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ATC Welcomes Sino Gold's Departure from Tibet and Calls for Moratorium on Exploitation of Tibet's Re

Published by MAC on 2003-01-27

ATC Welcomes Sino Gold's Departure from Tibet and Calls for Moratorium on Exploitation of Tibet's Resources

27 January 2003

Australia Tibet Council (ATC) Media Release

Australia Tibet Council welcomed today's announcement by Australian gold miner Sino Gold of a halt to activities at their Tibetan exploration site. Sino Gold has until now been pursuing the development of a gold mine at Jinkang in eastern Tibet.

"We're pleased that Sino Gold has chosen to do the right thing," said ATCís Executive Officer Paul Bourke. "Tibet's gold and other resources rightfully belong to the Tibetan people. We believe it is irresponsible to extract non renewable resources while Tibetans are unable to exercise their internationally recognised human rights, including deciding how their resources should be used."

China invaded Tibet in 1949 and has occupied the territory since that time.

"While Sino's announcement implies that their decision to discontinue activity at Jinkang is due to insufficient reserves of gold, ATC acknowledges that it is smart positioning for Sino to take this line given their ongoing business activities in China., We believe that our campaign has also had an impact." added Mr Bourke.

ATC calls on Sino Gold to commit to a moratorium on the exploitation of Tibetan resources until Tibetans are free to decide how their resources are to be used. ATC further calls on all Australian businesses with interests in China to make the same commitment. This call is especially relevant to Australian companies engaged in preparations for the Beijing Olympics who may be inadvertently supporting the exploitation of Tibetan resources.

At present there are encouraging signs of increased contact between representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership. ATC calls on all Australian business leaders with an interest in China to use their position to promote substantive dialogue directly between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lamaís representatives.

Sino's Tibet activities triggered last year the establishment of the international Sino Gold: Hands off Tibet! Campaign Network. In Australia the Network comprises Tibet support groups, environment, human rights, aid and mining groups including The Wilderness Society, the Mercy Foundation, the Mineral Policy Institute and AID/WATCH. Overseas member groups include the Free Tibet Campaign in the UK, Tibet Justice Center and Students for a Free Tibet in the US and the Friends of Tibet in South Africa. The Network will continue to maintain a watching brief on Sino Gold and other Australian-based companies who may be supporting the extraction of Tibetan resources.

Further information:
Paul Bourke: 0419 420 526 (from outside Australia dial +61 419 420 526)

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