| 208.0 km2 |
Erdenet (Mongolian: Эрдэнэт, literally "with treasure") is the third-largest city in Mongolia and the capital of the aimag (province) of Orkhon. Officially known as Bayan-Öndör sum. Located in the northern part of the country, it lies in a valley between the Selenge and Orkhon rivers about 150 miles (241 kilometres) (as the bird flies) northwest of Ulaanbaatar, the capital. The road length between Ulaanbaatar and Erdenet is about 230 mi (370 km).
Erdenet, one of the youngest settlements in Mongolia, was founded in 1974 in an area where large deposits of copper had been discovered in the 1950s. A single-track railway line with a length of 75 mi (121 km) linking Erdenet to the Trans-Mongolian Railway was inaugurated in 1977. In the middle of the 1980s, more than 50% of the inhabitants were Russians working as engineers or miners. After the fall of Soviet Communism in 1990, however, most Russians left Erdenet. Today, about 10% of the population is Russian.
The city hosts the fourth largest copper mine in the world. The "Erdenet Mining Corporation" is a joint Mongolian-Russian venture, and accounts for a majority of Mongolia's hard currency income. Erdenet mines 22.23 million tons of ore per year, producing 126,700 tons of copper and 1,954 tons of molybdenum. The mine accounts for 13.5% of Mongolia's GDP and 7% of tax revenue. About 8,000 people are employed in the mine.
Erdenet is linked to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, and to the towns of Darkhan and Bulgan by a paved road and is easily accessible by bus several times each day. The distance to the capital where the nearest airport is situated amounts to 230 miles (370 km) and travel by car takes about eight hours. Train connections between Erdenet and Ulaanbaatar are less comfortable as there is only one train per day covering the distance in 11 hours.Tourists are allowed to visit the mine by appointment. It is in the eastern part of the city, about 6 km (4 mi) from the centre.
Another important economic factor of Erdenet is the carpet factory about 2 km (1 mi) from the center to the east which was founded in 1981. Every year, about 2,000 metric tons of wool are processed in the factory where about 1,100 people are employed.
The Mining Museum, in the Culture Palace on the central town square.
The Aimag Museum was founded in 1983.
The Fraternity Monument dating from 1984 is on a hill offering a scenic view of the whole city in the northeastern part of Erdenet.
A new temple with a large Buddha statue was built very recently in the eastern part of Erdenet.
An amusement park was laid out in the east of the center.
Amarbayasgalant Monastery is a Buddhist monastery about 60 km (37 mi) northeast of Erdenet. It was founded between 1727 and 1737, partially destroyed by order of Khorloogiin Choibalsan in 1937 and reconstructed after 1975 using financial aid provided by the UNESCO.
Erdenet is twinned with: