Human Rights and Mongolia’s Small-Scale Mining Sector
Since the collapse of the socialist regime in 1990, Mongolia’s economic development has been dependent on an expanding formal and informal mining sector that for many years had little regard for the environment. As the negative environmental implications of such rampant mining expansion became clearer, Mongolia’s government and national and international communities have put pressure on mining companies to comply with international environmental standards. Such pressure has driven progress in the large-scale mining sector to invest greater resources to reduce their impact with significant attempts to comply with international environmental standards, including performance standards specified by key lending banks.
From “ninjas” to globally responsible artisanal miners: Mongolia exports its first Fairmined certified gold
The Fairmined-certified XAMODX artisanal mining NGO, based in Bayan-Ovoo soum in Bayankhongor aimag, exported Mongolia’s first Fairmined Ecological Gold to the world market on March 17. Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation's (SDC) website published Wednesday. The NGO represents more than 300 artisanal and small-scale miners (ASMers) who extract gold in the soum.
XAMODX awarded Mongolia’s first Fairmined Certificate
The NGO XAMODX is the first Mongolian organization, only the fourth in the world, and the only one outside South America to have been awarded the Fairmined Certification by the Alliance for Responsible Mining recognizing that the gold it produces is without the use of mercury or cyanide. Its head, Ch. Otgonbaatar, has called it “a great honour” that their hard work over the years is now internationally acknowledged. XAMODX was formed after the 2006 ‘dzud’ had forced some herding communities to seek alternative livelihoods. They moved to an abandoned mine called Tsagaan Tsakhir in the Bayan-Ovoo soum and decided to make mining a sustainable livelihood and occupation.
For the first time ever an artisanal and small-scale mining organization outside of South America has reached Fairmined Certification. The Mongolian NGO XAMODX now joins the existing three Fairmined certified organizations. They are the only producer of Fairmined Ecological Gold, a special Fairmined label for Fairmined Gold produced without the use of mercury or cyanide.