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Diamond standards

Interview - April 15, 2014
Mongolia National Diamond Drilling is a 100% Mongolian company that carries out a variety of exploratory operations, looking for gold, copper, coal, mixed metals, iron, and uranium deposits. Mr Banzragch Ts, general director of MNDD, speaks to United World about how his company has become a leader in its field in just four years, as well as MNDD’s work in Mongolia and around the world
So we would like to know more about yourself and professional background and how you started this business? 

Our company was established 4 years ago with 100% local investment. I received a degree in drilling. I worked for Major Drilling, an international drilling company, after my graduation and also worked as a specialist in some other countries such as Armenia. I came back here and worked in a university for 3 years as a teacher and established this company in 2010. This is the company I established with my university friends. 
I would like to know, as I really like your slogan, what “Mongolians Can Drill” means? 

Foreign companies mainly from Australia and Canada started operating in Mongolia around 10 years ago and they continue operating today. Mongolian gained some experience from those companies. As a result, Mongolian engineers are capable of executing drilling projects and it is the time to do it, which explains our slogan. We are also thankful for gaining practical experience by working for those foreign companies and we have been trained by those companies.
Your company has projects in Mozambique, Tanzania, Armenia, Kazakhstan, China, Pakistan and also Australia. Can you tell us about how you started this international approach? 

Rather than expanding our operation into new markets, our company’s founding members used to be working in these countries. Generally, when international companies, whose standard is the same around the world, operate in Mongolia, there are not many difficulties to operate in other countries. Only the working environment changes whilst the drilling standard stays the same. 
Two of the important aspects of drilling here in Mongolia are water resources and also safety of the employees. I would like to know how your company is handling two of these important aspects. 

Safety is the highest priority not only in drilling, but also in all other sectors. We only start working and executing our duties upon the completion of safety measures of our machineries and of our employees; in other words – safety first. 
Can you also tell us about the National Development Foundation? 

There are many people with Mongolian ancestry around the world. The purpose of the foundation is to create a link among all the Mongolians throughout the world and support youngster’s education. The second purpose is to preserve the wild nature. The name of the foundation is being changed to Development Foundation of Mongolians in the World. 
Do you drill for coal, gold, precious metals, and any other mineral resources? 

We have experience drilling for all types for resources, including coal, gold, copper and uranium. 

So for example, if one company in Chile wants to partner with you, would you be able to meet its needs? 

We execute projects on clients’ requests. Generally, I’m not sure how it is in Chile, but in most countries, a company engages us and we execute the drilling in accordance with international standards. 
What is the difference between Mongolian drilling companies compared to Canadian or Australian drilling companies? 

There are different levels of companies and generally a drilling standard of Canadian or Australian companies are high. At the moment, the difference is not that obvious. As there is only a world standard, supplier and manufacturer companies are the same and we all buy our machineries from one place, so the difference gap is diminishing. I have worked with lots of foreign companies—companies from Australia, Philippines and China. The uniqueness of Mongolians is that they are fast-learners, which is the advantage. Machineries and safety standard are almost the same, however, our human resources are different in which we can differentiate from others. 
Does your company have any plan to work in North America? 

There are cases that Mongolians execute projects individually in the US, however, executing projects as a company is rare as the mining sector is so saturated in those developed markets and local companies are well positioned. So operating in other developed markets is quite impossible. 
It is not common that mining companies in the US invest in Mongolian mining companies. Only a few representative offices of foreign mining companies, for example from the UK, were opened in Mongolia. And their operation is not even stable, I think. 
The opportunity I see in order to work in the international market is by cooperating with international mining companies that operate in Mongolia. Upon introducing the international standards into our daily operation and realizing the cost advantage, we can penetrate into the market through other sectors. 
What direction do you see the company in the coming 10 years? 

In Mongolia, about 300 drilling companies are in operation. And our company is of the strongest drilling companies. We see our future at this pace. We are talking to execute projects in Africa, Philippines and Malaysia, which imply our company status has already reached the international level. So, in the coming years, I see our company as an internationally recognized company.