Protests over unfavourable mining concessions in Mongolia

Some 200 demonstrators – including 10 hunger-strikers – have ended their protests over alleged government corruption and the mishandling of mineral wealth in Mongolia after the country's leaders agreed to investigate their complaints.

The activists had been camped in a central square in the capital Ulan Bator for two weeks when their demonstration ended. They were demanding that the government obtain favourable terms from a Canadian mining company's concession to mine huge copper and gold deposits in the southern Gobi region – or resign.

The demonstrators gave up their protests after Prime Minister Mieagombo Enkhbold and his cabinet ministers agreed to form working groups to investigate agreements signed with foreign mining companies under previous governments.

The groups will also look into mining licensing issues and work together to amend the Mongolian minerals law, passed in 1997, which protesters say favours foreign mining companies.

"We demonstrated during the last two weeks to establish a just and transparent government, and as a result they have listened to us," said S. Ganbaatar, an activist with Radical Reform, one of several civic groups that claim to represent Mongolia's poor and unemployed.

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