First Khentii ASM miners’ conference

The ASM National Federation held the first ASM miners’ conference in Chinggis City in Khentii aimag, entitled “Goodwill, Good Deeds”.The goal of the conference was to raise public awareness about the activities carried out by member organisations currently operating in Khentii aimag, build support for ASM miners whose operations are environmentally and socially responsible, and strengthen cooperation between miners and aimag authorities and state organisations.

Among those taking part in the conference were the governors of Batnorov and Bor-Undur soums, representatives from the local departments of Investment and Development, Environment and Tourism, Health, Taxation, and Health and Social, the National Vocational Training Centre, the aimag Association of Employers’ NGO, and the National Human Rights Commission’s senior expert in Khentii, who shared sectoral information and provided guidance.

The significance of the conference was highlighted by the collaboration between miners operating in rural areas and local authorities, who supported the organisation of the conference, paving the way for the establishment of Khentii’s first ASM miners’ union.

The miners in attendance discussed the challenges they faced, and asked for support from local officials in resolving those issues, as well as the formalisation of the supply chain. Teachers from the National Vocational Training Institute also visited soums with operational artisanal mines and provided on-site occupational health and safety workshops. The Khentii aimag Vocational Training Institute provided short-term training for 20 miners, and full-year training for 10 miners in collaboration with the SAM Project.

Norovlin soum Mayor S. Munkhsarnai’s “Khantiim khuch” artisanal mining NGO entered into a tripartite agreement with a large mining company, which resulted in sustainable employment, stable income generation, and a safe working environment.

D. Dambiisurenjav, a member of the ASM National Federation Board of Trustees and artisanal miner in Tunkhel bagh in Mandal soum, Selenge aimag, said the lack of an artisanal miners’ federation had resulted in discord among miners and local authorities. He said Selenge artisanal miners had, like their counterparts in Govi-Altai aimag, unanimously decided to formalise. “Our National Federation is ready to work with them and support them. Once they have formulated their rules and have established their union, we will provide all kinds of workshops for them and will work closely with local authorities.”

ASM National Federation Executive Director D. Bayarmaa said they had been providing the ASM miners with professional guidance and training. “The miners from Khentii should pay attention to the fluorspar in the future. Although everyone today is going after gold, fluorspar is such an important mineral that it will have a significant impact on the local economy. Therefore, local authorities should be focusing on policies that promote better fluorspar extraction methods, putting it into economic circulation, and gathering best practices from other countries.”