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Between 1990 and 2002, after a series of droughts and harsh winters, most of the Mongolian herders lost their animals and with the end of the Soviet subsidies, the Mongolian economy started to collapse, leading to an unemployment crisis. As a response to poverty and unemployment, Mongolians saw artisanal mining as an option Searching for gold and other minerals, Mongolians started to dig ilegally in rural areas and hard rock sites. This was the beginning of the Mongolian gold rush boom and nowadays there are an estimated 100,000 artisanal miners all across Mongolia. Miners would carry green plastic bowls on their back and this appearance, similar to the ninja turtles cartoon characters gave them the name of “ninja miners”.

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