A search is being conducted for six employees who vanished when a lift cage collapsed at a Chinese-backed copper mine in Tibet, stopping operations, while it was being constructed for an open-pit mine drainage system.
On May 14, an accident took place at the Julong Copper and Polymetallic Mine site, which is run by Tibet Julong Copper Co. Ltd. in the copper-rich Gyama township of Meldrogunkar county in the Lhasa prefecture. 50.1% of the subsidiary is owned by China’s Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd.
The six missing miners are employed by Fujian Xingwanxiang Construction Group Co., Ltd., a Zijin Mining Group affiliate that was subcontracted by Tibet Julong Copper Co., Ltd. to complete the project’s construction. They haven’t revealed their names or ethnic backgrounds.
According to a statement Zijin Mining Group filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and put on the company’s website on Monday, Julong Copper started an emergency and rescue plan after the accident and informed the appropriate government offices of the issue.
Julong Copper also halted operations as it looked into the incident, which “led to the loss of contact with six Xingwanxiang staff members,” according to the company.
The statement said, “The Company will continue to monitor the Incident and promptly fulfill its information disclosure obligations.”
Zijin Mining Group has not provided any updates and has not answered inquiries for further details.
According to Dhondup Wangmo, a research fellow at the Tibet Policy Institute in Dharamsala, India, the corporation has three locations in Tibet, which account for approximately half of its earnings.
increase in mining
Following the opening of the Golmud-Lhasa railway connection and Chinese government initiatives and promotion, mining and mineral prospecting have substantially risen on the Tibetan Plateau since 2006.
Tibetan demonstrations about the damage done to the environment and local animals have been sparked by the rise in pollution and the degradation of grazing area that has gone along with it.
According to a Tibetan who now lives in exile, the Chinese government’s mining operations in Meldrogunkar’s Gyama Valley have increased significantly since the 1980s and have produced important minerals like gold and copper for items that help China’s economy.
The person who requested that his name remain anonymous said, “But it has come at the expense of environmental degradation and the relocation of Tibetan nomads who grazed their animals there.”
The Chinese Communist Party has been promoting the forcible settlement of nomads in Tibet for years, he said.
In addition to pollution and tainted water sources that killed animals that drank from them, the increasing mining activity, he said, also caused these problems.
The Tibetan added, “Tibetans in the area have protested over the years; many have been detained and many have also been imprisoned.”
In March 2013, a devastating landslide at one of the Gyama copper and gold mines killed 83 people, largely migrant Chinese workers, bringing attention to the toll that mining and industrialisation were taking in Tibet.