Mongolia. According to
Countryaah, Mongolia entered 2013 with one of the world's
fastest growing economies, with some predictions of GDP
growth of 18-20%. Exports from the new big copper and gold
mine Oyu Tolgoi and exports from Tavan Tolgoi, one of the
world's largest coal mines, were expected to produce such a
In July, the first consignment of copper concentrate from
Oyu Tolgoi went to China. It was an important milestone for
Mongolia, which was expected to become a major commodity
exporter to China. But during the year, forecasts of
Mongolia's GDP growth dropped below 10%, including due to
lower growth than expected in China.
The Oyu Tolgoi mine's ore deposits are among the largest
in the world and extend over three miles below the Gobi
Desert. When the mine is in full operation in 2020, it is
estimated to account for about 35% of the country's GDP,
while a gigantic open pit is already causing wounds in
nature. Critics say the mining project will create major
environmental problems, exacerbate corruption and benefit
China rather than Mongolia's poor.
Mining operations were estimated to account for
approximately 90% of the country's total exports during the
year, but the mining sector provided work for only 4% of the
country's labor force. Traditional agriculture, on the other
hand, with livestock management for meat and wool, employed
about 40% of the labor force, but accounted for less than
15% of GDP.
According to the United Nations Development Agency
(UNDP), the economy's dominance of mining has led to
disproportionate growth, which has intensified the country's
problems with the lack of manufacturing industry between the
emerging mining sector and traditional nomad culture.
The June presidential election was about the mining boom,
about the environment, about growing economic gaps and about
how the profits from the major mineral resources would
benefit the poor. The incumbent President Tsachiagijn
Elbegdorj of the ruling Democratic Party was challenged by
MP and former wrestler Badmaanyambuu Bat-Erdene, who was the
main candidate for the opposition, as well as socialist
candidate Natsag Udval, the first woman to stand in a
presidential election in Mongolia.
President Elbegdorj already won 50.9% of the vote in the
first round, according to the official result. Bat-Erdene
received 42.5% and Udval just under 7% of the vote.
In September, a demonstration was held outside Parliament
in the capital Ulaanbaatar in protest against environmental
legislation, which was accused of failing to protect nature
from the mining industry's progress. The protesters tried to
enter the parliament building but were prevented by guards.