Big mineral find made China build Tibet rail

This is interesting. It could reduce chinese dependence on foreign raw materials. And create even more tension with the Tibet region.

What motivated China to spend a colossal $3.7 billion on the Tibet railway? At least one of the secret reasons has now tumbled out. Chinese geologists have disclosed having found 16 large copper, lead, zinc, iron ore and, possibly, crude oil deposits along the Qinghai-Tibet railway. The deposits promise to reduce China’s dependence on minerals from several countries, including India.

Critics had questioned China’s claim that development of Tibet was the sole purpose behind the investment, which is not likely to be realised through income from passenger traffic. Some of the reasons cited were Beijing’s need to integrate Tibet with the Chinese mainland and improve military capabilities along the Himalayan border touching India, Nepal and Myanmar.

The deposits are expected to yield 18 million tonnes of copper and 10 million tonnes of lead and zinc, Meng Xianlai, director of the China Geological Survey, has announced. China is starved of mineral resources to feed its burgeoning industry and spends several billion dollars a year on imports.

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