Workers, Rivers, Mines: Mt Lyell in Tasmania

June 23, 2014 • Shreema Mehta

The Mt Lyell mine in Tasmania, Australia, with its controversial track record of worker fatalities and river pollution, plans to restart operations at the end of June 2014.

Not so rare after all: Lynas Corporation’s rare earth refinery in Malaysia

September 23, 2011 • Hilary Lewis


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We use rare earths in a wide range of modern conveniences, from consumer electronics to hybrid car batteries. 

Recently, rare earths have been in the news thanks to skyrocketing prices. High prices are a result of increased demand due to new technologies and artificially limited supply – artificially limited by China, which currently controls more than 90% of global rare earth mineral production, but less than 40% of known deposits.

Rare earth minerals are expensive and dangerous to mine, not to mention the environmental impacts common to all mining, in addition to radioactive waste concerns.