Reuters’ David Stanway delves into a Mongolian gold rush in which tightening environmental regulations and soaring prices fuelled by Chinese demand “‘have – pardon the pun – driven mining underground'”.
In a hot, concrete hut filled with acetylene fumes, an elderly Mongolian miner struggles to contain her excitement as she plucks a sizzling inch-long nugget of gold from a grubby cooling pot and raises it to the light.
Khorloo, 65, and her sons spent the day scrutinizing half a dozen CCTV screens as workers at the Bornuur gold processing plant whittled 1.2 metric metric tonnes of ore down to 123 grams of pure gold that could earn the family as much as $6,000 ….
“It took us a week to dig this out,” Khorloo said, holding the nugget. “But we dug for three years to reach the vein.”
The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts took a broader view of the “Minegolian” resource boom in an article and video report last November, examining the balance between its colossal potential economic benefits and its heavy social and environmental impact.