As it is directly to the north of China, Mongolia has become a popular place in recent time for gold mining as activity in China has increased. While Mongolia doesn’t have anywhere near as many gold deposits as China does, it is still a place that gold mining companies have been flocking to in recent time. Gold output levels having gone down in the last few years, but there are efforts to try and find more gold in the future.
History of Gold in Mongolia
The history of gold mining in Mongolia is not fully understood, but it is estimated that gold has been mined in many forms since at least the eleventh century. It was not until 1899 when the first commercial gold mining operations began in Mongolia.
Mongolia’s gold production numbers were first made public in 1995 when it was found that the country had mined about 700 kilograms of gold. Production remains at this same level today.
Gold mining efforts are currently being dwarfed by copper mining in Mongolia. More than 120,000 tons of copper are being mined in Mongolia every year.
The Zaamar gold mine in the central part of Mongolia is responsible for a lot of the total output in the country. This is a copper mine that produces gold as byproduct.
The Boroo gold mine is also in the central part of the country. Operated by Centerra Gold, it has been getting more than a million ounces of gold on an annual basis. This mine was once the largest in Mongolia.
The Gatsuurt gold mine is north of the capital of Ullanbaatar.
Centerra, a Canadian company, has become the top investor in Mongolia’s gold mining industry in recent years. The country is aiming to gather more gold from the country while possibly taking advantage of future mining efforts.
More regions of Mongolia are expected to be impacted by the gold mining industry. The Oyu Tolgoi mine on the southern end of the country has become a place of interest in recent years. This mine, which is an investment between the Mongolian government and outside mining companies, is a gold-copper mine that is expected to produce more than 400,000 ounces of gold on an annual basis.
However, the total amount of gold that is actually within this mine is unclear. It is believed that more of this can be found in the deepest parts of the Gobi Desert, the land mass that the mine surrounds. It is estimated that mining reserves in the area are up to twenty miles deep and are inaccessible with today’s technology.
What About Illegal Miners?
People from rural parts of the country have been illegally trying to gather gold over the years. These artisanal miners, also locally known as ninja miners, carry massive green bowls on their backs to extract placer gold from many of the creeks and rivers in the country. While these mining activities are not approved by the government, their activities are largely ignored as their total gold produced is likely quite small and would be quite difficult to regulate.
There have been rumors of some spectacular large gold nuggets being found in some of the placer deposits in Mongolia. Certainly this county has not been prospected very hard and there could still be some spectacular sources of gold that are yet to be unearthed.