<p>As companies such as Rio Tinto Group, Mongolia's biggest investor, Peabody Energy Corp. and Mitsui and Co. plan to keep the momentum going by exporting more of the country's $1.3 trillion trove of resources, about a fifth of the population of 3 million are getting by on $1.25 a day.</p> Source: Photograph by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
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.
Mongolia pledged to give Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi LLC, its largest coal company, a $355 million loan that Chief Executive Officer Yaichil Batsuuri said may be used to help it exit an agreement to supply China.
After Syria and Iran, Mongolia is delivering the world’s worst currency returns this quarter as tumbling international investment and coal revenue starve the country of the foreign exchange needed to fund imports.
On a sunny afternoon in Mongolia’s capital Ulan Bator, vans festooned with the flags of political parties careen down potholed streets, loudspeakers touting their candidates’ virtues ahead of June 28 parliamentary elections. Students march through the city center wearing t-shirts bearing the images of some of those vying for the 76 legislative seats. Unemployed plumber Dorjsuren can’t get into the spirit.
Vice President Joe Biden took a detour through Mongolia today en route from China to Japan to show support for the country’s nascent democracy and thank the government for sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mongolia, the commodity-rich nation that posted the world’s fastest economic growth in 2011, is on course to pass a law by June that will bar foreign state-owned companies from controlling its key assets.