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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-focussed Continental Minerals in talks for sale of company news

September 16, 2010
September 16, 2010

Continental Minerals, an explorer and developer
of minerals in Chinese-occupied Tibet, yesterday
said that it is advanced talks with an unnamed
third party for a potential sale of the company,
the second such potential sale of a Tibet-focussed mining company this month.

Earlier this month another Vancouver-based
company, China Gold International Resources Corp,
formerly known as Jinshan Gold Mines had said
that it would acquire Skyland Mining Ltd, which
owns the Jiama copper mine in Tibet in an
all-stock deal valued at $742.3 million. (See:
CGI to acquire Tibet focussed Skyland Mining for $742.3 million)

Vancouver-based Continental, one of the few
Canadian mining companies operating in
Chinese-occupied Tibet, said that while it
anticipates a resolution to the discussions, it
can give no assurances at this time about the outcome.

Continental,  which has a market capitalisation
of around $340 million, is currently developing
the Xietongmen copper-gold project that was
discovered in 2005 and covers an area of 1,290
acres located 240km southwest of Lhasa in the remote Tibetan plateau.

The project holds proven and probable reserves of
e182.1 million tonnes of copper, gold and silver.
The ore is to be mined via open pit method and
the feasibility study foresees a production
capacity of 40,000 tonnes of copper per day.

The company had said that it would aim to produce
116 million pounds of copper and 190,000 ounces
of gold and 2.4 million ounces of silver annually
and the life of the mine is expected to be 14 years.

Apart from the copper-gold project, Continental
is looking at developing additional deposits in the Xietongmen property.

The miner had also made a second discovery in
2006 on Xietongmen property, called Newtongmen
and an initial estimate made in 2007 indicated
that this deposit also contains substantial deposits of copper and gold.

Continental's largest shareholders include
Chinese mining companies Zijin Mining, which
holds 13.8 per cent stake and Jinchuan Group
Zijin with 11.8 per cent and Canada's Taseko Mines with 5.1 per cent.

Exploitation of Tibet's resources by China

All mining exploitation by China in Tibet is
fiercely opposed by ethnic Tibetans who say that
Tibet's gold and other resources rightfully
belong to them and believe it is irresponsible to
extract non-renewable resources since Tibetans
are unable to exercise their
internationally-recognised human rights,
including deciding how their resources should be used.

Pressure from Australia Tibet Council made
Australian gold miner Sino Gold in 2003 stop all
its gold mining activities at a gold mine at Jinkang in eastern Tibet.

But mining operations in Tibet have been booming
since the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet
railway line in 2006, bringing wealth to the
Chinese government and Chinese mine owners at the
cost of the local Tibetans, who form a distinct ethnic and religious group.

In 2007, China released a seven-year survey of
the Tibetan plateau conducted at a cost of $50
million, which revealed that the area held around
40 million tons of copper reserves, 40 million
tons of zinc and lead reserves, and more than 1 billion tons of iron reserves.

Chinese geologists said that they had discovered
16 major mineral deposits along the railway line
that connects Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, with
the rest of China and parts of northern Tibet.
Thew area near the railway line is thought to
contain vast oil and gas reserves.

In 2009, the Qinghai province announced a new
round of geological surveys at a cost of $100
million to find the full potential of natural resources in Tibet.

To overcome the Tibetan protest, China gave
mining rights to a few small Canadian and British
mining companies, although the bulk of the 90
plus mining companies operating in Tibet are Chinese mining businesses.

After two months of protests and blockading by
about 500 Tibetans, Chinese mining company,
Zhongkai, was forced to pull out of its proposed
gold mine expansion in Mangkang County in Tibet
in 2008, while GobiMining pulled out from its Malonglang, Copper-Zinc project.

Asia-focused Canadian miner TVI Pacific Inc,
which held mining exploration rights in the
Tibetan plateau, announced on March 2008 that it
was pulling out of Tibet, altogether.
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