A Mongolian herders’ delegation visits KATCO

September 15, 2014

From September 9 to 15, KATCO welcomed a Mongolian delegation of eight herders living in the vicinity of our exploration sites, the chairman of a popular assembly and a representative of the Nuclear Energy Authority. The objective of the visit was to show how drillings and ISR technology are used with respect to environment and the development of actions towards communities.

TheMongolian delegation from Ulaanbaddrakh province and Zuunbayan village comprised a chairman of the popular assembly, eight herders living in the vicinity of our sites - Dulaan Uul and Zoovch Ovoo-, and a representative of the Nuclear Energy Authority. The trip was followed by three Mongolian journalists from a national TV and two websites dedicated to capture their testimonies at each step of the program from their home departure till their return.

Key challenges to meet

Key challenges to the Mining BG team were to reaffirm that dialogue and transparency are our priorities and to restore our credibility in Mongolia towards them. Therefore, the objectives of the visit were to explain how drillings and ISR wells are used with no impact on herds’ health, to show natural remediation with replanting of saxauls following the closure of block of cells and to highlight the social responsibility policy of the Mining BG with concrete examples of economic and social actions developed by KATCO.

Meetings with KATCO management…

The program started with a tour in Almaty aiming at showing the economic benefits from the mining industry in terms of welfare and infrastructure development, followed by a meeting with Gérard Friés, General Director of KATCO, in presence of Guy Breton, Administrative Director of KATCO sites which was particularly appreciated by the delegation showing that their concern about their livestock death is highly taken into consideration.

..and local Kazakh authorities

Mr. Aimurzayev, the Akim of Suzak district, received the delegation with the presence of local TV and highlighted the benefits that all KazAtomProm enterprises had on the communities. Then, specialists from a Kazakh veterinary laboratory stated that the most frequent cattle diseases present in Mongolia were neither present in Kazakhstan nor in this district where the development of uranium industry is very important. They gave special advice how the Mongolian herders could protect their livestock and prevent them from any parasite disease.

Dialog with Kazakh herders

A key moment of the program was the visits to farms and dialogue with Kazakh herders in presence of the head of the Agricultural Department of Suzak and a veterinary so that they could compare the livestock living conditions and acknowledge the absence of contamination or impact from mining industry on cattle.

Positive feedback from the delegation

During the of Tortkuduk field and processing plant, the questions of the herders move gradually from the environmental impact of uranium and the workers’ exposure to danger, the death of cattle to how can we speak about uranium whereas Mongolian people are afraid of it.

Back to Mongolia, the chairman of Ulaanbadrakh’s public assembly -organized a public meeting and declared “I went to Kazakhstan to view with my eyes the uranium mining region, how the nearby citizens are living and to listen their opinion. Regarding the economic benefit of the uranium mining, the mining activity such as uranium contributes 70 percent of the budget of Suzak district in Kazakhstan. Regarding the remediation, it was seen to be decent. We saw ourselves that the nature restores itself gradually over the period of 2 years and the vegetation begins to grow. We also met with the veterinary clinic director and veterinarians of the district where the uranium production is taking place. The district doesn’t have any of the livestock diseases similar to what our sum is experiencing. To tell briefly, I liked very much how Kazakhstan is using its uranium. That is why I think of quickly establishing the mine here and finding the solution for collaborating and jointly developing.”

And a herder to add: “I thought that uranium was toxic when I left from here. But I inquired thoroughly at the uranium mining place, studied and learned and understood that it was not toxic. I will truthfully deliver this understanding to other people and strive to convince them by talking.”