20 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 02/23/2007 15:34
CHINA
Train to Lhasa to take out Tibet’s mineral riches
The Qinghai-Lhasa railway line, much vaunted by Beijing as a tool to develop the territory’s economy, will be used to strip the area of its vast mineral riches to the benefit of far-away industries. Recent finds show Tibet is a mining company’s dream, but many fear that development won’t bring much prosperity to Tibetans.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Qinghai-Lhasa railway line, which Beijing has showcased as an essential part of Tibet’s development, will open up the region’s vast mineral deposits to exploitation, by reducing hitherto high transportation costs.

State-run China Tibet Information website reported early this month that since 1999 more than 1000 researchers divided into 24 separate regiments fanned out across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, to geologically map the area. They found 16 major new deposits of copper, iron, lead, zinc and other minerals worth an estimated US $128 billion in about half of the territory. That leaves the other half of the region’s 2.6 million km2 area still unexplored. If the findings are confirmed that would make Tibet one of the richest areas of China.

China needs vast amounts of copper and iron which it currently must import at high cost. Altogether Tibet is now said to hold as much as 40 million tons of copper (one third of China's total), 40 million tons of lead and zinc, and more than a billion tons of high-grade iron.

Last year China imported 326 million tonnes of iron and the prices of high-grade iron with the net result that prices more than tripled in the last two years largely because of China's demand.

One Tibetan mine is now estimated to hold as much as 18 million tons according to Xinhua. With the new Tibetan copper finds China's total copper reserves could increase by a third.

“Once mines are developed they will greatly relieve the strain on China's existing resources,” said Zhang Hongtao, deputy director of the China Geological Survey, which carried out the investigation.

“Lack of resources has been a bottleneck for the economy,” Meng Xianlai, director of the China Geological Survey.

Inaugurated on July 1, 2006, the railway that links Qinghai to Tibet has sparked protests by the Tibetans who see it as a tool to reinforce China’s stranglehold over their country. Beijing, by contrast, has always said that the rail link will bring prosperity and development to the territory.

And Beijing is going one step further, accelerating transportation development. A fresh set of satellite images on Google show a large increase in road construction branching off the new railway route.

Similarly, the Chinese are extending the railway from its present terminal in Lhasa to the western city of Shigatze, and beyond.

According to China’s Geological Survey agency, there are rich crude oil and gas reserves in Tibet's Far West and the Yulong find would make it China’s second largest copper mine.

Yet, education and health care spending in Tibet continue to lag far behind the rest of China, provoking the ire of human rights advocates.

“Clearly China's leaders have never intended the railway to benefit Tibetans,” said Matt Whitticase of the London-based Free Tibet Campaign.

According to the group, Tibet may hold 40 per cent of all of China’s mineral resources, including petroleum, coal, uranium, gold and copper. But it fears that their development and exploitation will bring little benefit to the Tibetan population. Instead, the same ethnic Han Chinese who have ruled the region for so long will further take advantage of Beijing’s policies which are designed to favour their immigration into the area.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
08/10/2006 CHINA
Tibetan teacher in prison for "espionage" appeals to UN
03/12/2009 TIBET – CHINA
Chinese democrats to work with Tibetans for China and Tibet
by Nirmala Carvalho
02/18/2011 AFGHANISTAN
More than US$ 3 trillion in rare earths and precious metals under Taliban feet
03/10/2009 TIBET – CHINA
Fifty years of persecution have strengthened our resolve, says Tibetan prime minister in exile
by Samdhong Rinpoche
04/09/2008 TIBET – INDIA – CHINA
Tibetan exiles’ “return march’ reaches New Delhi
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.