The British and Australian directors of ‘Central Asia Metals’ abandoned their study of Dump.No2, which is not compatible with Erdenet Mining Corporation's (EMC) flotation technology. This happened between 2006-2008. This Dump No.2 is one of 12 such Dumps that were created due to its incompatibility with EMC’s above mentioned technology. They complained that the Dump was of low-grade, ore reserves were small, economically unprofitable, and there was no guarantee.

Upon leaving Mongolia, the company went to the shores of Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan, which is rich in mining waste dumps and soon after opened the first plant, Kounrad. This plant produces 10,000 tons of copper cathode per year by leaching from similar waste dump as in Mongolia. In 20216 they enlarged their plant to produces 16,000 tons and their shares became available at the London Metal Exchange. The news spread around the world of how the Director was nominated as ‘the best manager’.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev attended the opening of the plant and had congratulatory words for the team. It is rightful that the President was grateful because the plant used waste dumps, which have negative impact on the environment and people, with rain and snow further degrading the situation, to build a factory thus creating jobs, income for many families, and paying taxes to the State. Following this copper cathode plant, a number of foreign invested plants have been established in Kazakhstan, based on the waste dumps of over 30 socialist-era mines. It seems that foreign investors do come when the Government is supportive.

 ‘Achit-Ikht’ LLC (AIC), a Mongolian invested company, has launched their leaching operation, using technology which has been widely used around the world since the 1950s, to produce copper cathodes based on the Dump abandoned by Central Asia Metals. It's been 10 years since AIC accomplished the heavy load; from initiating the project, to conducting studies and experiments, to raising the necessary finances and providing 100% of the investment.

In 2010, we received the permission to start the project and the construction work begun soon after. In 2014, we commissioned our AIC copper cathode plant and are still operating steadily today. Since the commissioning and operation of our copper cathode plant between 2014-2018, 140 billion MNT has been paid to the state and local budgets in taxes, fees and commissions. We have been selected as one of the TOP-100 companies of Mongolia three times in a yearly selection co-organized by the Government of Mongolia and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mongolia. This has shown that Mongolians can design and build a plant of their own based of the waste ore dumps which was rejected by international experts as unfeasible.

But today the profitability of two companies operating the same factory under the same conditions is very different. While the profits and shares of Kazakhstan's copper cathode plants leave Kazakhstan and into the pockets of the British, AIC’s taxes, salaries and share profits remain in Mongolia thus making it a reliable source of livelihood for both Erdenet residents and AIC’s workers.

It is unfortunate that the establishment of a Plant in Kazakhstan has been praised by the world, while the hard-working and creative people who have built and are currently operating our plant in Mongolia are being slandered by few for their personal gain. Is it a classic example of an ugly Mongolian characteristic that slanders the hand that once fed it, or…

The history of the world, including that of Kazakhstan, has shown that the country can move forward only if they carry the country's burdens together. Putting the waste dump back into economic circulation, thereby helping the people and supporting the private sector is just that.