This is our magazine’s 100th issue, and we thank all our readers, advertisers and well-wishers for being with us over these 100 months on the development path.
These 100 issues record a part of the history of Mongolian development in a period of major changes. For us, producing every month’s issue is like implementing a new project, and today we at The Mongolian Mining Journal feel a sense of satisfaction that we have been successful with 100 projects. This success has been a learning process for us, and we hope you agree that our team has been doing better with every issue. Certainly we, along with the rest of the country, have seen and learnt a lot in these 100 months, spanning years when modern mining came to Mongolia, in the form of Oyu Tolgoi, Tavan Tolgoi and other such projects. Over these 100 issues we have tried to share with readers our understanding of how the mining sector is changing here, and how close we are to the wide world. That is the stuff of history.
The first issue of MMJ came in late 2008, at a time when Mongolia’s mining sector was being launched on its path of intensive development. “We all wish for development and we all have our different ideas about how to hasten it. The MMJ wants to critically examine these ideas with the help of adequate and correct information.” These words appear next to the Editorial in every issue. Arguing for development has been our constant principle, and to make that argument acceptable, MMJ has been trying to balance different positions and reach a national consensus.
These 100 issues over almost nine years bear witness to honest mistakes and to worthy accomplishments. Our aim always has been to bring the most accurate mining information to our readers and our rich archives will show how we have gradually expanded our reach, through analysis, reports, interviews, photographs etc. We have followed the progress of big projects on deposit usage, and reported the results, both good and bad. We have tried to look into the future by following trends, overt or implied. We have reported on crises and recovery, on stumbles and successes, and in the process brought to you stories of hope, desperation, endurance, and triumph. A look back on these 100 issues, each a project by itself, will trace the course the Mongolian mining sector took over the years, marked by accomplishments and blunders, ups and downs, expectations and surprises, disappointments and vindications. Some of them are still fresh and might be very useful information even now for observers of the mining sector.
Another group to find these back issues useful would be students of journalism. MMJ can claim to be a pioneer in business and industrial journalism in Mongolia, creating ways of covering news and developments, especially in the mining sector.
Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi have become fixtures in the national psyche and almost every issue of MMJ has had something on either or both of them. A random look at our 2008 issues would show how the two projects were expected to contribute to the state budget enough revenue to fund Mongolian development for longer than an individual’s lifetime.
Signing the OT agreement united the whole country in celebration and production seemed just a step away from the mine construction. As for Tavan Tolgoi, there were bids, new feasibility studies, various ideas on how to turn coal into treasure, conflicts between antagonistic political interests, the “wars over the railway”, the running battle between the politics of destruction and construction, the milestone of Mongolian engineers’ success in building a coal handling facility in Tsogttsetsii soum, which was to help make Mongolian coal a brand name in the global market, and endless such stories.
The optimism was soon crushed under the weight of the global recession that hit hard the mining sector, mainstay of the country’s economy. We were “overthrown by ourselves”, MMJ wrote. That was true, with erratic changes in the legal environment reflecting our government’s inconsistent policies.
Good sense dawned. We made a U-turn, choosing new partners and learning how to make a success of partnership. Such fundamental changes do not come easy; right now, the future of our big projects is still not certain, national opinion is fractured, and the global commodity market continues to shock the Mongolian mining sector.
All this from the last nine years, special moments and routine but no less important events, is there in these 100 issues. Having thus recorded the past, we now look to the future, when from issue to issue we shall be charting the trajectory of the Mongolian mining sector.
We thank all the professionals, researchers and academics who gave their often different views to us, allowing MMJ to stress its independence and neutrality. Our job is to give present information and clarify trends, leaving our readers to make up their mind.
Many of them have been with us right from the first issue, many advertisers have provided constant support, many sector professionals have helped us keep our focus, many academics have added value to our contents, and there are many who have preserved past issues as souvenirs of a partnership in development. We are grateful to you all and our apologies for inadvertent mistakes that crop up despite our best efforts. With all your support and best wishes, we now begin our work on the next 100 issues, project by project, month by month.