The rugged landscape is littered Zaamar many holes that could sink at any time. According to the director of the environmental program of the U.S. NGO Pacific Environment, "Mongolia is home to some of the largest deposits of gold, copper and uranium reserves untapped Earth. There are officially 1,083 active mines in Mongolia, of which only 419 are legal. No official data on the extent of illegal mining, but legal and illegal mining is causing terrible damage social and environmental. Mongolia is becoming the Wild West of Asia."
Here, in the shadow of large mining employs thousands of ninjas, named for the flat green plastic carrying on theirs back seems us the Ninja Turtles. According to data from the Mongolian government in the last five years about 100,000 Mongolians have decided to venture into the bowels of the earth to remove quartz and especially gold. However, according Batbayar Gan, press officer of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Mongolia, an approximate figure would be 300,000. "People need food. They are hungry. If no other option will be spent on illegal mining, no matter how dangerous or difficult it is ... ".
Many of them are former pastors who saw their livestock decimated by successive "dzuds," extremely cold winters that freeze the ground preventing the cattle graze and extremely dry summers that are leading to desertification and land degradation. Ruined, turned to illegal mining as last hold before falling off the cliff.
In these populations the miners survive in a precarious conditions, in places with little or no access to basic services such as hospitals or schools. Their children are forced to work with the family. And is common to see children participate in the mineral extraction process, getting up at 5 am every day, even in harsh winters, without proper clothing to work, introduced in tunnels more than 12 meters without any protection, carrying heavy stones and getting into ice water to look for gold.
Is the Gold rush in Mongolia.