Landslide in Tibet’s Medrogungkar County caused by China’s aggressive mining: Tibetan government

Dharamshala/March 31
The Tibetan government in exile alleged that landslide in Gyama (Jiama in China) mine, located in Medrogungkar County in which 83 workers were trapped, could be a result of the aggressive mining by China and it is a man-made phenomenon rather than just a ‘natural disaster’.
In a statement, Tibetan government in exile based in Dharamshala here said that Gyama has large scale poly-metallic deposit consisting of copper, molybdenum, gold, silver, lead and zinc with the potential to become the China’s biggest copper producer in 10 years. The tragedy could be a result of the aggressive expansion and large-scale exploitation of minerals by China.
“The Gyama Mine has been selected as ‘a pilot of the national green mines project’ by Ministry of Land and Resources (PRC) in 2012 and also a “Model enterprises of national unity and progress”. As a requirement, Gyama mine must meet higher standard of technology oriented and corporate responsibility-oriented laws with adherence to policies of “people first” and “safe production”, promote “harmony between the mine and the community and shoulder the responsibility of social welfare,” the statement said.
The Tibetan government further alleged that however in the past decade, Gyama mine has been a major failure in terms of the social harmony and environmental protection in the area. There has been rapid expansion of the mining operation which covers a total of 145.50 sq. km including mining area of 76.19 sq. km and exploration covering an area of 66.41 sq. km. In order to acquire maximum profit in the shortest period of time, whole swaths of land have been excavated in several sites and in some cases the whole face of a mountain has been ripped in the process of exploration, water diversion, mining and road construction. Such a large scale and aggressive expansion out of the mine could have caused the recent event of landslide. So far, rescuers have found 11 bodies out of the 83 miners buried in the avalanche in a landslide that occurred two days ago in Maizhokunggar County, about 68 km from regional capital Lhasa.