border review | 11 August 2011

Mongolia frets as giant coal mine launch looms - M.A.D

Earlier this year, mining rights for the western section of the immense Tavan Tolgoi cole mine in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert were split between a Chinese, a Russian, and a Western consortium. A potential USD 15 billion bid for the mine’s eastern block is scheduled for next year. The well-informed Mongolia-based concultancy M.A.D has published its take on the state of affairs:

At stake is the promise of prosperity for Mongolia’s 2.8 million citizens, many of whom live on the edge of subsistence. The mine’s transformational potential also has implications as a whole for the region, which produces more than half of the world’s steel and aims to wean dependence on primary coking coal supplier Australia. But Mongolians are worried that their two powerful neighbours, China and Russia, will take their resources on the cheap unless key donors Japan and South Korea join the bidding — a point crucial for parliamentary approval later this year.

Which means that the results of the initial bid are anything but final.