The crossing in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia would charge vehicles a transit fee of 10 yuan ($1.45) each time they pass through the border, and would also impose an additional charge of 8 yuan per tonne for any goods they are delivering, according to a notice issued by local authorities and published by the Mongolian Mining Journal on Wednesday.
For precious metals and copper concentrate worth more than 10,000 yuan per tonne, exporters would be charged 0.2 percent of the total value of the cargo, the notice said, adding that the new charges would come into effect on Dec 1.
Dale Choi, an independent mining analyst in Ulaanbaatar, said 900 trucks pass through Gashuun Sukhait every day, adding that around 133,000 tonnes of copper concentrate is delivered into China every month via the crossing.
Local government officials contacted by Reuters on Thursday could not confirm the veracity of the announcement, but a senior industry representative in Ulaanbaatar who is familiar with the matter said the new charges were now in effect.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang did not confirm whether or not the new border fees were connected to the Dalai Lama's visit, saying that he was unaware of the situation.
"As for the Dalai Lama's visit to Mongolia, China has expressed its position many times," he said at the ministry's regular press briefing on Thursday.