The vast mineral deposits of Mongolia, if properly managed, could make available large budgetary resources, which would help address a wide range of its economic challenges. This report focuses on Mongolia’s selected issues in the mining sector, government employment and wages, and saving and credit cooperatives. The attractiveness of Mongolia’s mining sector has been eroded in recent years with the introduction of the windfall profit tax (WPT). The high wage bill mainly reflects the large size of government employment and the recent rapid real wage increases.


The vast mineral deposits of Mongolia, if properly managed, could make available large budgetary resources, which would help address a wide range of its economic challenges. This report focuses on Mongolia’s selected issues in the mining sector, government employment and wages, and saving and credit cooperatives. The attractiveness of Mongolia’s mining sector has been eroded in recent years with the introduction of the windfall profit tax (WPT). The high wage bill mainly reflects the large size of government employment and the recent rapid real wage increases.

I. The Fiscal Regime for the Mining Sector in Mongolia1

A. Introduction

1. Mongolia’s mining sector has been a major contributor to economic growth and development. The main minerals produced are copper, gold and coal, although other minerals, including iron, zinc and molybdenum, are also being mined (Cakir and Klemm, 2007). Thanks in part to the continued sharp run-up in prices of copper and gold, the mining sector accounted for 27½ percent of GDP and 64 percent of export earnings in 2007, while revenues from copper, gold and coal mining made up 36½ percent of total budget revenue. However, despite its overall economic importance, the mining sector accounts for only about 4 percent of the labor force, due to its highly capital intensive nature.

2. While the importance of the mining sector partly reflects high prices, the volume of Mongolia’s mineral resources is huge, and the mining sector should continue to play a key role in Mongolia’s economic development, even if prices were to decline to more normal levels. Among the economically most significant mineral deposits under development, but not yet fully exploited, are Oyu Tolgoi (OT) copper/gold deposit (Ivanhoe Mines, 2005 and 2007) and two coal deposits in Tavan Tolgoi and Baganuur.2

Mongolia: Mining Sector’s Contributions to GDP, Revenue and Export

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Sources: Mongolian authorities; and Fund staff estimates.

3. Designing a fiscal regime for the mining sector presents a number of special challenges. Mineral resources are nonrenewable, and a fundamental tension exits between mining companies and governments over the division of risk and reward of mineral development. For this reason, the fiscal regime for the mining sector should aim for the government to receive the greatest possible value for its resources and, at the same time, to ensure international competitiveness of the sector to attract potential investors. By balancing these two objectives, Mongolia’s mining sector could provide large financial resources to help address its daunting economic challenges, including still widespread poverty and the need for economic diversification.

4. This paper illustrates the impact of a fiscal regime on the composition, the share and the sensitivity of government revenue from a copper/gold mining project. The analysis is based on the development of a copper and gold mine with characteristics broadly similar to the OT project under the minerals tax regime in place at the end of 2007 (Open Society Forum, 2007). The results indicate that, while the overall tax burden is reasonable under general circumstances, the marginal burden for the copper and gold mining sectors appears to be high by international standards, particularly, if minerals prices remain above the thresholds for the windfall profit tax. The paper also suggests that the resource rent tax could be a better alternative to the windfall profit tax and state equity participation. The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section B provides an analysis on the current fiscal regime for Mongolia’s mining sector. It also discusses the expected budget revenue from the project under the current tax regime, the mineral price sensitivity of the revenue, and the effectiveness of the current regime in terms of the progressiveness. Section C compares the current fiscal regime in Mongolia with one in other major copper producers and proposes alternative regimes for Mongolia. The last section concludes.

B. Modeling the Fiscal Regime for a Copper/Gold Mine

The Fiscal Regime for the Mining Sector

5. The current fiscal regime for the mining sector is governed by the Minerals Law and various tax laws. The direct taxes under the regime include a royalty, a corporate income tax (CIT), withholding taxes (WT), and the windfall profit tax (WPT), which applies to copper and gold sales. There are also certain fees, including exploration and mining license fees, but these are of less importance. The indirect taxes applicable to the mining sector include import duties and value-added tax (VAT). The specific tax rules under the regime are as follows:

  • Royalty. The Minerals Law sets the royalty rate for all metals at 5 percent of the sales value. A 2½ percent royalty rate applies to coal and other common minerals sold in the domestic market or used for power generation.

