On April 2, 2018, the Inspection Panel received three Requests for Inspection related to the Mongolia Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project and its Additional Financing (MINIS).
One Request was submitted by Oyu Tolgoi Watch and a local NGO on behalf of 52 residents of the Baganuur district of Ulaanbaatar who asked for confidentiality. It alleged potential harm from the feasibility study 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.
A second 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.
The Panel registered both Requests on May 11, 2018, and processed them jointly since they were for the same Project.
A third Request was submitted by the Rivers with Boundaries Coalition, Rivers without Boundaries Mongolia and a local NGO in Russia, the latter of which asked for confidentiality. They claimed potential environmental and social harm caused by the financing of impact assessments and feasibility studies of the Shuren Hydropower Plant and Orkhon-Gobi Water Diversion subprojects financed by MINIS, as well as concerns related to lack of consultation and disclosure of information. Since the third Request concerned an issue on which the Panel made a recommendation in 2017, the Panel had to assess whether the information provided by the Requesters and Bank Management constituted new evidence or circumstances. The Panel said it did not consider this to be the case, and issued a Notice of Non-Registration for this Request on May 11, 2018.
A Panel team traveled to Mongolia 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 documents, 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.
The World Bank Board of Directors approved the Panel’s recommendation not to investigate on August 6, 2018.