That eight of the largest mining companies have come together to join the Voluntary Code of Responsible Mining has great importance in that this will enthuse other companies to join them in strengthening the case for responsible mining. It will also create pride among citizens working in mining as opening the way for raising the sector’s reputation in the public mind.
We expect many positive results from our decision. Other companies will now get opportunities to learn from our experience and come to know better the good practices followed by responsible entities. They can then adopt these practices and standards in their own work. To me the most important thing is that the eight of us can be a strong voice of encouragement to so many others to come join us. Together we shall resolve many urgent problems in the sector by submitting proposals for the review of laws, rules, resolutions and decisions. These proposals are certain to get traction as they will be seen as an expression of collective will, and not as any one company working for its own interests.
We agree that a basic criterion of responsible mining is reclamation, but we also believe that it is no less important to work for occupational health and safety, information transparency, and local citizens’ involvement in mining activities.
Since its inception, Monpolymet has been conducting mining operations with the utmost care for environmental protection and taking up appropriate reclamation work based on the special features of the region and on long and detailed ecological studies. In this, we may justly claim to be a model mining company in Mongolia.
We have hosted four domestic and international workshops on reclamation at our Toson plant where we have showcased our work and methods to representatives of the government, non-government organizations, mining companies, and local citizens. At present, the Toson plant has become a model for reclamation not only in the Zaamar region but also in Mongolia. We were one of the first companies to start using CAT and Komatsu equipment. That was 20 years ago, and now they are in almost general use, operated by a workforce mainly trained by us. Skilled CAT and Komatsu operators who once worked for our company can now be found working in mines in every corner of the country.
There is popular discontent at the widespread irresponsible mining by companies, as also the impunity with which micro miners act. The law has appeared to be powerless to discipline either of them. At the same time, there is no state support, let alone incentive, for the larger miners who operate strictly within the law, and bring in the most part of Mongolia’s export revenue. They also provide many hundreds of people with jobs and fulfil their social responsibility in various ways.
Another problem for them has been the regular practice of non-government organizations to place obstacles in their way, often by the spread of false information to the public to harm their reputation. It is surprising that the zeal with which inspections are regularly carried out by various government organizations into affairs of licensed companies seems totally absence when regulating the operations of micro miners and of those commonly called ninjas.
Our goal is to give our best to the country, and to make that possible, we continue to cooperate with all state organizations, local government authorities, professional associations, research institutes and universities.