Phosphate mining in Nauru
The economy of Nauru has been wholly dependent on phosphate, which has led to environmental catastrophe on the island, with 80% of the nation’s surface having been strip-mined. The island's phosphate deposits were exhausted by 2000 although some small-scale mining is still in progress. In 1896, a cargo officer for the Pacific Islands Company on the Lady M, Henry Denson, found a strange-looking rock on Nauru during a brief stop on the island, he believed it to be a piece of petrified wood. Denson, according to legend, had planned on making children's marbles from it but, as fate would have it, it ended up as a door stop in the company's Sydney office. In 1899, Albert Ellis, a management official of the phosphate division of the Pacific Islands Company, was transferred to the Sydney office to "analyse rock samples coming from the Pacific Islands." Ellis noticed the rock and suspected it to be phosphate, but was rebuffed by Denson and told that it was only wood. Three months Ellis decided to test his hunch and tested the rock for phosphate.
It turned out to be phosphate ore of the richest quality. A neighboring island to the East, Banaba Island, shared Nauru's geology and had significant reserves of phosphate. Ellis' discovery of phosphate excited John T. Arundel of the Pacific Islands Company and the company decided to pursue rights and access to Nauru's lucrative resource; the negotiations to pursue rights to the phosphate involved four parties: the British and German governments, the newly reorganised Pacific Phosphate Company, Jaluit-Gesellschaft. In 1906, an agreement was established whereby Jaluit-Gesellschaft's rights were transferred into the Pacific Phosphate Company, for "a cash payment of 2,000 pounds sterling, 12,500 pounds sterling worth of shares in the Pacific Phosphate Company, royalty payments for every ton of phosphate exported."In the first year of mining alone, 11,000 pounds of phosphate were shipped to Australia. After World War I the interests of the Pacific Phosphate Company were acquired and the phosphate mining on Nauru was managed through a trust established between Britain and New Zealand.
Those governments established the British Phosphate Commissioners, who took over the rights to the phosphates. From 1919 the responsibility for the welfare of the people of Nauru and Banaba, the restoring of land and water resources lost by mining operations and compensation for environmental damage to the islands was under the control of the governments of United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. In 1968, Nauru became a independent nation. In 1970, the newly formed government purchased the full rights to the phosphate business from Australia for A$21 million; this purchase brought an economic boost to the Republic, as revenues from the mining operations are estimated to have been A$100–120 million annually since independence through virtual resource exhaustion in the early 1990s. Gross production of phosphate from 1968 through exhaustion has been 43 million tons. In 1989, Nauru took legal action against Australia in the International Court of Justice over Australia's administration of the island, in particular Australia's failure to remedy the environmental damage caused by phosphate mining.
Certain Phosphate Lands: Nauru v. Australia led to an out-of-court settlement to rehabilitate the mined-out areas of Nauru. A number of prominent Nauruans, notably René Harris, who have headed the Nauru Phosphate Corporation, have gone on to serve as President of Nauru; the government puts profits from the mining into a trust for the islanders. This trust reached a peak of A$1 billion, returning 14% annually. Poor investments and corruption have left the trust fund nearly empty and therefore Nauru with little money. In the year 1948, revenues from phosphate mining were A$745,000. A minuscule 2% was being returned to the Nauruans, while 1% was being charged for "administration". In 1960, future president Hammer DeRoburt negotiated royalties of profit to the Nauruans to be 22% while administration would increase to 14%. One successful development project was in 1988, whereby the Royalty Trust purchased 600 acres of vacant, residentially zoned land near Portland, Oregon. Called Forest Heights, it was controlled by the Nauru trust until 75% of the allotments were sold, when the homeowners association took over.
Environmental effects of agriculture Economy of Nauru Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust Nauru on the verge of bankruptcy Photographs of the mining
Manganese is a chemical element with symbol Mn and atomic number 25. It is not found as a free element in nature. Manganese is a metal with important industrial metal alloy uses in stainless steels. Manganese is named for pyrolusite and other black minerals from the region of Magnesia in Greece, which gave its name to magnesium and the iron ore magnetite. By the mid-18th century, Swedish-German chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele had used pyrolusite to produce chlorine. Scheele and others were aware that pyrolusite contained a new element, but they were unable to isolate it. Johan Gottlieb Gahn was the first to isolate an impure sample of manganese metal in 1774, which he did by reducing the dioxide with carbon. Manganese phosphating is used for corrosion prevention on steel. Ionized manganese is used industrially as pigments of various colors, which depend on the oxidation state of the ions; the permanganates of alkali and alkaline earth metals are powerful oxidizers. Manganese dioxide is used as the cathode material in alkaline batteries.
