Forum on Responsible Artisanal and Small-scale Mining takes place

Economy | Mining
2019-11-18 18:04:59

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Forum on Responsible Artisanal and Small-scale Mining was held today in connection with the completion of the Sustainable Artisanal Mining project. At the forum, over 250 representatives of corresponding ministries, international organizations, local authorities, and miners discussed the results of the 14-year project and policies and decisions being adopted in the field.

The Sustainable Artisanal Mining project is one of the many coherent agricultural, food security, primary education-vocational training, and governance improvement projects that the Government of Switzerland is implementing in Mongolia through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It has been carried out from 2005 to 2019 in four phases, laying the foundation for organizing artisanal and small-scale miners into cooperatives and providing them with guaranteed jobs.

Compared to 2013, the number of artisanal and small-scale miners has doubled this year with around 10,000 miners working in 1181 cooperatives. The average annual income of those miners also grew by 55 percent in 2015 and by 16 percent in 2016, resulting in a drastic decrease in the number of accidents caused by illegal mining. In addition, numerous positive changes have been made. For instance, miners with their own funds rehabilitated a total of 526 ha of land, a 20 fold increase compared to 2013, and mercury free ore concentration technology was introduced in Gobi-Altai, Bayankhongor, Selenge, Tuv, Umnugobi, and other aimags.

“Artisanal and small-scale mining concerns not only the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry, but many social sectors. Thus, every sector has to develop further the good practices introduced into the field. Thanks to the project, mercury-free gold processing technology was introduced, artisanal and small-scale miners were organized into cooperatives, and small-scale rehabilitation has become possible. It also appears that the miners’ competitiveness is increasing as they started investing in other areas while making contributions to the local development and economy,” said project coordinator N.Erdenesaikhan.

Governor of Bayankhongor aimag G.Bayanjargal stressed the necessity of paying considerable attention to developing artisanal mining properly and that land issues should come first of all.

Head of the Shijir cooperative of Selenge aimag D.Tuya said, “Our cooperative has 15 members. Our transition to a cooperative with the purpose of ensuring occupational safety and improving our livelihoods is giving its benefits. In 2014, we conducted both technical and biological rehabilitation in one ha of land.  Besides artisanal mining, we are running Euro fencing production business, diversifying our income source.”