Washington, DC, October 1, 2007 – The World Bank Group received a delegation of parliamentarians from Mongolia to learn best practices from other countries in managing its mining sector. Discussions focused on international experiences related to effective mining taxation, state participation, comprehensive regional and infrastructure development, and addressing environmental, social and governance risks.
“The World Bank Group recognize that developing the mining sector presents a unique opportunity for Mongolia, if managed well. Like the experience in Chile where GDP per capita grew from $7000 in 1995 to $12,000 currently, mining could be a potential catalyst of growth,,” said Graeme Hancock at the World Bank’s Oil, Gas and Mining Department. “This visit is an opportunity to expose Mongolian lawmakers to best practices in managing the mining sector from across the globe. Natural resources can be either a curse or a blessing, depending how they are managed. Only a handful of countries have managed to do it well.”
The Government of Mongolia has recently worked on negotiation of two investment agreements with investors on a very large copper and gold project –Oyu Tolgoi— and on a major coking coal project –Tavan Tolgoi. These agreements have been submitted to Parliament for ratification. The Parliament then designated a working group to assess the agreements and dispatched 4 delegations to different parts of the world on study tours. The delegations are also visiting some major mining operations as well as government agencies to learn about best practice in mining sector management. This parliamentary delegation visiting the World Bank is part of that working group.
“While the World Bank Group did not provide advice on the specific investment agreements under consideration, we had a very productive discussion focused on international good practice that Mongolia may wish to consider as it develops its mining sector, and how the Bank Group can scale-up related assistance,” said James Adams, The World Bank’s Regional Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific. “This is about how to bring the potential benefit from mining to benefit the poor and vulnerable in Mongolia where 32 percent of the population still lives under the poverty line. This is also about how to ensure that environmental and social considerations are taken into account in mining development.”
At the same time, the World Bank Group is also in the process of developing a new Country Assistance Strategy for Mongolia that will focus on how to make the best of the mining economy, improving rural livelihoods and the environment, and making urban centers –especially Ulaanbaatar— more livable.