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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tibet holds half of China's copper ore reserves

August 28, 2009
August 27, 2009 

China's Tibet Autonomous Region holds more than
30 million tons of copper ore reserves, which is
more than half of China's total reserves of the
metal, according to the region's geological prospecting bureau.

Tibet holds the largest copper reserves in China
said the bureau director. There were 329 copper
ore deposit finds in Tibet including 11 large
deposits and 6 mid-size ones by 2008.

Tibet copper ore reserves was increased by nearly
10 million tons during the 2001-05 period.

The Qulong copper ore mine in Tibet is the
largest one in Asia with proven reserves of more
than 6.5 million tonnes of copper and estimated reserves of 10 million tonnes.

Western Mining, China's seventh-largest copper
miner holds a 58-per cent stake in the mine.
Qulong will be able to produce electrolytic
(refined, almost pure) copper rather than copper
concentrate, significantly adds to the value of the mine.

A portion of the electrolytic copper will also be
directly processed into copper products, further
boosting the mine's profitability. The Tibet
Autonomous Region Specialist Plan 1996-2020,
forecasts that the Yulong mine to have a life of 28 years.

But mining for copper, zinc, iron and lead, which
has been found in abundance in Tibet by Chinese
government geologists has drawn heavy criticism
from Tibetans, both inside and outside the
country, it was militarily occupied by China in 1951.

Tibetans had always opposed the building of the
1142-km Qinghai-Tibet Railway, (See: China to
extend Qinghai-Tibet railway link closer to India
by 2010) since they feel that the China intends
to use the railway to plunder Tibet's enormous natural mineral wealth.

Tibetans say that the routing of the railway
through areas where mineral deposits are located
provides clear proof that the railway was never
intended by China to benefit Tibetans, but rather
to plunder Tibet's natural resources and to
lessen China's dependence on mineral imports from overseas.

They have opposed building of the railway for
other reasons also. They fear that the railway
will allow ever increasing numbers of Han Chinese
to migrate to Tibet, further marginalising Tibetans in their homeland.

It will also hasten China's militarisation of the
Tibetan plateau. The railway will provide a
constant supply of troops, supplies and hardware
to key military installations along the railroad,
enabling China to upgrade significantly the size
and effectiveness of its garrison on the Tibetan Plateau.

Copper being one of the scarce commodities in
China, the country relies on huge imports every
year to take care of its domestic needs. China's
copper imports in the first half of this year
jumped nearly 70 per cent from a year ago,
according to the country's customs data of July.

China imported 478,000 metric tons of copper in
July, up from May's 422,000. Imports in the first
half stood at 2.235 million metric tons, up 68.9 per cent from a year ago.

The sharp increase in imports is attributed to
China's reserve purchases and the country's
massive infrastructure spending, according to analysts.
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