China expanding controversial mining site near Lhasa

Mining in Gyama Valley, the birth place Tibet's great King, Songtsen Gampo. File photo.
Mining in Gyama Valley, the birth place Tibet’s great King, Songtsen Gampo. File photo.

(, Aug07, 2015) – China is said to be building a new road to a new mining site in an already heavily mined and polluted region near occupied Tibet’s capital Lhasa. Chinese road builders have been busy cutting a new track leading to the mineral-rich Gyama Valley in Maldro Gongkar (Chinese: Mozhugongka) County, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Aug 5.

Many workers were also seen busy at an apparent new mining site. The report cited an exile Tibetan with local contacts as saying mining at the new site was expected to begin as early as this month.

The Gyama area, known for its rich deposits of gold, silver, and copper as well as molybdenum and others, remains one of the most controversial Chinese mining areas in Tibet. Tibetans who had protested against the diversion and pollution of their drinking water rivers were brutally beaten and given lengthy jail sentences.

In Mar 2013, there was a catastrophic landslide at one of the mining sites. It killed 83 mine workers, almost all of them from China. Only two of the miners were revealed to be Tibetans, belying China’s oft repeated claim that projects like these generate employment and were good for the local Tibetans.


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