Tags Mining

Congo’s Civil War Has Practically Wiped Out the World’s Largest Gorilla

The largest great apes on Earth have suffered a “catastrophic” population collapse over the past twenty years, according to a report published today by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Grauer’s gorilla, a subspecies found only in the lawless eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is a victim of the same brutal civil war that claimed up to six million human lives from 1996 to 2003.

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Maddie Stone

April 4th

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An Acid-Spilling Mine Turned This Colorado River Bright Orange

This time of year kayaks and inner tubes usually crowd the crystal-clear waters of the Animas River, which flows through the western Colorado city of Durango. Last night, the river was quickly abandoned as one million gallons of wastewater seeping from a local mine slowly trickled downstream, eventually coloring the entire river an eerie electric orange.

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Alissa Walker

August 7th

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Researchers Devise a Simple Method For Recycling Rare Earth Magnets

You’ve probably heard a bit about rare Earth elements. They’ve got unpronounceable names like ytterbium and praseodymium, and they’re found in nearly ever piece of tech you own. Despite their value, we’re do a piss poor job recycling them. But chemists are now hoping to change that.

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Maddie Stone

June 21st

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An Obscure African Plant Tells Miners Where to Look for Diamonds 

Diamonds you’re familiar with. Pandanus candelabrum, not so much. And until recently, botanists didn’t pay much attention to this rare, palm-like plant from West Africa either. But the discovery that P. candelabrum grows only over rock that may harbor diamonds has vaulted the plant out of obscurity.

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Sarah Zhang

May 5th

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The Strange Second Life of America’s Only Rare Earth Mine

Rare earth elements are hard-to-find metals that we need for batteries, solar cells and electronics. These days, they’re mostly mined and processed in China. But it wasn’t always so. The history of rare earth elements is surprising, and some of it even takes place in America’s backyard. In fact, there is still a rare earth mine in the US.

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Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

May 5th

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These Vases Are Actually Made From Liquified Smartphone Byproducts

It’s not something anyone likes to think about, but your smartphone—or your laptop, or the battery in your hybrid car—created a huge amount of toxic and radioactive waste. And now we know what happens to that waste in the long term. It returns to the earth, mingles with sludge, and finds its way into clay pots.

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Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

April 22nd

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Recycling Rare Earth Metals With, Yes, Fish Sperm

Recycling Rare Earth Metals With, Yes, Fish Sperm

If you're not up on your fish-cum-metal news, then you might be forgiven for finding the idea of using fish sperm to recycle rare earth elements entirely bizarre. But no, fish sperm has a real albeit weird little niche in materials science. Let us be your guide through it.

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Sarah Zhang

January 15th

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What All the Metal From a Single Mine Would Look Like As a Giant Orb

What All the Metal From a Single Mine Would Look Like As a Giant Orb

Of all the ways humans have altered the Earth, mining must be one of the most awesome—just for the sheer ratio of Earth excavated to metals and gems recovered. Still, it's hard to visualize just how much a single mine has netted in numbers, which is why For What It's Worth is so interesting.

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Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

August 18th

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The Biggest Man-Made Hole on Earth

The Biggest Man-Made Hole on Earth

A few weeks ago, we looked at a photo essay on Mir Mine, a nearly mile-wide mine in Eastern Siberia that's one of the largest man-made holes on Earth's surface. It made us wonder: Where the largest hole ever made by humans? As it turns out, it's right here in the United States.

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Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

July 22nd

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Chilean Miners Were Trapped In a Mine the Size of the Burj Khalifa

Chilean Miners Were Trapped In a Mine the Size of the Burj Khalifa

It's been almost four years since 33 Chilean miners were trapped below the surface of the earth for 69 days. A story published this week by The New Yorker reveals some additional stunning details about their harrowing rescue, and some astounding new information about the mine itself.

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Alissa Walker

July 8th

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December 2016
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