Mass Protests in Mongolia Decry ‘Coal Mafia,’ Corruption – by Julian Dierkes (The Diplomat – December 6, 2022)

For the second time this year, Mongolians are protesting against the government in significant numbers. In April, protests seemed to primarily grow out of younger Mongolians’ disappointed expectations with the government.

Today’s protests were sparked by apparent revelations about grand corruption, involving coal deliveries by state-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, one of the country’s largest mining companies, to China.

Interpretations in Mongolia continue to focus on political conspiracies rather than actually addressing issues around corruption or the government’s puzzling strategy to stake its fiscal fate on coal at a time when the global energy transition and Mongolia’s potential role in it are pointing in very different directions.

This fall has seen several strands of discussions on coal in Mongolia. First, the government placed the management of state-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi under closer supervision because of allegations regarding shady dealings in its deliveries of coal to China.

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