Coal pits in the Sanjiangyuan National Reserve will be fully reclaimed before October, the local government said in a recent update, after a media report saying that coal mining damaged local ecology went viral.
Sanjiangyuan was found to be severely damaged by exposed coal mines, leading to a collapse of some mountains, The Beijing News reported on Wednesday.
Soon after the report was published, the central environmental inspection team led by the Ministry of Environmental Protection said that they had started an investigation.
The local government in Yushu, Northwest China's Qinghai Province, told The Beijing News that the coal pits in three mining areas will be reclaimed before the end of September.
Sanjiangyuan, meaning "source of three rivers" in Chinese, is home to the headwaters of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Lancang (Mekong) River in Qinghai.
The report revealed that three mines, Zhasu, Niyaxi and Daha, have been damaging the local ecology in the core zone of the reserve. Two of the mines were shut down, but the other is still running.
Sporadic black mining pits found in the mountains near Zhasu mine have severely damaged the grasslands. Because of the substandard coal mining practices, coal and water waste generated by the illegal mining business has subsided the nearby mountain, The Beijing News said.
"The region will suffer damages in the absence of strict official protection and supervision," an NGO staff who has participated in preservation work in the region, told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.
"The local ecological problems can be effectively solved when shepherds join in the mission and keep an eye on their nearby grasslands," he said.
The problem is rooted in unclear administrative division of the area, which allows miners to do mining in areas over which administrative jurisdiction is not clear, the Procuratorate Daily commented on Thursday.
The Sanjiangyuan National Park Administration, the Land and Resources Department of Qinghai Province and the local government will work together to solve the coal mining problems, in an attempt to recover the ecology damaged by mining, Li Xiaonan, director of the Sanjiangyuan National Park Administration, told The Beijing News.
Authorities will invite a third-party evaluation organization to join the restoration work, Li said.