Environmental mining in Mongolia

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Mongolia is rich in natural resources, and mining accounts for a quarter of its GDP and 89% of its annual exports, however, it is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, as huge amounts of water are used and polluted to extract mineral resources which contribute to the destruction and disturbance of the ecosystems, the surrounding environments, and the agricultural areas, risking the nomadic identity and that characterizes Mongolia. Nomadic herders in the mining areas are facing pollution, soil degradation, water shortage, and other serious problems due to the failure of the government to hold corporations to account, pushing local communities and NGOs to organize to protect their environment.

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Sukhgerel Dugersuren – CEO of OT Watch NGO said, “RioTinto extracts 800 liters per second of water for its Oyu Tolgoi Mine and it soon increased by another 200 hundred liters per second to continue operations of its underground mine. It does not pay for this resource. And it claims that it recycles 85 percent of the water used. But this claim is not substantiated by any scientific data. This raises the issue of resource justice of scarce water resources in Mongolia and we call for our young generation to take on this issue to protect their future from being squandered today”

Bukhuu Budee, Fighter for the environment said “In 2012, 440,000 tons of sulfuric acid solution was pumped into the ground under the name of experimental mining, and 2.8 tons of yellow powder/uranium was extracted. The consequences are shown clearly in the pictures behind me. This illustrates how our land has changed. In short, the uranium impact affected a total of 7 soums /districts/ including 900,000 livestock in Ulaanbadrakh soum alone. It covers 5 million hectares, which is equal to the 1/6 of France. Ulaanbadrakh soum is the largest soum in Mongolia in terms of its area. The livestock, beasts, and birds of this soum have become as shown in the picture, and now they are starting to harm people and children. There is only one mine in the area. It is the uranium mine of Areva, France”

Source: A24 News Agency 

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