|New discovery in China's Xinjiang province could have up to 200 tonnes of gold (Reuters)|
Massive Gold Mine Discovered in China's Xinjiang Province
By Nigel Wilson
July 31, 2014 10:27 BST 18 5
Geologists have discovered a massive gold mine in China's restive Xinjiang province, according to state news agency Xinhau.
The new find, close to the border with Kyrgzstan, has proven gold reserves of 127 tonnes, Xinhua said. If the estimates are correct, the reserves could be worth around 40 billion yuan ($6.5bn, £3.8bn, €4.8bn.)
It the biggest gold mine discovered in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region to date.
Prospectors have explored Xinjiang for more than two decades, finding 21 gold ore belts in that time.
The Xinjiang Geology and Mineral Exploration Bureau's Cui Hongbin said 127 tonnes of gold reserves had been reported by June, as cited by Xinhua. The mine could potentially have a capacity of 200 tonnes of gold, said Cui.
Xinjiang Tongyuan Mining Limited led the exploration effort, according to reports in the National Business Daily newspaper.
The South China Morning Post reported that no mining companies have yet made a deal to explore the newly discovered gold.
The discovery is a rare success story in the exploration sector that has suffered in recent years. The mining industry has suffered from the global financial crisis, with companies slashing exploration budgets for nonferrous minerals by 29% in 2013.
Xinjiang recently suffered a deadly outbreak of violence, as dozens were killed or injured when an armed gang attacked a police station on Monday.
While information is hard to come by in the tightly censored region, reports suggest that the gang targeted police officers and Han Chinese settlers in a deadly knife attack. Other reports suggest the violence occurred when police cracked down on Uighur Muslims observing Ramadan.
Campaigners for Uighur rights have said China's policies towards the ethnic group in Xinjiang are repressive.