An early morning landslide today trapped 83 workers in a gold mine in Tibet.
China Central Television obtained information about this incident from a local official. The landslide covers around 1.5 square miles in the Maizhokunggar County of Lhasa, the regional capital. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the 83 goldmine workers were from a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corp. Xinhua also reported that two of the trapped workers were Tibetan.
The landslide was said to be caused by a natural disaster.
ABC News 4 reported that doctors at the local hospitals in the area were notified of the incident and told to prepare for any survivors that are sent to them. More beds are being prepped, but only 16 doctors are said to be on duty at the moment. One doctor (surname Ge) had this to say:
We were ordered to make all efforts to receive the injured.
WRAL reported on the large number of safety personnel sent in to rescue the buried workers:
More than 1,000 police, firefighters, soldiers and medics have been deployed to the site to conduct searches armed with devices to detect signs of life and accompanied by sniffer dogs, reports said. Around 30 excavators were also digging away at the site late Friday as temperatures fell to just below freezing.
Rescue efforts for the trapped workers have been under way since the evening, local time, and are still ongoing.
On a side note, the Chinese government has been pushing for more mining efforts in Tibet so that economic growth and higher wages could be more prominent in the area. Tibet is known to contain a large amount of copper, chromium, bauxite and other precious minerals and metals. Tibet is described as being one China’s fastest growing frontier locations.
This latest move by the Chinese government has it’s doubters, though. They reason that this mining rush could do harm to Tibet’s high-altitude ecosystem. And they also reason that the recent influx of Han Chinese people may threaten the Buddhist lifestyle that is strong in Tibet.