MAC/20: Mines and Communities

China Update

Published by MAC on 2006-12-01


China Update

1st December 2006

* Two mine managers have been jailed for their part in the Chenjiashan Coal Mine disaster two years ago which cost the lives of 166 mineworkers. But a spate of fatalities at coal mines over the past few weeks provides little confidence that the "accident" rate is diminishing (see story below)

* Four months ago on MAC we announced that a mining company had been temporarily halted in its plans to construct a copper mine at Yulong in China-occupied Tibet, because of fears that its operations would contaminate a lake. Now another company - Continental Minerals has been told by the regime that it won't be able to access hydropower from another lake for its Xietongmen gold and copper mine in the so-called "Ganzi Autonomous" region., because "tourism could be more profitable".

But this won't stop either the regime or mining companies continuing to invade the country , both to grab minerals and construct hydro-power stations to feed their energy needs.

The London and Hong Kong listed Datang Power ( a subsidiary of the eponymous China state company) has said it has already signed a deal to build two big hydropower plants in Ganzi at a cost of RMB 22.5 billion ($2.85 billion). And South China Resources (registered on the London AIM) told Interfax news agency at the end of November that the company " would certainly consider developing deposits in Tibet with local partners".

The biggest single shareholder in South China Resources is global investment bank, JP Morgan Chase, with 15% of the equity.

* Rio Tinto is up to its old tricks. It's "advising" the Chinese regime on all aspects of the state's mining policy. This of course is par for the course for Rio which, both on its own and through its sponsored Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Policy and Law at Dundee University, has been engineering foreign investment-friendly mineral codes for nearly thirty years

* Australia's Sino Gold and Gold Fields of South Africa are joining forces to explore China's potentially large gold reserves, the two companies announced.

*Merill Lynch is hopping mad at pollution from Hong Kong's coal fired power plants. Because its making the citizens sick? No - because it's harming the "property sector " and scaring off "global talent." And that would be bad for business... (see story below)

* Australian scientists confirm that global emissions of carbon dioxide are increasing at more than double the rate they were a decade ago. But don't blame (only) the Chinese. While China's rate of acceleration in GGE emissions is the highest of any country, its emissions per person are still below the global average.

And China's accumulated contributions to CO2 emissions since 1800 have, say the scientists, been only 5% of the global total - while the contributions of the US and Europe have each been five times higher. (see below)

[Additional information for this update comes from Interfax China news, November 17-December 1 2006]

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