Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold on Thursday welcomed foreign investment in the landlocked country’s resources and real estate sectors, a report said.
S.Batbold was speaking during a three-day visit to the Chinese capital where he is due to meet with Premier Wen Jiabao and attend a signing ceremony later Thursday, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
The Mongolian leader said the impoverished country would try to provide a fairer and more transparent environment for foreign investors, who have been falling over each other to get a stake in Mongolia’s coal, copper and iron sectors.
He also said Mongolia and China should pay more attention to their bilateral trade structure, noting Mongolia’s exports to China mainly consist of heavy raw materials, which is bad for the environment.
Batbold met with Chinese parliamentary chief Wu Bangguo on Wednesday and will hold talks with Vice President Xi Jinping on Friday.
He also said Mongolian companies had started to invest in China, and that Ulan Bator hoped Beijing would support these firms.
Mongolia is opening up its resources to foreign investors in the hope the nascent mining industry — and the deep-pocketed firms interested in it — can help pull thousands of people out of poverty.
Ulan Bator has shortlisted several major foreign firms to develop part of the Tavan Tolgoi mine, one of the world’s largest coal fields with 6.4 billion tonnes of reserves located 270 kilometres (165 miles) from the Chinese border.
US coal miner Peabody Energy, Brazil’s Vale and steel giant ArcelorMittal are among six preferred bidders to develop the western portion of Tsenkhi, which contains mostly coking coal — a key ingredient for steel production.
The others in contention are Anglo-Swiss group Xstrata, a joint venture between China’s Shenhua and Japan’s Mitsui, and a consortium of Russian, South Korean and Japanese companies. The results of the bidding are expected to be announced later this year.