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Pollution on a disastrous scale: Chinese rare-earth production

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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:52 AM
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Pollution on a disastrous scale: Chinese rare-earth production
Hidden out of sight behind smoke-shrouded factory complexes in the city of Baotou, and patrolled by platoons of security guards, lies a five-mile wide tailing lake. It has killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill and put one of Chinas key waterways in jeopardy.

This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for seven million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its components.

...

Jamie Choi, an expert on toxics for Greenpeace China, says villagers living near the lake face horrendous health risks from the carcinogenic and radioactive waste.

Theres not one step of the rare earth mining process that is not disastrous for the environment. Ores are being extracted by pumping acid into the ground, and then they are processed using more acid and chemicals.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html#ixzz1g3651dQ4


The lake of toxic waste at Baotou, China, which as been dumped by the rare earth processing plants in the background

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CrispyQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. We do not deserve this fine planet.
Oh well. If we continue down this path, & I don't see other alternatives being considered, our fair Mother will swat us down & put us in our place. We cannot live outside of nature.

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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Well, it's like William Munny said...
"Deserve"'s got nothing to do with it.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:02 AM
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3. I think we should keep unreccing this, because that makes it not true, right?
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Wow! Hey! Does that work!?
Someone else post some inconvenient facts, and lets all unrec them!

Damn! You may be on to the solution to all of our problems! I believe I will submit your name for the Presidential Medal of Freedom!
:patriot:



OK, sincerely, unrecing something, just because you dont like the facts it presents is so childish
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I try to avoid "unrec-whining", but unreccing news reports makes me insane.
That is to say, more than my background level of insane.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:22 AM
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4. Scary, because those chemicals are used in our hi tech gadgets.
:(


--imm
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:48 PM
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7. Could be why they want to limit rare earth exports...
China will export its most polluting industries to "developing" nations just like we exported ours to China.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:54 PM
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8. And some people think it's so simple to re-open rare earth mines here in the US
While I don't think we'd fuck it up on as vast a scale as China, this article says it all: every step of rare earth mining is disastrous for the environment.
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Bob Wallace Donating Member (132 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:27 PM
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9. Things change...
From the NYT,

"In the name of fighting pollution, China has sent the price of compact fluorescent light bulbs soaring in the United States.

By closing or nationalizing dozens of the producers of rare earth metals which are used in energy-efficient bulbs and many other green-energy products China is temporarily shutting down most of the industry and crimping the global supply of the vital resources.

China produces nearly 95 percent of the worlds rare earth materials, and it is taking the steps to improve pollution controls in a notoriously toxic mining and processing industry."

"Chinese officials here at the conference said the government was worried about polluted water, polluted air and radioactive residues from the rare earth industry, particularly among many small and private companies, some of which operate without the proper licenses. While rare earths themselves are not radioactive, they are always found in ore containing radioactive thorium and require careful handling and processing to avoid contaminating the environment.

Most of the countrys rare earth factories have been closed since early August, including those under government control, to allow for installation of pollution control equipment that must be in place by Oct. 1, executives and regulators said.

The government is determined to clean up the industry, said Xu Xu, chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters, a government-controlled group that oversees the rare earth industry. The entrepreneurs dont care about environmental problems, dont care about labor problems and dont care about their social responsibility, he said. And now we have to educate them."



http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/business/global/china-consolidates-control-of-rare-earth-industry.html?pagewanted=all
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