Speaking about the challenges faced in operating in the country, Kinnane said the severe climate was an obstacle which could slow the resource definition of the abundant reserves of coal, copper and uranium.
“For the amount of resources in Mongolia you need a lot more people,” he said.
“It’s ripe and ready to go. The government and the people are very keen to make it happen. The challenge is to do it in a responsible way and in time.”
Getting a JORC-standard resource statement for a world-class deposit was hampered by winters that got to minus 40 degrees and limited drilling time.
Given the scale of the projects, this could add substantially to their development time.
In addition, there was a lot of data that was generated during the Soviet era which needed to be processed to be useful for the country.
“We turn data into information into knowledge,” Kinnane said.
Runge, which established an office in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator 12 months ago after operating in the country for about five years, was assisting with skills transfer by selecting interns for training in Australia.
Despite its challenges, Mongolia had a number of advantages, including being an easy place to start up a new business.