Clean energy’s dirty secret: How push for modern technology has made Chinese pond toxic

Posted: April 17, 2022 by oldbrew in Critique, Energy, pollution

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The report says ‘Water is still leaching from the tailings pond towards the nearby Yellow River – China’s “mother river”, its basin home to 160 million people’. Are climate obsessives and those in renewables-hungry governments content to look the other way?
– – –
There is an open wound in Baotou, says Sky News.

This city in Inner Mongolia, northern China, is home to more than two million people.

A lake lies on the west of the city, one filled with a black grey sludge of toxic and radioactive material.

This is a tailings pond, a quaint name for what is really a dumping ground.

Baotou is the global capital for rare earth elements – metals that are vital to modern technology and especially renewable energy.

This pond is clean energy’s dirty secret. It is the by-product of rare earth processing. It is open to the air but worse it is seeping into the ground below, poisoning the water.

The Chinese authorities are aware of the problem. That’s why they’re following us: at least eight cars always on our tail for three days.

They question anyone we speak to and eventually prevent us from speaking to them altogether, citing COVID-19 regulations.

But the locals still want to speak, mainly because they are unhappy that government promises to clean the mess up have not been kept.

In the villages surrounding the pond, a woman sitting on a sofa on the side of the street tells us “the water is bad – bad.”

“We asked them to give us something to filter it but they didn’t,” she says before the officials cut her off.

Along the same road, a farmer who has just finished watering his field says: “Our water is not very good. It doesn’t meet the standard of drinking water for humans or animals.”

He says that in another village not far away, people got sick.

“It’s called Dalahai village. The village was polluted – 30 to 40% of the villagers got cancer,” he says.

“After they found the pollution, the government moved all villagers to somewhere else. They banned local villagers from farming on the land.”

Continued here.

  1. […] Clean energy’s dirty secret: How push for modern technology has made Chinese pond toxic […]

  2. Phoenix44 says:

    A tailings pond is the specific name for storage of “tailings”, what is left from producing concentrate (sometimes metal) at a mine. What it contains depends on the original ore and the treatments required to extract the metal. It is finely ground material and is sometimes stored in tailings ponds prior to being returned to the mine works at the end of the mines life.

  3. oldbrew says:
    – – –
    Sky report:
    “It’s not that we don’t have the technology or the know-how to mine and process rare earths in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner.

    “It’s that we have created market conditions that fundamentally disincentivize any of that sort of activity because price, the lowest possible price, remains the determining factor for whether an industry sinks or swims.”

  4. oldbrew says:

    APR 18, 2022.
    The Green-Energy Transition Is In A Death Spiral

    Lithium prices have soared by close to 500% over the past year. Stocks at the London Metals Exchange have dropped to the lowest since records began in 1997. EV prices are rising. The energy transition may have well ended before it took off.

  5. pochas94 says:

    I hope this is not meant to discourage modern technology. The problem is waste treatment, which is a problem only if neglected.

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