‘Tibet mine disaster due to large scale exploitation by China’

Fifteen more bodies were retrieved today at the site of landslide in southwest China

Written by PTI | Beijing | Published: April 1, 2013 9:12:34 am

The massive landslide that engulfed a gold mine in Tibet was result of “aggressive expansion” of the colliery in which fewer Tibetans are employed,Tibet’s government in exile has alleged,as rescuers found 17 bodies out of the 83 miners buried in the avalanche.

Fifteen more bodies were retrieved today at the site of landslide in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region,taking the number of total bodies recovered to 17 since the landslide occurred two days ago in Maizhokunggar County,about 68 km from regional capital Lhasa,rescuers said.

Another 66 miners remained missing. In two locations near the area where the three bodies were found,rescuers retrieved articles such as tents,clothes and kitchen

That has led them to believe more miners might be buried under debris at these two locations. The disaster struck a workers’ camp of the Jiama Copper Polymetallic Mine on Friday,burying 83 workers.

The huge amount of debris at the 4,600-meter altitude and snowy weather hampered rescue efforts. The survival chances of the missing miners are believed slim,the report said.

Meanwhile,the Dharamsala-based Tibetan government in exile has alleged that the incident could be a result of the aggressive expansion and large-scale exploitation of mineral in the Gyama Valley,a man-made phenomenon rather than just a

“natural disaster”.

In a statement circulated to the media,the press unit of the ‘Central Tibetan Administration’ has said the large scale polymetallic deposit consisting of copper,molybdenum,gold,silver lead and zinc with the potential to become the China’s

biggest copper producer in 10 years.

But at the same time Gyama mine has been a major failure in terms of the social harmony and environmental protection in the area,it said.

Meanwhile,soldiers and armed policemen have been racing against time to sift through the debris in the hope of finding buried miners. They have been digging in shifts,while the machines ran day and night without any stop.

“We have no plan to stop the rescue operation. Instead,we have sped up our rescue efforts with more devices,” said Xiang Mingqing,another armed police officer at the scene.

Disease control and prevention workers have disinfected the area,and a checkout showed that air conditions at the site remained normal.

Wang Zenghua,a senior leader of Tibet Autonomous Region’s firefighting authorities,said the difficulties in the rescue operation were unprecedented in his 25 years of

work in the region.

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