Tom Albanese – Chief Executive, Rio Tinto. 27 March 2008
This story starts, as always these days, with China
in a move that underlines the undiminished appetite of the world's most dynamic new economy for raw materials
On June 13 the Federal Court in Darwin, Australia delivered a blow to the spirits of the Gudanji, Yanyuwa, Garrawa and Mara peoples.
“That's it. You've killed us. That's it. I can't say any more"
In a long and drawn out process, Xtrata first proposed an open cut mine five years ago.
This expansion plan includes a 5.5 kilometer diversion of the river which
will interfere with major rainbow serpent sites the mine's general manager Brian Hearn says they will not be negotiating an agreement with the traditional owners.
"The only option for us is we have to divert the river or close up and go away,"
Xstrata also had issued trespass notices to a number of traditional owners who visited the mine site on May 21.
“We must strike a balance between development and the environment”
Northern Australia's rivers are generally the best in Australia that are left today
"There's a lot of money spent by explorers and mines within the Territory”
If the expansion does not proceed, the mine will close and 270 jobs will be lost.
"We've got to prove to you mob that we've lost everything"
"The argument that you should not touch that river on spiritual and cultural grounds has never changed"
to tap a large deposit of zinc, a mineral which is skyrocketing in value
"They have dug up the remains of my people. What are they doing with these bones?"
Xstrata denies link to flesh-eating disease
As with many dams, there is a debate over costs and benefits. Although there are potential economic benefits such as flood control and hydroelectric power, there are also concerns about the relocation of people who have been or will be displaced by the rising waters; siltation that could limit the dam's useful life; loss of numerous valuable archaeological and cultural sites; and the adverse effects of increased pollution upon the regional ecosystem.http://www.ianandwendy.com/slideshow/OtherTrips/ChinaVietnamCambodia/China/Yangtze/
Province, where the river turns 180 degree from south- to north-bound
Jialiang Gao www.peace-on-earth.org
The Yangtze River or Chang Jiang is the longest river in Asia and the
third-longest in the world, after the Amazon in South America, and the
Nile in Africa. The river is about 6,300 km long and flows from its
source in Qinghai Province, eastwards into the East China Sea at
Shanghai. It has traditionally been considered a dividing line between
North and South China. As the largest river in the region, the Yangtze
is historically, culturally, and economically important to China.
The Yangtze flows into the East China Sea and was navigable by
ocean-going vessels up to a thousand miles from its mouth even before
the Three Gorges Dam was built. As of June 2003, this dam spans the
river, flooding Fengjie, the first of a number of towns affected by
the massive flood control and power generation project. This is the
largest comprehensive irrigation project in the world, and has a
significant impact on the China's agriculture. Its proponents argue
that it will free people living along the river from floods that have
repeatedly threatened them in the past, and will offer them
electricity and water transport -- though at the expense of
permanently flooding many existing towns (including numerous ancient
cultural relics) and causing large-scale changes in the local ecology.
Opponents of the dam point out that there are three different kinds of
floods on the Yangtze River: floods which originate in the upper
reaches, floods which originate in the lower reaches, and floods along
the entire length of the river. They argue that the Three Gorges dam
will actually make flooding in the upper reaches worse and have little
or no impact on floods which originate in the lower reaches. Twelve
hundred years of low water marks on the river were recorded in the
inscriptions and the carvings of carp at Baiheliang, now submerged.
The Yangtze is flanked with metallurgical, power, chemical, auto,
building materials and machinery industrial belts, and high-tech
development zones. It is playing an increasingly crucial role in the
river valley's economic growth and has become a vital link for
international shipping to the inland provinces. The river is a major
transportation artery for China, connecting the interior with the
coast. The river used as a waterway for commerce offer now the
possibility to cruise at leisure. Since 2004 a European luxury
cruising company has brought very high standard and with the help of
Swiss hotelier Nicolas C. Solari developed and opened three beautiful
vessels now cruising the mighty river. The river is one of the world's
busiest waterways. Traffic includes commercial traffic transporting
bulk goods such as coal as well as manufactured goods and passengers.
Cargo transportation reached 795 million tons in 2005. River
cruises several days long especially through the beautiful and scenic
Three Gorges area are becoming popular as the tourism industry grows
imports have exploded over the past three quarters, a response mostly
to the dropping of import duties on aluminium's raw material. Average
import prices for bauxite to China have risen over 40 per cent over
the past year, as imports rose to risen to 8 million tonnes a quarter.
Clearly the best place to ship bauxite to China is from Weipa and
Gove, both of which now work under the Rio Alcan flag. And that leaves
Rio pondering the delicious prospect of establishing a new growth
option for its northern Australian bauxite twins.
Rio Alcan is, of course, the construct of Rio Tinto's Comalco and
Xstrata Coal, the Xstrata Coal Emerging Indigenous Art Award is an
acquisitive prize of $30 000 awarded to an emerging Aboriginal or
Torres Strait Islander artist.