NEW research from The University of Queensland (UQ) has helped find practical solutions to gender-based violence issues stemming from Mongolia's mining boom. A UQ Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining research project has helped prompt a $280,000 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Mongolia's National Committee on Gender Equality and the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi mining company.

Research manager Isabel Cane says her research has identified connections between mining activities and gender-based violence in the South Gobi region of Mongolia. "Domestic violence, sexual assault and alcohol-fuelled violence have increased, causing a rise in personal traumas, family break-ups, health-related issues and broader community insecurity.

"This MoU is a positive start but stronger legislative and social awareness will be required to prevent the potential growth of gender-based violence in a nation undergoing a minerals boom.

"The MoU is focused on practical solutions such as installing street lighting to improve visibility and safety; building a health centre to support women and girls; establishing alternative activities for girls by building a green park; and countering the environmental impacts of mining to foster a more family friendly community."

Isabel Cane says the MoU, developed after a roundtable discussion about the findings of her research, provided recommendations to policy makers. "In an industry where gender issues are not at the forefront, an MoU between a government body and a mining company is a very positive step and demonstrates commitment to gender issues and responsible mining more broadly."

She says her research in Mongolia could be applied in other developing countries where mining was affecting gender relations.

The research, which was funded by the International Mining for Development Centre, has been released in a Mapping Gender Based Violence and mining infrastructure in Mongolian mining communities, a comparative analysis report.

In partnership with the Australian Government through an Australian Aid initiative, The University of Western Australia and The University of Queensland have established the International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC) to assist in lifting the quality of life in developing nations through a more sustainable use of mineral and energy resources.

IM4DC began operations in October 2011 to assist in improving incomes, employment, enterprise opportunities and life outcomes for people in rural and urban areas of developing countries. It facilitates establishment of world-class mining industries to boost overall economic development.

The benefits of the work of IM4DC for developing nations are realized principally through increased skill levels of key personnel within government, universities, research institutions and civil society organizations to bring about:

  • Improved policies and practices in the governance and management of extractive industries and their interactions with society and the environment;
  • Improved legislative frameworks;
  • Improved knowledge of a country's resources base; and
  • An ability to continue to build local capacity in minerals governance and mining.

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