Lhara Village's community stopped a gold mine project,Tibet, China

In the Spring 2009, the community of Lhara Village began a very strong protest to protect an holy mountain, against a gold mine project by Chinese mining firm, Zhongkai Co. After months of standoff both sides agreed that the mine would cease operations.


In spring 2009 the Chinese mining firm, Zhongkai Co., has been authorized to excavate the area, Ser Ngol Lo, planned for gold mine in Tsangshul sub-district (Lhara Village, Markham County, Chamdo Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region's). In Tibetan Ser Ngol Lo means ‘Year of Gold and Silver’. It is a place which locals consider a sacred mountain and that they have historically worshiped, conducting rituals in the event of drought [1].

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Basic Data
NameLhara Village's community stopped a gold mine project,Tibet, China
ProvinceMarkham county
SiteSerNgul Lo, Lhara Village, Chamdo Prefecture,TAR
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesGold
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsGold and copper are at the heart of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan for Tibet. In Tibet Autonomous Region, in 2011, chromite mining is in steady decline, even though China has no other domestic source for a metal essential to the manufacture of stainless steel; and copper mining has barely begun. Only gold is mined intensively, in many locations, usually illegally, in defiance of official policy that encourages large scale mining and outlaws small scale operators. Both copper and gold prices have risen steadily to record highs, at a time when China’s demand is at an all-time high, the global price rise being the result. There is little reason to think the prices of either will fall significantly any time soon, providing strong incentives for extraction from Tibet [4].
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date01/03/2009
End Date08/06/2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesZhongkai Company from China
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Land occupation
Street protest/marches
The protesters stayed day and nigh blocking the road leading to the planned mine [1] ; The protesters put religious books on their heads and are vowing to resist [2].
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Other[5] Green Tibet
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Land dispossession
Other[5] Green Tibet
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseProject cancelled
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The standoff has been going on for several months, more or less three-four months thanks to the local community's determination. On June, 8 2009, Tibetan residents and Chinese authorities agreed that the mine would cease operations and all points of agreement were set down in writing in the presence of prefecture- and county-level officials [3].
Sources and Materials

[4] Copper and gold mining in Tibet, Copper and gold mining in Tibet, October 11 2011 by rukor-admin
[click to view]

“Environmental Protest on the Tibetan plateau” released by Britain based Tibet Watch, January 2015
[click to view]

[5]Green Tibet, Annual Newsletter 2011, Environment and Development Desk
[click to view]


[1]Asianews.it, Hundreds of Tibetans ready to die to defend ‘sacred mountain’ from destruction, 05/26/2009
[click to view]

[2] Radio Free Asia, Standoff at Tibet Gold Mine, 2009-05-24
[click to view]

[3]Meltdownintibet.com , Standoff ai Tibet gold mine,May 24, 2009; Update: Mine dispute largely settled, June 9, 2009
[click to view]

Other Documents

[1]Asianews.it, Hundreds of Tibetans ready to die to defend ‘sacred mountain’ from destruction, 05/26/2009

[click to view]

Environmental damage caused by years of mining near Lhasa. Undated Photo: Woeser [2] Radio Free Asia, Standoff at Tibet Gold Mine, 2009-05-24

[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorMyriam Bartolucci, EjAtlas internship researcher, [email protected]
Last update08/02/2018