Jargalsaikhany Mendee writing in the Asia Times Online argues Mongolian lawmakers in the process of finalizing a new bill to regulate the mining industry are hoping to avoid the mistakes of the past.
The Mongolian parliament has revised the rules governing mining companies and foreign investment in the sector several times since introducing its so-called Gold Program in 1990, but previous laws have not always produced the desired outcomes.
The country is still plagued by environmentally damaging artisanal mining, corruption in the awarding of exploration and mining licences and a lack of local community participation in mining projects, but the new bill – which "avoids the dangers of politicization" – has a better chance of addressing these problems argues Mendee.
That is because Mongolia is relying heavily on its own expertise, the knowledge built up studying other resource-based economies like Australia and Canada and its experiences dealing with foreign investors.
Specifically Mongolia's politicians would not want to repeat what happened in 2009:
Pushed by demands from environmental and local activists, parliament quickly approved the Law on the Prohibition of Minerals Exploration in Water Basins and Forested Areas (known as Law with the Long Name) in 2009.
Under the law, the government cancelled over 200 mining and exploration licenses that operate within 200 meters from water and forest sources.
However, this sudden measure caused intense opposition from miners while raising public expectations for stricter enforcement and revisions in the major mining and environmental legislation.
Continue reading at Asia Times Online.