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The Globe and Mail

In pictures: 'Ninja miners' and Mongolia's gold rush

Images from the mines of Mongolia

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A small-scale miner sits in a traditional Mongolian tent located at a mining camp around 250km south-west of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator. In the last five years, dwindling legal gold supplies and a spike in black market demand from China have made work much more lucrative for Mongolia's "ninja miners" - so named because of the large green pans carried on their backs that look like turtle shells.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

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Small-scale miners take a break next to holes dug on a small hill overlooking grasslands located around 200 km south-west of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator. For thousands of dirt-poor herders, the soaring prices alone are enough to justify years of harassment, abuse and hard labour.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

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Small-scale miners dig holes as they search for gold on a small hill overlooking grasslands located around 200 km south-west of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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A small-scale miner rests next to a 4.6-metre deep hole he dug searching for gold on a small hill overlooking grasslands located around 200 km south-west of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

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A small-scale miner removes rocks from a hole he dug to search for gold on a small hill overlooking grasslands located around 200 km south-west of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

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A small-scale miner rests on his shovel next to equipment as he takes a break from digging for gold on a small hill overlooking grasslands located around 200 km south-west of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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Small-scale miners dig holes searching for gold on a small hill overlooking grasslands located around 200 km south-west of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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A small-scale miner shows the gold he and his colleagues have found in one day on a small hill overlooking grasslands located around 200 km south-west of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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Small-scale miners watch as a colleague uses a pan to sift gold on a small hill overlooking grasslands located around 200 km south-west of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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A small-scale miner shows the gold flakes he found at the bottom of his pan on a small hill overlooking grasslands located around 200 km south-west of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

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Small-scale miners remove mats placed to capture gold from a crushing machine at a processing plant located around 100 km north of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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A small-scale miner pours water into a crushing machine in an attempt to siphon gold at a processing located around 100 km north of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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Small-scale miners wait for their gold to be melted into one piece before being weighed and sold at a processing plant located around 100 km north of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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A worker's tools sit on top of a small stove used to melt gold at a processing plant located around 100 km north of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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A woman performs a water displacement test to determine the purity of some gold that was brought in by small-scale miners at a processing plant located around 100km north of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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A small-scale miner holds his gold that was melted together at a processing plant located around 100km north of the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator.

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