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Japan team maps ‘semi-infinite’ trove of rare earth elements

mining resources rare earth metal metals minerals elements

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#1
wjfox

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Great news for electric vehicles, solar panels, computers, phones...

 

Hope the environmental impacts are minimised though. Also, this could reduce the incentive to mine asteroids.

 

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Japan team maps ‘semi-infinite’ trove of rare earth elements

 

Apr 11, 2018

 

Japanese researchers have mapped vast reserves of rare earth elements in deep-sea mud, enough to feed global demand on a “semi-infinite basis,” according to a new study.

 

The deposit, found within Japan’s exclusive economic zone waters, contains more than 16 million tons of the elements needed to build high-tech products ranging from mobile phones to electric vehicles, according to the study, released Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports.

 

The team, comprised of several universities, businesses and government institutions, surveyed the western Pacific Ocean near Minamitori Island.

 

In a sample area of the mineral-rich region, the team’s survey estimated 1.2 million tons of “rare earth oxide” is deposited there, said the study, conducted jointly by Waseda University’s Yutaro Takaya and the University of Tokyo’s Yasuhiro Kato, among others.

 

The finding extrapolates that a 2,500-sq. km region off the southern Japanese island should contain 16 million tons of the valuable elements, and “has the potential to supply these metals on a semi-infinite basis to the world,” the study said.

 

https://www.japantim...s/#.Ws4nnpch2Ul

 


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#2
TranscendingGod

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If i'm not mistaken China has a near monopoly on some of the rare earth components for electronics at the moment. This will level the playing field a bit. Some of the best news all year.


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The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth. 


#3
Raklian

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Is it rich enough to make America wish they actually invaded Japan and made it a colony territory with no expiration date? :-)


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What are you without the sum of your parts?

#4
Maximus

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Is it rich enough to make America wish they actually invaded Japan and made it a colony territory with no expiration date? :-)

Well, Trump just proposed that the US should rejoin the TPP. Maybe 'Murica is feeling a bit of regret about not stripping some of these small islands from Japan after WWII.



#5
Ghostreaper

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Is this find linked to this one? 

http://www.asahi.com...1706060035.html

I would be interested to know if this new find contains cobalt, something I hope that we can avoid getting from DRC.


“If the genius of invention were to reveal to-morrow the secret of immortality, of eternal beauty and youth, for which all humanity is aching, the same inexorable agents which prevent a mass from changing suddenly its velocity would likewise resist the force of the new knowledge until time gradually modifies human thought.” 

 

                                                                 Nikola Tesla - New York World, May 19th 1907 


#6
Alislaws

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Prepare yourselves for Japan's new fleet of deep sea mining submarines. 

 

Submarines and deep sea operations are basically the best practice we can get for space!


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#7
Maximus

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Just did some reading after a Reddit user pointed out that rare-earth metals actually aren't rare at all, which I'll admit, really caught me by surprise. We've been hearing for years how China controls all the rare-earth metals that are needed for everything from smartphones, to wind turbines. Turns out, China's monopoly isn't on rare-earth metals; it's on rare-earth metal processing.

 

China hasn't been gifted by the metal gods with some unique supply of rare-earth metals. The US, for example, has one of the largest rare-earth metal deposits in the world, in California. Moreover, you don't necessarily need these massive deposits: it seems like regular mining waste contains all the rare earth metals you could ever want. The problem is processing these metals. So far, China has been happy to extract and process rare-earth metals for prices low enough to stop other nations from doing the same thing. The processing part is the caveat though; it's a very dirty process. If it ever came to China using its rare-earth supplies as bargaining chips, it would be pretty easy (but very polluting) for the US, or any other nation, to start processing its own rare-earths metals. The only reasons they're called "rare" in the first place is because it's hard to find them in pure form that requires no processing. 

 

Did some more reading and it looks like China actually did block rare-earth exports to Japan in 2011, so this is still a great find for Japan as they now have a massive deposit of rare-earth metals to exploit if the Chinese choose to use rare-earths as bargaining chips again.

 

Sources:

Big Surprise! Rare Earths Aren't Rare


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