On 10th of February, at a plenary meeting, Parliament approved a resolution to nationalise Mongolia's copper, gold and iron-ore assets. This follows a probe that found that a $400 million transaction with a closely held company had been illegal.
Parliament’s resolution invalidates a previous government decision that had authorised the sale of 49 percent stakes in both Erdenet Mining Corp. (EMS) and Mongolrostsvetmet LLC to the Mongolian Copper Corp. The resolution was approved by a vote of 80.3%.
Former Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg announced the sales on the eve of the June general election, declaring the purchases from Russia’s state-controlled Rostec "a victory for a country that wanted to put greater control of its natural resources into the hands of Mongolians." Despite this, Mr Saikhanbileg’s Democratic Party lost the election to the Mongolian People’s Party in a crushing defeat.
According to a probe conducted by a parliamentary working group, the purchase of the 49 percent holdings in the two mining stakes by Mongolian Copper used illegal loans and, thereby, violated the constitution. The Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia spearheaded financing for the deal.
The 'Erdenet Mining' and 'Mongolrostsvetmet' joint ventures were set up by the former Soviet Union and Mongolia in the 1970s. Erdenet focused on copper, while 'Mongolrostsvetmet' mines metals, including gold and iron ore.