Among the guests at the ceremony held on 2 November to present the Local Mining Journalists Awards was P. Ochirbat, the first President of Mongolia after the transition from socialism. We give below a summary in his own words of what he told the awardees.
Specialised mining journalism was introduced in Mongolia by a talented woman, L. Bolormaa, when she founded the Mongolian Mining Journal. It published reports and features on Mongolian mining in Mongolian and English but apart from the contents, its appearance was also of international standards. The English section carried information on our mining sector throughout the world. Over the years this brainchild of L. Bolormaa has informed people about developments in the Mongolian mining industry, celebrated the fame of Mongolian miners and respected their hard work. That is true journalism.
In all this she was assisted by a team of dedicated colleagues. A journal gets its life and identity from the people who work for it. This is what you who have come from 21 aimags must not forget. You must use your creative talents to provide over 2 million conscious citizens with knowledge and information on mining which is part of our national life. All famous Mongolian scientists and literary masters have worked on or written about mining, celebrating its centrality in modern Mongolian history. You, the journalists of today, are the inheritors of national writers such as B. Renchin, Ts. Damdinsuren, L. Tudev and L. Purevdorj. Journalists are expected to be dispassionate in what they write. Do that when raising your voice against those who give our mining a bad name, but I shall urge you to step out of this small and narrow frame. With all the strength and skills at your command, celebrate the fame of Mongolian miners.
I clearly recall when Mr. Davaajav, an excavator operator in the Nalaikh Mine, was the first person to be awarded the title of Labour Hero of Mongolia. This was in 1957, when mining was for only men with strength and courage. Now we have advanced technology and digital equipment, but these have not replaced miners and mining specialists, nor will they ever do so.
As for mining itself, would human society have developed to its present stage, and would it develop further, without mining? The answer is a resounding “No”. Natural resources comprise 94 percent of the material basis of human civilization. Even with rapid digitalization, technology will always need minerals. Therefore, there would be mining for as long as we have human beings. Intellectual development is pillared on a material base of natural resources. Mining is an eternal theme for mankind.
Today we have people among us who call themselves “patriots”, and who see our homeland through a narrow lens. But as journalists you have to place your country in a wide frame, supported by miners’ labour. And you have to respect their loving contribution to the homeland. Your work as journalists for the development and prosperity of Mongolia should be permeated with the same spirit as miners have displayed. It is your duty to acknowledge how their productivity has supported and is supporting the country and us. Such recognition is to be accorded to everybody’s labour.
With a very interesting operational system and mining regime, Oyu Tolgoi is a leading example of how mining engineers overcome challenges by creatively applying their skills. For long it was Erdenet Mining that kept our economy and the job has now fallen on Oyu Tolgoi. Praising a new thing does not mean downplaying the old. Also, nothing is all good or all bad. A proper journalist should sift the good from the bad and write about both honestly. I would like to wish you all good luck in your work for the development of Mongolia.