Rich rare earth deposits found on seabed


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2013 AFP

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Can you smell the greed.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

Japan hits the Jackpot, China conflict gone, BOJ printer put to rest,, Abenomics Mission Accomplished ! wonderful article !

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Pressure = roughly 500 atmospheres or 50 MPa. Crush depth for an Akula class sub (Russian) is 600 m for a comparison. That's is some serious pressure but the folk I work with have developed materials capable of withstanding double that - in theory. Intricate machinery is another story. But hey, it's not imposssible either. The real problem is profitability.

But if they are looking around at that depth, I'm sure they are pretty serious.. It's there, go get it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

And next we'll hear chinese claims that it, too, was once part of their ancient kingdom and it's indisputably chinese ancestral territory.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

Bu-bye, China. You played that export-restriction card too hard. You are an ungrateful and unreliable supplier and we might not need you anymore.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

This is good news. China has had the world over a barrel on this. So if Japan or other states can step in, it will significantly reduced China's bullying potential.

However, it gives China one more reason to try to expand into Asia.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

ohayo206, Japan should just continue to be at the mercy of China for rare earth?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

is this related to the methane hydrate extraction off the pacific coast as well? oh, wait, methane hydrate news say it is a energy source while this rare earth deposits are for something else. if Japan can really utilize this, it can become self-sufficient in energy and technological resources.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Rare earths and natural gas... should we start preparing for a new Atlantis??? That would be so cool!!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

But wait....isn't china claiming ancient ownership? Sorry Japan, and the rest of the free world.

1 ( +3 / -2 )


Well said. How much does it cost to extract (in economic terms and possibly environmental).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What rare minerals? Is it a secret? I can only think of Lithium which will be more valuable than any oil we go to war over.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Where on the seabed. Around the Senkakus?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

They shouldn't have said anything - now the Chinese will surely build a small base there and claim it has been sovereign Chinese territory going all the way back to the Ming dynasty.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Uh, no AKBfan. Try reading the article for once :

near Minamitori island some 2,000 kilometers southeast of Tokyo

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Just because rare earth is present doesn't mean it needs to be dug up... I have an issue with the statement, "Rare earths are necessary for cutting-edge technologies." That's a dangerous overstatement to justify harvesting a limited resource without understanding environmental effects of seabed mining. Bottom line, its not about national soverignty, but corporate greed in sheep's clothes.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Put that in your pocket and smoke it, China.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Thanks for the pointer. Was reading the article on my outdated iPhone and missed the print.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Who,s waters is 2,000 Kilometres South east of Japan is it in. hope they own it for their sake.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yeah lets dig it up and sell it to the world!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let the War for mud start!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Also called the Marcus Island. Japan only got this island (actually more of a coral reef/atoll back in 1968. Hope US doesn't claim it back now or NK threaten to invade it!!!!! Yes, AKB, read the article properly. even if you are using an outdated iPhone.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Scientists believe the seabed contains about 6.8 million tons of the materials, the equivalent of 220 to 230 years worth of rare earths used in Japan.

After digging rare earth on the very deep Pacific Sea Bed, Will Japan survive another 220 to 230 years? Japan is the land of volcanic chain even under Ocean. Digging from the 5,800 meters below the waves is another Kamikaze pilot mission. It will create more sesimographic activities. More earthquakes and Tsunamis will come.

The worst case scenario is according the movie "Submersion of Japan".

Environmentally it will rape the marine lives and pacific ocean if something goes wrong for digging. Japanese have to say Sayonaya to their beloved fish.

Yomiuri Shimbun said there had been no successful commercial mining below 5,000 meters.

The dept is 5800 meters. Scientific exploration for a few samples and commercial off shore mining are entirely different story. Tidel wave and calmness of Ocean is extremely critical for success.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Too bad for China??

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Too bad for China, one of the big weapons in their economic war chest gone.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

ohayo206, then you first. Throw out your laptop and cell phone and start the eco trend away from rare earth.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

who said i had either one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In its afternoon edition, the mass-selling Yomiuri Shimbun said there had been no successful commercial mining below 5,000 meters.

It's too early to break out the champagne/sake bottles. But now that Japan knows that it's there, they'll start developing the technology to extract the rare earth metals.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hope this deep level digging doesn't disturb anything. Plot for the coming Godzilla movie?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If Japan can go that deep then the Philippines will be happy and have the Japanese suck up DEUTERIUM leaking from the Philippine Trench off Mindanao and start making some big bucks. They'll monopolize the heavy Hydrogen and start putting a headlock on the Chinese Bully.......slowly but surely......

4 ( +4 / -0 )

House Atreides

they'll start developing the technology to extract the rare earth metals.

Rare earth is not metals. It is elements. It is extremely dirty and polluted for processing for becoming useable rare earth.

In China, many people died with lung cancer who work or live near the processing plant. On the contrary to many posters joy for that news, they did not open champagne/sake bottles. They mourned their love ones with funeral rites.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Rare earth is not metals. It is elements.

...elements that are metallic.

