Land of Fortune
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the Mongolian gold rush. The gold rush, which has grown to become the largest ever on the Asian continent, involves major risks, perhaps even the sacrifice of human life itself. Although national and international commentators rejoice in Mongolia's immense mineral wealth, which is expected to help ease the global crisis in financial investment markets, gold is locally regarded as a volatile and inalienable material that is not readily exchangeable and commodifiable. In contrast to other kinds of metal, it is seen to retain strong ties to the landscape and its many spirit beings. Since these ties cannot easily be severed and are particularly strong at the point of extraction, the fortune of gold is inseparable from the fears that surround mining.
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