Account(ing)/(ability): Democratising the Environmental Impact Assessment in Mongolian Mining
This study examines sustainable development in practice, particularly in the context of mining and environmental management in a less developed country (LDC). It argues for sustainable and participatory mining in LDCs, such as Mongolia, by encouraging democratisation of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process. The EIA, a major tool of environmental management, addresses the negative environmental and social impacts of development projects, such as mining, and has the capacity to mitigate such impacts by incorporating EIA recommendations into business practice. To ensure the inclusion of affected communities in the EIA process, public participation in EIAs is legislated in many countries. This is particularly important for mineral-rich LDCs, as they have experienced growing conflict among mining companies, local communities, and government authorities, due to a lack of dialogue among mining constituents and a lack of effective public policy and public engagement in the promotion of socially and environmentally accountable mining. This study applies Brown's (2009) dialogic accounting framework in the exploration and evaluation of current EIA practices. By using Mongolian EIA practices for illustrative purposes, this study seeks to contribute to debate in EIA and SEA literature, and to support calls for more participatory EIAs that can embed sustainable development into business practice. Furthermore, the current and potential engagement of NGOs in the EIAs of Mongolia is examined in order to explore their potential to foster dialogic accounting.