RESPONSIBLE ARTISANAL MINING
Pioneering environmental rehabilitation
The minerals sector is fueling unprecedented economic growth. And while there is a significant focus given to the formal mining sector, the informal mining sector dominated by small and artisanal miners is estimated to contribute $110 million annually to export revenues. Given the large-scale investments that well-resourced mining companies are able to make on environmental rehabilitation efforts, there are a number of excellent examples in Mongolia of best practices in environmental reclamation and rehabilitation efforts. However, in local areas, examples of successful environmental reclamation areas with small and artisanal mining in Mongolia are often less known. One example is in Lam Tolgoi, a site in Mongolia where with limited resources and strong involvement of artisanal miners themselves environmental degradation has been successfully tackled.
In collaboration with a local partner, and with support of the local government and several formal mining companies, a model land reclamation project was launched on two hectares of abandoned artisanal mine sites. A total of 45 artisanal miners worked to undertake technical and biological reclamation during the year-long project. Two hectares of reclamation field were fenced, 3,100 holes were filled in with soil materials, and 150 cubic meters of fertile top soil was transported from agricultural and road construction companies to prepare it for vegetation. Tree types of perennial plants were seeded and 100 tree seedlings were planted on the site as part of biological reclamation. The Uyanga soum reclamation project has set a standard as the current best practice in environmental rehabilitation in Mongolia of small-scale mining and participation of artisanal miners.