World-leading laboratory giant opens Mongolia branch

By B.Khash-Erdene

The global laboratory giant, Bureau Veritas, officially opened its comprehensive laboratory in Ulaanbaatar last week. It is one of the largest multinational inspection, testing, and certification companies in the fields of quality, health, safety, and environment.

Bureau Veritas Inspection and Testing Mongolia Laboratory is the first coal laboratory in Mongolia which is fully under direct expatriate management and supervision. The coal laboratory as well as coal sample preparation facilities will initially be headed by expert laboratory managers from Australia to ensure that the laboratory operates at international standards.

The Ulaanbaatar Laboratory is supported by skilled, competent samplers and analysis personnel. It is due for ISO IEC 17025:2005 accreditation, and will meet the NATA Supplementary Requirements for Chemical Testing.

The comprehensively equipped coal testing facility is the first dedicated facility of its kind in Mongolia which will focus on the coal exploration industry to provide timely and accurate data that are required for the evaluation of new resource areas for both Greenfield and Brownfield projects.

The President in charge of North Asia for the Bureau Veritas Commodities Division, Sebastian Dannaud, said that all of the employees will be Mongolian in the near future.

Currently, new Mongolian employees are being trained by experts who have worked in the industry for over 25 years. President Dannaud added that the current facility built in Mongolia has state-of-the-art equipment. The laboratory can cover the full cycle of coal from exploration to commercial export. The comprehensive range of tests for coking coal includes its washability test, according to standards recognized by the major international capital markets.

B.Altsukh, the Director of the Coal Division of the Mineral Resource Authority and one of the distinguished guests at the laboratory’s opening, said, “There are over 200 samples sent abroad for testing and confirmation. With Bureau Veritas in Mongolia, these samples don’t need to be tested overseas because all of the services can be performed locally.” He welcomed both Bureau Veritas’ technical and monetary investment in Mongolia amid a turbulent economic environment. “I am confident that the Mongolian coal industry will have brighter days ahead with Bureau Veritas.”

Aside from testing, inspection, and certification services, Bureau Veritas offers services and solutions to ensure that their clients’ assets, products, infrastructure, and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection, and social responsibility. At the end of 2012, the group had more than 59,000 employees in more than 1,330 offices and laboratories located in 140 countries.

Originally formed in Antwerp in 1828 as “Bureau de Renseignements pour les Assurances Maritimes“ (Information Office for Maritime Insurance), the Bureau Veritas name was adopted in 1829. The company has its headquarters in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris-La Defense in France.

The core business of Bureau Veritas Mongolia is to service the technical needs of the local coal industry by providing analytical facilities, technical support, and consulting services. The new laboratory in Ulaanbaatar will ultimately employ more than 30 dedicated professionals. From this facility, they will provide various analytical and technical support services to the coal mining sector and other industries. These services include Exploration & Borecore Testing Services, Bulk Commodities Certification and Production, or Supply of On-Site Laboratories.

Mongolia is estimated to hold a geological coal reserve of 173.3 billion tons. At the moment, a total of 21.5 billion tons of coal have been confirmed, of which 2.6 billion tons were only from the first half of this year marking Mongolia among the top ten coal nations of the world. Mongolia excavates around 30 million tons of coal each year. Around 20 million are exported and the rest used for domestic power generation. Despite its vast mineral reserves, Mongolia only has around 20 laboratories that are recognized by international standard checkers, and only 10 can be used at the request of the private sector.

We asked Seetepalli Rao, the Country Manager of Bureau Veritas Mongolia, a few questions about their investment in Mongolia.

-What is Bureau Veritas Mongolia’s advantage over other similar laboratories and companies?

-This is the first time Bureau Veritas is investing in Mongolia and we are happy to provide services for the Mongolian coal sector. Bureau Veritas is the leading coal analyzer in the world and is the leading coal laboratory in around 60 countries including Australia, Indonesia, India, Russia, Ukraine, Colombia, and USA. We are also present in the African region. We are famous for our services in mining sample study and analysis, as well as export standard regulation. I’m also proud to say that we are the leading coal laboratories in the world’s biggest coal mining countries such as Australia and Mozambique. The laboratory that is opening in Mongolia will be equipped with all of the latest technology. We will verify standards for all stages of coal development, from exploration and excavation to production and sales. We will adhere to international standards all the way through.

-As far human resources are concerned, where are your specialists trained? What will be the contribution of local specialists?

-In the initial phase of the laboratory and in coal testing, we will employ laboratory specialists and experts from Australia. We will employ more than 30 graduates from Mongolia and train them so that, in the future, they will able to work in any laboratory around the world. We brought two specialists from Australia as trainers. They have worked in Bureau Veritas in Australia and Mozambique, and have 33 years of experience.

-In terms of capacity, what is the laboratory’s advantage?

-At the moment, Mongolia is lacking in coal analysis in many ways. Compared to other laboratories, Bureau Veritas specializes in thorough analysis. The laboratory will have equipment from the top manufacturer, the Leco firm. This means that sampling and cataloguing will be very accurate. Our laboratory has the capacity to analyze around 400 samples. We have received quite a lot of pre-orders; the analysis work is just the beginning.

-Will there be more investment in Mongolia in the future?

-Of course, there will be further investment, but first we have to train our staff. Bureau Veritas will not just stop at a coal laboratory but plan to establish metallurgy, petroleum, and mineral laboratories. We will also specialize in risk management, and help companies meet international standards.

-Bureau Veritas is a very prestigious company in the world. Do you think the samples you analyze and verify will have a better market value?

-Bureau Veritas is the leading mineral analysis laboratory in the world. We always issue a certificate verifying the quality and standard of the product, so it will instill trust among buyers and help our clients reach and expand to other markets as well.

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