Since 1998, informal artisanal gold mining (commonly referred to as “ninja mining”) has been a part of Mongolia’s mining industry. The artisanal mining gold rushes were triggered by three heavy snowfalls coupled with a sharp drop of temperatures hitting herder communities between 1999 and 2002. In these extreme weather events, 11 million animals were lost. Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) had suddenly become the only alternative income and employment opportunity in rural areas for herders who had lost their livelihoods. However, many miners use mercury to separate out gold. This mercury-gold amalgam then gets burned, contaminating the air, land, and water with mercury. Pure Earth’s work in Mongolia centers around identifying and assessing toxic sites and retraining gold miners with mercury-free techniques.
Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health- Mongolia Summary
Pollution is responsible for 14.3% of deaths in Mongolia. Learn more about how pollution affects health and the economy in Mongolia by reading the Mongolia Summary Report, based on the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health.
Read more about our work in Mongolia in The Pollution Blog: