June 15, 2011
Contact: Ray Yee, Canada Tibet Committee Coordinator: 604-916-3355 (in Vancouver)
[VANCOUVER] – Tibetans and Tibet supporters called on shareholders attending the China Gold International Resources Annual General Meeting in Vancouver yesterday to divest from the company over its controversial mine site in Gyama Township (Ch: Jiama), Meldro Gongkar County, in central Tibet. Canadian-based Tibet advocacy groups also released a report today highlighting the environmental impact of mining operations in Gyama, including the contamination of water sources and destruction of farmland, as part of the divestment drive.
“At this moment, China Gold International Resources is ripping apart the beautiful Gyama valley in central Tibet where Tibetan farmers and nomads have lived for centuries,” said Jigme Duntak, Mining Campaign Coordinator of Students for a Free Tibet Canada. “Under Chinese occupation, Tibetans are not in a position to give their free, prior, and informed consent and those who dare to oppose Chinese state-sponsored mines, like China Gold’s Gyama site, face arrest, imprisonment and even death.”
Ray Yee, Vancouver-based coordinator for Canada Tibet Committee challenged China Gold International Resources Chairman Zhao Xue’s statement in the meeting that the company only intended to mine in “politically stable” areas. When Yee raised the massive uprising in Tibet in March 2008, Vice-President Jerry Xie responded that the political and human rights situation in Tibet was “harmonious” and there were no such uprisings.
“To raise the issue of instability and then in the same breath blatantly lie to investors about the political situation in Tibet is not only shocking but unconscionable,” said Yee. “In an attempt to justify their predatory behavior against an occupied people, China Gold International Resources and its leaders are in complete denial about the well documented political uprisings in Tibet in March 2008. After decades of living under a climate of fear, Tibetans are sacrificing their lives in order to regain control over their own culture, land and resources.”
He also read an excerpt from a 2009 petition submitted by Tibetans in Gyama to the local authorities appealing for a halt to the mining. An excerpt from the petition sent to Radio Free Asia states: “As we petitioned many years ago, I would like to state again that in Meldro Gongkar county’s Gyama township, mining operations have shown utter disregard to the grasslands, forests, mountains, rivers, wildlife, environment, local people’s life and livelihood. The mining operations have caused great destruction to our farmlands, mountains and rivers.”
In 2009, following the community’s appeals, Tibetans blockaded mining industry trucks to try and stop the mining. Armed security personnel were sent into the region to arrest and intimidate Tibetans from carrying out further protests.
“China Gold International Resources is using Canada’s name, reputation, and money to steal copper and gold from Tibetans,” said Tenzin Lobsang, Students for a Free Tibet Canada’s Director. “I call on my fellow Canadians to do the right thing and divest from China Gold International Resources and their unconscionable mining in Tibet.”
The report released today entitled “China Gold International Resource Reputational Risk Report” cites the findings of a 2010 study conducted by scientists from Finland, Norway, and China which concluded that contamination levels in the Gyama surface water “pose a considerable high risk to the local environment” and “a great potential threat to downstream water users.” The report can be viewed online here: http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/57866777?access_key=key-2kpwt9ohw4ragt9phyqh
China Gold International Resources has come under fire from Tibetans and support groups since it took over ownership of the Gyama copper polymetallic metal mining property in August 2010.