Natural resources and energy
Mongolia is rich in minerals. Coal (mainly
lignite), fluorspar, copper and molybdenum are extracted
in large quantities, and tin, tungsten and uranium to a
lesser extent. There are also deposits of gold, silver,
nickel, lead, zinc and iron.
Large foreign investments have been made in the
mining industry and mining is the most important export
industry. The recovery of both copper and coal as well
as oil is greatly increasing. Gold mining has also
Major exports by Mongolia with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
The copper mine Erdenet, which is jointly owned by
Mongolia and Russia, became the country's main source of
foreign currency during the 1990s. Since the beginning
of the 21st century, interest has been directed at the
world's largest gold and copper deposit in the Ojuu
Tolgoj mine in the Gobi Desert, where the extraction is
managed by the Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines, owned by
British-Australian Rio Tinto. Similarly, large
investments have been made in the coal mine Tavan Tolgoj,
from which coal is exported to China. The uranium is
mined in the mining town of Erdes, a business that until
1989 was secretly run by the Soviet Union. Interest in
the extraction of uranium has increased in recent years.
In 1998, Chinese companies began extracting oil in
Mongolia from oil fields in the eastern Gobi Desert.
Since then, production has increased significantly.
Mongolia imports a large part of its electricity from
Russia. The cities' electricity and heat supply is
managed by coal-fired power plants of Soviet cut with
unsafe operation. In smaller towns, diesel generators
are common. In the countryside, firewood and dried
animal waste are often used for heating and cooking. The
country's need for improved electricity supply is great
and the government plans to build new power plants.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, MN stands for Mongolia.
Mongolia is facing several environmental problems.
Forests and overgrazing have caused soil degradation and
desertification. In the cities of Ulan Bator, Darchan
and Erdenet, the air is heavily polluted by emissions
from coal-fired power plants. The mining industry also
has a negative impact on the environment.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
1 847 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
2027 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
20 840 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
7.1 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
3.4 percent (2015)
The Prime Minister's power is being strengthened
A working group of representatives of all parties agreed on draft
constitutional amendments to strengthen the prime minister's power at the
expense of the president and parliament. Among other things, Parliament should
no longer be able to decide on setting up new ministries, which has been a way
for MEPs to give themselves rewards in the form of a ministerial post. This
practice has created overlapping bureaucracies, making it more difficult to
start businesses in the country. According to the proposed amendments,
Parliament's influence should be limited in certain areas of fiscal policy, such
as how much tax a mining company must pay. The two major parties DP and MPP are
behind the proposals, which, however, are not expected to take effect until
after the summer 2016 election.
MPP ministers are dismissed
Prime Minister Sajchanbileg is pushing through a decision in Parliament to
dismiss all six MPP ministers. Their duties were taken over by the other
ministers in the government.
Referendum via mobiles
A vote on mobile phones is held on the country's economic policy. Messages
are sent to just over three million mobile phones. Those who have more than one
mobile phone may vote multiple times. Voters can decide whether they think the
country should continue to develop the country's mining industry by allowing
foreign investment or whether the government should prioritize an economic
austerity policy to support the country's weak economy. More than half of those
who responded responded to foreign investment. However, participation is not
very high - only ten percent of mobile phones are used.