Gold extraction banned in river basins

Mining for gold near river flows creates an environmental nightmare
On November 17, Government issued a resolution to cease mining activities except for mining blockage, rehabilitation and environment monitoring at a gold deposit field permitted by a special license, where a protected zone of river sources and reservoir and forestry exists. In July, 2009, Parliament adopted a law on prohibiting minerals exploration and exploitation on protected zones with a river source, reservoir and forestry. By law, the government has been responsible for determining the frontiers of legally prohibited regions in detail and approving a regulation for compensation. 
Accordingly, the government approved a regulation to compensate those who hold special licenses for minerals exploration and mining. Therefore gold extraction activity has ceased in the first stage. Pursuant to the Law adopted by the initiatives of some MPs for reducing serious impacts on ecology due to issuance of minerals exploration and mining license without orders and policy, it was banned to explore and exploit minerals and extract gravel 200 meters from a river flow. Facts shows that in recent years, 1,181 out of 3,347 lakes, 852 of 5,100 rivers and 2,270 of 9,600 streams and springs dried up due to people’s improper activity.
“Coordinates of areas belonging to the above-mentioned law were received from the Environment and Tourism Ministry by the middle of this year. An issue on surveys about companies that hold licenses on the region and how to compensate was consulted with the Finance Ministry.
‘- There are over 4,000 licenses throughout the nation, of which 1,782 licenses will be annulled. The government’s resolution cancelled 254 licenses relating to gold deposits in the first stage. By doing so, activities of companies operating on gold deposits will be halted. A list of the companies will be publicly announced.”said D. Zorigt, Minerals and Energy Minister.
As he reported, licenses obtained by companies in Selenge, Bulgan, Tov, Ovorkhangai, Darkhan, Arkhangai, Bayankhongor and Khentii aimags will be cancelled. The largest deposits are Bayangol and Tomort River deposits in Selenge Aimag and Narantolgoi deposits in Gachuurt. Deposits to be cancelled contain 74 percent of the tin reserve, over 20 percent of the iron reserve and 24 percent of the gold reserve of Mongolia.
Compensation for the companies whose licenses are annulled will be issued after considering the company’s tax payment, expenses, benefits natural rehabilitation, and entering into negotiations with each company.
Money required for compensation will be included in the State Budget of the fiscal year and special license holders will receive a one-time compensation.
Accordingly, legal actions will be taken for artisanal miners within the framework of this law. Minister D. Zorigt said, “Presently, artisanal miners conduct illegal mining.
Relevant amendments have been made to the Minerals Law. According to the amendments, artisanal miners can conduct mining by building up a community and negotiating with local administrations. In this case, artisanal miners can conduct mining activity. Under the law, it is possible to manage micro mines. Applicable regulations were submitted to government and approval is expected soon. Every soum can determine itself where it is possible to manage micro mines in its territory and which community will conduct the operation.
source: The Mongol Messenger newspaper



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