In the past decade Mongolia has undergone one of the most dramatic shifts of any nation-state on the planet. An incredibly rapid influx of major mining operations have begun across Mongolia, including some of the largest copper and gold mining operations on the earth. With perhaps the most intact nomadic cultures and economies on the planet, in just the last few years the landscape of Mongolia has seen the introduction of breakneck pace-built resource extraction. This drive to mine everything in sight has included coal shipments to China and now looks to include one of the larger oil shale deposits on the planet. Technology to be employed in oil shale kerogen extraction is not commercially used anywhere; environmental assessments of new industries (now including oil shale) have been stated as grossly insufficient. Social impacts are not undertaken.
Multiple deposits across the country. 35 bn estimated in-place.
Factory and upgrading facilities (petro-chemical by-products, etc) to also be constructed; preliminary goals are of approximately 45 000 bpd. In-situ technology alongside a mine to be applied. The petroleum authority of Mongolia has approved the license and exploration permit for Genie Energy; TOTAL of France is also involved.
Mine and factory to be constructed likely in area over 34000 sq. km in Central (Inner) Mongolia.
No prior development for the shale resource. Chinese involvement-- including CNPC and Sinopec-- has involved exploration but not as yet development.
Major mining projects-- including but not limited to coal, gold, copper and uranium-- have threatened both the traditional lifestyles of Mongols and the still mostly pristine countryside of the least inhabited nation-state on the entire planet.
The pace of the boom has made it such that traditional life is both far more precarious and economics are not favourable to herders and other traditional peoples who live with the land. Oil shale proposals for the Central part of the country have little environmental oversight and take place in the context of the over-all rush for resources.
The corporations Genie (American with heavy Israeli involvement) and TOTAL (of France, who tandem with Brazil's Petrobras in many kerogen shale plays globally) are both promoting development prototypes that have not been past the pilot stage anywhere. The two other main locales of this form of “in-situ” extraction proposals are in Colorado's Green River Formation (the largest form of potential oil deposit on the earth) and near Jerusalem in the Shefla Basin (also known as the Elah Valley). Mongolia's extremely pro-industry current government may allow Mongolian territory to effectively be a laboratory for Israeli and US plans for kerogen extraction-- an in-situ type that would be the worst energy consumer/carbon emitter of all oil plans on the globe (minus coal to liquids).