03/31/2016, 09.41
MONGOLIA
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Mongolia’s miners protest against government’s sale of underground resources

More than 2 thousand people join "Ethical Mongol" group to demand the resignation of the government and the withdrawal of the parliamentary mandate. The protest deals with foreign companies for the exploitation of coal mines and quarries of rare minerals. 94% of the gross domestic product comes from these areas, and 50% is in the hands of non-national companies.

 

Ulaan Baatar (AsiaNews) - More than 2 thousand miners gathered yesterday in Ulaan Baatar’s Freedom Square to demand the resignation of Parliament and the Mongolian government. The demonstrators are demanding the cancellation of a $ 5.4 billion deal with an Anglo-Australian company for the mining rights in the Oyu Tolgoi area. This is yet another contract signed by the government with foreign companies, and the miners have taken to the streets concerned that the country's wealth is being "sold off at low prices”.

The protesters are led by former wrestler and opposition MP Battulga Khaltmaa, who says " Our wealth is shipped outside of country. Where is that money going?”. The politician gathered small parties not aligned to the government and some civil society organizations in a group called "Ethical Mongol," which aims to "restore economic fairness" of the nation.

After decades of a sluggish economy, based mostly on subsistence farming and herding, the country decided to exploit its rich reserves and mineral resources: coal and rare minerals have become a valuable export commodity. 94% of the entire gross domestic product comes from the exploitation of the subsoil, but the risk is that the market is being outsourced to foreigners.

At the moment, according to Xinhua, 90% of Mongolian exports end up in the Chinese market. Furthermore, 49% of companies operating in the country is owned by Chinese. That's why, despite the assurances of Xi Jinping, a part of the population begins to fear a political hegemony and creeping infiltration by the Land of the Dragon.

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