By Robert L. Wallack, AJOTMongolia’s revised minerals law further opens investment by foreign mining companies to extract hundreds of millions of tons of mineral resources of mainly, coal, copper and gold. Wagner Asia Equipment LLC is the Caterpillar, Inc. (CAT) dealer in Mongolia responsible for supplying the mining sites in the South Gobi region with heavy duty machines such as the 250 ton 785C mining trucks. The transportation and logistics is well coordinated from the factories in the mid-West to the desolate project sites with challenges once the shipments arrive in the border town of Zamyn-Uud, Mongolia a few miles across from the People’s Republic of China.
The mining market in Mongolia is overcoming the global financial crisis as indicated by the growth experienced by Wagner Asia in Mongolia. The changes in the minerals law brings fresh foreign investments in key mining sites such as the copper and gold potential of Oyu Tolgoi, South Gobi and in nearby coal resources of Tavan Tolgoi and Ovoot Tolgoi. “In the past five years, the approximate investment growth was about 70% (based on end of year asset value) and for the next five years there might be growth to exceed 100% because of Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia, Inc. Leighton Asia and QGX, Ltd. have business goals to have world class mining operations that require big earth moving equipment fleets of CAT 785 and 793 trucks and part of those we hope to supply,” said Kh. Bold, Manager, Wagner Asia Equipment, LLC in a recent interview with the American Journal of Transportation.
These massive mining trucks are manufactured by CAT in mid-West factories and deployed by the mining companies for their current three to five year construction phases on the project sites in Mongolia. CAT produces mining trucks in five models with pay- load capacities of 150-400 tons. The 785C mining truck is 38 feet long, 20 feet high and 24 feet wide with a 160 ton payload capacity and powered by a 1348 horsepower engine. In March and April, CAT shipped five 785C vehicles to Mongolia’s South Gobi Ukhaakhudag coal mining project near Tavan Tolgoi for South Gobi Energy Resources, Inc. and more will follow by the end of 2009.
At present, South Gobi Energy Resources, Inc. is expanding its annual coal production capacity of 1.5 million tons across four project site areas of open pit and underground mines estimated at 419.9 million tons of coal. Production capacity is expected to reach 8 million tons per year by 2012. “The three coal products are a premium coal quality used for making steel and for thermal energy as well as a hard coking coal for steel production and a thermal coal for power generating,” said Alexander Molyneux, Chief Executive Officer and President, South Gobi Energy Resources at the 2009 China Eurasia Investment Forum in Beijing on October 23rd. These mines are important to markets south across the border for China’s heavy industries and generating energy. These coalmines are also for a power plant in Oyu Tolgoi, nearby in the northeast for the copper and gold mining complex owned by Ivanhoe Mines that holds an 80% stake in Energy Resources.
The five 785C mining trucks arrived in the Ukhaakhudag coal project site after a long journey from the mid-West of the United States. The massive vehicles are loaded in pieces of up to 55 tons from the USA factory onto heavy lift trucks for assembly upon arrival in Mongolia. Orion Marine Corporation handles all shipments for CAT from the USA. “Special heavy lift trucks are required to move cargo to ports of exit to either Houston, Baltimore, Seattle or Los Angeles,” said Peter Schauer, President, Orion Marine Corporation in a recent interview. At the port, “cargo will be lifted mostly by shore cranes and loaded aboard the vessel and stowed into a hold or, alternatively, secured on the weather deck. Cargo is generally unprotected and does not r