  • Corporate Income Tax. The CIT is levied at a rate of 10 percent on the first Tog 3 billion of taxable income (about US$2.6 million at the current exchange rate) and 25 percent on the excess over the threshold. The CIT law also includes a loss carryforward provision, under which operating losses can be carried forward two years. The amount of the loss that can be deducted against taxable income in each of two succeeding years cannot exceed 50 percent of that year’s taxable income.

  • Withholding Tax. The Mongolian CIT law imposes a 20 percent WT on certain payments to nonresidents, including dividends, royalty, loan interest, leasing interest, and income from management expenses. However, this tax rate can be reduced by treaty; for example, the tax treaty with Canada provides that the WT on dividends paid to a Canadian company can be reduced to 5 percent.

  • Windfall Profit Tax. The WPT was introduced in June 2006 to capture a higher share of the revenues accruing to copper and gold mining companies from high export prices. The tax, which is modeled after the Russian oil export tax, is imposed on sales of gold and copper ore/concentrate extracted in Mongolia.3 For copper concentrate, the tax is levied at a rate of 68 percent on the difference between actual copper prices in the London Metal Exchange and the sum of a base price (set at US$2,600 per ton) and smelting costs (estimated to be US$1,580 per metric ton in 2006). For gold, the same rate applies to the difference between the Bank of Mongolia’s gold price and the base price (set at US$500 per ounce of gold).4 The WPT is deductible for purposes of the regular income tax, and the base prices are not indexed.

  • Import Duties. Mongolia has a single import duty rate of 5 percent. However, the customs law provides a number of exemptions, including an exemption for technological equipment and heavy machinery imported by foreign investors for use in priority sectors and export-oriented industries. The mining sector can benefit from this provision.

  • Value-Added Tax. The current VAT law became effective from January 1, 2007, which reduced the VAT rate from 15 to 10 percent and eliminated a number of exemptions, including the exemption for capital goods imports for use in export-oriented industries. The mining sector is now treated for VAT purposes on par with other importers. As mining companies in Mongolia export most of their output and exports are zero-rated, they are in a VAT refund situation.

6. The Minerals Law allows for state equity participation in commercial mining projects and stability agreements between mining license holders and the government of Mongolia (GOM). The law provides that the GOM may take up to a 50 percent equity interest in a project that was identified through state funds, and up to a 34 percent equity participation in other projects.5 From the legislation, however, it is not clear whether and how the GOM should compensate mining license holders for its equity acquisition. The Minerals Law also allows mining companies to enter into an Investment Agreement with the GOM to ensure a stable operational environment, when their investment during the first 5 years exceeds US$50 million. The duration of the stability agreement depends on the amount of the initial investment, with the maximum of 30 years.

7. Tax rules for cost recovery, which are important factors to determine the attractiveness of the fiscal regime, are stipulated in the Minerals Law and CIT Law. The Minerals Law provides that all costs incurred for exploration and mine development shall be amortized on a straight-line basis over the terms of mining license (for license fees) or 5 years beginning in the year production starts (for other exploration and development costs). Under the CIT law, most assets acquired as the result of incurring capital expenditure will be considered depreciable properties, and the cost of depreciable assets is recovered on the straight-line basis over their useful lives set by the law. To limit excessive use of debt (i.e., thin capitalization), the CIT law denies a deduction of interest expense on debt in excess of a 3:1 debt/equity ratio.

