Earth-Friendly Elements, Mined Destructively [China]

Author: Keith Bradsher, New York Times, Published on: 26 December 2009

Some of the greenest technologies of the age, from electric cars to efficient light bulbs to very large wind turbines, are made possible by an unusual group of elements called rare earths... These elements come almost entirely from China, from some of the most environmentally damaging mines in the country, in an industry dominated by criminal gangs... Here in Guyun Village, a small community in southeastern China..., the environmental damage can be seen in the red-brown scars of barren clay that run down narrow valleys and the dead lands below... Miners...[use] acids to extract the rare earths. The acids ultimately wash into streams and rivers, destroying rice paddies and fish farms and tainting water supplies. [refers to Great Western Technologies, Toyota, Osram (part of Siemens), Vestas, Goldwind]

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Related companies: Osram (part of Siemens) Siemens Toyota Vestas Wind Systems