By Pipe and Rail: Russia in Search of Shorter Routes to Asian Markets

Memo #301

Putin Prioritizes Geo-Economics over Geo-Politics

By Mendee Jargalsaikhan – mendee [at] alumni.ubc.ca

J_MendeeRussia’s largest state-owned oil giants, Transneft and Rosneft, as well as Russian railroad authorities are again eyeing Mongolian routes as the shortest, most efficient, and safest way to Asian markets. Russia’s previous transport options to these markets—through the Russian Far East (RFE), North… Continue reading

Chinese SOEs and Non-Renewable Resource Development in Alberta

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #294

By Daniel Wood  - dwood [at] alumni.ubc.ca

Canada’s abundance of non-renewable energy resources, such as conventional and synthetic crude and natural gas, are vital to the national economy. According to Statistics Canada, jobs from this sector currently contribute to 4% of Canada’s total labour force… Continue reading

A Strategic Discovery: Rare Earth Elements Bonanza in the DPRK

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #258

By Marie-Pier Baril – mariepier.baril [at] gmail.com

Earlier this month, MiningWeekly announced the world’s largest known single reserve of rare earth elements (REE) was discovered in Jongju, North Pyongan province, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea). The DPRK’s mineral resources have always… Continue reading

Keeping Neighbours Closer: Beijing’s Geopolitical Pitch

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #249

By Jargalsaikhan Mendee - mendee [at] alumni.ubc.ca

Lately, Chinese leaders have been busy bolstering relations with their immediate neighbours.  As evidence, the Prime Ministers of India, Mongolia, and Russia arrived in Beijing for bilateral meetings with China’s President Xin Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on the… Continue reading

Why are Foreign Mining Companies Retreating from China?

In the 1990s, China opened up the country’s vast mineral resources to international investment. Over the past decade, it has reformulated its mining legislation to attract foreign companies into the Chinese mining sector with the hope of speeding up its modernization. Between 2001 and 2004 the number of foreign mining projects quickly increased from 150 to 279. But by 2010, this number had declined to 92. International firms continue to feel stymied by an inconsistent and convoluted mining policy and their inability to create relationships of trust with local mining stakeholders. Continue reading

Mongolia: Gauging Inner Asian Tensions over Railways

Broad gauge or standard gauge railway? This domestic Mongolian debate reflects Inner Asian ambivalence toward economic opportunities through engagement with China, as well as broader geopolitical and economic competition between Russia and China. After he was fired from the post of Director of the Mongolian Railway on January 10, former Prime Minister M. Enkhsaikhan criticized the government’s plan to extend the domestic broad (Russian) gauge railroad network. Instead, he argued for a 267 km standard (Chinese) gauge railroad from Tavan Tolgoi, a coal mining deposit, to Gashuun Sukhait, a Sino-Mongolian border post. With this argument Mr. Enkhsaikhan triggered another round of the debate over narrow vs. broad gauge. Continue reading

China’s Liberalizing Impact on Global Commodity Markets

Memo #195 – China played a key part in the recent collapse of the iron ore pricing regime. This was an unintended consequence of a mix of bold negotiating tactics and competing domestic interests, which made it difficult to implement a consistent international procurement policy. Chinese actions destabilized global market institutions and paradoxically caused their liberalization. Continue reading

Community Natural Resource Management in India: Does it Reduce Poverty?

Memo #156 – A series of new programs in India for community natural resource management (CNRM) is decentralizing control over local resources of water, forests, and inland fishing from government departments to end-users such as farmers, forest dwellers, and fishers. Continue reading

Why No Anti-Mining Party in Mongolia? Why No Pro-Mining Movement?

Memo #106 – Next week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to address the Mongolian parliament. Her visit will come during a tumultuous period as Mongolian politicians prepare for parliamentary elections in summer 2012. Recently, 20 MPs petitioned the government to revisit the 2009 Investment Agreement signed with Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto for the giant Oyu Tolgoi (OT) gold and copper project. The petition sent shares and Mongolia’s credibility as a natural resource investment destination momentarily tumbling. No enduring anti-mining coalition is behind this petition, nor has a pro-mining, single-issue party emerged. Continue reading

Is Northern British Columbia De-Globalizing?

Memo #91 – Using the most common measure of economic openness – the ratio between exports and GDP – British Columbia’s (BC) economy has become less open in the past decade. In 2000, the provincial export to GDP ratio was over 25 per cent; by 2009 it had fallen to under 20 per cent. Is the province actually ‘de-globalizing? Continue reading