Mongolia has virtually every desirable mineral resource. Gold, copper, coal, uranium, iron ore and oil all lie below the earth of this huge landlocked nation.

 But it is the development of the gold and copper mine at Oyu Tolgoi in the south Gobi region that is most eagerly anticipated.

Anecdotally, the size of the deposit is said to be as large as the island of Manhattan, enough to keep mining there for the next 60 years.

The Mongolian government has retained a 34% stake in it after lengthy negotiations with Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto, the companies contracted to construct and operate the new mine complex.

This alone - without any of the other mining projects that are due to come on stream - will represent a huge increase in government revenues.

"Our first priorities will be education, health, housing and social welfare," says the minister.

"And we hope mining will drive a new wave of industrialisation, so that we can increase the skill set of Mongolian people and manufacture modern products ourselves."