02/17/2023, 17.39
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Ulaanbaatar and Seoul to extract minerals for EVs

Mongolia inked several deals with South Korea to develop Mongolia’s important copper and rare earth deposits, as an alternative to China’s. For Mongolian Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene, his country can be a “big player” in this sector.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene is in Seoul on a four-day visit seeking to ink deals to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries.

The Mongolian delegation signed several Memorandums of Understanding with the South Korean government and firms, including one to expand cooperation in copper and rare earths exploration, mining and sale.

These minerals are crucial in the production of electric vehicles (EVs) as well as the manufacturing of components in other hi-tech industries.

“Around the world, electric cars and the digital economy will be further developed, and we see Mongolia as a big player in supplying copper and rare earth materials globally to support this development,” Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene said in an interview in Seoul with Reuters.

Landlocked between China and Russia, Mongolia could be a possible alternative to China in the rare earth market; for this reason, it sees South Korea as a partner to develop its foreign trade and the export of these minerals.

“We see South Korea as one of our customers, and the newly signed agreement between our two countries will help Mongolia trade globally through seaports such as Busan,” the Mongolian leader.

Oyun-Erdene also said that his country plans to support the South Korean port city Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo when voting takes place this November.

In July 2022, the National Geological Office of Mongolia estimated that the country had copper and rare earth reserves of about 61.4 million and 3.1 million tonnes respectively.

This year, Mongolia plans to expand the Oyu Tolgoi mine in southern Mongolia, home to one of the largest known copper deposits in the world.

According to some estimates, mining activity represented about a quarter of Mongolia’s GDP and 29.6 per cent of the government budget in 2021.

Allegations of corruption involving coal exports to China by a state-owned enterprise led to street protests last December.

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Tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang rise as Cold War fears cast a shadow over Korea
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China and Russia, Mongolia’s cumbersome, yet unavoidable neighbours
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More than US$ 3 trillion in rare earths and precious metals under Taliban feet
China’s dilemma: how to mine rare earths whilst protecting reserves and the environment


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