Horsemen of Mongolia
There are about 500,000 nomadic pastoralists in the Republic of Mongolia. They are heirs to the great nomadic civilizations that founded conquering empires from the steppes of Central Asia and played an important role in trade and cultural exchanges for two millennia. Since the abandonment of the collectivist Soviet model, nomadic pastoralism and its practices are experiencing a revival in a country where livestock is a vital resource. In 2009 Oyu Tolgoi’s mining operation in the Gobi Desert, one of the largest copper and gold deposits in the world, boosted the Mongolian economy considerably. Huge water abstractions required for mineral extraction and forced relocations have seriously threatened the nomadic pastoralists’ economy in the region and are demanding compensation from the Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto group that operates the site.