“Until recently, this area of southern Mongolia was one of the world’s last great wildernesses – a cold desert that is home to gazelle, wild ass and herders living a traditional nomadic existence.
Today, however, it is the centre of the planet’s greatest resource boom. Some are calling it “the last frontier”, others “Minegolia”. Whatever the name, this impoverished but remarkable nation in east Asia is on the brink of one of the most dramatic transformations in human history.
Other mega-mines will follow. The extraction is expected to triple the national economy by 2020 and propel the living standards of the small, impoverished 2.6 million population into the global middle class, but locals fear it will also devastate an arid environment as the mines suck up scarce water resources, damage the grasslands and necessitate roads and electricity grids that disrupt the migration patterns of local species.
The damage is already evident in the cross-Gobi traffic, where drivers churn up so much dust that some use their headlights in the middle of the day to pierce the gloom.”
Via The Guardian