Mongolia has been identified by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as one of the 29 developing countries that are rich in natural resources, and the exploration of coal and copper deposits is generating a significant amount of extra revenue. Mongolia primarily mines coal, copper, and gold. Despite experiencing a 4.4 percent decline in growth due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mongolia’s economy regained momentum in the following two years, reaching a 2.2 percent growth in 2022. Experts estimate the country will gain a 4.5 percent growth by the end of 2023.
According to data from the World Bank, the mining sector accounted for approximately 22 percent of Mongolia’s GDP in 2021, and over a staggering 80 percent of the country’s exports. However, this heavy reliance on the mining sector has also made the country vulnerable to fluctuations in global commodity prices, as seen during the recent downturn in the global mining industry itself. In response to this vulnerability, the Mongolian government has been working to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment in other sectors, including agriculture, tourism, and renewable energy.
In April 2022, the government launched its so-called Revival Strategy which includes furture plans (Vision 2050) focusing on a revamp of six areas that need “recovery”: port, energy, industrial, urban and rural, green growth, and State productivity. The country has a wealth of untapped natural resources and has established a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) to manage growing revenues from mining exports. Mongolia plans to invest over USD 392 million into a Future Heritage Fund every year as part of its overall economic growth strategy.
To reduce the environmental impact of mining operations, Mongolian mining companies are increasingly considering green and digital solutions. This includes implementing measures to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and adopt waste management solutions. The country’s largest mining project, Oyu Tolgoi, managed by Rio Tinto, has committed to decarbonizing its operations, which will require the adoption of green and digital solutions.