by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 30, 2012
Mining in southern Mongolia is threatening the livelihoods of herders and straining water supplies, a report said Monday, as foreign companies race to exploit the country's rich mineral deposits.
Mongolia has opened up it vast reserves of natural resources to foreign investors in the hope of pulling thousands out of poverty, but activist groups said herders, townspeople and the environment were paying a heavy price.
In 2009, Mongolia sealed a long-awaited multi-billion dollar deal with Canada's Ivanhoe Mines and Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto to develop Oyu Tolgoi, one of the world's richest copper deposits and a key gold source.
Ulan Bator is also selecting foreign companies to develop the prized Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit, one of the largest on the planet.
But the mines, located in the vast Gobi desert, were being developed without sufficient scientific information about the potential environmental and social impact of the operations, activist groups said.
"The future of herding in the South Gobi is under threat as the development of extensive mine infrastructure pushes herders out of traditional camps, fragments pasture land and puts pressure on water resources," the report said.
The report was published by CEE Bankwatch Network in the Czech Republic, urgewald in Germany, Bank Information Centre in the United States and Oyu Tolgoi Watch in Mongolia, with the financial assistance of the European Union.
Towns located near the mines lacked adequate services and infrastructure to handle their burgeoning populations, it said.
Increased dust caused by mining and trucks was exacerbating "desertifcation and the decreasing quality of vegetation", as well as fuelling the number of asthma and bronchitis cases in the area.
Local residents were also missing out on promised job opportunities, according to the report, which was based on interviews with herders and people living in towns near the mines as well as mining companies and investors.
"An influx of people from outside the region increases competition for jobs, and while herding engages both men and women, mining offers more opportunities for men," the report said.
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Climate-driven heat peaks may shrink wheat crops
Paris (AFP) Jan 29, 2012
More intense heat waves due to global warming could diminish wheat crop yields around the world through premature ageing, according to a study published Sunday in Nature Climate Change. Current projections based on computer models underestimate the extent to which hotter weather in the future will accelerate this process, the researchers warned. Wheat is harvested in temperate zones on m ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|