[QODLink]
101 East

The Big Dig

Can Mongolia's mining boom protect national interests and local livelihoods while reaping the economic benefits?
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2013 08:45

Mongolia is opening one of the world's biggest copper mines, the Oyu Tolgoi.

The project is due to start operations in the next few months and this mine alone will account for 30 percent of Mongolia's entire GDP.

Connect with 101 East

But the Oyu Tolgoi deal between the government and the Australian company Rio Tinto is highly controversial. The government gets just 34 percent, raising suspicions about how much the nation's interests are being protected.

Rio Tinto is also exempt from a windfall profits tax.

And critics say the government is inexperienced in striking deals with foreign mining giants.

For those living around the site, their concerns are more immediate. Located in the South Gobi desert, water is a precious commodity and a source of life for the nomadic herdsmen.

But now the mine has closed off open water sources which it now owns. Instead, it has built a few wells for the locals to survive off. The herders are concerned about surviving the coming winter.

Environmentalists also fear that rapid mining-driven growth has come at the expense of nature and the local way of life.

101 East asks: Is mining changing Mongolia for the better or the worse?

101 East airs each week at the following times GMT: Thursday: 2230; Friday: 0930; Saturday: 0330; Sunday: 1630.

Click here for more 101 East.

272

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.
join our mailing list