[Maps courtesy of www.theodora.com/maps used with permission]
Mongolia is being dug up and sold to China. Already, more than 80% of its exports are minerals, a proportion expected to rise in a few years to 95%. Mongolia makes mining geologists salivate over its known riches and unexplored potential—for copper, coal, gold, silver, uranium, molybdenum, and on and on. With just under 3m people, Mongolia has a chance of becoming a Qatar or a Brunei: a country that has only a small population but almost all of it, in global terms, loaded. In the third quarter of 2011 Mongolia’s economy grew by 21% compared with the same period in 2010. Even sober economists think the country is going to have to get used to this sort of thing. The IMF expects growth to average 14% a year between 2012 and 2016.