating from America.
They started wars and made factions fight each other in countries rich in resources and ended up with their property, or implemented programs where properties were managed by new owners. In other words, wealthy foreigners made normal citizens suffer losses through crafty measures. Mongolia has become its victim now.
In addition, five methodologies are included. A solution to get out of this is evident in the example of Norway. It’s stated that no single group of people, a few elites connected to politicians, have the right to control the society of Norway, its people and mining resources. This is why Mongolia needs a righteous society. We aren’t becoming a righteous society because a small group of people are possessing and plundering public resources.
-It seems that by publishing this book, you may face a considerable amount of opposition and criticism?
-I explained and bravely wrote about all of this, and what I needed to do in the future, in my book. The Mongolian state is filled with children trained by neo-liberalism in America. They will noisily rise up. Very strong and deadly publicists will lead campaigns to criticize me in a frightening manner just for writing this book. Writing is my duty. If an MP doesn’t do this then who else will? An MP who has gained the trust of many citizens has an obligation to write about what sort of state Mongolian citizens want and methodologies for how to reach it. This is why I wrote this book.


‘Mongol’ book launches in London

April 1 (UB Post) Scotland-based Mongolian writer Uuganaa Ramsay has published her first book named “Mongol.” The book’s launch ceremony took place in London on March 25.
Her book was also launched in Edinburgh and Glasgow cities of Scotland.
Uuganaa Ramsay was born in Zavkhan Province, Mongolia and grew up in a ger, living a nomadic life eating marmot meat and distilling vodka from yoghurt. After winning a place on a teacher-training course, she moved to the UK and married a British man and now lives in Scotland.
Her son Billy was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome and died shortly afterwards due to the condition.
She wrote about Mongolians, Mongolian’s custom, and traditional life. She said that she wants to give a conception about Mongolians to foreigners and that she wrote her book “Mongol” for the memory of her son Billy.
She was named as the Woman of the Year for Mongolians in Europe in 2012 by the Association for the Development of Mongolian Women in Europe.
Her book won the Janetta Bowie Chalice Non-Fiction Book Award from the Scottish Association of Writers.


‘Geothermal Energy and Mongolia’

By Paul Sullivan, 
Georgetown University
The earth gets more amazing the more one learns about it. For example, the earth is a massive source of heat. That heat is partially from the left over heat from its creation. Now, isn’t that amazing? Most of it, about 80 percent, is from radioactive decay of isotopes of thorium, uranium and potassium. When radioactive isotopes decay they throw off heat. Most of this is happening in the earth’s crust, which is kind of a radioactive thermal blanket for the world. Don’t worry we are not being zapped by lots of neutrons from this all day. The crust also works as a barrier to the radiation, hence we get heat.
Traveling from the center of the earth to where we are standing (or sitting reading this) we can see extreme temperatures and extreme temperature changes. Without getting too technical, the earth is made up of the inner core, which is molten iron-nickel, the mantle and the crust. The inner core is solid due to pressure-temperature combinations and what it is made of. The outer core is liquid. The entire core is about 3,500 kilometers thick. If we could travel from the innermost point of the core to its outermost point we would go from 7,500 degrees Celsius to about 3,700 degrees Celsius. Above the core is the mantle, which is about 2,800 kilometers. The mantle’s temperature goes from about 3,700 degrees Celsius near to its “edge” with core to about 870 degrees Celsius as it gets nearer to the crust.
As we travel further to the surface things are getting cooler, although these sorts of temperatures are hotter than most of us could imagine. The crust is the next stop on this trip to the surface of the earth from its core. The crust is about six-12 kilometers thick under the oceans. It can be as much as 20-90 kilometers thick under the continents. As we travel from the deepest part of the crust to the surface, the temperatures get cooler. Another interesting fact, the soil and rocks of the crust acts as insulators to solar heating radiation, which we will see later in the article, for example, dig deep enough in the hot sands of a desert in the summer and you will reach cool sands.
