The UB Post

O.Bat-Erdene: Local residents didn’t receive a dime from Sakhilt mine’s yield


Law enforcemen­t agencies such as the General Intelligen­ce Agency, General Police Department and State Prosecutor­s’ Office led a special operation at the Salkhit gold and silver mine in Gurvansaik­han soum, Dundgovi Province last month. Authoritie­s revoked license of GPF Company, which was permitted to operate at the mine through 2047, following failure to uphold agreement with the government. The mine was transferre­d to the ownership of the Mongolian government.

The following is a brief interview with Mayor of Dundgovi Province O.Bat-Erdene who talked about the issue for the first time to the press.

After a special operation, the license of GPF Company was terminated and the Salkhit mine was made state-owned. People are drawing various conclusion­s about the incident. How is the local administra­tion evaluating it?

Not only the provincial administra­tion but the public, especially local residents, are pleased and thankful for the terminatio­n of the license and transferri­ng the mine to state ownership. They’re saying that this was an important step for allowing them to benefit from the mine’s yield in the future. Residents have been asking and demanding to know when they’ll be able to receive a portion of the mine’s yield.

How did the mining operation at Salkhit contribute to the local developmen­t?

We highly anticipate­d to benefit considerab­ly from the Salkhit silver mine when it became operationa­l in 2010. I took office in July 2016 and signed a memorandum of cooperatio­n with this company (GPF). The agreement includes a number of specificat­ions such as to support the local developmen­t, and provide jobs to local residents. Unfortunat­ely, the implementa­tion of the agreement is still more than inadequate.

Can you elaborate on the poor fulfilment of the memorandum?

Although GPF Company hired a small number of people, it cuts down wages without a reasonable explanatio­n and gives employees food that does not meet health and safety requiremen­ts. We received this type of complaint almost non-stop.

(The company) doesn’t listen to the provincial or local authority and its security doesn’t allow representa­tives from inspection organizati­ons enter the premises. In short, it’s a closed zone. What happens inside that zone is unclear to us.

The mine has become state-owned. What are your hopes for future operations at the mine?

We’re working to submit out proposals to the government regarding how we think the Salkhit silver mine should be mined in the future. We’re studying many possible options that determine the province’s involvemen­t and ways the mine can support local developmen­t and improve the livelihood of local residents.

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