Gold and women’s right to know
Compared with other provinces, the mining explorations in Zavkhan province started quite recently. Durvuljin soum, located 150 km away from the center of the province, has 2,156 people, 1,063 of whom are women. The first-ever mining extraction company in Zavkhan province started its operation in this soum in 2014. In addition, a number of uncontrolled, mobile miners of mineral resources has increased since 2016.
Livestock of the households living in the major zones affected by the mining production has symptoms of damaged lungs with spots.
Local herder women suffer from allergies and respiratory diseases caused by dust pollution. In addition, their right to live in a healthy and safe environment and right to be protected against environmental pollution and ecological imbalance are constantly violated, because the families do not know how to engage in social negotiations in order to defend their right to land; do not have sufficient information; and, do not know how to participate in the process.
Even though the gold-mining company made compensation payment to herder families living in the major zones affected by the mining operation prior to starting their exploration for using the pasture land, the herders said that “they made a contract with us and paid a few million tugrugs, but we have not seen the contract, do not know where it is and was forced to do it. We do not know what the contract says and do not know how to evaluate it.” Two women’s groups of the soum started working to make the contract with the mining company transparent and to reveal the information on using the land and water.