Greenpeace and Chengdu-based environmental NGO Hengduan Mountain Research Society are jointly appealing to the Sichuan Provincial Government to immediately halt mining activities in high-risk areas of geological disasters and giant panda habitats.
The groups have together released a joint report on the hazards of phosphate mining activities in Longmen Mountain, an area severely stricken by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.
The studies have found that phosphate mining in Longmen Mountain greatly exacerbates the risk of landslides and other geological disasters, threatening the safety of miners and residents downstream. In addition, phosphate mining has encroached on the region's nature reserve, impacting a native giant panda population. The environmental groups call on the Sichuan Provincial Government to immediately halt mining activities in high-risk disaster areas and giant panda habitats.
This assessment of the geological stability of Longmen Mountain was carried out by Hengduan Mountain Research Society, through field investigations and an analysis of geological structural changes. Surveying has revealed that the Wenchuan earthquake triggered a host of ongoing dangers beyond the initial damage, which have now been further aggravated by large-scale phosphate mining.
Beginning March 2012, Greenpeace also conducted a number of field trips to the Nine Mountain Nature Reserve in Sichuan, to investigate threats to a protected nature reserve that is currently housing eleven pandas in the wild. Field surveys in the Mianyuan River valley found that phosphate mining has destroyed much of the vegetation located in the hinterland of the panda habitat. Furthermore, in August 2012, the Sichuan Provincial Government changed the boundary of the nature reserve in order to award exploration rights to a mining company.