Where we work
he Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) launched the Sustainable Artisanal Mining Project in 2005 to contribute to poverty alleviation, taking into consideration the implications for the environment. Within its implementation, the project sought to assist the Government of Mongolia in the development of an enabling legal framework for artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and the development of appropriate organizational structures for miners to enable them to use natural resources more efficiently and in a more environmentally friendly manner. As a result of the joint efforts of the stakeholders engaged with artisanal mining, an ASM legal framework was established in July 2010 through amendments to the Law on Minerals and Law on Land.
There has been limited systematic tracking and baseline data to measure the ASM formalization progress and occurrence throughout the country.
ASM occurrence by aimag and soum
A total of 13,400 citizens were involved in a survey on artisanal and small-scale miners, with 3,400 respondents in the western region (25.3%), 4,000 in the Khangai region (29.7%), 4,400 in the central region (32.9%), 400 in the eastern region (2.7%), and 1,300 in Ulaanbaatar (9.4%).
Artisanal and small-scale miners operate in 20 aimags (with the exception of Orkhon aimag) and in one district of Ulaanbaatar, from which 1,926 (14.4%) operate in Bayankhongor aimag, 1,750 (13.1%) in Tuv aimag, 1,705 (12.7%) in Uvs aimag, 1,260 (9.4%) in Nalaikh District, 1,254 (9.4%) in Selenge aimag, and 1,059 (7.9%) in Khuvsgul aimag, representing 66.9% of those who took part in the survey; the remaining 33.1% are located in the other 15 aimags.
The survey involved those who operated at 238 deposits and mines with mineral resources in 76 soums of 20 aimags and one district of Ulaanbaatar.
Artisanal and small-scale mining operations take place at the 238 deposits and mines with mineral resources referenced in the survey, of which 181 (76.1%) are located in eight aimags, 44 in Tuv aimag, 33 in Gobi-Altai aimag, 25 in Dornogobi aimag, 20 in Khentii aimag, 17 in Khovd aimag, 16 each in Selenge and Umnugobi aimags, and 10 in Uvs aimag.
According to the number of artisanal and small-scale miners included in the survey, the leading areas for ASM activity are Bayankhongor, Tuv, Uvs, Selenge, and Khuvsgul aimags, and Ulaanbaatar, which have vast gold and coal deposits and are home to the mountain mining sector. In the eastern aimags, at lower altitudes, there are deposits of fluorspar and tungsten steel. The data reveals that the centralization of artisanal and small-scale miners is directly related to the types of mineral resources that are available in the region.