In Japan, we found "almost endless" reserves of rare earth elements
Japanese scientists have mapped huge reserves of rare earth elements in the deep mud. According to them, reserves are sufficient to ensure that the global demand for "almost infinite basis". Deposits found in the Japanese exclusive economic waters, contains more than 16 million tons of elements which are literally more valuable than gold in the manufacture of high-tech products, from mobile phones to electric vehicles.
The team from several universities, businesses and government agencies inspected the Western Pacific about Minamitorisima Island, Japan.
On the test site in the mineral-rich region, the survey found about 1, 2 million tons of deposits of rare earth oxides, according to a study conducted Yutariya Takayey, scientists from Waseda University, and Yasuhiro Kato of the University of Tokyo.
About 2500 square kilometers to the south of the Japanese islands must contain 16 million tonnes of valuable elements and "potentially supply the world with almost infinite basis", the study said.
Provisions in this area "have great potential as a major ore deposits of elements of modern society." Reserves of rare earth elements in the area is enough for hundreds of years, which is incredibly under conditions of severe shortage of rare earth elements. The team is now looking for effective methods of extraction and separation of the elements from the other in the mud. On the search for a solution will take up to five years. The world is now in a serious extent rely on rare earth elements in China - most of them supplies Beijing. However, exports of these products is very limited for diplomatic reasons. In 2010, for example, Japanese manufacturers faced with a serious shortage, as China has restricted the export of precious metals.
This happened after Japan arrested a Chinese trawler captain, who was involved in circumvention of the Japanese coastal forces near the Senkaku Islands, which China claims rights.
"A huge amount of resources and the efficiency of mineral processing is a strong indication that this new resource sludge of the rare earth elements can be used in the near future," the scientists say.