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planetGOLD Mongolia project updates in the first quarter of 2024

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We are working toward the formalization and professionalization of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector in Mongolia, including the elimination of mercury use in gold processing. Collaborating with stakeholders along the gold supply chain – miners, gold traders, local and national governments, as well as civil society – allows us to sustainably improve artisanal mining operations as an important economic opportunity for remote communities, strengthen regulations governing the sector, and enhance the formalization and professionalization of ASGM in Mongolia. For regular project updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter/X, and LinkedIn.

In the 2024 first quarter’s edition, we are excited to share:

  • The PSC approves the project report and work plan
  • Artisanal miners embrace digitalization
  • Rescuers gain essential mine rescue and emergency experience
  • Collaboration with the Ecological Policy Unit on Mercury harm
  • ASGM community learns about processing plant permits and documents
  • Mongolian ASGM case study highlighted in the World Bank DELVE report
  • Empowering women in the artisanal mining sector

Let’s dive in!

The PSC approves the project report and work plan

The planetGOLD Mongolia Project Steering Committee (PSC) held for its sixth meeting on January 22, 2024, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Mr. Ganbaatar Myagmarjav, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism (MET) presided over the meeting, which was attended by representatives from the MET, the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry, the Bank of Mongolia, the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining National Federation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Artisanal Gold Council.

At the meeting, the planetGOLD Mongolia project team reported on their activities in 2023 and introduced the 2024 work plan, along with updates on the ASGM formalization process. The Project Exit Strategy and an overview of the project's indicators were also presented to the members of the PSC ahead of the project's completion in 2024.

PSC 2024
From left: planetGOLD Mongolia Field Coordinator Khishgee Dondov, Mongolia's Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism and Chair of the planetGOLD Mongolia project's Steering Committee Ganbaatar Myagmarjav, Ministry of Environment and Tourism's Director at the Environmental Policy and Management Department Enkhmunkh Ganbold

Artisanal miners embrace digitalization

The Mongolian Government launched the Digital Nation Strategy in 2020, aims to boost economic variety, improve public services, and foster innovation by using data and technology. It is essential for artisanal miners to learn the skills to access the government electronic databases to obtain information on damaged and potential land for ASGM activities.

In order to support ASGM Community, the project organized a "Digital Artisanal Miners" workshop in Mandal soum and Tunkhel village on February 28-29, 2024, in collaboration with the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining National Federation (ASM NF). The goal was to give instruction to artisanal miners how to use the government information platforms to find out about ASM activities. The ASM NF and the planetGOLD Mongolia project staff shared details on how to use their cellphones to access and search data related to artisanal mining as well as private information maintained on the E-Mongolia online platform.

Digitalization
planetGOLD Mongolia Field Coordinator Khishgee Dondov is sharing details on how to use their cellphones to access and search data related to artisanal mining.

There was a lot of praise for the session from the artisanal miners that attended. According to Ms. Amarjargal Tsetseg, an artisanal miner of Usukh mining partnership, "I've learned how easy it is to get online information that is useful for miners. Also, I can get the information I need by just using my cellphone. I don't even have to go to government offices.”

Rescuers gain essential mine rescue and emergency experience

The planetGOLD Mongolia facilitated an experience-sharing visit for rescuers from the Mandal Emergency Management Division to enhance their abilities in rescue and risk-prevention. From February 26 to March 1, 2024, the rescuers visited several sites in Ulaanbaatar such as the National Rescue Brigade, Mining Rescue, and Border Guard Unit No. 0303, as well as the Disaster Prevention Training and Methodology Center and Rescue Squads, where they conducted a practice run, studied the equipment utilized in mining, chemical and water accident rescues. 

rescuers
The participants were pleased with their experience-sharing visit as they were able to identify areas for growth, gained insight into potential solutions, and develop action items to bring back to their organization.

Mr. Turbold Boldbaatar, a fireman, rescuer, and deputy chief, stated, “From this trip, I learned a lot of useful knowledge related to my job. Furthermore, I improved my readiness for future rescue calls and operations by gaining practical experience in mining pit rescues and becoming familiar with the equipment and tools used in these situations.”

Collaboration with the Ecological Police Unit on Mercury harm

planetGOLD supported the Ecological Police Unit trainings on 'Prevention of Environmental Crimes & Violations' from March 27 to 29, 2024 in Selenge province, Mongolia. The training was attended by 226 participants including local residents, government officials, and artisanal miners and covered topics such as "Ways to Prevent Crimes and Violations Against the Environment", "Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals", "Responsible Mining and Sustainable Development," and "Criminal Proceeding and Human Rights”.

For public awareness, the Ecological Police Unit created six different factsheets and four different videos about 'Refraining from the Use of Toxic & Dangerous Chemicals and Adverse Effects' and distributed 3,500 factsheets at training and other meetings. 

Eco police
Cover of the newly developed factsheet

ASGM community learns about processing plant permits and documents 

The project organized a training on preparation and submission of documentary requirements for small-scale gold processing plant on March 20, 2024, in Mandal soum, Selenge province. The training participants consisted of owners of ASGM processing plants, miners, and Precious Metal Traders National Association representatives.

During the training, the participants learned the details and steps of acquiring processing plant operational permits and documentation in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The project consultants - Glogex Consulting LLC and Greentrends LLC, provided detailed information on obtaining key documents for processing plants to operate legally which are Feasibility Study Report and Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment.

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planetGOLD Mongolia Technologist Engineer Byambasuren Odgerel is delivering presentation on details and steps of acquiring processing plant operational permits and documentation in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.

Mongolian ASGM case study highlighted in the DELVE 2023 report

The project contributed to the World Bank’s DELVE platform on the 2023 State of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector report that focused on gender equality and formalization. The report was informed by a comprehensive data collected through desk review, three-level surveys, and case studies from 23 organizations across 12 countries, including Mongolia. It contains 12 case studies, including the Mongolian one, titled 'Concerns over the Social Protection for Mongolian Artisanal Miners,' which addresses artisanal miners' access to selected social services and provides conclusions and hands-on recommendations. The case study was produced based on the early findings of the project’s recent qualitative study Assessing the Gap: Artisanal Gold Miners and Social Services.  

Delve
Cover of the DELVE 2023 report

Emphasizing that social protection should be an important consideration in the development of a sustainable workplace and responsible labor practices in ASM, the case study called for a shift towards full-fledged social protection for artisanal miners that requires a concerted effort from key government and non-government stakeholders.

Empowering women in the artisanal mining sector

The project produced videos about two women trail blazers in the Mongolian ASGM sector where they shared their life stories in the sector from struggles to successes. 

Munkhzaya
Ms. Munkhzaya Purevdorj is the leader of the Altain Gobi Tsonj ASGM partnership and a trained gender focal point in Khovd province. As an experienced trainer of ASM legal framework, OHS practices, environmental rehabilitation, and gender equality, she encourages and acts as a role model for local miners to apply responsible mining practice, through her initiatives aimed at wider formalization and women’s empowerment in her community.
Oyunchimeg
Ms. Oyunchimeg Chilkhaa is the Chairperson of the Altai Miners' Solidarity Association and the Coordinator of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining National Federation in Gobi-Altai province. Working in the ASGM sector since 2001, she is a proud responsible miner and has pioneer experience with ASGM land rehabilitation locally. Not only she is acting as a bridge between local miners and local government high officials but also, she is advocating for the rights of the artisanal miners and mentoring numerous women miners.

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