Building the Capacity of Mongolian Non State Actors to Promote Sustainable Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction in Rural Artisanal Gold Mining Areas.

Field work was carried out during the period May 2nd to May 11th 2014. The following sites were visited:

At Bornur we visited a procession station. It was established by the Swiss. It consists of a processing unit with a milling system characteristic for Mongolia, with two large wheels running in a channel filled with crushed ore. Furthermore a small building where borax smelting had taken place was seen. It contains a small cabinet where heavy mineral concentrates could be burned with nitric acid to get rid of sulphides, mainly pyrite. Next step was smelting with an acetylene burner and an electric scale to weigh the gold. Unfortunately had the authorities closed down the processing station because they believed mercury had been used during processing.

Mandal has two gold processing stations a private and one belonging to the local community. I gave a presentation for around 25 small-scale miners in a meeting room at the town hall. The audience were very interested and a number of comments and questions were raised. We visited the community owned station which was built by the Check and the Swiss. It consisted of a jaw crusher, which reportedly was out of order. Furthermore two mills were seen of the same type as the one in Bornur, and a very large shaking table. The setup was well organized, but right away it was obvious that the mills were out of order.

One of the mills had technical problems whereas the other mill proved to be completely worn and the damages called for a major repair or rather replacement. The two large grinding stones had worn the metal of the mill thereby creating extensive holes in the casing. This indicates that the construction of the mill was not done properly. The metal housing the two wheels was a very thin metal plate rarely more than a few mm thick, which could not last long. It cannot be recommended to repair the mill, but either to replace it with a more solid construction or build another type of mill.

Nartai is a very isolated community with six processing stations obtaining ore from a nearby gold occurrence up a nearby mountain. It was planned to visit the site next day but that was cancelled due to power cut at the site.

Zaamar. The town was established 1912 based on rich gold deposits, most of which were placer deposits but also some minor hard rock mining sites. There are reportedly 16 large scale gold mines three of which use dredges. There are about 500 small-scale miners many of whom are organized under a type of NGO. Several of the NGO’s have negotiated contracts with the large scale miners giving them permission to carry out their activities within the concession area of the large scale mines. The small-scale miners reportedly also sometimes sell their concentrates to the large scale mines

Bayankhongor This is a fairly large processing site with six mills, and a couple of small mills. All the mills send their fine grained material out to the tailings pond. We tested the tailings pond and it had high gold contents. The processing site is new and the three owners do not know how they are going to recover the gold from the tailings. Gave a presentation for around 30 miners, two officials from environmental authorities and two from mining authorities.

The field work was carried out in cooperation with local NGO, Blacksmith and Emerald Cooperative, Philippines

Milling gold ore was frequently carried out with the Chinese wheel which is not the best solution One of the many problems is that it is very difficult to clean the wheel after use and thus a lot of mercury and gold is lost.

Whole ore amalgamation is the dominant gold extraction method and the highly mercury polluted tailings from that processing litters several areas of Mongolia.

Project carried out under the auspices of Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS).


So-called Chinese wheel which is used for milling crushed gold ore with mercury

So-called Chinese wheel which is used for milling crushed gold ore with mercury