IntroductionThis oyster-shell-shaped island was once an important phosphate-mining site. (An unscrupulous British colonial officer got a 999-year lease in exchange for 50 pounds sterling a year. The lease was later rescinded.) Production of phosphate ceased in 1979, and the desolate island is now sparsely populated—it's only accessible by private boat. 300 mi/480 km southwest of Tarawa.
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