In Mongolian Parliament since January 2011 there is relentless effort by mining lobby to amend the 2009
«LAW TO PROHIBIT MINERAL EXPLORATION AND MINING OPERATIONS AT HEADWATERS OF RIVERS, PROTECTED ZONES OF WATER RESERVOIRS AND FORESTED AREAS» (LLN- law with long name)
The law provides for certain environmental protection standards when issuing exploration and exploitation licenses to mining companies, specifically stipulating that:
- Mining activities prohibited at the headwaters of rivers, protected zones of water reservoirs and forested areas;
- The boundaries of prohibited areas are to be set by the government;
- Mining licenses for companies currently mining in riverbeds and forested areas are revoked within five months of the day the law was enacted;
- Companies are to be compensated for their loss of licenses.
Attached see one of versions of submitted amendment that proposes to insert word «limit and» before «prohibit» in the name and body text of the law. Provision 4.1 stipulating that «exploration and extraction in headwaters of rivers, protected zones of water bodies and forested areas shall be prohibited» is edited to «borders of such areas shall be defined by government». In Article 4.5 «exploration and extraction licenses shall not be issued» will be edited to «new exploration licenses shall not be issued» in areas protected under this law. PMs J. Batsuuri, Kh. Badelkhan, D. Kokiushiuzan Batbayar, A. Tleikhan and O. Chuluunbat are initiators of this amendment, which they justify by the fact that the law has not been implemented in the one-year-half period since its adoption. The proposed amendment also includes language «entities responsible for environmental damage …shall bear full responsibility for reclamation of…» to be inserted in the law. See TEXT with proposed amendments.
So far due to strong opposition of environmentally-oriented parliament members the amendments have not been adopted, but further pressure from mining lobby and related agencies is likely to continue in fall session of the Parliament.
Other possible directions of backlash include reduction in the area of protection zones, resulting from the»final delineation process», in which several agencies are involved right now. NGOs also fear that compensations will be calculated by consulting firms too generously, allowing mining companies to blackmail government, which is not willing to pay large compensations.