Mongolia Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources and energy

Mongolia is rich in minerals. Coal (mainly lignite), fluorspar, copper and molybdenum are extracted in large quantities, and tin, tungsten and uranium to a lesser extent. There are also deposits of gold, silver, nickel, lead, zinc and iron.

Large foreign investments have been made in the mining industry and mining is the most important export industry. The recovery of both copper and coal as well as oil is greatly increasing. Gold mining has also expanded.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Mongolia with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

The copper mine Erdenet, which is jointly owned by Mongolia and Russia, became the country’s main source of foreign currency during the 1990s. Since the beginning of the 21st century, interest has been directed at the world’s largest gold and copper deposit in the Ojuu Tolgoj mine in the Gobi Desert, where the extraction is managed by the Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines, owned by British-Australian Rio Tinto. Similarly, large investments have been made in the coal mine Tavan Tolgoj, from which coal is exported to China. The uranium is mined in the mining town of Erdes, a business that until 1989 was secretly run by the Soviet Union. Interest in the extraction of uranium has increased in recent years.

In 1998, Chinese companies began extracting oil in Mongolia from oil fields in the eastern Gobi Desert. Since then, production has increased significantly.

Mongolia imports a large part of its electricity from Russia. The cities’ electricity and heat supply is managed by coal-fired power plants of Soviet cut with unsafe operation. In smaller towns, diesel generators are common. In the countryside, firewood and dried animal waste are often used for heating and cooking. The country’s need for improved electricity supply is great and the government plans to build new power plants.

  • Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, MN stands for Mongolia. Visit itypeusa for more information about Mongolia.

Mongolia is facing several environmental problems. Forests and overgrazing have caused soil degradation and desertification. In the cities of Ulan Bator, Darchan and Erdenet, the air is heavily polluted by emissions from coal-fired power plants. The mining industry also has a negative impact on the environment.


Energy use per person

1 847 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

2027 kWh, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

20 840 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

7.1 tonnes (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

3.4 percent (2015)



The Prime Minister’s power is being strengthened

A working group of representatives of all parties agreed on draft constitutional amendments to strengthen the prime minister’s power at the expense of the president and parliament. Among other things, Parliament should no longer be able to decide on setting up new ministries, which has been a way for MEPs to give themselves rewards in the form of a ministerial post. This practice has created overlapping bureaucracies, making it more difficult to start businesses in the country. According to the proposed amendments, Parliament’s influence should be limited in certain areas of fiscal policy, such as how much tax a mining company must pay. The two major parties DP and MPP are behind the proposals, which, however, are not expected to take effect until after the summer 2016 election.


MPP ministers are dismissed

Prime Minister Sajchanbileg is pushing through a decision in Parliament to dismiss all six MPP ministers. Their duties were taken over by the other ministers in the government.


Referendum via mobiles

A vote on mobile phones is held on the country’s economic policy. Messages are sent to just over three million mobile phones. Those who have more than one mobile phone may vote multiple times. Voters can decide whether they think the country should continue to develop the country’s mining industry by allowing foreign investment or whether the government should prioritize an economic austerity policy to support the country’s weak economy. More than half of those who responded responded to foreign investment. However, participation is not very high – only ten percent of mobile phones are used.

Mongolia Energy and Environment Facts

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