Min­eral ex­trac­tion halted to save camels

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By MAO WEIHUA in Urumqi maowei­hua@chi­nadaily.com.cn

In moves to pro­tect wildlife, more than 130 min­ing projects in two large na­ture re­serves in north­west­ern China have been closed, while 15 more have been told to cease oper­a­tions when their licenses ex­pire.

West­ern Re­gion Gold Co had two ap­pli­ca­tions for gold and iron ex­plo­ration in the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion re­jected on Aug 4 as the land it wanted to ex­plore is in the Lop Nur Wild Camel Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve.

The com­pany was also told to halt all ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties in the area, and that all fu­ture ap­pli­ca­tions will be re­jected — in line with a na­tional guide­line is­sued this year that aims to cre­ate an eco­log­i­cal “red line” by the end of 2020.

The moves come af­ter au­thor­i­ties closed down 132 prospect­ing projects cur­rently op­er­at­ing in the camel re­serve and in the Al­tun­shan Na­ture Re­serve, both of which are lo­cated in Ruo­qiang county.

“Since April last year, we have been no­ti­fy­ing prospect­ing and min­ing com­pa­nies,” said Alim­jan Ma­mat, head of min­eral resources man­age­ment for the county land and resources bureau. “Some stopped ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties in or­der to avoid un­nec­es­sary in­vest­ment and losses.”

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