A Mongolian company has tapped one of the world’s most closed markets by taking a stake in a North Korean oil refinery, to help Asia’s fastest growing economy ease its energy reliance on Russia and China.
Mongolia’s central bank plans to cut interest rates on mortgages by almost half to 8 percent from around 15 percent this month, following a new policy approved by the government to ease financial burdens on the middle class.
Mongolia plans to start charging interest on allegedly unpaid tax owed by Rio Tinto Group’s Oyu Tolgoi LLC, as talks continue over the future of the $6.6 billion copper and gold mine, the nation’s mining minister said.
Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., the Rio Tinto Group unit in charge of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project, said construction funding was extended while talks continue with Mongolia’s government to resolve disputes.
Outside, it’s minus 30 degrees Celsius as a February wind blasts across the Central Asian steppe and through the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar. Inside Government House, President Tsakhia Elbegdorj delivers a televised speech that simultaneously warms his people and chills foreign investors.
Mongolia said it’s undertaking an audit of Rio Tinto Group’s Oyu Tolgoi operation as it seeks to understand the reasons for an alleged $2 billion cost overrun at the mine where output is due to start in June.
Rio Tinto Group will resume talks with Mongolia this month to resolve concerns that spending at their jointly owned Oyu Tolgoi mining project is overshooting and the country isn’t benefiting enough from the development.
The cost of building Rio Tinto Group’s Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine rose 16 percent to $6.6 billion, according to a company statement responding to criticism of the project in Mongolia’s parliament last week.