In October 2012, a group of nomadic herders affected by the Oyu Tolgoi mine file a complaint to the Complaint Ombudsman Advisory (CAO) of the International Finance Corporation’s – one of the primary lenders for the mine. The complaint revolves around the serious negative impacts from having been resettled and the inadequate compensation received for this. Four months later, a larger group of nomadic herders files a second complaint with the CAO demanding to stop the diversion of the Undai River as this would cause several water systems to dry up, deteriorate pastureland yields, and negatively affect traditional livelihoods.
The mediation process continues from 2013 to 2017, in which time the herders’ allegations are validated in three expert assessments carried out by independent international teams: two by the Independent Expert Team regarding the impacts of the Undai River diversion on herder water and one by the Multidisciplinary Team regarding Oyu Tolgoi’s impact on herders’ livelihoods. Based on their recommendations, a Complaint Resolution Agreement (CRA) is signed between Oyu Tolgoi, the Khanbogd district government and the elected Herder Representatives.
In May 2020, both cases are closed by the CAO, allegedly “after monitoring implementation of the 2017 Complaints Resolution Agreement.” However, the key projects aimed to restore sustainable access to water and pasture resources have not been completed, as reported by herders and partner NGOs OT Watch and Accountability Counsel.
The many problems and objections to the Oyu Tolgoi mine are noticeably absent from Rio Tinto’s own timeline.