Is the door reopening to Mongolia?

MONGOLIA has been off the beaten track for several years – it’s challenging to access new exploration licenses, and a range of policies adopted in the last decade were strongly nationalistic. Consequently, there have been no new entrants to the country to explore for some time. However, the country now hopes to achieve a foreign listing for its state owned Tavan Tolgoi coal company and passionately spoken rhetoric points to a change of attitude toward foreign miners. If words can be made into actions then Mongolia may be about to reappear on the map, writes Hedley Widdup*.

Is the door reopening to Mongolia? Is the door reopening to Mongolia? Is the door reopening to Mongolia? Is the door reopening to Mongolia? Is the door reopening to Mongolia?

Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia. Image: Hedley Widdup

In 2007, Mongolia was one of the hottest exploration destinations on earth. The geology is well known to be prospective - the Oyu Tolgoi discovery in the Gobi Desert played out through the early 2000's, strongly complemented by the promotional machine of Robert Friedland loudly proclaiming the virtues of the project and the jurisdiction. Explorers, who love a frontier that looks like "elephant country", flocked to Mongolia and investors clamoured for their stock. 

The sheen began to wear off in 2008 with the Global Financial Crisis, as risk aversion crept into the market and took the wind out of exploration funding globally. This disruption proved to be short term, however the sands had also been shifting in Mongolia in a way that made mining investors uneasy.

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