China accounts for 97 per cent of global rare earth production and is said to have 87 per cent of the world’s rare earth deposits.
But in an attempt to curb pollution and protect its resources, the country began to slow exports of the metals.
Rare earths are used in everything from wind turbines to smartphones. The U.S., EU, and Japan have filed complaints with the World Trade organisation over these curbs.
Take a look at rare earth mining in China and its impact on local villagers and the environment.
A miner shovels cast-off tailings (out of a channel sluicing crushed mineral ore containing rare earths) to a disposal dam on the edge of the Baotou.
Often the sludge is just dumped in open mounds. Here we see pipes from a rare earth smelting plant dump polluted water near Xinguang Village.
A villager is seen shoveling cast-off tailings of crushed ore that contain rare earths beyond a field of dead crops.
Villagers close to these sites have complained that they have threatened their livelihood and air and water pollutants are poisoning their families, water, plants and livestock.
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