In biology, manganese ions function as cofactors for a large variety of enzymes with many functions. Manganese enzymes are essential in detoxification of superoxide free radicals in organisms that must deal with elemental oxygen. Manganese functions in the oxygen-evolving complex of photosynthetic plants. While the element is a required trace mineral for all known living organisms, it acts as a neurotoxin in larger amounts. Through inhalation, it can cause manganism, a condition in mammals leading to neurological damage, sometimes irreversible. Manganese is a silvery-gray metal, it is hard and brittle, difficult to fuse, but easy to oxidize. Manganese metal and its common ions are paramagnetic. Manganese tarnishes in air and oxidizes like iron in water containing dissolved oxygen. Occurring manganese is composed of one stable isotope, 55Mn. Eighteen radioisotopes have been isolated and described, ranging in atomic weight from 46 u to 65 u; the most stable are 53Mn with a half-life of 3.7 million years, 54Mn with a half-life of 312.3 days, 52Mn with a half-life of 5.591 days.
All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives of less than three hours, the majority of less than one minute. The primary decay mode before the most abundant stable isotope, 55Mn, is electron capture and the primary mode after is beta decay. Manganese has three meta states. Manganese is part of the iron group of elements, which are thought to be synthesized in large stars shortly before the supernova explosion. 53Mn decays to 53Cr with a half-life of 3.7 million years. Because of its short half-life, 53Mn is rare, produced by cosmic rays impact on iron. Manganese isotopic contents are combined with chromium isotopic contents and have found application in isotope geology and radiometric dating. Mn–Cr isotopic ratios reinforce the evidence from 26Al and 107Pd for the early history of the solar system. Variations in 53Cr/52Cr and Mn/Cr ratios from several meteorites suggest an initial 53Mn/55Mn ratio, which indicates that Mn–Cr isotopic composition must result from in situ decay of 53Mn in differentiated planetary bodies.
Hence, 53Mn provides additional evidence for nucleosynthetic processes before coalescence of the solar system. The most common oxidation states of manganese are +2, +3, +4, +6, +7, though all oxidation states from −3 to +7 have been observed. Mn2+ competes with Mg2+ in biological systems. Manganese compounds where manganese is in oxidation state +7, which are restricted to the unstable oxide Mn2O7, compounds of the intensely purple permanganate anion MnO4−, a few oxyhalides, are powerful oxidizing agents. Compounds with oxidation states +5 and +6 are strong oxidizing agents and are vulnerable to disproportionation; the most stable oxidation state for manganese is +2, which has a pale pink color, many manganese compounds are known, such as manganese sulfate and manganese chloride. This oxidation state is seen in the mineral rhodochrosite. Manganese most exists with a high spin, S = 5/2 ground state because of the high pairing energy for manganese. However, there are a few examples of S = 1/2 manganese.
There are no spin-allowed d–d transitions in manganese, explaining why manganese compounds are pale to colorless. The +3 oxidation state is known in compounds like manganese acetate, but these are quite powerful oxidizing agents and prone to disproportionation in solution, forming manganese and manganese. Solid compounds of manganese are characterized by its strong purple-red color and a preference for distorted octahedral coordination resulting from the Jahn-Teller effect; the oxidation state +5 can be produced by dissolving manganese dioxide in molten sodium nitrite. Manganate salts can be produced by dissolving Mn compounds, such as manganese dioxide, in molten alkali while exposed to air. Permanganate compounds are purple, can give glass a violet color. Potassium permanganate, sodium permanganate, barium permanganate are all potent oxidizers. Potassium permanganate called Condy's crystals, is a used laboratory reagent because of its oxidizing properties. Solutions of potassium permanganate were among the first stains and fixatives to be used in the preparation of biological cells and tissues for electron microscopy
The tropics are the region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by The Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at 23°26′12.4″ N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at 23°26′12.4″ S. The tropics are referred to as the tropical zone and the torrid zone; the tropics include all the areas on the Earth where the Sun contacts a point directly overhead at least once during the solar year - thus the latitude of the tropics is equal to the angle of the Earth's axial tilt. The tropics are distinguished from the other climatic and biomatic regions of Earth, which are the middle latitudes and the polar regions on either side of the equatorial zone; the tropics contain 36 % of the Earth's landmass. As of 2014, the region is home to 40% of the world population, this figure is projected to reach 50% by the late 2030s. "Tropical" is sometimes used in a general sense for a tropical climate to mean warm to hot and moist year-round with the sense of lush vegetation.
