Mongolia is rich in mineral resources; however, it has one major disadvantage, namely, a shortage of water where it is most needed. Coal, for example is normally enriched by using large amounts of water. For example: 4-5 million cubic metres of water is required to enrich 30 million tonnes of coal. Tavan Tolgoi, is Mongolia’s most important coal deposit with estimated reserves of 6.4 billion tonnes, of which a quarter is high quality coking coal. Its location? Umnugovi Province in the Gobi desert!
On Tuesday 16th February a landmark memorandum of co-operation was concluded between Mongolia and Japan to establish a pilot coal enrichment plant using “dry” treatment at the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi mine. The signatories, the Mongolian Ministry of Mining and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry agreed that the technical plans of the plant would be completed during the quarter of 2016, construction would start in the 1st quarter of 2017 and production to take effect from 1st quarter of 2018. The Japanese dry enrichment plant has a planned annual capacity of 300,000 tonnes of coal. The total financing of USD 13 million comes in the form of Japanese grant aid. The Mongolian side will be responsible for plant management.