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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibetans protest against acquisition of Gyama mine by Canadian company

October 25, 2010

Phayul
October 18, 2010

Dharamsala, October 18 -- Local Tibetans and
supporters in Vancouver held a protest Saturday
against the acquisition of the Gyama (Ch. Jiama)
mine by the Vancouver based China Gold
International Resources (CGG). The protest
occurred in front of the Terminal City Club where
CGG shareholders were holding a meeting for
“approval from its disinterested shareholders for
the acquisition of Skyland Mining, the owner of the Jiama Project”.

The protestors held banners and Tibetan national
flag, and shouted slogans demanding stop to
exploitation Tibet's natural mineral resources.
"China Gold, Human Rights on Hold" and "China
Gold, Humanity on Hold", read banners.

Located in the Meldro Gongkar County of Lhasa
municipality, the Gyama mining project is one of
the eight priority construction projects of China
to exploit Tibet’s rich natural resources.

Chinese mining company last year carried out a
water-diversion project in the upper Gyama region
leading to forceful confiscation of agricultural
lands. The mining, which has been going on in the
upper hills of Gyama for nearly two decades have
led to toxic wastes being dumped into Gyama
Shingchu river resulting in the death of a large
number of cattle last year. Villagers in the
valley depend on Gyama Shingchu for their
drinking water supply and irrigation. However,
the river has since dried up due to destruction
of its source by excessive mining. Many of the
natural springs in the area have also dried up
deteriorating their drinking water supply, sources said.

CGG is controlled by the state owned China
National Gold Group, which was also the major
shareholder in the Gyama mine. Protestors say
that mining operations on large scale in Tibet
leads to violation of Human Rights, environmental
degradation and pollution, confiscation of
property, forced resettlement, imprisonment,
torture and death of those who protest against the mining operations.

Angry villagers took to streets on 20 June 2009
and clashed with Chinese miners. Scuffles between
angry Tibetans and miners were followed by police
crackdown leaving 3 Tibetans wounded.

The local Tibetan residents from Gyama township
last year reportedly petitioned the local
government to put an immediate halt to the mining
project in the area. The local government,
however, is said to have paid no heed to the
petition, and the whole region remained under
heavy military surveillance, with imposition of
severe restrictions on communication to outside
world and people visiting the region.

The Gyama mining project is currently China’s
largest mining project operated by a central state-owned enterprise in "TAR."

It is reported that the first phase of this
project currently has an expected daily output of 6,000 tonnes.

The project, which involves gross investments of
8 billion yuan, (1.18 billion U.S. dollars), is
designed to have a total daily output capacity of
15,000 tons, according to Chinese state media.

Mining in Tibet is a contentious issue. Tibetans
have long been professing the faith of holding
nature as being too sacred to be disturbed. But
with more and more mining companies operating in
Tibet, activists say there is a great danger to the region's fragile ecosystem.

Critics say Chinese and foreign mining companies
are taking full "undue advantage" of the troubled
Tibetan situation in exploiting Tibet’s untapped
mineral wealth. They argue that no significant
effort is made to consult the Tibetan people or
to seek their informed consent on the issue.

Gyama Shen in Meldro Gongkar is the birthplace of
Tibet’s great king Songtsen Gampo (617-650 AD).
There are fifteen villages in the valley, two of which are nomadic.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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