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Mongolia: Environment Pays Price for Infrastructure Inefficiencies

The Energy Resources road is the only paved route to the Chinese border of Gashuun Sukhait. But trucks continue to take parallel dirt roads to avoid paying the toll. (Photo: Pearly Jacob)

Mirage-like, a slinky piece of asphalt appears on the horizon after hours of driving across the dusty Gobi Desert. What’s coming into sight is the only paved surface for miles around. Yet many trucks are driving alongside the new highway, not on it.

In southern Mongolia’s mineral-rich hills, mining companies – foreign-run and local alike – are having trouble sharing something that should be a no-brainer: the roads. Despite the region’s remoteness, now two more roads are being built parallel to the new highway. They’re within spitting distance of each other – all heading through the same valleys and over the same hills towards China. And it’s the local nomadic herders paying the price.

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Pearly Jacob is a freelance journalist based in Ulaanbaatar.

Mongolia: Environment Pays Price for Infrastructure Inefficiencies

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