The South Gobi desert in Mongolia, which is particularly rich in copper and gold deposits, is home to Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine in addition to several other coal and metal resource projects.  Oyu Tolgoi means "Turquoise Hill" in Mongolian.
At Oyu Tolgoi mine, exploited by Rio Tinto, concerns have been raised from local Mongolian herders, around various health and ecological impacts directly related to the mining activities with a particular focus on the water supplies affected by such processes. While a group of local NGOs have brought the issues further to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Complaint Mechanism, a World Bank Report clearly outlined that the daily water needs of the nomadic populations were largely overtaken by the water usage of the industries in place. The report concluded that each mine’s water consumption was more than twice that of the all the livestock based in the region.
The Mongolian herders’ means of subsistence is now under significant threat due to reduced water resources. This alongside decreased pasture capacity, dust, and noise pollution effects, are having a strong impact on the general health and livelihoods of these communities.
A future project of further expanding the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine poses an additional threat to area. Approval of the expansion of the current mine, expected to cost $5 billion, comes after disputes between Rio Tinto and the government over the funding of the Phase 2 of Oyu Tolgoi gold mine, which led to the suspension of the construction in 2013. Moreover, there are plans for a 450-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station to provide power for the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, using local coal resources instead of importing electricity from the grid from China.There is some opposition at national level to such projects.