Oyu Tolgoi – Gashuun Road Wildlife Mitigation, Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Abstract: Currently a 106.8 km-long road from the Oyu Tol goi (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. The most notable other infrastructure in the immediate vicinity is an existing coal haul road (Energy Resources road), and, much further to the east, the Trans-Mongolian railroad. To comply with lender requirements and also achieve a Net Positive Impact to which OT has committed, the OT-GS Road upgrade project is required to effectively mitigate the predicted effects of the road on wildlife. Recommendations in this report focus on measures aimed at providing safe crossing opportunities for wildlife, particularly for desert ungulates.

Sponsoring Organization: Oyu Tolgoi LLC

Completion Date: December 2013

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