Many tropical areas have a wet season. The wet season, rainy season or green season is the time of year, ranging from one or more months, when most of the average annual rainfall in a region falls. Areas with wet seasons are disseminated across portions of the subtropics. Under the Köppen climate classification, for tropical climates, a wet-season month is defined as a month where average precipitation is 60 millimetres or more. Tropical rainforests technically do not have dry or wet seasons, since their rainfall is distributed through the year; some areas with pronounced rainy seasons see a break in rainfall during mid-season when the intertropical convergence zone or monsoon trough moves poleward of their location during the middle of the warm season. When the wet season occurs during the warm season, or summer, precipitation falls during the late afternoon and early evening hours; the wet season is a time when air quality improves, freshwater quality improves and vegetation grows leading to crop yields late in the season.
Floods cause rivers to overflow their banks, some animals to retreat to higher ground. Soil nutrients erosion increases; the incidence of malaria increases in areas. Animals have survival strategies for the wetter regime; the previous dry season leads to food shortages into the wet season, as the crops have yet to mature. However, regions within the tropics may well not have a tropical climate. Under the Köppen climate classification, much of the area within the geographical tropics is classed not as "tropical" but as "dry", including the Sahara Desert, the Atacama Desert and Australian Outback. There are alpine tundra and snow-capped peaks, including Mauna Kea, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Andes as far south as the northernmost parts of Chile and Argentina. Tropical plants and animals are those species native to the tropics. Tropical ecosystems may consist of tropical rainforests, seasonal tropical forests, dry forests, spiny forests and other habitat types. There are significant areas of biodiversity, species endemism present in rainforests and seasonal forests.
Some examples of important biodiversity and high endemism ecosystems are El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Costa Rican and Nicaraguan rainforests, Amazon Rainforest territories of several South American countries, Madagascar dry deciduous forests, the Waterberg Biosphere of South Africa, eastern Madagascar rainforests. The soils of tropical forests are low in nutrient content, making them quite vulnerable to slash-and-burn deforestation techniques, which are sometimes an element of shifting cultivation agricultural systems. In biogeography, the tropics are divided into Neotropics. Together, they are sometimes referred to as the Pantropic; the Neotropical region should not be confused with the ecozone of the same name. "Tropicality" refers to the geographic imagery that many people outside the tropics have of that region. The idea of tropicality gained renewed interest in modern geographical discourse when French geographer Pierre Gourou published Les Pays Tropicaux, in the late 1940s.
Tropicality encompasses at least two contradictory imageries. One is that the tropics represent a Garden of a heaven on Earth; the latter view was discussed in Western literature—more so than the first. Evidence suggests that over time the more primitive view of the tropics in popular literature has been supplanted by more nuanced interpretations that reflect historical changes in values associated with tropical culture and ecology, although some primitive associations are persistent. Western scholars theorized about the reasons that tropical areas were deemed "inferior" to regions in the Northern Hemisphere. A popular explanation focused on the differences in climate—tropical regions have much warmer weather than northern regions; this theme led some scholars, including Gourou, to argue that warmer climates correlate to primitive indigenous populations lacking control over nature, compared to northern popul
Molybdenum is a chemical element with symbol Mo and atomic number 42. The name is from Neo-Latin molybdaenum, from Ancient Greek Μόλυβδος molybdos, meaning lead, since its ores were confused with lead ores. Molybdenum minerals have been known throughout history, but the element was discovered in 1778 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele; the metal was first isolated in 1781 by Peter Jacob Hjelm. Molybdenum does not occur as a free metal on Earth; the free element, a silvery metal with a gray cast, has the sixth-highest melting point of any element. It forms hard, stable carbides in alloys, for this reason most of world production of the element is used in steel alloys, including high-strength alloys and superalloys. Most molybdenum compounds have low solubility in water, but when molybdenum-bearing minerals contact oxygen and water, the resulting molybdate ion MoO2−4 is quite soluble. Industrially, molybdenum compounds are used in high-pressure and high-temperature applications as pigments and catalysts. Molybdenum-bearing enzymes are by far the most common bacterial catalysts for breaking the chemical bond in atmospheric molecular nitrogen in the process of biological nitrogen fixation.
