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China: Graphite production for lithium-ion batteries causes severe environmental pollution; complaints by villagers are suppressed

Author: Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post, Published on: 9 January 2017

“In your phone, in their air - A trace of graphite is in consumer tech. In these Chinese villages, it’s everywhere.”, 2 October 2016

…[V]irtually all…[lithium] batteries use graphite, and its cheap production in China, often under lax environmental controls, produces old-fashioned industrial pollution. At five towns in two provinces…Washington Post journalists heard the same story from villagers living near graphite companies: sparkling night air, damaged crops, homes and belongings covered in soot, polluted drinking water — and government officials inclined to look the other way to benefit a major employer. After leaving these Chinese mines and refiners, much of the graphite is sold to Samsung SDI, LG Chem and Panasonic — the three largest manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries. Those companies supply batteries to major consumer companies such as Samsung, LG, General Motors and Toyota…Some provinces in China…issued fines to several graphite companies. But the pollution continues. Villagers said the cleanup efforts failed…because local authorities are closely allied with company officials and unwilling to acknowledge the gravity of the environmental trouble. Complaints about the pollution are often met with intimidation…

[Also refers to: Amazon.com, Amperex Technology Ltd. (ATL), Apple, Aoyu Graphite Group, BTR, Haida Graphite, Hensen Graphite, Hitachi Chemical, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Nippon Carbon, Shanshan, Tesla]

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Related companies: Amazon.com Apple General Motors LG Chem Panasonic Samsung Samsung SDI (part of Samsung) Tesla Motors Toyota