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NewsFromThePanel : Panel Registers Two Requests for Inspection of MINIS Project in Mongolia; Issues Notice of Non-Registration for Third MINIS Complaint

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Panel Registers Two Requests for Inspection of MINIS Project in Mongolia; Issues Notice of Non-Registration for Third MINIS Complaint
​The Inspection Panel on May 11, 2018, registered two Requests for Inspection of Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project and its Additional Financing (MINIS). At the same time, the Panel issued a Notice of Non-Registration for a third complaint related to MINIS, noting that this Request concerned subject matter on which in 2017 the Panel did not recommend an investigation. The Panel found that the third Request did not include new evidence or circumstances necessary for the Panel to register the Request.
 
MINIS is a technical assistance project whose development objectives are to “facilitate infrastructure investments to support mining and downstream processing, regardless of the funding source, and to build local capacity to prepare and transact infrastructure projects.” Its closing date has been extended to September 30, 2019. All three Requests for Inspection of the project were received on April 2, 2018. 
 
The first registered Request was submitted by Oyu Tolgoi Watch and a local non-governmental organization (NGO) on behalf of 52 residents of the Baganuur district of Ulaanbaatar who asked for confidentiality. They claim potential harm from the feasibility studies and a cumulative impact assessment funded under the project for the Baganuur mine expansion. Specific harms alleged relate to health impacts, gender-based violence, climate change, the quality of the studies and consultation and disclosure of information.
 
The second registered Request was submitted by Oyu Tolgoi Watch and 27 residents of Gurvantes in South Gobi region who asked for confidentiality. They claim potential harm from water management plans and the establishment of the Altain-Uvur Gobiin River Basin Administration financed by the project. Specific harms alleged include loss of access to traditional land and water sources, environmental impacts, and lack of consultation and disclosure of information.
 
The Panel will process the two Requests jointly since they are for the same project. The Panel’s registration implies no judgment concerning the merits of the Requests for Inspection. Bank Management has 21 business days from the registration date to respond to the issues raised in the Requests.
 
The Request that was not registered was submitted by the Rivers with Boundaries Coalition, Rivers without Boundaries Mongolia and a local NGO in Russia, the latter of which asked for confidentiality. They claimed potential environmental and social harm caused by the financing of impact assessments and feasibility studies of two subprojects financed by MINIS, as well as concerns related to lack of consultation and disclosure of information. Since the Request concerned an issue on which the Panel made a previous recommendation, the Panel had to assess whether information provided by the Requesters and Bank Management constituted new evidence or circumstances. The Panel said it did not consider this to be the case.