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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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Herds of Mongolian gazelles numbering as many as 250,000 animals still roam the steppes, even as 24-hour coal convoys -- bumper-to-bumper lines of 100-ton trucks grinding across the dusty plain -- cross and trample ancient migration paths used by gazelles and nomadic herders alike.

Some 16 percent of Mongolia's land is already leased to mining and other interests, and another 26 percent has been designated for future development, according to data from the Virginia-based Nature Conservancy.

“If we don't manage all this change, our culture will be lost,” says the Nature Conservancy’s Davaa Gala.

Left: Trucks carry coal from the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit in the South Gobi Desert.