Japan started mining Bauxite after they took Palau over from the Germans after WWI and used it in their industry.
Bauxite is an aluminiumoxid and is mainly used to produce aluminium.
Since the capitulation of the Japanese on Palau in 1944 the terraces at the side of
the hills did not really change.
The old bauxite mining areas seem as if the workers stopped the mining yesterday.
The sides have very poor soil due to the high concentration
of the bauxite. During the mining the topsoil was removed so that local plants
are not able to grow on this surface. Currently the State of Ngardmau, in cooperation with
NRCS (US-Natural Resource Conservation Service), is trying to recover these areas
to their natural environment. Pilot projects have been started to
stabilize the soil against erosion. Which is very important to keep the dirt from being washed away in the water and disturbe
the fragile reef ecosystem.