Mongolia is a new frontier in the feverish global race for resources. Among those leading the charge to exploit the country's mineral riches are two big Australian companies-Rio Tinto, about to open one of the biggest copper mines on the planet, and developer Leighton, which is operating a large joint-venture coal mine in the Gobi desert. Rio Tinto has ceded the Mongolian government a 34 percent stake, but whether or not the deal will truly help Mongolia's economy remains to be seen. Meanwhile, environmentalists worry that the mining push has come so fast and so aggressively that proper checks and balances are not in place. And perhaps the most important question is: how will the spread of mining and its use of scarce natural resources like water impact the range of Mongolia's traditional nomadic herders? For answers, this program traverses the sprawling Mongolian Steppe to address the economic and ecological factors involved.
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