[From the article:]
The tragic incident of landslide could be a result of the aggressive expansion and large-scale exploitation of mineral in the Gyama Valley
On Friday, 30 March 2013, China’s official media reported that 83 miners including two Tibetans have been buried after a major landslide hit a part of the Gyama (Ch: Jiama) Copper Gold Polymetallic Mine. So far, the rescue efforts have failed to find any survivors or bodies and the chances of survival for those buried are getting slim. This is a sad and unfortunate incident that resulted in large number of casualties that could be higher than reported.
Environment and Development Desk (EDD) of the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala, India, fear that this tragic incident could be a result of the aggressive expansion and large-scale exploitation of mineral in the Gyama Valley—a man-made phenomenon rather than just a ‘natural disaster’.
Gyama mine is located in Medrogungkar (Ch: Maizhokunggar) County of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region, about 68 kms from Lhasa. It is a large scale polymetallic 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 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”.
However in the past decade, Gyama mine has been a major failure in terms of the social harmony and environmental protection in the area. Before it was consolidated under a one umbrella in 2007, the Gyama Mine consisted of four small mines which has been causing pollution, land degradation, harm to livestock etc. After the consolidation, large-scale and heavy mechanized operations accelerated the ongoing environmental and social problems. There has been rapid expansion of the mining operation which covers a total of 145.50 sq. kmincluding 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.
Due to the massive influx of Chinese migrants, Tibetans are left with very few employment opportunities and other benefits. The fact that only two of those trapped are Tibetan and the rest are Han Chinese migrant workers from neighboring provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan is a clear indicator…. Read the full article.