World Bank Board Approves Panel Recommendation Not to Investigate MINIS Project in Mongolia
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on August 6, 2018, approved the Inspection Panel’s recommendation not to investigate the Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project and its Additional Financing (MINIS) in Mongolia.
MINIS is a technical assistance project whose development objectives are to “facilitate infrastructure investments to support mining and downstream processing, regardless of the funding source, and to build local capacity to prepare and transact infrastructure projects.” Its closing date has been extended to September 30, 2019. The Panel had received three Requests for Inspection of the project on April 2, 2018, and registered two of them on May 11, 2018. It found the third Request concerned an issue on which the Panel made a previous recommendation and did not include new evidence or circumstances necessary for the Panel to register the Request.
The first registered Request was submitted by Oyu Tolgoi Watch and a local non-governmental organization (NGO) on behalf of 52 residents of the Baganuur district of Ulaanbaatar who asked for confidentiality. They claimed potential harm from the feasibility studies and a cumulative impact assessment funded under the project for the Baganuur mine expansion. Specific harms alleged relate to health impacts, gender-based violence, climate change, the quality of the studies and consultation and disclosure of information. The second registered Request was submitted by Oyu Tolgoi Watch and 27 residents of Gurvantes in South Gobi region who asked for confidentiality. They claimed potential harm from water management plans and the establishment of the Altain-Uvur Gobiin River Basin Administration financed by the project. Specific harms alleged include loss of access to traditional land and water sources, environmental impacts, and lack of consultation and disclosure of information.
A Panel team traveled to Mongolia from July 1-7, 2018. While there, they visited Baganuur, Ulaanbaatar, Dalanzadgad and Gurvantes, and met with, among others, the Requesters, potentially affected community members, mine company officials, local and national government officials, World Bank Country Office staff and representatives of the MINIS project management unit. After holding those meetings and reviewing relevant documentation, the Panel found management’s efforts to date and its commitments evidence of its intention to ensure that the respective assessments and their consultations are conducted in line with Bank policies and procedures.
Considering that, the Panel did not recommend an investigation, but noted that its recommendation does not preclude the possibility of a future Request for Inspection based on new evidence or circumstances not known at the time of the current Requests.