The Copper/Gold Mining Project

8. The project simulated in this paper is assumed to produce total 20½ million dry metric tons (dmt) of copper and 37 million ounces of gold over 45 years of the projected mine life. Assuming the mine development starts in 2008, copper and gold will come on stream from 2011. Annual copper production will reach the peak at 924 thousand dmt in 2018 and then gradually decline thereafter. Annual gold production will reach the peak at 1,768 thousand oz. of gold in 2016 and then remain low until it bounces back in 2036. The total exploration and investment costs over the mine life are estimated to be US$7.7 billion.6 The financing need to cover initial investment and operating losses, before net cash flow of the project turns positive, is estimated to be US$2.7 billion.


Copper and Gold Production

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2008, 201; 10.5089/9781451826968.002.A001

Source: Fund Staff estimates.

9. The base case simulation uses the World Economic Outlook (WEO) copper and gold price projections until the last year of WEO projection (2013), and then assumes constant prices in real terms thereafter.7 The average prices over the mine life are assumed to be US$3,084 per dmt of copper and US$940 per oz. of gold. The average treatment and refinement costs (TC/RC) are estimated at US$138 per dmt of concentrate, and the average operating costs excluding depreciation are estimated at US$261 per dmt of concentrate. These costs are assumed to be independent of copper and gold prices.

Modeling Assumptions

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Sources: Mongolian authorities; and IMF World Economic Outlook.

Project Cash Flow and Government Revenue

10. The simulation indicates that net cash flow amounts to US$60 billion, from which the GOM receives US$47 billion.8 The project appears to be very profitable as the post-tax internal rate of return (IRR) stands at 21 percent. Discounted at 10 percent per year, the net present value (NPV10) of the project is estimated to be US$9.7 billion, of which the GOM’s share amounts at US$8.1 billion. The GOM is estimated to receive 60 percent of “total benefits”, which is twice as much as the 2007 nominal GDP (US$3.9 billion).9

Cashflow and GOM Revenue

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Source: Fund Staff estimates.

11. The annual GOM revenue from the mine is estimated to reach its peak at 23 percent of GDP in 2018 (US$2.15 billion) and decline thereafter. The analysis also shows that the WPT revenue is the largest contributor to the GOM revenue, followed by CIT, dividends and royalties (in that order). While the WPT was introduced to capture windfall profits accruing to copper and gold mining companies from high export prices, it has several weaknesses as an additional revenue sharing measure (see Section C, for details). In particular, the unindexed base prices for deduction (US$2,600 per dmt of copper and US$500 per oz. of gold) could arbitrarily increase tax burdens in an inflationary situation, unable to allow for reasonable returns for investment or cost recovery.10


GOM Revenue

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2008, 201; 10.5089/9781451826968.002.A001

Source: Fund staff estimates.

GOM Revenue

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2008, 201; 10.5089/9781451826968.002.A001

Source: Fund staff estimates.

Progressiveness of the Current Fiscal Regime

12. The project appears to generate significant economic returns for both GOM and investors under reasonable price assumptions. To assess the sensitivity of the projected IRR, a conventional measure of the profitability of a business plan, we show the GOM’s shares in total benefits discounted at 10 percent (TB10) and the IRRs of the project under different copper price assumptions.11 The post-tax IRR would reach 20 percent, which is often thought as a threshold for a reasonable return in the mining sector, with the average copper price of US$2,775 per ton (US$1.26 per pound) and the average gold price of US$940 per ounce. However, the post-tax IRR does not increase as fast as either copper prices or pre-tax IRR, due to the progressiveness of the tax regime currently in place.

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13. This analysis shows that the current fiscal regime for Mongolia’s mining sector is progressive, due mostly to the WPT. Royalties, import duties and WT for dividends and interest earnings are regressive (“+Royalties” in the graph). While the addition of CIT and dividend revenues make the system progressive until the pre-tax IRR reaches 28 percent (copper price, US$2,313), these revenues are regressive in a wider range of IRRs, mostly because highly progressive WPTs are treated as a deduction in calculation of CIT and dividends.12 Overall, the total GOM share in TB10 increases from 50 percent when copper price is US$1850, (pre-tax IRR is 25 percent) to 65 percent when copper price is US$4,009 (pretax IRR is 38 percent).