From your wiki ref

As defined by IUPAC, rare earth elements ("REEs") or rare earth metals are a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium.[2] Scandium and yttrium are considered rare earth elements since they tend to occur in the same ore deposits as the lanthanides and exhibit similar chemical properties.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

... so I'm just wondering, if its so difficult to mine then how did they get these samples and confirm 30 times higher concentrations?

Forgive me if I'm being naive, but if it is economically and technically feasible to get a sample for research purposes then where you can get one chunk of rock you can get two, and where you can get two you can get a hundred or a thousand.

I don't think it'll ever be cheaper than the Chinese stuff, because they bypass safety protocols left right and center to maximise profits, but Japan is paying in a lot of difference currencies (military spending, grants, aid, interrupted supply, etc) for their current reliance on the Chinese, and while it might take some serious mathematics to quantify to total cost Japan is currently paying I'm sure they could make the books balance?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For people claiming this discovery means Japan will instantly stop relying on China, you need to think again. They've merely discovered it's there -- same as they discovered rare earth minerals LAST year that will take up to three decades to effectively extract, not to mention the investment that'll be required to get it. Any attempts to get this would result in immediate debt and a lack of profitability for years. It's good that it's there, but don't rush to cut ties quite yet.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Economic, health harzards and environment concern will take many years for feasibility study. It will take another decade for full report. Building infrastructure for off shore mining exploration project will take another decade. Raising capital is the most challenging aspect of that project. Mining is highly capital intensive and return is very unpredictable. It may take another decade for raising sufficient capital.

Mining exploration is not take away lunch business. When the necessary infrastructure project for exploration has implemented it will be another decade. When the extraction from Sea Bed started, many today posters have already old and grayed.

Japanese are fond of cleanness and love the beauty of nature. Will Japan want to become like China which is badly polluted with radio chemical and industrial waste?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

who said i had either one.


So you use a public computer or borrow one and that takes all the environmental badness out of it. Ok :-D

Surely you're not posting via telepathy :-D

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So, not that they are discovered, how do you suppose to extract them in an cost-efficient and low pollution manner?

The United States has the most in quantity of rare earth deposits but most of the mining and processing are banned due to the difficulty in processing them into a refined product without killing the environment. And that's on land.

How do you suppose to extract them from deep seabed without the same concerns?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

damn ipods. just leave the rare earth there.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Shouldn't the research focus be on reusing, reducing and recycling the limited rare earth metals such as those presently in obselete electronics. Can it not be considered a renewable resource?? IMO, sharing and efficiently utilizing a limited resource is better than investing in further excessive excavation of new mining sites and creating a larger environmental footprint. Funding would be better spent elsewhere. Furthermore, sharing a public computer can be considered a method of mitigating human industrial impact on the world. More people should consider it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Fantastic news.... now "show me the" mining.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Looks like we'll be hearing from China's territorial "claims" very soon.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

HA HA! Yea, let's see the Commies in China try to put a Spin on this!

These rare minerals are all essential to the Electronic Devices, like my iPhone 4s's Touchscreen, and other vital parts used in Electronics that currently China only has in their county.

When countries like Japan & The U.S. stand up against the Commies little game of "Currency Manipulation" or "Land Grabbing" then they threaten to BAN all of those Rare Earth Mineral Exports needed to make those devices like our Smart Phones and iPads.

Japan needs to station a 24 Hour Coast Guard Patrol(s) around the Minamitori Island's, otherwise the Commies will try and set up shop and Thieve the Minerals away or send their Warships there to threaten Japan.

This is really a good thing for Japan - They just kicked China right where it their Wallets (since they have no stones).

0 ( +1 / -1 )


-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The deep ocean and sea floor are among of the primary nurseries for life on this planet - as such, they're delicate, immeasurably important, and precious, but given our rapacious nature, our fundamentally poor capacity for discerning consequences, our pronounced difficulty with long term planning and resource husbandry, and our blindness in the face of shiny toys - this just makes me sigh despondently... I wish we'd just grow up already.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan will be long dead as a nation before this stuff is mined.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan is a country of Announcements.... they announce they will do this and that but all too often nothing comes of it. I will give credit to U.S. Corporations though.... when they announce something.... its usually already done and ready for the market.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Even with he much higher concentration of REE it will not be economically feasible to mine these many Yen do you suppose it would cost, per ton of ore, to dig the ore out of the earth at 5800 meters and then bring that ore to a surface ship for transport or processing?? Heck ,there are some pretty awesome payloads of gold bearing ores in the depths of the ocean that have been proven via core sampling that are in far more shoal areas than this and refining on ships would be simple and of little cost but the cost of extraction is 10 times higher than the price of gold,,even at current gold prices. Deep Sea REE mining is a just a pipe dream!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The capital required to drill this deposit of minerals will beyond electronic manufacturer's could expense! And the products using these sources will beyond consumer's affording, a good discovery indeed but not feasible in commrcial interest!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Which one would you like? 1) begged and buy from China 2) Do it yourself

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites