Mongolian archeologists use advanced mapping technology to discover archeological sites for the first time in Mongolia

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Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia ( – As part of the Oyu Tolgoi Cultural Heritage programme, a team of Mongolian and international scientific experts, used GSI archeological predictive models, a powerful mapping technology, to help discover the location of new archeological sites in the Omnogovi aimag. These are the first models to be developed and implemented in Mongolia, and have already led to the discovery of 2000 new archeological sites covering a 150 thousand square km area in the South Gobi region.

“These predictive models were key for our short term project to discover new archeological sites in the South Gobi region, enabling us to work with efficiency and speed:” said Dr. Ch. Amartuvshin, head of Salvage Research Department of Mongolian Academy of Sciences, who leads the tangible heritage team of the Oyu Tolgoi Cultural Heritage programme.

“There was a need to develop a general mapping exercise on tangible cultural heritage sites in South Gobi aimag:” Amartuvshin continued. “This was the perfect opportunity for Mongolian archeologists to combine their experience of working in Gobi region with the latest technology and equipment.”

The team developed models covering a 150 thousand square km area of Omnogobi aimag and determined areas with high, medium and low probability of containing archeological resources and conducted field work to confirm these probabilities. During field work, the team discovered the impressive shrine of khirgisuur and square burial site dating back to the Bronze age, which are rare finds in Gobi region. The new artifacts show migration pattern of ancient nomadic tribes in Mongolian territory.

The Mongolian International Heritage Team (MIHT) is part of the Oyu Tolgoi Cultural Heritage programme, a 1.3bn MNT (US$1.1m) investment designed to develop an integrated approach to the preservation and management of cultural heritage for Omnogovi aimag. The MIHT is comprised of scientific experts from Sustainability East Asia LLC, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Archeology, Statistical Research Inc and the University of Arizona.

About Oyu Tolgoi (

Oyu Tolgoi LLC is Mongolia’s largest copper and gold mining company and is a strategic partnership between the Government of Mongolia, Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto is the major shareholder in Ivanhoe Mines and the manager of the Oyu Tolgoi project. In addition to dividends from its stake in Oyu Tolgoi, the Government of Mongolia will receive taxes and royalties.

Oyu Tolgoi, located in the Gobi desert in southern Mongolia, will be one of the largest and highest-grade copper and gold mines in the world. It is the largest project ever developed in Mongolia, requiring a capital investment for phase one of more than US$6 billion.

Oyu Tolgoi is committed to contributing to a sustainable future for Mongolia. At least 9 out of 10 employees will be Mongolian once the mine is in production and Oyu Tolgoi is investing US$85 million dollars (110 billion MNT) in training.

Oyu Tolgoi’s key priorities are the health and safety of employees, best-practice environmental management, contributing to sustainable communities and always doing business with integrity, for the benefit of all the project’s shareholders and the people of Mongolia. 

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About Oyu Tolgoi LLC (

Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Mongolia's largest copper and gold mining company, is a strategic partnership between the Government of Mongolia, Turquoise Hill Resources and Rio Tinto. Located in the South Gobi, Oyu Tolgoi commenced shipment of product to customers in July 2013. Oyu Tolgoi is managed by Rio Tinto, which is investing global expertise and cutting-edge technology to help develop Mongolia’s mining industry and ensure Oyu Tolgoi is one of the world’s most advanced mines. For Oyu Tolgoi, nothing matters more than safety. The business operates under the principle that if a job cannot be done safely, it will not be done at all.

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