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The town of Sukinda, in the Cuttack Division of the state of Orissa on the east coast of India, is the location of 97 percent of India's total deposits of chromite. This makes it a lucrative place, with 12 chromite mines currently in operation, as well as mines for other minerals also found in the area. These mines have operated unchecked for many decades, dumping much of their waste, with the result being that the town is now regarded as one of the 10 most polluted places in the world.

Essentially, much of Sukinda's problems stem from waste from the chromite mines. An oxide mineral—iron magnesium chromium oxide—chromite has a very high heat stability, which means that there is a great demand for it in China, ...

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