Categories: Environment

China needs precious metals and will damage the environment to get them


The gold rush of the 21st-century is the mining of precious metals and minerals wherever they are found in order to supply the burgeoning high-tech industries. The obvious precious metal which is in great demand these days is lithium which is extracted by China in countries such as Chile which has the most lithium. Apparently it is extracted from the salt lakes in that country. Lithium is a key element in car batteries. There must be massive pressure on digging it up as fast as possible.

Samarium. Collage: PoC based in images in the public domain.

Samarium is another precious metal which is mined in China. The metal is extracted from minerals. It is used in wind turbines and solar farms. China has a monopoly on its production.

My research indicates that illegal mining in China for precious metals such as samarium accounts for 30% of the global market and about 40% of the domestic market. This applies to the Chinese rare earth market which is uncontrolled.

This sector of Chinese commerce “pays little or no attention to the environmental damage of their mining and processing actions”. The quote comes from a study on (The impact of unregulated ionic clay rare earth mining in China).

Samarium is a rare earth metal. The major application of samarium is in samarium-cobalt magnets. These have a permanent magnetisation and samarium compounds are able to withstand higher temperatures without losing their magnetic properties. Surprisingly, it is more common than tin in the earth’s crust.

We know that China is in Africa in a big way. They are there for two reasons, the first of which is precious metals and minerals for their manufacturing industries and secondly the wildlife because they like to poach wildlife so that the body parts of these precious animals can be used in their bogus traditional medicine. And please don’t defend their traditional medicine just because it is ancient and thousands of years old. That is the reason why it is bogus because thousand years ago they didn’t have any clue about real medicine.


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