Herders and illegal miners clash in western Mongolia

-- Mongolian media reported that clash between herders and illegal miners called “Ninja” occurred in Darvi county of Gobi-Altai province. According to the report, gold discovered in a place called “Elst” valley of the county and this attracted hundreds of illegal ninja miners from other provinces of Mongolia. Local herders demanded from the ninja miners stop digging the valley, which is considered sacred among local people. The ninja miners did not stop digging for gold and threw rocks and stones towards the locals. About 100 ninja miners and 30 local herders took part in the clash. Rocks, wood, sticks were used during the clash. One of local herders shot dead a leader of ninja miners. During the clash, about 20 people injured and taken to local hospital. Police force is called to the county and emergency situation has been announced in the county. About 30 people have been arrested for instigating the clash. Gankhuyag, head of Darvi county said many of the ninja miners were from other provinces. Local resident Suren told to Mongolian newspaper “Zuunii Medee” –the Elst valley is a valley our local herders have been living for generations. The illegal ninja miners turned the valley upside down and dug holes everywhere in the valley. We had to protect the land we have been grazing our livestock animals for generations from the ninja miners.

Because of gold diggers whose numbers increased greatly in our local area, natural environment and pastureland is deteriorating”. During summer, number of illegal ninja miners swells as youth and students, impoverished herders joins them. Reportedly, there are about 100 ninja miners throughout Mongolia digging for gold, fluorspar and coal. They work in abandoned mines and sometimes enter licensed area of mining companies illegally. Clash between ninja miners and local people and mining companies are frequent in Mongolia. Bill to regulate the ninja mining activities is pending in the Mongolian parliament. According to the bill, the ninja miners is to be given license and pay tax and work as cooperatives. Some oppose this controversial bill as there is fear this might encourage more to join ranks of ninja miners.
Reported by Shagai
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