After nearly three years of waiting, Mongolian artisanal and small-scale miners can take a deep breath of relief — new ASM regulations have been approved by the Government of Mongolia.
It was a long road taken by the ASM sector and its stakeholders since September 2019, when the Government suspended key clauses of the ASM regulations until it was revised. The suspension led to a freeze on issuing new ASM land permits, and discontinuation of existing mining contracts.
The planetGOLD Mongolia project was included in a taskforce led by the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry for revising and developing new ASM regulations. The working group included many other important stakeholders from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), Mineral Resources and Petroleum Agency of Mongolia, General Agency for Specialized Inspection, ASM National Federation and Ecological Policy Unit.
As physical and large meetings were prohibited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the development of the regulations took place virtually. Zoom meetings were held to discuss issues and proposals made by the members.
As a member, planetGOLD Mongolia introduced conclusions and recommendations from its reports on the "Legal Framework Analysis of the Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining Sector in Mongolia” and the “Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Trade in Mongolia – A Review of Current Policies and Practices”. The child project of the Global Environment Facility-funded planetGOLD programme, planetGOLD Mongolia is executed by the Artisanal Gold Council in partnership with the MET. Thus, the project teamed up with the MET, to provide consolidated recommendations and comments. The main recommendations included in the new ASM regulation are:
- Expedite the decision-making process of land approval applications by transferring the provincial Civil Representatives Khural (CRKh) approval to a lower level, which improves the decision making process.
- Increase the role of the soum governor on environmental protection and gold supply chain due diligence.
- Increase the environmental responsibilities of artisanal miners
- Define the roles and responsibilities of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in the Regulation
- Add the roles and responsibilities of the miners in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.
- Require miners to record their gold origin to create a traceable gold supply chain
- Clarify what machinery and equipment is allowed in mining operations
One other main partner in the taskforce is the ASM National Federation (ASM NF). Established in 2013, it is the umbrella organization representing artisanal miners in Mongolia, with over 9,000 members. One key addition in the new regulation is an inclusion of roles and responsibilities of the ASM NF. This means the ASM NF has been formally recognized as the organization to provide capacity building training for artisanal miners and it has a role in monitoring mining contracts. The organization will also provide information on ASM due diligence, rehabilitation, and mining activities to respective government organizations.
These inclusions were fully supported by planetGOLD from the beginning. The project cooperates with the ASM NF in developing and delivering training on environmental management, business management, responsible mining and occupational safety and health in ASGM. Sustainability of these training modules is further strengthened beyond the project.
Approval of the new ASM regulations is the beginning of the long and challenging endeavor to establish formal, professional and responsible ASM in Mongolia. The next step that the key stakeholders will take is to promote the ASM Regulations to all miners and local governments in Mongolia and implement it effectively. The planetGOLD project will support the endeavor in order to make small-scale gold mining safer, cleaner, and more profitable.
About the planetGOLD Mongolia project
The planetGOLD Mongolia project is working towards the formalization and professionalization of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector in Mongolia, including the elimination of mercury use in gold processing. The team is working with various stakeholders along the gold supply chain – miners, gold traders, local and national governments as well as civil society – to sustainably improve artisanal mining operations as an important economic opportunity for remote communities and to support the revision of regulations governing the sector. In partnership with the national government, the project team is working to create an enabling environment for a formalized artisanal mining sector that enhances community development, improves productivity, and eliminates the use of mercury.
For more information about the planetGOLD Mongolia project implemented by the UN Environment Programme and UN Industrial Development Organization, please visit www.planetgold.org/Mongolia