When it comes to the desert, most visitors will think of the arid, desolate lands located in the northwest of China. In fact, not all of the country’s deserts are concentrated in that area.
Landscape in the Jiangnan desert (Photo: News).
In the city of Linxiang in the Hunan province of southern China, a desert considered the “most expensive” has existed for about half a century. It is the Jiangnan desert with many different features compared to the usual deserts.
Referring to this place name, many people will find it difficult to understand. Why does an area with high annual rainfall like Jiangnan form a desert? In fact, this is an artificial desert, marking history in the modernization of the country.
Tourists play with the sparkling sand in the desert (Photo: Trip).
In 1958, an enterprise went to Lam Huong city to mine lead – zinc ore. The project has a large scale of more than 4,000 workers. As an area rich in mineral resources, when the local economy needs to develop, China has sent many experts here to exploit. It is estimated that nearly 100 tons of tailings are transported to a nearby hill by pipeline.
After 50 years, the deposition of tail ore has formed an artificial desert south of the Yangtze River with an area of nearly 300,000m2, a depth of about 50m.
The sand dunes in the desert sparkle in the sun (Image: QQ).
According to Chinese media, the Jiangnan desert has witnessed a period of development during the period of national economic construction, the result of the efforts and contributions of thousands of people. Because the desert is made up of tail ore, the sand here is very fine. Under the sunlight, the sand and metal sparkle, so this place is also known as the “silver beach”.
When learning about the Jiangnan desert, the Japanese side once asked China to conduct a transaction in the form of a kilogram of rice for a kilogram of sand. At that time, although China had bad weather affecting grain production, it rejected the proposal.
Camels walking in the desert (Photo: China News).
Experts explain that what Japan wants to exchange is not ordinary sand, but tail ore. Although tailings are waste materials, they contain useful mineral content. Mineral processing cannot achieve 100% efficiency, so although it is “scrap”, it is still considered a precious resource.
For some countries, this waste is much more important than rice. 90% of China’s domestic energy products and 80% of China’s raw materials come from mineral resources. These raw materials can all be used to produce goods. As can be seen, mineral resources are very important.
Most of the mineral resources in the world are limited. Therefore, whether they can be reused or not has become a matter of concern for all countries.
In addition, this artificial desert is also historic, witnessing the contributions of thousands of people in the construction of the national economy. Because of the above reasons, the local government finally rejected the Japanese proposal.
Today, the Jiangnan desert has become a destination for visitors who love to explore. Visitors here often experience horseback riding, driving on the silver sand, admiring the herd of camels moving like the usual deserts.