At least 50 molybdenum enzymes are now known in bacteria and animals, although only bacterial and cyanobacterial enzymes are involved in nitrogen fixation. These nitrogenases contain molybdenum in a form different from other molybdenum enzymes, which all contain oxidized molybdenum in a molybdenum cofactor; these various molybdenum cofactor enzymes are vital to the organisms, molybdenum is an essential element for life in all higher eukaryote organisms, though not in all bacteria. In its pure form, molybdenum is a silvery-grey metal with a Mohs hardness of 5.5, a standard atomic weight of 95.95 g/mol. It has a melting point of 2,623 °C, it has one of the lowest coefficients of thermal expansion among commercially used metals. The tensile strength of molybdenum wires increases about 3 times, from about 10 to 30 GPa, when their diameter decreases from ~50–100 nm to 10 nm. Molybdenum is a transition metal with an electronegativity of 2.16 on the Pauling scale. It does not visibly react with water at room temperature.
Weak oxidation of molybdenum starts at 300 °C. Like many heavier transition metals, molybdenum shows little inclination to form a cation in aqueous solution, although the Mo3+ cation is known under controlled conditions. There are 35 known isotopes of molybdenum, ranging in atomic mass from 83 to 117, as well as four metastable nuclear isomers. Seven isotopes occur with atomic masses of 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 100. Of these occurring isotopes, only molybdenum-100 is unstable. Molybdenum-98 is the most abundant isotope, comprising 24.14% of all molybdenum. Molybdenum-100 has a half-life of about 1019 y and undergoes double beta decay into ruthenium-100. Molybdenum isotopes with mass numbers from 111 to 117 all have half-lives of 150 ns. All unstable isotopes of molybdenum decay into isotopes of niobium and ruthenium; as noted below, the most common isotopic molybdenum application involves molybdenum-99, a fission product. It is a parent radioisotope to the short-lived gamma-emitting daughter radioisotope technetium-99m, a nuclear isomer used in various imaging applications in medicine.
In 2008, the Delft University of Technology applied for a patent on the molybdenum-98-based production of molybdenum-99. Molybdenum forms chemical compounds in oxidation states from -II to +VI. Higher oxidation states are more relevant to its terrestrial occurrence and its biological roles, mid-level oxidation states are associated with metal clusters, low oxidation states are associated with organomolybdenum compounds. Mo and W chemistry shows strong similarities; the relative rarity of molybdenum, for example, contrasts with the pervasiveness of the chromium compounds. The highest oxidation state is seen in molybdenum oxide, whereas the normal sulfur compound is molybdenum disulfide MoS2. From the perspective of commerce, the most important compounds are molybdenum disulfide and molybdenum trioxide; the black disulfide is the main mineral. It is roasted in air to give the trioxide: 2 MoS2 + 7 O2 → 2 MoO3 + 4 SO2The trioxide, volatile at high temperatures, is the precursor to all other Mo compounds as well as alloys.
Molybdenum has several oxidation states, the most stable being +4 and +6. Molybdenum oxide is soluble in strong alkaline water, forming molybdates. Molybdates are weaker oxidants than chromates, they tend to form structurally complex oxyanions by condensation at lower pH values, such as 6− and 4−. Polymolybdates can incorporate other ions; the dark-blue phosphorus-containing heteropolymolybdate P3− is used for the spectroscopic detection of phosphorus. The broad range of oxidation states of molybdenum is reflected in various molybdenum chlorides: Molybdenum chloride MoCl2, which exists as the hexamer Mo6Cl12 and the related dianion 2-. Molybdenum chloride MoCl3, a dark red solid, which converts to the anion trianionic complex 3-. Molybdenum chloride MoCl4, a black solid, which adopts a polymeric structure. Molybdenum chloride MoCl5 dark green solid that
Corals are marine invertebrates within the class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They live in compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. Corals species include the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton. A coral "group" is a colony of myriad genetically identical polyps; each polyp is a sac-like animal only a few millimeters in diameter and a few centimeters in length. A set of tentacles surround a central mouth opening. An exoskeleton is excreted near the base. Over many generations, the colony thus creates a large skeleton characteristic of the species. Individual heads grow by asexual reproduction of polyps. Corals breed sexually by spawning: polyps of the same species release gametes over a period of one to several nights around a full moon. Although some corals are able to catch small fish and plankton using stinging cells on their tentacles, most corals obtain the majority of their energy and nutrients from photosynthetic unicellular dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium that live within their tissues.
