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

October 4, 2011 Asia Pacific Memo 0

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. […]

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Is Northern British Columbia De-Globalizing?

June 23, 2011 Asia Pacific Memo 0

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? […]


China’s Next Revolution: Fracking in the East

April 26, 2011 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #76 – Will Sichuan’s landscape one day resemble northeastern British Columbia’s Horn River Basin, one of North America’s most promising shale gas plays? The least contentious answer is ‘it won’t anytime soon,’ but there are many who would like to think so, especially in China. With the socialist revolution under their belt, Beijing is taking on another one – the shale gas revolution of North America. What the shale gas revolution lacks in cadres, it makes up in energy; coincidentally, the type most favoured by Beijing – the potential energy stored in hydrocarbon molecules of methane gas. […]

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When Cambodia’s Oil Begins to Flow: the Politics of Becoming a Petro-State

October 12, 2010 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #29 – Within two or three years Cambodia will likely export petroleum resources from offshore fields containing up to two billion barrels of oil and significant quantities of natural gas. This long anticipated event has stimulated discussion as to whether petroleum extraction will benefit the country. Concerned about the implications of oil for the evolution of the Cambodian polity, aid donors and NGOs have encouraged the ruling elite to learn from the mistakes of other resource-rich developing states afflicted by the so-called “resource curse”. […]

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Canadian Mining and Human Rights in Asia: Building an Advantage or Dismantling Competitiveness?

September 1, 2010 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #16 – On September 20, 2010, Canada’s House of Commons will give third reading to the Private Members Bill, C-300. If passed, it will have significant implications for the Canadian extractive industry’s nearly $9 billion worth of mining assets throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It is expected to draw fierce opposition from the Conservative side of the House. Although the proposed law has sparked a much-needed debate on mining and human rights, it is deeply flawed. […]


Broad Gauge versus Narrow Gauge: The Politics of Dimension in Mongolia’s Railroad System

August 12, 2010 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #11 – The outcome of a debate over railway track dimensions, whether to use broad gauge to Russia, or narrow gauge to China, could determine the direction of Mongolian foreign policy. On one hand, the debate indicates the strength of Mongolia’s democracy. On the other hand, it is a clear example of a geo-economic contest where the standards of a former hegemonic power (Russia) are challenged by an emerging major power (China). […]