ULAN BATOR, Sept 9, 2011 (AFP) — Mongolia’s state-owned mining firm Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi (ETT) could list in Hong Kong, London and Ulan Bator early next year, executives with knowledge of the matter said Friday.
The company controls the huge Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit in southern Mongolia, which as the world’s largest untapped mine has attracted the interest of resource giants from around the globe.
While an IPO on the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) is not expected to generate much capital, billions could be raised on overseas exchanges.
“I had a conversation with the prime minister about this matter and there was a very strong commitment to achieve the goals of listing ETT on the current timetable (first quarter of 2012),” said John Finigan, head of the Ulan Bator-based Golomt Bank.
“The hope is to list on three exchanges – London, Hong Kong and the Mongolian Stock Exchange,” he told AFP on the sidelines of a major investors conference in the Mongolian capital.
Bill Gorman, president of the MSE, told conference delegates work was underway to prepare for the IPO in Ulan Bator, pending approval of a new law by parliament.
“A number of things have to fall into place before Tavan Tolgoi can be properly privatized and listed on the MSE. First and foremost is passage of the new securities law,” he said.
The planned IPO could be a boon for ordinary Mongolian citizens hoping to reap the rewards of their mineral-rich country.
The government has already promised every Mongolian citizen 536 shares of ETT, which they will only be able to access after the IPO.
Officials estimate the value of the shares for Mongolians to be around US$300 to $500 each — a substantial sum in one of Asia’s poorest countries.
Mongolia needs capital to build up the Tavan Tolgoi mine, which has an estimated 6.4 billion tonnes of coal reserves, the majority of which is high grade coking coal used in the production of steel.
Ulan Bator has carved up the coal reserve into different blocks, and is working with a number of international consortiums and mining companies to develop the mine.
In July the government announced that US mining giant Peabody Energy, China’s Shenhua and a Russian consortium would jointly mine the western Tsankhi block.
It later said that the decision was not final and other companies from Japan and Korea may also be involved.
This article was published Sept 9 by AFP. For the online version, click here.