Government Share in Total Benefits Discounted at 10%

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2008, 201; 10.5089/9781451826968.002.A001

Source: Fund staff estimates.

C. International Comparisons and an Alternative Tax Regime

International Comparisons of the Fiscal Regime

14. The general tax regime for Mongolia’s mining sector, which does not include special provisions on the WPT, appears to be reasonable. While Mongolia’s 5 percent royalty rate for minerals is somewhat high by international standards, the tax burden is broadly in line with those in other countries (Marginal Effective Tax Rate (METR) without WPT is 32.3 percent), given the 25 percent income tax with liberal capital cost recovery. However, the WPT could increase the marginal tax rate on the additional income from a dollar increase in copper and gold prices substantially (to around 81 percent), in particular, with the relatively low base price for the WPT (fixed in nominal terms at US$2,600 per dmt).13

International Comparions: Marginal Effective Tax Rate


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Effective from April 2008.

When annual revenue is larger than US$120 million.

Based on the Dec 2007 draft royalty bill.

2.5 percent for copper concentrate; and 5 percent for refined copper.

An 8 percent workers’ profit sharing, which enters the tax calculation as a deduction, but is not part of marginal tax burden.

25 percent when copper price is between US$2.5 per pound (US$5,510 per dmt) and US$3.0 per pound; 50 percent for the next 50 cent; and 75 percent above US$3.5 per pound.

Taxpayers shielded by a stability agreement should pay a 2 percent fee in addition to a 30 percent CIT.

Alternatively, variable income tax applies, where the tax rate depends on the ratio of taxable income to gross income.

While the DWT rate is 20 percent, it can be reduced by treaty. The Canadian Tax Treaty provides that the withholding tax on dividends paid to a Canadian company can be reduced to 5 percent. The reduced rate would be applied to the OT mine, which will be developed by a Canadian company, Ivanhoe Mines Canada.

15. While the government share (TB10) under the current regime is found to be higher and more progressive than the comparator regimes, a careful interpretation is warranted. In the entire range of pre-tax IRRs considered, the government share in Mongolia is higher, and it grows at a faster rate than in other countries as the profitability increases.14 However, it should be noted that these international comparisons are subject to a significant margin of error, given inherent difficulties in taking account of variations in mine quality, development and operating cost structure, and details of country-specific tax treatments, including indirect taxes, cost recovery and exemption rules. In particular, the post-tax IRR, which indicates the financial attractiveness of a mine development project, is at a reasonable level despite the relatively high government share. Furthermore, the assessment made here is based on assumptions that cannot necessarily be extended to other mines and other minerals.15 In this regard, a market test for competitiveness—whether a country can attract interest of international mining companies for exploration and development of its mining sector—could provide more comprehensive view on the mining sector.


Government Share in Total Benefits Discounted at 10%

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2008, 201; 10.5089/9781451826968.002.A001

Source: Fund Staff estimates.

International Comparisons: Mining Sector Attractiveness Ranking

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Source: Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2006/2007.

Average of 7 jurisdictions.

16. The introduction of the WPT, the ongoing uncertainty over how the government will finance its equity stake in future mining projects, and questions about the stability of the mining regime over time have affected investors’ perceptions about the attractiveness of the mining environment. According to recent surveys by the Fraser Institute, the overall attractiveness of Mongolia’s overall investment climate dropped from near the middle of the jurisdictions surveyed in 2005/06 to near the end of the list in 2006/07.16 The survey’s ranking of Mongolia’s attractiveness for minerals exploration dropped from near the front to near the back of the jurisdictions.17 Despite the concerns voiced by potential investors, however, actual mineral exploration spending has increased to US$280 million in 2007.

