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planetGOLD studies access to and supply of social services of ASGM communities of Mongolia

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planetGOLD Mongolia project conducted a qualitative assessment – aiming to take a snapshot of the current situation of the access to and supply of key social services of artisanal miners, including social insurance, social welfare, health insurance, healthcare, and early childhood education services – and organized a dissemination seminar on the final report on April 26, 2024, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Mr. Rene Roger Tissot, Executive Director of the Artisanal Gold Council and Project Manager at planetGOLD Mongolia project delivered opening remarks and highlighted that this study is not only important for Mongolia but also for many other countries facing similar challenges with the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) populations. He also emphasized that it highlights the need for policies that go beyond mere formalization to ensure access to healthcare and social services, especially for women. 

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Mr. Rene Roger Tissot, Executive Director of the Artisanal Gold Council and Project Manager at the planetGOLD Mongolia

Following that, Ms. Amarjargal Dairii, Senior Lecturer at the National University of Mongolia's School of Arts & Science, and Independent Researcher for the planetGOLD Mongolia project, as well as Ms. Lkhagvadulam Jamiyandagva, National Gender Specialist for the planetGOLD Mongolia project, delivered presentations on the main findings and research recommendations.

The study, “Assessing the Gap: Artisanal Gold Miners and Social Services”, revealed relatively low coverage of social and health insurance among artisanal miners compared to the national average and other rural community members. In particular, it was found that attention should be paid to the generation of the pioneer miners, mainly male, who have a minimum income security of social welfare and whose health and working capacity deteriorated at a younger age due to high occupational risks. Also, aside from the behavioral and knowledge barriers observed during the study, systemic and legal obstacles were found in miners’ access to social insurance. The study also revealed room for improving healthcare, health insurance, and early childhood education with consideration of the differentiated needs of the miners.  

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Ms. Lkhagvadulam Jamiyandagva, National Gender Specialist for the planetGOLD Mongolia project

According to the planetGOLD program in 2021, the ASGM sector employs 10–20 million miners, including 4–5 million women and children, in over 80 countries worldwide. It is known as a low-barrier-to-entry sector that provides an important source of income for remote communities. Additionally, ASGM produces 20% of the world’s gold annually. According to the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining National Federation of Mongolia, there were around 100,000 individuals employed in Mongolia's ASM sector at its peak, supporting 400,000 people. A lack of official and accurate data on artisanal miners was revealed during the study, making it harder to meet their differentiated needs for selected social services. Regardless, inactive formalization efforts and inconsistent policy, however, triggered a downturn in recent years, leaving these people unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. 

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Ms. Amarjargal Dairii, Senior Lecturer at the National University of Mongolia's School of Arts & Science, and Independent Researcher for the planetGOLD Mongolia project

Therefore, further consistent, and stable policy and local support for the ASM sector have been recommended to enhance their formalization and improve miners’ employment and social security. For effective collaboration and coordination between government authorities, ASM organizations, and other stakeholders to succeed it is equally important to consider miners’ experiences and different needs related to social protection policies and programs and their implementation.

At the conclusion of the seminar, participants actively discussed and shared their thoughts and suggestions for the project and the researchers. The planetGOLD Mongolia project also highlighted generous support and multiple-year funding towards the development of the ASGM sector in Mongolia to the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The project also thanked the artisanal miners, local assistants, artisanal and small-scale mining partnerships, and NGOs in Selenge, Khovd, and Gobi-Altai provinces for their participation and assistance throughout the research and report writing processes. 

Read the full report: https://www.planetgold.org/sites/default/files/Assessing-the-Gap-Artisanal-gold-miners-and-social-services.pdf

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Participants
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Mr. Altanbagana Bayarsaikhan, planetGOLD Mongolia National Project Manager

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