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Nauru is an island republic in the South Pacific Ocean, formerly known as Pleasant Island. It is the world's smallest independent republic both in terms of population and land area.
Much of its past prosperity derived from the large amount of phosphate deposits on the island, believed by one school of thought to be of guano origin but by another to be of marine origin. The phosphate is used as a fertilizer around the world and the majority of it has been exported to Australia. With the exhaustion of the phosphate supplies, Nauru faces an uncertain future. Nauru currently houses a detention centre, which holds and processes asylum seekers as part of Australia's Pacific Solution.
Nauru is a small phosphate rock island in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the Marshall Islands. The island is a raised atoll, with a surrounding reef exposed at low tide. Most of the population live on the narrow coastal belt. A central plateau, covering approximately four fifths of the land area, rises 70 metres above sea level.
There are limited natural fresh water resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater, but islanders are mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant.
Intensive phosphate mining during the past 90 years - mainly by a UK, Australia, and New Zealand consortium - has left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources.
Nauru's climate is extremely muggy all year round because of its proximity to the Equator.