17. The attractiveness of Mongolia’s mining sector could be enhanced with some modification to the current rules for the WPT and state equity participation. While the recent changes in the fiscal regime raised concern about the stability and transparency of the business environment in Mongolia, the WPT also has several structural weaknesses as a revenue sharing measure: it does not take into account costs18; the marginal tax rate is high; and the tax serves as a subsidy to build a domestic smelter and refinery.19 To address these issues, if the WPT is retained, the rate could be reduced; the base could be adjusted annually by the change in the US GDP deflator; and the tax could apply to all copper sales. The Minerals Law should also clarify the terms and conditions of state equity participation to reduce the uncertainty over the mining fiscal regime.20


Mineral Exploration Spending: 1998-2007

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2008, 201; 10.5089/9781451826968.002.A001

Source: Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia.

Alternative Revenue-Sharing Arrangement

18. An alternative tax instrument could be considered to share in the upside of the most profitable projects in a more efficient way. The alternative would be more appropriate as an additional revenue sharing device, if it meets a number of important principles:

  • It should not increase the risk to investors of absolute loss or significant delay in achieving a required rate of return;

  • It should yield sufficient additional revenue for government in highly profitable projects, which reassures government and the public about the fairness of the fiscal regime, thus contributing to stability of the investment climate;

  • It should be rule-based and transparent in operation and straightforward to administer;

  • It should not require or encourage case-by-case negotiation.

Against this backdrop, the paper simulates the revenue implications of a resource rent tax (RRT)—a profit-based, progressive tax.21

19. When properly designed, the RRT can be more efficient than other additional tax alternatives, such as a variable income tax or excess profit tax based on Payback Ratio. The main features of the RRT calculation are:

The RRT is a proportional tax on discounted cash flow returns to total project outlays, in excess of a predetermined percentage rate (also called “accumulation rate”).

  • All capital and operating expenditure and other taxes, usually including exploration expenditure but not interest, are deducted from revenues in the current period; and the accumulation rate is applied to the balance of net negative cash outlays each year from the commencement of construction.22


GOM Revenue

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2008, 201; 10.5089/9781451826968.002.A001

Source: Fund staff estimates.
  • When the accumulated negative cash flows are fully offset by revenues, the positive balance of cash flow becomes taxable at the agreed or legislated RRT rate (normally no lower than the CIT rate).


GOM Revenue

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2008, 201; 10.5089/9781451826968.002.A001

Source: Fund staff estimates.
  • When the tax is paid in any year, the balance of accumulated cash flows is set at zero for the next year, so that the same cash flows are not taxed twice; net positive cash flow in the next year will again be taxed at the RRT rate. If the net cash flow is negative in the next year, the RRT would not be paid in subsequent years until accumulated negative cash flows are fully offset by revenues.

  • The RRT is neutral with respect to the method of financing, because the accumulation rate, by representing an overall rate of return, covers both interest on debt and return to equity.

20. The RRT is profit-based and takes direct account of the investor’s required rate of return and the time value of money. For this reason, it is unlikely to create distortions in investment, production and closing of a mine project, while capturing a significant share of economic rent for the government. However, the setting of the appropriate initial parameters for the accumulation rate and the tax rate is not simple, and the RRT requires the government to assume the risk of possible delays in revenues and capital (or operating) cost overruns.23

21. The simulation indicates that the RRT regime is more progressive than the current regime while the overall tax burden is lower. The model assumes that net positive cash flows in excess of 15, 25 and 35 percent accumulation rates—the cash flows exceeding those indicated by the rate of return of 15, 25 and 35 percent—are taxed at 25, 35 and 45 percent, respectively.24 The model also assumes that there is neither the WPT nor state equity participation. Under the baseline assumptions used in Section B, the government share under the RRT regime is 47 percent of total benefits (TB10), and the RRT itself accounts for about 40 percent of NPV of government revenues. While this government share is 13 percentage points lower than the share under the current regime, the differences in the government shares decline as the project becomes more profitable. More importantly, the RRT regime is unlikely to create distortions, since the tax base is strictly limited to the profits, more specifically, those exceeding the required rate of return.


Comparison of Tax Regimes: Government Share in Total Benefits

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2008, 201; 10.5089/9781451826968.002.A001

Source: Fund staff estimates.

