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Coal Mining in Mongolia

Photographer: Hwee Young How


Mongolia is rich in a variety of large untapped reserves of natural resources including coal, iron ore, gold and copper. The country’s economy has seen a huge boom in recent years with the expansion of the mining industry. The sector has become the most important income source, leading to an economic growth rate last year of around 17 per cent. The majority of the raw materials go to China while the country is reliant on Russia for imports. Mongolia has sought to reduce its dependency on these two countries by seeking closer ties with other countries such as Germany, Canada and the United States. Despite high growth rates, about one third of the population still lives in poverty while unemployment and inflation rates are soaring. The new wealth is unevenly distributed and much of the growth is focused on a few projects like the massive coal deposits of Tavan Tolgoi in South Gobi.