The Mongolian Court of Appeal decided today (9 December) to revoke four mining licenses on Noyon Mountain which are owned by Centerra Gold. This is considered to be a “sacred place”. It is located in the Mandal Soum of Selenge Province in the north of Mongolia.
The mining activity on Noyon Mountain has become a long-running dispute between locals and the gold mining company. Noyon Mountain has an estimated 27,667,378 tonnes of ore and 75 942.11 tonnes of gold. Centrerra Gold Company obtained the mining license for exploration on the Noyon Mountian in 2008 with 34 percent ownership of the project; 66 percent is owned by the Mongolian Government. However, the ‘Save Noyon Mountain’ NGO has been very active and filed a lawsuit in the Ulaanbaatar City Court.
Noyon Mountain is one of the sacred mountains in Mongolia where, since ancient times burials have taken place. In the shamanistic cosmos, mountains are the homes of guardian spirits, who must be honoured and respected. Fresh water flows from the mountain’s springs and its underground treasures of gold and rare minerals should be preserved.
Since the Hunnu Empire dating back over 2,200 years, the mountain has served as a location for the tombs of Mongolian nobles; other important cultural remains are also to be found on Noyon Mountain which warrant similar protection. Archeological research shows that the artifacts found on the mountain are invaluable evidence of Mongolian history and culture, and the Hunnu Empire which was the direct forerunner of our nation.
Located in the north of the country, it is one of the great watersheds of Mongolia and accounts for 6% of the country’s total territory.
Noyon Mountain is an UNESCO World Heritage pre-approved site, which Mongolia became the member state in 1962. According to the UNESCO site requirements, Noyon Mountain meets the multiple selection criteria as world’s historical and natural treasures and to be an outstanding universal value.