Squeezed between China and Russia and equal in size to Western Europe, Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. While it may be short on people, Mongolia is one of the richest countries in natural resources, and that’s just the known deposits: Four-fifths of the country is still unsurveyed. The country’s major mining projects are expected to bring a flood of money into the impoverished country over the next decade.

Simply getting ready to mine is supercharging the tiny economy. GDP grew 6.1 percent last year and was up 9.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011 over the same period the previous year. The International Monetary Fund predicts Mongolia could grow at double-digit rates for at least the next 10 years, lifting per capita income—now at $2,470— fourfold within a decade and making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Squeezed between China and Russia and equal in size to Western Europe, Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. While it may be short on people, Mongolia is one of the richest countries in natural resources, and that’s just the known deposits: Four-fifths of the country is still unsurveyed. The country’s major mining projects are expected to bring a flood of money into the impoverished country over the next decade.

Simply getting ready to mine is supercharging the tiny economy. GDP grew 6.1 percent last year and was up 9.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011 over the same period the previous year. The International Monetary Fund predicts Mongolia could grow at double-digit rates for at least the next 10 years, lifting per capita income—now at $2,470— fourfold within a decade and making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Foreign Cash Invades Mongolia

Economic Growth
Economic Growth
Squeezed between China and Russia and equal in size to Western Europe, Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. While it may be short on people, Mongolia is one of the richest countries in natural resources, and that’s just the known deposits: Four-fifths of the country is still unsurveyed. The country’s major mining projects are expected to bring a flood of money into the impoverished country over the next decade.

Simply getting ready to mine is supercharging the tiny economy. GDP grew 6.1 percent last year and was up 9.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011 over the same period the previous year. The International Monetary Fund predicts Mongolia could grow at double-digit rates for at least the next 10 years, lifting per capita income—now at $2,470— fourfold within a decade and making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Old Mongolia
Old Mongolia
A boy ties a horse to a rope in Bugat, near Erdenet, Mongolia. Photographer: Timothy Fadek/Polaris
A Mongolian Sunset
A Mongolian Sunset
Sunset at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city Photographer: Timothy Fadek/Polaris
The Zorig Foundation
The Zorig Foundation
Oyun Sanjaasuren at the Zorig Foundation headquarters in Ulaanbaatar. The Foundation is a non-profit organization formed to spread democratic values in Mongolia. Photographer: Chan Ingraham/ Bloomberg
The Oyu Tolgoi Gold & Copper Mine
The Oyu Tolgoi Gold & Copper Mine
A worker walks past a decades-old collection of earth core-samples at the Oyu Tolgoi Gold & Copper Mine. Photographer: Timothy Fadek/Polaris
The New Mongolia
The New Mongolia
Men walk past a new Emporio Armani store in Ulaanbataar. Photographer: Doug Kanter/Bloomberg
A Mongolian Marshland
A Mongolian Marshland

Munkhbyara Tsetsegee in Mongolian marshland.

Ninjas
Ninjas
Independent miners, aka "ninjas," play pool. Photographer: Timothy Fadek/Polaris
Harris Kupperman in his Ulaanbaatar Office
Harris Kupperman in his Ulaanbaatar Office
Harris Kupperman was struck by the economic potential of Mongolia. In February launched the Mongolia Growth Fund, raising $36.6 million. Photographer: : Chad Ingraham for Bloomberg Businessweek
A Local Fashion Show
A Local Fashion Show
Backstage after the Gobi cashmere fashion show in Ulaanbaatar. Photographer: Timothy Fadek/Polaris
The Exchange
The Exchange
Inside the Mongolia Stock Exchange. Photographer: Timothy Fadek/Polaris