"We are always on the lookout for new opportunities and are well-positioned to serve Mongolia’s needs in steel fabrication."

Baatar Uuganbayar

CEO, MURRAY MINING SERVICES

May 31, 2024

Could you introduce Murray Mining Services (MMS) to our international audiences? 

MMS is part of the Australian mining contractor Byrnecut, one of the world’s largest underground mining contractors. Following two years of due diligence and negotiations, Byrnecut decided to invest in Mongolia and established MMS as a subsidiary in 2018. Mongolia was a good opportunity for our Group company to expand, with top-tier mines like Oyu Tolgoi attracting commensurate attention to the country. Although we do not provide specialized underground mining expertise, MMS is involved in everything related to structural steel fabrication, including data analysis, load testing, engineering, and other solutions required by our customers. We are now one of the largest full-line steel fabricators in the country.

Could you elaborate on the role of MMS in the local mining value chain? 

MMS works with the majority of local suppliers on a daily basis. Our specialty is highly customized products, which means that, where there is an issue, we provide a perfectly matching solution. We turn concepts into reality for our customers, while giving them peace of mind through compliant documentation and expert engineering. Our goal is to be able to supply both tailor-made solutions for specific projects, as well as local mass-produced solutions to achieve scale. 

Are there any lessons you would like to share about setting up a new company with foreign direct investment in Mongolia?

Due diligence is a must. Mongolia’s foreign investment reputation has been stained by stories of failed partnerships, but I believe that the past is beginning to be wiped away. The younger generation has a different mindset that is more influenced by Western ideas of transparency and ethics. 

What is MMS’ growth strategy? Is the fact that you need to import the steel a detriment?

We are always on the lookout for new opportunities and are well-positioned to serve Mongolia’s needs in steel fabrication. Our strategy is quite simple: we want to diversify our customer base so that we are, at no time, dependent on the major EPCMs available. Having to import the steel from China, mostly, is affecting our margin, but our in-house, in-country manufacturing of steel works is invaluable for our customers – they can assess the quality and the progress made to schedule themselves, rather than sending a representative abroad. During the pandemic, in particular, this local presence was particularly valued. 

Does the reduced level of exploration concern you in terms of the long-term outlook?

Though there are some foreign-listed players that are doing quite well on the exploration front, more licenses need to be awarded to give exploration a boost. Mongolia must remove all roadblocks that stand in the way of exploration to ensure its future as an economy that, undeniably, relies on mining. 

Do you have a final message to share with our readers?

One of my major hopes is to see Mongolia harness more specialized steel fabricators. MMS is committed to providing that level of training and experience to prepare the best candidates that could work for international companies and earn very competitive salaries. 

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