Thanks, mining...

2020   |   November - December   |  034

Every household in Mongolia is overjoyed with the “gift” of the mining sector that knocked on every door during a time of great distress. Many people lost their income source with the disruption to workplaces and the only reason they have a smile on their face is mining. Some even act as if they are sowing its benefit for the first time and some even try to shy away from it. But it was clear that people did not know how they were receiving the mining benefits. 

The income created by the extended shift of miners that lasted an entire year has helped pay doctors’ salaries, child money, food talons, and elders’ pensions.

In the last 13 years alone, the budget income from “Erdenet Mining Corporation”, which has been carrying Mongolia’s economy for half a century, is over MNT 1 trillion. “Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi” was separated from its parent company just a decade ago and it has already paid over MNT 2 trillion of taxes and donations to Mongolia. As such, the taxes and donations of about 2000 mining companies registered in the mining industry over the last few years equal Mongolia’s annual budget.

Along with the medical workers and police officers, the miners have been working tirelessly on the frontline for their family and country during the pandemic. The income created by the extended shift of miners that lasted an entire year has helped pay doctors’ salaries, child money, food talons, and elders’ pensions. Defending the country’s economy like sworn soldiers, miners have paid about MNT 2 trillion over the last 11 months, covering the costs of the National Emergency Commission and the Parliament Members’ salary, bearing the heavy burdens of the budget.

Let us take a single medical worker at the National Center for Communicable Diseases for example. The doctors’ salary was increased 2-3 times to about MNT 4.5 million as they are risking their lives for the good of the others. About MNT 1 million of that is paid from mining revenue, half of which is from copper. I would like to thank the copper miners that have been bringing food to our tables for the last half-century.

About MNT 300 thousand is paid from coal exports. Thanks to the coal industry that became the heart of development for Mongolia. As for the rest, the income from gold made up MNT 90 thousand, zinc, iron ore, fluorspar, oil, and molybdenum amount to MNT 120 thousand in total. Each “household” of the mining sector contributed to the country’s economy. Again, thanks to all these industries that helped us through the difficult times. Miners’ efforts helped Mongolia remain healthy during the pandemic. 

In all honesty, the mining sector is protecting the stability of the MNT rate better than the central bank. The mining sector amounted to 96% of all export revenue over the last 11 months, safeguarding the FX income of a country that was separated from external markets. As a result, the FX rates were rather stable during an economic downturn and political turmoil in 2020. 

Not only does this sector protect the economy from FX burdens, but it also acts as an umbrella from the “shadow” of inflation. The MNT rate lowered just 5 percent in an entire COVID-19 year thanks to the USD inflow from gold, coal, and copper. Thanks, mining for protecting MNT from a pitfall and preventing people’s salaries from turning into mere paper.

Truthfully speaking, miners have been working extended extra shifts same as doctors, nurses, and police. They too, have children and family waiting at home. But in order to defend their country and family from a potential risk caused by the virus, they have extended their shift by multiple days, and some even work without break over 60 days at a mine.

There are numerous benefits from mining, including water, heat, electric payments, cheap fuel, child money, pension, dividends, various roads, and infrastructure that lead to development. It also helps pay the salaries of over 250 thousand medical workers and policemen while expanding export revenue to protect the local currency.

But people do not mention or praise them. Miners, themselves do not talk about it that much. As described above, their actions certainly speak louder. Mongolia’s miners are the silent heroes that fought against the coronavirus for over a year. They are the patriotic gate guards to Mongolia’s economy. I am bowing to all the people that work in this industry. 



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