Mongolia is a poor country and development progress has been slow in spite of the relatively generous assistance it has received from donor countries and the IMF. The United Nations estimates that 27% of Mongolia’s urban population lives below the poverty line. In rural areas, nearly 50% of people live in poverty. Its sparse population and high levels of corruption have been a hindrance but the opportunity to exploit its mineral resources has totally changed the economic outlook for the country. It is the discovery of huge reserves of high-grade coal that is likely to have the greatest impact although copper and gold will also be important.