Mining frenzy and escalating economies in Mongolia

(Senior project, Lars Højer)

This project will explore the contemporary effects of the prospects of future radical change. Mongolia faces the almost certain scenario of an imminent mining boom and is likely to become the world’s fastest growing economy within a few years. The consequences of this future ‘event’, however, are surrounded by less certainty than the event itself.

Some Mongolians entertain imaginations of future riches, while others predict environmental disasters and a loss of livelihood and Mongolian independence. Mongolians, then, have vastly different imaginings of the future, yet seem to agree on one thing: the future will be radically different.

The project explores how the future mining event becomes an imagined and 'spectacular' reference point that intensifies and escalates present actions and imaginations. It will do so by tracing the frictions in two potential Mongolian mining areas between the apocalyptic prophesies of nationalist mining protest movements, the hopes and fears of local nomadic herders, and the visions of Mongolian and foreign mining companies, whose business activities are driven by the imagination of Mongolia as a new 'frontier for mining'.