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Mongolia Has A China Complex

By Yuriy Humber and Michael Kohn - 2013-07-10T08:38:35Z

Photograph by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

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Ex-Wall Street banker Chuluunkhuu Ganbat wants Mongolia to process its minerals before they go to China. “Mongolia should not become a commodity appendage of China,” says the tall, broad-shouldered Ganbat in an interview in the conference room of his central Ulan Bator office.

Ganbat returned from the U.S. four years ago to help make Mongolia more than an appendage. Now his firm, Liberty Partners, has been charged by the government to bring together businesses, investors, engineers and politicians to erect a $10 billion industrial hub in the middle of the desert.

If Ganbat's 10-year plan for Sainshand comes to fruition, the town will become a booming center that will include coal-coking plants, a copper smelter and factories to make clothes, iron pellets and cement. Although, the hub's future site at the moment is, literally, a dump.

Left: A line of vehicles wait to cross the border with China in Zamyn-Uud, Mongolia.