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Oyu Tolgoi is one of the largest gold and copper mining developments in recent times and is located in the heart of the Mongolian Gobi Desert, with the mine expected to recover 2.7 million tonnes of copper and 1.7 million ounces of gold over the next 50 years. Since 2002, Sustainability has been engaged to provide continual support to the project and are committed to working with Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill Resources to minimise and mitigate the impact on the Gobi.


Oyu Tolgoi operates in a unique and precious ecosystem involving herder communities and wildlife, and consideration of environmental impact is essential. Sustainability was engaged to design a long-term cultural heritage program (CHP) for Oyu Tolgoi and the South Gobi region, with the objective “to mitigate and manage cultural heritage threats associated with the OT project, monitor and understand culture change, pursue opportunities for cultural heritage promotion and preservation, and encourage and support non-profit, for-profit, and public-sector opportunities in the field of cultural heritage in the process”.

The CHP design consultancy was conducted in two phases:

  • The first to develop a cultural heritage baseline and gap analysis for the South Gobi province, and
  • The second to develop the CHP and implementation plan.

Sustainability partnered with The Institute of Archaeology, The Mongolian Academy of Sciences, SRI, and University of Arizona to deliver the work, and further details on the intangible heritage studies in Umnugovi aimag and OT Project Area of Influence can be found in “Protecting the Past, Preserving the Present: Report on Phase 1 Activities of the Oyu Tolgoi Cultural Heritage Program” at (

Sustainability’s work with Oyu Tolgoi also includes:

  • Ensuring the compliance of over 70 specific Mongolian laws and standards
  • Meeting international project tender requirements
  • Project management
  • Client interface
  • Team coordination
  • Advisory Board management and support
  • Mongolian language and cultural translation
  • Field coordination
  • International specialist support.

Sustainability’s consultants have similar global experience supporting resources projects to attain best practice and maintain compliance with licensing, permitting and funding obligations and these locations include Kazakhstan, China, Congo, PNG, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, New Zealand and Indonesia.