The crust is a complex place. It is not like the even crust of a piece of bread or the uniform shell of an egg. It has moving parts, the continental plates, that mostly slowly drift about and sometimes collide with each other. There are many fault lines, which are places where earthquakes are more likely to happen than in other areas. Some of the more famous of these would be the San Andreas Fault that goes across California. Mongolia has the Bulgan fault line, which was the location of a massive 8.2 earthquake in 1905. The results of this earthquake can be seen even today with a fissure that goes on for hundreds of kilometers. The Amur Plate, the Eurasian Plate and the Indo-Chinese Plate combine around and through Mongolia.
From 1905 to 1967 there was a series of very strong earthquakes in Mongolia. Earthquakes are a fairly normal part of things in some parts of Mongolia, especially near the Russian and Chinese borders and near the area where the fault line go up and across the center of the country. There are many faults running east-west at various angles across the country. It is part of the Baykal rift system. There has been seismic activity especially in the Gobi-Altay and Mongolian-Altay mountain systems. The northwest near the Russian border has been especially active at times. Mongolia is a seismically active place, but not like those areas near the so-called “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Basin, Japan, Chile, or Indonesia.
There are many places where Mongolia’s geological structure can be to its benefit. Many of these can be found in the hot springs, warm springs and other geothermal zones that can be found in the northern central part of the country and in the northwest.
Some of these springs may be used to produce electricity for the villages and towns near to them. If the waters are very hot, then flash steam geothermal plants can be set up. By drilling down to where it is much hotter than at the surface, the hot water could be used to produce steam, which in turn can turn a turbine, which turns a generator, which produces electricity. If the ground is not so hot, then a binary geothermal system could be set up. The less hot water is taken up from deep in the ground and its warmth is used to boil something like methanol or ammonia, which boils at a lower temperature than water. The ammonia or methanol steam then turns the turbine, which turns the generator, which produces electricity. If producing electricity near warm and hot springs seems odd to some, it does happen in some areas of the world where the tourism places produce electricity from the same temperatures that keep the tourists coming for mineral, warm and hot baths for health and relaxation.
It need not be the case that this can be done at hot springs or even warm springs. In places in Mongolia where the hotter rocks are near to the surface at hundreds to even thousands of feet down, injection pipes can bring cool water from the surface to the hotter rocks. The water can be used in flash steam geothermal systems when the rock is very hot. Where the rocks are not that hot the injected cool water can be brought back up as warmer water to be used in binary geothermal systems that boil off the methane, ammonia and the like.
Wherever there is water and hot rocks within economic reach to produce electricity this can be done. However, it is best to do this near to places where the electricity is needed. It would be too costly and too much electricity would be lost if the geothermal generated electricity needed to go over very large distances to where it will be used.
I am certain that there are many places in Mongolia that could develop either the flash system or the binary systems for geothermal energy. It is a matter of finding the best and most economically and technically possible areas and getting the infrastructure set up. A lot less CO2 is produced from geothermal energy. There is surely a lot less air pollution produced from geothermal electricity generation compared to generating electricity with coal.
There are many other economic uses for the hot rocks, warm rocks, and warm springs that are in Mongolia. These include the greater development of health spas, warm swimming pools, melting snow on roads and other important places, hot water for houses and other buildings, keeping animals warm, greenhouse warming, even during some cold times (Iceland does this), food processing, curing concrete blocks and other construction material, cloth and yarn drying for factories, and hundreds, if not thousands, of other uses constrained only by one’s imagination and the technical and economic feasibility of the projects.
Many of these applications could be used to help develop tourism and industry in the country. Geothermal energy could be used to replace energy produced by coal, oil and other fossil fuels. There are many examples in the world of large buildings, houses, and even large parts of cities that are heated and cooled with geothermal energy. There are a growing number of places that are using geothermal energy to produce electricity. Some minerals and oil companies are using geothermal energy to help recover more of their product from underground than would otherwise be possible. Some mining and other companies are producing some of their electricity, and some of their heating and cooling from geothermal.
Geothermal has some other fascinating applications. One of them is for geothermal heat pumps. These can be developed just about anywhere they are needed. If one were to dig down into the ground about two-three meters here in Washington the soil would be a constant 50-60 degrees year round in most places.