D. Conclusions

22. Mongolia’s vast mineral deposits, if properly managed, could provide large budgetary resources, which help address a wide range of its economic challenges. The NPV of the project analyzed in this paper is over US$9.7 billion or about 240 percent of the 2007 GDP. Mineral revenues from such a project could provide large resources to finance essential economic reforms to alleviate widespread poverty and diversify the economy.

23. The attractiveness of Mongolia’s mining sector has been somewhat eroded in recent years, in particular, with the introduction of the WPT and state equity participation. The structural weaknesses of the WPT, including high marginal tax rate and lack of cost consideration, adversely affected private investors’ perception on the business environment in Mongolia’s mining sector. Furthermore, the absence of clear provisions for state equity participation raised concern about the stability and transparency of the mining fiscal regime.

24. Modifications to the mining regime could address some of these weaknesses, while providing significant returns for investors and revenues for the government. Given the nonrenewable nature of mineral resources, it is important to ensure that the government will receive a fair share of the economic benefits from its mineral resource development. At the same time, to safeguard the mining sector’s prospects, Mongolia should improve the current fiscal regime for the mining sector, including by rationalizing the additional revenue sharing measures, such as the WPT and state equity participation. In particular, the RRT, which is effective (progressive) and efficient (profit-based), could be considered as an alternative to the current revenue sharing measures.

25. A comprehensive approach for enhancing mineral wealth management should also be taken to address various fiscal issues facing Mongolia. International experience indicates that resource booms can lead to inefficient ad hoc spending decisions, which often undermine fiscal sustainability as well as macroeconomic stability, especially, in countries where the fiscal framework is unable to provide clear medium-term guidance for fiscal policy.25 To address these challenges, Mongolia should establish an effective fiscal framework by taking into account various policy objectives, including fiscal sustainability, macroeconomic stability, and intergenerational equity.


  • Cakir, S. and A. Klemm, 2007, “Long-Term Fiscal Sustainability in Mongolia,” in Mongolia, 2007 Selected Issues, IMF Country Report 07/39 (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

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  • Fraser Institute, 2007, Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2006/2007, (Vancouver), available at

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  • International Monetary Fund, 2008, World Economic Outlook, April (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

  • Ivanhoe Mines, 2005, “Oyu Tolgoi Project, Mongolia—Integrated Development Plan, Executive Summary,” (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia).

  • Ivanhoe Mines, 2007, Oyu Tolgoi Gold and Copper Project, Southern Mongolia, (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), available at

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  • Open Society Forum, 2007, “Analysis of Proposed Investment Agreement between the Government of Mongolia and Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc,” (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

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  • Wakeman-Linn, J., C. Aturupane, S. Danninger, K. Gvenetadze, N. Hobdari, and E. LeBorgne, 2004, Managing Oil Wealth: The Case of Azerbaijan (Washington: International Monetary Fund.

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Prepared by Daehaeng Kim.


The development of the OT mine is currently delayed due to the slow progress in the negotiation and Parliament’s ratification for the Investment Agreement between the license holder and the government. The Investment Agreement is the first major attempts under the new Minerals Law (2006).


Currently, all WPT on copper is collected from the Erdenet copper mine, which produces only copper concentrate. The Mongolian government owns 51 percent of the company, and the Russian government owns the rest. In contrast, WPTs on gold are mostly collected from several small gold mines, which accounted for about 4-5 percent of the total WPT revenue in 2006. The largest gold mine—Boroo—is exempted, as it is covered by a stability agreement with the government made under the 1997 Minerals Law.


The WEO price projections for 2008, available in March 2008, are US$7,000 per ton of copper and US$960 per ounce of gold.


The rules for the state equity participation are currently under review in Parliament, and the ceiling for the state equity share would likely be lifted.


Throughout the paper, US$ refers to constant 2007 U.S. dollars, unless otherwise indicated.


WEO price projections published in March 2008 are used throughout the paper.


