[MSA-talk] REE...

Reid Cooper reid_cooper at brown.edu
Mon Nov 27 17:03:44 EST 2017

Hi, All;

This has been an interesting discussion.

The big REE mine in China is at Bayan Obo, about 120km north of Baotou in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia.  It’s pretty impressive: Google Earth coordinates (decimal degrees) 41.80N, 109.97E.  Huge tailing piles, free to leach onto the plain.  Lots of folks living right nearby.

The ore is transported to Baotou for processing.  Mostly via electrochemistry.  Large amounts of liquid waste, dumped into a 10 sq. km surface pool (Google Earth: 40.65N, 109.70E).  Significant subsequent land pollution.

My son and his family (wife & infant daughter) lived in Baotou for ~2.5 years (2012-2014); he was there teaching English to school children.  My wife & I visited in January 2014.  Not recommended, and not just because of the weather (high while we were there ~10ºF).  A small Chinese town of ~2.3 million souls, the industrial pollution is palpable and the the life for the people pretty stark, at least as we perceived it.  Not a lot of charm…

Here’s an interesting article re Baotou & REE from The Guardian from a few years back (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/aug/07/china-rare-earth-village-pollution <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/aug/07/china-rare-earth-village-pollution>).  It rings true.

kind regards,

Reid F. Cooper, Professor
Department of Earth, Environmental
	and Planetary Sciences
Brown University
Box 1846; 324 Brook Street
Providence, RI  02912-9019  USA
Telephone: 401-863-2160
Facsimile: 401-863-2058

> On Nov 23, 2017, at 7:45 PM, Hovis, Guy L <hovisguy at lafayette.edu> wrote:
> I've had the request below from a colleague. Any help would be appreciated.
> "Do you know about the mining of REE that are used in batteries? Specifically I’m interested in those used in hybrid and/or plug in hybrid vehicles? I am trying to learn more about the environmental impact of these different approaches to transportation."
> Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving to all,
> Guy Hovis
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> MSA-talk mailing list
> MSA-talk at minlists.org
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