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Yulong Copper Mine in Tibet to be operational

August 25, 2008

Tibet Net
August 22, 2008

Dharamshala -- People's Daily Online, 15 August 2008, reported that
Yulong Copper Mine in Tibet will start operating from September this
year. Environment and Development Desk (EDD) of the Central Tibetan
Administration is deeply concerned about the environmental and social
implications of the project on the Tibetan plateau and its people.

Yulong Copper Mine in Jomda (Ch: Jiangda) County, Chamdo (Ch: Qamdo)
Prefecture, "TAR", is among the largest mines of its kind in the
world with an area of 1,870 sq km. The mine is notably the second
largest mine in Asia with a proven deposit of 6.5 million tonnes of
copper in ore form and another 10 million tonnes of prospective
reserves. It is expected to produce 2,000 tons of refined copper in
2008 and the company hopes to expand the production capacity to
100,000 tons a year eventually, cites People's Daily Online. Yulong
copper mine is predominantly owned by Zijin Mining Group and Western
Mining, both of which are China's major mining and Development Company.

The operation of the mine has been delayed since the 1990s due to the
remoteness of the place and its weak supporting infrastructures for
the mining industry. However, Yang Qianrang, an industrial planning
official with the regional economic commission, said that the Tibet
Yulong Copper Co. Ltd. has finished building the basic
infrastructure, as well as staff recruitment and training, roads and
housing for the miners etc. A power station was built on the Mekong
River (Tib: Zachu) in Dragyab (Ch: Chaya) county of Chamdo
Prefecture, to generate electricity for the extraction of Yulong
copper deposit.

The scale of mining in Tibet has been increasing primarily with
China's rapid industrialization and urbanization programs. Yulong
copper mine will reduce China's dependence on import of copper from
other countries. The unprecedented extraction of mineral resources in
Tibet over the years has immensely benefited the Chinese. With
several new mining projects underway such as this, severe
environmental consequences for the region is bound to occur,
especially on its water resources which flow down to several other countries.

Although, it is true that the development of mineral resources is
inevitable for the overall development of Tibet's economy, but it is
all the more imperative to save the fragile ecology of the Tibetan
plateau and meet the needs of the Tibetan people in a sustainable
way. EDD makes the following recommendations to all concerned
individuals, organizations and corporations:

To ensure safety and prevent environmental damage, an Environmental
Impact Assessment should be conducted and be made available for public viewing.

Environmental NGOs in China, including State Environment Protection
Agency (SEPA) should strictly supervise and monitor all the mining
activities to mitigate environmental damage.

Tibetans should be regarded as a key stakeholder. Benefits from the
mining should go to the Tibetans through jobs, social welfare
schemes, social securities etc.

We urge all corporations working with and for the Yulong Copper Mine
to follow the guidelines for sustainable development projects,
proposed by the Central Tibetan Administration.
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