The Mongolian Gobi Desert contains large and undiscovered deposits of gold & copper. In 2010, a major contract was signed between the mongolian government and Invanhoe Mining ( Canada) for the construction of the biggest mining project in Mongolia. This project has boomed foreign investments and is currently changing the economic landscape of Mongolia. The Oyu Tolgoi mining company employs mostly mongolian nationals but their contractor, mining construction company Fluor is employing only Chinese Nationals ( 10 000 at peak ). Every month, every single Mongolian citizen is receiving the equivalent of 17 US dollars from the mining project. But this cash is often missused and the Mongolian government is not investing in new infrastructures.
Since the early 2000, with harsh winters, a lot of mongolian have abandonned herding to illegually dig for cold. Compare to 4.6 billions investment of Oyu Tolgoi, their equipment is highly archaic and they often work in dangerous conditions, both treatened by their working conditions and by the police chasing them in the desert. They are called “the ninja miners”.
More stories about mongolia to be continued on that blog including:
- Ulan Bator | From Louis Vuitton to the Ger City
- Shamanism | How the youth is coming back to their tradition
- Foreign investment in Mongolia
- Mongolian Portraits
all photos and stories belongs to Tim Franco