Mongolia Has A China Complex

By Yuriy Humber and Michael Kohn - 2013-07-10T08:38:35Z

Photograph by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

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Mongolia has a China complex.

Some 800 years after Genghis Khan forged the country's tribes into the world's largest empire, Mongolians are awakening to lucrative -- and unsettling -- realities.

Lying beneath Mongolia's storied lands are an estimated $1.3 trillion in mineral resources that could redraw global commodity maps, denting Australia's coal, Brazil's iron ore and Chile's copper exports. A nation whose cultural icon remains the nomadic herder could become the next Kuwait or Qatar, examples of lightly populated countries that have grown luxuriously rich on the world’s thirst for commodities.

Left: Nomadic people demonstrate how to build a ger, near Ulan Bator.