China’s biggest gold mine found in Muslim majority province of Xinjiang

Soldiers of the Gold Mining Unit survey mountains in Xinjiang province.

Geologists have discovered China’s largest gold mine in the Muslim majority province of Xinjiang, according to the 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.

Muslims of Xinjiang

Xinjiang comprises a large part of western China and is rich in oil reserves. It has a Muslim majority population, most of whom are Uighurs of Turkic origin. They speak the Turkic-Uighur language and are culturally quite distinct from the Han Chinese.

Uighur Muslims
Uighur Muslims

Muslim presence in China dates back centuries. There are even reports of Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqas (ra), a relative and companion of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), travelling to China and inviting the Chinese emperor to Islam. The Great Mosque of Guangzhou, which still exists today, is thought to have been built by Sa’ad (ra).

Muslim presence in China was relatively calm until the Manchu (Qing) dynasty began persecuting Muslims for their religion. The Muslims rebelled against the Manchu government a number of times but the rebellions were brutally crushed.

Matters got worse under the Communist government of Mao Zhedong when Islam was specifically targeted, many mosques and Islamic schools were closed and Muslims were tortured and killed.

Although the current Chinese government claims to offer fair and equal treatment to its Muslim population, Muslims in Xinjiang have been victims of systemic discrimination and persecution for some years now. The government has clamped down on the Uighur’s religious practices under the guise of “fighting extremism”.

These measures have supposedly been taken in response to clashes between Uighurs and the police earlier this year.

However, the deadliest violence that occurred in recent times in Xinjiang was in 2009 that led to the death of over 150 people and more than a thousand being injured.

Many Muslims have disappeared since then and their families are still being harassed by security forces.

Campaigners for Uighur rights have said China’s policies towards the ethnic group in Xinjiang are repressive.

As you’re here…

5Pillars have one humble request from you…

Thousands of Muslims around the world visit our website for news every day. Due to the unfortunate reality of covering Muslim-related news in a heightened Islamophobic environment, our advertising and fundraising revenues have decreased significantly.

5Pillars is editorially and financially independent, with no sectarian or political allegiance to any particular group or movement. Our journalism has been exclusively grassroots focussed and our sole purpose is to defend Islam and Muslims in the media.

This makes us unique in comparison to other online Muslim media outlets who are neither independently regulated by a reputable body nor are they managed by qualified journalists.

Our journalism takes time, money and effort to deliver. But we do it because we believe we have a duty to Allah (swt).

You may not agree or like everything we publish. However, which other Muslim news site that is run by experienced journalists will take on the responsibility of being a shield for Islam and Muslims in the media?

If you follow 5Pillars, and you understand its importance in today’s climate, then please support us for as little as £5 a month, it only takes a minute to make a donation. Jazakallah khayran.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:“The best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Ibn Mājah]

 

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT 5PILLARS

Add your comments below