the world’s largest mine tailings pond

 40.638902, 109.683631

40.638902, 109.683631 (ed. note: notice what appears to be an ore processing/factory complex to right of “pond”)

Discovered via this NYT article re: the toxic legacy of China’s exploration of rare earth minerals.

We read;

Whole villages between the city of Baotou and the Yellow River in Inner Mongolia have been evacuated and resettled to apartment towers elsewhere after reports of high cancer rates and other health problems associated with the numerous rare earth refineries there….Most of that waste has been dumped into the world’s largest mine tailings pond, which covers four square miles near the Yellow River on the western outskirts of Baotou.

Built in the 1950s under Mao Zedong, the tailings pond lacks a liner to prevent the leaking of radioactive waste and toxins into the groundwater, where they have been gradually seeping toward the Yellow River. There is no evidence that the waste and toxins have reached the river, but the Chinese government plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars pumping out as much contaminated groundwater as possible and pumping enormous quantities of fresh water into the earth to dilute what is left before it reaches the Yellow River“.


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