Landlocked country wants to take a leading role
Mongolia’s Deputy Prime Minister Amarsaikhan Sainbuyan believes his country is well on its way to establishing itself as a major supplier of critical minerals. However, becoming an alternative to market leader China will require time and support from abroad, the politician told Nikkei (paywall). This would include, for example, the development of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient mining technologies.
International interest exists
More than three million tons of rare earths are suspected by the relevant authority in Mongolia. Several countries are already cooperating with the landlocked country in the development of these mineral resources, such as South Korea, and Germany has also already expressed interest and announced the expansion of existing cooperations. But China, Mongolia’s neighbor and most important trading partner, has also long since turned its attention to the country’s wealth of resources. At present, Mongolia exports mainly coal to China, but in October, Mongolia’s ambassador to China, Tuvshin Badra, also promoted investments that are intended to build up long-term expertise in the processing of rare earths.
China has continuously built up this knowledge over the past decades. In the absence of seaports, the only way to transport raw materials and primary products is by rail, Nikkei added. China and Russia are therefore the preferred destinations for export goods. How much will thus be exported to other countries remains to be seen, especially since China is expanding its influence in Mongolia through infrastructure projects as part of the New Silk Road initiative.
Photo: iStock/Oleksii Liskonih