These are known as zooxanthellae. Such corals require sunlight and grow in clear, shallow water at depths less than 60 metres. Corals are major contributors to the physical structure of the coral reefs that develop in tropical and subtropical waters, such as the enormous Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Other corals do not rely on zooxanthellae and can live in much deeper water, with the cold-water genus Lophelia surviving as deep as 3,300 metres; some have been found on the Darwin Mounds, northwest of Cape Wrath and others as far north as off the coast of Washington State and the Aleutian Islands. Aristotle's pupil Theophrastus described the red coral, korallion, in his book on stones, implying it was a mineral, but he described it as a deep-sea plant in his Enquiries on Plants, where he mentions large stony plants that reveal bright flowers when under water in the Gulf of Heroes. Pliny the Elder stated boldly that several sea creatures including sea nettles and sponges "are neither animals nor plants, but are possessed of a third nature".
Petrus Gyllius copied Pliny, introducing the term zoophyta for this third group in his 1535 book On the French and Latin Names of the Fishes of the Marseilles Region. Gyllius further noted, following Aristotle, how hard it was to define what was a plant and what was an animal; the Persian polymath Al-Biruni classified sponges and corals as animals, arguing that they respond to touch. People believed corals to be plants until the eighteenth century, when William Herschel used a microscope to establish that coral had the characteristic thin cell membranes of an animal. Presently, corals are classified as certain species of animals within the sub-classes Hexacorallia and Octocorallia of the class Anthozoa in the phylum Cnidaria. Hexacorallia includes the stony corals and these groups have polyps that have a 6-fold symmetry. Octocorallia includes blue coral and soft corals and species of Octocorallia have polyps with an eightfold symmetry, each polyp having eight tentacles and eight mesenteries.
Fire corals are not true corals. Corals are sessile animals and differ from most other cnidarians in not having a medusa stage in their life cycle; the body unit of the animal is a polyp. Most corals are colonial, the initial polyp budding to produce another and the colony developing from this small start. In stony corals known as hard corals, the polyps produce a skeleton composed of calcium carbonate to strengthen and protect the organism; this is deposited by the coenosarc, the living tissue that connects them. The polyps sit in cup-shaped depressions in the skeleton known as corallites. Colonies of stony coral are variable in appearance. In soft corals, there is no stony skeleton but the tissues are toughened by the presence of tiny skeletal elements known as sclerites, which are made from calcium carbonate. Soft corals are variable in form and most are colonial. A few soft corals are stolonate. In some species this is thick and the polyps are embedded; some soft corals are form lobes. Others have a central axial skeleton embedded in the tissue matrix.
