DHARAMSHALA, April 11: The environment researchers of the exile Tibetan administration conducted a detailed probe into China’s mining activities in Tibet and concluded that the landslide in Gyama was a ‘man-made disaster.’
The 16-page report “Assessment Report of the Recent Devastating Landslide in Gyama Valley: It’s Possible Cause and Impacts” gives the detail account of the mining disaster and its collateral issues.
On March 29, a major landslide hit a mining area in Medro Gungkar near Lhasa burying 83 workers, including two Tibetans.
“Whole swaths of land have been excavated in several sites and in some cases the whole face of a mountain has been ripped in the process of exploration, water diversion, mining and road construction. It was just a matter of time that such a large scale and aggressive expansion out of the mine was going to cause a big disaster,” the report says.
The Environment and Development Desk (EDD) of the exile Tibetan government reports that the landslide in Gyama is ‘a man-made’ phenomenon rather than a natural disaster and the steepness of the slope and disintegration of rock has been the key players in causing this landslide.
Earlier, EDD has expressed their fear that this tragic incident could be a result of the aggressive expansion and large-scale exploitation of mineral in the Gyama valley and said thie is a “man-made phenomenon’’ rather than just a “natural disaster”.
“At a point, when the slope could no longer hold the weight of several million tons of debris, the whole pile which has low cohesion plummeted down the valley and the ensuing force pushed it 3 km's away.” The report reads. “This situation resembles the process of ‘debris avalanche’ or ‘waste avalanche’, which is a type of landslide characterized by the chaotic movement of rocks soil and debris mixed with water or ice.”
The report demands a full investigation from an independent party to investigate and report the real cause of this landslide.
The exile government also called upon Chinese government to ensure active participation of Tibetan people in all decision making process in Tibet; social, environmental (Environmental Impact Assessment) and cultural impacts are fully investigated; natural resources are not depleted; migration and settlement of non-Tibetans into Tibet are not facilitated; ownership of Tibetan land and resources are not transferred to non-Tibetans; and large-scale, capital-intensive and commercial projects are not facilitated inside Tibet.