Rare Earth Mining of Chalco, Yulin, Guangxi, China

Villagers protests against rare earth exploitation by Chalco Guangxi for fearing of pollution through soil and water.


Description

Rare earths are a group of 17 chemical elements in the periodic table of the elements, i.e., Lanthanum (La), Cerium (Ce), Praseodymium (Pr), Neodymium (Nd), Promethium (Pm), Samarium (Sm), Europium (Eu), Gadolinium (Gd), Terbium (Tb), Dysprosium (Dy), Holmium (Ho), Erbium (Er), Thulium (Tm), Ytterbium (Yb) and Lutecium (Lu), and their congeners Scandium (Sc) and Yttrium (Y).  According to their atomic weights and physicochemical properties, they are divided into light, middle and heavy rare earth elements. The first five above-mentioned elements are light ones, and the rest are either middle or heavy ones. Because of their unique physicochemical properties, rare earth elements are considered indispensable in modern industry as they are extensively used in areas such as new energy, new materials, energy conservation and environmental protection, aeronautics and electronic information and communication, to name but a few. [1]

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Basic Data
NameRare Earth Mining of Chalco, Yulin, Guangxi, China
CountryChina
ProvinceGuangxi
SiteMapeng Village, Long'an Town, Xingye County, Yulin City
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesRare metals
Project Details and Actors
Project Details92% rare earth oxide (REO) production: 700 t / year

Service life of production: 4 years (including infrastructure period)

The level of investment: USD 3,130,277 (about CNY 20,346,800, 1 USD =6.5 CNY)

广西荔浦至玉林高速公路兴业段压覆稀土资源抢救性回收利用项目环境影响评价第一次信息公示(accessed on 16-10-2018))

http://hbj.yulin.gov.cn/tongzgg/346.jhtml

The estimated affected population is the whole population (2013) in Long'an town according to Baidubaike.
Project Area (in hectares)0.237
Level of Investment (in USD)3,130,277
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population43,884
Start Date23/05/2018
Company Names or State EnterprisesAluminum Corporation of China Limited (Chalco) from China
Chalco Guangxi Nonferrous rare Earth Development Co., Ltd. from China
Relevant government actors-Government of Yulin city

-Yulin Environmental Protection Bureau

-Central Environmental Protection Inspection Team
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Noise pollution, Waste overflow, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts
Otherpotential exposure to polluted water bodies
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Other socio-economic impacts
Otherwater access problems
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseTechnical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.By June 30, 2018, the Central Environmental Protection Inspection had received 35 complaints from the masses concerning the rare earth industry in Guangxi. The inspection team has gone to the scene to check the related reports and found that several branches of Guangxi rare Earth Company have some problems. The relevant departments have carried out investigations. There is no specific evidence that this project is under investigation, but Chalco's violations are beyond doubt.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

广西荔浦至玉林高速公路兴业段压覆稀土资源抢救性回收利用项目环境影响评价第一次信息公示 (accessed on 10-15-2018)
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References

[2] Information Office of the State Council, the People’s Republic of China.(2012) Situation and Policies of China’s Rare Earth Industry. (accessed on 25-10-2018)
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[3] Wübbeke, J. (2015). China’s Rare Earth Industry and End-Use: Supply Security and Innovation. In The Political Economy of Rare Earth Elements (pp. 20-42). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

(accessed on 25-10-2018)
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[5] 广西稀土资源的分布与前景 (accessed on 10-10-2018)
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[4] Alonso, E., Sherman, A. M., Wallington, T. J., Everson, M. P., Field, F. R., Roth, R., & Kirchain, R. E. (2012). Evaluating rare earth element availability: A case with revolutionary demand from clean technologies. Environmental science & technology, 46(6), 3406-3414. (accessed on 25-10-2018)
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Links

[7] 忧开采稀土污染环境 广西村民抗议遭抓捕殴打(accessed on 10-15-2018)
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[6] 玉林科学推进稀土抢救性回收项目 (accessed on 10-15-2018)
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[9] 广西兴业县马棚村之开采稀土问题 (accessed on 10-10-2018)
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[1] Rare-earth element (accessed on 10-10-2018)
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[8] 广西玉林村民抗议采矿遭抓捕 (accessed on 10-10-2018)
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[12] 中央环境保护督察“回头看”交办信访件办理结果公示 (accessed on 10-15-2018)
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[10] 广西玉林村民抗议采矿遭抓捕 (accessed on 10-10-2018)
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[11] 水源地开采稀土,桂民抗议遭军警镇压 (accessed on 10-10-2018)
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[13] 环保督察发现中铝广西稀土多家子公司污染水源,还涉越界开采 (accessed on 10-15-2018)
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Media Links

Villagers from water source mining rare earths are being beaten down by military police in protest.
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Other Documents

2018 Guangxi Yulin Rare Earth 01 The local villagers marched in protest under the banner "firmly against the exploitation of rare earths".
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2018 Guangxi Yulin Rare Earth 02 Local villagers protest against the exploitation of rare earths and the authorities send police to suppress them.
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2018 Guangxi Yulin Rare Earth 03 Local villagers protest against the exploitation of rare earths and the authorities send police to suppress them.
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Meta Information
ContributorEnvJustice, ICTA-UAB/NWAFU 2018 Interns
Last update30/10/2018
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