A moratorium on new mining exploration licenses in Mongolia could be lifted during the spring session of parliament as the north Asian country attempts to lure back foreign investment. A ban on the issuing and processing of licenses has been in place since June 2010, leaving many projects in limbo.
Mongolia Mines Minister Gankhuyag Davaajav told a gathering in Toronto earlier this year that the impasse could change if parliament next month addresses discrepancies in previous mining laws. “I do believe in the spring session we should be able to have this resolved,” Davaajav said.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Mongolia has plummeted in the past two years, coinciding with moves by the government that discouraged FDI and development of mining. However, in a bid to lure back investors, the parliament last November passed an investment law that gives equal treatment to foreign and local investors.
In an address titled Mongolia is Open for Business, Davaajav said Mongolia had made mistakes in the past but it would never repeat them. He did not, however, directly address the issue of 106 exploration licenses that were annulled last year as part of an investigation into mining sector corruption.
Canadian mining company Centerra Gold said in January that it was optimistic it would be able to get back to work soon on its Gatsuurt exploration project, which has been suspended since 2010. Gatsuurt has been included on a list of mineral deposits of “strategic importance” for the government to consider.