In the last years beginning from 2005, the lithium-mining operations, in the area of the Kargyaka (Ch: Gajika) site near Balang village in Minyak Lhagang (Ch: Tagong), Dartsedo County ( Ch: Kangding) in Karze Prefecture, has caused many Tibetan villagers protesters against the company Ronda Lithium Co Ltd, for polluting and killing fish in the Lung River, a tributary of Nakchu/Yalong river, the biggest river that merges with Yangtse downstream.  .
Furthermore in the area the Yulshok Gargye, one of the highest mountains in Kham region of eastern Tibet, is also one of the most sacred snow capped mountain in the region. Tibetans accuse Chinese firms of disrupting sites of spiritual significance and polluting the environment as they extract local wealth. In Lhagang, the political stakes are high since the discovery of a major reserve of lithium and rare earths, known as the Jiajika deposit. This became particularly important to China when the demand for lithium intensified due to the lithium-ion battery that powers smartphones and tablets. . The operations have caused landslide, severe damage to local forests, grasslands, and drinking water. Moreover waste from the mines has been dumped in the rivers, and mining activities have polluted the air. Tibet's rivers are the source of fresh water and livelihood for the lower riparian South East Asia and South Asian countries.  If the authorities had treated all the stakeholders equally, environmentalists, NGOs and the local Tibetans might have rejected the proposed mining project from the very beginning due to clear negative environmental and social impacts. It is evident that the local Tibetans were neither given equal participation and there wasn’t a clear instruction on the proposed project and its possible impact on the environment; the EIA, Environmental impact assessment, wasn't carried out at all.   The plant already was opposed on 2005, but it had been forcibly set up by the Chinese authorities, despite strenuous local opposition . Pollution at the site also activated demise of fish and some domestic animals in 2011, inciting protests. Activities at the mine were suspended again in 2013 after an official investigation linked pollution from the operation with a mass die-off of aquatic life in the rivers. In fact on October 2013 a contaminated water pond at a mining site overflowed into nearby rivers causing widespread pollution and resulting in the death of fish and livestock within a 20-30 kilometer radius. Drinking water for local people was polluted in Balang village, as well Raloo, Ngangkor, Lhagang and Khunup. Tibetans from the affected villages gathered at Lhagang township government offices to present a petition calling for an end to the environmental destruction. They brought large quantities of the dead fish with them as evidence, which they displayed outside the office. Following this action, communication lines in the area were cut on 14 October 2013. Officials from the county and prefecture capitals visited Lhagang and they promised to raise the issue with the higher authorities but took no further action, aside from increasing the number of police in the area in order to prevent any further action by the villagers. From this moment a number of Tibetans took to social media to vent their frustration and appeal for a solution. In 2014, three civilians petitioned Beijing to issue a ruling on the incidents, asking officials to ban mining in the area, without success.  Actually the local Tibetans' protest against the mining site caused the closing of the mining site but the company was never penalized for the damage it caused to the environment.  According to exiled Tibetans, the Chinese company re-started lithium mining in April (2016)  Consequently on 4 May 2016, again it happened: a sudden mass death of fish in the Lichu River brought hundreds of local Tibetans out on the street to protest against mining. The protesters were from nomadic villages in Minyak county . An official document dated May 6, 2016, apparently issued by the governments of Kardze Prefecture and of Dartsedo, stated that the local authorities, were calling a halt to the mining, specifically mentioning “environmental problems” and in order to “resolve remaining issues”. It appears that stopping the mining is likely to be temporary, but it is still a significant move by the local authorities. The text of the official document from Kardze announcing the temporary stop of the mining operation is translated below from Chinese into English: “The People’s Government of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and the People’s Government of Kangding City solemnly commit: the mining by the Rongdali Company in the Jiajika spodumene mining development has caused environmental problems and since no consensus has yet been reached with the people, there will be no mining until the relevant remaining issues have been resolved.
Solemnly commit! On May 6, 2016.
Signed: People’s Government of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and People’s Government of Kangding City” . Local Tibetans believe that the death of hundreds of fish is caused by the poisoned water from the mining site and suspect leakage from the water leaching site. Effectively the highly concentrated acid stored for water leaching process might have leaked and drained into the Lichu River, which in turn may have led to the contamination of water, causing death of hundreds of fish. The mining company in question should compensate for damaging river ecosystem to the local Tibetans who are dependent on the river for their daily livelihood or should take voluntary action in depolluting the Lichu River and the local environment.  In effect the article 85, in the Law of PRC on Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, states: "The party whose rights and interests are damaged by a water pollution accident is entitled to ask the party discharging pollutants to eliminate the damage and make compensation for their losses."