27 September 2019

New Short Film “When the Dust Came In: Mongolian Herders Negotiate Their Future with a Massive Mine”

Nomadic herders in Mongolia’s South Gobi Desert are fighting to protect their way of life and livelihoods while living alongside the massive Oyu Tolgoi mine. In 2017, they reached historic agreements with the mining company and local government to help protect traditional livelihoods and support new endeavors.

Over the past two years, the agreements have begun to sow real benefits. In the words of Battsengel Lkhamdoorov, an elected herder representative, “Once the agreement is fully implemented, I have high expectations that our problems will be solved.” Yet it remains far from clear whether the agreements will fulfill their promise of supporting herders to continue their traditional way of life while living next to a world class mine. Affected herder Dorjkhand Bataa reflects, “Continuance of our traditional herder’s lifestyle and its continuance are unclear. All of our children are saying that they will work in the mining sector. Livestock herding might end with us.”

Our new short film shares the collective work that led to these agreements and the path forward to ensure that the promises translate to a sustainable future for local herders.