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With few economic options, Mongolians turn to gold mining

In Mongolia, herders are losing their animals in a series of summer droughts and increasingly harsh winters. Combined with the global recession and the end of Soviet subsidies, the country is facing an unemployment crisis, with herders turning to artisanal gold mining to make ends meet. Multimedia journalist Ana Brigida documented their lives and work last fall.

Nearly 100,000 Mongolians are trying their luck digging in rural areas and around formal mining companies. Their holes and tunnels, often dug by hand with few safety precautions, can lead to collapses with deadly consequences.

Artisanal mining is not legally recognized or organized by the government and as a result, miners lack social services or safety regulations. The government also criticizes these miners for using mercury, causing environment damage and the pollution of rivers.

Watch this video by Ana Brigida to learn more about the miners daily lives and concerns.