In Mongolia one may have to dig a bit deeper than two-five meters. In Minnesota, way in the north of my country, depths of three-four meters may be needed in some places because of how deep frost levels can be in that cold state. However, at two-three meters the temperatures in many parts of the state are in the 10 degrees C level or thereabout all year round. The depth one would need to dig depends on the latitude in the world one is at, whether there is permafrost or not, frost levels for a good part of the year, and whether one is near hot rocks, hot springs or other sources of heat, such as some mineral mines.
However, normally there will be a depth that a building developer or home builder (apartment builder) can dig to find this sweet spot for constant temperature underground. Why do I call it the sweet spot? Because if you set up pipes with certain liquids in certain ways in the ground and cover them over properly you can readily pump that 10-15 degree C temperatures into the building, home or apartment building.
Let us say it is 10 degrees C. Each place will have some differences from other places, so let’s simplify this. Let’s put the piping system down, cover it up with soil after connecting it to the heat pump and the fan systems which are inside the building, not outside like many cooling systems. During the warmer summer days, constant 10 degrees C liquid is pumped to the fans and the fans bring that cool air into the building via a heat exchanger, a device that conducts the temperature from one medium to another. Bigger buildings will need larger more powerful piping and fans systems, but I am sure you get the picture.
That 10 degrees C liquid and the air resulting from the heat exchanger and fans will naturally cool the building. If more cooling is needed on some days, then a normal cooling system can be used in conjunction with the geothermal system. But think of all of the electricity and more that will be saved. Now think about how much energy would be saved if the buildings are well-insulated and designed for energy efficiency with the geothermal-conventional system. It is a lot in most areas. Some estimates state that typically a geothermal heat pump systems can save 30-40 percent over the average conventional system. The energy is from the earth, not just from an electric air conditioner.
Now let’s turn things around. It is now the coldest part of the Mongolian winter. Homes, gers, apartment complexes, office buildings and more need to be heated. If there is a building or a home with the geothermal system 10 degrees C air is being pumped into the building. This 10 degrees C is a lot warmer than the outside air. The home or other building would want to be warmer than this, but think of how much energy is saved, and pollution not produced, by brining the home or building up initially to this temperature using the earth. After this, warmer air than the air temperature outside is brought in then the other conventional heating systems can kick in to make up the difference to make a comfortable home or building. With good insulation in the walls, triple-pane glass windows, tight building of doors and other opening, and more a huge amount of energy — and money — could be saved. Using this for gers would be difficult in a one-by-one basis, but as groups in villages or large families, this may be possible, if they are to remain stationary. This sort of system is not for families who move about. Other forms will need to be considered for those families.
Given that many people in Mongolia are low or of modest incomes, many would likely not be able to afford the digging and drilling and fairly expensive systems heat pumps involve. However, as these systems become more common in the country and in the world, costs could be driven down by going up learning curves, as well as having economies of scale in the production of the pipes and other systems. The Mongolian government may also want to look into some national projects on this as a use for its newfound wealth. But this needs to be done properly and carefully, and with the best devices and experts involved.
For now the pipes and the heat pump systems will have to be imported. Installation at first will have to be done by outside experts while at the same time training Mongolians to do this. That sort of offset would be great for any technology being developed in the country. Mongolians could also find jobs in this from step one.
Can I see in 10, 20, and 30 years a viable energy industry being developed by Mongolians educated outside and inside of the country? Yes. Can I see geothermal as an important part of this development of Mongolian skills and jobs in energy? Yes. Can I see Mongolians adapting these technologies to their economic, cultural, and weather environments? Yes? Can I see them exporting these adaptations to similar and other parts of the world? Yes.
In energy as with any other industry a country first learns, then adapts, then develops the industry in its own way — optimally. If Mongolia is really going to develop, it needs to move forward with its own people and its own ideas eventually, rather than just relying on outside ideas and people. The chances are there. Doing this right is vital for the future of the country.
So we have another reason to be thankful for the wonders of this earth?
Yes.
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