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heading foldHow we are helping

2013/14 Estimated Outcome

$16.7 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate

$16.3 million


Mongolia is a major destination for Australian foreign investment, particularly in its fledgling mining sector. The mining sector’s contribution to economic growth has grown steadily over the past decade and today accounts for approximately 20 per cent of gross domestic product1.

Australia has significant commercial interests with over 50 Australian companies operating in Mongolia, such as in Mongolia's largest financial undertaking, the Oyu Tolgoi mine. The new Australia–Mongolia Extractives programme will become a major focus of Australia’s bilateral engagement in the years ahead. The programme will help support effective governance in private-sector led growth and economic reform in Mongolia. It will assist government agencies to:

  • strengthen governance and environmental safeguards in the mining sector
  • help create a more transparent and stable investment environment for Australian and other foreign investors
  • partner with the private sector to improve access to technical and vocational education and training and jobs in disadvantaged communities to advance Mongolia’s development.

A $5 million partnership (2012-15) with the World Bank to improve water resource management in the main mining area in southern Mongolia will be incorporated into this programme. The partnership is providing policy and planning support for management of Mongolia’s finite water resources. As part of our development of the Extractives programme with the Mongolian Government, we are engaging broadly with the Mongolian private sector and foreign investors on the aims and implementation of the programme, including through the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia.

We will continue to support education and human resource development in Mongolia's private, public and civil society sectors through the highly-valued Australia Awards in Mongolia scholarships programme. From 2015, Australia will provide 45 Australia Awards Scholarships to Mongolian awardees. The programme’s alumni, who include parliamentarians, senior civil servants and businesspeople, are making a strong contribution to the sustainable development of the Mongolian economy and our bilateral relationship. Structured support for employment and networking between scholarship alumni is a strong feature of the programme, which the Mongolian Government has contrasted favourably with scholarship programmes from other countries.

Man talking with woman at her desk in a classroom, both looking at her laptop computer. Australian volunteer James Anthony works as an English Language Specialist with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in Mongolia (credit: Austraining International).

Details of the proposed expenditure for this program for 2013-14 can be found here.

A table of proposed expenditure for 2013-14 and actual expenditure for 2012-13 for DFAT's aid program can be found here.


1 World Bank, Mongolia Overview, Washington, D.C., 2013, viewed 20 March 2014 [external website]


Results 2011–2012

  • Alumni of the Mongolian Australia Awards Scholarships includes a cadre of parliamentarians, former ministers and senior public servants.
  • Provided 2000 children with upgraded water and sanitation facilities in two schools and two kindergartens in Dornod Province.
  • Provided training to 3000 school children in hygiene and emergency preparedness in Dornod Province and one district of Ulaanbaatar.
  • Supported UNICEF to identify 1278 children aged 2–14 years in Mongolia’s first comprehensive disability screening program.

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Support 38 masters-level students to study in Australia in 2012-13 through the Mongolian Australian Awards Scholarships to meet critical human resource needs.
  • Partner with UNICEF to improve water and sanitation facilities for disadvantaged rural children in northwest Mongolia, improving health outcomes and contributing to higher school attendance rates.
  • Support the continuation of UNICEF’s disability screening program to produce Mongolia’s first comprehensive disability situation analysis.

Economic development

Results 2011–2012

  • Developed a methodology to conduct cost-benefit analyses of mine sites, to strengthen policy-making in the growing Mongolian mining sector, through UNDP.
  • Provided targeted assistance to review and amend the Minerals Law 2006 to strengthen the legal and environment framework of the mining sector.
  • Conducted a baseline assessment through the World Bank and identified social impacts of mining in Tseteg Province.

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Support local authorities to manage groundwater resources in the South Gobi region, a key mining area that is also home to communities of pastoral nomads.
  • Design new activities under the Australia Mongolia Mining for Development Program to strengthen governance to help Mongolia equitably distribute mining revenues and effectively manage mining's social and environmental impacts.

Research overview

Research funded by the Mongolia country program specifically targets Mongolia’s development challenges. Some of the highlights of this research are listed below.

Developing a cost-benefit analysis of mining sites in Mongolia

Mongolia’s environmental degradation has increased since the 1990s. This is due in part, to poor implementation of environmental policies and a lack of transparency in decision-making on commercial developments, including mines.

Because of this, Australia funded the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to develop a methodology for conducting cost benefit analyses of mining operations in Mongolia.

The objectives of the research were:

  • to inform policy makers and civil society about the welfare issues and true economic costs of degrading ecosystem services as a result of mining development in Mongolia
  • to demonstrate the value of considering ecosystem services when developing mining projects and maintaining them.

The activity was part of a broader UNDP program, implemented in cooperation with the Mongolian Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism.

There was a high level of interest from international and national experts in the activity, reflecting the relevance of the research. Recommendations included further testing and fine-tuning of the existing model. Also recommended was a Mongolian Government review of existing data collection systems at the local and national level, to ensure a greater pool of data for future studies.

As Mongolia still has a lot of strategic decisions to make related to mining, the tool can be an important mechanism to make better informed decisions in the future.

More information can be found on the UNDP website [external link].

Developing a cost-benefit analysis of mining sites in Mongolia—Annual Report 2011


heading foldWhy we give aid


Mongolia faces significant development challenges and approximately one third of the population live below the poverty line. Australian aid is helping Mongolia to improve people’s lives.

Find out more about why we give aid to Mongolia


heading foldHow we give aid

Our aid is delivered through partnerships with multilateral agencies, the private sector and civil society and through Australian volunteers.

Read our Australia – Mongolia Program Strategy 2012–2016

Австрали Улсаас 2012-2016 онд Монгол Улсад Хэрэгжүүлэх Хөтөлбөрийн Стратеги


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability

Demographic and development statistics for Mongolia


Last reviewed: 6 June, 2014