Mongolia. According to Countryaah.com, Mongolia population in 2020 is estimated at 3,278,301. A conflict was going on between the state and foreign mining companies regarding the licenses for mining, which slowed investment from outside. Among other things, the expansion was hindered by Oyu Tolgoi, one of the world’s largest unused copper deposits. There was also a dispute with Oyu Tolgoi’s owner about financing the mining project, and the underground mining was delayed.
The mining project, which has cost the equivalent of SEK 46 billion, is expected to produce over 300,000 tonnes of copper concentrate a year when this is completed. It is expected to contribute to Mongolia’s economy growing by a third by 2020.
In April, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited Mongolia and promised to increase military cooperation with the country, mainly in terms of training soldiers. Mongolia has participated in, for example, the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan. During his visit, Defense Minister Hagel received a horse from the army cavalry as a gift, but the horse stayed in Mongolia.
More than 1,000 soldiers from the United States and dozens of other countries participated in a military exercise in Mongolia in July intended as training for international peacekeeping missions. It was seen as a sign of Mongolia’s quest to expand its relations with the great powers beyond neighboring China and the Russian Federation. But Mongolia also holds annual military maneuvers with the Russian Federation.
China suggested that Mongolia be included as a full member of the Shanghai Regional Cooperation Organization (SCO), even though Mongolia did not show much interest. The country regards SCO as an authoritarian club, which limits Mongolia’s independence and weakens the development of democracy.
In August, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Mongolia and proposed an expansion of trade between the countries. As commodity prices and investments went down, Mongolia was anxious about new transport, energy and mining investment agreements with the country that receives more than 90% of Mongolia’s exports, mainly minerals.
In September, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin visited and signed several agreements with his Mongolian colleague. Putin also made a controversial statement referring to the Soviet Union’s victory, including Mongolia, over Japan in the war 75 years earlier.
After a turmoil in the government with the resignation of several ministers, in November Parliament voted away Prime Minister Norovin Altanchujag. Parliament also rejected the government’s budget and demanded austerity. The new head of government was Chimed Saikhanbileg, who was also a minister in the previous government. The opposition criticized the appointment, saying that as a member of the resigned government he was co-responsible for the economic crisis that prevailed.