The model assumes that the GOM will take a 34 percent equity interest at the beginning of the project development, and it will be responsible for a third of future equity financing if it wants to keep the same share. The model makes an additional assumption on the government cash contribution: private partner(s) finances the GOM’s cash requirements, and the GOM pays for its equity (plus interest on the carry) out of its share of dividends. The interest rate of LIBOR+3.3 percent applies to the debt. If the project never earns sufficient profits for the GOM to pay for its carried interest, the GOM would not be liable for the unpaid debt (nonrecourse loan).


Total benefits are conventionally defined as gross revenues less operating costs and replacement expenditures, which signify the amount available to pay taxes, service debt and reward investors. Due to data unavailability, however, total benefits are defined in this study as gross revenues minus operating costs.


This is the main reason why the WPT share in total GOM revenue increases over time in the model.


There are various factors that could affect pre-tax IRRs, including investment and operating costs. In this paper, we consider price-induced profitability changes only.


As prices rise beyond a certain level, the WPT payment erodes the bases for CIT and dividends payable to the GOM.


The government’s desire to take an equity position in projects would also reduce the competitiveness of Mongolia’s fiscal regime, while its effect is difficult to quantify.


The average prices considered in this simulation range from US$1,542 per dmt of copper to US$4,009 per dmt. At this price range, Zambian WPT, which has relatively high trigger prices, would not be effective for most of period and price ranges under consideration.


The high government share in the analysis is mostly driven by state equity participation and the WPT, which applies exclusively to copper and gold sales.


See Fraser Institute (2007). The survey covers 65 jurisdictions around the world, on every continent except Antarctica, including sub-national jurisdictions in Canada, Australia, and the United States. Indexes for Mongolia do not take into account the possibility that the 20 percent dividend WT can be reduced by treaty.


In particular, Mongolia is placed low in the areas of uncertainty concerning the administration, interpretation and enforcement of existing regulations; regulatory duplication and inconsistencies; tax regime; infrastructure; and socioeconomic agreements.


This is the main reason why the WPT could be distortionary. According to the current rule, the WPT burden of a copper mining company would increase with copper prices even when its profit shrinks (or even disappears) due to cost increases. On the contrary, a highly profitable company would not be subject to the WPT if the profitability improvement results from cost reductions.


While imposed on sales of copper ore and concentrate, the WPT does not apply to sales of domestically refined copper, which would create an incentive to build smelter and refinery.


Even in the government’s point of view, state equity participation has several important shortcomings, including: (i) the government exposes itself to risk; (ii) taxation could be more effective in revenue maximization, in particular, given that dividends may never be paid; (iii) equity may require the government to divert funds that otherwise could finance other priority development projects; and (iv) there can be a conflict between the government’s role as a shareholder and its role as a regulator.


Staff understands that a production sharing agreement (PSA) is one of the alternative fiscal regimes that the government is examining, although it is not commonly used in the copper sector. The mechanics of production sharing are, in principle, straightforward: for example, the PSA can specify (i) the royalty payment to the government, (ii) a portion of total production to be retained by the contractors for cost recovery; and (iii) the formula to divide the remaining production, often termed “profit production”, between the government and the contractors. If the sharing of the profit production is based on the IRR earned by the contractors, the PSA can be designed to mimic the RRT regime.


The procedure here treats the CIT as a deduction in calculating the RRT. It is equally possible to calculate the RRT first and treat it as a deduction in calculation of income tax.


Despite these difficulties, Mongolia is thought to have appropriate administrative capacity to implement the RRT, given the recent progress in tax administration and enforcement.


The choice of tax parameters such as accumulation rates and corresponding tax rates should be guided by policy objectives, and thus the parameters simulated here should be considered as an example, not the Fund’s specific recommendation.


Some countries borrowed heavily against their anticipated future revenues (e.g., Venezuela), while other countries granted large wage and social welfare spending increases (e.g., Nigeria) or implemented ambitious public investment projects, which turned out to be able to yield low economic rates of return (e.g., Algeria and Iran). For details, see Wakeman-Linn and others. (2004).

Mongolia: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix
Author: International Monetary Fund