This is composed either of a fibrous protein called gorgonin or of a calcified material. In both stony and soft corals, the polyps can be retracted, with stony corals relying on their hard skeleton and cnidocytes for defence against predators, soft corals relying on chemical defences in the form of toxic substances present in the tissues known as terpenoids; the polyps of stony corals have six-fold symmetry. The mouth of each polyp is surrounded by a ring of tentacles. In stony corals these are cylindrical and taper to a point, but in soft corals they are pinnate with side branches known as pinnules. In some tropical species these are reduced to mere stubs and in some they are fused to give a paddle-like appearance. In most corals, the tentacles are retracted by day and spread out at night to catch plankton and other small organisms. Shallow water species of both stony and soft corals can be zooxanthellate, the corals supplementing their plankton diet with t
Nauru the Republic of Nauru and known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia, a subregion of Oceania, in the Central Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in 300 kilometres to the east, it further lies northwest of Tuvalu, north of the Solomon Islands, east-northeast of Papua New Guinea, southeast of the Federated States of Micronesia and south of the Marshall Islands. With only a 21-square-kilometre area, Nauru is the third-smallest state on the list of countries and dependencies by area behind Vatican City and Monaco, making it the smallest state in the South Pacific Ocean, the smallest island state, the smallest republic, its population is 11,347, making it the third smallest on the list of countries and dependencies by population, after the Vatican and Tuvalu. Settled by people from Micronesia and Polynesia c. 1000 BC, Nauru was annexed and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the late 19th century. After World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
During World War II, Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops, who were bypassed by the Allied advance across the Pacific. After the war ended, the country entered into United Nations trusteeship. Nauru gained its independence in 1968, became a member of the Pacific Community in 1969. Nauru is a phosphate-rock island with rich deposits near the surface, which allowed easy strip mining operations, it has some remaining phosphate resources which, as of 2011, are not economically viable for extraction. When the phosphate reserves were exhausted, the island's environment had been harmed by mining, the trust, established to manage the island's wealth diminished in value. To earn income, Nauru became a tax haven and illegal money laundering centre. From 2001 to 2008, again from 2012, it accepted aid from the Australian Government in exchange for hosting the Nauru Regional Processing Centre, an offshore Australian immigration detention facility; as a result of heavy dependence on Australia, many sources have identified Nauru as a client state of Australia.
Nauru was first inhabited by Polynesians at least 3,000 years ago. There were traditionally 12 clans or tribes on Nauru, which are represented in the twelve-pointed star on the country's flag. Traditionally, Nauruans traced their descent matrilineally. Inhabitants practised aquaculture: they caught juvenile ibija fish, acclimatised them to fresh water, raised them in the Buada Lagoon, providing a reliable source of food; the other locally grown components of their diet pandanus fruit. The name "Nauru" may derive from the Nauruan word Anáoero, which means'I go to the beach'; the British sea captain John Fearn, a whale hunter, became the first Westerner to visit Nauru, in 1798, calling it "Pleasant Island". From around 1830, Nauruans had contact with Europeans from whaling ships and traders who replenished their supplies fresh water, at Nauru. Around this time, deserters from European ships began to live on the island; the islanders firearms. The firearms were used during the 10-year Nauruan Tribal War that began in 1878.
After an agreement with Great Britain, Nauru was annexed by Germany in 1888 and incorporated into Germany's Marshall Islands Protectorate for administrative purposes. The arrival of the Germans ended the civil war, kings were established as rulers of the island; the most known of these was King Auweyida. Christian missionaries from the Gilbert Islands arrived in 1888; the German settlers called the island "Nawodo" or "Onawero". The Germans ruled Nauru for three decades. Robert Rasch, a German trader who married a Nauruan woman, was the first administrator, appointed in 1890. Phosphate was discovered on Nauru in 1900 by the prospector Albert Fuller Ellis; the Pacific Phosphate Company began to exploit the reserves in 1906 by agreement with Germany, exporting its first shipment in 1907. In 1914, following the outbreak of World War I, Nauru was captured by Australian troops. In 1919 it was agreed by the Allied and Associated Powers that His Britannic Majesty should be the administering authority under a League of Nations mandate.
The Nauru Island Agreement forged in 1919 between the governments of the United Kingdom and New Zealand provided for the administration of the island and for extraction of the phosphate deposits by an intergovernmental British Phosphate Commission. The terms of the League of Nations mandate were drawn up in 1920; the island experienced an influenza epidemic in 1920, with a mortality rate of 18 per cent among native Nauruans. In 1923, the League of Nations gave Australia a trustee mandate over Nauru, with the United Kingdom and New Zealand as co-trustees. On 6 and 7 December 1940, the German auxiliary cruisers Komet and Orion sank five supply ships in the vicinity of Nauru. Komet shelled Nauru's phosphate mining areas, oil storage depots, the shiploading cantilever. Japanese troops occupied Nauru on 25 August 1942; the Japanese built an airfield, bombed for the first time on 25 March 1943, preventing food supplies from being flown to Nauru. The Japanese deported 1,200 Nauruans to work as labourers in the Chuuk islands, occupied by Japan.
Nauru, bypassed and left to "wither on the vine" by US forces, was liberated on 13 September 1945, when commander Hisayaki Soeda surrendered the island to the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Navy. The surrender was accepted by Brigadier J. R. Stevenson, who represented Lieutenant General Vernon Sturdee, the commander of the First Australian Army, aboard the