The Computerized Mining Cadastre System (CMCS) of Mongolia is a web-based, GIS-enabled system for obtaining, managing, monitoring, and storing real-time information on mineral licensing activities in the country with the purpose of enhancing transparency and improving administrative procedures and services to clients in the mining sector.
Background and Problem
The commitment of the Mongolian government in promoting transparency and good governance can be traced as early as its ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2005. Since then, the government exerted significant efforts to pass policies related to good governance, moving as far as committing to international treaties such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2006 and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2013. The Mongolian government recognizes that transparency in operations related to the use of natural resources is not entirely exercised, therefore limiting the capacity and opportunities of the public to monitor and make such operations accountable. It also did not help that management of mining licenses only used “a handwritten-ledger license register” that functions on a first-come-first-served basis and was highly vulnerable to human discretion.
Solution and Impact
Recommendations from successive reports of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) prompted a series of resource management reforms supported by the World Bank. Among these reforms was the Computerized Mining Cadastre System (CMCS) project lodged under the Governance Assistance Program (GAP), which allows the supervision, development, equipping, and implementation of a fully-computerized mining registry and cadastre system. The CMCS establishes a more transparent platform to grant, manage, and cancel permits. It delivers reliable mining information on the location of mining and exploration rights, protected areas and special-needs areas in the country, and restricts the authority of officials in distributing rights.
It retains the first-come-first-served policy embodied in the Minerals Law of 1997 and regulates the social, safety, and environmental obligations of license holders. In effect, the system is able to improve the transparency and regulatory capacity of the MRA, not to mention develop the quality and efficiency of processing licenses and prevent overlapping of these licenses with each other and those areas excluded for mining titling. To complement these advances, the Cadastre Division of the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia (MRAM), which manages the operation of the cadastre system, benefits from institutional strengthening interventions like training activities and legal advices on the enrichment of the overall framework that is guided by the new Minerals Law.
The enactment of the Law on Common Minerals in 2014 led to the upgrade of the CMCS through the incorporation of a web-based and GIS-enabled information system that allowed provincial administrations (Aimag) to also manage mining applications and licenses. The upgraded CMCS permits real-time communication between MRAM and provincial administrations, thereby accelerating coordination between national and local government administrations for mining resource management and regulation. Furthermore, it gave birth to a web portal that disseminates real-time cadastre information available for public use and adopts a more client-friendly approach in service by allowing users to track the status of applications, identify areas free for applications, check overlaps, and retrieve information about tenders.