With coal sector growth in Mongolia gathering pace, reports of exploration, mine developments and rail projects are being announced almost every week.
While this is exciting for the industry and the nation, there is still much to learn about the huge potential of Mongolian coal, the diversity of qualities, size of deposits, accessibility and what is required to bring the coals to market.
With this in mind, the inaugural Coal Mongolia conference on February 24 and 25 will play a big part in ensuring understanding and knowledge, both within Mongolia and further afield. The conference is being held at the Chinggis Khaan Hotel in Ulaanbaatar and is attracting plenty of interest.
By the end of November 2010, the amount of extracted coal in 2010 reached 20 million tonnes with 14 million sold to the foreign market. This saw coal surpass copper export capacity. Due to the coal sector growth, thousands of new jobs are being created and development is guiding Mongolia along a new path of prosperity.
By 2015 annual production is forecast to be more than 40 million tonnes as new projects come on line and expansion projects are completed.
Can such dramatic growth be maintained? Waiting for an answer to this question are buyers in Russia, China and the rest of Asia. China may look the most logical market for Mongolian coals with distances between the mines and the end-users significantly shorter than they are for Russia’s industrial buyers, but great efforts are being made to open up links to Russian and Chinese eastern sea ports, and on to other Asian countries.
Coal Mongolia has attracted strong sponsorship interest, the exhibitor hall is fully booked and there are hundreds of delegates attending from around the world.
There is also a quality line up of government and industry speakers, including Minister for Minerals Resource and Energy Zorigt D, Mineral Resource Authority head Bathuyag D, Erdenes MGL LLC CEO Enebish B, Energy Resource LLC CEO Battsengel G, Prophecy Resource CEO and co-chairman John Lee and Shanxi Fenwei Energy Consulting chairman Chang Yijun.