Project Description

Location: Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Primary stakeholders: Policy makers (the Government of Mongolia) and private sector (Rio Tinto and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)), supported by The Biodiversity Consultancy and The Nature Conservancy

Sector/industry: Mining and minerals

Primary extractive or damaging activities: Land use change, waste and pollution, hunting/harvesting, collisions.

Affected ecosystem(s) and biodiversity: the southern Gobi desert. 16 species, including plants, mammals and birds; four habitats; and one species assemblage were identified as priority biodiversity features in the offsets strategy.

Goal: Net positive impact on biodiversity of the southern Gobi region by mine closure (2036), vs. pre-mine baseline (2011).

Metric(s):  Quality Hectares, which combines habitat area (ha) and quality (0-1), expressed as a multiplicative indicator. See Temple et al. 2012 for details.

Mitigation & Conservation actions: In partnership with The Biodiversity Consultancy (TBC), Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and local partners, the Oyu Tolgoi project developed a Net Positive Impact forecast, and a detailed impact and mitigation plan and biodiversity offset strategy, as per the four steps of the Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy (mitigation pathway). The process has also been supported by a regional conservation plan for the Mongolian Gobi: Identifying Conservation Priorities in the Face of Future Development, which applies ‘Development by Design’ principles to proactively balance commitments to protect natural habitats with planned development of mineral resources and related infrastructure (conservation pathway). See four steps diagram below for details.

Stage of implementation and associated outcomes: Implementation is on-going.

Needs and next steps: Good governance and robust monitoring and evaluation to ensure the project is successful at delivering a net positive impact on biodiversity by mine closure.

Key resource and references: