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All Rare Earth Elements Education Resources

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MIT Podcast- ‘Rare Earths for the Common People’

A podcast telling rich stories of domestic politics and local communities affected by REE mining in China, covering governance and environmental issues. They touch on protests against REE production from villagers in Guangxi province

Environmental Justice Atlas- ‘Rare Earth Mining of Chalco, Yulin, Guangxi, China’

Short case summary of protests which took place in a village in Guanxi, China due to concerns around pollution from a new REE mining project, particularly related to potential impacts on drinking water. Summarises the broader context of REE extraction and environmental impacts in China

Huber and Steininger (2022)- ‘Critical sustainability issues in the production of wind and solar electricity generation as well as storage facilities and possible solutions’

Recent article summarising the supply chain risks associated with critical mineral production, including rare earths, across human rights violations, poor governance and corruption in the mining sector and toxicity, as well as possible regulatory solutions to these problems. Includes a useful table in the introduction highlighting the sustainability/supply chain issues for each of the relevant critical minerals including REEs:

‘Rare Earth (2021)’

A short film highlighting the environmental impacts caused by REE mining in Baotou, China:

The PRI (Principles of Responsible Investment) Podcast- ‘Rare earth minerals’

A short podcast with Hongqiao Liu from China Water Risk on the environmental sustainability issues with the supply of REEs, including the technology used for the mining process

Science History Institute- ‘Rare Earths: The Hidden Cost to Their Magic’

A podcast on the hidden environmental damage caused by the extraction and processing of REEs and potential scientific solutions to these problems

Kleinman Center for Energy Policy- ‘Rare Earth Elements: A Resource Constraint of the Energy Transition’

An explainer on the growing for REEs as a clean energy solution- including useful graphs such as REE demand by sector- but also the environmental costs of REE mining and policy solutions.

New Security Beat- ‘As China Adjusts for “True Cost” of Rare Earths, What Does It Mean for Decarbonization?’

A summary article based on the report, ‘Rare Earths: Shades of Grey,’ published by China Water Risk, a Hong Kong non-profit initiative, describing the regulatory plans and clean-up developments in China in response to the environmental and health costs caused by REE mining which are not captured in the current prices of REEs (hence, these are not the true costs).

Harvard International Review- ‘Not So “Green” Technology: The Complicated Legacy of Rare Earth Mining’

A summary article about the negative and health effects of rare earth mining, particularly groundwater contamination and toxic waste, drawing on examples from China.

BBC- The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust

An article (written in a journalistic/immersive style and with various photos of the site) on the environmental costs of rare earth mining in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, one of the industrial centres of rare earth mining production, with a particular focus on the artificial toxic lake in Baotao, created to be a tailings pond.

China Wrestles with the Toxic Aftermath of Rare Earth Mining

An article on the toxic impacts and legacies of rare earth mining in China and the significant challenges and costs of clean-up operations

The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust

An article discusses the REE mining pollution in China, provides lots of site pictures.

Room to Manoeuvre? Mining, biodiversity and protected areas

A report talks about general mining and impacts to biodiversity and ecosystem. Free access, about 60 pages, produced by the international institute for environment and development.

The Race Is On to Mine the Deep Sea—But Scientists Are Wary

An article produced by the national geographic. It talks about the threats of REE mining to biodiversity in the ocean.

Mining Rare-Earth Elements from Fossilized Fish

An interesting article about the impacts of mining REE to fish. It discusses that REE mining threats submarine biodiversity

Toxic and radioactive: The damage from mining rare elements

Low wages, water shortage and acidified landscapes: Mining critical raw materials endangers human rights and the environment. Yet the industry is expanding. An article discusses the toxic and radioactive damage during REE mining, and provides very interesting pictures.

A Climate Solution Lies Deep Under the Ocean—But Accessing It Could Have Huge Environmental Costs

A Time magazine article, including a 4 mins video, talks about REE mining under the ocean and the potential impacts to submarine biodiversity, environmental challenges, and other concerns.

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