Australian from Melbourne about Mongolia

A very thought provoking article in the WSJ about the rise and fall of mining riches in Mongolia. On one hand however I can’t help thinking that the author has missed a very important point: whilst the promise of a wealth boom from mining would have had its benefits, it was also clearly marginalising nomad life and the rural economy, and risked eventually eroding the nomad culture beyond recognition. The mining boom or the speculation of the boom, whilst promising wealth and certainty beyond that of nomad life (with its zhuds that can wipe out millions of animals) was never going to be a positive thing for everyone- and more to the point it was always an illusion that resource mining would be a reliable income source come hail or shine. Now that the boom has subsided with a crash in world prices and political wrangling. perhaps it is a moment for people to reflect on the fact that mining, whilst important, is not a silver bullet and whilst impervious to the unpredictability of the weather, is nonetheless at the mercy of the fickle winds that dictate resource prices. I heard some very wise words from a young Mongolian last year that have stuck with me: “we as Mongolians are starting to realise that whilst there is gold, copper, uranium, coal in many countries….only Mongolia has our Mongolian nomad culture.”


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