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Central Tibetan Administration Against Any Mining Activities on the Tibetan Plateau

October 10, 2009

tibet dot net - Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Dharamshala: The year 2009 (as of today) has seen three major local
oppositions against mining activities and resource extractions inside Tibet.
Even with the limited flow of information from Tibet, some local resistance
against the mining activities on the Tibetan Plateau were heard
(internationally), loud and clear and the same has been suppressed brutally;

* March 2009, Bathang county, Kham Karze
* May 2009, Ser Ngul Lo, Tsangshul Sub District, Lhara Village, Markham
county, Chamdo
* June 2009, Meldro Gungkar county near Lhasa

We still know of more silent cries and emotional worries from the local
people whose voices are muted by armed forces, but for how long?

On the 22 and 23 of September 2009, a round table discussion was organized
by TibetInfoNet at the International Students Hall (in London) with the
representatives of Continental Minerals Corporation - CMC (This is the
Canadian Mining Company which is planning to mine copper at Shethongmon,
near Shigatse, Tibet).

Despite all the baseline studies and project plans put forward by the CMC
representatives, we have argued that all mining activities (whether large or
small scale) are unacceptable on the Tibetan Plateau. It is true that we
welcome modernization and activities related to economic developments inside
Tibet, but these activities or developments should not outweigh or hamper
the preservation of Tibetan cultural heritage and its pristine environment.

During the meeting, we questioned the company's representatives about the
labor issues, ecological footprints and other technical details about this
proposed project.

The CTA (Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamsala) believes that the
proposed mining activities will directly affect the preservation of cultural
integrity of the local Tibetan people residing in and around the mining
area. The proposed mining life of 14 (fourteen) years or more at Shethongmon
would draw in lots of Chinese workers and mining staff from mainland China
resulting in the total decimation of already marginalized Tibetan people and
their culture. The proposed mining life would automatically allow the miners
to settle permanently at the project site along with their families.

It is to our understanding that a healthy Tibetan Plateau would benefit the
entire Asian continent in promoting peace and harmony. The environmental
significance of the Tibetan Plateau is directly related to the national
security of PRC and its neighboring countries.

The proposed large scale open pit mining at Shethongmon by CMC would not
only destroy the regional ecosystem but also disregards the sanctity of the
spirits prevailing on the Tibetan Plateau. The location of the mining site
few kilometers away from Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River) would also
create a huge imbalance in the regional hydrology, since the water
requirement for the primary stage of the mining would be met from Yarlung
Tsangpo. The chemicals used during the primary mining stage would ultimately
leach into the ground water and nearby water bodies.

The following statement was made from the CTA Dharamsala representative, Mr.
Tenzin Norbu and the same has been entered in the meeting record for future

On behalf of the CTA, I would like to thank TibetInfoNet for organizing this
discussion and having brought here the representatives of Continental
Minerals and other friends of Tibet who are concerned and would like to know
more about this project. Such discussions and meetings would not be possible
had it been for Chinese mining company and we thank you for this effort.

All of us here know it very clear that even if the Continental doesn't get
the mining license after spending millions of dollars ($ 80 M USD). This
project won't stop here; somebody else would take it (hopefully not the
Chinese). From our previous experiences (in 2009 only) and according to our
own sources, the mining protests that took place this year clearly shows
that the Tibetan people inside (and also outside) of Tibet were not happy
with mining activities and were brave enough to stand against it.

We all knew it very clear (from these presentations), that Canadian
Standards (for mining) are far more or much better than the Chinese
Standards and we do respect this high standard but that doesn't mean that we
are happy with this project. We (CTA) also don't want or intend
(unconsciously) to send any wrong signals to our long time supporters (NGOs
and private citizens) by taking part in this discussion.

I came here specifically for two main reasons;

To listen and get more information about this project, so that we can
monitor and cross check with your project components as it proceeds.

Secondly, I am here to put across and reiterate this message, that any
mining project and activities (irrespective to any company) on the Tibetan
Plateau is unacceptable to CTA due to two main reasons;

* Loss of cultural heritage due to mass migration and settling of Chinese
workers and
* Environmental or landscape destructions.

Having said that, if, your company receives the mining license; it remains a
big task for your company to prove us wrong and even bigger challenge for us
to amend our guidelines (Guidelines for International Development Projects
and Sustainable Development in Tibet, which we have distributed to your
company in our earlier meeting.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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