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Japan wins rights to explore for rare metals in Pacific

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I'm very pleased to learn that this resource-poor island nation of Japan acquired the exploration rights for rare metals.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Vietnam has been their biggest REE supplier for years since China imposed restriction on Japan.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Good for Japan! It's like the bullied has learn a new fighting skill & so the bully, China, has to stay away to find some other small country to exert themselves.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

All counties not just Japan need to eliminate their dependence on China.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Good such international institution exists and legal permits can be obtain to explore Ocean's bottom.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The way to go!!! Good for Japan.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan needs natural sources without depending on China. I am very glad the news.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

and in the news China objects...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

China will soon be claiming ancient title to these islands and the "international" waters surrounding them

5 ( +8 / -3 )

China's theft of more than a dozen advanced weapons system designs from the US was a huge trust killer. It is good to see a more independent Japan. Though, I hope that independence does not combine with old school nationalism.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

But the question is, is it profitable? Do they have the technologies to take those minerals without destroying the ocean? It's a great news for Japan. However, one must NOT forget the fact that those minerals are located under the ocean...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Awesome for Japan good for them hope this turns out a big win.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

China's theft of more than a dozen advanced weapons system designs from the US was a huge trust killer. It is good to see a more independent Japan.

And what does this have to do with rare metals? I am surprised.................

0 ( +3 / -3 )

John MasterJul. 22, 2013 - 01:10PM JST

But the question is, is it profitable? Do they have the technologies to take those minerals without destroying the ocean? It's a great news for Japan. However, one must NOT forget the fact that those minerals are located under the ocean..."

Erm, you can't "destroy the ocean" by mining minerals from the ocean floor. They drill for oil and gas on the ocean floor and have been for decades. Not likely they would bother if it were not profitable or cheaper to develop mines on land. Rare earths are not really that "rare," they are found in many parts of the world. It is just that China cornered the market on them because they have abundant deposits and were selling them much cheaper than anybody else and most other producers elsewhere closed down in the 1990's (when the demand for rare earths was much lower than it is now). It could be much more practical and secure for Japan to develop its own sources of rare earths rather than depend on and perhaps be held hostage by other countries for such necessary materials.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Like I said before, territories and land are overrated. Its the battle over natural resources that will determine future military policy for Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A Realist Jul. 22, 2013 - 02:01PM JST

Erm, you can't "destroy the ocean" by mining minerals from the ocean floor. They drill for oil and gas on the ocean floor and have been for decades

I guess have you been to off shore mining exploration plant before? If the drill goes the dept of sea level for 4000km, It will be not only environmental risk for Japan but also more earthquake for Japan. Firstly seafood can be poisonous. Air and water can be polluted and radio active if something goes wrong. More drilling means more vibration to the tectonic plate of earth. Japan is surrounded by volcanic chain under sea. I have watched the movie "Submersion of Japan". The movie can become reality by men made disasters.

Not likely they would bother if it were not profitable or cheaper to develop mines on land.

Off shore mining is many times more expensive than on land mining. Japanese car makers and consumer electronic can afford to lose billions because they will be rescued by tax payers. They will still get some dividend from J bonds. However mining is questionable which investors is willing to foot the bill for if there is no return? There is no doubt rare earth material will be under sea. However delivering into processing plant from 4000 km underneath of sea is very difficult task.

Rare earths are not really that "rare," they are found in many parts of the world.

It is also extremely dirty, intoxicated and radio active for processing rare earth. The reason of Japan delay of manufacturing that one is health and environmental concern.

China cornered the market on them because they have abundant deposits and were selling them much cheaper than anybody else and most other producers elsewhere closed down in the 1990's (when the demand for rare earths was much lower than it is now)

To be fair, without China manufacturing of mass, cheap and dirty system, rare earth price will be more expensive. Consumer goods will be more expensive too. In my knowledge, Chinese workers and near by residents of processing plants are dying with lung cancer for everyday. Of course there is better technology for cleaner, greener and less hazards for processing. It will increase the price of manufacturing and not sustainable commercially for a long term. As a consumer, I acknowledged their sacrifice. Without them I could not afford to buy smart phone, computer and car turbine.

It could be much more practical and secure for Japan to develop its own sources of rare earths rather than depend on and perhaps be held hostage by other countries for such necessary materials.

It will take many and many more years for making Japan is self sufficient for exploration, processing and exporting level. So far self sufficiency of rare earth is just a castle of sand at the moment. As a resource poor nation, Japan still need natural gas, materials and commodities from oversea supplier.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Under water rare earth and rare metal deposits are basically lying on the sea floor being speud from black smoker chimney. There is no mining involved since you're just scrapping the top soil sediment from the sea floor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

China and many other nations do not play 100% fair at this point in time, so it is good to be as independent as possible. China's pirating of over two dozen advanced weapon systems is noteworthy because it is both recent and a major point of foul play that lends significant support to the above connection as well as a greater sense of happiness at Japan's increased independence. If instead China had pirated the designs of over two dozen cupcake makers, I might not have mentioned it though that too would not have been fair play.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cobalt-rich crusts are presumed to cover the seabed between 1,000 and 2,000 meters down, containing such rare metals as manganese, cobalt, nickel and platinum, according to the statement.

Is Nickel actually rare? I have some in my pocket right now...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is great news for Japan. Glad to hear it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

and in the news China objects...

Mikihouse, China objected to who? In what capacity? On what grounds?

I have to admit I do not fully understand this situation. I do not understand how or why Japan should need or get exclusive rights to mining and exploration in international waters, if it is exclusive rights (the article is less than clear).

Details. We need details.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Mikihouse, China objected to who? In what capacity? On what grounds?

Pretty sure that was just a joke about China claiming territorial rights over more and more Japanese land.

A joke which is now ruined, since I had to explain it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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