“The negative impact of mining on women’s lives” a study tour was held in Arkhangai aimag on September 17-19.
This study tour was led by two trainers from India, who have extensive experience in educating the population on the impacts of mining on the environment and women’s rights.
It has been a long time since mining activities have been negatively impacting local residents and herders livelihoods.
In some areas, mining has expanded, and local residents are forced to evacuate their pasture lands and face drinking water shortages. Women NGOs from Arkhangai, Zavkhan, Darkhan-Uul and Baganuur district, for the second year, are collaborating to identify and alleviate these adverse impacts on women. They have shared their experiences, challenges, lessons learned and best practice cases before the study. They have also visited the Orkhon bagh of Tsenher soum of Arkhangai aimag to see the negative impacts of mining, visited women from herder households to document the evidence of the negative impacts of the women.
The team has seen a few gold mines, operating in the area and leaving polluted devastation behind themselves, such as dirty ponds of polluted water, and clouds of dust.
The herders living in the vicinity of the mines are losing their pasture land due to heavy dust, but most horribly, face drinking water shortage and completely depend on the water delivery. Local women talked about having limited access to potable water and their right for access to clean water have been violated. Women have to find transport to drive to neighboring baghs for water or solely rely on water delivery, and until then, count each drop to meet the needs of their family.
They talked about their livestock – the only mean of their income – drinking polluted water from Orkhon river banks. The livestock diseases increased and when they see the contaminated water it drinks, they also become fearful for their own health and the health of their children.
Also, mining companies do not undertake the rehabilitation and the roads are in dire condition, which leads to increased road accidents, some are fatal.
Gender Impact Assessment tool was used for assessing these negative impacts, and creating cases and documenting issues. The team discussed the issues that needed to be addressed during the document review process, making sure to document all the nuances and align these with women’s human rights violations.
Gender Impact Assessment tool composed of three sections, which assess the environment and livelihood before mining activities, then during the mining activities and assesses situations post-mining. The advantage of this methodology is the evidence-based approach to documenting human rights violations of those who live in the negatively impacted regions, such as the right to live in the healthy and safe environment, the right to health, the right to know and the right to information, cultural heritage and social relationships. In addition, the tool teaches general public and women techniques and measures to take to prevent and minimize the negative impacts of mining.
The participants of the study tour realized that if they do not move collectively and urgently to stop the mining then they will have a very grim future, the same they have seen in Arkhangai. Consequently, women gathered in groups and developed their action plans.