Mining Infrastructure Investment Support (MINIS) Project

The World Bank is funding feasibility studies under the MINIS project that could lead to large dams on the Selenge and Orkhon Rivers in Mongolia. These dams will negatively impact agricultural productivity for the communities living in the affected river basins as well as affect water levels in Russia’s Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The World Bank approved the initial $25 million credit to the Mongolian government for the Mining Infrastructure Investment Support (MINIS) Project on May 10, 2011. The purpose of the project is to provide technical assistance to the Government of Mongolia to facilitate investments in the infrastructure needed to support mining (such as roads or power sources) and build the capacity of the government to prepare and seek financing for similar projects in the future. The project finances feasibility studies and other preparatory assessments for large dams, groundwater studies, and an expansion of coal mining activities.

Original image by Eugene Simonov, Rivers without Boundaries Coalition

The MINIS project provides support for infrastructure investments, capacity-building, and groundwater management. The project includes financing to prepare regional infrastructure investment plans, address emerging priority issues, and conduct feasibility studies for a select number of sub-projects. The six sub-projects are (i) Flow regulation of the Orkhon River and construction of water reservoir complex (Orkhon-Gobi River Diversion), (ii) Shuren Hydropower Plant, (iii) 3) Integrated Steel Complex with infrastructure in the central region of Darkhan-Selenge, (iv) Expansion of a coal min in Baganuur, (v) Rural and Industrial Water Supply Scheme in the South Gobi region, and (vi) a synthetic natural gas plant. In addition, the project is providing financing to establish regional Groundwater Management Councils and Administrations in Southern Mongolia, and to conduct groundwater management studies for the South Gobi region.