In Depth: China’s Rare-Earth Hub Wrestles With a Stubborn Problem — Cleaning Up
Toxic white foam coats the surface of green waters in the eastern city of Ganzhou. As far as the eye could see this past March, almost every mountain and hill surrounding the area’s rivers were scarred from mining activities in the Jiangxi province city, one of China’s largest production bases for rare-earth elements.
In order to harvest the resource — crucial to the manufacture of many high-tech products ranging from consumer electronics to military hardware — tons of surface soil and vegetation must be moved to make way for the immense quantities of chemicals needed to extract the elements from the earth.
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