"We believe that a company’s worth is not just in its financial achievements but also in its contributions to ethical practices and sustainable development."

Munkhnasan Narmandakh

CHAIRWOMAN, MONPOLYMET GROUP

March 22, 2024

Could you introduce Monpolymet?

We are a diversified mining company with 30 years of experience in the industry. Our company is a second-generation, mother-daughter business, founded by my mother who is a senior geologist. Our journey began with a vision to not only excel in the mining industry but also to redefine it with a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility. After working for the World Bank Group, I came back to Mongolia to start our cement manufacturing and concrete business. We then expanded into real estate and construction divisions. We have about 1,200 people who help keep our company’s rank in the 100 companies in Mongolia. From a few female geologists who laid the groundwork for the Group three decades ago, Monpolymet remains a female-led organization, with mostly women C-suite executives. Moncement Building Materials has become a leader in the cement industry.

What role does Moncement Building Materials play in the Mongolian construction scene?

Until recently, almost all of Mongolia’s cement had been imported - we found a profound need for local production that would ensure both reliable supply and consistent quality. Realizing the importance of cement for our much-needed infrastructure development which I think is a basis for the country's development, we established Moncement Building Materials in 2016. This venture was not just an expansion of our business portfolio; it was a strategic move towards self-reliance, reducing Mongolia’s dependence on imported cement and boosting the national economy. We identified limestone deposits that could provide long-term sustainable raw material for our cement operation. Today, Moncement Building Materials supplies about 30-45% of Mongolia’s cement needs, and the country has become mostly self-sufficient.

This year, Mongolia registered a record-high surplus in its current account balance of payments, an indication that the country is exporting more than importing; we are glad to be contributing to our country’s resilience by supplying foundational construction material to our construction and industrial development needs.

Monpolymet is a leader in technical rehabilitation. What role has ESG played in the company’s evolution?

Over the years, we have invested significantly in restoring mined areas, reforestation, and biodiversity conservation. These efforts have not only helped in healing the landscapes but also in setting industry benchmarks for environmental responsibility. This came with a strong mission that my mother focused on delivering in parallel to sustainable mining and exploration practices. We carry out not just technical restoration but also biological rehabilitation to ensure a minimal footprint from mining activities.

ESG plays a big role in also how we choose our investors. For instance, our shareholder in our cement business, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) shares a vision of environmental sustainability and technological innovation. The commitment from both investors to leverage environmentally friendly and sustainable technology has introduced our waste heat recovery system at Moncement plants. This new system creates electricity for the plant by utilizing the heat from the kilns therefore cutting power consumption by half while significantly reducing carbon emissions. Our plants also recycle most of the water used (dry technology plants) which has been a major innovation in Mongolia’s heavy industry.

We have integrated sustainable practices from water conservation in our mining processes to the use of eco-friendly technologies in our manufacturing units. We are also actively engaged in community development. This includes creating job opportunities, supporting local infrastructure projects, and ensuring that the benefits of our operations extend to the communities we operate in.

How can Mongolia’s economy become more resilient to commodity cycles?

Much of our growth as a country will hinge on infrastructure, and how we tie into sustainability. Thousands of trucks roam in our Gobi Desert destroying our grasslands without roads; the dust has sadly become a new normal which is unacceptable. With a sufficient infrastructure and the right set of coherent policies in place governing environmental rehabilitation and conservation, while enticing the right investment into diversifying sectors, we can strengthen our economy.

Do you have a final message to share with the broader mining and investment community?

Monpolymet is committed to being a positive force for the country and raising new benchmarks. We have successfully navigated the complexities of the global market while maintaining our commitment to sustainable and responsible business practices. We believe that a company’s worth is not just in its financial achievements but also in its contributions to ethical practices and sustainable development.

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