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Prez asks Indian businesses to tap mining boom in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar: President Pratibha Patil on Friday asked Indian industry houses to exploit the vast opportunities in the mining sector in Mongolia, saying that the gold, copper and uranium reserves here hold much in store for them.

"The mining boom that Mongolia is presently experiencing is predicted to make Mongolia`s economy the fastest growing in the world by 2013. The World Bank`s annual GDP growth rate projection for Mongolia in 2013 is 22.9 per cent," Patil said.

"Such predictions, indeed, are staggering and Indian business must take due notice. Mongolia`s mineral wealth, including significant reserves of coal, copper, gold and uranium, offer investment opportunities for Indian companies," she said.

"Implementation of these projects will generate significant demand for construction and mining equipment, as well as in such areas as power generation, water supply and rail transport. I would recommend the Indian business delegation to look closely at these opportunities," Patil stressed.

The President, who is on three-day visit of Mongolia, has inked several bilateral agreements, including ones on defence cooperation and media exchange.

Patil is the first Indian President to visit Mongolia in 23 years.

"We are impressed and applaud Mongolia`s decision to put forth for development three major flagship mining projects, namely the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold deposit, the Tavan Tolgoi coking coal deposit and the uranium deposit at Dornod.

"These projects are becoming important drivers of foreign direct investment into Mongolia and will serve the purpose of meeting the growing demands of the world economy in general and major Asian economies such as India in particular," she said.

Patil was speaking during a business interaction organised by industrial bodies of both the nations and attended by several entrepreneurs.

"The Indian business delegation present here should, along with Mongolian industry, explore business opportunities and seek to establish contacts with commercial and industrial houses. I encourage greater and more frequent exchange of ideas and interaction between chambers and business leaders of the two countries," she said.

While acknowledging the brave face put up by the Indian economy in facing the global financial meltdown with alacrity and persisting with a high growth trajectory, the President said, "Today, it is not only one of the major economies of the world, but it is also one of the fastest growing. We seek to achieve our goals of inclusive growth and nation building.

"We have in place an ambitious programme for the expansion of our social and infrastructure sectors. All this offers many opportunities for other countries.

"I am convinced that there exist many opportunities for cooperation in the economic and commercial fields and with enterprise and innovation, we can construct a new Silk Route to weave together our economic destinies… so that the close relationship between our countries is translated into economic opportunity and prosperity for our peoples," Patil said.

The president also invited her counterpart, Ts Elbegdorj, to join in the socio-economic transformation of India as investors, financiers and traders, or to enter into joint ventures with Indian entrepreneurs to develop Mongolia`s resources.

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