Oyu Tolgoi Mine Project

Located in the Omnogovi Aimag (province) in the Southern Gobi Desert region of Mongolia, the Oyu Tolgoi copper/silver/gold mine is one of the largest copper and gold deposits in the world. The total reserves of the mine are estimated at 80 billion pounds of copper and 45 million ounces of gold.

The mine is jointly owned by the Government of Mongolia (with 34% stake in the project) and the companies Turquoise Hill Resources (formerly Ivanhoe Mines) (Canada) (with 66% ownership). Rio Tinto (UK) has a 50.8% interest in Turquoise Hill. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are also financiers of the project.

BIC has been monitoring this project in collaboration with local and international partners since 2011. Two fact-finding missions undertaken in 2011, one by a USAID field team and another by a coalition of CSOs (including BIC) found that the long-term interests of the mining companies and the traditional herders that live nearby are incompatible. One of the most significant concerns is water resource management. Oyu Tolgoi is located in the Southern Gobi Desert, an arid ecosystem that is suffering the effects of increased desertification due to climate change. Mining is a notoriously water-intensive industry, and the large size of Oyu Tolgoi means that the nearby nomadic herding community's access to water may be put in jeopardy.

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