Border jam puts Mongolia's coal lifeline under threat

Posted by Ed 7 days ago
KHANBOGD, Mongolia (Reuters) - In Mongolia’s Gobi desert, thousands of heavy-duty trucks laden with coal inch along a cluttered highway towards the Chinese border in a journey that can take more than a week.
Truckers cook, eat and sleep in vehicles covered in coal dust, many subsisting on the same meat soup that fueled Genghis Khan’s Mongol Horde more than eight centuries ago.

Alongside the trucks a bustling microeconomy has sprung up of traders peddling cigarettes, water and diesel as drivers wait to clear Chinese customs in a queue that can stretch for 130 kilometers (80 miles).
(Click to view a picture package on the truck traffic jams on the China-Mongolia border.) 
A rebound in coal prices and a surge in exports to China this year has meant a bonanza for miners in Mongolia, and a vital lifeline for the country’s tiny economy, after a currency and debt crisis forced it to seek an economic rescue package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

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