Massive Gold Mining Operation Underway in Eastern Tibet
Growing concern amongst local Tibetans about the environmental impact and lack of consent for the project
Preparations for a massive gold mining operation has been underway in the eastern region of Kham over the past two years.
According to Tibet Watch, Free Tibet’s research partner, a Chinese-owned private company has been extracting gold for the past few months at Cho-shungma in Chamdo in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region.
There has been mining preparation in the area, such as the covering of the site with a heavy plastic cover to prevent the flow of water.
Before these preparations took place, chemical experiments and disposal at the site had killed most of the fish and insects in the river.
Around 200 Tibetan locals have been employed to work in the last two years. However, the locals in the region have also complained that the mining has been forcefully conducted without consent or consultation from the local residents.
The residents have already witnessed repeated landslides and massive flooding, due to the large-scale environmental destruction. Massive dam constructions, mining and the diversion of rivers by China have all contributed to the increase in environmental degradation of the land, as well as the impact on human communities and wildlife in the region.
The local Tibetans have been silenced and the mining activities are being conducted in secret, leaving a huge gap in the knowledge of the mining project. Tibet Watch’s sources have said that the local Tibetans are forbidden from going near areas marked for mining, for example.
Forced removals of Tibetans near second-largest copper mine in China
Jomda county has the second-largest copper mine in China. On April 6 2005, investors signed an agreement to set up the Yulong Copper joint-stock company in Jomda county. The construction of the mine started in September 2005 and became operational from September 2008. Since then various incidents of forced removal of hundreds of Tibetan nomadic families have taken place, leaving them with no means of sustainable livelihood. Repeated appeals made by the Tibetans to stop mining were left unheeded and many were arrested.
As the demand for renewable energy grows, copper has increased in value and traders speculate on the price of copper in the global stock market every day. However, the highly volatile nature of the global economy leaves Tibetan communities at a disadvantage politically and economically.
Information supplied by Tibet Watch