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Oyu Tolgoi Roads and Wildlife Mitigation in the Gobi Desert

Started: February, 2013 Ended: December, 2013 Project ID #4W4414 Status: Completed

Objective

The purpose of this project was to develop recommendations on the best ways to mitigate a new highway for wide-ranging and threatened native ungulates of the southern Gobi desert of Mongolia due to increased traffic and expanding transportation infrastructure caused by the development of a large mining operation.

Abstract

Currently a 106.8 km-long road from the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) mine site (southern Gobi, Mongolia) to the Gashuun-Sukhait (GS) border crossing is in the process of being upgraded to asphalt for copper concentrate export. The majority of the road length aligns with the national highway alignment and will be adopted by the Government of Mongolia. The road is predicted to result in substantial impacts on priority biodiversity features including khulan (Equus hemionus), black-tailed gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), argali (Ovis ammon) and Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa). The upgrade project presents critical and high risks for khulan, black-tailed gazelle, and argali through direct and indirect habitat loss and poaching through increased access for humans into the area. Road and railroads in different parts of the Gobi already affect these desert ungulates through direct and indirect habitat loss, indirect mortality (i.e. poaching through increased human access to the area), and the barrier effects associated with infrastructure. WTI reviewed available documents and literature, visited the OT mine site and surrounding OT roads in February, 2013, and had numerous discussions with experts in the region and OT staff and consultants. WTI conducted analyses and developed a report with recommendations focused on measures to provide safe crossing opportunities for wildlife, particularly for desert ungulates.

Contacts

Files & Documents

Sponsors & Partners

  • Oyu Tolgoi LLC Sponsor

Part of: Road Ecology

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