IM4DC project plays important role in Mongolia’s mining boom

An IM4DC-funded research project that looks into the connection between gender based violence (GBV) and mining, has led to the Mongolian Government signing an agreement with a mining company to tackle the problem. 

The purpose of the research was to improve the understanding of GBV experienced in mining communities, by examining whether the proximity of mine camp locations (and other associated infrastructure) to population centres, affects the degree of GBV experienced in the community.

Due to the high population of men, high disposable income and associated alcoholism, GBV in the form of sex-trafficking, prostitution, domestic violence and sexual abuse can result from arrival of mining in developing country communities. This research sought to conduct a comparative analysis of two mine-affected communities in the South Gobi of Mongolia. 

Isabel Cane, Research Manager at The University of Queensland (UQ) Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), said extensive social change was occurring in the South Gobi of Mongolia due to mining activities which has seen a rise in GBV affecting women, men and children in surrounding communities. 

As part of the projects strategy, a roundtable discussion was held to discuss the findings and provide recommendations to policy makers. 

A recently signed $AUD280,000 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Mongolia’s National Committee on Gender Equality and the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi company, was an outcome of the roundtable. The MoU focuses on practical solutions such as installing street lighting to improve visibility and safety for women, building a health centre to support women and girls, establishing alternative activities for young girls by building a green park, and improving the environment from mining impacts to foster a more family friendly community. 

“In an industry where gender issues are marginally engaged with, the MoU between a government body and a mining company demonstrates a very positive step and commitment to gender issues and responsible mining broadly”, Ms Cane said. 

She also said that the research undertaken in Mongolia could be applied in other developing countries where mining was having a major impact on gender relations in local communities. 

The research will be released on the IM4DC website after 9 June 2014 in a report Mapping Gender Based Violence and Mining Infrastructure in Mongolian Mining Communities: A Comparative Analysis.