Tost Nature Reserve is Free of Mining Licenses

Two years after Mongolia’s landmark decision to protect the Tost Mountains as a State Nature Reserve, the last of the mining licenses that had been granted for the region earlier have been revoked. 

This means that the threat of mining within the Tost Nature Reserve is now gone, and no more disputes over rights and claims exist.

“This October, we have received an official confirmation from the cadastal office of the Mongolian Republic. It states that there are no more mining licenses overlapping with the reserve boundaries”, says Bayara Agvaantseren, the Snow Leopard Trust’s Mongolia Country Director.

The moment Bayara learned that Tost had been put under official protection. Photo by SLT

At the time Tost was declared a Nature Reserve, mining companies held more than a dozen active exploration licenses within the protected area, which gave them the right to dig for precious minerals. These licenses were purchased legally before the decision to protect Tost, so for them to be revoked, the mining companies had the to be compensated by the government. This process has now been completed.

Talvan Tolgoi, a massive coal mine in Mongolia’s South Gobi province. Mining is a major threat to snow leopard habitats in this area. Photo: Wikipedia

“This is a huge achievement for our entire snow leopard conservation community”, says Executive Director Michael Despines. “Less than ten years ago, Tost was literally blanketed with mining licenses. It’s been a long hard road to try to change that, and our donors and supporters have been with us every step of the way, through small successes and big setbacks. Now, thanks to your support and our Mongolia team’s incredible grassroots work, we have official word that all the licenses are gone. That means 7500 sq km now completely freed from the threat of legal mining.”

Tost is home to around a dozen adult snow leopards. Photo by SLT

“Any future change to the current status or boundaries of Tost Nature Reserve would now require the approval of parliament. So, to make sure that never happens, we need to firmly establish this place in the minds of the Mongolian public as a key snow leopard stronghold; as a place that must be preserved forever. That’s our next big task”, Bayara says.

A roadside sign just outside announces the entrance to Tost Tosonbumba Nature Reserve, the protected area our study is set in. The area was threatened by mining, and was only protected thanks to the efforts of the local community, our Mongolia team, and our generous supporters. Photo by SLT

At the same time, her team is working with the authorities and local communities to ensure there are regular patrols and monitoring protocols in place to prevent illegal mining activities, hunting and other threats to Tost’s snow leopards in the Nature Reserve.

8 Comments

  1. Such good news! So good to see humans recognizing the value of other creatures. Kudos to the Mongolian government, and thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen!

  2. In a time where wildlife faces some of the greatest pressures to survive because of human activity I think this news is absolutely wonderful and heartening…..thank you for all your hard work to preserve this area as a habitat for precious snow leopards.

  3. Great news now let’s all get together and spread this over the world to protect our other beautiful. Beautiful creatures. What a,world it would be if only well done to the team !,

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