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Mining industry flourishes in Tibet

September 18, 2007

Commodity Online, India
2007-09-18

NEW DELHI: Tibet is turning out to be a gold mine for China now. Till now a trouble-torn area for the Chinese government due to the Tibetan struggle for freedom, the recent railway line to the mountain terrain has proved to be a major boost for China.

Now, mining has become one of the top industries of resource-rich Tibet after China built the strategic railway line to the fragile Himalayan region.

Mining has become one of the pillar industries in Lhasa after the Qinghai-Tibet railway line opened in July 2006. Tibet has 101 known minerals, including chromium, copper, gold, iron and boron.

The railway line, one of the major achievements of Chinese engineering, stretches 1,956 km from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province to Lhasa and became formally operational on July 1 last year.

A year after its inauguration, the railway has transported 1.5 million passengers into Tibet, nearly half of the total tourists arrivals in the region. Tibet has saved about $23 million on transportation costs since the
railway was formally opened.

Meanwhile, Tibet plans to levy a deposit on mining companies that wish to explore its rich mineral resources so as to regulate mining practices and minimise their impact on the fragile ecosystem.

By the end of this year, all mining companies operating in Tibet will have to pay a deposit, an amount that would not be refundable if their mining activities were to damage the local environment.

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