By Tenzin Sangmo
Mining in Muri Grassland/file
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 4: A mining authorization letter used by a Chinese mining company has turned out to be fake, after 40 years of rampant mining in the nomadic area of Muri in Tso Nyön prefecture.
The company, Shin Chin, has reportedly earned 10 million Yuan in profit so far while causing a heavy loss to nature and the local residents in the region.
An area as large as the capital city Lhasa has been mined already, turning the grassland into exposed rock surfaces.
According to Trimleng, a blog shedding light on the issue, mining first started in the area in 1959 after the occupation of Tibet. It was discontinued in the mid 80’s and resumed afterwards.
In 2001, a Hong Kong mining company called Halee obtained a mining authorization letter from the local government and sold the document to two mining companies named Shin Chin and Chin Tuhu Ti.
In 2005, a dispute arose between the two over who can mine in the region. To settle the dispute, the trading office of the regional government granted the authorization letter numbered 296 to Shin Chin Company and ousted the other.
Ten years of rampant mining had greatly impoverished the natural resources in the area.
In 2016, the Discipline Inspection Department of Tso Ngön government through an investigation found that document numbered 296 was forged. The regional government immediately withdrew the document.
In September 2018, the official responsible for issuing the document, Wang Shihey, was arrested although the mining continued unabated.
Dolma Kyab, the author of Trimleng blog has reportedly said that Chinese environment protection agencies have written about the harmful impact sustained by the region including the death of livestock.
The mining area is the source of three rivers and other water bodies that flow into Machu river.
Nomads and monks from the area have said the tremors caused by the use of dynamiting have impacted the stability of the residential housing, resulting in the inability of new buildings to stand for long.
Kyab has reportedly said that since there are criteria to be met before mining, especially seed money, the company was found to have forged receipts from the bank where it procured and returned the loan after acquiring the authorization letter. She alluded that the previously ousted mining company played a significant role in proving the forgery of Shin Chin mining that turned out to be a bogus company. She added that the locals probably didn’t know about the new finding yet.
The case has been reported to both the Tso Ngön prefecture government and Gansu prefecture government.
It was learned from Kyab that mining authorization letters are bought and sold as the officials and mining companies work hand in hand, the former maintaining especially close ties with Hong Kong mining companies.
The nomads, on the other hand, have no channel to file complaints and the residents in the vicinity have been paid handsome compensation to remain mute spectators.
Two monks, an elderly and a younger one who produced and distributed CDs about the forgery were imprisoned for two years.