Get On Board With Mongolia Mining

The 3:00 am phone call was scratchy, broken, and barely intelligible. Would I be willing to accept a collect call from Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia? My man on the ground there was on the line with a stock idea that I absolutely had to get involved with. Mongolia Mining (975:HK) had just listed its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at $7, had already moved up to $8.30, and was headed for higher altitudes. 

Mongolian Mining is the country’s major producer of metallurgical coal, which it sells to neighboring China to stoke the insatiable demand of its steel mills. The deal came out at a rich 13.6 times 2011 forecast profits, and 9 times 2012 earnings. The issue was led by JP Morgan, lending it some extra credibility with wary foreign investors. It raised $700 million for the company, which plans to invest the funds in road and rail upgrades to its open pit at Ukhaa Khudag in Southern Mongolia.

This is expected to take output from 1.8 metric tonnes in 2009 to 15 million tonnes by 2013. Mongolia has a major price and shipping advantage over existing suppliers of coking coal in the US and Australia, so the Middle Kingdom is expected to take everything Mongolia Mining can produce.

I have written extensively about Mongolia in the past as one of the one great “pre-emerging” markets now coming on to the scene (click here for “I Told You to Buy Mongolia!” at ). Until now, investors have been limited to indirect plays, like Ivanhoe Mines (IVN) and Rio Tinto (RTP).

The great thing about Mongolian Mines is that being a local company with substantial government ownership, it will get first priority of essential licenses, permits, and approvals, putting it at the head of the queue, in front of foreign competitors. In developing economies, who you know is often more important than what you know.

I keep hearing things that are incredibly bullish for Mongolia. It has the world’s biggest unexploited coal reserves and the richest untapped copper deposit. It is poised to become the fifth leading gold producer. It has large latent oil fields in the south, which begin production next year. And it has the world’s largest customer sitting on its doorstep. With emerging markets, natural resources, and hard assets definitely the flavor of the decade, there is an easy double in Mongolia Mines --once this market picks up a head of steam.

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