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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

Green Biz- ‘Reimagining rare earth elements in a sacrifice zone-free future’

Short article on the environmental degradation caused by rare earth mining in Baotao, China using the concept of ‘sacrifice zones’. It also highlights alternative visions for more sustainable and more just production of REEs, for instance through green chemistry or product re-design.

‘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

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.

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.

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.

Boom in Mining Rare Earths Poses Mounting Toxic Risks

An article published at the Yale University, School of Environment. The article discusses REE mining and its negative environmental impacts (include ecosystem) with multiple examples.

Rare earth elements and old mines spell trouble for Western U.S. water supplies

An article about REE mines and impacts on water supplies and biodiversity in Colorado, USA.