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23 Apr 2010

Center for Human Rights and Development (Mongolia); OT Watch (Mongolia); MiningWatch (Canada); Rights and Accountability in Development (UK)

Mongolian NGOs Appeal to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Business and Human Rights to resolve Oyu Tolgoi Mine Dispute

A coalition of Mongolian NGOs appealed today...to Professor John Ruggie...to use his good offices to calm the tension that has erupted...over the decision by the Government...to allow Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines Ltd to develop a copper-gold mine in the South Gobi region...without undertaking adequate environmental studies...On 4 April 2010...[t]ension mounted after an unprovoked assault on the demonstrators...Seven demonstrators went on hunger strike demanding...a review of the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement...a major cause of concern is the absence of a...detailed water study for the Oyu Tolgoi project...Increasingly Mongolian civil society fears that the mine licences awarded to foreign companies will reduce both the quality and availability of water...and decrease the amount of pasture on which the country’s traditional nomadic population depends for their survival...On 1 April 2010, the Mongolian NGOs, assisted by MiningWatch Canada and RAID, filed complaints in the UK and Canada against Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines Ltd for alleged breaches of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies. [Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ivanhoe Mines to respond, but it has not done so.]