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KT, Mongolia team up on rare earths supply

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Jan. 26, 2023 - 14:18

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KT CEO Ku Hyeon-mo (left) poses for a photo with Uchral Nyam-Osor, Mongolia's Minister of digital development and communications, after being appointed as Mongolia's chief technology officer in Ulaanbaatar, Thursday. (KT Corp.) KT CEO Ku Hyeon-mo (left) poses for a photo with Uchral Nyam-Osor, Mongolia's Minister of digital development and communications, after being appointed as Mongolia's chief technology officer in Ulaanbaatar, Thursday. (KT Corp.)

South Korean telecommunications giant KT Corp. said Thursday it has signed a partnership deal with the Mongolian government to secure a stable supply of some 80 kinds of mineral resources, including rare earth elements.

KT CEO Ku Hyeon-mo signed the memorandum of understanding on mineral resources with Ganbaatar Jambal, Mongolia's Mining and Heavy Industry Minister, in Ulaanbaatar on the sidelines of a meeting that aimed to strengthen strategic cooperation in realizing digital transformation in Mongolia.

Mongolia is one of the world's leading suppliers of mineral resources. It has some 80 kinds of mineral deposits, including rare earth elements, copper, fluorite, gold, iron and zinc. The country’s deposits of rare earth elements accounted for about 16 percent of global reserves. Rare earth elements are important mineral resources and are used in various future-value industries such as new and renewable energy, electrical products and automobile parts.

Under the agreement, KT laid a stable foundation for preferentially supplying Mongolia’s various mineral resources to other industries in Korea. The company will discuss with the South Korean government and Korean industry circles more specific plans for the supply of resources, the officials said.

On the same day of the memorandum signing ceremony, Mongolia held a separate ceremony for appointing KT’s chief as the country’s chief technology officer. Ku became the first foreign businessman to take the honor.

In line with the Mongolian government’s new recovery policy, KT has made efforts for the country’s industrywide digital transformation since last year. The digital transformation cooperation between KT and the Mongolian government is expected to contribute largely to the development of future value industries in Korea, as well as the development of Mongolia's industries.

In December 2021, the Mongolian government passed its new recovery policy, the first part of the country’s Vision 2050 program that aims to diversify its economy, boost industry and set democracy on the way to long-term development. The country also established a digital development department in May last year for the “digital Mongolia” strategy.

Ku has been recognized for KT’s digital transformation capabilities and contributions based on its digital platform company (Digico) strategy. By naming Ku as the CTO, the Mongolian government is planning to accelerate the country’s digital transformation in areas such as finance, medical care, digital and media.

"The latest cooperation with Mongolia in various business areas from resources and finance to medical care and media marked the beginning of an expanded Digico strategy," Ku said. "We hope to mark this year as the first for KT to expand our strategy and know-how to the global Digico strategy by leading the development and global growth of other industries, both at home and abroad."