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Tibet Enlarges Mineral Deposits Prospecting

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 05/07/31; July 31, 2005.]

CRI Online

Anchor: China's southwest Tibet Autonomous Region is very rich in a large variety of mineral resources. Tibet is currently trying to extend the prospecting of these deposits to boost the local economy. CRI reporter Wei Tong takes a closer look.

Reporter: The world's highest copper pit has been built in southeast Tibet. It is 5,400 meters above sea level. Copper manufacturing has a long history in this region and pits are widely scattered all over the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. But now it's being taken to a new level.

Meng Xianlai, director-general of China's Geological Survey says there has been a breakthrough in the extraction of mineral deposits in Tibet and this industry will enjoy a promising future.

"Our main task is to prospect the metallurgic regions along the valley of the Yarlung Zangbo River and Nu river. So far, the copper ore in the two regions has reached 20 million tons, accounting for one third of China's total copper resources."

Geologists have verified mineral resources worth 650 billion yuan at 1,800 sites in Tibet. These reserves contain 17 different kinds of mineral, including 5,000 tons of silver, 10 million tons of lead and zinc as well as nearly 400 million tons of iron ore.

Since 1999, China has invested a total of 1.1 billion yuan, or 140 million US dollars in prospecting mineral resources in Tibet. Now more than 900 mines have been built up, filling the gap of mineral exploration in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as the roof of the world.

The vice governor of Tibet Autonomous Region, Nima Cering, says his government will put more resources into mineral prospecting to boost the local economy.

"In the next five years, we'll make the mineral industry the pillar industry in Tibet. We'll increase input in mineral exploration, seek foreign investment, introduce a market-oriented system and build a complete network for mineral resources development and management."

Nima Cering notes prospecting mineral deposits will speed up economic growth and offer more job opportunities for local people.

At present, the output value of minerals makes up only 4 percent of Tibet's GDP, so there is a big potential for the industry.

Wei Tong, CRI News.

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