Photograph by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Mongolian Mining Corp. charges its rivals to use its road, and most decline to pay. So the desert continues to be abused. In turn, its rough terrain means constant flat tires, overturned trucks and even collisions between trucks unable to see each other clearly in the dust.
“If there is an accident or breakdown it can take three days to get to the Chinese border on a dirt track, but you can do a return trip in less than one [day] on the paved road,” says Suren Toroo, an entrepreneur who set up a trucking firm in the area three years ago.
Left: Trucks carry coal along a paved road leading to the China-Mongolia border.