Japan to challenge China’s supremacy
Scientists from Japan’s Marine-Earth Science Agency and the University of Tokyo have discovered a massive deposit of rare earth elements in the Pacific Ocean that could produce materials up to 30 times more concentrated than those that come from China.
While China is responsible for more than 95 percent of the global supply, Japan consumes half of the world’s rare earth minerals in its electronic equipment and green-energy technologies.
The scientists say deep-sea mud rich in rare earths is distributed in vast quantities throughout much of the Pacific. Some estimates say Japan will have access to 6.8 million tonnes of rare earths in its exclusive economic zone around the island of Minami-Torishima — equivalent to more than two centuries of current local demand.