Luxury for desert miners
A luxuryresort in the middle of the Mongolian desert? A crazy idea – if the Desert Lotus Hotel hadn’t been built just outside the city of Baotou, capital of China’s booming rare earth industry.
Chinese mines, such as the ones at Bayan Obo, near Baotou, produce more than 90 percent of the world’s rare earth elements (REEs). There are 17 elements officially listed as REEs, including scandium, yttrium and europium. REEs are vital to the electronics industry, and worldwide demand is constantly increasing. So the Desert Lotus Hotel might not be such a bad idea after all. But building a 30,000-square-metre resort on sand proved to be a challenge for the architects and engineers.
Desert Lotus doesn’t have a traditional foundation, and no cement or water was used during construction. The building rests on a flat metal base filled with sand, which keeps it stable.