Earlier today (25 September), the ‘Tavan Tolgoi Fuel’ Company tested their smokeless briquettes on Ulaanbaatar’s central square, next to the State Palace. Sukhbaatar square, center of Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, During an ‘Open Day’ organized by the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industries, company workers used the briquettes to light fires in the three kinds of stoves most used widely in Ulaanbaatar’s ger districts.
Smoke from these shantytown districts is the main culprit of Ulaanbaatar’s air-pollution. The company has stockpiled a total of 200,000 tonnes of briquettes, however, this represents only one month’s needs.
At the tail end of last winter, the Mongolian government took a dramatic step: In March, it decided to totally ban raw coal. Household offenders will be fined 300,000 tugriks ($113), while large businesses will be fined 3 million tugriks ($1,134). In the light of the ban, the government is putting an alternative product on the market made from semi-coke, a by-product of coal. While more expensive, these fuel-efficient briquettes are said to burn twice as long and emit far less fumes.